Headquarters Nights was the 1917 account by Vernon Kellogg of conversations and experiences at the headquarters of the German Army in France and Belgium during World War 1, following one man’s transformation from an opponent of all wars into an advocate for one.
In 1915, Kellogg was a pacifist and humanitarian working with relief organisations in war-torn Europe. By 1917, he wanted war with Germany, pursued to total victory. Headquarters Nights is the story of his conversion.
The Prussians told Kellogg how Darwinism justified war, how nations competed in the struggle for existence, and how war – the ultimate survival of the fittest – was the only means for ensuring civilisation’s progress.
“And always we talked, and tried to understand one another; to get the other man’s point of view, his Weltanshauung.”
Kellogg was shocked. An evolutionary biologist and expert on Darwinism, he knew this reading of Darwin was a corruption. It perverted Darwinism into Friedrich Nietzsche‘s doctrine of ‘might makes right’. After many long nights arguing with his Prussian hosts, Kellogg concluded there was no reasoning with them. This perversion had too strong a foothold. It created an evil militarism and a dangerous racialized anthropology. The expansion of their views had to be resisted with all available force. Headquarters Nights follows Kellogg’s conversion.
Kellogg, Vernon. 1917. Headquarters Nights: A Record of Conversations and Experiences at the Headquarters of the German Army in France and Belgium (London: Euston Grove Press), 119 pages. 2011 facsimile of 1917 edition.
ISBN 9781906267322 (paperback)
dimensions: 6″ x 9″ (inches) or 154 x 229 (mm)
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