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Above the Battle

we not resist this contagion, whatever its nature and virulence be—whether moral epidemic or cosmic force? Do we not fight against the plague, and strive even to repair the disaster caused by an earthquake? Or must we bow ourselves before it, agreeing with Luzzatti in his famous article[1] that "In the universal disaster, the nations triumph"? Shall we say with him that it is good and reasonable that "the demon of international war, which mows down thousands of beings, should be let loose," so that the great and simple truth, "love of our country," be understood? It would seem, then, that love of our country can flourish only through the hatred of other countries and the massacre of those who sacrifice themselves in the defence of them. There is in this theory a ferocious absurdity, a neronian dilettantism which repels me to the very depths of my being. No! Love of my country does not demand that I shall hate and slay those noble and faithful souls who also love theirs, but rather that I should honour them and seek to unite with them for our common good.

You Christians will say—and in this you seek consolation for having betrayed your Master's


  1. Recently published in the Corriere della Sera and translated by the Journal de Genève, September 1914.