God, Britain, and Hitler in World War II: The View of the British Clergy, 1939-1945

By A. J. Hoover | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
The War for Christian Civilization

Nietzsche's prophet, Zarathustra, encouraged his students to love war for its own sake, not for any "cause" that was involved. "You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I say to you: It is the good war that hallows any cause. War and courage have accomplished more great things than love of the neighbor." 1 Nietzsche's attitude was unusual, however, because when most intellectuals praise war they usually point to its creative results. John Ruskin maintained that "all the pure and noble arts of peace are founded in war; no great culture ever arose on earth, but among a nation of soldiers." 2

In two world wars the British clergy has defended the profession of the soldier but warned against the praise of warfare for its own sake. Gandhi asked what difference it made to the dead if the destruction was done in the name of totalitarianism or democracy. Hemingway wrote that in modern war you die like a dog for no good reason. Britons usually believed that if you fell in war you died for a good reason -- for your country, for your children, and for future generations. In World War II they very often said that the struggle was for Western civilization or Christian civilization.

Of course, you always have the cynics who debunk any idealistic interpretation of the war. Rom Landau encountered an individual who told him, "My dear man, we are fighting this war for exactly the same reasons as we did in the last war -- to preserve our Empire, to keep the European balance of power,

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God, Britain, and Hitler in World War II: The View of the British Clergy, 1939-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction: The Legacy of the Great War 1
  • Notes 5
  • Chapter 2 - 1939: War Again? 7
  • Notes 20
  • Chapter 3 - Dealing with Pacifism 23
  • Notes 46
  • Chapter 4 - The Enemy: Fascism-Nazism 51
  • Notes 74
  • Chapter 5 - The Decline and Fall of Liberal Humanism 79
  • Notes 95
  • Chapter 6 - The War for Christian Civilization 97
  • Notes 117
  • Chapter 7 - 1945: A New Order? 121
  • Notes 132
  • Chapter 8 - Reflections 135
  • Notes 137
  • Selected Bibliography 139
  • Index 145
  • About the Author *
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