Letter From a Young Slovinian





Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers, 1786-1957


(Letter from a young Slovinian in the National Army, to his brother, who had sent him a suit of civilian clothes when a state of war was declared with Austria, thus releasing him from military service if he desired.) I received the civilian clothes you sent me from Cleveland, and at the same time a thought occurred to me which never left me that I should feel ashamed to leave the Army and go back to civil life. Indeed, how I love my young, healthy life, how I long to be free again, going on my own way without hearing the command of another; but, alas, am I justified to think of my own liberty and happy life when the moment is here that calls on every young man to bring liberty to others? Away, you selfish thoughts! On, into the battle! I am a Slovine myself, and my father and my grandfathers never had an opportunity to fight for liberty; indeed, they fought for hundreds of years under the command of the Hapsburgs to continue slavery and tyranny.
Good-bye, my beloved young life. I shall not return to my happy home until the day has come when I can proudly see the liberated Jugoslavia in a liberated world. Then I shall return, conscious that I have done my duty. If I shall perishI am afraid I willlet it be so. The only thing I am sorry about is that I do not possess hundreds of lives to give them all for liberty.
Dear brother, the suit of clothes you sent me I sold for $30, to a man who thinks less than I do.
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Original Format






“Letter From a Young Slovinian,” 1918, WWP22617, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.