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Class 11, Language Development, Unit 15, War and Peace


Class 11, Language Development, Unit 15, War and Peace

Unit-15, War and Peace


Shall there be Peace?

Hermann Hesse


a. What is War?

Ans:- War is an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces. (


b. What happens if there is war in country? Describe its consequences.

Ans:- War destroys communities and families and often disrupts the development of the social and economic fabric of nations. The effects of war include long-term physical and psychological harm to children and adults, as well as reduction in material and human capital.


c. Describe a devastating war in the world history?

Ans:- The First World War was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. It was the war between the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey) and Alliances (France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan and USA), and ended with the defeat of central powers. It caused the fall of great imperial dynasties in Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Turkey), Bolshevik revolution in Russia and groundwork for WWII. It destroyed empires, created numerous new nation-states, encouraged independence movements in Europe's colonies, forced the United States to become a world power and led directly to Soviet communism and the rise of Hitler. The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I, was around 40 million. There were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. The total number of deaths includes 9.7 million military personnel and about 10 million civilians.



Hermann Hesse

v Born on 2 July 1877 – and died on 9 August 1962, German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter

v In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

v Had a troubled childhood, attempted suicide in 1892, was place in two separate mental institutions,

v Worked in a bookshop and beginning his own writing career,

v First composed poetry, later moved to writing novels and essays


About the Essay "Shall there be Peace?

v Composed in December, 1917, a year before the end of WWI, a horrific war that killed around 166 million people,

v This essay hoped to bring peace, only optimistic political orators and war profiteers want war, majority of people don't want war,

v He acknowledge a gap between the desire for peace and the feeling that there's nothing that the common person can do to halt the violence,

v No one is willing to shoulder the burden of bringing about people, neither politicians, nor ministers,

v People also want peace if there is a benefit for the side they are on,

v He appeals everyone to act according to the cry of mankind,



Brest- Litovsk: The treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed in 1918 between Russia and Germany that ended Russia's participation in WWI. An agreement between Soviet Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, signed in the town of that name in Poland. By the treaty, Russia surrendered nearly half of its European territory: Finland, the Baltic provinces, Belorussia (now Belarus), Poland, the Ukraine, and parts of the Caucasus. The German armistice in the west (November 1918) annulled the treaty, but in the Versailles Peace Settlement (Paris Conference) Russia only regained the Ukraine.


Herr Kuhlmann: (1873-1948) a German Diplomat and industrialist, he served as Germany's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 6 August 1917 to 9 July 1918


George Clemenceau

He was a French politician, physician, and journalist who served as Prime Minister of France during the First World War. A leader of the Radical Party, he played a central role in the politics of the French Third Republic. He was one of the principal architects of the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. He took a harsh position against defeated Germany.


David Lloyd George

He is a British Liberal politician and statesman. As Chancellor of the Exchequer (1908–1915), he was a key figure in the introduction of many reforms that laid the foundations of the modern welfare state. His most important role came as the highly energetic Prime Minister of the Wartime Coalition Government (1916–22), during and immediately after the First World War. He was a major player at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 that reordered Europe after the defeat of the Central Powers.


Woodrow Wilson

He is an American politician and academic who served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921. Leading a Congress in Democratic hands, he oversaw the passage of progressive legislative policies unparalleled until the New Deal in 1933. The Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, Clayton Antitrust Act, and Federal Farm Loan Act were some of these new policies. His second term was dominated by American entry into World War I.


Vittorio Orlando

He is an Italian statesman known for representing Italy in the 1919 Paris Peace Conference with his foreign minister Sidney Sonnino. He was also known as “Premier of Victory” for defeating the Central Powers along with the Entente in World War I. He was a member and president of the Constitutional Assembly that changed the Italian form of government into a republic.


Summary of "Shall there be Peace?"

The essay begins with the three references: The desire of Woodrow Wilson (the President of the USA) and David Lloyd George (The PM of Britain) to continue the war until final victory, treatment of Italian Socialist Mergari as a madman for his natural and human words and a Wolff dispatch spreading rumors about Germany not accepting peace proposal offers by Allies. In other words, the efforts to establish peace are crushed.  The peace negotiations between German and Russia have started in Brest Litovsk. Herr Kuhlmann, a German diplomat has opened the session talking about the peace with the reference of Bible quotations, but the words of leaders can't be trusted.


The world has drawn its interest in these two countries where the destinies of nations will be determined. People are hopefully looking in Brest Litovsk where peace negotiations are going on between the Center powers and Russia. At the same time, they are watching the Western front in dreadful anguish for the appalling battle of all time.  All except war profiteers and optimistic political leaders are worried about war. In both camps, only a minority seriously believes in decisive victory. But none of sane people believe that the victory will fulfill humanitarian aims though all our statesmen speak about them in their speeches.


The final battles of the world war are more destructive and bloodier because political aims are fulfilled by the criminal instrumentality of war. If the leaders in their sensational speeches talk about the final victory of one camp, it is not the victory of human kind it is the victory of militarism which we hate. Any single word of war aims in their arguments is absurd. Mutually contradictory hopes and plans cannot justify unbelievable scope of massacre. All people are awaiting the outcomes of the Russian peace negotiations.  We have love and gratitude for Russians, because it is determined to end the war. The half of the world is suffered of starvation, all human efforts have been finished, however France is making preparations for war- a mass slaughter. The final victory of war is no more than the final hateful triumph of dynamite and machines over human life and the human spirit.


In such a situation it is our sacred duties to stop this catastrophe, but we say we can't do anything in such situation because we are neither politicians nor ministers and we haven't have power either. This is only our excuses to be away from our responsibilities. We don't do anything unless we feel urgency. Even the politicians and leaders do same thing. We mustn't be indifferent just blaming others. To blame others is our cowardice, flexibility and unwillingness to do something. Sidney Sonnino, Italian Ministers of Foreign Affair, refused to say anything that might give aid and comfort to the enemy in response to the Mergari. Even we give evidence of the same attitude like a Wolff dispatch. We accept everything as they come to us. We also become happy in our victor, we abhor when our camp loses. Even we are accepting war as political instrument.


It is shameful; everybody everywhere doesn't have enough strong reasons for "Peace". Only few men who are moody extremists or dreadful criminals and who deserve our contempt and hatred want war. Such people in both sides are arming untiringly for the final holocaust in the West. It is possible, because we are too lazy, too easygoing, and too cowardly and in our secret hearts we approve or tolerate the war. We throw away all the resources of our minds and soul to the wind and let the machines roll on! What political leaders and armies do is secondary things; first of all, we are selfish. If we are serious, we can stop war. When men feel anything necessary they perform an action. We admired Russians when they have laid down arms and manifested their will to make peace. Everybody on this Earth has admired this marvelous decision of Russia. But at the same moment, we reject the obligations that show such feelings.  Every politician in the world is in favor of revolution and only wants laying down of arms only in the camps of enemies. Russians have shown that weak can be mightiest. Why don't others follow them? Political leaders never raise up to champion a great idea like this. They only hope to profit making false idealism. Most of the rulers in Europe want war which all Europeans except a small number of profiteers don't want. We can bring peace if we are not controlled by useless provocations as Wolff dispatch, and stop talking like Sonnino. A slight humiliation, a concession, a human impulse can do no harm to us. The bloodiest war for just a little national vanity is not justifiable. The statesmen who ignore the cry of mankind must be expelled. Otherwise their stupidity can take lives of millions of people. We must not close our ears in such a dreadful war. Peace is at our hands. It is at every heart as a thought, as a desire, as a suggestion, as a hidden power. We must open our heart to it; we must devote ourselves for a little while to remove all obstacles, barriers of peace, then we shall have peace.  If we do so, we help to bring peace and we find ourselves worthy for such a great task. But till now we are carrying out our shared guilt for not bringing it.


Ways with Words

A. Match the words on the left side with their meanings on the right.

a. Proclaim - declare

b. unswerving - steady or constant

c. magnanimous - generous or forgiving

d. trample - crush

e. tremendous - huge

f. inevitable - unavoidable

g. dire - dreadful

h. anguish - distress

i. impending -  upcoming

j. ruthless - pitiless


B. Fill in the blanks with the suitable word from the list given.

Appalling, sanguine, slaughter, absurdity, futility, reluctance, bestir


a. The soldiers suffer appalling injuries during the attack.

b. She is sanguine about prospects for the economic development of the country.

c. Innocent people get unexpected slaughter in the war.

d. The crowd laughed at the absurdity the singer's behavior.

e. The intellectuals should be worried about the horror and futility of war.

f. He sensed her reluctance to continue the work.

h. They bestir themselves at the first light of morning.



Answer these questions.

a. Why was the Italian Socialist Mergari treated like a madman?

Ans:- Italian Socialist Mergari was treated like a madman because he spoke a few natural and human words in the Italian chamber.


b. Can political aims be attained by the criminal instrumentality of war? If yes, how?

Ans:- Yes political aims can be attained by the criminal instrumentality of war. Political leaders have an excellent oratory skill and by delivering powerful words and phrases, they instill sense of patriotism in people. They make people blind supporters brainwashing their minds and thus they become ready to die for the nation.   


c. Which hopes and plans were said to be mutually contradictory?

Ans: The hopes of peace negotiations in Brest Litovsk between Germany and Russia and the plans of France to attack Germany are said to be mutually contradictory.


d. What can be the sacred duty of every man of good will on earth?

Ans: The sacred duty of every man of good will on earth can be not to be indifference to the ongoing war but to do utmost to prevent the final catastrophe (final battle).


e. Is it good to tacitly accept war as an instrument of politics? If not, what else should be done?

Ans:- Not it is not good to accept war silently as an instrument of politics. Instead of war, we must give enough reasons for peace. Only few people want war. We have to show our content and sincerest hatred to them.


f. How can we stop war in the world?

Ans:- We can stop war if we decide to devote ourselves exclusively for a little while to clearing away the obstacles and the barriers to peace.


g. What is the main message of this essay?

Ans:- War is just a criminal instrument to fulfill political aims of some sanguine political orators and war profiteers. We common people must understand this and show our contempt and hatred to those and must be serious and determined to establish peace permanently.


Critical Thinking

a. Are warmongers the greatest enemies for peace? What do you want to suggest to them?

Ans:- The word 'warmongers' mean people who encourage or advocate aggression towards other countries or groups or they encourage a country to go on war. These people are the root causes human conflict. According to Albert Einstein "Peace is not merely absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order-in short, of government." Peace is the state of harmony, lack of violence, or the freedom from fear of violence. In the presence of war, such things vanish. Violence, injustice, cruelty, lack of human rights prevail during the war, and only warmongers are responsible for crushing peace, so they are the greatest enemies for peace. I would like to suggest them giving up war loving nature. Millions of innocent people may lose their lives because of their nature, people suffer from starvation, they lose their families, properties, and even the economy of country is badly affected. People live in a terror of losing lives. For the sake of human kind they must transform their love to war to love to human kind.


b. The Nobel Prize Winner American novelist John Steinbeck (1902-1968) once said, "All war is symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal." Do you agree with the novelist? Why?


Ans:- I absolutely agree with John Steinbeck's saying, "All war is symptom of man's failure as thinking animal." As the evidences of past and present show, war is always worst thing in the world. Except a few sanguine political leaders, and war profiteers, it gives benefit to on one. The outcome of war is never good as it causes immense loss of human life and resources. Even the winning countries have lots of casualties and losses. The conflicts are never resolved in war, but it makes complicated more. The thrust of becoming powerful of any statesman or leader gives birth to war but there may be deaths and destructions of millions of people and property only caused by their thrust for power.




c. Does any war end all wars and bring lasting peace to the world? Discuss.

Ans: This question reminds me of the slogan of the First World War, "The war to end all wars." Many idealists like G.H.Wells used this term hoping that the destructive 1st world war would persuade mankind to abandon war as a means of solving political disputes. But the more destructive war happed named as Second World War. The end of the First World War was hoped to bring lasting peace in the world but happened just opposite. As far as the lasting peace in the world is concerned, I agree with the great philosopher Sigmund Freud. It is just opposite to the sayings "Iron cuts Iron" or "Diamond cuts diamond." Any war can never end all wars. It is not only the matter of political conflicts that bring wars. In response of a letter by Albert Einstein to Sigmund Freud, asking causes and solutions of war, Freud replies that war exists all the time. He said that there are two causes of war: material and psychological. He further said that human mind is dominated by two opposite psychological forces: erotic force and hadeotic force. When hadeotic force becomes active in our mind, we want destruction resulting into war. Elimination of hadeotic instinct from our mind is impossible, so there is no permanent solution of war. Love to war is humans' natural instinct and till human race survives, wars also exist. Thus ending of wars and bringing lasting peace is beyond our control.


d. Why do you think countries go in wars even though they have their own boundaries?

Ans:- It could be far better if  geographical boundaries could stop countries go in wars. Today's war is not like of ancient and primitive wars which were fought with physical forces. The nature of war has been totally changed because of advancement in modern science and technology. Modern weapons are more powerful, more destructive and can attack anywhere any distance. There are various reasons which can be categorized into biological and psychological for war which crosses across any geographical boundaries.



Write essays in about 500 words on the following topics.

a. War and Peace


Modern war is highly destructive, yet countries still fight. World organizations like the UN have tried hard to stop countries from starting a war, but without much success. The question arises how a country can live in peace when other countries can attack it at any time.


We can live in peace only if we are strong. Naturally other countries, not on good terms with us, will take advantage of our weakness. If we are weak, they will attack us to settle their disputes with us or to take away parts of our country. This has happened so many times. Germany attacked the weaker European countries during the First and Second World Wars and Israel took away parts of Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria from the Arabs in 1967. Later she attacked Lebanon several times only because the Lebanese were not well prepared for war. Another war between the Arabs and Israel in 1973 saw the return of many parts of Arab lands from Israeli hands. Yet the disputes between the Arabs and Israel continued to sour their relations.


The Big Powers, that is, the United States of America, Russia, Britain, France and China, and other powerful countries are all the time trying to become stronger than each other. They have produced weapons of mass (large-scale) destruction like the atom, hydrogen, cobalt and neutron bombs, supersonic (traveling at speeds more than that of sound) warplanes, missiles, etc. They are producing still more dangerous weapons to make sure that no other country can start a war against them. This is also what the less powerful countries in Asia, Africa and elsewhere are trying to do. They are arraying (grouping) themselves with deadly weapons for defensive purposes more than for offensive (that is, for attacks). So, preparation for war is necessary for defense or peace. Even the US is trying to have a modern defensive system against nuclear (atomic) attacks called the nuclear umbrella.


A country like ours or India or Burma or Turkey cannot easily afford (stand) the heavy expenditure of war preparations. This money can be spent on the betterment of the common people. But these countries are afraid of being attacked from outside, so they continue arming themselves.


War is as much a fact today as it was hundreds of years ago. The sadder fact is that the little peace that we find here and there is because most of the countries are armed to the teeth or armed with nuclear weapons like atomic and hydrogen bombs. An attack by one country on another means a destructive and dangerous war into which other countries may jump (and, thus, war may get escalated or enlarged). So, war is postponed for the weaker country that, of course, does take place someday. For the strongest countries, there is an agreed long or permanent war holiday.

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