World War I Quotes

Quotes tagged as "world-war-i" Showing 1-30 of 117
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

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

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

“All blood runs red.”
Phrase painted on the side of the plane flown by Eugene Bullard in World War I the first black comba

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

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

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

“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

“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

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

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

Donald Barthelme
“... your father and I were in the trenches together, in the Great War. That was a war all right. Oh I know there have been other wars since, better-publicized ones, more expensive ones perhaps, but our war is the one I'll always remember. Our war is the one that means war to me.”
Donald Barthelme, Snow White

Marcel Proust
“The real propaganda is what—if we are genuinely a living member of a nation—we tell ourselves because we have hope, hope being a symbol of a nation's instinct of self-preservation. To remain blind to the unjustness of the cause of the individual "Germany," to recognise at every moment the justness of the cause of the individual "France," the surest way was not for a German to be without judgement, or for a Frenchman to possess it, it was, both for the one and for the other, to be possessed of patriotism.”
Marcel Proust, Time Regained

“It was dusk, on a Friday. The battered skeletons of trees tapered against the fresh starlight in No Man's Land. The sky offered curious glimpses of beauty, from time to time. The men wrote about it in their letters, describing sunsets in painstaking detail to their families, as if there was nothing to see at the front but crimson clouds and dusted rays of golden light.”
Alice Winn, In Memoriam

“...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

Walter Benjamin
“To illustrate this claim, Benjamin relates a fable about a father who taught his sons the merits of hard work by fooling them into thinking that there was buried treasure in the vineyard by the house. The turning of soil in the vain search for gold results in the discovery of a real treasure: a wonderful crop of fruit.

With the war came the severing of ‘the red thread of experience’ which had connected previous generations, as Benjamin puts it in ‘Sketched into Mobile Dust’. The ‘fragile human body’ that emerged from the trenches was mute, unable to narrate the ‘forcefield of destructive torrents and explosions’ that had engulfed it. Communicability was unsettled. It was as if the good and bountiful soil of the fable had become the sticky and destructive mud of the trenches, which would bear no fruit but only moulder as a graveyard. ‘Where do you hear words from the dying that last and that pass from one generation to the next like a precious ring?’ Benjamin asks.”
Walter Benjamin, The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness

Maria Stepanova
“My china boy seemed to embody the way no story reaches us without having its heels chipped off or its face scratched away. And how lacunae and gaps are the constant companions of survival, its hidden engine, fueling its acceleration. How only trauma makes individuals — singly and unambiguously us — from the mass product. And yes, finally, the way in which I am the little boy, the product of mass manufacturing and also of the collective catastrophe of the last century, the survivor and unwitting beneficiary, here by some miracle.”
Maria Stepanova, In Memory of Memory

“In world history, Mr. McElroy was starting the Causes of World War I. You know how many Causes there were for World War I? No wonder they fought.”
Schmidt, Gary D.

Alan Moorehead
“{Hamilton] did not reach Alexandria until the afternoon of March 26, and this meant he had barely three weeks in hand. The job that lay before the General was, in effect, nothing less than the setting up of the largest amphibious operation in the whole history of warfare... In fact the only operation that could be compared with this lay thirty years ahead on the beaches of Normandy in the second world war; and the planning of the Normandy landing was to take not three weeks but nearly two years.”
Alan Moorehead, Gallipoli

Alan Moorehead
“There is something so mocking about this situation, something so wrong, that one feels that it is not explained by all the errors and mischances that had occurred: by the commander-in-chief pacing about his headquarters at Imbros when he might just as well have been asleep, by Stopford lying in bed at sea when he should have been wide awake on shore, by the landing of raw troops at night instead of experienced men at dawn, by the appointment of elderly, inefficient commanders, by the excessive secrecy that had kept so much in the dark, by the thirst and the heat and the uncharted reefs beneath the sea. In the face of so much mismanagement things were bound to go wrong, yet not so wrong as all this. Somewhere, one feels, there must be some missing factor which has not been brought to light--some element of luck neglected, some supernatural accident, some evil chain of coincidence that nobody could have anticipated.”
Alan Moorehead, Gallipoli

Martin  Gilbert
“That night, July 5, on the front facing Beaumont-Hamel, a soldier was seen crawling in from No-Man's Land. When challenged by a sentry, he identified himself as a Newfoundlander. He had been lying out in No-Man's Land, badly wounded, for five days. Having reached the front-line trenches only on the eve of battle, he had received no briefing about the lie of the land, and could not work out, in his shellhole, the direction of the opposing trench lines. Then, 'fed up', as he later described it, with his environment, he decided to crawl in any direction. He was lucky to have chosen the correct one. (The Somme: Heroism and Horror in the First World War)”
Martin Gilbert

Roseanna M. White
“Maybe there never was a winning team, not really. Not when war was tanks and guns and trenches instead of laughter and innocence.”
Roseanna M. White, Yesterday's Tides

Richard Rubin
“Then General MacArthur literally called in the cavalry--and the infantry. As thousands of government employees watched, a phalanx of soldiers marched against the veterans, forcing them out of their camps at bayonet point. And just to make sure, tanks were deployed, too--under the command of Major George S. Patton--as well as gas. Yes, it's true: Soldiers of the United States Army gassed veterans of World War I in the streets of the nation's capital in the summer of 1932.”
Richard Rubin, The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

Albert I of Belgium
“The British people realise that they are fighting for the hegemony of the Empire. If necessary we shall continue the war single-handed.”
King Albert I of Belgium

Ben Elton
“— Я вот чего себя постоянно спрашиваю: кому, на хрен, понадобилась эта сволочь — эрцгерцог Фердинанд, как его там? — сказал один парень. — В смысле, ребята, никто ж даже не слышал об этом говнюке, пока его не прикончили. А теперь весь мир, мать его, из-за этого воюет.
Ben Elton

E. Michael Jones
“The United States could not win the war if blacks continued as sharecroppers down South. The South was not an important area either politically or economically as far as the internationalists were concerned. (“The white South,” Myrdal wrote, “is itself a minority and a national problem.”) It was important only as a source of much-needed labor, at a time when most white southerners concurred because they no longer needed them to chop or harvest cotton and considered migration a simple solution to their biggest social problem. The foundations which did the thinking for the internationalist ruling class quickly realized that that flow of labor into the factories of the industrial North was impeded less by the system of political segregation in the South than by what they would eventually term the de-facto housing segregation in the North, which meant, in effect, the existence of residential patterns based on ethnic neighborhoods. The logistics problem facing Louis Wirth and his colleagues in the psychological-warfare establishment was not so much how to move the black up from the South — the wage differential and the railroads would accomplish that — but rather where to put him when he got there. Northern cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia were essentially an assemblage of neighborhoods arranged as ethnic fiefdoms, dominated at that time by the most recent arrivals from Southern and Eastern Europe as well as the Irish and Germans.

As Wirth makes clear in his sociological writings, any group that has this kind of cohesiveness and population density had political power, and the question in his mind was precisely whether this political power was going to be used in the interests of the WASP ruling elite, who needed these people to fight a war that had nothing approaching majority support among ethnics of the sort Wirth viewed with suspicion.

This group of “ethnic” Americans posed a problem for the psychological-warfare establishment because it posed a problem to the ethnic group that made up that establishment. This group of people constituted a Gestalt - ethnic, Catholic, unionized, and urban - whose mutual and reinforcing affiliations effectively removed them from the influence of instruments of mass communication which the psychological-warfare establishment saw as critical in controlling them. If one added the demographic increase this group enjoyed — as Catholics they were forbidden to use contraceptives — it is easy enough to see that their increase in political power posed a threat to WASP hegemony over the culture at precisely the moment when the WASP elite was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with fascism. It was Wirth’s job to bring them under control, lest they jeopardize the war effort.”
E. Michael Jones, The Slaughter of Cities: Urban Renewal as Ethnic Cleansing

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