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Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves as a more or less substitute for the hatred between individuals. Even when there is no natural hatred and no animosity to start with, the fighting itself will stir up hostile feelings: violence committed on superior orders will stir up the desire for revenge and retaliation against the perpetrator rather than against the powers that ordered the action. It is only human (or animal, if you like), but it is a fact.

[Der Nationalhaß, an dem es auch bei unseren Kriegen selten fehlt, vertritt bei dem einzelnen gegen den einzelnen mehr oder weniger stark die individuelle Feindschaft. Wo aber auch dieser fehlt und anfangs keine Erbitterung war, entzündet sich das feindselige Gefühl an dem Kampfe selbst, denn eine Gewaltsamkeit, die jemand auf höhere Weisung an uns verübt, wird uns zur Vergeltung und Rache gegen ihn entflammen, früher noch, ehe wir es gegen die höhere Gewalt sein werden, die ihm gebietet, so zu handeln. Dies ist menschlich oder auch tierisch, wenn man will, aber es ist so.]

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War [Vom Kriege], Book 2, ch. 2 “On the Theory of War [Über die Theorie des Krieges],” § 17 (2.2.17) (1832) [tr. Howard & Paret (1976)]

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

National hatred, which is seldom wanting in our wars, is a substitute for personal hostility in the breast of individual opposed to individual. But where this also is wanting, and at first no animosity of feeling subsisted, a hostile feeling is kindled by the combat itself; for an act of violence which any one commits upon us by order of his superior, will excite in us a desire to retaliate and be revenged on him, sooner than on the superior power at whose command the act was done. This is human, or animal if we will; still it is so.
[tr. Graham (1873)]

National hatred, which is seldom lacking in our wars, becomes a more or less powerful substitute for personal hostility of individual against individual. But where this also is wanting, and, at first, no animosity existed, a hostile feeling is kindled by the combat itself. An act of violence which anyone commits upon us by order of his superior will excite in us the desire to retaliate and be revenged on him sooner than on the superior power at whose command the act was done. This is human -- animal, if you will -- but it is a fact.
[tr. Jolles (1943)]

Added on 28-Feb-23 | Last updated 28-Feb-23
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To foreign climes a man must sometimes roam,
In quest of things he cannot find at home;
For Frenchmen Germans have no strong affection,
But to their wines we seldom make objection.

[Man kann nicht stets das Fremde meiden
Das Gute liegt uns oft so fern.
Ein echter deutscher Mann mag keinen Franzen leiden,
Doch ihre Weine trinkt er gern.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 8 “Auerbach’s Cellar,” l. 2270ff [Brander] (1808-1829) [tr. Blackie (1880)]

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not, leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

We can't quite shun the Foreign, howe'er we may determine;
The Good is oft so far away.
Your Frenchman's poison to your true-born German,
But your French wines he'd drink all day.
[tr. Latham (1790)]

What's foreign we can't always shun,
So far from us must good things often be.
A genuine German can't abide the French, not one,
But of their wines he drinks most cheerfully.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

One cannot always avoid what is foreign; what is good often lies so far off. A true German cannot abide Frenchmen, but willingly drinks their wines.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

What foreign is one always can't decline,
What's good is often scatter'd far apart.
The French your genuine German hates with all his heart,
Yet has a relish for their wine.
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

Hankerings for foreign things will sometimes haunt you,
The good so far one often finds;
Your real German man can't bear the French, I grant you,
And yet will gladly drink their wines.
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

What's foreign one can't always keep quite clear of,
For good things, oft, are not so near;
A German can't endure the French to see or hear of,
Yet drinks their wines with hearty cheer.
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

Sometimes one can't abstain from foreign stuff,
what is good lies often far away.
A German of fine blood dislikes the French,
but he enjoys their wines the better.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

One can't become one country's henchman,
Much good hails from a distant spot;
Your proper German can't abide a Frenchman,
But likes French vintages a lot.
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

You can't always avoid what's foreign,
About pleasure I'm not partisan.
A man who's a true German can't stand Frenchmen,
But he can stand their wine, oh yes he can!
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

You must admit sometimes, I know it's sad,
But foreign stuff is really not that bad.
Us Germans just can't stand the Frogs, but then
We like to drink their wine now and again.
[tr. Williams (1999)]

We can’t always shun what’s foreign,
Things from far away are often fine.
Real Germans can’t abide a Frenchman,
And yet they gladly drink his wine.
[tr. Kline (2003)]

Added on 11-Oct-22 | Last updated 11-Oct-22
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One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Homage to Catalonia, Appendix 1 (1938)
Added on 29-Sep-21 | Last updated 29-Sep-21
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Like other idealisms, patriotism varies from a noble devotion to a moral lunacy.

Dean Inge - patriotism - wist-info

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Our Present Discontents,” Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919)
Added on 12-Oct-15 | Last updated 16-Mar-20
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Nations, like individuals, wish to enjoy a fair reputation. It is therefore desireable for us that the slanders on our country, disseminated by hired or prejudiced travellers, should be corrected. But politics, like religion, hold up the torches of martyrdom to the reformers of error.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to James Ogilvie (4 Aug 1811)
Added on 29-Aug-13 | Last updated 13-Jul-22
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Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, ch. 2 “Passports to Understanding” (1993)
Added on 21-May-09 | Last updated 23-May-20
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