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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

498                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

toricai in their placing and couched in the same vein. In Elisabeth
Tarakanow (1939) the titular heroine - said to be the daughter of
the Czartn Elisabeth - is involved in a conspiracy against Catherine
the Great and has to choose between a great place in the world
and renunciation. There is also a group of Novellen which centre
round the lives of saints and in which the poignant lesson of Ent-
sagtmg is by the nature of the theme to the fore. The same fight for
his pacifist ideals stirs in Schneider's books of historical essays; of
these the title of Maeht und Gnadc (1949) typifies his inrooted doc-
trine that the might of nations has its justification only by the
grace of God. DerPmdeder Welt (1956) again in its skilfully chosen
instances from centuries of history revolves round the problems
and possibilities of peace in the present as paralleled in the past
The solution is, he says (quoting Kant), to free ourselves from
the wrappings of custom, from the abuse of power, and from lies
which are the stock-in-trade of diplomatic technique. We today
are living in a period of grace, which is anything but peace. But
this bittere Gn<^enfrist\&& existed throughout history: he enumer-
ates the instances and interprets the plans for an 'eternal peace*
which have been evolved by thinkers throughout the ages. The
term der eonff Fmde is said to have been first used by Kant in his
momentous essay Zum emgm Frieden (*79$), but actually it was
first used by Leibniz, who quotes it from an inscription on the
gates of a cemetery. And this is tragically true: the dead have it,
but all life is war. Even in our bodies there is war while life lasts;
when this war of microbe with microbe ceases we are dead and
therefore at peace. Kepler*s cosmic harmony (Weltbarwonik) is
false: the stars, which look so peaceful from below, are at war.
Great men have praised war; Moltke in particular - 'eternal peace',
he says, 'is a dream, and not even a beautiful one; war saves us
from sinking into lethargy and being degenerate'. Peace, then, is
€eine notmndige UnmdgKcbksif ^ or, In the diction of today, *eiw un%u-
gangliche UnuMgangKchkeif • And yet; W#r Frhds ist imnter da - und
nie9. Peace £r, because it is an incontrovertible idea, proved to be
possible by thinkers and dreamers through the ages - Hugo
Grotius, William Penn, Erasmus ~ and how many more ? Peace,
says Kant, is a static condition; if it can be changed it was not
peace, but the end of hostilities. The very name then and the use
of it is a lie; if there were truth war would indeed be impossible.
The way to end wars for ever is, then, truth; and there can be no