Herman Hesse remained clear-sighted and consistent in his political views and his passionate espousal of pacifism and the bloody absurdity of war from the start of the First World War to the end of his life. He wrote the earliest essay in this book in September 1914, before he cemented his fame with the novels Steppenwolf and Siddhartha, and continued writing a stream of letters, essays and pamphlets throughout the war. In his native Germany his views earned him the labels 'traitor' and 'viper', but after World War II he was moved to reiterate his beliefs in another series of essays and letters.
If the War Goes On . . . resonates as strongly today as it did when originally published and begs the question: have our politicians learnt nothing in the last seventy years?