Study Guide

The Diary of Anne Frank Warfare

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Anne Frank

Every night hundreds of planes pass over Holland on their way to German cities, to sow their bombs on German soil. Every hour hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of people are being killed in Russia and Africa. No one can keep out of the conflict, the entire world is at war, and even though the Allies are doing better, the end is nowhere in sight. As for us, we’re quite fortunate. Luckier than millions of people. It’s quiet and safe here, and we’re using our money to buy food. We’re so selfish that we talk about "after the war" and look forward to new clothes and shoes when actually we should be saving every penny to help others when the war is over, to salvage whatever we can. (1/13/1943.3-4)

Being isolated from the war, the members of the Secret Annex have a difficult time understanding the scope of the damage and the effect the war is having on their country.

All we can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end. Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death. (1/13/1943.6)

Anne sees the war as causing suffering not only for the Jews, but for the world as a whole, regardless of race or religion.

There are many resistance groups, such as Free Netherlands, that forge identity cards, provide financial support to those in hiding, organize hiding places and find work for young Christians who go underground. It’s amazing how much these generous and unselfish people do, risking their own lives to help and save others.

The best example of this is our own helpers, who have managed to pull us through so far and will hopefully bring us safely to shore, because otherwise they’ll find themselves sharing the fate of those they’re trying to protect. (1/28/1944.5-6)

War has the potential for bringing out the best, most self-sacrificial parts of people.

I don’t believe that the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago! There’s a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder and kill. And until all of humanity, without exception, undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown will be cut down and destroyed, only to start all over again! (5/3/1944.8)

Anne argues that it is not just the war-mongering politicians who are guilty, but everyone who does not stand up for justice and peace. This passage is one of Anne’s shining moments, as she looks far beyond her own life and times to humanity as a whole.

A huge commotion in the Annex! Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we’ve all talked about so much, which seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? Will this year, 1944, bring us victory? We don’t know yet. But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again. (6/6/1944.8)

Despite months of despair and bad news, the good news stirs hope and strength again.

It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are good at heart.

It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty will end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. (7/15/1944.12-13)

Ultimately, despite the horrors of war, Anne reaffirms her belief in the essential goodness of mankind.

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