Quotes about history

A collection of quotes on the topic of history, use, people, can.

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Werner Heisenberg photo

„After a great war, history is written by the victors and legends develop which glorify them.“

—  Werner Heisenberg German theoretical physicist 1901 - 1976

from p. 35 of "The Third Reich and The Atomic Bomb [Review of The Virus House by David Irving]" in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Pp. 34-35, June 1968), translated from the German by Margaret Seckel.

Jim Carrey photo

„I think we're past the time in history where you have to come out and say, "you know I'm just happy all the time! I'm a joker, I'm a crazy man!"“

—  Jim Carrey Canadian-American actor, comedian, and producer 1962

you know kind of thing. I think people understand I can turn that switch on but I'm also a sensitive, normal human being with feelings and I know how to express those too.
Fun with Dick & Jane: An Interview with Jim Carrey http://www.blackfilm.com/20051216/features/jimcarrey.shtml by Wilson Morales in Features, BlackFilm.com (December 2005)

Hannah Arendt photo
Chinua Achebe photo
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel photo

„What experience and history teach is this — that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.“

—  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, book Lectures on the Philosophy of History

Introduction, as translated by H. B. Nisbet (1975)
Variant translation: What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
Pragmatical (didactic) reflections, though in their nature decidedly abstract, are truly and indefeasibly of the Present, and quicken the annals of the dead Past with the life of to-day. Whether, indeed, such reflections are truly interesting and enlivening, depends on the writer's own spirit. Moral reflections must here be specially noticed, the moral teaching expected from history; which latter has not unfrequently been treated with a direct view to the former. It may be allowed that examples of virtue elevate the soul, and are applicable in the moral instruction of children for impressing excellence upon their minds. But the destinies of peoples and states, their interests, relations, and the complicated tissue of their affairs, present quite another field. Rulers, Statesmen, Nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history. But what experience and history teach is this, that peoples and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone. Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help. It is useless to revert to similar circumstances in the Past. The pallid shades of memory struggle in vain with the life and freedom of the Present.
Lectures on the History of History Vol 1 p. 6 John Sibree translation (1857), 1914
Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1832), Volume 1

Saddam Hussein photo
Bertolt Brecht photo

„Literary works cannot be taken over like factories, or literary forms of expression like industrial methods. Realist writing, of which history offers many widely varying examples, is likewise conditioned by the question of how, when and for what class it is made use of.“

—  Bertolt Brecht German poet, playwright, theatre director 1898 - 1956

"The Popular and the Realistic" (written 1938, published 1958), as translated in Brecht on Theatre (1964) edited and translated by John Willett.

Molière photo
Carl Sagan photo

„Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.“

—  Carl Sagan, book Pale Blue Dot

Source: Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (1994), p. 8, Supplemental image at randi.org http://www.randi.org/images/122801-BlueDot.jpg

Megan Marie Hart photo

„Jewish history is full of suffering and terrible sorrow. But it is also full of immeasurable joy. We honor the suffering through remembrance. We honor the joy through celebration.“

—  Megan Marie Hart American opera singer 1983

From "Persönliche Notiz", in the recital program for the opening event of festival year "100 days, 1700 years – Jewish life in Darmstadt". https://www.darmstadt-tourismus.de/en/visit/events/events/artikel/detail/juedisches-leben-in-darmstadt-festjahr-100-tage-1700-jahre.html Liedgut – Famous Musicians of Jewish Origin (2021), p. 2 http://web.archive.org/web/20210902070031/https://staatstheater-darmstadt.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/produktion/programmbuch/994?response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3D%22210831_PH_Liedgut_web.pdf%22&response-cache-control=public&X-Amz-Content-Sha256=UNSIGNED-PAYLOAD&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAUCI3T77LT4YWGJ7O%2F20210902%2Feu-central-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20210902T070031Z&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Expires=600&X-Amz-Signature=d36591acd16fc78b29808a50bfaf03d75dc5d97aaab1945548d8ad24040d4a9d.
Original: (de) Jüdische Geschichte ist voll von Leiden und schrecklichem Kummer. Aber sie ist auch voll von unermesslicher Freude. Wir ehren das Leiden durch Erinnern. Wir ehren die Freude durch Feiern.

Klemens von Metternich photo

„I made history and therefore did not find time to write it.“

—  Klemens von Metternich Austrian diplomat 1773 - 1859

Klemens von Metternich, “Mein Politisches Testament”, Aus Metternich’s Nachgelassenen Papieren, 7.Bd, hrsg., R. Metternich-Winneburg (Wien: Wilhelm Braumüller, 1883, pp.633-642.

Bernard Malamud photo

„I think I said "All men are Jews except they don't know it." I doubt I expected anyone to take the statement literally. But I think it's an understandable statement and a metaphoric way of indicating how history, sooner or later, treats all men.“

—  Bernard Malamud American author 1914 - 1986

"An Interview with Bernard Malamud", in Leslie A. Field and Joyce W. Field (eds.) Bernard Malamud: A Collection of Critical Essays (London: Prentice-Hall, 1975) p. 11

Kobe Bryant photo
Watchman Nee photo

„Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.“

—  Watchman Nee, book The Normal Christian Life

Source: The Normal Christian Life

Will Durant photo

„The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history.“

—  Will Durant, book The Story of Civilization

Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage page 459.
The Story of Civilization (1935–1975), I - Our Oriental Heritage (1935)
Context: The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.

Alfred Kinsey photo
Cate Blanchett photo

„Of course one worries about getting older - we're all fearful of death, let's not kid ourselves. I'm simply not panicking as my laugh lines grow deeper. Who wants a face with no history, no sense of humor?“

—  Cate Blanchett Australian actress 1969

11 Amazing Quotes From Cate Blanchett, Marie Claire, 13 November 2014 https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/marie-claire/news-and-views/celebrity/a/25503850/11-amazing-quotes-from-cate-blanchett/,

Francis Bacon photo
Rihanna photo
Citát „Poetry is written with tears, fiction with blood, and history with invisible ink.“
Carlos Ruiz Zafón photo
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel photo
Vera Rubin photo
Nathuram Godse photo
Martin Buber photo

„The prophet is appointed to oppose the king, and even more: history.“

—  Martin Buber German Jewish Existentialist philosopher and theologian 1878 - 1965

BBC radio broadcast (1962), as quoted in The Great Thoughts (1984) by George Seldes

Johnny Depp photo
Jacques-Yves Cousteau photo

„For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.“

—  Jacques-Yves Cousteau French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher 1910 - 1997

Norman Cousins photo

„A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas — a place where history comes to life.“

—  Norman Cousins American journalist 1915 - 1990

American Library Association Bulletin (Oct 1954).

Yuval Noah Harari photo
Koenraad Elst photo