— Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955
Quotes about war
A collection of quotes on the topic of war.Related topics
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„I eagerly await tomorrow's mail to have news of Russia and Poland. For now, I have to content myself with a few vague rumors which float around. I have heard about new, bloody skirmishes in Poland between the people and troops; I was told that, even in Russia, there was a conspiracy against the czar and the whole royal family.
I am equally passionate about the struggle between the North and the Southern American states. Of course, my heart goes out to the North. But alas! It is the South who acted with the most force, wisdom, and solidarity, which makes them worthy of the triumph they have received in every encounter so far. It is true that the South has been preparing for war for three years now, while the North has been forced to improvise. The surprising success of the ventures of the American people, for the most part happy; the banality of the material well being, where the heart is absent; and the national vanity, altogether infantile and sustained with very little cost; all seem to have helped deprave these people, and perhaps this stubborn struggle will be beneficial to them in so much as it helps the nation regain its lost soul. This is my first impression; but it could very well be that I will change my mind upon seeing things up close. The only thing is, I will not have enough time to examine really closely.“
— Mikhail Bakunin Russian revolutionary, philosopher, and theorist of collectivist anarchism 1814 - 1876
Letter http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bakunin/letters/toherzenandogareff.html to Aleksandr Ivanovich Herzen and Ogareff from San Francisco (3 October 1861); published in Correspondance de Michel Bakounine (1896) edited by Michel Dragmanov
„The people's community must not be a mere phrase, but a revolutionary achievement following from the radical carrying out of the basic life needs of the working class. A ruthless battle against corruption! A war against exploitation, freedom for the workers! The elimination of all economic-capitalist influences on national policy. Maintaining a rotten economic system has nothing to do with nationalism, which is an affirmation of the Fatherland. The sin of liberal thinking was to overlook socialism’s nation-building strengths, thereby allowing its energies to go in anti-national directions.“
— Joseph Goebbels Nazi politician and Propaganda Minister 1897 - 1945
https://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/haken32.htm “Those Damn Nazis: Why Are We Socialists?”
Written by Joseph Goebbels and Mjölnir, Die verfluchten Hakenkreuzler. Etwas zum Nachdenken (Munich: Verlag Frz. Eher (1932). “Those Damned Nazis,” (Nazi propaganda pamphlet).
„One day my grandson said to me, grandpa were you a hero in the war? And i said to him no I'm not a hero, but I have served in a company full of them.“
— Dick Winters American military personnel 1918 - 2011
„When the war started in Abyssinia all Negro nationalists looked with hope to Haile Selassie. They spoke for him, they prayed for him, they sung for him, they did everything to hold up his hands, as Aaron did for Moses; but whilst the Negro peoples of the world were praying for the success of Abyssinia this little Emperor was undermining the fabric of his own kingdom by playing the fool with white men, having them advising him[, ] having them telling him what to do, how to surrender, how to call off the successful thrusts of his [Race] against the Italian invaders. Yes, they were telling him how to prepare his flight, and like an imbecilic child he followed every advice and then ultimately ran away from his country to England, leaving his people to be massacred by the Italians, and leaving the serious white world to laugh at every Negro and repeat the charge and snare - "he is incompetent," "we told you so." Indeed Haile Selassie has proved the incompetence of the Negro for political authority, but thank God there are Negroes who realise that Haile Selassie did not represent the truest qualities of the Negro race. How could he, when he wanted to play white? How could he, when he surrounded himself with white influence? How could he, when in a modern world, and in a progressive civilization, he preferred a slave State of black men than a free democratic country where the black citizens could rise to the same opportunities as white citizens in their democracies?“
— Marcus Garvey Jamaica-born British political activist, Pan-Africanist, orator, and entrepreneur 1887 - 1940
The Failure of Haile Selassie as Emperor in The Blackman, April, 1937.
„At the ceremony of signing the decoration I met Field-Marshal Montgomery for the first time. During the war I had closely followed the actions of British troops under his command. In 1940 the British Expeditionary Corps had sustained a disastrous setback at Dunkirk. Later, British troops under Montgomery's command had smashed the German corps under General Rommel at El Alamein. During the Normandy landing Montgomery had ably commanded the Allied forces and their advance to the banks of the Seine. Montgomery was above medium height, very agile, soldierly, trim and created an impression of a lively and intelligent man. He began to talk about the operations at El Alamein and at Stalingrad. In his view the two operations were of equal significance. I did not want to belittle the merits of the British troops, but still I had to explain to him that the El Alamein operation was carried out on an army scale, while at Stalingrad the operation engaged a group of fronts and it had a vast strategic importance- it resulted in the rout of a maor enemy force in the area of the Volga and Don rivers and later, in the North Caucasus. It was an operation that actually marked a radical turning-point in the war and ensured the retreat of the German forces from our country.“
— Georgy Zhukov Marshal of the Soviet Union 1896 - 1974
„We keep falling into the same ditches, you know? I mean, we learn more and more about the physical universe, more about our own bodies, more technology, but somehow, down through history, we go on building empires of one kind or another, then destroying them in one way or another. We go on having stupid wars that we justify and get passionate about, but in the end, all they do is kill huge numbers of people, maim others, impoverish still more, spread disease and hunger, and set the stage for the next war. And when we look at all of that in history, we just shrug our shoulders and say, well, that’s the way things are. That’s the way things always have been.“
Source: Parable of the Talents (1998), Chapter 20 (p. 392)
„Hitler had the willpower of a demon and he needed it. If he didn't have such a strong willpower he couldn't have achieved anything. Don't forget, if Hitler had not lost the war, if he did not have to fight against the combination of big powers like England, America, and Russia — each one he could have conquered individually — these defendants and these generals would now be saying, 'Heil Hitler,' and would not be so damn critical.“
— Hermann Göring German politician and military leader 1893 - 1946
To Leon Goldensohn (24 May 1946)
The Nuremberg Interviews (2004)
„If and when the war starts(WW2), no matter where or whoever you are or if you are young or old, Northner or Southner, you all have the responsibility of protecting our home and repelling the enemy, you all must have the will to achieve ultimate sacrifice.“
— Chiang Kai-shek Chinese politician and military leader 1887 - 1975
„We have lost a battle, but I assure to you that we will not lose the war! I cannot say more at the present moment although I know the losses are crowded in your minds. That this happened does not hold importance. What counts is not to lose confidence in the future of Germany. At the same time everyone must understand the gravity of the situation. This moment will be enough to distinguish the true men from the inept ones. Every soldier has the same responsibilities: if the advancing one falls, another must be ready to take his place in order to go on.“
— Walter Model German field marshal 1891 - 1945
September 3 1944, <Appeal to the Soldiers of the Army of the West>. Quoted in "Rückzug: The German Retreat from France, 1944" - Page 191 - by Joachim Ludewig - 2012
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„We are acting for those who are trying to free themselves from terror and violence. And if no means other than war remains for them, then we are for their war. And we are against those who escalate their terror up to the use of nuclear weapons, something currently being discussed in regard to Vietnam.“
— Ulrike Meinhof German left-wing militant 1934 - 1976
Stefan Aust, Terrorism in Germany: The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon http://www.ghi-dc.org/files/publications/bulletin/bu043/45.pdf
„Your coarse impudence in making me a proposition to employ my sword in a civil war is simply incomprehensible.“
— José de San Martín Argentine general and independence leader 1778 - 1850
Response of a request by José de la Riva Agüero for support in a revolution against the Peruvian congress in 1823, as quoted in 'Captain of the Andes : The Life of José de San Martín, Liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru (1943) by Margaret Hayne Harrison, p. 201
Context: Your coarse impudence in making me a proposition to employ my sword in a civil war is simply incomprehensible. You insolent scoundrel! Do you realize it has never been dipped in American blood?
„In the battle that is philosophy all the techniques of war, including looting and camouflage, are permissible.“
— Louis Althusser French political philosopher 1918 - 1990
Source: Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists: And Other Essays
„I'm the most sampled and stolen. What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine, too … I got a song about that … But I'm never gonna release it. Don't want a war with the rappers. If it wasn't good, they wouldn't steal it.“
— James Brown American singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist 1933 - 2006
"Being James Brown," Rolling Stone Magazine, 2006-06-12.
„Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat the enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war.“
Source: On War (1832), Book 1, Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 1.
Context: Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat the enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed: War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst.
„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.
„Formerly when great fortunes were only made in war, war was a business; but now, when great fortunes are only made by business, business is war.“
— Christian Nestell Bovee American writer 1820 - 1904
Source: Intuitions and Summaries of Thought (1862), Volume I, p. 82.
„What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa?“
— W.E.B. Du Bois American sociologist, historian, activist and writer 1868 - 1963
„War: a massacre of people who don't know each other for the profit of people who know each other but don't massacre each other.“
— Paul Valéry French poet, essayist, and philosopher 1871 - 1945
La guerre, c'est un massacre de gens qui ne se connaissent pas, au profit de gens qui se connaissent, mais ne se massacrent pas.
Bizarre, issues 24-31 (1962), p. 102