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German Barbarity

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German Barbarity

Post by Karen on Fri 3 Jun 2011 - 10:37


To the Editor of the


SIR, - In your issue of Saturday you narrate an act of gross barbarity on the part of a German to a Russian prisoner. I hold no brief for Germans - or for lunatics. But we all hope for peace eventually, and the prospect is not advanced by such narrations. Jack the Ripper of Whitechapel fame may have been a German or a Russian Jew - for both abound in Whitechapel - but again, there is nothing to show that he was not English, Scotch, or Irish. Another man who perpetrated barbarities on cattle in the Midlands some years ago was probably more British than anything else. Lunacy is not confined to any nation. Such an act must have rendered the man who did it an object of disgust and terror to his own comrades; and therefore was evidently the act of a lunatic. Granted, his lunacy may have been induced by the fate of some relation or comrade. Such is the evil chain of war, where each act of violence is closely linked to another. The incident shows the danger of conscription. Many a man may pass the doctor so far as the physical tests applied to lungs, teeth, heart, etc., but we are a long way as yet from possessing satisfactory tests as to sanity. Did we possess them, many a ruler, temporal and spiritual, many a judge or head of a firm would be detained under medical care instead of being at large to do mischief on a larger scale, if not of such a personally revolting nature, as that of the German soldier in question. Both the German and the American nations have the credit of becoming slightly hysterical in moments of excitement. Let us at least try to maintain our wonted British characteristics of phlegm and of love of fair play even to an enemy.

I am, etc.,

Shanghai, Nov. 5

The above letter is dealt with in Notes and Comments. - Ed.

Source: The North-China Herald, November 11, 1916, Page 316

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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