This is a quote from the remarkable Rites is Spring (which details how much western civilization was transformed at WW I). What struck me here was the degree to which we lie to one another and lie to ourselves. And also how easily we believe the most nonsensical things about our enemies:
If the British were encouraged to believe that Germans crushed the skulls of Belgian and French babies with their jackboots, that the kaiser was personally involved in torturing three-year-olds in satanic rituals, and that corpses were recycled in Germany to produce fats, oils, and pig fodder, the Germans were told that Gurkha and Sikh troops crept across no man’s land at night, slipped into German trenches, slit German throats, and then drank the blood of their victims, and that the Senegalese fighting with the French were cannibals. The press led the propaganda effort, but churchmen, educators, artists, musicians, and authors buttressed it. All the belligerents were involved in the creation of myth and the distortion of reality. Reality, a sense of proportion, and reason—these were the major casualties of the war.
What we should ask ourselves now is what lies do I currently believe?