Document 186-3 A flyer advertising a May 1911 lecture given by Dr. Durand to the Royal Institute of Chemistry
TO END ALL WARS
A presentation by visiting scholar DR. JEAN DURAND, formerly of the Académie des sciences, on the promise of modern science to create weapons of such terrible deterrent power so as to render future wars obsolete!
Dr. Durand shall explain the convergence of chemistry, ballistics, alienism and other emerging scientific fields of endeavor that will enable Mankind to usher in a new age of PEACE and MODERNITY.
To be given on the 19th of May, Derbyshire Lecture Hall
Document 186-11 Opinion piece published in the January 2, 1912 edition of the Hungarian newspaper Népszava, authored by Mátyás Nemeş
To my fellow subjects of His Highness Emperor Franz Joseph,
Truly, the greatest of human glories is the unification of a numerous and disparate people into a single, unstoppable purpose. That our marvelous Kingdom should embody this inescapable principle should go without saying from Vienna to Budapest.
But there are those, both within our territories and elsewhere on the Continent, that would see us splintered into a thousand shards and stand in the way of our destiny. What is to be done with such agitators and malcontents? While traitors and radicals are hung properly in the manner of the dogs that they are, there is no execution sufficient to quell the embers of treachery that burn in the hearts of the Balkanites. How are we to demonstrate our unity of purpose, our power, our God-given place at the head of the European procession?
By force of arms! The hangman can only strike fear into the heart of dozens. A proper army can strike it into the souls of millions. Perhaps we have the numbers, but in this we are not alone. The Russian and the Moslem can rally hordes to their banners, but for all of their masses are mere unruly nuisances. What sets man apart from the animals is not his numerical superiority, no, but his superiority of mind, demonstrated through quick wit and artifice!
My fellow subjects, I have dedicated my life to the construction of such demonstrations of artifice that none may stand against my weapons save the Almighty! It is through the force of superior arms that we will achieve our grand design, both within our borders and without! Give me the factories, give me the manpower, give me the chance to serve our Empire through my industries, and I will deliver to the people the flaming sword that will light the way to a civilized Europe! It is through these means, and only these means, that we will solve the questions that plague us today!
Document 186-32 Telegram sent by Jean Durand to Mátyás Nemeş from Paris, April 28, 1912
HAVE CONSIDERED YOUR PROPOSAL
MUST DECLINE. METHODS INFERIOR AND DERIVATIVE OF OWN RESEARCH
YOUR AIMS ARE OF CONQUEST. MINE ARE OF PEACE.
REGARDS, J. DURAND
Document 186-39 Undated memorandum from General Felix Graf von Bothmer of the Imperial German Army to unnamed subordinates
Effective immediately, Lt. Nemeş is assigned to your unit as an advisor. Experimental armaments are only to be deployed on Lt. Nemeş' orders. Despite potential for a breakthrough on the Romanian Front, unwise to use these ungodly things until more is known of their efficacy. Rumors of similar developments among the Tsarists remain unsubstantiated.
Document 186-52 Letter from Pvt. Pyotr Avtukhov, participant in the Battle of Husiatyn Woods
I have heard rumors of the madness happening at home. Be comforted that it is nothing like the madness that is happening here. We thought that four years of war had taught us everything we had to know and then more. We learned nothing.
The damnable Frenchman that the men elected to lead them spoke of peace. He spoke of weapons so terrible that we could make the enemy surrender on the spot. We were fools. We had run at trenches with dead men's rifles and sticks in our hands. We believed him the way we believed anyone that has supplies.
We never thought where this man came from. We didn't wonder why he had the weapons he did. We didn't care. We wanted to live.
We never considered that the enemy had the same things we did. I do not think the Frenchman did either. Or at least I hope he did not. I cannot imagine any man who would walk into this knowing what would happen. Maybe the Frenchman is not a man. Maybe he is something else.
I am sitting now in a hole I have dug in a forest somewhere. I should have run the second I saw the German take aim at Gilyov. That was no bullet fired at him. I could not look anymore after his face came apart and he was still screaming. I thought I saw hands pulling his head apart.
Somewhere in the distance Volikov is screaming that he can see devils roasting his children. He has been screaming about the same thing for five days.
I should have run away so many times. The Frenchman gave us a new gas weapon. We refused at first, remembering what had happened in Romania. But he promised us that this was different, that this would put our enemies down without harming them. Who wants any more bloodshed, he asked us. We could not argue with that. We fired mortars at a position ahead of us. A strange blue gas seeped from behind the trees, but the Frenchman cautioned us against advancing. One more thing, he said. He took one of our rifles, and taking aim took a single shot. Before we could ask what a scientist could know of shooting, we heard a scream. He had hit one of the Germans.
He handed me a pair of field glasses. Take a look, he said. I saw the German missing half of his head, still screaming. I have seen everything in this war, but I have never seen faces like those of that German's fellows as they watched their comrade. The Frenchman, in his terrible calm voice, explained that his shot had to have destroyed at least a quarter of the soldier's brain tissue. Enough to cause instant death, he said. But watch.
I kept watching through the field glasses. The German didn't stop screaming. At least ten minutes I watched, unable to move away. The Frenchman smiled. He smiled at this scene. The gas, he said, ensured that death would not come, regardless of injury. The Germans were too horrifed by their comrade to notice that they were not behind cover, and the Frenchman lined up another shot. The rest of the soldier's head was now gone, and the screaming was replaced by some sort of low grunting, the likes of which I have never heard from men.
No, the Frenchman said, no harm at all. I have bestowed the gift of life on your opponents. Who could possibly stand against that, he asked.
I had to leave and vomit behind some bushes. I had not done that since the first trenches. Who indeed could keep fighting after such a thing? But fight they did. Once a group of us were ambushed and chased to a meadow. The first men through the trees were hit with something that took their skin. I cannot describe why seeing men blown apart is not as frightening as seeing a neatly flayed corpse on a battlefield, but our group scattered.
We are no longer armies. Not any more. We are animals, trapped in a forest together, uncomprehending. Sometimes, when Volikov sleeps, I hear the Frenchman in the woods, yelling in Hungarian, yelling and laughing. I would almost rather listen to Volikov.
I am going to die in this hole. I am too scared of what is outside of it to do otherwise. Minkin is going to try to brave the horrors in the woods to escape. I am sending this letter with him in the hopes that he does. As I gave it to him, he joked that he will get a civil service commission after the war for delivering a letter from Hell. I am not certain he is wrong.