“Yes,” I explained, “I fought in that war. Perhaps I was killed. I do not know.”
“And you won?” he asked.
“Yes, my people won,” I replied. “We fought for a great principle and for the peace and happiness of a world. I hope that we did not fight in vain.”
“If you mean that you hope that your principle will triumph because you fought and won, or that peace will come, your hopes are futile. War never brought peace – it but brings more and greater war. War is Nature’s natural state – it is folly to combat it. Peace should be considered only as a time for preparation for the principle business of man’s existence. Were it not for constant warring of one form of life upon another, and even upon itself, the planets would be so over-run with life that it would smother itself out. We found upon Barsoom that long periods of peace brought plagues and terrible diseases that killed more than the wars killed and in a much more hideous and painful way. There is neither pleasure nor thrill nor reward of any sort to be gained by dying in bed of a loathesome disease. We must all die – let us therefore go out and die in some great and exciting game, and make room for the millions who are to follow us. We have tried it out upon Barsoom and we would not be without war.”
From: The Master Mind of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1939 (my edition, anyway).