Gary Dexter

Surprising literary ventures

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

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.’

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