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Above the Battle

know to which of the ten nationalities he owed his intellect, is now writing Battle Songs (Schlachtenlieder), and Songs of the Flag (Fahnenlieder), apostrophising the enemy, praising and dealing death. (At the age of fifty-one he is learning to bear arms, and has enlisted against the Russians.) Gerhart Hauptmann, whom Fritz von Unruh calls "the poet of brotherly love," has shaken off his neurasthenia, and bids men "mow down the grass which drips with blood." Franz Wedekind is pouring out invectives against Czarism, Lissauer against England. Arno Holz is raving deliriously. Petzold desires to be in every bullet that enters an enemy's heart; whilst Richard Nordhausen has written an Ode to a Howitzer.[1]

At first the younger writers as well were possessed with the same madness for war; but, in contact with the sufferings they endured and inflicted, it quickly disappeared. Fritz von Unruh enlisted as a Uhlan, and left for the front, crying "Paris, Paris is our goal!" Since the Battle of the Aisne, in September, he has written "Der Lamm": "Lamb of God, I have seen thy look of suffering. Give us peace and rest; lead us back to the heaven of love, and give us back our dead."

  1. See the article of Josef Luitpol Stern, "Dichter," in Die Weissen Blätter, March 1915.