The Great War and Rudyard Kipling

Notes and references


(1) Brian Bond, “A victory worse than defeat? British interpretations of the First World War.” 17 November 1997, Liddell Hart Centre, King’s College, London.

(2) For instance, Trevor Wilson, The Myriad Faces of War; Brian Bond, The Pursuit of Victory, and the lecture already quoted; Ian Beckett, “The Military Historian and the Popular Image of the Western Front, 1914-1918”, in The Historian. March 1997.

(3) It is typical of David Haig’s numerous small falsifications that he suggests, at one point, that Roberts was dying when Kipling asked for his help. In fact, Roberts seemed perfectly hale until, a few weeks later, he went to France, where he caught an infection that proved fatal. Contrary to Haig’s assertion, Kipling did not pester a
dying man.

(4) Kipling Journal, Vol.71, no 284 (December 1997) p 11.

(5) Lyn MacDonald, 1914 (London: Penguin, 1989) p 43.

(6) Bernard Shaw, What I Really Wrote About The War (London: Constable, 1931)
pp 159-60.

(7) See Barbara Tuchman, he Guns of August (New York: Dell, 1963) p 349.

(8) Charles Carrington, Rudyard Kipling (London: Macmillan, 1955) p 423.

(9) See Dominic Hibberd and John Onions, Poetry of the Great War (London:
Macmillan, 1986) pp 40-42. It is perhaps worth remarking that the last stanza seems
to owe something to Kipling’s poem, “Puck’s Song”:

? And silence broods like spirit on the brae,
A glimmering moon begins, the moonlight runs
Over the grasses of the ancient way
Rutted this morning by the passing guns.

(10) Macdonald, 1914, pp 50-51.

(11) I take all these particulars (to be found in many other places) from Tuchman, pp. 198-359, passim.

(12) It is interesting that, according to Carrington, Kipling’s friend, the journalist Perceval Landon, offered some amendments to the draft, which Kipling accepted. It was Landon who carried the completed poem to The Times. (Carrington, p 428)

(13) In the discussion which followed this paper, Dr Michael Brock suggested that since Kipling more or less abandoned the pro-conscription campaign in the twelve months before the war broke out, in favour of his involvement in the Ulster agitation, this epitaph may be intended to inculpate himself, along with the rest of
his generation, for not seeing that the European crisis was becoming acute.

(14) Rudyard Kipling, Preface to André Chevrillon, Britain and the War (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1917) p xiv.

(15) Both these stories were collected in A Diversity of Creatures.

(16) See James Joll, The Origins of the First World War (London: Longmans, second edition, 1992) pp 217-19 for this quotation, and an illuminating sketch of the influence of Treitschke and Nietzsche.

(17) Tuchman, pp 97-100.


©Hugh Brogan 1998 All rights reserved