Upon its publication in 1929, All Quiet on the Western Front became a landmark of antiwar literature. It sparked a literary sensation almost overnight. Within a year of publication, it had been translated into twenty languages, including Chinese, and by April 1930, sales for twelve of the twenty editions stood at 2.5 million. Author Erich Maria Remarque was reputed to have the largest readership in the world.
Hugo Grotius’s De Jure Belli ac Pacis (1625) exerts a vast influence on international law and politics. Yet Grotius, known widely as the father of international law, is difficult to interpret. Philosopher Michael Walzer claims that Grotius “incorporated just war theory into international law.” Philosopher Richard Tuck, however, argues that Grotius “reminded his audience that he was still an enthusiast for war around the globe.”
More than any of the other ancients, the Romans understood war in ways that foreshadowed our own. Marcus Tullius Cicero’s De Officiis first raised questions of just war that concern us even today. Cicero first introduced the idea that war should advance some good beyond merely self-interested expansion. For Cicero, the natural state of mankind was of peace; war was an unnatural rupture. “Wars, then, are to be waged in order to render it possible to live in peace without injury,” wrote Cicero.
Readers of The Times (of London) this month were surprised to read the headline “The British Heroes Honoured by Adolf Hitler.” Was some terrible, nationally-humiliating scandal breaking about Britons who were secretly working for the Nazis during World War Two? In fact. it was an interesting military history story that casts light on an often forgotten aspect of the Spanish Civil War: the naval side.
The Hoover Institution was born from a telegram: in it, the future president announced he wanted to collect material that might explain—even prevent—war. Since then, the work of the institution has grown ever more urgent.
The Royal Mail in Britain is often held up as an example of meticulous accuracy and research, but not this month when it got its military history so disastrously wrong as to announce a new stamp purportedly showing Allied soldiers wading ashore in Normandy on D-Day when in fact the photo depicted an unopposed landing in Dutch New Guinea.
In 1918, a Killeen woman wrote to the Temple Daily Telegram. Listing her name only as “Wantogo,” she asked how she could go to France to assist in soldiers serving during World War I. The Temple Daily Telegram editor replied, “The only paths open to girls for actual war service are as telephone operator or nurse, and she must have special qualifications in either case. To become a telephone operator with the signal corps, she must be able to speak French fluently …”