Friday, 19 May 2017

“War maketh the man”: Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger

When Ernst Jünger died in 1998, at the age of 102, one obituary referred to him as the “contradictory German author who wrote about war.” That’s like saying J.R.R. Tolkien was an Englishman who wrote about hobbits. It’s instructive to note those words were written almost twenty years ago, in an age that seems hopelessly naïve by modern standards (where the new barbarians are calling for the destruction of everything built by Christian white men). 

It makes me puke when I think of what Generation SJW would have to say about Mr. Jünger toay. How fortunate we are, then, that most of this modern day scourge have never heard of him, let alone World War I. We are thus mercifully free of commentary from anarcho-feminists and a thousand fake sexes and hyphenated nationalities pontificating on a man whose life they could no more comprehend than the conflagration about to engulf them. It’s not unreasonable to forecast that we’re at the dawn of an age where we will witness the rise of men like Mr. Jünger, described in the review linked above as an ‘aloof warrior-soldier’, or slip into a totalitarian nightmare from which western civilisation may never recover.

In Storm of Steel, Mr. Jünger in no moraliser. There is a war to fight, a homeland to defend, and men must answer the call. Cowards should stay at home with the women. He notes fallen comrades, their mutilated and bleeding bodies, as an actuary might tally statistics. There is rarely time for sentiment, which makes his rare and succinct diversions into his emotional world all the more powerful. The book begins with his arrival at the front (“The train stopped at Bazancourt, a small town in Champagne, and we got out.”), and finishes with him in hospital from a lung shot and receiving the pour le Mérite from the Kaiser just months before hostilities ended. There is no context beyond the trench, death, and the bravery required for victory. He alternatively respects and hates his enemy. Almost all his friendships are terminated by steel. But through it all, he finds in himself what it is to be a man.

We are fighting a war today. A war for the very survival of western civilisation. One can only pray there are enough men like Mr. Jünger on our side when the blood really starts flowing.

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