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Any person who sings the praises of war is, in our opinion, a blithering idiot (Christmas Day, 1915)

O’ROURKE (London.) – Thanks, comrade. We are more proud of the comradeship of toilers like yourself than you can well imagine. It is such loyalty as yours that keeps us hopeful of our class and country.

CÚ CHULAINN (Dundalk.) – No! We do not believe that war is glorious, inspiring, or regenerating. We believe it to be hateful, damnable, and damning. And the present war upon Germany we believe to be a hell-inspired outrage. Any person, whether English, German, or Irish, who sings the praises of war is, in our opinion, a blithering idiot. But when a nation has been robbed it should strike back to recover her lost property. Ireland has been robbed of her freedom, and to recover it should strike swiftly and relentlessly, and in such a fashion as will put the fear of God in the hearts of all who connived at the robbery or its continuance. But do not let us have any more maudlin trash about the ‘glories of war’, or the ‘regenerative influence of war’, or the ‘sacred mission of the soldier’, or the ‘fertilising of all earth with the heroic blood of her children’, etc, etc. We are sick of it, the world is sick of it. And when combined with the cant about ‘patience’, and ‘waiting’, and the ‘folly of rashness’, and the ‘wisdom of caution’, and all the other phrases that are to be heard from the Irish eulogists of war we confess it gives us a feeling like sea-sickness – nausea.

No, friend! War is hell, but if freedom is on the farther side shall even hell be allowed to daunt us. Christmas Day, 1915, in the Workers’ Republic. From James Connolly: Lost Writings, (ed. Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh), Pluto Press, online here

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