It´s a strange collection of essays over a 30 year span, chosen by Hesse himself for this anthology. The later works, after WW II had just ended and he´d won the Nobel prize, seem to reflect a much older, more distant and far more fed up man. Perhaps this is why most of his overt comments about war are restricted to WW I.
But although he says explicitly that he is not a pacifist, he reserves his most respect for what he calls the self-willed man, and his greatest essays are Christian-style fables about people who just went their own way, oblivious to war or anything else. Hesse used to disappear at times, and as the son of Christian missionaries in India, Hesse went on to live in Switzerland and study Chinese literature. He really seemed to be drifting on the inside of a unique, intricate life.
I personally have never been carried away by the emotion of his neo-Asiatic fables, but he is quite effective when he reverts to simple, direct language. His depiction of Germans from 1918, their lost sense of personal will, obedience, and shopkeeper mentality as they bemoaned other countries and their jealousy of German money (new, from the late 19th century, Hesse suggests) could just as well describe parts of Germany today.