War And The Breed
By Max Musson:
On this 100th Anniversary of the start of World War One, the ‘Great War’, I am reminded of a very moving book that I have in my possession written in 1915 by David Starr Jordan, then Chancellor of Leland Stanford University, in which he documents prophetically the tragically dysgenic effects of modern warfare on the populations of Europe.
Below, I reproduce adapted slightly, the Foreword to Jordan’s book, written by J.W. Jamieson, which most succinctly summarises much of what the book conveys, I provide extracts from Jordan’s book and I reproduce many of the brief biographical portraits that Jordan used most poignantly to illustrate his message:
“In accordance with Spartan custom, every one of the small body of elite warriors who gave their lives to defend Greece from the Persians at Thermopylae was a volunteer. But, more important, every one was also already a father of at least one son. In this way the ancient Spartan people ensured that their stock should not be enfeebled by the disastrous scythe of war, which always seems to cut deeper into the flower of a nation’s manhood while passing more lightly over the poorer stock. In this way, the ancient Spartans, renowned for their courage and patriotic self-discipline, ensured as best they could the survival of their noblest families, which for generation after generation sent forth heroes who gave their lives so that their nation and kinfolk might survive.
“War and the Breed, sharply portrays the dysgenic effect of war — and especially of modern war. The reader will be particularly impressed by the prophetic insight of its author, David Starr Jordan. Jordan wrote War and the Breed during the first year of the most disastrous and inexplicable holocaust the Western World has ever known. Completed in March 1915, War and the Breed already forecast the critically selective genetic destruction which was to be the prime legacy of World War I. Most of the massive, heroic and totally senseless battles of that fatal war, the internecine slaughter of which was of a magnitude never before equalled in the history of Europe, were yet to be fought. Yet David Starr Jordan foresaw in the winter of 1914-15 the long-drawn Ragnorak of 1915-18. Half a million men drawn from the flower of Europe had already been killed or maimed in the battle of Ypres, but their number was but an omen, a harbinger of the 10,000,000 strong selective race destruction that was wreaked so permanently upon the greatest nations of Europe in the ensuing years. The Marne, Somme, Ypres, Passchendael, Cambrai, and Verdun, the name of these battles stand as an epitaph to Europe. Those who died so gallantly and so pointlessly in these terrible battles were mostly young men, the fittest that Europe had to offer, very few of whom left any children.
“As Jordan emphasises, Europe was already weakened by a long history of dysgenic war and genetically debilitating colonial enterprises. The origins of World War I have never been clearly traced. However, those who have researched the tragic events recurringly indicate the activities of international revolutionary elements which for decades had sought to overthrow the ‘old order’ in Europe. Following their repeated failure to achieve their goals by direct revolution, it appears to have become evident to them that their best chance lay in a total conflagration which would exhaust the leadership of European society and decimate the patriotic elements which were the most stalwart of their opponents, while passing over the revolutionary elements and providing the latter with the opportunity to spread disaffection and the seeds of rebellion. Thus, the only victors of World War I were the revolutionary forces which seized power in Russia, Hungary, and for a time in Germany, and gained strength in many other European countries.
“Whatever the causes of World War I might have been, it remains a fact that this conflagration represented the final tragic act in the drama of a dying continent, mortally wounded by the unparalleled genetic and cultural destruction implicit in modern war. Its sequel, World War II, was a ruthless epilogue, selectively sweeping the surviving elements of European genetic talent into those highly selective categories which include the pilots and the crew of modern warplanes, of modern tank and armoured units, of modern warships and submarines, who met their death on both sides of the rapidly moving front-line. The Battle of Britain, the Desert War, the Normandy invasion, the Battle of Vosges, the Katyn Forest massacre, the massive battles on the Eastern Front, and the remorseless naval warfare again drained the best blood of the nations of Europe. And again, the only victors were those who did not regard the blood of Europe as its greatest treasure.
“The loss of life among the combatants of World War II may or may not have been proportionately as heavy as in World War I, but it was at least equally as selective, if not more so. The population of contemporary Europe, deprived of the descendants of those who were hand-picked to die in these two disastrous wars, is in no way comparable to the European population of 1914. It looks different and it is different. The economic, social, moral and political decline of Europe has genetic and racial components which were foretold by David Starr Jordan with terrible accuracy when he penned the last words of War and the Breed on the twentieth day of March, in that terrible year of nineteen hundred and fifteen. Unlike ancient Sparta, which sent its heroes off to die at Thermopylae in defence of Greece and all Europe, modern Europe sent its young men off to war against each other. It compounded this fratricidal crime by a further fratricide against its own posterity by placing the heaviest burden on those who were youthful and still childless. While Sparta survived to raise the sons of those who died at Thermopylae — sons who would always revere the heroic memory of their dead fathers and who would be inspired to defend Sparta as their fathers had done before them — modern Europe was left with aging parents, bereaved of their descendants by policies whose sole aim appeared to be the destruction of the very nations of Europe. Truly, as the ancients said, those whom the gods would destroy, they first drive to madness.”
In his introduction to War and the Breed, Jordan wrote, “This book is a study of the effect of war an its relation to the human race and racial development.
“It is written in March, 1915, in the midst of the most ruinous war the world has ever known, a war in which the manhood of the race has been wasted as never before in human history, a war from which every nation concerned will awaken exhausted and humiliated for generations to come, its people less courageous, less wise, and feebler in body and spirit than they were before this terrible senseless sacrifice.”
Jordan quotes from Charles Darwin’s, the Descent of Man, “In every country in which a standing army is kept up, the fairest young men are taken to the conscript camp or are enlisted. They are thus exposed to early death during war … and are prevented from marrying during the prime of life. On the other hand, feebler men with poor constitutions are left at home and consequently have a much better chance of marrying and propagating their kind.”
Jordan again takes up this point, “It is apparent that armies demand men of above average in physical efficiency. It is plain that the most energetic and intelligent among these make the best soldiers. It is recognised that those who fight best suffer the most in action, while the demands of battle and camp cut off men in their prime of life from normal parenthood. This leaves the weaker elements of one kind or another to be the fathers of the coming generations. By the law of heredity, like is is the harvest, and the future of the race repeats the qualities of those war does not use.”
We who are the progeny of the survivors of two tragically dysgenic world wars may feel insulted by the suggestion that we are descended from ‘feebler’ stock, but of course we are not so descended in every case. Many of the courageous men sent off to war during the 20th Century and who would by any measure be ranked among the flower of our nations manhood and who fought bravely, returned uninjured, or with wounds that simply left them disabled in some way, but still able to reproduce. My belief is that those among us of a nationalist disposition are disproportionately descended from these luckier men, who have passed on their courage and their nobler qualities to some of our present generation. However, we must acknowledge also the fact that the present generation of our people as a whole, is descended disproportionately from the less able bodied, the less vigorous and the less courageous of past generations, and it remains incumbent upon us to rectify this setback through the adoption of eugenic family planning practices in future.
Equally as importantly, we must insure that in future should any kind of war occur, that our menfolk who are sent to fight, should like the Spartan warriors of old, have already fathered at least one son, and this requires our young men and women to consider marriage and child-bearing as a priority in their early adult years, not something to be postponed until they have wasted their best years enjoying an extended adolescence.
Returning to David Starr Jordan’s book, I reproduce below the biographical portraits that so aptly illustrate the tragedy he foretold:
Captain W A C Bowden-Smith: A regular army officer who was commissioned into the Royal Fusiliers from Sandhurst in 1909, Bowden-Smith took part in the Tibet Expedition of 1903-04, where he was wounded and received the King’s Medal with Clasp. He was mortally wounded on 23rd August 1914, at the Battle of Mons, dying at the age of 32, without children. A letter from a fellow officer reported thet “Captain Bowden-Smith was very gallantly bringing up reinforcements at Mons, under fierce fire, when he was wounded in the right arm and abdomen. Out of the fifty men brought up, all but three were shot down.”
Major J S Cawley: A regular army officer who was commissioned into the 20th Hussars, and served in South Africa, where he received the Queen’s Medal with four Clasps and subsequently in Egypt and India. Major Cawley went to France with the 1st Cavalry Brigade, and was killed by a shell while trying to restore order following a stampede of artilliary horses under heavy shell fire on 1st September 1914. He died without issue, aged 34. His elder brother was killed at the Battle of the Dardenelles on 23rd September 1915.
Captain A R M Roe: A regular army officer who was commissioned into the Dorsetshire Regiment in 1900, Captain Roe joined the First Expeditionary Force in France in August 1914, and on 9th September, during the advance on the Aisne, he was wounded in the arm while leading his Company against a German position. Despite his injury, he continued fighting until he was also hit in the head. Seven days later he died of his wounds, aged 32. Captain Roe was married in 1911, and left a widow and one daughter.
Lieutenant G L Relton: A regular army officer who was commissioned into the East Surrey Regiment shortly before World War I and who proceeded directly to France with the outbreak of hostilities. He received three bullet wounds on 14th September 1914 in the Battle of Aisne, and died shortly thereafter, aged just 23, without issue.
Major W C Christie: Commissioned into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1891, with whom he participated in the Battles of Atbara and Omdurman, Major Christie was mentioned in despatches and received the Queen’s Medal, the Khedive’s Medal with two Clasps, and the Order of Medjidieh. He served in the South African War at Vet River, Zand River, Diamond Hill and Belfast, being again mentioned in despatches and being awarded the Queen’s medal with five Clasps and the King’s Medal with two Clasps. Joining the Western Front with the First Army Corps in August 1914, he was twice mentioned in despatches at the battles of Marne and the Aisne, and died leading his men in an attack at the village of Meteren on 13th October 1914. A fellow officer wrote: “He was a most gallant officer, a man with absolutely no sense of fear … he could never do anything small or petty.” Another wrote: “A more gallant Officer and gentleman never breathed … we got our position (in the attack) chiefly owing to Christie’s gallantry …I heard one of the men remark, ‘He’s a daring man. I hope we don’t lose him.’” A soldier groused, “it’s this – – – – Christie. We are always in the thick of it with him, and worst of all it is, there’s not one of us as wouldn’t go to ‘ell with him willingly.” Major Christie left only one child.
Captain R C Eveleigh: A regular army officer who was commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, Captain Eveleigh served in Mauritius before joining the First Expeditionary Force in the battles of Mons, the Marne and the Aisne. On 16th September 1914, despite wounds he led a small group to save sixteen wounded German soldiers from a burning farmhouse. Two days later he was killed by a shell splinter, while seeing his men into shelter under heavy artillery fire. Aged 29, he left no issue.
Major E A C Blake: Major Blake was a professional army officer who was commissioned into the Durham Light Infantry in 1896, and served in the South African War, being present ay the relief of Ladysmith and the battles of Colenso and Spion Cop. He was severely wounded, mentioned in despatches, and awarded the Queen’s Medal with two Clasps and the King’s medal, also with two Clasps. Arriving in France with the First Expeditionary Force, Blake was killed by artillery fire on 20th October 1914 near Lille, after surviving the battles of Mons, the Marne and the Aisne. He left no children.
Captain H H Kelly: A regular army officer, who was commissioned in 1899 into the Royal Engineers, Captain Kelly served as an Engineer with the Egyptian Army, and became Inspector of Roads and Communications for the Sudan, and Commissioner for the Sudan-Uganda Boundary Commission in 1913. He took part in various military operations in the Sudan, and carried out expeditions in Abyssinia, being elected Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. With the outbreak of war he went to the Western Front and was killed by a sniper while superintending the erection of barbed wire defences on the night of 24th October 1914. he died , aged 34, without issue.
Major W L Allen DSO: A regular British Army officer who was killed on 25th October 1914, at Ypres. Major Allen was commissioned into the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He served in the South African War, being present at the battles of Colenso, Spion Kop, and Pieter’s Hill, winning the DSO, the Queen’s Medal with five Clasps, the King’s Medal with two Clasps, and being twice mentioned in despatches. Having reached the age of 43 before the war began, he was among the minority of those that died in World War I who left children behind them.
Lieutenant J H Fraser: The only son of a British colonial official, Lieutenant Fraser was commissioned as a regular army officer from Sandhurst in 1906 and served with the Gordon Highlanders in India, winning prizes for military engineering. Going to the Western Front in October 1914, he was killed on 30th October, near Ypres. Mentioned in despatches, he was described as “one of the finest officers I have ever met, absolutely fearless, always cool, and every soul in the Battalion admired him for his splendid soldierly qualities and loved him for his character.” He died, aged 26, without issue.
Lieutenant A Gilliat-Smith: The only surviving son of his parents, Lieutenant Gilliat-Smith was commissioned into the Royal Engineers to join the First Expeditionary Force in France. He was killed on 1st November 1914 near Ypres, aged 26, while endeavouring to get his men under cover from heavy cross-fire. H elft no children.
Lieutenant N W A Henderson: A regular army officer, Lieutenant Henderson was commissioned in 1911 into the Royal Scots Fusiliers, and went to France in August 1914. He was killed in action on 10th November 1914, aged 23, leaving no issue.
Second Lieutenant L E F Grubb: An Exhibitioner of Brasenose College, Oxford, Lieutenant Grubb enlisted at the outbreak of World War I and arrived in France in time to participate in the retreat from Mons, during which he served as a despatch rider. Commissioned early in November 1914, he was killed on 14th November 1914, leading his platoon in an attack on an enemy sniper position. He died aged 22, without issue.
Captain W M Burt-Marshall: A professional soldier who was commissioned into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Captain Burt-Marshall joined the 19th Infantry Brigade in France in August 1914, and fought in the Battle of Aisne. After lying all night in a wood under heavy shell fire, Captain Burt-Marshall led a bayonet charge: ” he was at the head of his men and led the charge right up to the German barbed wire, was hit and fell, but rose again and dashed on to his trench, where he fell again. No one could get up to him, and those who were able crawled back to reform with the remnants of the Company.” Captain Burt-Marshall died of his wounds in a German Field Hospital on 17rth November 1914, aged 27. He left no children.
Second Lieutenant E F Boyd: The only son of his parents, Edward Fenwick Boyd attended University College, Oxford, where he won a Football Blue, and went to France with the First Expeditionary Force in August 1914. he took part in the battles of Mons, the Marne, and the Aisne, before falling in action on 20th December 1914, at the age of 24. He left no issue.
Lieutenant M C N Herbert: The only son of his parents, Malcolm Herbert was commissioned into the Gloucestershire Regiment in February 1914, went to France in August 1914, and was mortally wounded in the advanced trenches at Festubert on 22nd December 1914. He died, aged 20, without heirs.
Lieutenant P G Chaworth-Muster: A professional soldier who was commissioned into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and served in Egypt, Chaworth-Muster arrived on the Western Front on 12th August 1914, and was wounded on 1st September at Villers Cotterets, near Mons. Recovering, he rejoined his battalion in time to be mortally wounded in January 1915. He died aged 27 without issue.
Second Lieutenant G E Burdekin: Articled as a solicitor, Geoffrey Burdekin volunteered his services with the outbreak of World war I and was commissioned into the Sherwood Foresters. He was killed by shell fire at Beuvry on 26th January 1915, at the age of 22, leaving no children.
Second Lieutenant B H Francis: The only surviving son of his parents, Lieutenant Francis left University College, Oxford, to volunteer for service and was commissioned into the Royal Scots Regiment later that year. He died in the trenches near La Basee on4th February 1915, aged 19, leaving no issue. As a soldierwrote in a letter home: ” we lost our Company Lieutenant last week … he was an awful nice man. He was a true Tommy Atkin’s friend. He was too good to live, and too brave to lose.”
Second Lieutenant W H Clarke: The second son of a regular officer, Sir Edward Clarke of Rossmore, County Cork, Lieutenant Clarke wet ot France with the Worcestershire Regiment in December 1914, and died in Flanders under heavy fire three months later on 12th March 1915 — all of the officers in his Company being killed that day. He died without issue, and his elder brother was also killed in the war.
Captain E J F Johnston: A professional soldier who was commissioned into the Royal Scots Regiment and served in te South African War, receiving two medals and five clasps. He went to the Western Front on the outbreak of war and was described as “far and away the best loved officer I have met”, and “the men put complte trust and confidence in him. At night, instead of sleeping, he would crawl along to the men at the listening posts to see how they were getting on.” Captain Johnston was killed on 12th April 1915, aged 32. He left a widow but no children.
Captain M A Fitzroy: Leaving his studies at oriel College, Oxford, Captain Fitzroy was commissioned into the Seathforth Highland Regiment in September 1914, and took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle where he was lightly wounded. He was killed on 16th April 1915 while manning an advanced listening post. Aged 19, he left no children.
Private G S Grundy: The only son of his parents, Geoffrey Grundy was articled to a firm of solicitors when war broke out, but volunteered his services promptly, and like many city professionals joined the historic Honorable Artillery Company on 6th August 1914. He sailed for France the next month, moved up to the Front in November, and was killed in action on 14th April 1915. A comrade wrote: “he was a great favourite with the regiment: there was no crouching below the parapet when on guard: he stood square and kept his watch conscientiously, in spite of the bullets,” He died aged 28, without issue.
Captain A H P Cruickshank: Commissioned from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1901, Cruickshank first served with the Royal Garrison Artillery before serving in the British Indian Army with the 32nd Sikh Pioneers. Despatched to France at the outbreak of war, he was wounded on 23rd November 1914 at Givenchy, and again, mortally, on 27th April 1915 near Ypres. Captain Cruickshank, who was married in July 1914, left a widow but no children. he was 31 years old at his death.
Lieutenant C C Egerton: A professional soldier who was commissioned into the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment in 1905, Egerton arrived in Flanders in August 1914. Attacking Hill 60 under heavy shell fire, he was killed on 18th April 1915, at the age of 30. Married in 1914, he left a widow but no children.
Second Lieutenant J C D Brown: Immediately following the outbreak of war, Lieutenant Brown was commissioned into the Durham Light Infantry , and went to the Front before even completing Divisional Training, where he was twice wounded while on advanced reconnaissance at the Battle of Ypres. He died from his wounds on 27th April 1915, aged 21, leaving no children.
Lieutenant T Bailward: Another professional soldier who fell early in the war. Lieutenant Bailward was commissioned from Sandhurst in 1906, and served with the 26th King’s Own Light Cavalry in the British Indian Army. In 1913 he was appointed ADC to the British Governor of madras, but was killed in Iraq on 29th April 1915 while serving with the 7th Hariana Lancers against Turks. Aged 27 at his death, he left no children.
Captain J Goold Adams: The only son of the Archdeacon of Derry in Ireland, Captain Adams was commissioned into the Leinster Regiment in 1903, and served in West Africa. Moving with his regiment to France in December 1914, he was killed by shell fire at the Battle of Hill 60, near Ypres, on 4th May 1915. Captain Adams left a widow but no children.
Lastly, as the Centenary commemorations of World War One take place during the course of this year, don’t let the mass media persuade you that our government in 1914 sent all those brave young men off to fight for some noble cause, portraying the sacrifice of those young lives as something for which we should give thanks. While it is moving and humbling that so many people were prepared to endure hell on earth and ultimately sacrifice their lives for our people, it is tragic in the extreme that they were persuaded to make this sacrifice so needlessly and at such great cost to our nation. We should therefore not be thankful, but vengeful towards those who caused such a catastrophe, because our involvement in both World Wars was a criminal act on the part of government, bringing about a needless tragedy that has not just cost us the lives of the men and women involved, it has cost us the children they should have had and it will have permanently reduced the quality of our gene pool unless we take steps, as I have suggested above, to rectify this through a eugenic programme.
When we look back at what has become of our nation in recent decades and speculate as people so often do, as to what those who fought during the two World Wars would have thought had they known what was to come, we might also speculate as to the forthright courage and determination such people and their descendants would have displayed in the defence of our nation against the current Third World invasion and our racial obliteration, had they but survived. Let us therefore on this 100th Anniversary of that fateful catastrophe, re-dedicate ourselves to the task of bringing salvation to our people and through that eventual victory, as a nation achieve redemption for the follies of the past.