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The Frontier based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This is a remarkable book, but it requires a context statement which is unfortunately missing in this edition: it appeared 1912, two years before the first world war. The book describes the consequences of an incident which happens on the german-french border: a deserter from the german army tries to cross over the border into france, but is caught and shot by a german military police force apparently exactly on the border. The key characters of the book are an old man who lives there on the french border, whose patriotism is bitter from the french defeat in the war of 1870/21, and who spent the decades since expecting, preparing for, and desiring a new war against germany, and his son, who is professor of history and understands the futility of these continued wars and tries to preserve peace. They are apparently the only outside witnesses to this event; the father claims it happened on french territory, and was a violation of national honor that must be revenged, whereas the son claims it was on the german side. The father's fervent patriotism finds great echo in the public, in both nations. Although both countries send an investigation team to find the truth, and both investigators want to preserve the peace, it turns out that ultimately the truth does not matter: the war starts because in both countries the public demands a war to defend the national honor. The investigations, which cast serious doubt on the father's version of the events, are cast aside, the book ends with the german troops attacking, french troops defending, and the son joining the heroic stand for his country, even though he knows the war's official reason to be probably a lie. Two years after the book, the war really started, indeed initially with enormous popularity on both sides.