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War, what is it good for? Welcome to our collection of quotes about war; many of them are cautionary, and all of them thought-provoking. Peace to you.

All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.

--John Steinbeck

A bad peace is even worse than war.


Those who declare war are seldom those who fight.

--Wayne Gerard Trotman

After every war someone has to tidy up.

--Wislawa Szymborska

War is not, in itself, a condition so much as the symptom of a condition -- that of international anarchy.

--Alfred Hermann Fried

War is the cemetery of futures promised.

--John Cory

If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.

--Hamilton Fish

When war is declared, truth is the first casualty.

--Arthur Ponsonby

The worst thing about this war is the chance it gives these dreadful little persons, the chance to make themselves important.

--Arthur Wimperis

The best ambassador is a warship.

--Michelle J. Howard

In a war of ideas it is people who get killed.

--Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

War implies a lack of comprehension of mutual national interests; it means the undermining and even the end of culture.

--Carlos Saavedra Lamas

War of aggression, war which does not imply defense of one's country, is a collective crime.

--Carlos Saavedra Lamas

During war, the laws are silent.

--Quintus Tullius Cicero

Criticism in a time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government.

--Robert Taft

If peace only had the music and pageantry of war, there'd be no wars.

--Sophie Kerr

Baneful indeed is the scourge of war.

--Stephen Grellet

The utter helplessness of a conquered people is perhaps the most tragic feature of a civil war or any other sort of war.

--Rebecca Latimer Felton

Of course in war all madnesses come out in a man, that is the fault of war not of a man or a nation.

--Frieda Lawrence

A nation's ability to fight a modern war is as good as its technological ability.

--Frank Whittle

War is organized murder, and nothing else.

--Harry Patch

Retreat is brave when you steal a great prize from your enemy's hands.

--David Bowles

Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

--Robert Oppenheimer

Wars are not fought only by childless men.

--Robert Rodat

War is something of man's own fostering, and if all mankind renounces it, then it is no longer there.

--A.A. Milne

No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic.

--A.J.P. Taylor

No war is inevitable until it breaks out.

--A.J.P. Taylor

Making peace is harder than making war.

--Adlai E. Stevenson

Winning is overrated. The only time it is really important is in surgery and war.

--Al McGuire

A war for a great principle ennobles a nation.

--Albert Pike

War is not the continuation of politics with different means, it is the greatest mass-crime perpetrated on the community of man.

--Alfred Adler

To all those who walk the path of human cooperation war must appear loathsome and inhuman.

--Alfred Adler

Civil wars leave nothing but tombs.

--Alphonse de Lamartine

There are not fifty ways of fighting, there's only one, and that's to win. Neither revolution nor war consists in doing what one pleases.

--Andre Malraux

War puts its questions stupidly, peace mysteriously.

--Andre Malraux

War is costly; peace is priceless.


Hell no, we won't go!


Ah! the Generals! they are numerous, but not good for much!


The most persistent sound which reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums.

--Arthur Koestler

War is the unfolding of miscalculations.

--Barbara W. Tuchman

A rational army would run away.


An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war.


The Atomic Age is here to stay -- but are we?

--Bennett Cerf

I do not want to see perpetual warfare in the Middle East.

--Bernie Sanders

Bloodless revolutions are rare.

--Bill Maher

The principal cause of war is war itself.

--C. Wright Mills

Warfare against civilians must never be answered in kind. Terror must never be answered with terror.

--Caleb Carr

Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come.

--Carl Sandburg

War is the province of danger.

--Carl von Clausewitz

War is the domain of physical exertion and suffering.

--Carl von Clausewitz

War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.

--Carl von Clausewitz

Everything in war is very simple. But the simplest thing is difficult.

--Carl von Clausewitz

The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation from their purposes.

--Carl von Clausewitz

To secure peace is to prepare for war.

--Carl von Clausewitz

War is the continuation of politics by other means.

--Carl von Clausewitz

Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain.

--Carl von Clausewitz

War kills men, and men deplore the loss; but war also crushes bad principles and tyrants, and so saves societies.

--Charles Caleb Colton

When forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established law, peace is considered already broken.

--Che Guevara

War can be avoided, and it ought to be avoided. I want no war.

--Chief Joseph

The failure to dissect the cause of war leaves us open for the next installment.

--Chris Hedges

A fight is mental, not just physical and psychological warfare is absolutely part of that.

--Conor McGregor

War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.

--Cormac McCarthy

Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.


Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do any good if you lose.

--Dick Cheney

The battlefields of any war changes a person forever.

--E.A. Bucchianeri

Wars of pen and ink often lead to wars of cannon and bayonets.

--Edward Counsel

Even a successful war is a loss to most families.

--Edward Counsel

Want is both parent and child of war.

--Edward Counsel

War is a severe doctor; but it sometimes heals grievances.

--Edward Counsel

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.

--Edward R. Murrow

All the gods are dead except the god of war.

--Eldridge Cleaver

Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim.

--Elias Canetti

Is war a sin?

--Elizabeth Berg

When you have warfare, things happen; people suffer; the noncombatants suffer as well as the combatants. And so it happens in civil war.

--Emmeline Pankhurst

A hospital alone shows what war is.

--Erich Maria Remarque

I'd never want my muse to be a singer of nothing but disaster.


Ares (The God of War) hates those who hesitate.


Ten soldiers wisely led will beat a hundred without a head.


It simply is not true that war never settles anything.

--Felix Frankfurter

War is behavior with roots in the single cell of the primeval seas. Eat whatever you touch or it will eat you.

--Frank Herbert

All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities.

--Frank Herbert

Longer Version:

All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.

War makes thieves and peace hangs them.

--George Herbert

When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.

--George R.R. Martin

There is a savage beast in every man, and when you hand that man a sword or spear and send him forth to war, the beast stirs.

--George R.R. Martin

To many men... the miasma of peace seems more suffocating than the bracing air of war.

--George Steiner

War is never fatal but always lost. Always lost.

--Gertrude Stein

To invent a war means that you've become a wartime president, and you can suspend much if not all of the Bill of Rights.

--Gore Vidal

War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.

--Hannah Arendt

War's tragedy is that it uses man's best to do man's worst.

--Harry Emerson Fosdick

I hate war... for the dictatorships it puts in the place of democracies, and for the starvation that stalks after it.

--Harry Emerson Fosdick

There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it.

--Havelock Ellis

Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.

--Herbert Hoover

War being the greatest of evils, all its accessories necessarily partake of the same character.

--Herman Melville

In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.


Even the bravest cannot fight beyond his power.


It is not right to exult over slain men.


Let my country die for me.

--James Joyce

Peace is the happy natural state of man; war is corruption and disgrace.

--James Thomson

If you're against war, you're against war regardless of what happens. It's a wrong method of trying to settle a dispute.

--Jeannette Rankin
soldier walking on wooden pathway surrounded with barbwire selective focus photography

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