Mark Twain: His Thoughts On War

BPR Quote of the Day

“We lost fifteen men killed outright. ..The enemy numbered six hundred, including women and children — and we abolished them utterly, leaving not even a baby alive to cry for its dead mother. This is incomparably the greatest victory that was ever achieved by the Christian soldiers of the United States.”

Mark Twain

on an incident in the Philippine-American War


In 1904, disgusted by the aftermath of the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War, Mark Twain wrote a short anti-war prose poem called “The War Prayer.” His family begged him not to publish it, his friends advised him to bury it, and his publisher rejected it, thinking it too inflammatory for the times. Twain agreed, but instructed that it be published after his death, saying famously:

None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.

“The War Prayer” was eventually published after World War I, when its message was more in tune with the times. 

by Steven Benen, Washington Monthly (the words)

This entry was posted in military, Quotations, war and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mark Twain: His Thoughts On War

  1. Thank you, guys, for your excellent comments. I too didn’t know about Twain’s War Prayer but it was fascinating to find out about it. The more I learn about Mr. Clemons, the more impressed I am.

  2. Colin Smith says:

    We just have keep repeating it over and over again. Not in my lifetime, but hopefully for future generations, his message may at last take root.

  3. Thnx for this article Arlen. I’m an amateur and very infrequent reader of Twain but always his admirer. I didn’t know about his war prayer. I have now just finished about one hour of reading about the American-Phillipine war. I hate war and loathe Aemerican warriors and war patriots , including those from the pulpit every bit as much as Twain did. Gary

  4. Donaldson says:

    What ever happened to : WALK SOFTLY and CARRY A BIG STICK ?
    Amazingly, My generation “baby boomers” (who decried the Vietnamese War in the ’60s and early ’70s are the very persons who are so eagerly enabling and pursuing the current wars.
    Greed extracts a terrible toll and few seem to have the ability or desire to affect change in foreign policy lest it inflict some form of loss to their pocket book or control.
    The current & ongoing wars are an AFFRONT to the U.S. CONSTITUTION/
    Thank you for posting this .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s