World War I Quotes

Quotes tagged as "world-war-i" Showing 1-30 of 94
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

“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

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

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

“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

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

“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

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

“...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

“When the death toll among British troops was added to that of the carriers the official ‘butcher’s bill’ in the East Africa campaign exceeded 100,000 souls. The true figure was undoubtedly much higher: as many a British official admitted, ‘the full tale of the mortality among [the] native carriers will never be told’.2 Even 100,000 deaths is a sobering enough figure. It is almost double the number of Australian or Canadian or Indian troops who gave their lives in the Great War; indeed it is equivalent to the combined casualties - the dead and wounded - sustained by Indian troops. It is as if the entire African workforce employed at the time in the mines of South Africa had been wiped out. Yet the East Africa campaign remains, by and large, a forgotten theatre of war.”
Edward Paice, World War I: An Imperial War on the Dark Continent

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

Newell Dwight Hillis
“Plainly the Kaiser knew his men ... so he sent them forth to bayonet babes, violate old women, murder old men, crucify officers, violate nuns, sink Lusitanias, and turn solemn treaties into scraps of paper.
Newell Dwight Hillis, The Blot on the Kaiser's 'Scutcheon

Henry Ford
“An impartial investigation of the last war, of what preceded it and what has come out of it, would show beyond a doubt that there is in the world a group of men with vast powers of control, that prefers to remain unknown, that does not seek office or any of the tokens of power, that belongs to no nation whatever but is international—a force that uses every government, every widespread business organization, every agency of publicity, every resource of national psychology, to throw the world into a panic for the sake of getting still more power over the world.”
Henry Ford, My Life and Work

“[During World War I] General Pershing, commander in chief of our expeditionary forces, on arriving in France, officially visited Lafayette's grave, laid a wreath on it, and said, "Lafayette, we are here." By this, he meant that the Americans were eager to repay to France their debt of gratitude for what Lafayette had done for them during the Revolutionary War.”
Hélène A. Guerber, The Story of the Americans

Lindsay Mattick
“No. Because if you're not listening, it's impossible to hear. If you believe that somebody is so different from you that you can't possibly have anthing in common, you'll never be able to hear them no matter what they say. That was the way with the rats and horses. And that's how it is in war.”
Lindsay Mattick, Winnie's Great War

Nancy Rubin Stuart
“With the onset of World War I and the deaths of thousands of young men, a new generation of spiritualists appeared. One of the most prominent was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes detective series, whose pro-spiritualist book "New Revelation" was published in 1917.”
Nancy Rubin Stuart, The Reluctant Spiritualist: The Life of Maggie Fox

Erik Larson
“Another man packed a gold seal for stamping wax on the back of an envelope, with the Latin motto Tuta Tenebo, “I will keep you safe.”
Erik Larson, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Diana Stevan
“She envisioned him walking through a blizzard, his head down, his moustache coated with ice, his frozen fingers gripping his bayonet.”
Diana Stevan, Sunflowers Under Fire

Diana Stevan
“She understood that unrequited love could break a heart, but there was nothing she could do about his sorrow.”
Diana Stevan, Sunflowers Under Fire

Mick LaSalle
“World War I was the final straw. Youth turned on their elders for making a hash of the world. Older men’s values had produced a cataclysm, and young men had paid with their lives. “The older generation has certainly pretty well ruined this world before passing it on to us,” wrote a young man in the Atlantic Monthly of September 1920, expressing the prevailing sentiment. How could the younger generation, the idea went, possibly do any worse?”
Mick LaSalle, Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man

Kazutaka Kodaka
“Despair is the one thing that brings chaos to this world. Just like a single bullet setting off a world war, despair has the power to throw this world into chaos! Look at me now! I'm having so much fun! Even now, I'm filled with despair and excitement!”
Kazutaka Kodaka

Henri Barbusse
“Shame on military glory, shame on armies, shame on the soldier's profession, which changes men, some into stupid victims, others into base executioners. Yes shame, that's true – but it's too true, it's true in eternity, but not yet for us.”
Henri Barbusse, Under Fire

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