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While Arthur Schnitzler has been rightly credited for not joining the enthusiasm at the beginning of World War I, this essay focuses on the extreme ambivalence he expressed toward both the nationalist pro- war discourse and the European pacifist movement. The article argues that Schnitzler maintained an ambivalent “posture” of detachment that not only seems to anticipate the self- regulating codes of cool conduct of the interwar years but also informs his poetics and his understanding of the societal function of his literature. This posture of detachment is expressed in Schnitzler’s scarce public statements, private correspondence, and anthropological analysis of the war. Besides published materials, the article also takes into account some unpublished sources from the Cambridge University Library and the Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach as well as some previously unconsidered publications during the war years.