Vera Brittain worked as a nurse in the First World War – a war in which her brother, his best friend and her own fiancé were killed. Shortly after the War she published her classic book Testament of Youth and moved gradually towards a position of Christian pacifism. It was during the Second World War that she published the two short books included in this volume, Seeds of Chaos and Humiliation with Honour. In them she argued the pacifist cause and as the horrors of the end of the Second World War became manifest (Dresden, Hiroshima) her books became increasingly well know and influential. It was in 1943 that Vera Brittain began work on these books, which she termed a ‘final appeal’ against saturation bombing. Hamburg ‘surpassed them all in horror’: On the night of 27-28 July 1943, several square miles of the residential and commercial heart of the city were engulfed in a firestorm which burned for several hours at a temperature of 1,000 degrees centigrade. This is the background out of which these powerful texts were inspired.
This edition includes an introduction by Aleksandra Bennett of McMaster University in Canada and a preface by Shirley Williams, Vera Brittain’s daughter.