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Tuesday, 2 May, 1898

At Sea. Peace

I was almost sure that by leaving France I would witness some battles around China, better still, be involved in one. This long peace is wearing us out, and spoiling all our social activities. War preparations demand an enormous amount of money and useless expenditure. It is as inconceivable as living in a state of perpetual illness, or poor health.

These men are full of unreleased energy. The uncertainty and lack of action irritate the man of action who has made war his profession. Unfortunately, when these men reach retirement age and resume civil service roles, force of habit prevents them from shedding outmoded habits.

These young energetic men have no desire to live like invalids on these ships, where they are reduced to weaklings. After all, war makes room only for the strongest. Chosen by blind selection in peace time, they are soon tested clearly and dispassionately before the cannons.

We are living a hypocritical and deceitful peace which we unwittingly defend. In this world of contradictions, a nation proclaims its love for peace as it intensifies its efforts to make war. Our desire for peace is as essential as our secret need for war. Yet no one will admit this. Being the product of a genteel life predisposed to pleasure and the lack of moral fiber, we are filled with disgust because this principle bears no respect for human life.

Lies produce nothing forcefully clear. And this peace is created by lies refuted by five million soldiers.