Siegfried Sassoon’s private letter 1916

I am writing you this private letter with the greatest possible regret. I must inform you that it is my intention to refuse to perform any further military duties. I am doing this as a protest against the policies of the government in prolonging the war by failing to state their conditions for peace. I have written a statement of my reasons of which I enclose a copy.

I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority because I believe the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting in behalf of soldiers. I believe that the war I entered as a war of defence and liberation has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purpose for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them. And, that had this been done, the object that actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust.

I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practiced upon them.

Also, I believe it may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the continuance of agonies which they do not share, and which they do not have enough imagination to realise.

What I feel cannot be talked away or soothed into silence. Too many have died. Too much has been destroyed.

One response to “Siegfried Sassoon’s private letter 1916”

  1. Brave soldier. Naturally they sent him to a mental asylum.

    Liked by 1 person

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