Gary Dexter

Surprising literary ventures

War With Honour (1940) by A. A. Milne

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War With Honour (1940)

by A. A. Milne

Alan Milne rather resented being known only as the author of Winnie-the-Pooh. As he liked to point out, he had also written plays, novels and non-fiction. Among his works in the latter category was Peace with Honour (1934), which called on Britain to avoid war with Germany at all costs (Milne had first-hand experience of the first world war, having served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a signals officer and seen action on the Somme, so perhaps this was understandable). But War with Honour was his thoroughgoing retraction of Peace with Honour. Piglet had spoken; now it was Eeyore’s turn. ‘If anybody reads Peace with Honour now,’ Milne wrote, ‘he must read it with that one word HITLER scrawled across every page … I accept the facts, and I accept this war. For German Peace means all that Modern War means — and worse. It means not only the torturing to death of bodies but the poisoning to death of souls … And the ultimate truth which will always be sacred is that the soul is more important than the body.’