Auden on China; BBC 16th January 1939.
What is the Chinese war like? Well, least I know it isn’t like wars in history books. You know, those lucid, tidy maps of battles one used to study at school. The flanks like neat little cubes, the pincer movements working with mathematical precision, the reinforcements never failing to arrive. It isn’t like that at all. War is bombing an already disused arsenal, missing it and killing a few old women. War is lying in a stable with a gangrenous leg. War is drinking hot water in a barn and worrying about one’s wife. War is a handful of lost and terrified men in the mountains, shooting at something moving in the undergrowth. War is waiting for days with nothing to do, shouting down a dead telephone, going without sleep, or sex, or a wash. War is untidy, inefficient, obscure, and largely a matter of chance.
So begins China and World War II - Part 1, episode 234 of The Rest is History podcast. The quote made me think of Ukraine. Indeed several other parallels arise during Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook's conversation with Rana Mitter.