“The Red Badge of Courage”


    Quite recently one of the regiments of Siberian Rifles, which had fought to splendidly at the beginning of the revolution, abandoned the Riga front, and nothing else but the order to exterminate the whole regiment availed to make it return to its positions. – (General Korniloff, Russian Commander-in-Chief, at the Moscow Conference.)

A side-light, this, on the way “heroes” are made. Had these men stood out against the order of “Comrade” Kerensky’s colleague in butchery and been exterminated, the world’s skunk Press would have been howling “cowards! traitors!” over their reeking corpses. But they chose the un-heroic part, and so will yet become “heroes” and “high-souled patriots,” “going into battle with joy,” and “making the great sacrifice” for Holy Russia. So it is in all countries. Apart from individuals, the highest courage is to be found farthest back from the trenches. It reaches a high level at “Staff Headquarters,” where ornamental soldiers of blood “win their spurs” without losing their lives, and it reaches sublimity as far back as Fleet Street and the Cabinet chamber. But the nearer the front it is the more it has to be manufactured by making the soldier more afraid of his own tyrants than of the “enemy.”

A. E. Jacomb