A couple of quotes from one of my favorite cynics and masters of language (“I master only the language of others; mine does with me what it will”), Karl Kraus:

How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print. (Wie wird die Welt regiert und in den Krieg geführt? Diplomaten belügen Journalisten und glauben es wenn sie`s lesen.)

War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn’t any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone’s being worse off. (Krieg ist zuerst die Hoffnung, dass es einem besser gehen wird, hierauf die Erwartung, dass es dem anderen schlechter gehen wird, dann die Genugtuung, dass es dem anderen auch nicht besser geht, und schließlich die Überraschung, dass es beiden schlechter geht.)


  1. Hi language hat,

    “History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.”

    And I would add, in comparison to the economic payoff.

    The quote is by Ronald Reagan, by the way.


  2. Talking of wars starting when everyone concerned thinks they are a bad thing, but start them anyway….

    ….a week ago I had dinner in Cologne with a charming painter called Alexander Schlieffen who is the great {+great?} grand nephew of the designer of Germany’s Schlieffen Plan for attacking France in World War One.

  3. As my great uncle Karl noted, The miserable thing about patriots is not the hatred they have for every other country, but the love they have for their own…

Speak Your Mind