Quotes about combat

A collection of quotes on the topic of fight.

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Jeremy Clarkson photo
Joseph Brodsky photo

„Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse“

—  Joseph Brodsky Russian and American poet and Nobel Prize for Literature laureate 1940 - 1996

Louis Zamperini photo
Oliver Goldsmith photo

„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.“

—  Oliver Goldsmith Irish physician and writer 1728 - 1774

The Art of Poetry on a New Plan (1761), vol. ii. p. 147.
The saying "he who fights and runs away may live to fight another day" dates at least as far back as Menander (ca. 341–290 B.C.), Gnomai Monostichoi, aphorism #45: ἀνήρ ὁ ϕɛύγων καὶ ράλίν μαχήɛṯαί (a man who flees will fight again). The Attic Nights (book 17, ch. 21) of Aulus Gellius (ca. 125–180 A.D.) indicates it was already widespread in the second century: "...the orator Demosthenes sought safety in flight from the battlefield, and when he was bitterly taunted with his flight, he jestingly replied in the well-known verse: The man who runs away will fight again".

Kobe Bryant photo
Tom Jones photo

„When I was younger I got into fights with my brother. Now I’m older, I can’t get into any bother… now if I explode, I’m the one who’s going to die. I’m an old man.“

—  Tom Jones Welsh singer 1940

Source: "Tom Jones: 'I have a temper that frightens me'" http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2012-04-28/tom-jones-i-have-a-temper-that-frightens-me, Radio Times, 28 April 2012.

Brigham Young photo
Winston S. Churchill photo

„Hence, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks.“

—  Winston S. Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1874 - 1965

Allegedly said regarding a Greek victory over Italian invaders, but without a documented source.
Disputed

Dmitri Shostakovich photo

„What can be considered human emotions? Surely not only lyricism, sadness, tragedy? Doesn't laughter also have a claim to that lofty title? I want to fight for the legitimate right of laughter in "serious" music.“

—  Dmitri Shostakovich Russian composer and pianist 1906 - 1975

From an article in Sovetskoye Iskusstvo, November 5, 1934; translation from Laurel Fay Shostakovich: A Life (2000) p. 77.

Adolf Hitler photo

„For them, the mere pledge of "I believe" is not enough, but rather the oath: "I fight!"“

—  Adolf Hitler Führer and Reich Chancellor of Germany, Leader of the Nazi Party 1889 - 1945

Speech from the Sixth Nazi Party Congress, Nuremberg; September 8th, 1934 https://web.archive.org/web/20150605015000/http://campbellmgold.com/archive_esoteric/hitler_closing_speech_triumph_of_the_will.pdf.
Video footage of this quotation can be found in the film Triumph of the Will
1930s
Context: It shall always be only a fraction of the people who stand out as truly active fighters, and more is expected from them than from the millions of their fellow countrymen. For them, the mere pledge of "I believe" is not enough, but rather the oath: "I fight!"

Adolf Hitler photo

„Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live.“

—  Adolf Hitler, book Mein Kampf

Variant: He who would live must fight. He who doesn't wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.
Source: Mein Kampf

Adolf Hitler photo
Josip Broz Tito photo
Alok Vaid-Menon photo
Anthony Kiedis photo
Frank Zappa photo

„In the fight between you and the world, back the world.“

—  Frank Zappa American musician, songwriter, composer, and record and film producer 1940 - 1993

Franz Kafka, Betrachtungen [Reflections], Number 52, (c. 1917)
Misattributed

Kurt Cobain photo
Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein photo

„The United States has broken the second rule of war. That is: don't go fighting with your land army on the mainland in Asia. Rule One is, don't march on Moscow. I developed those two rules myself.“

—  Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein British Army officer, Commander of Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein 1887 - 1976

Interview, 2 July, 1968; quoted in New York Times, 3 July, 1968, p. 6.