ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Quotations about War and Peace

Updated on January 30, 2015
Colleen Swan profile image

A lover of the written word Colleen has a Master's degree in English literature and enjoys finding unique and poignant quotes

The boy soldier plays war games
The boy soldier plays war games | Source

Our children are led to believe that military conflict is glamorous

As a child I was excited when hearing about the Second World War. My dad was a soldier fighting in North Africa, but he never spoke of his experiences. I later heard that he was the only survivor to escape from a burning tank. He had to listen to the remaining tank crew screaming whilst their bodies exploded and fried in the flames. I once saw the scars of bullet holes in my dad’s stomach and chest; they had missed his heart. That’s why he never had the heart to tell glamorous stories; there was nothing good to tell. Martin Donne

Peacemakers may be blessed in heaven but on earth theirs is a thankless task. Jen Blair

The sound of the drum drives out thought; for that very reason it is the most military of instruments. Joseph Joubert

The fact that human conscience remains partially infantile throughout life is the core of human tragedy. Erik H. Erikson

Mistaken trust in the folly of the military mind

Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms. Groucho Marx

War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military. Georges Clemenceau

Who apart from ourselves can see any difference between our victories and our defeats? Christopher Fry

Question “What shall we do with this soldier? Everything he says is wrong.” Answer “Make him a general, and then everything he says will be right.” Unknown

War will of itself discover and lay open the hidden rankling wounds of the victorious party. Tacitus

When the whole world turns clown, and paints itself red with its own heart’s blood instead of vermillion, it is something else than comic. John Ruskin

Every war is its own excuse. That’s why they’re all surrounded with ideals. That’s why they’re all crusades. Karl Shapiro

The constitution of Unesco

Source

Soldiers: The nation’s youth bedecked with gadgets of death

I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in. George McGovern

The soldier’s body becomes a stock of accessories that are no longer his property. Saint Exupery

Old soldiers never die. Young ones do. Unknown

Hypocrisy: Evil and good on the same side fight for solutions

Evil constantly wars against good. Those who want peace, an abnormal state; must constantly win wars, because peace is ensured only out of the barrel of a gun. Unknown

It is essential to persuade the soldier that those he is being urged to massacre are bandits who do not deserve to live; before killing other good, decent fellows like himself. Andre Gide

When there are too many soldiers, there can be no peace. Unknown

The military caste did not originate as a party of patriots, but as a party of bandits. H. L. Mencken

The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. Pascal

Soldiers heaven sent

Source

All men are brothers in humanity

Lord, give to the nations wisdom to understand that peace is achieved by love, not conflict, and that, realizing our own common humanity, we may live together as a family and make the world our home, bearing one another’s needs and obeying your laws in righteousness, as children of one God and Father. Francis Richards

All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born. Francois Fenelon

It is the mind which creates the world about us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours; my heart will never stir to the emotions with which yours is touched. George Gissing

Minds are conquered not by arms, but by love and magnanimity. Spinoza

You may call for peace as loudly as you wish, but where there is no brotherhood there can in the end be no peace. Max Lerner

Reasons for contention

No man who witnessed the tragedies of the last war, no man who can imagine the unimaginable possibilities of the next war can advocate war out of irritability or frustration or impatience. John F. Kennedy

A general and a bit of shooting makes you forget your troubles and it takes your mind off the cost of living. Brendan Behan

Perhaps there is nothing in the whole of creation that knows the meaning of peace. Ugo Betti

Born of enmity

Source

The poorest pay the price of conflict

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. This 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. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. Dwight Eisenhower

It is characteristic of the military mentality that non-human factors are held essential, while the human being, his desires and thoughts; in short, the psychological factors are considered as unimportant and secondary. Einstein

War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen and unsupposed circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end. It has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes. Thomas Paine

Historically, the ingredients of war are politics, religion, power and greed

History is littered with wars which everybody ‘knew’ would never happen. Enoch Powell

The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all; it is very tiresome. Jane Austen

In human history a moral victory is always a disaster, for it debauches and degrades both the victor and the vanquished. H. L. Mencken

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? Mohandas K. Gandhi

Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it. You take diplomacy out of war and the thing would fall flat in a week. Will Rogers

Benjamin Franklin quoted

Source

The people listen but often have no thought to speak

People on the whole are very simple minded in whatever country one finds them. They are so simple as to take literally, more often than not, the things their leader tells them. Pearl S. Buck

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days’ governments had better get out of the way and let them have it. Dwight D Eisenhower

Granted the right to kill

Can anything be more ridiculous than that a man should have the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of the water, and because his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have non with him? Pascal

If you’re strong enough, there are no precedents. F. Scott

Two reasons for attack and failure

It is but seldom that any one overt act produces hostilities between two nations; there exists, more commonly, a previous jealousy and ill will, a predisposition to take offence. Washington Irving

Diplomacy and defense are not substitutes for one another. Either alone would fail. John F. Kennedy

Dwight D. Eisenhower: fight for peace

Source

Weapons upgrade the forgotten story of our destiny

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. Albert Einstein

Our business in the field of fight is not to question, but to prove our might. Homer

He has made his weapons his gods. When his weapons win he is defeated himself. Tagore

The arms race is based on an optimistic view of technology and a pessimistic view of man. It assumes there is no limit to the ingenuity of science and no limit to the deviltry of human beings. L. F. Stone

We can do without butter, but despite all our love of peace, not without arms. One cannot shoot with butter but with guns. Paul Joseph Goebbels

Only technology has permitted us to put a city to the sword without quite realizing what we are doing. Joseph Wood Krutch

Memorial stone commemorating the 108 soldiers from the mining village of West Auckland; lost in battle during the two World Wars

Source

Celebrate the lost souls with a memorial

When the public builds a war memorial; do those who really sweated get the credit? Oh no! Some general wangles the prestige. Euripides

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. Theodore Roosevelt

Dead men have no victory. Euripides

Borrowing false courage

The most pitiful thing out is a mob, that’s what an army is; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. Mark Twain

Everyone, when there’s war in the air, learns to live in a new element; falsehood. Jean Giraudoux

He who incites to strife is worse than he who takes part in it. Aesop

Mutual cowardice keeps us in peace. Samuel Johnson

Look at our weapons

The freelance soldier

In guerrilla warfare the struggle no longer concerns the place where you are, but the place where you are going. Each fighter carries his warring country between his toes. Frantz Fanon

As for the fanatics, whose number is legion in our own time, we might be advised to leave them to heaven. They will not, unfortunately, do us the same courtesy. They attack us and each other, and whatever their protestations to peaceful intent, the bloody record of history makes clear that they are easily disposed to restore to the sword. Steve Allen

You may be obliged to wage war, but not to use poison arrows. Baltasar Gracian

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. John F. Kennedy

Author Eileen Mackenney recounts growing up in south London during WWII:

“There were always dead bodies around after a bombing. I remember walking over towards the railway once with some other kids, and I could see what looked like a massive black sheet.

We went to take a closer look, but the soldiers wouldn’t let us get too near. We were able to see arms and legs sticking out, pieces of dead bodies just lying there everywhere. It was all the dead people from the previous night’s bombing.”

There is never a true winner in battle

He that has gone so far as to cut the claws of the lion will not feel himself quite secure until he has also drawn his teeth. Charles Caleb Colton

He that is taken and put into prison or chains is not conquered, though overcome, for he is still an enemy. Thomas Hobbs

The right of conquest has no foundation other than the right of the strongest. Rousseau

Defeat is a school in which truth always grows strong. Henry Ward Beecher

It is almost as easy to be enervated by triumph as by defeat. Max Lerner

War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. Saint Exupery

Precious words

Source

A mighty army ensures security

No nation ever had an army large enough to guarantee it against attack in time of peace or insure it victory in time of war. Calvin Coolidge

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Dwight D. Eisenhower

It is said that god is always on the side of the heaviest battalions. Voltaire

Such a foolish notion, that war is called devotion, when the greatest warriors are the ones who stand for peace. Song lyric

Beware the inner enemy

There is no squabbling as violent as that between people who accepted an idea yesterday and those who will accept the same idea tomorrow. Christopher Morley

In international consequences the players must reckon to reap what they have sown. We have a defense against other defenses; but what’s to defend us against our own. Piet Hein

There are fearful excitements on any side or within. Any side can accuse the other and feel virtuous without the hardships of virtue. Christopher Fry

Must we kill to prevent there being any wicked? This is to make parties wicked instead of one. Pascal

Strategy: Division and principles

In any assembly the simplest way to stop the transacting of business and split the ranks is to appeal to a principle. Jacques Barzun

Dissension, well directed, may divide even the true hearted, as a mighty stream of waters divides mountains of solid rocks. Unknown

There are not fifty ways of fighting; there is only one; to be the conqueror. Andre Malraux

Unhappy the general who comes on the field of battle with a system. Napoleon

Perseverance can lend the appearance of dignity and grandeur to many actions, just as silence in company affords wisdom and apparent intelligence to a stupid person. George Lichtenberg

The power and the glory

To win without risk is to triumph without glory. Corneille

The impulse to mar and to destroy is as ancient and almost as nearly universal as the impulse to create. The one is an easier way than the other of demonstrating power. Joseph Wood Krutch

The technique of winning is so shoddy, the terms of winning are so ignoble, the tenure of winning is so brief; and the specter of the has-been a shameful rather than a pitiable sight today, brings a sudden chill even to our sunlit moments. Louis Kronenberger

One minute gives invention to destroy; what to rebuild, will a whole age employ. William Congreve

One kills a man, one is an assassin; one kills millions, one is a conqueror; one kills everybody, one is a god. Jean Rostand

U.S. Armed Forces: speech by President Reagan: We must fight

Finding or fighting for democracy

Who would prefer peace to the glory of hunger and thirst, of wading through mud, and dying in the service of one’s country? Jean Giraudoux

There could be real peace only if everyone where satisfied. That means there is not often a real peace. There are only actual states of peace which, like wars, are mere expedients. Paul Valery

To live without killing is a thought which could electrify the world, if men were only capable of staying awake long enough to let the idea soak in. Henry Miller

After each war there is a little less democracy to save. Brooks Atkinson

It is easier to lead men to combat and to stir up their passions than to temper them and urge them to the patient labors of peace. Andre Gide

The motto of war is: Let the strong survive; let the weak die. The motto of peace is: Let the strong help the weak to survive. Franklin D. Roosevelt

They make a desert and call it peace. Tacitus

Better a lean peace than a fat victory. Thomas Fuller

Peace like war can succeed only where there is a will to enforce it, and where there is available power to enforce it. Franklin D. Roosevelt

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once. Robert A Heinlein.

And of pacifism

The peace of the man who has forsworn the use of the bullet seems to me not quite peace, but a canting impotence. Emerson

The noble art of losing face, may one day save the human race, and turn into eternal merit what weaker minds would call disgrace. Piet Hein

In rendering oneself unarmed when one had been the best armed, out of a height of feeling; that is means to real peace, which must always rest on a peace of mind. Nietzsche

Struggling with shadows

We do not fight for the real but for shadows we make. A flag is a piece of cloth and a word is a sound, but we make them something neither cloth nor a sound, but totems of love and hate, black sorcery stones. Ambrose Bierce

We kill because we are afraid of our own shadow, afraid that if we used a little common sense we’d have to admit that our glorious principles were wrong. Henry Miller

The mere absence of war is not peace. John F. Kennedy

92nd Highlanders & 2nd Gurkhas storming the Gaudi Mullah at Kandahar 1 September 1880.

Source

Defining the battle

A battle is a method of untying with the teeth a political knot that would not yield to the tongue. Ambrose Bierce

Clear undeniable right, clear undeniable might; either of these once ascertained puts an end to a battle. All battle is a confused experiment to ascertain one and both of these. Thomas Carlyle

War is the province of chance. In no other sphere of human activity must such a margin be left for this intruder. It increases the uncertainty of every circumstance and deranges the course of events. Karl Von Clausewitz

War is a continuation of policy by other means. It is not merely a political act, but a real political instrument. Karl Von Clausewitz

Men appear to prefer ruining one another’s fortune, and cutting each other’s throats about a few paltry villages, to extending the grand means of human happiness. Voltaire

A resolute minority has usually prevailed over an easygoing or wobbly majority whose prime purpose was to be left alone

— James Beston

The will to conquer lives within us

We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves. Albert Camus

The disasters of the world are due to its inhabitants not being able to grow old simultaneously. There is always a raw and intolerant nation eager to destroy the tolerant and mellow. Cyril Connolly

Victory or folly

Man is perhaps no more prone to war than he used to be and no more inclined to commit other evil deeds. But a given amount of ill will or folly will go further than it used to. Joseph Wood Krutch

Against war it may be said that it makes the victor stupid and the vanquished revengeful. Nietzsche

One safety the vanquished have is to hope for none. Vergil

I prefer the most unjust peace to the most righteous war. Cicero

The ripples of destruction

I have come to hate war not only because it kills off the flower of every nation, but because it destroys spiritual as well as material values. Ilya Ehrenburg

I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Once we thought a few hundred corpses would be enough; then we saw thousands were still too few; and today we can’t even count all the dead, they are everywhere you look. Peter Weiss

Will there ever?

Do you believe there will be world peace in the next:

See results

Strife brings a positive outcome

War educates the senses, calls into action the will, perfects the physical constitution, and brings men into such swift and close collision in critical moments that man measures man. Emerson

War may make a fool of a man, but it by no means degrades him; on the contrary, it tends to exalt him, and its net effects are much like those of motherhood on women. H. L. Mencken

The price of eternal vigilance is indifference. Marshall McLuhan

The core of our defense is the faith we have in the institutions we defend. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It is the savor of bread broken with comrades that makes us accept the values of war. Saint Exupery

End

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 3 years ago from Texas

      Interesting group of quotes. They sort of remind me of some poems I wrote for a high school assignment one time. Same scenario, different perspective. I did one from the point of view of war being glorious, like before a soldier joins the army. The other was about how it isn't so glamorous to be lying in a ditch. I wish I still had them.

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you Shanmarie. When I see children playing war games outside or on the computer. I think, if only they new.

    • cheaptrick profile image

      cheaptrick 3 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      When a soldier fires his weapon,two bullets are simultaneously fired;A physical one comes out the front killing instantly;A spiritual one comes out the back with a time release that kills very slowly.In the end both combatants are casualty's .War is a matter of choosing a quick or slow death...nothing more...

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      Thanks Cheaptrick for your observation. I think the spiritual death is worse. Death is the only prayer that will be answered.

    • Thomas Swan profile image

      Thomas Swan 3 years ago from New Zealand

      I like the Ben Franklin quote "there was never a good war or a bad peace". The US has had so many wars recently that I fear most Americans are completely desensitized to the idea of it. When drowned beneath a sea of patriotic spittle it must be hard to comprehend that some or all of those wars might not have been "just". There is no just war in my opinion... only just defense, but this too is a distorted term. It is not defense to respond to a terrorist attack by bombing two countries to oblivion and changing their governments by force. Vengeance is not defense. Bush used the fears and vengeful thoughts of a nation, and carried them into one of the most immoral conflicts since ww2. Only after did people realize what he'd done.

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      Thanks Tom for this insight. History speaks the truth or more so these days. It is a shame that a nation has one mind and the individual has none. As Hitler said; "The people are my bullets"

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      You picked a topic that never goes out of style, Colleen. It's interesting to read the perspectives of famous men. The debate about war rages on to this day. I'd say under the Obama administration the pacifists are winning.

      The current congress wants to make military cuts and many U.S generals are not happy about it. They feel a mighty military is essential for armed forced training. Your video of President Reagan's speech is excellent. I don't want us victimized by some crazy dictator either. There are places around the world such as North Korea that build nothing but huge military bases. I think we have troops stationed where we don't need them. Seryia probably needs our help the most. I agree with Senator John McCain that our U.S. forces would end the conflict more quickly, one that has lasted forever. But our nation is resisting boots on the ground.

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you Gilbert. It seemed that over the last year with the some middle east conflicts winding down that the world was becoming a safer place. Unfortunately middle Europe is rearing its ugly head. My fear is that war has become a part of our economic recovery.

    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      It's a real difficult situation. U.S diplomacy needs to do an outstanding job to prevent another cold war environment that involves Ukraine, Russia, and other neighboring countries. There were bad outbreaks in Venezuela as well. Our plans to bring back soldiers from Afghanistan isn't all that great. Political people in Washington don't predict an optimistic forecast in that area of the world when American involvement is diminished.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Right from the start of the hub I was blown away by the impact of the quality quotes. I do not like, encourage or want to experience war. Peace has my heart, and I am glad for that.

    • Colleen Swan profile image
      Author

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      Thank you Christy for your kind words. I found it quite moving when constructing this hub.

    Click to Rate This Article