WAR AND HUMANITY [To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] S1R,—As
one who concurs wholeheartedly with the Arch- bishop's denunciation of the Italian High Command for their MC of poison-gas bombs against the civil population of Abyssinia,. and agrees with him that "it is a Matter iAlieh concerns not only the principles of Christianity, but the most elementary principles of humanity itself," I venture to Suggest.
that we ought to insist, in season and out, that all war is such a violation of these principles, and that though this last Italian outrage against humanity is more brazen in its defiance of treatieS and more dramatic in savagery than the methods of so-called "civilized" war, the effects of such bombing are really not 'more contrary to "the most elementary principles of humanity "than were, for instance, the starvation of millions of civilian Germans and Austrians both during the Great War and, in direct defiance of the terms of the Armistice, after they had laid down their arms in 1918; nor than the inflation of 1923, another direct result of the War, when I saw for myself the condition of the children in ward after ward of the hospitals of Cologne and Elberfeld, and looked at the rows of typical stunted forms of famine, the wizened faces. and distended stomachs, so familiar in those post-War years ; and the long lines of two to three-pound babies, three in a cot,. and wrapped in paper sheets and napkins for want of bedding and linen. -
Were these victims of " civilised " war suffering less than.. the choking and asphyxiated children of Abyssinian villages-?, At least the numbers of those physically and nervously disabled, for life were far greater. Were they suffering less, again, than the French children of Lille, who; after the German evacuation were found to be 60 per cent. stunted and 44 per cent. tuber- culous? Or than the thousands upon thousands of Russians who died of starvation as the result of the Great War, of the
inflation, and of civil war ? - - -
We may as well face the fact that war will never again in history be fought with gloves on. But if it were going-to be, would it really Make much difference to the sufferings involved ?—I am, Sir, yours truly,