Subscribe to The Achievement Digest
QUOTATIONS ABOUT WAR BY AMERICAN PRESIDENTS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, JOHN
ADAMS, U.S. GRANT, TEDDY ROOSEVELT PLUS LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, WINSTON CHURCHILL,
HERMANN GOERING, SIGMUND FREUD, AND
Collected by Gene Griessman, Ph.D., Editor, The AchievementDigest®
to more great quotes at the bottom of this page
Click here for
Contemporary War Quotes
Ulysses S. Grant
“Experience proves that the man who obstructs a war in which his nation is
engaged, no matter whether right or wrong, occupies no enviable place in
life or history. Better for him, individually, to advocate 'war,
pestilence, and famine,' than to act as obstructionist to a war already
(18th President of the United States and Civil War general who also fought
in the Mexican War in Personal Memoirs of
Vol. 1, p. 68. Abraham Lincoln, incidentally, opposed the Mexican War,
and it almost ended his political career.)
"It is to the credit of
the American nation, however, that after conquering Mexico, and while
practically holding the country in our possession, so that we could have
retained the whole of it, or made any terms we chose, we paid a round of sum
for the additional territory taken; more than it was worth, or was likely to
be, to Mexico. To us it was an empire of incalculable value; but it might
have been obtained by other means.
"The Southern rebellion was
largely the outgrowth of the Mexican War. Nations, like individuals,
are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the
most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times."
(Written in the 1885 as Grant reflected on a war in which he fought in the
Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. Vol. 1, pp. 55, 56.)
"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary
(In letter to his
wife Abigail. During the 1790s war with the French seemed all but
inevitable, and Adams was under strong pressure to declare war against
"War necessarily brings with it some virtues, and great and
heroic virtues, too....What horrid creatures we men are, that we cannot be
virtuous without murdering one another."
(From a letter to his long-time friend Benjamin Rush)
"Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their
people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the
people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most
oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the
Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this
oppression upon us." (Italics Lincoln's; Speech August 26, 1852)
Louisa May Alcott
“I’ve often longed to see a war, and now I have my wish.” (Best known for
writing "Little Women," Alcott was an avid abolitionist; she became a
nurse during the Civil War.)
Robert E. Lee
"It is well that war is so
terrible -- we should grow too fond of it!" (Comment by famed
Confederate general to an aide as they watched the slaughter of over 12,000
Union soldiers in a single day at Fredericksburg.)
"No triumph of peace is quite
so great as the supreme triumph of war.
(From a speech when he was
Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the Naval War College in 1897; Roosevelt
fervently and successful advocated a war with Spain; he subsequently became
a hero in that war.)
"...It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is
always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy,
or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship."
"There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the
matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only
Congress can declare wars."
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the
leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being
attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the
country to danger. It works the same in any country."
(Nazi leader Hermann Goering was interviewed by Gustave Gilbert, the prison
psychologist who observed and interviewed the Nuremberg prisoners. The
quote above is from Gilbert's book Nuremberg Diary.)
William Tecumseh Sherman
"In our Country...one class of men makes war and leaves another to fight it
out." (Civil War general, best known for his March to the Sea, from
Atlanta to Savannah)
"A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of
violence, as would disgrace the individual."
"(War) strips us of the later accretions of civilization and lays bare the
primal man in each of us. It compels us once more to be heroes who
cannot believe in their own death; it stamps strangers as enemies, whose
death is to be brought about or desired; it tells us to disregard the death
of those we love."
(Psychologist, 1856-1939; Written in 1915 during WWI)
"In time of war, the first casualty is truth."
(American radio commentator; 1900-1944)
"To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war."
(Prime Minister of Great
Britain; statement made during a visit to Washington, DC in 1956)
"After much occasion to
consider the folly and mischiefs of a state of warfare, and the little or no
advantage obtained even by those nations who have conducted it with the most
success, I have been apt to think that there has never been, nor ever will
be, any such thing as a good war, or a bad peace."
(Letter to his old friend
Jonathan Shipley during Franklin's negotiations that led to the Paris Pact
which ended hostilities between the United States and Great Britain in 1782)
"War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace."
"The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war
appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions."
(1879-1949;Anglo-Irish essayist, journalist)
"There's the one thing no nation can ever accuse us of and that is secret
diplomacy. Our foreign dealings are an open book, generally a check
book." (October 21, 1923
American humorist 1879-1935)
"When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die."
(1905-1980 French novelist, playwright, exponent
Sir Walter Scott
"Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious strife
Is worth an age without a name."
(1771-1832: English poet
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers:
For he today that sheds his blood with me;
Shall be my brother." ("Henry V")
"They talk about who won and who lost. Human reason won.
(Soviet premier,1894-1971, when asked who won the Cuban
"In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons."
(Greek historian: called the Father of History; 484?–425? B.C)
Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural
Unlike virtually every war leader in history, Lincoln did not
demonize his opponents. He found plenty to blame on both sides.
Delivered on March 4, 1865 after a series of major successes by Union
forces, the War’s end was in sight. Considered by many to be one of
the most eloquent statements ever written in the English language, the words
were repeated eight weeks to the day at Lincoln’s funeral.
"....On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago,
all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil-war. All
dreaded it—all sought to avert it….Both parties deprecated war; but one of
them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would
accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.
….Neither party expected for the
war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained…Each
looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.
Both read the same Bible,
and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.
It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance
in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us
judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be
answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has
His own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must
needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence
cometh!' If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those
offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having
continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He
gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by
whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from
those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe
to Him? Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty
scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it
continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty
years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn
with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said
three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the
Lord, are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none;
with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the
right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the
nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for
his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just,
and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."
Click below for more informative and interesting
Index to all pages
New! 29 Of My
Management: How To Create A Time-Effective Organization
Abraham Lincoln: quotes
Abraham Lincoln: Resources For Further Study
Is George W. Bush the next Abraham
Lincoln? Lincoln-Bush compared
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt quotes and commentary on
Ronald Reagan quotes; exclusive
interview: his big break
"The Diversity Creed";
Why I Wrote "The Diversity Creed"
Remarkable Similarities Between
President Abraham Lincoln And Benjamin Franklin
Civil War Quotes: U.S. Grant's Leadership Style
How To Do Business
With Americans: Forgive Their Blunders
The Americans: Who Are
They And How Did They Get This Way?
Books and Videos By Gene Griessman
Inspirational Lincoln Quote Book
WORDS LINCOLN LIVED BY.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Lincoln performance before an audience of over 20,000 at the Georgia Dome.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER
200 time-saving tips from very successful people
Time Tactics Of Very Successful People.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER
"One of the very best
videos/DVDs ever made. It's a classic like 'Gone With the
--Brad McRea THE SEVEN STRATEGIES OF MASTER
Click Here To Order
For information about Gene Griessman's
much-heralded Abraham Lincoln portrayals, click here