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War & Peace


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Quotations

George SantayanaTo call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love.

—  George Santayana, 1863-1952, Spanish-American philosopher

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John KennedyMankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.

—  John Kennedy, 1917-1963, American President [1961-1963]

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George W. BushWhen I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive.

—  George W. Bush, 1946-, American President

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Golda MeirWe will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.

—  Golda Meir, 1898-1978, Israeli Prime Minister

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Cyril ConnollyPeace ... is a morbid condition, due to a surplus of civilians, which war seeks to remedy.

—  Cyril Connolly, 1903-1974, British writer

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HeraclitusWar is the father and king of all: some he has made gods, and some men; some slaves and some free.

—  Heraclitus, 544-484 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

NapoleonReligious wars are basically people killing each other over who has the better imaginary friend.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

Will DurantThere have been only 268 of the past 3,421 years free of war.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Winston ChurchillNever in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

     (about the pilots in the Battle of Britain, 1940)

Georges ClemenceauWar is much too serious a thing to be left to military men.

—  Georges Clemenceau, 1841-1929, French Prime Minister

Charles de GaulleFrance has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war.

—  Charles de Gaulle, 1890-1970, French President

G. K. ChestertonThe true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

—  G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1936, English writer & critic

Sun TzuAll warfare is based on deception.

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Sun TzuThe supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Sun TzuSo in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Albert EinsteinI know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

—  Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, German-Jewish physicist

Sun TzuThe art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Ferdinand FochIt takes 15,000 casualties to train a major general.

—  Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929, French field marshal

William PrescottDon't one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

—  William Prescott, American general

NapoleonIn war, groping tactics, half-way measures, lose everything.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

NapoleonAn army marches on its stomach.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

NapoleonChanging from the defensive to the offensive, is one of the most delicate operations in war.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

NapoleonIn a battle, as in a siege, the art consists in concentrating very heavy fire on a particular point.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

NapoleonIn war, character and opinion make more than half of the reality.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

NapoleonThe battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

NapoleonWar is a lottery in which nations ought to risk nothing but small amounts.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

NapoleonWar is the business of barbarians.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

Winston ChurchillBefore Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

     (referring to the victory over the Germans at the Second Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, in 1942)

Winston ChurchillBritain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

     (to Neville Chamberlain after the Munich accords, 1938)

Winston ChurchillIn War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace: Good Will.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

Winston ChurchillThe wars of people will be more terrible than those of kings.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

Winston ChurchillThose who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

Winston ChurchillWe are waiting for the long-promised invasion. So are the fishes.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

Sun TzuWhat is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations.

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Sun TzuThere is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Sun TzuSpeed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Otto von BismarckPreventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death.

—  Otto von Bismarck, 1815-1898, German chancellor

Otto von BismarckOne day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.

—  Otto von Bismarck, 1815-1898, German chancellor

     (prediction of 1888)

Otto von BismarckThe Balkans aren't worth the life of a single Pomeranian grenadier.

—  Otto von Bismarck, 1815-1898, German chancellor

Otto von BismarckAnyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.

—  Otto von Bismarck, 1815-1898, German chancellor

Benjamin FranklinThere never was a good war or a bad peace.

—  Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, American politician & writer

H.L. MenckenA nation too long at peace becomes a sort of gigantic old maid.

—  H.L. Mencken, 1880-1956, American columnist & cultural critic

Jean-Paul SartreWhen the rich make war, it's the poor that die.

—  Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, French philosopher

Vladimir LeninDisarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society.

—  Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924, Soviet revolutionary & leader

George OrwellAs I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.

—  George Orwell, 1903-1950, British writer

George OrwellEvery war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.

—  George Orwell, 1903-1950, British writer

George OrwellIt is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propaganda-tours.

—  George Orwell, 1903-1950, British writer

     (from “Homage to Catalonia”, 1938)

George OrwellThe quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.

—  George Orwell, 1903-1950, British writer

Georges ClemenceauIt is easier to make war than make peace.

—  Georges Clemenceau, 1841-1929, French Prime Minister

Georges ClemenceauWar is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory.

—  Georges Clemenceau, 1841-1929, French Prime Minister

Georges ClemenceauMy home policy: I wage war. My foreign policy: I wage war. All the time I wage war.

—  Georges Clemenceau, 1841-1929, French Prime Minister

Kurt VonnegutWar is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.

—  Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007, American writer

Niccolò MachiavelliThe Romans, foreseeing troubles, dealt with them at once... for they knew that war is not to be avoided, but is only put off to the advantage of others.

—  Niccolò Machiavelli, 1469-1527, Italian political philosopher

Niccolò MachiavelliWars begin when you will, but they do not end when you please.

—  Niccolò Machiavelli, 1469-1527, Italian political philosopher

Ferdinand FochThis is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.

—  Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929, French field marshal

     (on the Treaty of Versailles)

Ferdinand FochThe unknown is the governing principle of war.

—  Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929, French field marshal

John DrydenWar is the trade of Kings.

—  John Dryden, 1631-1700, English poet

Charles de GaulleFrance was built with swords. The fleur-de-lis, symbol of national unity, is only the image of a spear with three pikes.

—  Charles de Gaulle, 1890-1970, French President

Charles de GaulleI predict you will sink step by step into a bottomless quagmire, however much you spend in men and money.

—  Charles de Gaulle, 1890-1970, French President

     (on Vietnam War)

Ernest HemingwayNever think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.

—  Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, American writer, Nobel 1954

Carl SandburgSomeday they'll give a war and nobody will come.

—  Carl Sandburg, 1878-1967, American poet

Victor HugoPeace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.

—  Victor Hugo, 1802-1885, French writer

Will DurantThucydides, in a sentence that explains much history: “The Peloponnesus and Athens were both full of young men whose inexperience made them eager to take up arms.”

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Will DurantIt is war that makes the chief, the king and the state, just as it is these that make war.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Will DurantProperty was the mother, war was the father, of the state.

—  Will Durant, 1885-1981, American historian & philosopher

Martin Luther KingWe must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.

—  Martin Luther King, 1929-1968, American leader in the Civil Rights Movement

Douglas MacArthurIn war there is no substitute for victory.

—  Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964, American general

Douglas MacArthurIt is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.

—  Douglas MacArthur, 1880-1964, American general

George SantayanaOnly the dead have seen the end of war.

—  George Santayana, 1863-1952, Spanish-American philosopher

Adolf HitlerThe god of war has gone over to the other side.

—  Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945, German dictator

     (after Stalingrad)

George WashingtonReal men despise battle, but will never run from it.

—  George Washington, 1732-1799, the first American President

Thomas JeffersonEvery citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.

—  Thomas Jefferson, 1749-1826, American President [1801-1809]

Dwight EisenhowerWhen people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.

—  Dwight Eisenhower, 1890-1969, American general & President

Dwight EisenhowerYou just can't have this kind of war. There aren't enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the streets.

—  Dwight Eisenhower, 1890-1969, American general & President

     (speaking about nuclear war)

Dwight EisenhowerThe only way to win World War III is to prevent it.

—  Dwight Eisenhower, 1890-1969, American general & President

Dwight EisenhowerThere is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.

—  Dwight Eisenhower, 1890-1969, American general & President

Dwight EisenhowerNever send a battalion to take a hill if a regiment is available.

—  Dwight Eisenhower, 1890-1969, American general & President

Dwight EisenhowerThe most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield.

—  Dwight Eisenhower, 1890-1969, American general & President

Harry TrumanIf we do not abolish war on this earth, then surely one day war will abolish us from the earth.

—  Harry Truman, 1884-1972, American President [1945-1953]

Harry TrumanThe absence of war is not peace.

—  Harry Truman, 1884-1972, American President [1945-1953]

NapoleonOn s'engage et puis on voit.

We encage and then we see.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

     (in battle)

George W. BushOne of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.

—  George W. Bush, 1946-, American President

Vladimir LeninThe so-called Great Powers have long been exploiting and enslaving a whole number of small and weak nations. And the imperialist war is a war for the division and redivision of this kind of booty.

—  Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924, Soviet revolutionary & leader

Eleanor RooseveltNo one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.

—  Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, American politician & wife of the 32nd USA president

     (last war, then, was WW I)

Franklin RooseveltWar is young men dying and old men talking.

—  Franklin Roosevelt, 1882-1945, American President [1936-1945]

Margaret ThatcherBut if Saddam had been in a position credibly to threaten America or any of its allies – or the coalition's forces – with attack by missiles with nuclear warheads, would we have gone to the Gulf at all?

—  Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013, British Prime Minister

Adolf HitlerFor the sake of historical truth I must verify that only the Greeks, of all the adversaries who confronted us, fought with bold courage and highest disregard of death.

—  Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945, German dictator

     (speech before the Reichstag, 4 May 1941)

Eleanor RooseveltIt isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.

—  Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, American politician & wife of the 32nd USA president

NapoleonThe art of war consists in being always able, even with an inferior army, to have stronger forces than the enemy at the point of attack or the point which is attacked.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

William ShakespeareCry “Havoc,” and let slip the dogs of war.

—  William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet & playwright ‐ Julius Caesar

Ferdinand FochThe military mind always imagines that the next war will be on the same lines as the last. That has never been the case and never will be.

—  Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929, French field marshal

NapoleonAn army which cannot be reinforced is already defeated.

—  Napoleon, 1769-1821, French Emperor

Ferdinand FochMy center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking.

—  Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929, French field marshal

     (message to Marshal Joseph Joffre during the 1st Battle of the Marne, Sep 1914)

Karl KrausWar: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that the enemy too is suffering; in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost.

—  Karl Kraus, 1874-1936, Austrian writer

Sun TzuAll warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are nea

—  Sun Tzu, c. 5th cent. BC, Chinese general & military strategist

Winston ChurchillWe shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall f

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953


Latin Quotes

CiceroMoneys is the soul of war.

Pecunia nervus belli.

—  Cicero, 106-43 BC, Roman orator & statesman

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HoraceWar hated by mothers…

Bellaque matribus detestata…

—  Horace, 65-8 BC, Roman poet

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CiceroLaw stands mute in the midst of arms.

Inter arma silent leges.

—  Cicero, 106-43 BC, Roman orator & statesman

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Quotes in Verse

John DrydenWar seldom enters but where wealth allures.

—  John Dryden, 1631-1700, English poet


Funny Quotes

Ambrose BierceWar is God's way of teaching Americans geography.

—  Ambrose Bierce, 1842–1914, American writer


Stupid Quotes

George W. BushThis notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table

—  George W. Bush, 1946-, American President

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Ferdinand FochAirplanes are interesting toys but without military value.

—  Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929, French field marshal

     (said it in 1911, before WW I)

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George W. BushI just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.

—  George W. Bush, 1946-, American President

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David Lloyd GeorgeBelieve me, Germany is unable to wage war.

—  David Lloyd George, 1863-1945, British Prime Minister [1916-1922]

     (said it in 1934)


Ancient Greek

ThucydidesWar is a matter not so much of arms as of expenditure.

Έστιν ο πόλεμος ουχ όπλων το πλέον, αλλά δαπάνης.

—  Thucydides, 460-394 BC, Ancient Greek historian

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HeraclitusWar is the father and king of all: some he has made gods, and some men; some slaves and some free.

Πόλεμος πάντων μεν πατήρ εστί, πάντων δε βασιλεύς. Και τους μεν θεούς έδειξε, τους δε ανθρώπους, τους μεν δούλους εποίησε, τους δε ελευθέρους.

—  Heraclitus, 544-484 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

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ThucydidesWar is a violent teacher.

Ο δε πόλεμος... βίαιος διδάσκαλος.

—  Thucydides, 460-394 BC, Ancient Greek historian

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PindarGold is the nerves of the war.

Νεύρα πολέμου χρυσός.

—  Pindar, 522-438 BC, Ancient Greek lyric poet

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PindarWar is sweet to those who have no experience of it.

Γλυκύ δ᾽απείρῳ πόλεμος.

—  Pindar, 522-438 BC, Ancient Greek lyric poet


Movie Quotes

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)Do not speak to me of rules. This is war! This is not a game of cricket!

—  from the film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

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