quotations about war
War is behavior with roots in the single cell of the primeval seas. Eat whatever you touch or it will eat you.
FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune
I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen two hundred limping exhausted men come out of line-the survivors of a regiment of one thousand that went forward forty-eight hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, Address at Chautauqua, August 14, 1936
Beware the toils of war ... the mesh of the huge dragnet sweeping up the world.
HOMER, The Iliad
I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.
BARACK OBAMA, The New Yorker, May 31, 2004
War is not a life: it is a situation,
One which may neither be ignored nor accepted.
T. S. ELIOT, A Note on War Poetry
War being the greatest of evils, all its accessories necessarily partake of the same character.
HERMAN MELVILLE, Omoo
The only religion which seems to have a function in time of war is the tribal religion which invokes a God as the exclusive protector of the nation which calls upon him.
JOSEPH ALEXANDER LEIGHTON, The Nation and the Ethics of War and Preparedness: An Address
In war--a country's hopes stagnate,
In war--her strong are slain.
In war--dark evils desecrate
Her council hall and fane.
In war--with wings of omen dark
Her wrongs and debts increase,
Prosperity and progress mark
The golden realm of Peace.
MARTHA LAVINIA HOFFMAN, "The Song of Peace"
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.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, speech, April 16, 1953
In former days, when wars arose from individual causes, from the policy of a Minister or the passion of a King, when they were fought by small regular armies of professional soldiers, and when their course was retarded by the difficulties of communication and supply, and often suspended by the winter season, it was possible to limit the liabilities of the combatants. But now, when mighty populations are impelled on each other, each individual severally embittered and inflamed--when the resources of science and civilisation sweep away everything that might mitigate their fury, a European war can only end in the ruin of the vanquished and the scarcely less fatal commercial dislocation and exhaustion of the conquerors. Democracy is more vindictive than Cabinets. The wars of peoples will be more terrible than those of kings.
WINSTON CHURCHILL, speech in the House of Commons, May 13, 1901
Every war involves a greater or less relapse into barbarism. War, indeed, in its details, is the essence of inhumanity. It dehumanizes. It may save the state, but it destroys the citizen.
CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought
We may have hell if we have war, and we may have hell if we have peace. But if we have no vision for what we do, we have hell anyway.
GERALD STANLEY LEE, The Air-line to Liberty: A Prospectus for All Nations
Looking at what's going on in the world right now, it's easy to feel hopeless and frightened. Violent conflict is erupting around the world -- from our own streets, schools, churches and mosques to war-torn countries far away. The call to war is being fueled by capitalizing on the fear people are feeling, but the strategies we are currently employing most often as a response to violent conflict in the world are incredibly expensive and they don't work. In fact, it seems they are making the problem worse.
LORI DRAPER, "Conflict resolution is a much better investment than war", Alaska Dispatch News, January 6, 2016
Accursed be he that first invented war.
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, Tamburlaine the Great
Wars do not end wars any more than an extraordinarily large conflagration does away with the fire hazard.
HENRY FORD, My Life and Work
No catalogue of horrors ever kept men from war. Before the war you always think that it's not you that dies. But you will die, brother, if you go to it long enough.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY, "Notes on the Next War", Esquire, September 1935
It is interesting ... how weapons reflect the soul of the maker.
DON DELILLO, Underworld
Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology.
REBECCA WEST, attributed, Europe in Arms
War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Two Towers
Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.
KURT VONNEGUT, Cat's Cradle