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Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. ~ John F. Kennedy
War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! ~ Edwin Starr

War is a conflict involving the organized use of weapons and physical force by states or other large-scale groups. Warring parties usually hold territory, which they can win or lose; and each has a leading person or organization which can surrender, or collapse, thus ending the war. Wars are usually a series of campaigns between two opposing sides involving a dispute over sovereignty, territory, resources, religion, or ideology. A war to liberate an occupied country is called a "war of liberation"; a war between internal factions within a state is a civil war. Until the end of World War II, participants usually issued formal declarations of war.

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Quotes are listed alphabetically by author.


There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse. ~ Martin Amis
  • It would be superfluous in me to point out to your Lordship that this is war.
  • But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.
  • Both Regiments or none.
    • Samuel Adams (For the Boston Town Meeting), to Gov. Hutchinson, demanding the withdrawal of the British troops from Boston after March 5, 1776.
  • 'Twas in Trafalgar's bay
    The saucy Frenchmen lay.
    • Samuel James Adams, Trafalgar Bay. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • My voice is still for war.
  • From hence, let fierce contending nations know
    What dire effects from civil discord flow.
  • They sent forth men to battle,
    But no such men return;
    And home, to claim their welcome,
    Come ashes in an urn.
  • Fighting men are the city's fortress.
    • Alcæus, Fragment, XXII. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Fifty-four forty (54° 40´ N.), or fight.
    • William Allen, in the U. S. Senate, on the Oregon Boundary Question (1844).
  • Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.
    • Martin Amis, Einstein's Monsters (1987), "Introduction: Thinkability".
  • What is the only provocation that could bring about the use of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the priority target for nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the only established defense against nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening the use of nuclear weapons. And we can't get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons. The intransigence, it seems, is a function of the weapons themselves.
    • Martin Amis, Einstein's Monsters (1987), "Introduction: Thinkability".
  • The arms race is a race between nuclear weapons and ourselves.
    • Martin Amis, Einstein's Monsters (1987), "Introduction: Thinkability".
  • There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse. America could perhaps claim to be satisfying the first rule (while admitting that the improvement may be only local and short term). It cannot begin to satisfy the second.
  • In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign…. Secondly, a just cause…. Thirdly … a rightful intention.
    • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (1266–1273; 1947 republication), part II–II, question 40, article 1, p. 1359–60. The three conditions are sometimes paraphrased as: public authority, just cause, right motive.
  • And by a prudent flight and cunning save
    A life, which valour could not, from the grave.
    A better buckler I can soon regain;
    But who can get another life again?
  • Let who will boast their courage in the field,
    I find but little safety from my shield.
    Nature's, not honour's, law we must obey:
    This made me cast my useless shield away.
    • Another version of Archilochus. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Instead of breaking that bridge, we should, if possible, provide another, that he may retire the sooner out of Europe.
    • Aristides, referring to the proposal to destroy Xerxes' bridge of ships over the Hellespont. ("A bridge for a retreating army.") See Plutarch, Life of Demosthenes. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • If I am asked what we are fighting for, I can reply in two sentences. In the first place, to fulfil a solemn international obligation … an obligation of honor which no self-respecting man could possibly have repudiated. I say, secondly, we are fighting to vindicate the principle that small nationalities are not to be crushed in defiance of international good faith at the arbitrary will of a strong and overmastering Power.
    • Premier Asquith, Statement, to House of Commons, Declaration of War with Germany, August 4, 1914.


  • They shall not pass till the stars be darkened:
    Two swords crossed in front of the Hun;
    Never a groan but God has harkened,
    Counting their cruelties one by one.
    • Katherine Lee Bates, Crossed Swords. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The silence spreads. I talk and must talk. So I speak to him and say to him: "Comrade, I did not want to kill you. If you jumped in here again, I would not do it, if you would be sensible too. But you were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response. It was that abstraction I stabbed. But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony — forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy? If we threw away these rifles and this uniform you could be my brother, just like Kat and Albert. Take twenty years of my life, comrade, and stand up — take more, for I do not know what I can even attempt to do with it now."
  • Germany could not win this war because it was in league with the devil. This war would not have ended without revolution.
    • Erich von dem Bac, To Leon Goldensohn (14 February 1946) from The Nuremberg Interviews (2004) by Leon Goldensohn and Robert Gellately.
  • All quiet along the Potomac they say
    Except now and then a stray picket
    Is shot as he walks on his beat, to and fro,
    By a rifleman hid in the thicket.
    • Ethel Lynn Beers, The Picket Guard. Claimed by Lamar Fontaine. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • She is a wall of brass;
    You shall not pass! You shall not pass!
    Spring up like Summer grass,
    Surge at her, mass on mass,
    Still shall you break like glass,
    Splinter and break like shivered glass,
    But pass?
    You shall not pass!
    Germans, you shall not, shall not pass!
    God's hand has written on the wall of brass—
    You shall not pass! You shall not pass!
    • Harold Begbie, You Shall Not Pass, in N. Y. Tribune (July 2, 1916).* Carry on, carry on, for the men and boys are gone,
      But the furrow shan't lie fallow while the women carry on.
    • Janet Begbie, Carry On. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Gaily! gaily! close our ranks!
    Arm! Advance!
    Hope of France!
    Gaily! gaily! close our ranks!
    Onward! Onward! Gauls and Franks!
  • The inevitableness, the idealism, and the blessing of war, as an indispensable and stimulating law of development, must be repeatedly emphasized.
  • War is a biological necessity of the first importance, a regulative element in the life of mankind which cannot be dispensed with…. But it is not only a biological law but a moral obligation and, as such, an indispensable factor in civilization.
  • Our next war will be fought for the highest interests of our country and of mankind. This will invest it with importance in the world's history. "World power or downfall" will be our rallying cry.
  • We Germans have a far greater and more urgent duty towards civilization to perform than the Great Asiatic Power. We, like the Japanese, can only fulfil it by the sword.
  • War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.
    • Attributed to Ambrose Bierce in The Violent Foam : New and Selected Poems (2002) by Daisy Zamora as translated by George Evans, p. xxiv.
  • Stout hearts, my laddies! If the row comes, REMEMBER THE MAINE, and show the world how American sailors can fight.
    • Clifford K. Berryman, caption under cartoon, The Washington Post (April 3, 1898), p. 1. On February 15, 1898, the warship Maine blew up in the harbor at Havana, Cuba. Edward T. Folliard, correspondent and historian of The Washington Post, said of Berryman's cartoon: "Thus was born the slogan and battle cry of the Spanish-American War". The Washington Post (September 24, 1972), Potomac magazine, special section, "The Washington Post, 1972", p. 8.
  • Our religion forbids us from killing innocent people such as women and children. This, however, does not apply to women fighters. A woman who puts herself in the same trench with men, gets what they get.
  • L'affaire Herzegovinienne ne vaut pas les os d'un fusilier poméranien.
    • The Herzegovina question is not worth the bones of a Pomeranian fusileer.
    • Otto von Bismarck, (1875) during the struggle between the Christian provinces and Turkey, which led to the Russo-Turkish war. Another version is "The Eastern Question is not worth," etc.
  • Lieber Spitzkugeln als Spitzreden.
    • Better pointed bullets than pointed speeches.
    • Otto von Bismarck, speech, (1850), relative to Manteuffel's dealings with Austria during the insurrection of the People of Hesse Cassel.
  • Ich sehe in unserm Bundesverhältnisse ein Gebrechen Preussens, welches wir früher oder später ferro et igne werden heilen müssen.
    • I see in our relations with our alliance a fault of Prussia's, which we must cure sooner or later ferro et igne.
    • Otto von Bismarck, letter to Baron von Schleinitz (May 12, 1859).
  • [The great questions of the day] are not decided by speeches and majority votes, but by blood and iron.
    • Otto von Bismarck, Declaration to the Prussian House of Delegates (Sept. 30, 1862). Same idea in Schenkendorf, Das Eiserne Kreuz.
  • What a place to plunder!
    • Field Marshal von Blücher's comment on viewing London from St. Paul's, after the Peace Banquet at Oxford, 1814. Same idea in Malcolm—Sketches of Persia, p. 232. Thackeray—Four Georges. George I, says: "The bold old Reiter looked down from St. Paul's and sighed out, 'Was für Plunder!' The German women plundered; the German secretaries plundered; the German cooks and intendants plundered; even Mustapha and Mahomet, the German negroes, had a share of the booty." The German quoted would be correctly translated "what rubbish!" Blücher, therefore, has been either misquoted or mistranslated.
  • War is not a pathology that, with proper hygiene and treatment, can be wholly prevented. War is a natural condition of the State, which was organized in order to be an effective instrument of violence on behalf of society. Wars are like deaths, which, while they can be postponed, will come when they will come and cannot be finally avoided.
  • It is magnificent, but it is not war.
    • General Pierre Bosquet, on the Charge of the Light Brigade. Attributed also to Marshal Canrobert. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Ethical obligation has to subordinate itself to the totalitarian nature of war.
    • Karl Brandt, 1947. Quoted in article "Ethics of Nazi doctors analyzed in telecast" by Joanna Arnold, 10/17/07.
  • What we have here is a war, the war of matter and spirit...The war of banks and religion. In New York City, banks tower over cathedrals. Banks are the temples of America. This is a holy war. Our economy is our religion."
  • "My tanks were filled with gasoline and wars. I was a lead soldier. I marched against the smoke of the city....And the world closed its doors--anvils and hammers against the sleeping men--doors of the heart--cities everywhere--and litte lead soldiers."
  • "[War] is a highly planned and cooperative form of theft."
  • "Of course, it's tempting to close one's eyes to history and instead to speculate about the roots of war in some possible animal instinct. As if, like the tiger, we still had to kill to live or like the robin redbreast to defend a nesting territory. But war, organized war, is not a human instinct. It is a highly planned and cooperative form of theft. And that form of theft began ten-thousand years ago when the harvesters of wheat accumulated a surplus and the nomads rose out of the desert to rob them of what they themselves could not provide. The evidence for that, we saw, in the walled city of Jericho and it's prehistoric tower. That is the beginning of war."
  • He who did well in war just earns the right
    To begin doing well in peace.
  • The Government of the United States would be constrained to hold the Imperial German government to a strict accountability for such acts of their naval authorities.
    • William Jennings Bryan, to the German government, when Secretary of State. European War Series of Depart. of State. No. I, p. 54.
  • Lay down the axe; fling by the spade;
    Leave in its track the toiling plough;
    The rifle and the bayonet-blade
    For arms like yours were fitter now;
    And let the hands that ply the pen
    Quit the light task, and learn to wield
    The horseman's crooked brand, and rein
    The charger on the battle-field.
    • William Cullen Bryant, Our Country's Call. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • None of our soldiers would understand not being asked to do whatever is necessary to reestablish a situation which is humiliating to us and unacceptable to our country's honor.—We are going to counter-attack.
    • Credited to Major-Gen. R. L. Bullard, also to Major-Gen. Omar Bundy, in reply to the French command to retire in the second battle of the Marne, 1918.
  • The American flag has been forced to retire. This is intolerable.
    • Major-Gen. R. L. Bullard, on leaving the Conference of French Generals, July 15, 1918. Expressing regret that he could not obey orders. He is called "The General of No Retreat." See N. Y. Herald, Nov. 3, 1919. (Editorial).
  • You are there, stay there.
    • Major-Gen. R. L. Bullard. Citation to American unit which captured Fay's Wood. See N. Y. Herald, Nov. 3, 1919. (Editorial).
  • If it were possible for members of different nationalities, with different language and customs, and an intellectual life of a different kind, to live side by side in one and the same state, without succumbing to the temptation of each trying to force his own nationality on the other, things would look a good deal more peaceful. But it is a law of life and development in history that where two national civilizations meet they fight for ascendancy. In the struggle between nationalities, one nation is the hammer and the other the anvil: one is the victor and the other the vanquished.
    • Bernhard von Bülow, Imperial Germany. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Justa bella quibus necessaria.
    • Wars are just to those to whom they are necessary.
    • Quoted by Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).
  • I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.
    • Edmund Burke, "Letters on a Regicide Peace", letter 1, 1796–1797, The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke, vol. 5 (1899), p. 283.
  • This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games. All games are basically hostile. Winners and losers. We see them all around us: the winners and the losers. The losers can oftentimes become winners, and the winners can very easily become losers.
  • "War," says Machiavel, "ought to be the only study of a prince"; and by a prince he means every sort of state, however constituted. "He ought," says this great political doctor, "to consider peace only as a breathing-time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes ability to execute military plans."
    • Edmund Burke, Vindication of Natural Society, Volume I, p. 15.
  • Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled;
    Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
    Welcome to your gory bed,
    Or to victory!
  • But they will have it thus nevertheless, and so they put note of "divinity upon the most cruel and pernicious plague of human kind," adore such men with grand titles, degrees, statues, images, honour, applaud, and highly reward them for their good service, no greater glory than to die in the field. So Africanus is extolled by Ennius: Mars, and Hercules, and I know not how many besides of old, were deified; went this way to heaven, that were indeed bloody butchers, wicked destroyers, and troublers of the world, prodigious monsters, hell-hounds, feral plagues, devourers, common executioners of human kind, as Lactanius truly proves, and Cyprian to Donat, such as were desperate in wars, and precipitately made away themselves, (like those Celtes in Damascen, with ridiculous valour, ut dedecorosum putarent muro ruenti se subducere, a disgrace to run away for a rotten wall, now ready to fall on their heads), such as will not rush on a sword's point, or seek to shun a cannon's shot, are base cowards, and no valiant men. By which means, Madet orbis mutuo sanguine, the earth wallows in her own blood, Sævit amor ferri et scelerati insania belli; and for that, which if it be done in private, a man shall be rigorously executed, "and which is no less than murder itself; if the same fact be done in public in wars, it is called manhood, and the party is honored for it."
  • Dieu est d'ordinaire pour les gros escadrons contre les petits.
    • God is generally for the big squadrons against the little ones.
    • Bussy-Rabutin, letter (October 18, 1677). Anticipated by Tacitus. Deus fortioribus adesse.
  • In all the trade of war, no feat
    Is nobler than a brave retreat.
    • Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part I (1663-64), Canto III, line 607.
  • For those that run away, and fly,
    Take place at least o' th' enemy.
    • Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part I (1663-64), Canto III, line 609.
  • There's but the twinkling of a star
    Between a man of peace and war.
  • For those that fly may fight again,
    Which he can never do that's slain.
  • For he who fights and runs away
    May live to fight another day;
    But he who is in battle slain
    Can never rise and fight again.
    • Samuel Butler's lines misquoted by Oliver Goldsmith in a publication of Newbery, the publisher, The Art of Poetry on a New Plan, Volume II, p. 147. The first lines appear in Musarum Deliciæ. Collection by Sir John Mennis and Dr. James Smith. (1656). Accredited by some authorities to Suckling, but not confirmed by Mennis. "Oft he that doth abide / Is cause of his own paine, / But he that flieth in good tide / Perhaps may fight again." A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie. From the French. (About 1595).
  • Bloody wars at first began,
    The artificial plague of man,
    That from his own invention rise,
    To scourge his own iniquities.
    • Samuel Butler, Satire. Upon the Weakness and Misery of Man, line 105.
  • Let the officers and directors of our armament factories, our gun builders and munitions makers and shipbuilders all be conscripted—to get $30 a month, the same wage paid to the lads in the trenches…. Give capital thirty days to think it over and you will learn by that time that there will be no war. That will stop the racket—that and nothing else.
    • Smedley D. Butler, "War Is a Racket", The Forum and Century (September 1934), p. 143.
  • O proud was our army that morning
    That stood where the pine darkly towers,
    When Sherman said—"Boys, you are weary,
    This day fair Savannah is ours."
    Then sang we a song for our chieftain
    That echoed o'er river and lea,
    And the stars on our banner shone brighter
    When Sherman marched down to the sea.
    • S. H. M. Byers, Sherman's March to the Sea. Last stanza. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Hand to hand, and foot to foot:
    Nothing there, save death, was mute;
    Stroke, and thrust, and flash, and cry
    For quarter or for victory,
    Mingle there with the volleying thunder.
  • And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
    The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
    Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
    And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
    And the deep thunder peal on peal, afar
    And near; the beat of the alarming drum
    Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
    While throng'd the citizens with terror dumb,
    Or whispering with white lips—"The foe! they come! they come!"
  • The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
    And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold.
    • Lord Byron, Destruction of Sennacherib, in Hebrew Melodies (1815).
  • Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
    That host with their banners at sunset were seen;
    Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
    That host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown!
    • Lord Byron, Destruction of Sennacherib, in Hebrew Melodies (1815).


  • Veni, vidi, vici.
    • I came, I saw, I conquered.
    • Attributed to Julius Cæsar. Plutarch—Life of Cæsar, states it was spoken after the defeat of Pharnaces, at Zela in Pontus, B.C. 47, not the Expedition to Britain, B.C. 55. According to Suetonius—Julius Cæsar. 37, the words were not Cæsar's but were displayed before Cæsar's title, "non acta belli significantem, sicut ceteri, sed celeriter confecti notam." Not as being a record of the events of the war, as in other cases, but as an indication of the rapidity with which it was concluded. Ne insolens barbarus dicat, "Ueni, uidi, uici." Never shall insolent barbarian say "I came, I saw, I conquered." Seneca the Elder—Suæsoria, II. 22. Buechmann, quoting the above, suggests that Cæsar's words may be an adaptation of a proverb by Apostolius, XII. 58. (Or XIV, in Elzivir Ed. Leyden, 1653).
  • In bello parvis momentis magni casus intercedunt.
    • In war events of importance are the result of trivial causes.
    • Julius Caesar, Bellum Gallicum, I, 21.
  • Stellar wars are a sort of parallel reality in the filmic imagination, terrestrial wars are still today a harsh daily reality.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani, 2014, quote 45.
  • The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
    Who rush to glory, or the grave!
    Wave, Munich! all thy banners wave,
    And charge with all thy chivalry.
    • Thomas Campbell, Hohenlinden. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • La Garde meurt, mais ne se rend pas.
    • The guard dies but does not surrender.
    • Attributed to Lieut. Gen. Pierre Jacques, Baron de Cambronne, when called to surrender by Col. Hugh Halkett. Cambronne disavowed the saying at a banquet at Nantes, 1835. The London Times on the Centenary of the battle of Waterloo published a letter, written at 11 P.M. on the evening of the battle, by Capt. Digby Mackworth, of the 7th Fusiliers, A. D. C. to Gen. Hill. In it the phrase is quoted as already familiar. Fournier in L'Esprit dans l'histoire, pp. 412–15, ascribes it to a correspondent of the Independant, Rougemont. It appeared there the next day, and afterwards in the Journal General de France, June 24. This seems also improbable in view of the above mentioned letter. Reported as a misattribution in Paul F. Boller, Jr., and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (1989), p. 11-12. See also Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, Waterloo.
  • War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other.
    • Thomas Carlyle, as quoted by Emma Goldman in her essay, "Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty", chapter five of Anarchism and Other Essays (2nd revised edition, 1911).
  • There dwell and toil, in the British village of Dumdrudge, usually some five hundred souls. From these…there are successively selected, during the French War, say thirty able-bodied men: Dumdrudge, at her own expense, has suckled and nursed them; she has not without difficulty and sorrow, fed them up to manhood, and trained them to crafts, so that once can weave, another build, another hammer, and the weakest can stand under thirty stone avoirdupois. Nevertheless, amid much weeping and swearing, they are selected; all dressed in red; and shipped away, at the public charges, some two thousand miles, or say only to the south of Spain; and fed there till wanted. And now to that same spot in the south of Spain, are thirty similar French artisans, from a French Dumdrudge, in like manner wending: Till at length, after infinite effort, the two parties come into actual juxtaposition; and Thirty stands fronting Thirty, each with a gun in his hand. Straightway the word "Fire!" is given: and they blow the souls out of one another and in the place of sixty brisk useful craftsmen, the world has sixty dead carcasses, which it must bury, and anew shed tears for. Had these men any quarrel? Busy as the Devil is, not the smallest!... their Governors had fallen out; and, instead of shooting one another, had the cunning to make these poor blockheads shoot. Alas, so it is in Deutschland, and hitherto in all other lands...
    • Thomas Carlyle in "Sartor Resartus", quoted in "In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign" by Leon Wolff (1958).
  • War is something absurd, useless, that nothing can justify.
    • Louis de Cazenave, French veteran of World War I, in [2] BBC News report (2005)].
  • War will never yield but to the principles of universal justice and love, and these have no sure root but in the religion of Jesus Christ.
    • William Ellery Channing, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 614.
  • O Chryste, it is a grief for me to telle,
    How manie a noble erle and valrous knyghte
    In fyghtynge for Kynge Harrold noblie fell,
    Al sleyne on Hastyng's field in bloudie fyghte.
  • The eagle has ceased to scream, but the parrots will now begin to chatter. The war of the giants is over and the pigmies will now start to squabble.
    • Winston Churchill, comment on May 7, 1945, after General Ismay, his wartime chief of staff, announced the news of V-E Day. Kay Halle, Irrepressible Churchill (1966), p. 249.
  • To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.
    • Winston Churchill, remarks at a White House luncheon (June 26, 1954). His exact words are not known, because the meetings and the luncheon that day were closed to reporters, but above is the commonly cited version. His words are quoted as "It is 'better to jaw-jaw than to war-war,'" in the sub-heading on p. 1 of The New York Times (June 27, 1954), and as "To jaw-jaw always is better than to war-war" on p. 3. The Washington Post in its June 27 issue, p. 1, has "better to talk jaw to jaw than have war", and The Star, Washington, D.C., p. 1, a slight variation, "It is better to talk jaw to jaw than to have war".
  • In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.
  • Let us learn our lessons. … Never believe any war will be smooth and easy or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events… incompetent or arrogant commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant fortune, ugly surprise, awful miscalculations.
  • Equidem ad paceni hortari non desino; quae vel iniusta utilior est quam iustissimum bellum cum civibus.
    • I never cease urging peace, which, however unfair, is better than the justest war in the world.
    • Variant translation: An unjust peace is better than a just war.
    • Epistulae ad Atticum (Letters to Atticus) Book 7, Letter 14
  • Silent enim leges inter arma.
    • Cicero, Laws are silent in time of war.
    • Pro Milone. Often paraphrased as Inter arma enim silent leges.
    • Variant translations:
      • In a time of war, the law falls silent.
      • Law stands mute in the midst of arms.
  • Bella suscipienda sunt ob eam causam, ut sine injuria in pace vivatur.
    • Wars are to be undertaken in order that it may be possible to live in peace without molestation.
    • Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), I, 11. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Parvi enim sunt foris arma, nisi est consilium domi.
    • An army abroad is of little use unless there are prudent counsels at home.
    • Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), I, 22.
  • Bellum autem ita suscipiatur, ut nihil aliud, nisi pax, quæsita videatur.
    • Let war be so carried on that no other object may seem to be sought but the acquisition of peace.
    • Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), I, 23.
  • Silent leges inter arma.
    • The law is silent during war.
    • Cicero, Oratio Pro Annio Milone, IV.
  • Pro aris et focis.
    • For your altars and your fires.
    • Cicero, Oration for Roscius, Chapter V. Also used by Tiberius Gracchus before this.
  • Nervi belli pecunia infinita.
    • Endless money forms the sinews of war.
    • Cicero, Philippics, V. 2. 5. Libanius—Orations. XLVI. Photius—Lex. 8. 5. Rabelais—Gargantua, Book I, Chapter XXVI. ("Corn" for "money").
  • Well here's to the Maine, and I'm sorry for Spain,
    Said Kelly and Burke and Shea.
    • J. I. C. Clarke, The Fighting Race. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • War is not merely a political act but a real political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, a carrying out of the same by other means.
    • Karl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. O. J. Matthijs Jolles (1943), book 1, chapter 1, section 24, p. 16. Originally published in 1833.
  • War is only caused through the political intercourse of governments and nations … war is nothing but a continuation of political intercourse with an admixture of other means.
    • Karl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. O. J. Matthijs Jolles (1943), book 8, chapter 6, p. 596. Originally published in 1833.
  • War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means.
    • Karl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. O. J. Matthijs Jolles (1943), author's note, p. xxix. Originally published in 1833.
  • War is fought by human beings.
    • Carl von Clausewitz in On War, trans. O. J. Matthijs Jolles (1943). Originally published in 1833.
  • We made war to the end—to the very end of the end.
    • Clemenceau, Message to American People (September, 1918).
  • What voice did on my spirit fall,
    Peschiera, when thy bridge I crossed?
    "'Tis better to have fought and lost,
    Than never to have fought at all."
    • Arthur H. Clough, Peschiera. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • However, presumption has been the runner-up in every major Causes of Intergalactic Conflict poll for the past few millennia. Fist place invariably going to "land grabbing bastards with big weapons," and third usually being a toss-up between "coveting another sentient being's significant other" and "misinterpretation of simple hand gestures."
  • War in fact is becoming contemptible, and ought to be put down by the great nations of Europe, just as we put down a vulgar mob.
  • The flames of Moscow were the aurora of the liberty of the world.
  • But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise,
    Kings would not play at.
  • Hence jarring sectaries may learn
    Their real interest to discern;
    That brother should not war with brother,
    And worry and devour each other.
    • William Cowper, The Nightingale and Glow-Worm. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • General Taylor never surrenders.
  • We give up the fort when there's not a man left to defend it.
    • General Croghan. At Fort Stevenson. (1812).


  • From fear in every guise,
    From sloth, from love of pelf,
    By war's great sacrifice
    The world redeems itself.
    • J. Davidson, War Song. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • War is the ultimate realization of modern technology.
  • Qui fugiebat, rusus præliabitur.
    • The man who flies shall fight again.
    • Demosthenes, on his flight at the battle of Chæronea, B.C. 338. Credited to him by Tertullian—De Fuga in Persecutione, Section X. See Cardinal Newman—Church of The Fathers, p. 215. Same expression in Ælianus. 1. 3. 4. 5. Aulus Gellius, Book XVII. 21. 32. Nepos—Thrasbulus, Chapter II. Justinus. 9. 6.
  • Di qui non si passa.
    • By here they shall not pass.
    • General Diaz. Words inscribed on the Altar of Liberty temporarily erected at Madison Square, N. Y., on the authority of Il Progresso Italiano.
  • Non si passa, passereme noi.
    • The words ascribed to General Diaz by the Italians at the battle of the Piave and Monta Grappa, June, 1918. These words are inscribed on the medals struck off for the heroes of this battle.
  • What argufies pride and ambition?
    Soon or late death will take us in tow:
    Each bullet has got its commission,
    And when our time's come we must go.
    • Charles Dibdin, The Benevolent Tar. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • I'm iron. I lasted through ten years of war, and now I can last through this. It's true, it's not good for the nerves.
    • Sepp Dietrich, To Leon Goldensohn, February 28, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" - by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004 - Page 280.
  • A feat of chivalry, fiery with consummate courage, and bright with flashing vigor.
    • Benjamin Disraeli, of the Charge of the Light Brigade, in the House of Commons (Dec. 15, 1855).
  • Carry his body hence!
    Kings must have slaves:
    Kings climb to eminence
    Over men's graves:
    So this man's eye is dim;
    Throw the earth over him!
    • Henry Austin Dobson, Before Sedan. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • They now to fight are gone;
    Armor on armor shone:
    Drum now to drum did groan,
    To hear was wonder;
    That with the cries they make,
    The very earth did shake;
    Trumpet to trumpet spake,
    Thunder to thunder.
    • Michael Drayton, Ballad of Agincourt, Stanza 8. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • All delays are dangerous in war.
    • John Dryden, Tyrannic Love, Act I, scene 1. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
    Honour but an empty bubble.
  • When 'tis an aven thing in th' prayin', may th' best man win … an' th' best man will win.
  • 'Tis startin' a polis foorce to prevint war…. How'll they be ar-rmed? What a foolish question. They'll be ar-rmed with love, if coorse. Who'll pay thim? That's a financyal detail that can be arranged later on. What'll happen if wan iv th' rough-necks reaches f'r a gun? Don't bother me with thrifles.
    • Finley Peter Dunne, On Making a Will. Mr. Dooley's version of W. J. Bryan's Speech (1920).


I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks! ~ Albert Einstein
War is mankind's most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate provocation is a black crime against all men. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security — and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use. ~ Mohamed ElBaradei
If we hope to escape self-destruction, then nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security. ~ Mohamed ElBaradei
Since the beginning of history, human beings have been at war with each other, under the pretext of religion, ideology, ethnicity and other reasons. And no civilization has ever willingly given up its most powerful weapons. We seem to agree today that we can share modern technology, but we still refuse to acknowledge that our values — at their very core — are shared values. ~ Mohamed ElBaradei
Imagine what would happen if the nations of the world spent as much on development as on building the machines of war. Imagine a world where every human being would live in freedom and dignity.[...] Imagine that such a world is within our grasp. ~ Mohamed ElBaradei
  • There is no discharge in that war.
    • Ecclesiastes, VIII. 8. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • I say when you get into a war, you should win as quick as you can, because your losses become a function of the duration of the war. I believe when you get in a war, get everything you need and win it.
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, news conference, Indio, California (March 15, 1968), as reported in The New York Times (March 16, 1968), p. 15.
  • By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
    Their flag to April's breeze unfurl'd;
    Here once the embattl'd farmers stood,
    And fired the shot heard round the world.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, hymn sung at the completion of the Concord Monument. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • That same man that renneth awaie
    Maie fight again on other daie.
    • Erasmus, Apothegms. Given as a saying of Demosthenes, and quoted as a "verse common in every body's mouth." Tr. by Udall. (1542).
  • Now he conducted her through his armouries where he kept his weapons and weapons for his fighting men and all panoply of war. There he showed her swords and spears, maces and axes and daggers, orfreyed and damascened and inlaid with jewels; byrnies and baldricks and shields; blades so keen, a hair blown against them in a wind should be parted in twain; charmed helms on which no ordinary sword would bite. And Juss said unto the Queen, "Madam, what thinkest thou of these swords and spears? For know well that these be the ladder's rungs that we of Demonland climbed up by to that signiory and principality which now we hold over the four corners of the world." She answered, "O my lord, I think nobly of them. For an ill part it were while we joy in the harvest, to contemn the tools that prepared the land for it and reaped it."
  • I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks!
    • Albert Einstein, as quoted in an interview with Alfred Werner, published in Liberal Judaism 16 (April-May 1949), 12. Einstein Archive 30-1104, as sourced in The New Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (2005), p. 173.
  • This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.
    • Albert Einstein, Mein Weltbild (My World-view) (1931).
    • Variant translation: He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilisation should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.
  • I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, Speech in Ottawa (10 January 1946), published in Eisenhower Speaks : Dwight D. Eisenhower in His Messages and Speeches (1948) edited by Rudolph L. Treuenfels.
  • Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
  • All free men remember that in the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains.
  • Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. You cannot subjugate a nation forcibly unless you wipe out every man, woman, and child. Unless you wish to use such drastic measures, you must find a way of settling your disputes without resort to arms.
    • Albert Einstein, From a speech to the New History Society (14 December 1930), reprinted in "Militant Pacifism" in Cosmic Religion (1931); also found in The New Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice, p. 158.
  • Nuclear proliferation is on the rise. Equipment, material and training were once largely inaccessible. Today, however, there is a sophisticated worldwide network that can deliver systems for producing material usable in weapons. The demand clearly exists: countries remain interested in the illicit acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.
    If we sit idly by, this trend will continue.
    Countries that perceive themselves to be vulnerable can be expected to try to redress that vulnerability — and in some cases they will pursue clandestine weapons programs. The supply network will grow, making it easier to acquire nuclear weapon expertise and materials. Eventually, inevitably, terrorists will gain access to such materials and technology, if not actual weapons.
    If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction.
  • We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security — and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use.
    Similarly, we must abandon the traditional approach of defining security in terms of boundaries — city walls, border patrols, racial and religious groupings. The global community has become irreversibly interdependent, with the constant movement of people, ideas, goods and resources. In such a world, we must combat terrorism with an infectious security culture that crosses borders — an inclusive approach to security based on solidarity and the value of human life. In such a world, weapons of mass destruction have no place.
  • There are three main features to this changing landscape: the emergence of an extensive black market in nuclear material and equipment; the proliferation of nuclear weapons and sensitive nuclear technology; and the stagnation in nuclear disarmament.
    Today, with globalization bringing us ever closer together, if we choose to ignore the insecurities of some, they will soon become the insecurities of all.
  • As long as some of us choose to rely on nuclear weapons, we continue to risk that these same weapons will become increasingly attractive to others.
    I have no doubt that, if we hope to escape self-destruction, then nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security.
    To that end, we must ensure — absolutely — that no more countries acquire these deadly weapons.
    We must see to it that nuclear-weapon states take concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament.
    And we must put in place a security system that does not rely on nuclear deterrence.
  • Imagine what would happen if the nations of the world spent as much on development as on building the machines of war. Imagine a world where every human being would live in freedom and dignity. Imagine a world in which we would shed the same tears when a child dies in Darfur or Vancouver. Imagine a world where we would settle our differences through diplomacy and dialogue and not through bombs or bullets. Imagine if the only nuclear weapons remaining were the relics in our museums. Imagine the legacy we could leave to our children.
    Imagine that such a world is within our grasp.
  • Are these goals realistic and within reach? I do believe they are. But then three steps are urgently required.
    First, keep nuclear and radiological material out of the hands of extremist groups. … we are in a race against time.
    Second, tighten control over the operations for producing the nuclear material that could be used in weapons. Under the current system, any country has the right to master these operations for civilian uses. But in doing so, it also masters the most difficult steps in making a nuclear bomb.
    To overcome this, I am hoping that we can make these operations multinational — so that no one country can have exclusive control over any such operation....
    Third, accelerate disarmament efforts. We still have eight or nine countries who possess nuclear weapons. We still have 27,000 warheads in existence. I believe this is 27,000 too many.
  • A good start would be if the nuclear-weapon states reduced the strategic role given to these weapons. More than 15 years after the end of the Cold War, it is incomprehensible to many that the major nuclear-weapon states operate with their arsenals on hair-trigger alert — such that, in the case of a possible launch of a nuclear attack, their leaders could have only 30 minutes to decide whether to retaliate, risking the devastation of entire nations in a matter of minutes.
  • Whether one believes in evolution, intelligent design, or Divine Creation, one thing is certain. Since the beginning of history, human beings have been at war with each other, under the pretext of religion, ideology, ethnicity and other reasons. And no civilization has ever willingly given up its most powerful weapons. We seem to agree today that we can share modern technology, but we still refuse to acknowledge that our values — at their very core — are shared values.

I have hope because the positive aspects of globalization are enabling nations and peoples to become politically, economically and socially interdependent, making war an increasingly unacceptable option.
Among the 25 members of the European Union, the degree of economic and socio-political dependencies has made the prospect of the use of force to resolve differences almost absurd. The same is emerging with regard to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, with some 55 member countries from Europe, Central Asia and North America. Could these models be expanded to a world model, through the same creative multilateral engagement and active international cooperation, where the strong are just and the weak secure?

  • Imagine what would happen if the nations of the world spent as much on development as on building the machines of war. Imagine a world where every human being would live in freedom and dignity. Imagine a world in which we would shed the same tears when a child dies in Darfur or Vancouver. Imagine a world where we would settle our differences through diplomacy and dialogue and not through bombs or bullets. Imagine if the only nuclear weapons remaining were the relics in our museums. Imagine the legacy we could leave to our children.
    Imagine that such a world is within our grasp.
  • Ares (the God of War) hates those who hesitate.
  • Modern civilization has introduced great qualifications to soften the rigours of war; and allows a degree of intercourse with enemies, and particularly with prisoners of war, which can hardly be carried on without the assistance of our Courts of justice. It is not therefore good policy to encourage these strict notions, which are insisted on contrary to morality and public convenience.
    • James Eyre, C.J., Sparenburgh v. Bannatyne (1797), 2 Bos. & Pull. 170; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 245.


  • O great corrector of enormous times,
    Shaker of o'er-rank states, thou grand decider
    Of dusty and old titles, that healest with blood
    The earth when it is sick, and curest the world
    O' the pleurisy of people.
  • Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education. Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both.
  • Jellicoe has all the Nelsonic attributes except one—he is totally wanting in the great gift of insubordination.
    • Lord Fisher, letter to a Privy Councillor (Dec. 27, 1916).
  • My right has been rolled up. My left has been driven back. My center has been smashed. I have ordered an advance from all directions.
    • Gen. Foch, letter to Marshal Joffre during the Battle of the Marne.
  • Then came the attack in the Amiens sector on August 8. That went well, too. The moment had arrived. I ordered General Humbert to attack in his turn. "No reserves." No matter. Allez-y (Get on with it) I tell Marshal Haig to attack, too. He's short of men also. Attack all the same. There we are advancing everywhere—the whole line! En avant! Hup!
    • Gen. Foch. In an interview with G. Ward Price, correspondent of London Daily Mail (1919).
  • All the same, the fundamental truths which govern that art are still unchangeable; just as the principles of mechanics must always govern architecture, whether the building be made of wood, stone, iron or concrete; just as the principles of harmony govern music of whatever kind. It is still necessary, then, to establish the principles of war.
    • Gen. Foch, Principles of War. From the preface written for the post-bellum edition.
  • I am going on to the Rhine. If you oppose me, so much the worse for you, but whether you sign an armistice or not, I do not stop until I reach the Rhine.
    • Gen. Foch to the Germans who came to ask for an armistice. As reported by G. Ward Price in the London Daily Mail. (1919).
  • Keep the home fires burning, while your hearts are yearning,
    Tho' your lads are far away they dream of home.
    There's a silver lining through the dark cloud shining;
    Turn the dark cloud inside out till the boys come home.
    • Mrs. Lena Guilbert Ford. Theme suggested by Ivor Novello, who wrote the music. Sung by the soldiers in the Great War.
  • All of us who served in one war or another know very well that all wars are the glory and the agony of the young.
    • Gerald Ford, Address to the 75th annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Chicago, Illinois (19 August 1974); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford, 1974, p. 25.
  • The newspapers still talk about glory but the average man, thank God, has got rid of that illusion. It is a damned bore, with a stall mate as the most probable outcome, but one has to see it through, and see it through with the knowledge that whichever side wins, civilisation in Europe will be pipped for the next 30 years. Don't indulge in Romance here, Malcolm, or suppose that an era of jolly little nationalities is dawning. We shall be much too much occupied with pestilence and poverty to reconstruct.
    • E. M. Forster, Selected Letters: Letter 136, to Malcolm Darling, 6 November 1914.
  • There never was a good war or a bad peace.
  • It was sad. It's war. Many others died, too. It's war.
    • Wilhelm Frick, About the death of his son, to Leon Goldensohn, March 10, 1946, "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn - History - 2007.
  • I am skeptical about preventing wars. I doubt if they can be prevented. There will always be wars. Judging by past experiences, working for peace now would be as ineffective as ever. It's a law of nature.
    • Wilhelm Frick, To Leon Goldensohn, March 10, 1946, "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn - History - 2007.


Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true. ~ Ulysses S. Grant
  • Your flaming torch aloft we bear,
    With burning heart an oath we swear
    To keep the faith, to fight it through,
    To crush the foe or sleep with you
    In Flanders' fields.
  • The colossus of World War II seemed to be like a pyramid turned upside down.
    • ** Quoted in "The First and the Last," 1954.
  • When the red wrath perisheth, when the dulled swords fail,
    These three who have walked with Death—these shall prevail.
    Hell bade all its millions rise; Paradise sends three:
    Pity, and Self-sacrifice, and Charity.
    • Theodosia Garrison, These shall Prevail. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Sufficeth this to prove my theme withal,
    That every bullet hath a lighting place.
    • Gascoigne, Duke Bellum Inexpertis. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Once blood is shed in a national quarrel reason and right are swept aside by the rage of angry men.
  • We have 500,000 reservists in America who would rise in arms against your government.
    • Zimmermann to Ambassador Gerard. "I told him that we had five hundred thousand and one lamp posts in America, and that was where the German reservists would find themselves if they tried any uprising." Ambassador Gerard's answer. Jakes W. Gerard—My Four Years in Germany, p. 237.
  • It is an olde saw, he fighteth wele (well) that fleith faste.
    • Gesta Romanorum. Wolf and the Hare. 15th cent. MS.
  • Neither ridiculous shriekings for revenge by French chauvinists, nor the Englishmen's gnashing of teeth, nor the wild gestures of the Slavs will turn us from our aim of protecting and extending German influence all the world over.
    • Official secret report of the Germans, quoted in the French Yellow Book.
  • Ye living soldiers of the mighty war,
    Once more from roaring cannon and the drums
    And bugles blown at morn, the summons comes;
    Forgot the halting limb, each wound and scar:
    Once more your Captain calls to you;
    Come to his last review!
  • An attitude not only of defence, but defiance.
    • Thomas Gillespie, The Mountain Storm. "Defence not defiance" became the motto of the Volunteer Movement. (1859).
  • O, send Lewis Gordon hame
    And the lad I maune name,
    Though his back be at the wa'
    Here's to him that's far awa'.
    O, hon! my Highlandman,
    O, my bonny Highlandman,
    Weel would I my true love ken
    Among ten thousand Highlandmen.
  • No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.
  • I * * * purpose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.
  • Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true.
  • War was return of earth to ugly earth,
    War was foundering of sublimities,
    Extinction of each happy art and faith
    By which the world had still kept head in air
    • Robert Graves Recalling War," lines 31–34, from Collected Poems 1938 (1938).
  • The British army should be a projectile to be fired by the British navy.
    • Viscount Grey. Quoted by Lord Fisher, in Memories, as "the splendid words of Sir Edward Grey".
  • Logistics is the ball and chain of armored warfare.
    • Heinz Guderian Quoted in "Sword Point" - Page 141 - by Harold Coyle - 1988.
  • Con disavvantaggio grande si fa la guerra con chi non ha che perdere.
    • We fight to great disadvantage when we fight with those who have nothing to lose.
    • Francesco Guicciardini, Storia d'Italia (1537-1540).


War is the father and king of all: some he has made gods, and some men; some slaves and some free. ~ Heraclitus
  • Every position must be held to the last man. There must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end.
    • Field Marshal Haig. At the battle of Picardy. (1918). See also Geddes. Song probably well known to Haig. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.
  • Yes; quaint and curious war is!
    You shoot a fellow down
    You'd treat if met where any bar is,
    Or help to half-a-crown.
    • Thomas Hardy, The Man he Killed. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • They were left in the lurch
    For want of more wadding—He ran to the church—
    * * * * * *
    With his arms full of hymnbooks …
    Rang his voice, "Put Watts into 'em—Boys, give 'em Watts."
  • An hour ago, a Star was falling.
    A star? There's nothing strange in that.
    No, nothing; but above the thicket,
    Somehow it seemed to me that God
    Somewhere had just relieved a picket.
  • Hark! I hear the tramp of thousands,
    And of armèd men the hum;
    Lo, a nation's hosts have gathered
    Round the quick alarming drum—
    Saying, Come,
    Freemen, Come!
    Ere your heritage be wasted,
    Said the quick alarming drum.
  • Let the only walls the foe shall scale
    Be ramparts of the dead!
    • Paul H. Hayne, Vicksburg. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • My men never retire. They go forward or they die.
    • Col. William Hayward to a French General who cried to him to retire his troops, the 369th Infantry, colored. See N. Y. Herald. Feb. 3, 1919. Attributed also to Major Bundy, but denied by him.
  • Napoleon healed through sword and fire the sick nation.
  • Never think that war, no matter how necessary, no matter how justified, is not a crime.
    • Ernest Hemingway, Introduction to "Treasury for the Free World" by Ben Raeburn, 1946.
  • Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation—the last arguments to which kings resort.
    • Patrick Henry, speech to the Virginia Convention, Richmond, Virginia (March 23, 1775); in William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, 9th ed. (1836, reprinted 1970), p. 139. "While there is no doubt as to the general effect of Henry's speech, questions as to its actual wording are not so easily disposed of. Not only is there no manuscript copy of the oration, there is no stenographic report…. It was not until some forty years later that William Wirt first reprinted a reconstruction of Henry's oration. In the absence of contemporary written information" there was much criticism of Wirt's text. Wirt collected much of the information for his biography of Patrick Henry "when many of Henry's auditors at St. John's [church] were still in their clear-minded fifties or sixties". Wirt collected information from "intelligent and reliable" auditors, including John Tyler, Judge St. George Tucker, and Edmund Randolph. "Wirt's text was based on a few very helpful sources plus many bits of information. He had ample proof for certain burning phrases … a remarkable resemblance to Henry's other speeches during that period", the fact that the speech conforms to others in "oratorical style and technique, even in the use of Biblical quotations or analogies. Of course, Wirt may have used fragments" from earlier speeches for the reconstruction. "Yet the information on the text as a whole is more precise than for many other great speeches in history". Robert Douthat Meade, Patrick Henry, Practical Revolutionary (1969), vol. 2, p. 38–40. "I can find no evidence that Patrick Henry's 'Give me liberty, or give me death' went ringing round the country in 1775, when he thus burst forth to the Virginia delegates, or in fact that it was quoted at all until after William Wirt's official life in 1817". Carroll A. Wilson, "Familiar 'Small College' Quotations, II: Mark Hopkins and the Log", The Colophon (spring 1938), p. 204.
  • There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—we must fight!—I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us!
    • Patrick Henry, speech to the Virginia Convention, Richmond, Virginia (March 23, 1775); in William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry (1836, reprinted 1970), 9th ed., p. 140.
  • Hang yourself, brave Crillon. We fought at Arques, and you were not there.
    • Henry IV, to Crillon after a great victory. Sept. 20, 1597. Appeared in a note to Voltaire's Henriade, VIII. 109. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Πόλεμος πάντων μὲν πατήρ ἐστι πάντων δὲ βασιλεύς, καὶ τοὺς μὲν θεοὺς ἔδειξε τοὺς δὲ ἀνθρώπους, τοὺς μὲν δούλους ἐποίησε τοὺς δὲ ἐλευθέρους. ~ Heraclitus
    1. War is the father and king of all: some he has made gods, and some men; some slaves and some free.
    2. War is the father and king of all, and has produced some as gods and some as men, and has made some slaves and some free. (G. T. W. Patrick, 1889)
      • Hippolytus, Ref. haer. ix. 9 (Fragment 53). Context: "And that the father of all created things is created and uncreated, the made and the maker, we hear him (Heraclitus) saying, 'War is the father and king of all,' etc."
      • Plutarch, de Iside 48, p. 370. Context, see frag. 43.
      • Proclus in Tim. 54 A (comp. 24 B).
      • Compare Chrysippus from Philodem. P. eusebeias, vii. p. 81, Gomperz.
      • Lucianus, Quomodo hist. conscrib. 2; Idem, Icaromen 8.
    3. See also: πόλεμος πάντων μὲν πατήρ ἐστι, πάντων δὲ βασιλεύς
    4. Martin Heidegger, Parmenides (1942–1943)
  • Τίς γὰρ αὐτῶν νόος ἢ φρήν; [δήμων] ἀοιδοῖσι ἕπονται καὶ διδασκάλῳ χρέωνται ὁμίλῳ, οὐκ εἰδότες ὅτι πολλοὶ κακοὶ ὀλίγοι δὲ ἀγαθοί. αἱρεῦνται γὰρ ἓν ἀντία πάντων οἱ ἄριστοι, κλέος ἀέναον θνητῶν, οἱ δὲ πολλοὶ κεκόρηνται ὅκωσπερ κτήνεα.
    1. The best people renounce all for one goal, the eternal fame of mortals; but most people stuff themselves like cattle.
    2. For what sense or understanding have they? They follow minstrels and take the multitude for a teacher, not knowing that many are bad and few good. For the best men choose one thing above all – immortal glory among mortals; but the masses stuff themselves like cattle. (G.T.W. Patrick, 1889)
      "The passage is restored as above by Bernays (Heraclitea i. p. 34), and Bywater (p. 43), from the following sources:
  • Just for a word—"neutrality," a word which in war-time had so often been disregarded—just for a scrap of paper, Great Britain was going to make war on a kindred nation who desired nothing better than to be friends with her.
    • Bethmann-Hollweg, German Chancellor, to Sir Edward Goschen, British Ambassador, Aug. 4, 1914.
  • Bleak are our shores with the blasts of December,
    Fettered and chill is the rivulet's flow;
    Throbbing and warm are the hearts that remember
    Who was our friend when the world was our foe.
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Welcome to the Grand Duke Alexis, Dec. 6, 1871. Referring to the fleet sent by Russia in Sept., 1863, an act with mixed motives, but for which we were grateful.
  • I war not with the dead.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book VII, line 485. Pope's translation. Charles V. Of Luther. Found in W, line Hertslet—Der Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte.
  • Take thou thy arms and come with me,
    For we must quit ourselves like men, and strive
    To aid our cause, although we be but two.
    Great is the strength of feeble arms combined,
    And we can combat even with the brave.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XIII, line 289. Bryant's translation.
  • The chance of war
    Is equal, and the slayer oft is slain.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XVIII, line 388. Bryant's translation.
  • Our business in the field of fight
    Is not to question, but to prove our might.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XX, line 304. Pope's translation.
  • It is not right to exult over slain men.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, XII. 412. Quoted by John Morley in a speech during the Boer War. Also by John Bright in his speech on America, June 29, 1867. Compare Archilochus—Frag. Berk. No. 64. (Hiller. No. 60. Liebel. No. 41).
  • So ends the bloody business of the day.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XXII, line 516. Pope's translation.
  • Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.
    • Herbert Hoover, address to the 23d Republican national convention, Chicago, Illinois (June 27, 1944). Official Report of the Proceedings of the Twenty-third Republican National Convention (1944), p. 166.
  • Nimirum hic ego sum.
    • Here indeed I am; this is my position.
    • Horace, Epistles, Book I. 15. 42.
  • Postquam Discordia tetra
    Belli ferratos postes portasque refregit.
    • When discord dreadful bursts her brazen bars,
      And shatters locks to thunder forth her wars.
    • Horace, Satires, I. 4. 60. Quoted. Original not known, thought to be from Ennius.
  • Ye who made war that your ships
    Should lay to at the beck of no nation,
    Make war now on Murder, that slips
    The leash of her hounds of damnation;
    Ye who remembered the Alamo,
    Remember the Maine!
  • Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored:
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword:
    His truth is marching on.
  • L'Angleterre prit l'aigle, et l'Autriche l'aiglon.
    • The English took the eagle and Austrians the eaglet.
    • Victor Hugo. Napoleon adopted the lectern eagle for his imperial standard. His son was the eaglet.
  • Earth was the meadow, he the mower strong.
  • The sinews of war are those two metals (gold and silver).
    • Arthur Hull to Robert Cecil, in a Memorial, Nov. 28, 1600. Same idea in Fuller's Holy State, p. 125. (Ed. 1649).
  • We don't want to fight, but by jingo if we do,
    We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.
    We've fought the Bear before and while we're Britons true,
    The Russians shall not have Constantinople.
    • G. W. Hunt. (Called "the Kipling of the Halls.") As sung by the "Great McDermott," in 1878 it made the term "Jingo" popular. "Jingo," first used as a political term of reproach, by George Jacob Holyoake, in a letter to the London Daily News, March 13, 1878. "He … falls a-fighting it out of one hand into the other, tossing it this way and that; lets it run a little upon the line, then tanutus, high jingo, come again." Traced by the Oxford Dict. to John Eachard—Grounds and Occasion of the Contempt of Clergy. 1670, p. 34. See also John Oldham, Satires upon the Jesuits (1679), IV. "By Jingo" found in a translation. of Rabelais—Pantagruel, Book IV, Chapter LV. Also in Cowley—Cutter of Coleman Street, pub. 1663, performed, 1661. "By the living Jingo" in Goldsmith—Vicar of Wakefield, Chapter X.
  • The closeness of their intercourse [the intercourse of nations] will assuredly render war as absurd and impossible by-and-by, as it would be for Manchester to fight with Birmingham, or Holborn Hill with the Strand.
  • All war propaganda consists, in the last resort, in subsituting diabolical abstractions for human beings. Similarly,those who defend war have invented a pleasant sounding vocabulary of abstractions in which to describe the process of mass murder.


  • Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.


the evils of war are great in their endurance, and have a long reckoning for ages to come. ~ Thomas Jefferson
  • Then, Sir, we will give them the bayonet!
    • Stonewall Jackson, Reply to Colonel Barnard E. Bee when he reported that the enemy were beating them back. At the First Battle of Bull Run (21 July 1861); as quoted in Stonewall Jackson As Military Commander (2000) by John Selby, p. 21.
  • You have not been mistaken in supposing my views and feeling to be in favor of the abolition of war. Of my dispos[i]tion to maintain peace until its condition shall be made less tolerable than that of war itself, the world has had proofs, and more, perhaps, than it has approved. I hope it is practicable, by improving the mind and morals of society, to lessen the dispos[i]tion to war; but of its abolition I despair.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to Noah Worcester (November 26, 1817); in Andrew A. Lipscomb, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 18 (1903), p. 298.
  • Believing that the happiness of mankind is best promoted by the useful pursuits of peace, that on these alone a stable prosperity can be founded, that the evils of war are great in their endurance, and have a long reckoning for ages to come, I have used my best endeavors to keep our country uncommitted in the troubles which afflict Europe, and which assail us on every side.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Young Republicans of Pittsburg (December 2, 1808), in H. A. Washington, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (1871), vol. 8, p. 142.
  • Oh! if I were Queen of France, or, still better, Pope of Rome,
    I would have no fighting men abroad and no weeping maids at home;
    All the world should be at peace; or if kings must show their might,
    Why, let them who make the quarrels be the only ones to fight.
  • YOU are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that YOU are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.
    For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.
  • He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off.
    • Job, XXXIX. 25. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The safety of the country is at stake…. We must let ourselves be killed on the spot rather than retreat…. No faltering can be tolerated today.
    • General Joffre—Proclamation. Sept. 6, 1914. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • wars are often the cause of further wars because they fuel deep hatreds, create situations of injustice and trample upon people's dignity and rights. Wars generally do not resolve the problems for which they are fought and therefore, in addition to causing horrendous damage, they prove ultimately futile. War is a defeat for humanity. Only in peace and through peace can respect for human dignity and its inalienable rights be guaranteed.
  • Among the calamities of war, may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates, and credulity encourages.
    • Samuel Johnson, The Idler, no. 30 (November 11, 1758). A more succinct version is: "The first casualty when war comes is truth", attributed to Senator Hiram Johnson, remarks in the Senate, 1918. Burton Stevenson, ed., The Macmillan Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Famous Phrases (1948), p. 2445. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • I have prayed in her fields of poppies,
    I have laughed with the men who died—
    But in all my ways and through all my days
    Like a friend He walked beside.
    I have seen a sight under Heaven
    That only God understands,
    In the battles' glare I have seen Christ there
    With the Sword of God in His hand.
    • Gordon Johnstone, On Fields of Flanders. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Every battle, every war - is fought for things worth dying for.
    • Arthur M. Jolly, in the play Every Battle, Every War, Original Works Press. (2009).
  • Men dying is a relative thing. The effect of the air campaign is a cumulative one and no one can predict which blow will be the crucial blow [to the enemy].
  • The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.
    • Judges, XVI. 9. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The people arose as one man.
    • Judges, XX. 8. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.


  • (While smiling, and jokingly) You haven't come to see me for three weeks. I wondered whether you had become disgusted with us war criminals - particularly me, the so-called archcriminal of them all.
    • Ernst Kaltenbrunner to Leon Goldensohn, 6/6/46, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004.
  • Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.
  • Now the following questions have to be raised: did the occupation of other countries improve our own happiness? Does the individual German get anything out of such conquests? Won't we get into trouble with another powerful nation some place tomorrow or the day after? The differences in interests among the large nations will not be diminished by expanding ourselves.
  • Mankind must put an end to war — or war will put an end to mankind
    • John F. Kennedy, Address before the General Assembly before the United Nations (25 September 1961).
  • Soon the men of the column began to see that though the scarlet line was slender, it was very rigid and exact.
    • Alexander William Kinglake, Invasion of the Crimea, Volume III, p. 455. "The spruce beauty of the slender red line." Kinglake—Invasion of the Crimea, Volume III, p. 248. Ed. 6.
  • For heathen heart that puts her trust
    In reeking tube and iron shard—
    All valiant dust that builds on dust,
    And guarding calls not Thee to guard—
    For frantic boast and foolish word,
    Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!
    • Rudyard Kipling, Recessional. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • For agony and spoil
    Of nations beat to dust,
    For poisoned air and tortured soil
    And cold, commanded lust,
    And every secret woe
    The shuddering waters saw—
    Willed and fulfilled by high and low—
    Let them relearn the Law.
  • You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the King to help our French comrades against the invasion of a common enemy. You have to perform a task which will need your courage, your energy, and your patience. Remember that the honor of the British Army depends on your individual conduct. It will be your duty not only to set an example of discipline and perfect steadiness under fire, but also to maintain the most friendly relations with those whom you are helping in this struggle…. Do your duty bravely. Fear God and honor the King.
    • Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, a printed address to the British Expeditionary Force, carried by the soldiers on the Continent. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • War is itself a political act with primarily political objects and under the American form of government political officials must necessarily direct its general course.
    • Dudley Wright Knox, A History of the United States Navy (1936), chapter 24, final paragraph, p. 274.


  • War will not end until all of the violent people are killed.
  • Friendship itself prompts it (Government of the U. S.) to say to the Imperial Government (Germany) that repetition by the commanders of German naval vessels of acts in contravention of those rights (neutral) must be regarded by the Government of the United States, when they affect American citizens, as deliberately unfriendly.
    • Secretary of War Lansing. Reply to the German Lusitania Note (July 21, 1915). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • There is no such thing as an inevitable war. If war comes it will be from failure of human wisdom.
    • Bonar Law. Speech before the Great War. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • I have always believed that success would be the inevitable result if the two services, the army and the navy, had fair play, and if we sent the right man to fill the right place.
  • When Greeks joined Greeks, then was the tug of war!
    • Nathaniel Lee, The Rival Queens; or, Alexander the Great, Act IV, scene 2.
  • Art, thou hast many infamies,
    But not an infamy like this.
    O snap the fife and still the drum
    And show the monster as she is.
    • R. Le Gallienne, The Illusion of War. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The ballot is stronger than the bullet.
    • Abraham Lincoln (1856). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • One month too late.
    • Von Linsingen's remark when told of Italy's declaration of war against Austria in Great War. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • To arms! to arms! ye brave!
    Th' avenging sword unsheathe,
    March on! march on! all hearts resolved
    On victory or death!
    • Joseph Rouget de Lisle, The Marseilles Hymn. 7th stanza by Du Bois. See Figaro, Literary Supplement, Aug. 7, 1908.
  • At the Captain's mess, in the Banquet-hall,
    Sat feasting the officers, one and all—
    Like a sabre-blow, like the swing of a sail,
    One raised his glass, held high to hail,
    Sharp snapped like the stroke of a rudder's play,
    Spoke three words only: "To the day!"
    • Ernest Lissauer, Hassgesang gegen England (Song of Hate against England). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Ostendite modo bellum, pacem habebitis.
    • You need only a show of war to have peace.
    • Livy, History, VI. 18. 7. Same idea in Dion Chrysostom, De Regn, Orat. I. Syrus, Maxims, 465.
  • Justum est bellum, quibus necessarium; et pia arma, quibus nulla nisi in armis relinquitur opes.
    • To those to whom war is necessary it is just; and a resort to arms is righteous in those to whom no means of assistance remain except by arms.
    • Livy, History, Book IX. 1.
  • Thus, if there is anyone who is confident that he can advise me as to the best advantage of the state in this campaign which I am about to conduct, let him not refuse his services to the state, but come with me into Macedonia. I will furnish him with his sea-passage, with a horse, a tent, and even travel-funds. If anyone is reluctant to do this and prefers the leisure of the city to the hardships of campaigning, let him not steer the ship from on shore.
    • Livy, book 44, chapter 22; reported in Livy, trans. Alfred C. Schlesinger (1951), vol. 13, p. 161. Lucius Aemilius Paulus is addressing the people at a public meeting. President Franklin Roosevelt attacked armchair generals by citing this and preceding passages at his press conference (March 17, 1942): "Being of an historical turn of mind, [I figured] that probably some poor devil had gone through this process of annoyance in past years, some previous time in history, so I went quite far back and I found [Lucius Aemilius] … it sounds as if it were written in 1942". The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1942 (1950), p. 166.
  • Ez fer war, I call it murder,—
    Ther you hev it plain and flat;
    I don't want to go no furder
    Than my Testyment fer that.
  • It don't seem hardly right, John,
    When both my hands was full,
    To stump me to a fight, John,
    Your cousin, too, John Bull!
    Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
    • We know it now," sez he,
      "The lion's paw is all the law,
      * According to J. B.,
      * That's fit for you an' me."
    • James Russell Lowell, The Biglow Papers (1848), Jonathan to John, Stanza 1.
  • We kind o' thought Christ went agin war an' pillage.
  • Not but wut abstract war is horrid,
    I sign to thet with all my heart,—
    But civilysation doos git forrid
    Sometimes, upon a powder-cart.
  • War is a survival among us from savage times and affects now chiefly the boyish and unthinking element of the nation.
  • God has chosen little nations as the vessels by which He carries His choicest wines to the lips of humanity to rejoice their hearts, to exalt their vision, to strengthen their faith, and if we had stood by when two little nations (Belgium and Servia) were being crushed and broken by the brutal hands of barbarians, our shame would have rung down the everlasting ages.
    • Lloyd George, speech at Queen's Hall (Sept., 1914). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The stern hand of Fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the everlasting things that matter for a nation—the great peaks we had forgotten, of Honour, Duty, Patriotism, and clad in glittering white, the pinnacles of Sacrifice, pointing like a rugged finger to Heaven. We shall descend into the valley again; but as long as the men and women of this generation last, they will carry in their hearts the image of these mighty peaks, whose foundations are not shaken, though Europe rock and sway in the convulsions of a great war.
    • Lloyd George, speech at Queen's Hall (Sept., 1914). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Too late in moving here, too late in arriving there, too late in coming to this decision, too late in starting with enterprises, too late in preparing. In this war the footsteps of the allied forces have been dogged by the mocking specter of Too Late! and unless we quicken our movements, damnation will fall on the sacred cause for which so much gallant blood has flowed.
    • Lloyd George, speech, in the House of Commons (Dec. 20, 1915). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The last £100,000,000 will win.
    • Lloyd George, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the beginning of the war. 1914. See Everybody's Magazine (Jan., 1918), p. 8.
  • Is it, O man, with such discordant noises,
    With such accursed instruments as these,
    Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices,
    And jarrest the celestial harmonies?
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Arsenal at Springfield, Stanza 8. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Ultima ratio regum.
    • Last argument of kings. [Cannon.]
    • Louis XIV ordered this engraved on cannon. Removed by the National Assembly, Aug. 19, 1790. Found on cannon in Mantua. (1613). On Prussian guns of today. Motto for pieces of ordnance in use as early as 1613. Buchmann—Geflügelte Wörte. Ultima razon de reges. (War). The ultimate reason of kings. Calderon. Don't forget your great guns, which are the most respectable arguments of the rights of kings. Frederick the Great to his brother Henry. April 21, 1759.
  • The Campbells are comin'.
    • Robert T. S. Lowell, The Relief of Lucknow. Poem on same story written by Henry Morford, Alexander Maclagan. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Pourquoi cette trombe enflammée
    Qui vient foudroyer l'univers?
    Cet embrasement de l'enfer?
    Ce tourbillonnement d'armées
    Par mille milliers de milliers?
    —C'est pour un chiffon de papier.
    • For what this whirlwind all aflame?
      This thunderstroke of hellish ire,
      Setting the universe afire?
      While millions upon millions came
      Into a very storm of war?
      For a scrap of paper.
    • Père Hyacinthe Loyson, Pour un Chiffon de Papier; translation by Edward Brabrook. In Notes and Queries, Jan. 6, 1917, p. 5.
  • Alta sedent civilis vulnera dextræ.
  • Datos, ne quisquam seruiat, enses.
    • The sword was given for this, that none need live a slave.
  • Omnibus hostes
    Reddite nos populis—civile avertite bellum.
    • Make us enemies of every people on earth, but prevent a civil war.
    • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, II. 52.
  • Non tam portas intrare patentes
    Quam fregisse juvat; nec tam patiente colono
    Arva premi, quam si ferro populetur et igni;
    Concessa pudet ire via.
    • The conqueror is not so much pleased by entering into open gates, as by forcing his way. He desires not the fields to be cultivated by the patient husbandman; he would have them laid waste by fire and sword. It would be his shame to go by a way already opened.
    • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, II. 443.
  • 'Aig [F.-M. Sir Douglas Haig] 'e don't say much; 'e don't, so to say, say nothin'; but what 'e don't say don't mean nothin', not 'arf. But when 'e do say something—my Gawd!
    • E. V. Lucas, Boswell of Baghdad. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
    • Martin Luther. End of his speech at the Diet of Worms. April 18, 1521. Inscribed on his monument at Worms. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • I beg that the small steamers … be spared if possible, or else sunk without a trace being left. (Spurlos versenkt).
    • Count Karl Von Luxburg, Chargé d'Affaires at Buenos Ayres. Telegram to the Berlin Foreign Office, May 19, 1917. Also same July 9, 1917, referring to Argentine ships. Cablegrams disclosed by Secretary Lansing as sent from the German Legation in Buenos Ayres by way of the Swedish Legation to Berlin. "If neutrals were destroyed so that they disappeared without leaving any trace, terror would soon keep seamen and travelers away from the danger zones." Prof. Oswald Flamm in the Berlin Woche. Cited in N. Y. Times, May 15, 1917.


  • Oh! wherefore come ye forth in triumph from the North,
    With your hands and your feet, and your raiment all red?
    And wherefore doth your rout send forth a joyous shout?
    And whence be the grapes of the wine-press which ye tread?
  • The essence of war is violence. Moderation in war is imbecility.
    • Attributed to Lord Fisher during the great War. Taken from Macaulay's Essay on Lord Nugent's Memorials of Hampden. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes.
    • Douglas MacArthur, speech to a joint session of Congress after having been relieved of command in Korea by Truman, 19 April 1951.
  • In war there is no substitute for victory.
  • That's the way it is in war. You win or lose, live or die—and the difference is just an eyelash.
  • Could I have but a line a century hence crediting a contribution to the advance of peace, I would gladly yield every honor which has been accorded me in war.
    • Douglas MacArthur, quoted in Macarthur and the American Century: A Reader (2001), edited by William M. Leary.
  • Di qui nacque che tutti li profeti armati vinsero, e li disarmati rovinarono.
    • Hence it happened that all the armed prophets conquered, all the unarmed perished.
    • Niccolò Machiavelli, Il Principe, C. 6.
  • J'y suis, et j'y reste.
    • Here I am and here I stay.
    • MacMahon, before Malakoff. Gabriel Hanotaux, in Contemporary France, says that MacMahon denied this. Marquis de Castellane claimed the phrase in the Revue Hebdomodaire, May, 1908. Contradicted by L'Éclair, which quoted a letter by Gen. Biddulph to Germain Bapst, in which Gen. Biddulph tells that MacMahon said to him "Que j'y suis, et que j'y reste".
  • War in men's eyes shall be
    A monster of iniquity
    In the good time coming.
    Nations shall not quarrel then,
    To prove which is the stronger;
    Nor slaughter men for glory's sake;—
    Wait a little longer.
  • The warpipes are pealing, "The Campbells are coming."
    They are charging and cheering. O dinna ye hear it?
    • Alexander Maclagan, Jennie's Dream. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • "Go, with a song of peace," said Fingal; "go, Ullin, to the king of swords. Tell him that we are mighty in war; that the ghosts of our foes are many."
  • James Macpherson ("Ossian"), Carthon, line 269. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, & most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature. But the Doctrines lately advanced strike at the root of all these provisions, and will deposit the peace of the Country in that Department which the Constitution distrusts as most ready without cause to renounce it. For if the opinion of the President not the facts & proofs themselves are to sway the judgment of Congress, in declaring war, and if the President in the recess of Congress create a foreign mission, appoint the minister, & negociate a War Treaty, without the possibility of a check even from the Senate, untill the measures present alternatives overruling the freedom of its judgment; if again a Treaty when made obliges the Legislature to declare war contrary to its judgment, and in pursuance of the same doctrine, a law declaring war, imposes a like moral obligation, to grant the requisite supplies until it be formally repealed with the consent of the President & Senate, it is evident that the people are cheated out of the best ingredients in their Government, the safeguards of peace which is the greatest of their blessings.
    • James Madison, letter to Thomas Jefferson (April 2, 1798, in Gaillard Hunt, ed., The Writings of James Madison vol. 6 (1906), p. 312–13.
  • War contains so much folly, as well as wickedness, that much is to be hoped from the progress of reason; and if any thing is to be hoped, every thing ought to be tried.
    • James Madison, "Universal Peace", National Gazette (February 2, 1792), in Gaillard Hunt, ed., The Writings of James Madison vol. 6 (1906), p. 88–89. These words are inscribed in the Madison Memorial Hall, Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building.
  • No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
    • James Madison, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 614.
  • Only a fool or a fraud talks tough or romantically about war.
    • John McCain, quoted in Newsweek (23 June 2008), p. 21.
  • We want no war of conquest…. War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed.
    • William McKinley, Inaugural Address. Washington, March 4, 1897. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • There's some say that we wan, some say that they wan,
    Some say that nane wan at a', man,
    But one thing I'm sure that at Sheriff-Muir,
    A battle there was which I saw, man.
    And we ran and they ran, and they ran and we ran,
    And we ran, and they ran awa', man.
  • And, though the warrior's sun has set,
    Its light shall linger round us yet,
    Bright, radiant, blest.
    • Don Jorge Manrique, Coplas De Manrique. Last lines. Translation by Longfellow. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.
    • Mao Zedong, letter (January 5, 1930); in Selected Military Writings of Mao Tse-Tung (1966), p. 72. Mao was quoting from a letter from the Front Committee to the Central Committee, on guerrilla tactics.
  • Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
    Mironton, mironton, mirontaine,
    Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
    Ne sait quand reviendra.
    • Marbrough (or Marlebrouck) S'en va-t-en Guerre. Old French Song. Attributed to Mme. de Sévigné. Found in Rondes avec Jeux et Petites Chansons traditionnelles, Pub. by Augener. Said to refer to Charles, Third Duke of Marlborough's unsuccessful expedition against Cherbourg or Malplaquet, probably the latter. (1709). See King's Classical Quotations. Air probably sung by the Crusaders of Godfrey de Bouillon, known in America "We won't go home until morning." Sung today in the East, tradition giving it that the ancestors of the Arabs learned it at the battle of Mansurah, April 5, 1250. The same appears in a Basque Pastorale; also in Chansons de Geste. Air known to the Egyptians.
  • And silence broods like spirit on the brae,
    A glimmering moon begins, the moonlight runs
    Over the grasses of the ancient way
    Rutted this morning by the passing guns.
  • For a flying foe
    Discreet and provident conquerors build up
    A bridge of gold.
  • Some undone widow sits upon mine arm,
    And takes away the use of it; and my sword,
    Glued to my scabbard with wronged orphan's tears,
    Will not be drawn.
  • Wars and rumours of wars.
    • Matthew, XXIV. 6. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Now deeper roll the maddening drums,
    And the mingling host like ocean heaves:
    While from the midst, a horrid wailing comes,
    And high above the fight the lonely bugle grieves.
    • Granville Mellen—The Lonely Bugle Grieves. Ode on the Celebration of Battle of Bunker Hill. June 17, 1825. (Mellen is called the "Singer of one Song" from this Ode).
  • All quiet along the Potomac.
    • Proverbial in 1861–62. Supposed to have originated with Gen. McClellan. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • A man that runs away may fight again.
    • Menander, after the battle of Chæronea. 338 B.C. In Didot—Bib. Græca, p. 91. Fragment appended to Aristophanes.
  • There is war in the skies!
    • Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Lucile (1860), Part I, Canto IV, Stanza 12.
  • But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
    • John Stuart Mill in "The Contest in America", in Dissertations and Discussions, vol. 1 (1868), p. 26; previously published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 24, Issue 143 (April 1862), page 683-684.
  • War challenges virtually every other institution of society—the justice and equity of its economy, the adequacy of its political systems, the energy of its productive plant, the bases, wisdom and purposes of its foreign policy.
  • What though the field be lost?
    All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
    And study of revenge, immortal hate
    And courage never to submit or yield,
    And what is else not to be overcome.
  • Heard so oft
    In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
    Of battle.
  • Th' imperial ensign, which, full high advanc'd,
    Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind.
    With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed,
    Seraphic arms and trophies.
  • Others more mild,
    Retreated in a silent valley, sing
    With notes angelical to many a harp
    Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall
    By doom of battle.
  • Black it stood as night,
    Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,
    And shook a dreadful dart.
  • So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell
    Grew darker at their frown.
  • Arms on armour clashing bray'd
    Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
    Of brazen chariots ray'd; dire was the noise
    Of conflict.
  • To overcome in battle, and subdue
    Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
    Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
    Of human glory.
  • No war or battle sound
    Was heard the world around.
    • John Milton, Hymn of Christ's Nativity, line 31. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defence.
    • James Monroe, Annual Message. Dec. 2, 1823. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • When after many battles past,
    Both tir'd with blows, make peace at last,
    What is it, after all, the people get?
    Why! taxes, widows, wooden legs, and debt.
    • Francis Moore, Almanac. Monthly Observations for 1829, p. 23. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Thrilled ye ever with the story
    How on stricken fields of glory
    Men have stood beneath the murderous iron hail!
    • Henry Morford, Coming of the Bagpipes to Lucknow. Poem on same story written by R. T. S. Lowell and Alexander Maclagan.
  • There is a time for all things, a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away. There is a time to fight, and that time has now come.
    • Peter Muhlenberg. The precise text of this Lutheran clergyman's sermon in Woodstock, Virginia, in January 1776, does not exist. The quotation above is from Edward W. Hocker, The Fighting Parson of the American Revolution (1936), p. 61.
  • If we had fifty Eichmann's, we would have won the war.
    • Heinrich Müller, About Adolf Eichmann's devotion. Quoted in "And the Crooked Shall be Made Straight" - Page 37 - by Jacob Robinson - Jews - 1965.
  • We had nae heed for the parish bell,
    But still—when the bugle cried,
    We went for you to Neuve Chapelle,
    We went for you to the yetts o' Hell,
    And there for you we died!


  • 'Tis a principle of war that when you can use the lightning, 'tis better than cannon.
    • Napoleon I. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Providence is always on the side of the last reserve.
    • Attributed to Napoleon I. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Baptism of fire.
    • Napoleon III in a letter to the Empress Eugenie after Saarbruecken. Referring to the experience of the Prince Imperial. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • We have to go along a road covered with blood. We have no other alternative. For us it is a matter of life or death, a matter of living or existing. We have to be ready to face the challenges that await us.
    • Gamal Abdel Nasser, speech to Egypt's National Assembly, Cairo, November 6, 1969, as reported by The Washington Post, November 7, 1969, p. 1.
  • War may be unavoidable sometimes, but its progeny are terrible to contemplate. Not mere killing, for man must die, but the deliberate and persistent propagation of hatred and falsehood, which gradually become the normal habits of the people. It is dangerous and harmful to be guided in our life's course by hatreds and aversions, for they are wasteful of energy and limit and twist the mind and prevent it from perceiving truth.
  • Wars are fought to gain a certain objective. War itself is not the objective; victory is not the objective; you fight to remove the obstruction that comes in the way of your objective. If you let victory become the end in itself then you've gone astray and forgotten what you were originally fighting about.
  • If in the modern world wars have unfortunately to be fought (and they do, it seems) then they must be stopped at the first possible moment, otherwise they corrupt us, they create new problems and make our future even more uncertain. That is more than morality; it's sense.
  • England expects every officer and man to do his duty this day.
    • Nelson—Signal, Oct. 21, 1805, to the fleet before the battle of Trafalgar. As reported in the London Times, Dec. 26, 1805. England expects that every man will do his duty. As reported by William Pryce Cunby, First Lieut. of the Bellerophon. The claim is that Nelson gave the order "Nelson confides," which was changed to "England expects." See Notes and Queries, Series VI, IX, 261.283; also Nov. 4, 1905, p. 370.
  • For bragging time was over and fighting time was come.
    • Henry Newbolt, Hawke. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I tell you: it is the good war that hallows every cause.
  • What the horrors of war are, no one can imagine — they are not wounds and blood and fever, spotted and low, or dysentery, chronic and acute, cold and heat and famine — they are intoxication, drunken brutality, demoralization and disorder on the part of the inferior, jealousies, meanness, indifference, selfish brutality on the part of the superior.
    • Florence Nightingale in a letter (5 May 1855), published in Florence Nightingale : An Introduction to Her Life and Family (2001), edited by Lynn McDonald, p. 141.
  • A riot is a spontaneous outburst. A war is subject to advance planning.
    • Richard Nixon, address before the National Association of Manufacturers, New York City (December 8, 1967); James J. Kilpatrick quoted a transcript in his syndicated column in The Evening Star, Washington, D.C. (December 26, 1967,) p. A13. Nixon's topic was the "war in our cities".
  • I seriously doubt if we will ever have another war. This is probably the very last one.
    • Richard Nixon, on-the-record interview with C. L. Sulzberger (March 8, 1971), in The New York Times (March 10, 1971), p. 14.
  • A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers;
    There was lack of woman's nursing, there was dearth of woman's tears.
    • C. E. S. Norton (Lady Stirling-Maxwell), Bingen on the Rhine. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.


  • I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease -- the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences. And over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers and clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a "just war" emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence. Of course, we know that for most of history, this concept of "just war" was rarely observed. The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God.

  • March to the battle-field,
    The foe is now before us;
    Each heart is Freedom's shield,
    And heaven is shining o'er us.
  • Adjuvat in bello pacatæ ramus olivæ.
    • In war the olive branch of peace is of use.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, I. 1. 31.
  • There is a hill in Flanders,
    Heaped with a thousand slain,
    Where the shells fly night and noontide
    And the ghosts that died in vain,
    A little hill, a hard hill
    To the souls that died in pain.


  • In war, force is used by the belligerents themselves, no effort being made to bring evildoers before a judicial body, each army acting as judge, jury and executioner.
  • Once war consisted of individual combats between armed men. Later it was waged between lines of men in opposing trenches. Now it is organized slaughter of whole populations.
    • Kirby Page, "What is War?" (1924).
  • Tragic experience indicates that the most sacred obligations are utterly disregarded when their observance means losing the war.
    • Kirby Page, "What is War?" (1924).
  • It is the object only of war that makes it honorable. And if there was ever a just war since the world began, it is this in which America is now engaged. * * *
    We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.
    • Thomas Paine, The Crisis. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • These are the times that try men's souls. The Summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.
    • Thomas Paine, The Crisis. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • War even to the knife.
    • Palafox, the governor of Saragossa, when summoned to surrender by the French, who besieged that city in 1808. Generally quoted "At the point of the knife".
  • Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.
    • John Parker. George Stimpson, A Book About American History (1950), p. 109. Captain Parker said this to his Minutemen troops at Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, as they prepared to meet the British in battle. Inscription on a marker at Lexington green.
  • Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains that victory.
  • Now in war we are confronted with conditions which are strange
    If we accept them we will never win.
    • George S. Patton, in stanza 1 of "Absolute War" a poem composed by Patton in July 1944, during Operation Cobra as quoted in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson p. 492.
  • For in war just as in loving you must keep on shoving
    Or you'll never get your reward. For if you are dilatory in the search for lust or glory
    You are up shitcreek and that's the truth, Oh, Lord.

    So let us do real fighting, boring in and gouging, biting.
    Let's take a chance now that we have the ball.
    Let's forget those fine firm bases in the dreary shell raked spaces,
    Let's shoot the works and win! Yes win it all.

    • George S. Patton, in stanzas 4 and 5 of "Absolute War", as quoted in The Patton Papers 1940-1945 (1996) edited by Martin Blumenson, p. 492.
  • Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.
  • But I have seen the unknown dead, those little men of the Republic. It was they who woke me up. If a stranger, an enemy, becomes a thing like that when he dies, if one stops short and is afraid to walk over him, it means that even beaten our enemy is someone, that after having shed his blood, one must placate it, give this blood a voice, justify the man who shed it. Looking at certain dead is humiliating. One has the impression that the same fate that threw these bodies to the ground holds us nailed to the spot to see them, to fill our eyes with the sight. It's not fear, not our usual cowardice. One feels humiliated because one understands–touching it with one's eyes–that we might be in their place ourselves: there would be no difference, and if we live we owe it to this dirtied corpse. That is why every war is a civil war; every fallen man resembles one who remains and calls him to account.
  • War makes men barbarous because, to take part in it, one must harden oneself against all regret, all appreciation of delicacy and sensitive values. One must live as if those values did not exist, and when the war is over one has lost the resilience to return to those values.
  • Hell, Heaven or Hoboken by Christmas.
    • Attributed to General John Joseph Pershing. (1918). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Lafayette, we are here.
    • Gen. John Joseph Pershing. At the tomb of Lafayette. (1918). On the authority of a letter from the General's military secretary to George Morgan, Jan. 4, 1919.
  • Infantry, Artillery, Aviation—all that we have—are yours to dispose of as you will…. I have come to say to you that the American people would be proud to be engaged in the greatest battle in history.
    • Gen. John Joseph Pershing to Gen. Foch, Letter written from Office of the Commander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary Forces, in France. See "Literary Digest History of World War," Volume V, p. 43. March 28, 1918.
  • Ils ne passeront pas.
    • They shall not pass.
    • General Pétain. At the end of Feb., 1916, General de Castelnau was sent by General Joffre to decide whether Verdun should be abandoned or defended. He consulted with General Pétain, saying: "They (the Germans) must not pass." General Pétain said: "They shall not pass." In France the people credit it to General Joffre. See N. Y. Times, May 6, 1917.
  • γλυκύ δ᾽ἀπείρῳ πόλεμος.
    πεπειραμένων δέ τις ταρβεῖ προσιόντα νιν καρδία περισσῶς.
  • War is sweet to those who have no experience of it,
    but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach.
  • Fragment 110; page 377.
  • Variant translations: This phrase is the origin of the Latin proverb "Dulce bellum inexpertis" which is sometimes misattributed to Desiderius Erasmus‎.
  • War is sweet to them that know it not.
  • War is sweet to those not acquainted with it
  • War is sweet to those who do not know it.
  • War is sweet to those that never have experienced it.
  • War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.
  • From the Rio Grande's waters to the icy lakes of Maine,
    Let all exult, for we have met the enemy again.
    Beneath their stern old mountains we have met them in their pride;
    And rolled from Buena Vista back the battle's bloody tide,
    Where the enemy came surging swift like the Mississippi's flood,
    And the Reaper, Death, with strong arms swung his sickle red with blood.
    Santa Anna boasted loudly that before two hours were past
    His Lancers through Saltillo should pursue us fierce and fast.
    On comes his solid infantry, line marching after line.
    Lo! their great standards in the sun like sheets of silver shine.
    • Gen. Albert Pike—Battle of Buena Vista.
  • If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms,—never! never! never!
  • When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.
    • Plato, The Republic, Book VIII, 566e.
  • He who first called money the sinews of the state seems to have said this with special reference to war.
  • Sylla proceeded by persuasion, not by arms.
    • Plutarch, Lysander and Sylla Compared. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Paulus Aemilius, on taking command of the forces in Macedonia, and finding them talkative and impertinently busy, as though they were all commanders, issued out his orders that they should have only ready hands and keen swords, and leave the rest to him.
    • Plutarch, Plutarch's Lives, trans. John Dryden, rev. A. H. Clough (1859), life of Galba, vol. 5, p. 456.
  • It is the province of kings to bring wars about; it is the province of God to end them.
    • Cardinal Pole, to Henry VIII. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • She saw her sons with purple death expire,
    Her sacred domes involved in rolling fire,
    A dreadful series of intestine wars,
    Inglorious triumphs and dishonest scars.
  • War its thousands slays,
    Peace its ten thousands.
    • Beilby Porteus, Death, line 178. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • "When there's a war around take the day off, that's my motto."
  • The waves
    Of the mysterious death-river moaned;
    The tramp, the shout, the fearful thunder-roar
    Of red-breathed cannon, and the wailing cry
    Of myriad victims, filled the air.
  • A man is known by the Company he joins.
    Bad communication trenches corrupt good manners.
    Never look a gift gun in the mouth.
    A drop of oil in time saves time.
    One swallow doesn't make a rum issue.
    Where there's a war there's a way.
    • Proverbial sayings, popular in the Great War. Origin about 1917.


  • If this bill passes … as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must.
    • Josiah Quincy, speech, In Congress. Jan. 14, 1811, against the admission of Louisiana to the Union. Quoted by Henry Clay in Congress (1813), "Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must."

Cœdes videtur significare sanguinem et ferrum.

    • (Slaughter) means blood and iron.
    • Quintilian, Declamationes.


  • Ouvrez toujours à vos ennemis toutes les portes et chemin, et plutot leur faites un pont d'argent, afin de les renvoyer.
    • Always open all gates and roads to your enemies, and rather make for them a bridge of silver, to get rid of them.
    • François Rabelais, Gargantua, Book I, Chapter XLIII. Count de Pitillan, according to Gilles Corrozet—Les Divers Propos Memorables (1571) uses the same phrase with "golden" bridge for "silver." The same suggestion was made by Aristides, referring to the proposal to destroy Xerxes' bridge of ships over the Hellespont. ("A bridge for a retreating army.") See Plutarch, Life of Demosthenes. Louis II, Brantome, Memoirs, Volume I, II, p. 83. Also French translation. of Thomasi, Life of Cæsar Borgia, p. 64.
  • I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war. I vote no.
    • Jeannette Rankin, casting her vote against the United States entering World War I, in the early hours of April 6, 1917, as reported by The New York Times (April 6, 1917), p. 1. Jeanette Rankin of Montana was the first woman elected to Congress, where she served 1917–1919 and 1941–1943. Not only did she vote against World War I, she was the only member of Congress to oppose declaring war on Japan in December 1941.
  • He that fights and runs away,
    May turn and fight another day;
    But he that is in battle slain,
    Will never rise to fight again.
    • James Ray, A Complete History of the Rebellion in 1745, p. 48. (1752).
  • War on the cheap is always a rotten policy.
    • William Rees-Mogg, Baron Rees-Mogg, English newspaper editor and journalist. From an article in, The Mail on Sunday, 4th October 2009.
  • History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.
    • Ronald Reagan, Address to the nation from the White House (16 January 1984).
  • And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
    • Revelation, XVI. 16. Armageddon. Correct reading is Har-Magedon, signifying Mountain of Megiddo. Authorized version, City of Megiddo. Mount Megiddo possibly Mount Carmel. The plain of Megiddo lay at its foot. Scene of many battles.
  • Brother Jonathan sat by the kitchen fire,
    Nursin' his foot on his knee.
    "It's a turrible fight they're havin' out there,
    But they can't git over to me."
    And Jonathan jingled the coins in his han'
    An' thanked the good God for the sea.
  • Twelve mailed men sat drinking late,
    The wine was red as blood.
    Cried one, "How long then must we wait
    Ere we shall thunder at the gate,
    And crush the cursed brood?"
    Twelve men of iron, drinking late,
    Strike hands, and pledge a cup of hate:
    * "The Day!"
  • If we are to end our wars, we have to dispense with a threatening, vengeful, bloodthirsty God. If we're to have any kind of world brotherhood, we have to dispense with a God who reserves his favors for a chosen few. Life is given to all. The sun shines freely on each of us. Would a God be less kindly? More than this, we must also dispense with our species God, and extend our ideas of divinity outward to the rest of nature which couches us and our religious theorizing with such a gracious and steady support.
    • Jane Roberts, The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto, p. 63.
  • The morning came, there stood the foe;
    Stark eyed them as they stood;
    Few words he spoke—'twas not a time
    For moralizing mood:
    "See there the enemy, my boys!
    Now, strong in valor's might,
    Beat them or Betty Stark will sleep
    In widowhood to-night."
  • Lo, steel-clad War his gorgeous standard rears !
    The red-cross squadrons madly rage,
    And mow thro' infancy and age...
  • I have always said that a conference was held for one reason only, to give everybody a chance to get sore at everybody else. Sometimes it takes two or three conferences to scare up a war, but generally one will do it.
    • Will Rogers, syndicated column (July 5, 1933); in The New York Times (July 6, 1933, p. 23). Disraeli is another who had an unsanguine view of conferences: "The Conference lasted six weeks. It wasted six weeks. It lasted as long as a Carnival, and, like a Carnival, it was an affair of masks and mystification. Our Ministers went to it as men in distressed circumstances go to a place of amusement—to while away the time, with a consciousness of impending failure". Speech in the House of Commons on Denmark and Germany, vote of censure (July 4, 1864), Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, 3d series, vol. 176, col. 743.
  • I originated a remark many years ago that I think has been copied more than any little thing that I've every said, and I used it in the FOLLIES of 1922. I said America has a unique record. We never lost a war and we never won a conference in our lives. I believe that we could without any degree of egotism, single-handed lick any nation in the world. But we can't confer with Costa Rica and come home with our shirts on.
    • Will Rogers, Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book (1972), p. 177. The author was a niece of Will Rogers's and curator of the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma.
  • Since I am an immature and wicked man, war and unrest appeal to me more than good bourgeois order. Brutality is respected, the people need wholesome fear. They want to fear someone. They want someone to frighten them and make them shudderingly submissive.
    • Ernst Röhm , Cited in "The Nazis: A Warning from History", Disc 1, 10:48. Also quoted in "The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership" - Page 139 by Joachim C. Fest - History - 1999.
  • And while I am talking to you mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, campaign speech, Boston, Massachusetts (October 30, 1940); in The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940 (1941), p. 517.
  • Unjust war is to be abhorred; but woe to the nation that does not make ready to hold its own in time of need against all who would harm it! And woe thrice over to the nation in which the average man loses the fighting edge, loses the power to serve as a soldier if the day of need should arise!
  • To you men who, in your turn, have come together to spend and be spent in the endless crusade against wrong; to you who face the future resolute and confident; to you who strive in a spirit of brotherhood for the betterment of our nation; to you who gird yourselves for this great new fight in the never-ending warfare for the good of mankind, I say in closing what I said in that speech in closing: "We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord."
    • Theodore Roosevelt, speech, at Chicago, Progressive Convention, Aug. 5, 1912, quoting from his speech in June.
  • Righteous Heaven,
    In thy great day of vengeance! Blast the traitor
    And his pernicious counsels, who, for wealth,
    For pow'r, the pride of greatness, or revenge,
    Would plunge his native land in civil wars.
  • War, the needy bankrupt's last resort.
  • And while I am talking to you mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, campaign speech, Boston, Massachusetts, October 30, 1940. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940, p. 517 (1941).
  • He never would believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.
    • Richard Rumbold, at his execution (1685). See Macaulay—History of England, Chapter V.
  • It makes me hate war, but it doesn't make me believe that we're in a world that can live without war yet.
    • Lt. Josh Rushing, Pentagon spokesman, in Control Room (2004), upon viewing footage of dead and wounded American soldiers in Iraq
  • I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
  • Patriots always talk of dying for their country, and never of killing for their country.
  • [The Russians] dashed on towards that thin line tipped with steel.
    • W. H. Russell—The British Expedition to the Crimea. (Revised edition), p. 187. Also in his Letters to the London Times, Oct. 25, 1854. Speaking of the 93rd Highlanders at Balaclava. Credit for authorship of "the thin red line" claimed by Russell in a letter printed in Notes and Queries, series 8, VII, p. 191.


  • Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come.
    • Carl Sandburg, "The People, Yes", The People, Yes (1936), stanza 23, line 23, republished in The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg, rev. and expanded ed. (1970), p. 464.
  • Only the dead have seen the end of war.
  • Celuy qui fuit de bonne heure
    Peut combattre derechef.
    • He who flies at the right time can fight again.
    • Satyre Menippée. (1594). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Let no one ever, from henceforth say one word in any way countenancing war. It is dangerous even to speak of how here and there the individual may gain some hardship of soul by it. For war is hell, and those who institute it are criminals. Were there even anything to say for it, it should not be said; for its spiritual disasters far outweigh any of its advantages.
    • Siegfried Sassoon, As quoted by Robert Nichols in his introduction to The Counter-Attack and Other Poems (1918)
  • Qui fuit peut revenir aussi;
    Qui meurt, il n'en est pas ainsi.
    • He who flies can also return; but it is not so with him who dies.
    • Scarron. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The memory of war weighs undiminished upon the people's minds. That is because deeper than material wounds, moral wounds are smarting, inflicted by the so-called peace treaties. … Material loss can be made up through renewed labor, but the moral wrong which has been inflicted upon the conquered peoples, in the peace dictates, leaves a burning scar on the people's conscience. … The Versailles Dictate cannot be an eternal document, because not only its economic, but also its spiritual and moral premises are wrong.
  • Ein Schlachten war's, nicht eine Schlacht, zu nennen!
    It was a slaughter rather than a battle.
  • Est ist hier wie in den alten Zeiten
    Wo die Klinge noch alles that bedeuten.
    • It is now as in the days of yore when the sword ruled all things.
    • Friedrich Schiller, ;;Wallenstein's Lager;;, VI. 140.
  • Hosti non solum dandam esse viam fugiendi verum etiam muniendam.
    • Give the enemy not only a road for flight, but also a means of defending it.
    • Scipio Africanus, according to Frontinus, Strateg, IV. 7. 16.
  • Say to the seceded States: "Wayward sisters depart in peace."
    • Winfield Scott, Letter addressed to W. H. Seward. Washington, March 3, 1861. Quoted from this letter by Horace Greeley, and ascribed to him.
  • And the stern joy which warriors feel
    In foemen worthy of their steel.
    • Walter Scott, Lady of the Lake (1810), Canto V, Stanza 10.
  • One blast upon his bugle horn
    Were worth a thousand men.
    • Walter Scott, Lady of the Lake (1810), Canto VI, Stanza 18.
  • In the lost battle,
    Borne down by the flying,
    Where mingles war's rattle
    With groans of the dying.
  • "Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!"
    Were the last words of Marmion.
  • Still from the sire the son shall hear
    Of the stern strife, and carnage drear,
    Of Flodden's fatal field,
    When shiver'd was fair Scotland's spear,
    And broken was her shield!
  • There was a stately drama writ
    By the hand that peopled the earth and air,
    And set the stars in the infinite,
    And made night gorgeous and morning fair;
    And all that had sense to reason knew
    That bloody drama must be gone through.
    Some sat and watched how the action veered—
    Waited, profited, trembled, cheered—
    We saw not clearly nor understood,
    But yielding ourselves to the masterhand,
    Each in his part as best he could,
    We played it through as the author planned.
  • It's easy to fight when everything's right
    And you're mad with the thrill and the glory;
    It's easy to cheer when victory's near,
    And wallow in fields that are gory.
    It's a different song when everything's wrong,
    When you're feeling infernally mortal;
    When it's ten against one, and hope there is none,
    Buck up, little soldier, and chortle!
  • When children's children shall talk of War as a madness that may not be;
    When we thank our God for our grief today, and blazon from sea to sea
    In the name of the Dead the banner of Peace … that will be Victory.
  • It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces.
  • There was only one virtue, pugnacity; only one vice, pacifism. That is an essential condition of war.
    • Bernard Shaw, Heartbreak House. Preface. Madness in Court. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • In the arts of life man invents nothing; but in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself, and produces by chemistry and machinery all the slaughter of plague, pestilence and famine.
    • Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • They shall not pass, tho' battleline
    May bend, and foe with foe combine,
    Tho' death rain on them from the sky
    Till every fighting man shall die,
    France shall not yield to German Rhine.
    • Alice M. Shepard, They Shall Not Pass. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Hold the Fort! I am coming.
    • General William Tecumseh Sherman, Signalled to Gen. Corse. Oct. 5, 1864. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • War is Hell.
    • Attributed to General Sherman. (Not remembered by him). John Koolbeck, of Harlem, Iowa, who was Aide de Camp to Gen. Winslow, testifies that after the battle of Vicksburg, 1861, Gen. Sherman was watching the crossing of the army across a pontoon bridge, at the river Pearl. Koolbeck distinctly heard him say: "War is Hell." See Everybody's. Oct., 1918, p. 71.
  • You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.
  • I regard the death and mangling of a couple thousand men as a small affair, a kind of morning dash — and it may be well that we become so hardened.
  • You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.
    • General William Tecumseh Sherman, letter of September 12, 1864, to the Mayor and City Council of Atlanta, responding to their request that Sherman rescind his order to evacuate citizens from Atlanta; quoted in his Memoirs.
  • J'ai vécu.
    • I existed.
    • Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès, when asked what he did during the Reign of Terror. See Mignet—Notices Hist. I. 81.
  • Sainte Jeanne went harvesting in France,
    But ah! what found she there?
    The little streams were running red,
    And the torn fields were bare;
    And all about the ruined towers
    Where once her king was crowned,
    The hurtling ploughs of war and death
    Had scored the desolate ground.
    • Marion Couthouy Smith—Sainte Jeanne of France. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • For God's sake, do not drag me into another war! I am worn down, and worn out, with crusading and defending Europe, and protecting mankind; I must think a little of myself.
    • Sydney Smith, letter to the Countess Grey (February 19, 1823); A Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith by His Daughter Lady Holland (1874), p. 434.
  • Every shot has its commission, d'ye see? We must all die at one time, as the saying is.
  • Some of you will not come back. Some of you will come back maimed. Those of you who do come back will come back changed men. That is war!
  • I came, I saw, God overcame.
    • John Sobieski, to the Pope, with the captured Mussulman standards.
  • Terrible as an army with banners.
    • Song of Solomon, VI. 4 and 10.
  • Either this or upon this. (Either bring this back or be brought back upon it).
    • Said to be a Spartan mother's words to her son on giving him his shield. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Then more fierce
    The conflict grew; the din of arms, the yell
    Of savage rage, the shriek of agony,
    The groan of death, commingled in one sound
    Of undistinguish'd horrors.
  • War! war! war!
    Heaven aid the right!
    God move the hero's arm in the fearful fight!
    God send the women sleep in the long, long night,
    When the breasts on whose strength they leaned shall heave no more.
  • The crystal-pointed tents from hill to hill.
  • But, Virginians, don't do it, for I tell you that the flagon,
    Filled with blood of Old Brown's offspring, was first poured by Southern hands;
    And each drop from Old Brown's life-veins, like the red gore of the Dragon,
    May spring up a vengeful Fury, hissing through your slave-worn lands:
    * And Old Brown,
    * Osawatomie Brown,
    May trouble you worse than ever, when you've nailed his coffin down.
  • Hobbes clearly proves that every creature
    Lives in a state of war by nature.
    • Jonathan Swift, Poetry, A Rhapsody. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • War, that mad game the world so loves to play.
    • Jonathan Swift, Ode to Sir William Temple. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Not with dreams, but with blood and with iron
    Shall a nation be moulded to last.


  • Ratio et consilium propriæ ducis artes.
    • The proper qualities of a general are judgment and deliberation.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), III. 20.
  • Miseram pacem vel bello bene mutari.
    • Even war is better than a wretched peace.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), III. 44.
  • Deos fortioribus adesse.
    • The gods are on the side of the stronger.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), IV. 17.
  • We can start at once. We made preparations on the way.
    • Commander Joseph K. Taussig for the American Navy, to the British Admiral's query: "When will you be ready?" (1917). Erroneously attributed to Admiral Sims.
  • Militarism... is fetish worship. It is the prostration of men's souls before, and the laceration of their bodies to appease, an idol. ...Reverence for economic activity and industry and what is called business is also fetish worship, and in their devotion to that idol they torture themselves as needlessly, and indulge in the same meaningless antics.
  • A little more grape, Captain Bragg.
    • Attributed to General Zachary Taylor at Buena Vista. Feb. 23, 1847. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The children born of thee are sword and fire,
    Red ruin, and the breaking up of law.
  • How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!
  • It cannot be made, it shall not be made, it will not be made; but if it were made there would be a war between France and England for the possession of Egypt.
  • Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    "Forward the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!" he said,
    Into the valley of death
    Rode the six hundred.
  • Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Was there a man dismayed?
    Not tho' the soldier knew
    Some one had blunder'd.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of death
    Rode the six hundred.
  • Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley'd and thunder'd;
    Stormed at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.
    • Alfred Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854), Stanza 3. "Jaws of death" used by Du Bartas—Weekes and Workes. Day I, Part IV. Twelfth Night, Act III, scene 4.
  • Omnia prius experiri verbis quam armis sapientem decet.
    • Terence, Eunuchus, V. 1. 19. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
    • It becomes a wise man to try negotiation before arms.
  • Sed omissis quidem divinis exhortationibus illum magis Græcum versiculum secularis sententiæ sibi adhibent, "Qui fugiebat, rursus prœliabitur:" ut et rursus forsitan fugiat.
    • But overlooking the divine exhortations, they act rather upon that Greek verse of worldly significance, "He who flees will fight again," and that perhaps to betake himself again to flight.
    • Tertullian, De Fuga in Persecutione, Chapter 10.
  • Ten good soldiers, wisely led,
    Will beat a hundred without a head.
    • D. W. Thompson, Paraphrase of Euripides. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • But what most showed the vanity of life
    Was to behold the nations all on fire.
  • Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war.
    • Thucydides, "The Funeral Speech", The Speeches of Pericles, trans. H. G. Edinger (1979), p. 39.
  • "Victory after all, I suppose!" he said, feeling his aching head. "Well, it seems a very gloomy business."
  • Fight the good fight of faith.
    • I Timothy, VI. 12. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • A thousand touching traits testify to the sacred power of the love which a righteous war awakes in noble nations.
  • War is elevating, because the individual disappears before the great conception of the state…. What a perversion of morality to wish to abolish heroism among men!
  • God will see to it that war always recurs as a drastic medicine for the human race.
  • The struggle against war, properly understood and executed, presupposes the uncompromising hostility of the proletariat and its organizations, always and everywhere, toward its own and every other imperialist bourgeoisie...
    • Leon Trotsky "Resolution on the Antiwar Congress of the London Bureau" (July 1936).
  • The struggle against war and its social source, capitalism, presupposes direct, active, unequivocal support to the oppressed colonial peoples in their struggles and wars against imperialism. A 'neutral' position is tantamount to support of imperialism.
    • Leon Trotsky "Resolution on the Antiwar Congress of the London Bureau" (July 1936).
  • They said we were soft, that we would not fight, that we could not win. We are not a warlike nation. We do not go to war for gain or for territory; we go to war for principles, and we produce young men like these. I think I told every one of them that I would rather have that medal, the Congressional Medal of Honor, than to be President of the United States.
    • Harry S. Truman, remarks at presentation of the Congressional Medal of Honor to fourteen members of the Navy and Marine Corps (October 5, 1945); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1945, p. 375.
  • Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out…and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel … and in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man" — with his mouth.
  • When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory—must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

    "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle—be Thou near them! With them—in spirit—we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with anavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it—for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen".
    • Mark Twain, "The War Prayer" (dictated 1904–1905); in Europe and Elsewhere (1923), p. 397–98.


  • This is the soldier brave enough to tell
    The glory-dazzled world that "war is hell."
    • Henry Van Dyke, on the St. Gaudens' Statue of Gen. Sherman. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
  • Arma virumque cano.
    • Arms and the man I sing.
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), Book I, 1.
  • … I saw these terrible things,
    and took great part in them.
    • (… quaeque ipse miserrima vidi
      et quorum pars magna fui).
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), trans. James H. Mantinband (1964), book II, lines 5–6, p. 25. This sentence has also been translated as: "All of which misery I saw, and a great part of which I was". Aeneas was describing the sack of Troy.
  • Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem.
    • The only safety for the conquered is to expect no safety.
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), Book II, 354.
  • Dolus an virtus quis in hoste requirat?
    • Who asks whether the enemy were defeated by strategy or valor?
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), Book II, 390.
  • Exigui numero, sed bello vivida virtus.
    • Small in number, but their valor tried in war, and glowing.
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), Book V, 754.
  • Sævit amor ferri et scelerata insania belli.
    • The love of arms and the mad wickedness of war are raging.
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), Book VII, 461.
  • Nullum cum victis certamen et æthere cassis.
    • Brave men ne'er warred with the dead and vanquished.
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), Book XI, 104.
  • On dit que Dieu est toujours pour les gros bataillons.
    • It is said that God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions.
    • Voltaire, letter to M. le Riche. Feb. 6, 1770. Earlier said by Marechal Jacques d'Étampes, marquis de la Ferté to Anne of Austria. See Boursault—Lettres Nouvelles, p. 384. (Ed. 1698). Attributed to General Moreau by Alison; to General Charles Lee, by Hawthorne—Life of Washington.


If we don’t end war, war will end us. ~ H. G. Wells
  • On to Richmond.
    • Fitz-Henry Warren. Used as a standing headline in the N. Y. Tribune, by Dana, June–July, 1861, before the McDowell campaign.
  • A great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle [patriotism] alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.
  • To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
  • We do not with God's name make wanton play;
    We are not on such easy terms with Heaven;
    But in Earth's hearing we can verily say,
    "Our hands are pure; for peace, for peace we have striven,"
    And not by Earth shall he be soon forgiven
    Who lit the fire accurst that flames to-day.
    • Sir W. Watson, To the Troubler of the World (Aug. 5, 1914).
  • They went to war against a preamble, they fought seven years against a declaration.
  • Up Guards and at 'em!
    • Attributed to Wellington during the Battle of Waterloo. Denied by the Duke to Mr. Croker, in answer to a letter written March 14, 1852. "What I must have said, and possibly did say was, 'Stand up guards!' and then gave the order to attack." See J. W. Choker's Memoirs, p. 544. Also Sir Herbert Maxwell's Biography of Wellington.
  • Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.
    • Wellington—Despatch. (1815). Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing field of Eton.
    • Attributed to Wellington. "The battle of Waterloo was won here," was said by the Duke of Wellington when present at a cricket match at Eton. Prof. W. Selwyn—Waterloo, a Lay of Jubilee. (Second Ed.).
  • The War That Will End War.
    • H. G. Wells, book title, 1914. While the phrase "The war to end war" is often associated with Woodrow Wilson, its authorship was claimed by Wells in an article in Liberty (December 29, 1934), p. 4. Bertrand Russell also credited Wells in Portraits from Memory (1956), p. 83. A cynical version attributed to David Lloyd George is: "This war, like the next war, is a war to end war". See William Safire, Safire's Political Dictionary (1978), p. 777, for contemporary uses of the phrase.
  • A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.
    • H. G. Wells, The Salvaging of Civilization (1921), chapter 1, conclusion, p. 40.
  • The whole art of war consists in getting at what is on the other side of the hill.
  • This new Katterfelto, his show to complete,
    Means his boats should all sink as they pass by our fleet;
    Then as under the ocean their course they steer right on,
    They can pepper their foes from the bed of old Triton.
    • Henry Kirke White, The Wonderful Juggler, anticipating the submarine, in Napoleon's day. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Now we remember over here in Flanders,
    (It isn't strange to think of You in Flanders!)
    This hideous warfare seems to make things clear.
    We never thought about You much in England,
    But now that we are far away from England
    We have no doubts, we know that You are here.
    • Mrs. C. T. Whitnall—Christ in Flanders. First appeared in the London Spectator. Later in the Outlook. July 26, 1916.
  • We seemed to see our flag unfurled,
    Our champion waiting in his place
    For the last battle of the world,
    The Armageddon of the race.
    • John Greenleaf Whittier, Rantoul. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • From time immemorial, people have talked about peace without achieving it. Do we simply lack enough experience? Though we talk peace, we wage war. Sometimes we even wage war in the name of peace. [...] A collective as well as individual gratification of unconscious impulses, war may be too much a part of human behavior to be eliminated—ever.
    • Elie Wiesel, "Are We Afraid of Peace?", Parade Magazine, 19 March 1989; as reprinted in From the Kingdom of Memory: Reminiscences (1990), p. 225.
  • As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
  • As long as war is regarded as wicked it will always have its fascinations. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
    • Oscar Wilde, Intentions. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • I will die in the last ditch. (Dyke).
    • William of Orange. Hume—History of England, Chapter XLIII. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Germany's greatness makes it impossible for her to do without the ocean, but the ocean also proves that even in the distance, and on its farther side, without Germany and the German Emperor, no great decision dare henceforth be taken.
    • William II, the former German Emperor—Speech, July, 1900. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Our German Fatherland to which I hope will be granted … to become in the future as closely united, as powerful, and as authoritative as once the Roman world-empire was, and that, just as in the old times they said, "Civis romanus sum," hereafter, at some time in the future, they will say, "I am a German citizen."
    • William II, the former German Emperor—Speech, in Oct., 1900. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • Every bullet has its billet.
    • King William III, according to Wesley—Journal, June 6, 1765. Also in Song by H. R. Bishop, sung in The Circassian Bride. Quoted by Sterne—Tristram Shandy, Volume VIII, Chapter XIX. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • It's a long way to Tipperary, it's a long way to go;
    It's a long way to Tipperary, to the sweetest girl I know!
    Good-bye to Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square;
    It's a long way to Tipperary, but my Heart's right there!
    • Harry Williams and Jack Judge—It's a Long Way to Tipperary. Popular in The Great War. Chorus claimed by Alice Smythe B. Jay. Written in 1908. See N. Y. Times, Sept. 20, 1907.
  • War is only a sort of dramatic representation, a sort of dramatic symbol of a thousand forms of duty. I fancy that it is just as hard to do your duty when men are sneering at you as when they are shooting at you.
  • You have laid upon me this double obligation: "we are relying upon you, Mr. President, to keep us out of war, but we are relying upon you, Mr. President, to keep the honor of the nation unstained."
  • I am the friend of peace and mean to preserve it for America so long as I am able…. No course of my choosing or of theirs (nations at war) will lead to war. War can come only by the wilful acts and aggressions of others.
  • It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.
  • To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness, and the peace which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.
  • It is not an army that we must train for war; it is a nation.
    • Woodrow Wilson, speech, At dedication of a Red Cross Building, May 12, 1917.
  • They came with banner, spear, and shield;
    And it was proved in Bosworth field,
    Not long the Avenger was withstood—
    Earth help'd him with the cry of blood.
    • William Wordsworth, Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle, Stanza 3. Last line probably taken from John Beaumont's Battle of Flodden Field. Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • But Thy most dreaded instrument
    In working out a pure intent,
    Is man,—arrayed for mutual slaughter,—
    Yea, Carnage is Thy daughter.
    • William Wordsworth, Poems dedicated to National Independence and Liberty (1815), Ode XLV. Suppressed in later editions. "But Man is thy most awful instrument, / In working out a pure intent; / Thou cloth'st the wicked in their dazzling mail, / And for thy righteous purpose they prevail." Version in later editions.


The term "just war" contains an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.
  • War can only be abolished through war … in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.
  • As regards Providence, he cannot shake off the prejudice that in war, God is on the side of the big battalions, which at present are in the enemy's camp.
    • Zeller, Frederick the Great as Philosopher. Referring to Œuvres de Frederic, XVIII. 186–188, the contents of a letter from Frederick to the Duchess of Gotha, about 1757. Carlyle gives the date of the letter as May 8, 1760, in his History of Frederick the Great, II, Book XIX, Volume V, p. 606.
  • We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children. 'War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.
    • Howard Zinn, The Old way of thinking in The Progressive (November 2001).
  • The term "just war" contains an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.
  • Look, there is one statement that bothers me more than anything else, and that's the idea that when the troops are in combat everybody has to shut up. Imagine if we put troops in combat with a faulty rifle, and that rifle was malfunctioning and troops were dying as a result. I can't think anyone would allow that to happen, that would not speak up. Well, what's the difference between a faulty plan and strategy that's getting just as many troops killed?
    • Gen. Anthony Zinni, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), former CENTCOM Commander-in-Chief, 2004-05-21, television interview on CBS's 60 Minutes.

Unknown authorship[edit]

  • There are always casualties in war, gentlemen — otherwise it wouldn't be war. It'd just be a rather nasty argument with lots of pushing-and-shoving.
  • They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say "Shit, it's raining!"
  • I can give no adequate description of the Horror Camp in which my men and myself were to spend the next month of our lives. It was just a barren wilderness, as bare as a chicken run. Corpses lay everywhere, some in huge piles, sometimes they lay singly or in pairs where they had fallen. It took a little time to get used to seeing men women and childen collapse as you walked by them and to restrain oneself from going to their assistance. One had to get used early to the idea that the individual just did not count. One knew that five hundred a day were dying and that five hundred a day were going on dying for weeks before anything we could do would have the slightest effect. It was, however, not easy to watch a child choking to death from diptheria when you knew a tracheotomy and nursing would save it, one saw women drowning in their own vomit because they were too weak to turn over, and men eating worms as they clutched a half loaf of bread purely because they had to eat worms to live and now could scarcely tell the difference. Piles of corpses, naked and obscene, with a woman too weak to stand proping herself against them as she cooked the food we had given her over an open fire; men and women crouching down just anywhere in the open relieving themselves of the dysentary which was scouring their bowels, a woman standing stark naked washing herself with some issue soap in water from a tank in which the remains of a child floated. It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don't know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for these internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the post mortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tatooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.
    • An extract from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO who was amongst the first British soldiers to liberate Bergen-Belsen in 1945. Source: Imperial War Museum (1945).
  • We who have seen war, will never stop seeing it. In the silence of the night, we will always hear the screams. So this is our story, for we were soldiers once, and young.
  • War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military.
    • Attributed to various Frenchmen including Talleyrand, Clemenceau, and Briand. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). Often heard, "… entrusted to generals".

War quotations in fiction[edit]

  • Luke: I'm looking for a great warrior.
    Yoda: Great warrior. [Laughs] Wars not make one great.
  • I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. The enemy was in us. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the rest of my days. As I'm sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called "possession of my soul." There are times since, I've felt like a child, born of those two fathers. But be that as it may, those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again. To teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.
  • "With every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel."
  • "Wars don't ennoble men, it turns them into dogs, poisons the soul."
  • "Property, the whole thing's about property."
    • First Sergeant Welsh, The Thin Red Line.
  • "Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit just goes right out the window."
  • "When I go home, people ask me: "Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? Why? You some kinda war junkie?", I won't say a god damn word. Why? They won't understand. They won't understand why we do it. They won't understand it's about the men next to you. And that's it. That's all it is."
    • Sergeant First Class Norm "Hoot" Gibson, Black Hawk Down.
  • "I was talking to Blackburn the other day and he asked me: "What changed? Why are we going home?" And I said nothing. But that's not true, you know. I think everything's changed. I know I've changed. Y'know, a friend of mine asked me before I got here, just when we were all shipping out, he asked me: "Why are you going to fight somebody else's war? What, do y'all think you're heroes?" I didn't know what to say at the time, but.. if he asked again I'd say "No", I'd say "there's no way in hell, 'cause nobody asks to be a hero, it just sometimes turns out that way."
  • If you are not affected, if you are not hurt by what we do, then you will not do anything to stop it. The war will simply continue. As long as it is just the soldiers, these barbaric men with guns who kill each other, as long as the damage is far away, the destruction and death out of your sight, then no amount of hand wringing and moral outrage will make it end. If you are affected, if your farms, your crops are destroyed, your neat buildings in your perfect towns burned to the ground, then there will be a reason to stop this. War is not tidy, it is not convenient, it is everywhere. It has to be felt by everyone. War is hell.
  • A story. A man fires a rifle for many years. and he goes to war. And afterwards he comes home, and he sees that whatever else he may do with his life - build a house, love a woman, change his son's diaper - he will always remain a jarhead. And all the jarheads killing and dying, they will always be me. We are still in the desert.
  • Any man with a collection like this is a man who's never set foot on a battlefield. To him a minié ball from Shiloh is just an artifact. But to a combat vet, it's a hunk of metal that caused some poor bastard a world of pain.
  • Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that 'violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence settled their fates quite nicely. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.
  • We few, we happy few, we band of brothers: for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
  • Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage.
  • In God's name, march: True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings: Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.
  • If we be conquered, let men conquer us, and not these bastard Bretons; whom our fathers have in their own land beaten, bobb'd, and thump'd, and in record, left them the heirs of shame. Shall these enjoy our lands? lie with our wives? Ravish our daughters?
  • It's all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever. Yet we stand here in the middle of no man's land.
    • Sergeant Steiner considers the causes of WW2's eastern front as he releases a young Russian soldier, Cross of Iron.
  • You do not want a war. You have seen violence, you have suffered loss. But you have seen nothing of war. War is not just the business of death. It is the antithesis of life. Hope tortured and flayed, reason dismembered, grinning at its limbs in its lap. Decency raped to death.
  • The problem with gun runners going to war, is that there is no shortage of ammunition.
  • "When people ask me what I did in the war, I tell them I did the same thing we all did. We fought for what was right. I've come to realize, there's nothing good about war... But there is good in why you fight wars. And we were all fighting for the same thing."
    • Lieutenant William Holt, Medal of Honor: European Assault.
  • A single inescapable fact; that mankind united with infinitely greater purpose in pursuit of war, than he ever did in pursuit of peace.
  • Another two inches? Shrapnel zings by; slices my throat. I'll bleed out like a pig in the sand; nobody'll give a shit. I mean my parents? They'll care, but they don't count, man. Who else? I don't even have a son.
  • Every war is the result of a difference of opinion. Maybe the biggest questions can only be answered by the greatest of conflicts.
  • There's a beast in every man. And it awakens when you put a sword in his hand.


  • And war broke out in heaven: Mi′cha·el and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled 8 but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. 9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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