Quotes about war

A collection of quotes on the topic of war.

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Charles Bukowski photo
John Lennon photo

„We're trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it's the only way to get people aware that peace is possible, and it isn't just inevitable to have violence. Not just war — all forms of violence.“

—  John Lennon English singer and songwriter 1940 - 1980

Interview on The David Frost Show (14 June 1969)
Context: We're trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it's the only way to get people aware that peace is possible, and it isn't just inevitable to have violence. Not just war — all forms of violence. People just accept it and think 'Oh, they did it, or Harold Wilson did it, or Nixon did it,' they're always scapegoating people. And it isn't Nixon's fault. We're all responsible for everything that goes on, you know, we're all responsible for Biafra and Hitler and everything. So we're just saying "SELL PEACE" — anybody interested in peace just stick it in the window. It's simple but it lets somebody else know that you want peace too, because you feel alone if you're the only one thinking 'wouldn't it be nice if there was peace and nobody was getting killed.' So advertise yourself that you're for peace if you believe in it.

Richard Strauss photo

„Declarations about war and politics are not fitting for an artist, who must give his attention to his creations and his works.“

—  Richard Strauss German composer and orchestra director 1864 - 1949

Quotation made in an article published in 1914. Strauss had refused to sign the Manifesto of German artists and intellectuals supporting the German role in the war. Other signatories included Strauss' friends and colleagues, such as Max Reinhardt, Richard Dehmel, Max Liebermann, Engelbert Humperdink and Felix Wiengartner. The original article quoting Strauss was by Richard Specht, and is quoted by Romain Rolland in his diary entry, found on page 160 of Richard Strauss and Romain Rolland, edited by Rollo Myers, Calder and boyars, London, 1989.
Other sources

Hermann Göring photo

„The Russians are primitive folk. Besides, Bolshevism is something that stifles individualism and which is against my inner nature. Bolshevism is worse than National Socialism — in fact, it can't be compared to it. Bolshevism is against private property, and I am all in favor of private property. Bolshevism is barbaric and crude, and I am fully convinced that that atrocities committed by the Nazis, which incidentally I knew nothing about, were not nearly as great or as cruel as those committed by the Communists. I hate the Communists bitterly because I hate the system. The delusion that all men are equal is ridiculous. I feel that I am superior to most Russians, not only because I am a German but because my cultural and family background are superior. How ironic it is that crude Russian peasants who wear the uniforms of generals now sit in judgment on me. No matter how educated a Russian might be, he is still a barbaric Asiatic. Secondly, the Russian generals and the Russian government planned a war against Germany because we represented a threat to them ideologically. In the German state, I was the chief opponent of Communism. I admit freely and proudly that it was I who created the first concentration camps in order to put Communists in them. Did I ever tell you that funny story about how I sent to Spain a ship containing mainly bricks and stones, under which I put a single layer of ammunition which had been ordered by the Red government in Spain? The purpose of that ship was to supply the waning Red government with munitions. That was a good practical joke and I am proud of it because I wanted with all my heart to see Russian Communism in Spain defeated finally.“

—  Hermann Göring German politician and military leader 1893 - 1946

To Leon Goldensohn (28 May 1946)
The Nuremberg Interviews (2004)

Hermann Göring photo
Hermann Göring photo

„Why, of course, the people don't want war.“

—  Hermann Göring German politician and military leader 1893 - 1946

In an interview with Gilbert in Göring's jail cell during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (18 April 1946) http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.asp
Nuremberg Diary (1947)
Context: p> Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.</p

Hermann Göring photo

„Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.“

—  Hermann Göring German politician and military leader 1893 - 1946

In an interview with Gilbert in Göring's jail cell during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (18 April 1946) http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.asp
Nuremberg Diary (1947)
Context: p> Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.</p

Hermann Göring photo
John Dewey photo

„The only way to abolish war is to make peace heroic.“

—  John Dewey American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer 1859 - 1952

James Hinton, Philosophy and Religion: Selections from the Manuscripts of the Late James Hinton, ed. Caroline Haddon, (2nd ed., London: 1884), [//books.google.com/books?id=DpxRAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA267 p. 267].
Widely misattributed on the internet to Dewey, who actually attributes it to Hinton in Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology (New York: 1922), [//books.google.com/books?id=Ws0RAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA115 p. 115].
Misattributed

Golda Meir photo

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Carl von Clausewitz photo

„War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.“

—  Carl von Clausewitz, book On War

Variant: War Is Merely the Continuation of Policy by Other Means
Source: On War (1832), Book 1, Chapter 1, Section 24, in the Princeton University Press translation (1976)
Variant translation: War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.
Context: War Is Merely the Continuation of Policy by Other Means
We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means.

Augustus photo
Otto von Bismarck photo

„My dear Professor, a war would have cost us at least 30,000 brave soldiers, and at best we should have gained nothing by it. Besides, anyone who has once looked into the glassy eyes of a dying warrior on the battle-field would think twice before beginning a war.“

—  Otto von Bismarck German statesman, Chancellor of Germany 1815 - 1898

Mein lieber Professor, ein solcher Krieg hätte uns wenigstens 30,000 Mann brave Soldaten gekostet, und uns im besten Falle keinen Gewinn gebracht. Wer aber nur ein Mal in das brechende Auge eines sterbenden Kriegers auf dem Schlachtfeld geblickt hat, der besinnt sich, bevor er einen Krieg anfängt.
In June 1867, protecting the Treaty of London
1860s

Joan Baez photo
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada photo
Dick Winters photo
Harry Truman photo

„If wars in the future are to be prevented the nations must be united in their determination to keep the peace under law.“

—  Harry Truman American politician, 33rd president of the United States (in office from 1945 to 1953) 1884 - 1972

Address to Congress (1945)
Context: If wars in the future are to be prevented the nations must be united in their determination to keep the peace under law.
Nothing is more essential to the future peace of the world than continued cooperation of the nations which had to muster the force necessary to defeat the conspiracy of the Axis powers to dominate the world.
While these great states have a special responsibility to enforce the peace, their responsibility is based upon the obligations resting upon all states, large and small, not to use force in international relations except in the defense of law. The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the world.

Adolf Hitler photo

„When diplomacy ends, War begins.“

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

Норман Шварцкопф photo

„The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. “

—  Норман Шварцкопф United States Army general and first superintendent of the New Jersey State Police 1895 - 1958

Sun Tzu photo

„The true objective of war is peace.“

—  Sun Tzu ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher from the Zhou Dynasty -543 - -495 BC

This attributed to Sun Tzu and his book The Art of War. Actually James Clavell’s foreword in The Art of War http://www.scribd.com/doc/42222505/The-Art-Of-War states http://www.collegetermpapers.com/TermPapers/History_Other/Sun_Tzu_vs_The_Wisdom_of_the_Desert.shtml, “’the true object of war is peace.’” Therefore the quote is stated by James Clavell, but the true origin of Clavell's quotation is unclear. Nonetheless the essence of the quote, that a long war exhausts a state and therefore ultimately seeking peace is in the interest of the warring state, is true, as Sun Tzu in Chapter II Waging Wars says that "There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on." This has been interpreted by Lionel Giles http://www.dutchjoens.info/SunTzu%20-%20Art%20of%20War.pdf as "Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realize the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing it to a close."
Dr. Hiroshi Hatanaka, President of Kobe College, Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, Japan is recorded as saying "the real objective of war is peace" in Pacific Stars and Stripes Ryukyu Edition, Tokyo, Japan (10 February 1949), Page 2, Column 2.
Misattributed

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