Hellraisers Journal: Robert Minor Sends a Letter from War-Torn Paris to The Masses

Let those who own the country, who are howling for and profiting
by preparedness, fight to defend their property.
-Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

Sunday March 19, 1916
From The Masses: Bob Minor Sends a Letter from Paris

A Letter From Bob Minor

Robert Minor, Paris WWI, The Masses, March 1916.png

Robert Minor, Paris WWI, 2, The Masses, March 1916.png

Paris is full of one-legged, one-armed men. The streets are dotted with men, boys, cripples, and hospital aides in a thousand nondescript uniforms.

I happened by where a train-load of wounded came in at night. My luck was unusual, as they don't want the public to see such things. They were short of "hands" and I gave a lift. French, Moroccans, Negroes from African colonies, every sort and color were there, and every "cut" of man was there. It looked as though the only part of the human body sure to be found on the stretcher was the head. Now and then a half-a-man would go by, the upper half with a piece of paper pinned to his cap to give his name in case he should become unable to tell it.

Robert Minor, Paris WWI, 3, The Masses, March 1916.png

Here was a man with his eyes and nose shot off, there, one with his lower jaw gone, another with both legs and one arm off, asking me for a light, having become tired of waiting for his neighbor (a fortunate fellow with two arms and one leg) to solve the interesting problem of a patent cigar lighter.

This is just a sample.. C'est la guerre!

-It was a terribly disagreeable trip over. The journey was long, the weather bad and the food and tempers rotten. One man went crazy and tried to throw me into the sea. I was too big for him. He jumped into the sea himself and drowned, though I gave the alarm and the ship turned back to look for him. As he went into the water I threw a life-buoy, but he swam away on his back, looking up at me with a superior smile.

Then another man got into an argument about the war and though they all agreed except in small details, some hot-tempered passengers wanted to throw him overboard. The hysterical purser wanted to arrest the arguer and keep him locked up on the trip. At Bordeaux the man was denounced as a German spy, but it developed that the denouncer was an "insoumi" or semi-deserter from the French army, who wanted to divert suspicion from himself!


The Masses
(New York, New York)
-March 1916
Letter from Bob Minor

Robert Minor, Paris WWI, The Masses, March 1916
Robert Minor, Paris WWI, 2, The Masses, March 1916
Robert Minor, Paris WWI, 3, The Masses, March 1916

See also:

Robert Minor


Christians at War - Raymond Crooke
Lyrics by John F Kendrick, 1916

Onward, Christian soldiers! Duty's way is plain;
Slay your Christian neighbors, or by them be slain,
Pulpiteers are spouting effervescent swill,
God above is calling you to rob and rape and kill,
All your acts are sanctified by the Lamb on high;
If you love the Holy Ghost, go murder, pray and die.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Rip and tear and smite!
Let the gentle Jesus bless your dynamite.
Splinter skulls with shrapnel, fertilize the sod;
Folks who do not speak your tongue deserve the curse of God.
Smash the doors of every home, pretty maidens seize;
Use your might and sacred right to treat them as you please.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Eat and drink your fill;
Rob with bloody fingers, Christ okays the bill,
Steal the farmers' savings, take their grain and meat;
Even though the children starve, the Savior's bums must eat,
Burn the peasants' cottages, orphans leave bereft;
In Jehovah's holy name, wreak ruin right and left.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Drench the land with gore;
Mercy is a weakness all the gods abhor.
Bayonet the babies, jab the mothers, too;
Hoist the cross of Calvary to hallow all you do.
File your bullets' noses flat, poison every well;
God decrees your enemies must all go plumb to hell.

Onward, Christian soldiers! Blight all that you meet;
Trample human freedom under pious feet.
Praise the Lord whose dollar sign dupes his favored race!
Make the foreign trash respect your bullion brand of grace.
Trust in mock salvation, serve as tyrant's tools;
History will say of you: "That pack of G.. d.. fools."

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detroitmechworks's picture

That sadly, nobody sees nowadays.
We have instead photo-ops of able bodied soldiers being applauded, but nobody ever points to the armless, the legless, the blind or the insane... (Sorry to paraphrase an old song)

But the truth is, our society does just turn its face away and look towards the next hero to be sacrificed.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

JayRaye's picture

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Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.-Lucy Parsons

TheOtherMaven's picture

Spotted your reference right away. It dates back to 1971, so the definition of "old" may vary. Smile

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

detroitmechworks's picture

Course, the song is five years older than me, so to ME, it's old. Smile

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

JayRaye's picture

[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq0fF6oY6I4 width:560 height:315]

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Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.-Lucy Parsons