World War 1 Quotes

Quotes tagged as "world-war-1" Showing 1-30 of 51
Jan Karon
“In World War One, they called it shell shock. Second time around, they called it battle fatigue. After 'Nam, it was post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Jan Karon, Home to Holly Springs

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

“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

“I crawled in a spirit-haunted place
Made wild by souls that moan and mourn;
And Death leered by with mangled face -
Ah God! I prayed, I prayed for dawn.”
Arthur Newberry 1893- Choyce, Memory Poems of War and Love

“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

Lyn Macdonald
“On the face of it, no one could have been less equipped for the job than these gently nurtured girls who walked straight out of Edwardian drawingrooms into the manifold horrors of the First World War.”
Lyn Macdonald, The Roses of No Man's Land

V.S. Carnes
“There will always be another war, Gillia.” He allowed his cynicism to seep through. “Do you know why? Because there will always be bigots and cowards and power-mad devils in positions of omnipotence. Look around you. There has been war here since time began. It’s nature. Animals kill each other for survival, for territory… and for the taste of blood in their mouths. Man is no different.”
V.S. Carnes

“If war was once a chivalrous duel, it is now a dastardly slaughter.”
Artur von Bolfras

Harry Patch
“I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder.”
Harry Patch

“One of the surprising realities about the Western Front was that intense action and peril were surrounded by long periods of having very little to do.”
Paul T. Dean, Courage: Roy Blanchard's Journey in America's Forgotten War

“Rats, the only creatures that seemed to flourish in the trenches, were quite brave and were often a foot long (not including the tail), the size of a small cat. They grew fat on the corpses in No Man’s Land and were known to bite sleeping soldiers’ faces and gather around the eating areas. The French left the rats alone. Like a canary in a coal mine, the rats were a warning that gas shells had been fired. At the slightest whiff of gas, the large rats flipped feet up, dead. The Americans hated them too much to leave them alone. They bludgeoned the rats with shovels and rifle butts or shot them with their side arms.”
Paul T. Dean, Courage: Roy Blanchard's Journey in America's Forgotten War

“Newspaper writers and politicians treated the pilots as “knights” of the war. They flew fast and dangerous maneuvers in order to defend critical artillery observation balloons. They battled other pilots either one-on-one or in squadrons, fought like heroes, and died in droves. France alone produced at least 68,000 aircraft, of which 52,000 were lost in battle. The planes reached speeds of over 100 mph and fired machine guns, pistols, or rockets at each other. The winners sped away; the losers spiraled to the earth”
Paul T. Dean, Courage: Roy Blanchard's Journey in America's Forgotten War

“. Leaving the city behind, they entered the wasted countryside. Large shell holes, jagged stumps of full-grown trees, and gas residue clinging to puddles all pointed to the power of modern warfare. No living thing remained. The odor of rotting human corpses filled what was left of the woods: the dead wearing the uniforms of France, Germany, and the US.”
Paul T. Dean, Courage: Roy Blanchard's Journey in America's Forgotten War

“The column swung into single file, with space between companies and platoons. Marching until 3:00 a.m., they stopped in a small forest, put their heavy packs on the ground, and unrolled their packs. The woods were thick. In the blackness, Roy could only see a few feet in front of him in the dark, and there wasn’t any acceptable cover. He had just put his pack down, when it started. A distant set of krumps went off somewhere in the distance and, moments later, the screaming shells descended, men yelled, and wood shrapnel flew from exploding trees. Roy hit the deck, grabbed his helmet, and held the fear back behind his clenched teeth. In the flash of the exploding shells, he saw his comrades and friends lying still, small, some crouched behind trees, some cursing, all helpless. Bigger shells came, shaking the landscape like a freight train speeding past a rickety station. Everything shook with diabolical red flashes and deafening roars. It went on and on, hour after hour.”
Paul T. Dean, Courage: Roy Blanchard's Journey in America's Forgotten War

“While they continued to march toward the sounds of the guns, Roy noticed fear behind the eyes of some of his fellow soldiers. Death and destruction surrounded them. Corpses in the ditches, wounded on stretchers, shell holes were everywhere. They hadn’t even reached the front lines yet.”
Paul T. Dean, Courage: Roy Blanchard's Journey in America's Forgotten War

Lee Smolin
“It is interesting to note that the quantum-mechanical revolution was made by a virtually orphaned generation of scientists. Many members of the generation above them had been slaughtered in World War I. There simply weren't many senior scientists around to tell them they were crazy.”
Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next

John Wyndham
“They made a mess of 1914. They came a cropper in 1940. And now they're working up for it again.”
John Wyndham, Wanderers of Time

David Malouf
“This new lot...they too would go down. They were 'troops' who were about to be 'thrown in,' 'men' in some general's larger plan, 're-enforcements ' and would soon be 'casualties'. They were also Spud, Snow, Skeeter, Blue, Tommo.”
David Malouf

Tanya Lee Stone
“Maybe making something of yourself is as simple as having the gumption to do something bigger than you could have ever imagined, of walking, no marching straight into the center of fear all while playing a horn, blowing your worries into sweet, bold, triumphant music.”
Tanya Lee Stone, The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War

“His soldiers call Major-General John Joseph Pershing (accent on the first syllable) "Black Jack" when he is not near. The man is an erect, soldierly officer of about six feet, a strict disciplinarian, and one of the hardest workers in the Army.”
Clair Kenamore

“With a Western Kansas contingent was another musician, seemingly from a small town. He carried a mandolin. He wore a green hat and green clothes which had pearl buttons on them wherever they could be put — cuffs, lapels, pocket flaps. In his tie was a small gold vanity pin which looked as if a fluffy-haired 16-year-old girl in a white dress had placed it there the night before the lad had started away for the wars.”
Clair Kenamore

“The sound of the airplanes is in the key of war. The thunder of the truck trains, the sputter of the motorcycles, the music of the bugles, and even the howling of the dogs are parts of the symphony of war.”
Clair Kenamore

“Mustard gas, which is the favorite frightfulness of the Hun, does not smell like mustard at all. Its pungency is something like the taste of mustard, but its smell is that of sour, fermented raspberry, with mold on top.”
Clair Kenamore

“A halt was called, and the men threw themselves prostrate on the road without loosening their packs. At that moment, the outfit badly needed a 'pick-me-up,' and it came.

'Listen!' said the sergeant.

Through the cloud and the mournful wind we heard the thunder of our guns — the French 75s. They were talking to us.”
Clair Kenamore

Frederic Manning
“It's curious how events seem to change their character when one looks back on them.”
Frederic Manning, The Middle Parts of Fortune

Scott Anderson
“...of the 10 thopusand Indian soldiers and camp followers who went into captivity at Kut, as few as one third would live to see the war's end.
....Taken to Constantinople, he [Gen. Charles Townshend British Commander of forces surrendered at Kut] spent the remainder of the war in a pleasant villa on an island on the Bosporus, where he was given the use of a Turkish naval yachtand frequently attended diplomatic receptions at the Ottoman court. Joining him in Constantinople were his 3 prized Yorkshire terriers, pets that, despitethe mear-starvation co9nditionsin Kut, had weatheredthe ordeal quite nicely. (p. 178)”
Scott Anderson, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

Virginia Woolf
“When the guns fired in August 1914, did the faces of men and women show so plain in each other's eyes that romance was killed?”
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

E.F. Benson
“There were thousands of young men, as padres at the front would testify, in whom belief in God was an unshakeable conviction, and who in danger, in bodily agony and in death found peace and consolation in their undimmed faith. There were thousands upon thousands again for whom religion had always been a matter of indifference, and to whom it remained so. But there were also those, not negligible in point of numbers, and far from negligible in point of intelligence, who quietly thought about it all, and found that the faith in which they had been brought up was not reconcilable with the horrors that were their daily bread. About the reality of them there was no doubt: to see your friend turned to tripe or a dish of brains before your eyes was actual, and they threw over the other not with indifference, but with the savage contempt of those who have been fooled. It was childish to talk of loving your enemies when you were going through hell yourself for the sake of maiming or killing them as profusely as possible. And what price Divine Protection for non-combatants? There was that padre (bloody fool) who ran out across a shell-swept area to administer the sacrament to a man who lay mortally wounded in front of a trench, and who was like to die before they could bring him in. A shell hit him directly as he ran: he vanished like a property in a conjuring trick, and one couldn't help laughing and was sick afterwards.”
E.F. Benson, As We Are

E.F. Benson
“They lived in a world of destruction and fortuitous death. All was chance, and it was not even the Devil who threw the dice, for he was part of the fairy-tale and perished with it. It had hardly been worth while to pick a bone with it, for the only thing to quarrel with was one's own credulity in having ever believed a tale that broke down at so many points when put to the test. Year by year boys fresh from school joined in the dance of death, and sweltered in the reeking, stinking heat, when they should have been playing cricket or swimming in cool waters, and they got trench-fever and were gassed, and young limbs swift to run and ripe for love were gashed by bullets and sawn off in hospitals. The fate of the world rested on their shoulders: they were the bewildered scapegoats who were driven out into this desert of death, to expiate the criminal pride and folly of those who had been in charge of world-affairs while they were yet unbreeched. Save for rare moments of panic, they maintained a cheerful carelessness, a studied unconsciousness of the surrounding horror, for to think about it, to realize it and speak of it was to go mad. A few went mad, and with bandaged eyes awaited the volley they would never hear. The rest carried on, dumb and gallant, saying nothing, except in a few blurted words to a friend, of that smouldering focus of resentment and despair.”
E.F. Benson, As We Are

A.J.  West
“I had made my own calculations as the years had passed since boyhood, understanding the grim expectations of my sex. It was equally a relief and a surprise to have found myself spared by the giant tread of fate’s jackboot as it had marched towering above me, the monstrous, insensible colossus, leaving those born in my inglorious decade cowering in its path, relieved though somewhat ashamed on a bubble of untrammelled dirt. While all around us men slightly older, and mere months younger, were squashed face first, bones snapped, into the puddled trenches of its staggering tracks. Then, what an extraordinary gift from God, to see little Robert and those of his age spared too, supposing this war ended quickly and the next came late enough.”
A.J.West, The Spirit Engineer

« previous 1