War and peace

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For the novel by Leo Tolstoy, see War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy).
For the film, see War and Peace (1968 film).

War and peace are contrasting states, one being defined by conflict involving the organized use of weapons and physical force by states or other large-scale groups and the other being an occurrence of harmony characterized by the absence of conflict and violence.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Bible · See also · External links

Quotes[edit]

B[edit]

  • Croesus said to Cambyses; That peace was better than war; because in peace the sons did bury their fathers, but in wars the fathers did bury their sons.
    • Francis Bacon, Apophthegms, New and Old (published 1625); in James A. Spedding, Robert L. Ellis and Douglas D. Heath, eds., The Works of Francis Bacon, vol. 13 (1860, reprinted 1969), no. 149, p. 359.
  • If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we have ever prepared for war.
  • An analysis of the history of mankind shows that from the year 1496 B.C. to the year 1861 of our era, that is, in a cycle of 3357 years, were but 227 years of peace and 3130 years of war: in other words, were thirteen years of war for every year of peace. Considered thus, the history of the lives of peoples presents a picture of uninterrupted struggle. War, it would appear, is a normal attribute to human life.
    • Jean de Bloch, The Future of War, trans. R. C. Long (1903), p. lxv.
  • He who did well in war just earns the right
    To begin doing well in peace.
  • 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.
  • It is truer today than when Alfred Nobel realized it a half-century ago, that peace cannot be achieved in a vacuum. Peace must be paced by human progress. Peace is no mere matter of men fighting or not fighting. Peace, to have meaning for many who have known only suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health, and education, as well as freedom and human dignity - a steadily better life. If peace is to be secure, long-suffering and long-starved, forgotten peoples of the world, the underprivileged and the undernourished, must begin to realize without delay the promise of a new day and a new life.
  • "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.
  • Peace is a resistance to the terrible satisfactions of war.
  • There's but the twinkling of a star
    Between a man of peace and war.
  • In peace the cry is for mobility, in war for weight of shell.
    • Lt Col Alan F. Brooke (later Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke), The Evolution of Artillery in the Great War (1925)

C[edit]

  • In War: Resolution
    In Defeat: Defiance
    In Victory: Magnanimity
    In Peace: Good Will
    • Winston Churchill, The Second World War (1948–1954), p. viii. This motto, the "moral of the work", appeared on p. viii of each of the six volumes in this work.
  • Cedant arma togæ.
    • War leads to peace.
    • Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), I. 22
  • Equidem ad pacem hortari non desino; quae vel iniusta utilior est quam iustissimum bellum cum civibus.
    • As for me, I cease not to advocate peace. It may be on unjust terms, but even so it is more expedient than the justest of civil wars. (Translation by E.O. Winstedt)
    • Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (Letters to Atticus) VII 14 (Latin and English) in the Loeb Classical Library, translated by E.O. Winstedt.
    • Variant translations:
      • I never cease urging peace, which, however unfair, is better than the justest war in the world.
      • An unjust peace is better than a just war.
    • Adaptations and paraphrases:
    • Iniquissimam pacem justissimo bello antefero.
      • I prefer the most unfair peace to the most righteous war.
        • Idea used by Butler in the Rump Parliament, by Benjamin Franklin, in letter to Quincey (11 September 1773), Bishop Colet, St. Paul's, London (1512), Green's History of the English People, The New Learning, as reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 588-91
  • Mihi enim omnis pax cum civibus bello civili utilior videbatur.
    • For to me every sort of peace with the citizens seemed to be of more service than civil war.
    • Cicero, Philippics, 2. 15. 37
  • Mars gravior sub pace latet.
    • A severe war lurks under the show of peace.
    • Claudianus, De Sexto Consulatu Honorii Augusti Panegyris, 307
  • 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.
    • Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum (Letters to Atticus) Book 7, Letter 14
    • Variant translation: An unjust peace is better than a just war.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ah, well! we talk of war,
      But peace is so much kinder,
    That all our strife is for
      Is just the hope to find her:
    And see!—how Spring, with look serene,
      Is garlanding her halls in green!
  • War is an invention of the human mind. The human mind can invent peace with justice.
  • O for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
    Some boundless contiguity of shade;
    Where rumor of oppression and deceit,
    Of unsuccessful or successful war,
    Might never reach me more.

D[edit]

  • Such subtle Covenants shall be made,
    Till Peace it self is War in Masquerade.
    • John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1682, reprinted 1970), part 2, lines 268–69, p. 9. A variant of the second part, "And Peace it self is War in Masquerade", appears earlier in the poem, part 1, line 752, p. 23.
  • Peace will never be won if men reserve for war their greatest efforts, Peace, too, requires well-directed and sustained sacrificial endeavor. Given that, we can, I believe, achieve the great goal of our foreign policy, that of enabling our people to enjoy in peace the blessings of liberty.
    • John Foster Dulles, secretary of state, news conference statement (December 31, 1954). Department of State Bulletin (January 10, 1955), p. 44.
  • Peace without Justice is a low estate,—
    A coward cringing to an iron Fate!
    But Peace through Justice is the great ideal,—
    We'll pay the price of war to make it real.

E[edit]

  • 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.

F[edit]

  • There never was a good war or a bad peace.
  • 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.

G[edit]

  • If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have to struggle, we won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions. But we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.
  • If you look at human society, it is very easy, of course, to compare our warfare and territoriality with the chimpanzee. But that's only one side of what we do. We also trade, we intermarry, we allow each other to travel through our territory. There's an enormous amount of cooperation. Indeed, among hunter-gatherers, peace is common 90 percent of the time, and war takes place only a small part of the time. Chimps cannot tell us anything about peaceful relations, because chimps have only different degrees of hostility between communities. Whereas bonobos do tell us something; they tell us about the possibility of having peaceful relationships.
  • At the time, I was interested in reconciliation after fights, and I wanted to know how bonobos did it compared to chimpanzees. Very soon I discovered that they were much more sexual in everything they did, and that interested me—not so much for the sex part, even though that became a very hot topic, the peacemaking-through-sex thing—but much more how they have such a peaceful society, because they are much less violent than chimpanzees.
  • War has made us a nation of great power and intelligence. We have but little to do to preserve peace, happiness and prosperity at home, and the respect of other nations. Our experience ought to teach us the necessity of the first; our power secures the latter.

H[edit]

  • 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.
  • The only way to abolish war is to make peace heroic.
    • James Hinton, Philosophy and Religion: Selections from the Manuscripts of the Late James Hinton, ed. Caroline Haddon, (2nd ed., London: 1884), p. 267.
    • Widely misattributed on the internet to John Dewey, who actually attributes it to Hinton in Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology (New York: 1922), p. 115
  • In pace ut sapiens aptarit idonea bello.
    • Like as a wise man in time of peace prepares for war.
    • Horace, Satires, II. 2. 111

J[edit]

  • 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.
  • We love peace as we abhor pusillanimity; but not peace at any price. There is a peace more destructive of the manhood of living man than war is destructive of his material body. Chains are worse than bayonets.

K[edit]

  • So let us here resolve that Dag Hammarskjöld did not live, or die, in vain. Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And, as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war.
    • John F. Kennedy, address before the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York City (25 September 1961); in The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 619
  • What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
  • I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war—and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
    • John F. Kennedy in his "A Strategy of Peace" speech at American University in Washington, DC (10 June 1963)
  • Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.
    • John F. Kennedy in his "A Strategy of Peace" speech at American University in Washington, DC (10 June 1963)
  • Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable—that mankind is doomed—that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are man made—therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
    • John F. Kennedy in his "A Strategy of Peace" speech at American University in Washington, DC (10 June 1963)
  • The task of building the peace lies with the leaders of every nation, large and small. For the great powers have no monopoly on conflict or ambition. The cold war is not the only expression of tension in this world — and the nuclear race is not the only arms race. Even little wars are dangerous in a nuclear world. The long labor of peace is an undertaking for every nation — and in this effort none of us can remain unaligned. To this goal none can be uncommitted.
    • John F. Kennedy in his address to the United Nations General Assembly (20 September 1963)
  • We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say "We must not wage war." It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace. … We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war. Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race which no one can win to a positive contest to harness man's creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all of the nations of the world. In short, we must shift the arms race into a "peace race". If we have the will and determination to mount such a peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto tightly sealed doors of hope and transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment.
  • All right. It's instinctive. But the instinct can be fought. We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands, but we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes. Knowing that we won't kill today. Contact Vendikar. I think you'll find that they're just as terrified, appalled, horrified as you are, that they'll do anything to avoid the alternative I've given you. Peace or utter destruction. It's up to you.

L[edit]

  • We're trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it's the only way to get people aware that peace is possible, and it isn't just inevitable to have violence. Not just war — all forms of violence. People just accept it and think 'Oh, they did it, or Harold Wilson did it, or Nixon did it,' they're always scapegoating people. And it isn't Nixon's fault. We're all responsible for everything that goes on, you know, we're all responsible for Biafra and Hitler and everything. So we're just saying "SELL PEACE" — anybody interested in peace just stick it in the window. It's simple but it lets somebody else know that you want peace too, because you feel alone if you're the only one thinking 'wouldn't it be nice if there was peace and nobody was getting killed.' So advertise yourself that you're for peace if you believe in it.
    • John Lennon, Interview on The David Frost Show (14 June 1969)
  • 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.
  • Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals
    The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies!
    But beautiful as songs of the immortals,
    The holy melodies of love arise.
  • Buried was the bloody hatchet;
    Buried was the dreadful war-club;
    Buried were all warlike weapons,
    And the war-cry was forgotten.
    Then was peace among the nations.

M[edit]

  • 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
  • Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain death; the seas bear only commerce. Men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world is quietly at peace. The holy mission has been completed. And in reporting this to you, the people, I speak for the thousands of silent lips, forever stilled among the jungles and the beaches and in the deep waters of the Pacific which marked the way. I speak for the unnamed brave millions homeward bound to take up the challenge of that future which they did so much to salvage from the brink of disaster... Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. Various methods through the ages have attempted to devise an international process to prevent or settle disputes between nations. From the very start workable methods were found insofar as individual citizens were concerned, but the mechanics of an instrumentality of larger international scope have never been successful. Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. We have had our last chance. If we do not now devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature and all material and cultural developments of the past two thousand years, It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.
  • "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.
  • It is a settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute. The United States, while they wish for war with no nation, will buy peace with none.
    • James Madison, letter to Wolcott Chauncy and William Shaler, summarizing the Treaty of 1815, which ended the Second Barbary War and, with it, the practice of the U.S. government paying tribute to pirate states, as quoted in History and Present Condition of Tripoli: With Some Accounts of the Other Barbary States" by Robert Greenhow, published by T.W. White, 1835, page 46.
  • To have peace and not war, the drift toward a war economy, as facilitated by the moves and the demands of the sophisticated conservatives, must be stopped; to have peace without slump, the tactics and policies of the practical right must be overcome. The political and economic power of both must be broken. The power of these giants of main drift is both economically and politically anchored; both unions and an independent labor party are needed to struggle effective.
  • The American elite does not have any real image of peace — other than as an uneasy interlude existing precariously by virtue of the balance of mutual fright. The only seriously accepted plan for peace is the full loaded pistol. In short, war or a high state of war-preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States.
  • Peace hath her victories
    No less renowned than war.
  • Peace hath her victories,
    No less renowned than war.
  • This my dear friend is the one truly great contribution of my Wonder Woman strip to moral education of the young. The only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound--enjoy submission to kind authority, wise authority, not merely tolerate such submission. Wars will only cease when humans enjoy being bound.
  • This my dear friend is the one truly great contribution of my Wonder Woman strip to moral education of the young. The only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound--enjoy submission to kind authority, wise authority, not merely tolerate such submission. Wars will only cease when humans enjoy being bound.
  • 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.
  • This my dear friend is the one truly great contribution of my Wonder Woman strip to moral education of the young. The only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound--enjoy submission to kind authority, wise authority, not merely tolerate such submission. Wars will only cease when humans enjoy being bound.
  • The American elite does not have any real image of peace — other than as an uneasy interlude existing precariously by virtue of the balance of mutual fright. The only seriously accepted plan for peace is the full loaded pistol. In short, war or a high state of war-preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States.
  • Sous le régime de la libre concurrence, la guerre entre les producteurs de sécurité cesse totalement d’avoir sa raison d’être.  Pourquoi se feraient-ils la guerre ?  Pour conquérir des consommateurs ?  Mais les consommateurs ne se laisseraient pas conquérir.  Ils se garderaient certainement de faire assurer leurs personnes et leurs propriétés par des hommes qui auraient attenté, sans scrupule, aux personnes et aux propriétés de leurs concurrents.  Si un audacieux vainqueur voulait leur imposer la loi, ils appelleraient immédiatement à leur aide tous les consommateurs libres que menacerait comme eux cette agression, et ils en feraient justice.  De même que la guerre est la conséquence naturelle du monopole, la paix est la conséquence naturelle de la liberté.
  • It is the oldest ironies that are still the most satisfying: man, when preparing for bloody war, will orate loudly and most eloquently in the name of peace.
  • 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.
  • We cannot have peace if we are only concerned with peace. War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life. If we want to attack war, we have to attack that way of life.
    Disarmament cannot be achieved nor can the problem of war be resolved without being accompanied by profound changes in the economic order and the structure of society.
    • A. J. Muste, as quoted in Our Generation Against Nuclear War (1983) by Dimitrios I. Roussopoulos, p. 430

N[edit]

  • War is necessary. War brings pain, but war is necessary. War brings peace, because war is necessary. Get your warriors up.
    • Nas, "War is Necessary" (2008)

O[edit]

  • Would you end war?
    Create great Peace.
  • WAR IS PEACE.
  • George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), p. 5. In the book, these three slogans of the Party were engraved on the Ministry of Truth building.
  • Adjuvat in bello pacatæ ramus olivæ.
    • In war the olive branch of peace is of use.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, I. 1. 31.

P[edit]

  • 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.
  • You bring me the deepest joy that can be felt by a man whose invincible belief is that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will unite, not to destroy, but to build, and that the future will belong to those who will have done most for suffering humanity.
    • Louis Pasteur, speech at celebration honoring his seventieth birthday, the Sorbonne, Paris, France (December 27, 1892). Pasteur's son read the speech of thanks because of the weakness of his father's voice. René Vallery-Radot, The Life of Pasteur, trans. Mrs. R. L. Devonshire, vol. 2 (1902), p. 297. On his 1956 Christmas card, Adlai E. Stevenson used a version of this passage which varies slightly from the arrangement and translation given above: "Not to destroy but to construct, / I hold the unconquerable belief / that science and peace will triumph over ignorance and war / that nations will come together / not to destroy but to construct / and that the future belongs to those / who accomplish most for humanity".
  • 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.

R[edit]

  • I, serial number 30743, Lieutenant General in reserves Yitzhak Rabin, a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces and in the army of peace, I, who have sent armies into fire and soldiers to their death, say today: We sail onto a war which has no casualties, no wounded, no blood nor suffering. It is the only war which is a pleasure to participate in — the war for peace.
  • Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?
    • Ronald Reagan, United Nations General Assembly, 21 September 1987.
  • Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?
    • Ronald Reagan, Address to United Nations General Assembly, (21 September 1987)
  • When every young man refuses to go to war, you will have peace. As long as you fight for gain and greed, there will be no peace. As long as one person commits acts of violence for the sake of peace, you will have war. Unfortunately it is difficult to imagine that all the young men in all of the countries will refuse to go to war at the same time. And so you must work out what violence has wrought. Within the next hundred years, that time may come. Remember, you do not defend any idea with violence. There is no man who hates but that hatred is reflected outward and made physical. And there is no man who loves but that love is reflected outward and made physical.
  • Wars are, of course, as a rule to be avoided; but they are far better than certain kinds of peace.

S[edit]

  • Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
    Shovel them under and let me work—
    I am the grass; I cover all.

    And pile them high at Gettysburg
    And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
    Shovel them under and let me work.
    Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
    What place is this?
    Where are we now?

    I am the grass.
    Let me work.
    • Carl Sandburg, "Grass", first published in Cornhuskers (1918); republished in The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg, rev. and expanded ed. (1970), p. 136.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • That it should hold companionship in peace
    With honour, as in war; since that to both
    It stands in like request.
  • 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 myself have seen in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, hundreds and thousands of women and children fleeing from your armies and desperadoes, hungry and with bleeding feet. In Memphis, Vicksburg, and Mississippi, we fed thousands upon thousands of the families of rebel soldiers left on our hands, and whom we could not see starve. Now that war comes home to you; you feel very different. You deprecate its horrors, but did not feel them when you sent car-loads of soldiers and ammunition, and moulded shells and shot, to carry war into Kentucky and Tennessee, to desolate the homes of hundreds and thousands of good people who only asked to live in peace at their old homes, and under the government of their inheritance. But these comparisons are idle. I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect and early success.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Of a commonwealth, whose subjects are but hindered by terror from taking arms, it should rather be said, that it is free from war, than that it has peace. For peace is not mere absence of war, but is a virtue that springs from force of character: for obedience is the constant will to execute what, by the general decree of the commonwealth, ought to be done. Besides that commonwealth, whose peace depends on the sluggishness of its subjects, that are led about like sheep, to learn but slavery, may more properly be called a desert than a commonwealth.
    • Baruch Spinoza, Political Treatise (1677), Tractatus Politicus as translated by A. H. Gosset (1883), Ch. 5, Of the Best State of a Dominion - Alternate site (this is an unfinished work, left incomplete by Spinoza's death).
    • This might be paraphrased in a similar statement quoted in recent works, including A Natural History of Peace (1996) by Thomas Gregor, p. 4, there cited as being from Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670), but without citations as to chapter or translation used: Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.

T[edit]

  • Miseram pacem vel bello bene mutari.
    • Even war is better than a wretched peace.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), III. 44.
  • Miseram pacem vel bello bene mutari.
    • A peace may be so wretched as not to be ill exchanged for war.
  • Bellum magis desierat, quam pax cœperat.
    • It was rather a cessation of war than a beginning of peace.
  • The distance at which it can strike, and the destructive power of such a quasi-intelligent machine being for all practical purposes unlimited, the gun, the armor of the battleship and the wall of the fortress, lose their import and significance. One can prophesy with a Daniel's confidence that skilled electricians will settle the battles of the near future. But this is the least. In its effect upon war and peace, electricity offers still much greater and more wonderful possibilities. To stop war by the perfection of engines of destruction alone, might consume centuries and centuries. Other means must be employed to hasten the end.
  • If wars in the future are to be prevented the nations must be united in their determination to keep the peace under law.
    Nothing is more essential to the future peace of the world than continued cooperation of the nations which had to muster the force necessary to defeat the conspiracy of the Axis powers to dominate the world.
    While these great states have a special responsibility to enforce the peace, their responsibility is based upon the obligations resting upon all states, large and small, not to use force in international relations except in the defense of law. The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the world
    • Harry S. Truman, Address Before a Joint Session of the US Congress (16 April 1945)
  • I believe that we have learned the importance of maintaining military strength as a means of preventing war. We have found that a sound military system is necessary in time of peace if we are to remain at peace. Aggressors in the past, relying on our apparent lack of military force, have unwisely precipitated war. Although they have been led to destruction by their misconception of our strength, we have paid a terrible price for our unpreparedness.
  • The recommendations I have made represent the most urgent steps toward securing the peace and preventing war. We must be ready to take every wise and necessary step to carry out this great purpose. This will require assistance to other nations. It will require an adequate and balanced military strength. We must be prepared to pay the price for peace, or assuredly we shall pay the price of war We in the United States remain determined to seek peace by every possible means, a just and honorable basis for the settlement of international issues.
    • Harry S. Truman, "Special Message to the Congress on the Threat to the Freedom of Europe" (17 March 1948)
  • The United States has a tremendous responsibility to act according to the measure of our power for good in the world. We have learned that we must earn the peace we seek just as we earned victory in the war, not by wishful thinking but by realistic effort. At no time in our history has unity among our people been so vital as it is at the present time. Unity of purpose, unity of effort, and unity of spirit are essential to accomplish the task before us.
    • Harry S. Truman, "Special Message to the Congress on the Threat to the Freedom of Europe" (17 March 1948)

V[edit]

  • Qui desiderat pacem, præparet bellum.
    • He who desires peace will prepare for war.
      • Vegetius, in Epitoma Rei Militaris Book III, End of Prologue; in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 588-91, this is suggested as perhaps the origin of the proverb Si vis pacem, para bellum. [In time of peace prepare for war.] A similar thought also in Dion Chrysostom. Livy. VI. 18. 7. Cornelius Nepos—Epaminondas. V. Statius—Thebais. VII. 554. Syrus—Maxims. 465.

U[edit]

  • Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.
    • Author unknown. Preamble to the constitution of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, UNESCO: Basic Documents, 7th ed., p. 9 (1965). The UNESCO office in Washington, D.C., has identified the author of this sentence both as Clement Richard Attlee, prime minister of Great Britain, and more recently as Archibald MacLeish, chairman of the American delegation to the London conference to draw up the UNESCO constitution, which was adopted in London on November 16, 1945.

W[edit]

  • My first wish is to see this plague to mankind banished from off the Earth, and the sons and Daughters of this world employed in more pleasing and innocent amusements, than in preparing implements and exercising them for the destruction of mankind: rather than quarrel about territory let the poor, the needy and oppressed of the Earth, and those who want Land, resort to the fertile plains of our western country, the second Promise, and there dwell in peace, fulfilling the first and great commandment.
    • George Washington, letter to David Humphreys (25 July 1785), published in The Writings of George Washington, edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, Vol. 28, pp. 202-3. The W. W. Abbot transcription (given at Founders Online) differs slightly:
      • My first wish is, to see this plague to Mankind banished from the Earth; & the Sons & daughters of this World employed in more pleasing & innocent amusements than in preparing implements, & exercising them for the destruction of the human race.
  • 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).
  • When earth as if on evil dreams
    Looks back upon her wars,
    And the white light of Christ outstreams
    From the red disc of Mars,
    His fame, who led the stormy van
    Of battle, well may cease;
    But never that which crowns the man
    Whose victory was peace.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A single inescapable fact; that mankind united with infinitely greater purpose in pursuit of war, than he ever did in pursuit of peace.

Z[edit]

  • Codification and mechanisms do not sufficiently ensure the right to peace. What is crucial is to develop a true culture of peace. This requires education for peace. Everyone – not only children – should be educated in compromise, cooperation, empathy, solidarity, compassion, restoration and reconciliation. In short, we must learn respect for others and how to live in harmony, even if we agree to disagree. Negotiation and mediation skills must be taught so as to prevent breaches of the peace and other forms of violence. A philosophical paradigm change is necessary, so that we are not caught in the old mind-set, in the prevailing culture of violence, the logic of war, aggressive attitudes, practices of economic exploitation and cultural imperialism.

Bible[edit]

The Bible on Wikiquote
  • They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
    • Isaiah, 2:4; also in Joel 3:10, and Micah 4:3
  • When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.

See also[edit]