Quotation by Stefan Zweig

All the pale horses of the apocalypse have stormed through my life, revolution, starvation, devaluation of currency and terror, epidemics, emigration; I have seen the great ideologies of the masses grow and spread out before my eyes. Fascism in Italy, National Socialism in Germany, Bolshevism in Russia, and, above all, that archpestilence, nationalism, which poisoned our flourishing European culture. I had to be a defenseless, powerless witness to the most inconceivable setback of humanity, its return to a barbarism we had thought had long since passed into oblivion with its deliberate and programmatic antihumane dogma.... (We had to witness) wars ... concentration camps, tortures, mass pillaging and bombings of defenseless cities ... bestialities (which had not been known for fifty generations).... But, paradoxically, I also saw the same human race rise to technical and intellectual heights never even dreamt of ... the conquest of the air through the airplane, the one-second transmission of the human word across the globe and, thus the conquest of space, the splitting of the atom, the conquest of the most treacherous diseases ... almost daily progress in making possible what was still impossible yesterday. Never before our time did humanity as a whole act more satanically and never did it accomplish such godlike deeds.
Stefan Zweig (18811942), Austrian writer. Die Welt von Gestern (The World of Yesterday), p. 10, trans. by Marion Sonnenfeld, S. Fischer Verlag (1955).
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