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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.

See alsoEdit

Quotes Edit

  • My voice is still for war.
  • From hence, let fierce contending nations know
    What dire effects from civil discord flow.
  • 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."
  • 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
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • "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."
  • Justa bella quibus necessaria.
    • Wars are just to those to whom they are necessary.
    • Quoted by Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1890).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 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.
  • War is something absurd, useless, that nothing can justify.
    • Louis de Cazenave, french veteran of World War I, in [1] BBC News report (2005)]
  • In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.
  • To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise,
    Kings would not play at.
  • War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
    Honour but an empty bubble.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • War will not end until all of the violent people are killed.
  • 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.
  • Datos, ne quisquam seruiat, enses.
    • The sword was given for this, that none need live a slave.
  • Luke: I'm looking for a great warrior.
    Yoda: Great warrior. [Laughs] Wars not make one great.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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" Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 24, Issue 143 (April 1862), page 683-684
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • "When there's a war around take the day off, that's my motto."
  • 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
  • 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.
  • How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!
  • Only the dead have seen the end of war.
    • George Santayana, Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies (1922); this is often misattributed to Plato
  • 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!
  • 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
  • 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.
  • But what most showed the vanity of life
    Was to behold the nations all on fire.
  • "Victory after all, I suppose!" he said, feeling his aching head. "Well, it seems a very gloomy business."
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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 unavailing 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.
  • Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
  • Arma virumque cano.
    • Arms and the man I sing.
    • Virgil, Æneid (c. 29-19 BC), Book I, 1.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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].

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 841-60.
  • It would be superfluous in me to point out to your Lordship that this is war.
  • 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.
  • Fighting men are the city's fortress.
  • Fifty-four forty (54° 40´ N.), or fight.
    • William Allen, in the U. S. Senate, on the Oregon Boundary Question (1844).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All quiet along the Potomac.
    • Proverbial in 1861–62. Supposed to have originated with Gen. McClellan.
  • 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.
  • Gaily! gaily! close our ranks!
    Arm! Advance!
    Hope of France!
    Gaily! gaily! close our ranks!
    Onward! Onward! Gauls and Franks!
  • 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.
  • It is magnificent, but it is not war.
    • General Pierre Bosquet, on the Charge of the Light Brigade. Attributed also to Marshal Canrobert.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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!
  • Dieu est d'ordinaire pour les gros escadrons centre 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Hence jarring sectaries may learn
    Their real interest to discern;
    That brother should not war with brother,
    And worry and devour each other.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • All delays are dangerous in war.
  • 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).
  • There is no discharge in that war.
    • Ecclesiastes, VIII. 8.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Ares (the God of War) hates those who hesitate.
  • 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.
  • There never was a good war or a bad peace.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sufficeth this to prove my theme withal,
    That every bullet hath a lighting place.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off.
    • Job, XXXIX. 25.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.
    • Judges, XVI. 9.
  • The people arose as one man.
    • Judges, XX. 8.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One month too late.
    • Von Linsingen's remark when told of Italy's declaration of war against Austria in Great War.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Take up our quarrel with the foe!
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    • If ye break faith with us who die
      We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders' fields.
    • John McCrae, In Flanders' Fields (We shall not Sleep).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • We want no war of conquest…. War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed.
  • The warpipes are pealing, "The Campbells are coming."
    They are charging and cheering. O dinna ye hear it?
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • And, though the warrior's sun has set,
    Its light shall linger round us yet,
    Bright, radiant, blest.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • No war or battle sound
    Was heard the world around.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Providence is always on the side of the last reserve.
    • Attributed to Napoleon I.
  • Baptism of fire.
    • Napoleon III in a letter to the Empress Eugenie after Saarbruecken. Referring to the experience of the Prince Imperial.
  • 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.
  • A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers;
    There was lack of woman's nursing, there was dearth of woman's tears.
  • March to the battle-field,
    The foe is now before us;
    Each heart is Freedom's shield,
    And heaven is shining o'er us.
  • "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.
  • Adjuvat in bello pacatæ ramus olivæ.
    • In war the olive branch of peace is of use.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, I. 1. 31.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Hell, Heaven or Hoboken by Christmas.
    • Attributed to General John Joseph Pershing. (1918).
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • It is the province of kings to bring wars about; it is the province of God to end them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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!"
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • [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.
  • Celuy qui fuit de bonne heure
    Peut combattre derechef.
    • He who flies at the right time can fight again.
    • Satyre Menippée. (1594).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Every shot has its commission, d'ye see? We must all die at one time, as the saying is.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • War, that mad game the world so loves to play.
  • 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.
  • A little more grape, Captain Bragg.
  • 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.
    • It becomes a wise man to try negotiation before arms.
    • Terence, Eunuchus, V. 1. 19.
  • 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.
  • Fight the good fight of faith.
    • I Timothy, VI. 12.
  • 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.
  • This is the soldier brave enough to tell
    The glory-dazzled world that "war is hell."
  • 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. Also said by Marshal 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I will die in the last ditch. (Dyke.)
    • William of Orange. Hume—History of England, Chapter XLIII.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 quotations in fictionEdit

  • "War... War never changes."
    • Narrator in the Fallout series of games
  • 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."
    • 1st Sergeant Welsh in The Thin Red Line
  • "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."
  • "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.
  • "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."
    • Lt. William Holt, Medal of Honor European Assault

See alsoEdit

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