Above the Battle
situation lies in the fact that the French spirit only really began to exercise an attraction upon Germany some two or three years ago. Germany was beginning to discover the true France, the France of work and of faith. The new generations, the young classes that they have just led to the abattoir of Ypres and Dixmude, numbered the purest souls, the greatest idealists, those most possessed by the dream of universal brotherhood. If I say that for many among them the war has been a laceration, "a horror, a failure, a renunciation of every ideal, an abdication of the spirit," as one of them wrote on the eve of his death—if I say that the death of Péguy has been mourned by many young Germans, no one would believe me. But belief will be a necessity the day I publish the documents which I have collected.
It is somewhat better understood in France how this German nation, enveloped in the network of lies woven by its Government, and abandoning herself thereto with a blind and obstinate loyalty, is profoundly convinced that she was attacked, hemmed in by the jealousy of the world; and that she must defend herself at all costs or die. It is among the chivalrous traditions of France to render homage to the courage of an adversary.