Quotes About World War I

Quotes tagged as "world-war-i" (showing 1-30 of 49)
Wilfred Owen
Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
Wilfred Owen, The War Poems

Vera Brittain
“Perhaps ...
To R.A.L.

Perhaps some day the sun will shine again,
And I shall see that still the skies are blue,
And feel one more I do not live in vain,
Although bereft of you.

Perhaps the golden meadows at my feet,
Will make the sunny hours of spring seem gay,
And I shall find the white May-blossoms sweet,
Though You have passed away.

Perhaps the summer woods will shimmer bright,
And crimson roses once again be fair,
And autumn harvest fields a rich delight,
Although You are not there.

But though kind Time may many joys renew,
There is one greatest joy I shall not know
Again, because my heart for loss of You
Was broken, long ago.”
Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth

Otto von Bismarck
“One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans (1888).”
Otto von Bismarck

Christopher Hitchens
“Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings.

I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Ferdinand Foch
“My centre is giving way, my right is in retreat, situation excellent. I attack.”
Ferdinand Foch

“If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.
The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.
If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.
The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.”
Edward Shillito

“No commander was ever privileged to lead a finer force; no commander ever derived greater inspiration from the performance of his troops.”
John J. Pershing

John F. Kennedy
“The 1930s, Kennedy said, 'taught us a clear lesson; aggressive conduct, if allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war.”
John F. Kennedy

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
“For the average person, all problems date to World War II; for the more informed, to World War I; for the genuine historian, to the French Revolution.”
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism Revisited: from de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot

Franklin D. Roosevelt
“From the end of the World War twenty-one years ago, this country, like many others, went through a phase of having large groups of people carried away by some emotion--some alluring, attractive, even speciously inspiring, public presentation of a nostrum, a cure-all. Many Americans lost their heads because several plausible fellows lost theirs in expounding schemes to end barbarity, to give weekly handouts to people, to give everybody a better job--or, more modestly, for example, to put a chicken or two in every pot--all by adoption of some new financial plan or some new social system. And all of them burst like bubbles.

Some proponents of nostrums were honest and sincere, others--too many of them--were seekers of personal power; still others saw a chance to get rich on the dimes and quarters of the poorer people in our population. All of them, perhaps unconsciously, were capitalizing on the fact that the democratic form of Government works slowly. There always exists in a democratic society a large group which, quite naturally, champs at the bit over the slowness of democracy; and that is why it is right for us who believe in democracy to keep the democratic processes progressive--in other words, moving forward with the advances in civilization. That is why it is dangerous for democracy to stop moving forward because any period of stagnation increases the numbers of those who demand action and action now.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

“In each succeeding war there is a tendency to proclaim as something new the principles under which it is conducted. Not only those who have never studied or experienced the realities of war, but also professional soldiers frequently fall into the error. But the principles of warfare as I learned them at West Point remain unchanged.”
John J. Pershing, My Experiences in the World War

Loren D. Estleman
“In 1914, Franz Ferdinand, the Austrian imperial heir, was shot and killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo. Do you know the motive behind the act?

It was in retaliation for the subjugation of the Sebs in Austria.

It was not.Franz Ferdinand had stated his intention to introduce reforms favorable to the Serbs in his empire. Had he survived to ascend the throne, he would have made a revolution unnecessary. In plain terms, he was killed because he was going to give the rebels what they were shouting for. They needed a despot in the palace in order to seize it.

What's good for reform is bad for the reformers”
Loren D. Estleman, Gas City

James T. Farrell
“He had come to America, haven of peace and liberty, and it, too, was joining the slaughter, fighting for the big capitalists. There was no peace for men, only murder, cruelty, brutality.”
James T. Farrell, Studs Lonigan

Max Brooks
“They used to call it the 'Great War'. But I'll be damned if I could tell you what was so 'great' about it. They also called it 'the war to end all wars'...'cause they figured it was so big and awful that the world'd just have to come to its senses and make damn sure we never fought another one ever again.
That woulda been a helluva nice story.
But the truth's got an ugly way of killin' nice stories.”
Max Brooks, The Harlem Hellfighters

Claire Holden Rothman
“It was the seventh of November, 1918. The war was finally over. Maybe it would be declared a holiday and named War's End Day or something equally hopeful and wrong. Wars would break out again. Violence was part of human nature as much as love and generosity.”
Claire Holden Rothman, The Heart Specialist

Gilbert Frankau
“Yea ! by your works are ye justified--toil unrelieved ;
Manifold labours, co-ordinate each to the sending achieved ;
Discipline, not of the feet but the soul, unremitting, unfeigned ;
Tortures unholy by flame and by maiming, known, faced, and disdained ;
Courage that suns
Only foolhardiness ; even by these, are ye worthy of your guns.”
Gilbert Frankau

“...My deepest personal reason for staying in Paris is that whatever I have as a character, good or bad, is based on the fact that since the age of four I have never run away from anything however painful or dangerous when I thought it was my duty to take a stand -- the American Ambassador to France upon being asked to evacuate Paris by the State Department on the eve of Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940”
William C. Bullitt

Laini Taylor
“History conditioned you for epic-scale calamity. Once, when she was studying the death tolls of battles in World War I, she'd caught herself thinking, Only eight thousand men died here. Well, that's not many. Because next to, say, the million who died at the Somme, it wasn't. The stupendous numbers deadened you to the merely tragic, and history didn't average in the tame days for balance. On this day, no one in the world was murdered. A lion gave birth. Ladybugs launched on aphids. A girl in love daydreamed all morning, neglecting her chores, and wasn't even scolded.
Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Pat Barker
“Obvious choices for the east window: the two bloody bargains on which civilization claimed to be based. The bargain, Rivers though, looking at Abraham and Isaac. The one on which all patriarchal societies were founded. If you, who are young and strong, will obey me, who am old and weak, even to the extent of being prepared to sacrifice your life, then in the course of time you will peacefully inherit, and be able to exact the same obedience from your sons. Only we’re breaking the bargain, Rivers thought. All over northern France, at this very moment, in trenches and dugouts and flooded shell-holes, the inheritors were dying, not one by one, while old men, and women of all ages, gathered together and sang hymns.”
Pat Barker

Lemony Snicket
“The moral of World War I is 'Never assassinate Archduke Ferdinand.”
Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window

Gregor von Rezzori
“In an instant it became clear to us that the nearly — but not quite — perfect uniformity of the advancing columns, dissolving chaotically in the clash of the fronts, reformed itself after he battle in a far more perfect form: as the utterly precise, utterly indistinguishable rows of crosses in the heroes' cemeteries, where the lines spread out into a broad perspective, moving in its spare monotony, cut at right angles and chopped in blocks, so that an absolute order was finally achieved.”
Gregor von Rezzori

John Maynard Keynes
“The war has ended with every one owing every one else immense sums of money. Germany owes a large sum to the Allies, the Allies owe a large sum to Great Britain, and Great Britain owes a large sum to the United States. The holders of war loan in every country are owed a large sum by the States, and the States in its turn is owed a large sum by these and other taxpayers. The whole position is in the highest degree artificial, misleading, and vexatious. We shall never be able to move again, unless we can free our limbs from these paper shackles.”
John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace

John Maynard Keynes
“But if America recalls for a moment what Europe has meant to her and still means to her, what Europe, the mother of art and of knowledge, in spite of everything, still is and still will be, will she not reject these counsels of indifference and isolation, and interest herself in what may prove decisive issues for the progress and civilization of all mankind?”
John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace

Pawan Mishra
“I wonder if they were aware of the power of complimentary alcohol during World War I.”
Pawan Mishra, Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy

Stanley Weintraub
“On both sides in 1915 there would be more dead on any single day than yards gained in the entire year. And there would be nearly four more years of attrition—not to determine who was right, but who was left.”
Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914

Ernst Jünger
“IT is not impossible that among the English readers of this book there may be one who in 1915 and 1916 was in one of those trenches that were woven like a web among the ruins of Monchy-au-Bois. In that case he had opposite him at that time the 73rd Hanoverian Fusiliers, who wear as their distinctive badge a brassard with ' Gibraltar ' inscribed on it in gold, in memory of the defence of that fortress under General Elliot; for this, besides Waterloo, has its place in the regiment's history.

At the time I refer to I was a nineteen-year-old lieutenant in command of a platoon, and my part of the line was easily recognizable from the English side by a row of tall shell-stripped trees that rose from the ruins of Monchy. My left flank was bounded by the sunken road leading to Berles-au-Bois, which was in the hands of the English ; my right was marked by a sap running out from our lines, one that helped us many a time to make our presence felt by means of bombs and rifle-grenades.

I daresay this reader remembers, too, the white tom-cat, lamed in one foot by a stray bullet, who had his headquarters in No-man's-land. He used often to pay me a visit at night in my dugout. This creature, the sole living being that was on visiting terms with both sides, always made on me an impression of extreme mystery. This charm of mystery which lay over all that belonged to the other side, to that danger zone full of unseen figures, is one of the strongest impressions that the war has left with me. At that time, before the battle of the Somme, which opened a new chapter in the history of the war, the struggle had not taken on that grim and mathematical aspect which cast over its landscapes a deeper and deeper gloom. There was more rest for the soldier than in the later years when he was thrown into one murderous battle after another ; and so it is that many of those days come back to my memory now with a light on them that is almost peaceful.”
Ernst Jünger, Storm of Steel

[And conversely, Woodrow Wilson finishes dead last.]
Yes [...] I think World War I was avoidable for the United States, certainly; we kind of look back on Germany as being 'evil' (because of World War II), but back in World War I it was much more ambiguous who was at fault - and the allies, including our French and British allies and the Russians also were at fault - and after World War I there was a revulsion because the Bolsheviks released their correspondences with Britain and France: Britain and France were trying to grab colonies, and so the American people said, 'We were fighting...we lost all these people in this massive war just to help these people grab territory?' So there was a revulsion at that time; we don't hear that now because we're distant from it.

Woodrow Wilson has been elevated as one of the better presidents but I think if you go back and look at it, the war was avoidable...and of course Woodrow Wilson helped bring Hitler to power by insisting on the abdication of the Kaiser after World War I - which was totally unnecessary. Germany was a constitutional monarchy before the war, and was vilified. It was actually the most aggressive state in Europe [...] and there were many things wrong with the Kaiser's personality, but I think Germany is unnecessarily vilified for that war.”
Ivan Eland

Paul Fussell
“The implicit optimism of the [field service post card] is worth noting—the way it offers no provision for transmitting news like “I have lost my left leg” or “I have been admitted into hospital wounded and do not expect to recover.” Because it provided no way of saying “I am going up the line again,” its users had to improvise. Wilfred Owen had an understanding with his mother that when he used a double line to cross out “I am being sent down to the base,” he meant he was at the front again. Close to brilliant is the way the post card allows one to admit to no state of health between being “quite” well, on the one hand, and, on the other, being so sick that one is in hospital.”
Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“In April war was declared with Germany. Wilson and his cabinet—a cabinet that in its lack of distinction was strangely reminiscent of the twelve apostles—let loose the carefully starved dogs of war, and the press began to whoop hysterically against the sinister morals, sinister philosophy, and sinister music produced by the Teutonic temperament. Those who fancied themselves particularly broad-minded made the exquisite distinction that it was only the German Government which aroused them to hysteria; the rest were worked up to a condition of retching indecency. Any song which contained the word "mother" and the word "kaiser" was assured of a tremendous success. At last every one had something to talk about—and almost every one fully enjoyed it, as though they had been cast for parts in a sombre and romantic play.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

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