The Horrors of War & Democratisation…

“The greatest intensification of the horrors of war is a direct result of the democratisation of the state. So long as the army was a professional unit, the specialist function of a limited number of men, war remained a relatively harmless contest for power. But once it became everyman’s duty to defend his home (or his political “rights”) warfare was free to range wherever that home might be, and to attack every form of life and property associated with that home.”

Herbert Read (1893 to 1968)

Sir Herbert Edward Read DSO MC, was a poet and critic who was the chief British advocate and interpreter of modern art movements from the 1930s to the 1960s. His critical scrutiny embraced society, art, and literature from the point of view of a philosophic anarchist.

His studies at the University of Leeds were interrupted by the outbreak of WWI, during which he served with the Green Howards in France. He was commissioned in January 1915, received the Military Cross (MC) in 1917 and the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1918. He reached the rank of captain.

During the war, Read founded the journal Arts & Letters with Frank Rutter, one of the first literary periodicals to publish work by T. S. Eliot.


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