Wednesday, 13 July 2011

War Against War - Ernst Friedrich

Ernst Friedrich (1894-1967), founder of the Berlin Peace Museum, anarchist and pacifist, was the author of War Against War (1924) which used photographs of mutilated victims of the First World War.

"When the rich make war, it is the poor who die."
— Jean Paul Sartre

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities."

"Fight against Capitalism - and you fight against every war!

The battle-field in the factories and the mines, the hero's death in the infirmaries, the mass graves in the barracks, in short, the war, the apparently eternal war, of the exploited against the exploiters!

Do - you not - realise - all - this?

The war against war signifies:

    The war of the victimised against the profiteers!
    The war of the deceived against the deceivers!
    The war of the oppressed against the oppressors!
    The war of the tortured against the torturers!
    The war of the hungry against the well-fed!

From Ernst Friedrich, War Against War (1924)

“He [Ernst Friedrich] printed a unique collection of previously unpublished photographs exposing the horrors of war, and interspersed them with complacent and bombastic utterances by military leaders and imperial politicians.” 

(David Midgley, “Remembering the War” in  Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations: Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front – New Edition, New York: Infobase 2009, p. 131)

Discussing the impact of the First World War, Leah Dickerman has stated that 

'The disparity in effectiveness between methods of killing and those of self-protection led to previously inimagined mutilations of the body, with injuries and deaths of a new kind and unprecedented scale [...] More than twenty million were wounded. Several hundred thousand marked by the greatest disabilities - who suffered disfiguring facial wounds or who had lost limbs and sight - were labeled grand mutilés in French and Schwerkriegsbesächdigte in German. The sight of horrendously shattered bodies of veterans returned to the home front became commonplace. The accompanying growth in the prosthetic industry struck contemporaries as creating a race of half-mechanical men and became an important theme in dadaist work.'

( Dada, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2005, pp. 3-4.)

Dr Ian McCormick is the author of The Art of Connection: the Social Life of Sentences
(Quibble Academic, 2013)


  1. Selected images now available on My Board

  2. wow, thanks. Thats very interesting and sad, and a good reminder.

  3. As long as ego, selfish pride, anger and indifference to others exists in our minds, a thousand Christs on earth will not change anything. A paradigm shift in Consciousness evolving to the next higher level is needed.

  4. 25,000th viewing for the Monster Observatory. Thanks for your support.

  5. It is a shame that too many in the world teach their young pride and the love of money. Money is related to all of the worlds harm. from around 10,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE, there was a time when beings lived without war, and worshiped the mother goddess of life. We need that way of thinking in modern times.