George Orwell? Apocryphal?
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.
I am skeptical of this attribution. Is this a genuine statement from the Orwell?
Quote Investigator: Yes, George Orwell wrote the words above in a book review published in August 1937 in the London journal “The New Statesman and Nation”. In 1937 Orwell believed that Britain and Germany were moving toward war. At that time, he was unhappy because he was sympathetic to pacifism and strongly opposed to war with Germany. The book he examined was written by a former Brigadier-General in the British army named F. P. Crozier who had embraced an anti-war stance. However, Orwell was unimpressed with the arguments presented, and he offered two alternative planks for anti-war activists. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1
The two facts which even now are not very widely grasped, and which should be made the centre of all anti-war agitation, are quite different from these. General Crozier is aware of them, but only intermittently aware. They are:
1. That war against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.
2. That every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defence against a homicidal maniac (“militarist” Germany in 1914, “Fascist” Germany next year or the year after).
The essential job is to get people to recognise war propaganda when they see it, especially when it is disguised as peace propaganda.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1937 August 28, The New Statesman and Nation, Experientia Docet, (Book Review by George Orwell of “The Men I Killed” by Brigadier-General F. P. Crozier), Start Page 314, Quote Page 314, The Statesman and Nation Publishing Company, London. (ProQuest Periodicals) ↩