Ludwig von Mises laments the passing of the Age of Limited Warfare and the coming of Mass Destruction in the Age of Statism and Conquest (1949)

Ludwig von Mises

Published in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Mises’ magnum opus, Human Action (1949) contained a chapter on "The Economics of War" in which he laments the killing of innocents:

How far we are today from the rules of international law developed in the age of limited warfare! Modern war is merciless, it does not spare pregnant women or infants; it is indiscriminate killing and destroying. It does not respect the rights of neutrals. Millions are killed, enslaved, or expelled from the dwelling places in which their ancestors lived for centuries. Nobody can foretell what will happen in the next chapter of this endless struggle.

Ludwig von Mises had the very great misfortune of living through the two world wars of the 20th century and seeing first hand the impact war had on the destruction of life and property. During the First World War he worked as an economic advisor to various private and government bodies in Austria on banking matters and could thus see the terrible inflations which ruined eastern and central Europe, especially in Russia and Germany. During the Second World War he was able to seek refuge in Switzerland before coming to the United States. The problems of war and inflation were a central concern in all his writings.