Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

War

"Even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness." -

"The appalling thing about war is that it kills all love of truth." - Georg Brandes, fully Georg Morris Cohen Brandes

"Part of human nature resents change, loves equilibrium, while another part welcomes novelty, loves the excitement of disequilibrium. There is no formula for the resolution of this tug-of-war, but it is obvious that absolute surrender to either of them invites disaster." - Wernher von Braun, fully Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun

"War is a crime which involves all others crimes." -

"War will never yield but to the principles of universal justice and love." - William Ellery Channing

"In Confucianism, all of us - men and women - are born soldiers. The soldier is the universal individual. No matter what you do for a living - doctor, lawyer, fisherman, thief - you are a fighter. Life is war. The war is to maintain personal integrity in a world that demands betrayal and corruption. All behavior is strategy and tactics. All relationships are martial. Marriages are military alliances." - Frank Chin

"The failure of our modern world, with its moral and ethical collapse, may be traced directly to our spiritual ignorance and moral disobedience. The ethical conditions under which we live are disgracefully unsanitary. It is futile to expect peace and goodwill on earth while our homes are infested with the germs of selfishness, irreverence and lust. The world-wide epidemic of hatred, cruelty, murder and war is the inevitable result of our moral and spiritual disobedience. We cannot break the laws of the universe with impunity." - Allen E. Claxton

"Be your Self, at war with oneself." - Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (also Kumaraswam)

"Inside the souls of wealthy men bleak famine lives while minds of stature struggle trapped in starving bodies. How then can man distinguish man, what test can he use? The test of wealth? That measure means poverty of mind; of poverty? The pauper owns one thing, the sickness of his condition, a compelling teacher of evil; by nerve in war? Yet who, when a spear is cast across his face, will stand to witness his companion’s courage? We can only toss our judgments random on the wind." - Euripedes NULL

"Every time we hold our tongues instead of returning the sharp retort, show patience with another's faults, show a little more love and kindness, we are helping to stock-pile more of these peace-bringing qualities in the world instead of armaments for war." - Constance Foster

"Of all the animals on earth, man has shown himself to be the most cruel and brutal. He is the only animal that will create instruments of death for his own destruction. Man is the only animal on all the earth that has ever been known to burn its young as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of some imaginary deity. He is the only one that will build homes, towns, and cities at such a cost in sacrifice and suffering and turn around and destroy them in war." - James William Fulbright

"Morality is contraband in war." -

"Of all ennobling sentiments, patriotism may be the most easily manipulated. On the one hand, it gives powerful expression to what is best in a nation’s character: a commitment to principle, a willingness to sacrifice, a devotion to the community by the choice of the individual. But among its toxic fruits are intolerance, belligerence and blind obedience, perhaps because it blooms most luxuriantly during times of war." - Nancy Gibbs

"War is nothing less than a temporary repeal of the principles of virtue. It is a system out of which almost all the virtues are excluded, and in which nearly all the vices are included." - Robert Hall

"When the Golden Rule becomes the law of human life all this will be changed. The employer will ask how much he can pay the worker, not how little. The workman will ask how much he can do, not how little. We may not be able to reach this condition, but the war can be restricted and its evils ameliorated." - William Henry Harrison

"Terrible as is war, it yet displays the spiritual grandeur of man daring to defy his mightiest hereditary enemy - death." - Heinrich Heine

"To this war of every man, against every man, this is also consequent that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice, and injustice, are none of the faculties neither of the body, nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his sense, and passions. They are qualities, that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thing distinct; but only that to be every man’s, that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it." - Thomas Hobbes

"War some day will be abolished by the will of man. This assertion does not in any way invalidate the truth that war is fundamentally caused by impersonal, political, economic and social forces. But it is the destiny of man to master and control such force, even as it is his destiny to harness rivers, chain the lightning and ride the storm. It is human will, operating under social forces, that has abolished slavery, infanticide, dueling, and a score of other social enormities. Why should it not do the same for war?" - John Haynes Holmes

"As a wise man in time of peace prepares for war." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"No man gains by war, but he that hath not wherewith to live in peace." - King James I of England

"In this age when there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war, we must recognize the obligation to match national strength with national restraint." - Lyndon Johnson, fully Lyndon Baines Johnson, aka LBJ

"The only moral virtue of war is that it compels the capitalist system to look itself in the face and admit it is a fraud. It compels the present society to admit that it has no morals it will not sacrifice for gain." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when it may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Violence seldom accomplishes permanent and desired results. Herein lies the futility of war." - Asa Philip Randolph

"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." -

"If the intellectual has any function in society, it is to preserve a cool and unbiased judgment in the face of all solicitations to passion... During the war, the ordinary virtues, such as thrift, industry, and public spirit, were used to swell the magnitude of the disaster by producing a greater energy in the work of mutual extermination." -

"Men practice war; beasts do not." -

"Perhaps the most important single factor in the outbreak of war is misperception: a leader's image of himself; [his] view of his adversary's character; his view of his adversary's intentions, and of his adversary's capabilities." - John G. Stoessinger

"The four great motives which move men to social activity are hunger, love, vanity, and fear of superior powers. If we search out the causes which have moved men to war we find them under each of these motives or interests." - William Graham Sumner

"Sacredness of human life! The world has never believed it! It has been with life that we settled our quarrels, won wives, gold and land, defended ideas, imposed religions. We have held that a death toll was a necessary part of every human achievement, whether sport, war, or industry. A moment’s rage over the horror of it, and we have sunk into indifference." - Ida Tarbell, fully Ida Minerva Tarbell

"War is the corruption and disgrace of man." - Edward Thomson

"Vice foments war; it is virtue which actually fights. If there were no virtue, we would live in peace forever." -

"War is not sparing of the brave, but of cowards." - Anacreon NULL

"It is with the desire for peace that wars are waged, even by those who take pleasure in exercising their warlike nature in command and battle. And hence it is obvious that peace is the end sought for by war. For every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace... Even wicked men wage war to maintain the peace of their own circle, and wish that, if possible, all men belonged to them, that all men and things might serve but one head, and might, either through love or fear, yield themselves to peace with him!" - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"War would end if the dead could return." - Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl of Bewdley

"Vocabulary is an index to a civilization, and ours is a disturbed one. That's why so many of the new words deal with war, violence, drugs, racism, and not so many with peace and prosperity." - Clarence Edward Barnfield

"There is no more dangerous misconception than this which misconstrues the arms race as the cause rather than a symptom of the tensions and divisions which threaten nuclear war. If the history of the past fifty years teaches us anything, it is that peace does not follow disarmament - disarmament follows peace." - Bernard Baruch, fully Bernard Mannes Baruch

"They shall beat their swords into plough shares and their spears into pruning hooks; nations shall not lift up a sword against nations, neither shall they learn war any more." - Bible or The Bible or Holy Bible NULL

"Even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness." -

"War is energy Enslav'd." - William Blake

"It seems perfectly clear to me that we can never make any real progress toward permanent peace so long as well recognize the institution of war as legitimate and clothe it with glory." - William E. Borah

"It seems perfectly clear to me that we can never make any real progress toward permanent peace so long as we recognize the institution of war as legitimate and clothe is with glory." -

"In war there is no second place for the runner-up." -

"It is no longer possible to shield ourselves with arms alone against the ordeal of attack. For modern war visits destruction on the victor and vanquished alike. The way to win an atomic war is to make certain it never happens." -

"War, like other situations of danger and of change, calls for the exertion of admirable intellectual qualities and great virtues, and it is only by dwelling on these, and keeping out of sight the sufferings and sorrows, and all the crimes and evils that follow in its train, that it has its glory in the eyes of man." - William Cullen Bryant

"In war events of importance are the result of trivial causes." -

"In time of war the first casualty is truth." - Boake Carter