World War I Quotes

Quotes tagged as "world-war-i" (showing 1-30 of 69)
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

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

“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

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

“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

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

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

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

“...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

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

Erich Maria Remarque
“For us lads of eighteen they ought to have been mediators and guides to the world of maturity, the world of work, of duty, of culture, of progress - to the future. We often made fun of them and played jokes on them, but in our hearts we trusted them. The idea of authority, which they represented, was associated in our minds with a greater insight and a more humane wisdom. But the first death we saw shattered this belief. We had to recognize that our generation was more to be trusted than theirs. They surpassed us only in phrases and in cleverness. The first bombardment showed us our mistake, and under it the world as they had taught it to us broke in pieces.
While they continued to write and talk, we saw the wounded and dying. While they taught that duty to one's country is the greatest thing, we already knew that death-throes are stronger. But for all that we were no mutineers, no deserters, no cowards - they were very free with all these expressions. We loved our country as much as they; we went courageously into every action; but also we distinguished the false from true, we had suddenly learned to see. And we saw that there was nothing of their world left. We were all at once terribly alone; and alone we must see it through.”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Hermann Broch
“The unreal is the illogical. And this age seems to have a capacity for surpassing even the acme of illogicality, of anti-logicality: it is as if the monstrous reality of the war had blotted out the reality of the world. Fantasy has become logical reality, but reality evolves the most a-logical phantasmagoria. An age that is softer and more cowardly than any preceding age suffocates in waves of blood and poison-gas; nations of bank clerks and profiteers hurl themselves upon barbed wire; a well-organized humanitarianism avails to hinder nothing, but calls itself the Red Cross and prepares artificial limbs for the victims; towns starve and coin money out of their own hunger; spectacled school-teachers lead storm-troops; city dwellers live in caves; factory hands and other civilians crawl out on their artificial limbs once more to the making of profits. Amid a blurring of all forms, in a twilight of apathetic uncertainty brooding over a ghostly world, man like a lost child gropes his way by the help of a small frail thread of logic through a dream landscape that he calls reality and that is nothing but a nightmare to him.

The melodramatic revulsion which characterizes this age as insane, the melodramatic enthusiasm which calls it great, are both justified by the swollen incomprehensibility and illogicality of the events that apparently make up its reality. Apparently! For insane or great are terms that can never be applied to an age, but only to an individual destiny. Our individual destinies, however, are as normal as they ever were. Our common destiny is the sum of our single lives, and each of these single lives is developing quite normally, in accordance, as it were, with its private logicality. We feel the totality to be insane, but for each single life we can easily discover logical guiding motives. Are we, then, insane because we have not gone mad?”
Hermann Broch, The Sleepwalkers

Theresa Breslin
“What makes a human being want to kill another who has done him no personal harm? Patriotism.”
Theresa Breslin, Remembrance

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

“. 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

“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

“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

Erich Maria Remarque
“He is right. We are not youth any longer. We don't want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in war.”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

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

“It was no easy task advancing through No Man’s Land, especially without making a sound. Barbed wire was typically passed through dark paint to keep it from reflecting light and then loosely strung between spaced wooden posts to provide an effective high obstacle. Strung low and tight were alarm traps—wire attached to some noisemaker that alerted the guards to movement. Sometimes, the Americans made wire entanglements by wrapping barbed wire around a long, rectangular wood frame behind the lines. These could be quickly rolled out into No Man’s Land after an artillery barrage had cut a wide hole in the wire. The wire obstacles added to the chaotic and dangerous morass. Due to constant shelling, there was an irregular pattern of shell holes, thick mud, and the rotting remains of men and animals.”
Paul T. Dean, Courage: Roy Blanchard's Journey in America's Forgotten War

J.D.  Crighton
“. . . the two families were about to be impacted in a major way as Philadelphia and the rest of the world were slammed with a pandemic so catastrophic that it killed more people than World War I.”
J.D. Crighton, Detective in the White City: The Real Story of Frank Geyer

Pat Barker
“He remembered the feel of No Man's Land, the vast, unimaginable space. By day, seen through a periscope, this immensity shrank to a small, pock-marked stretch of ground, snarled with wire. You never got used to the discrepancy. Part of its power to compel the imagination lay precisely in that. It was the difference between seeing a mouth ulcer and probing it with your tongue.”
Pat Barker, Regeneration

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