Letter to My Critics
violence. And there is the danger. For they form opinion, the only opinion that can be expressed (all others are forbidden). It is for these that I write, not for those who are fighting (they have no need of us!).
And when I hear the publicists trying to rouse the energies of the nation by all the stimulants at their disposal for this one object, the total crushing of the enemy nation, I think it my duty to rise in opposition to what I believe to be at once a moral and a political error. You make war against a State, not against a people. It would be monstrous to hold sixty-five million men responsible for the acts of some thousands—perhaps some hundreds. Here in French Switzerland, so passionately in sympathy with France, so eager both in its sympathies and in the duty of restraining them, I have been able for three months, by reading German letters and pamphlets, to examine closely the conscience of the German nation. And I have been able thus to take account of a good many facts which escape the greater part of the French people. The first, the most striking, the most ignored, is that there is not in Germany as a whole any real hatred of France (all the hatred is turned against England). The especial pathos of the