This book—only now printed for the first time—was written in 1945-46, i.e., fourteen years ago. It expresses the views which I have had all my life concerning animals in particular and living nature in general, and my no less life-long protest against their ruthless exploitation by man: an attitude rooted, in both cases, in a pre-eminently aesthetic and life-centered outlook on the world, in complete opposition to that utilitarian and man-centered one, which is accepted nearly everywhere.
It was inspired by the events and general atmosphere of the atrocious months during which it was written, namely, of the months immediately following the Second World War; of the time during which, even if one deliberately refused—as I did—to open any newspaper or magazine, or to listen to any propaganda on the wireless, one could not but hear, wherever one turned, more or less cleverly presented tales of “crimes against humanity” alleged to have been committed, sometimes, admittedly, by or at the orders of the Japanese so-called “war-criminals,” but mostly—practically always—by the German so-called such ones.
The one thing the propaganda did—instead of stirring in me the slightest indignation against the supposed-to-be “war criminals”—was to rouse my hatred against the hypocrisy and cowardice underlying every man-centered attitude, to harden me in my bitter contempt for “man” in general; and . . . to prompt me to write this book: the answer to it, the spirit of which could be summed up in a few lines:
A “civilization” that makes such a ridiculous fuss about alleged “war crimes”—acts of violence against the actual or potential enemies of one’s cause—and tolerates slaughterhouses and vivisection laboratories… does not deserve to live.
Out with it! Blessed the day it will destroy itself, so that a healthy élite of supermen… might again rise, and rule upon its ruins, for ever!
Savitri Devi Mukherji
Calcutta, June 22, 1959