If war has its chivalry and its pageantry, it has also its hideousness and its demoniac woe. Bullets respect not beauty. They tear out the eye, and shatter the jaw, and rend the cheek.
It is perhaps significant that the adherents of war are more and more justifying it by its past record and reminding us of its ancient origin. . . . The little lad who stoutly defends himself on the school ground may be worthy of much admiration, but if we find him, a dozen years later, the bullying leader of a street-gang . . . our admiration cools amazingly.
The one distinctive advance in civil society achieved by the Anglo-Saxon world is fairly betokened by the passing away of this notion of a peculiar possession in the way of honor which had to be guarded by arms.
I am of opinion that, unless you could bray Christianity in a mortar, and mould it into a new paste, there is no possibility of a holy war.
Who has ever told the evils and the curses and the crimes of war? Who can describe the horrors of the carnage of battle? Who can portray the fiendish passions which reign there! If there is anything in which earth, more than any other, resembles hell, it is its wars.
It seems perfectly clear to me that we can never make any real progress toward permanent peace so long as we recognize the institution of war as legitimate and clothe it with glory.
I abominate war as unchristian. I hold it to be the greatest of human crimes, and to involve all others—violence, blood, rapine, fraud—everything that can deform the character, alter the nature, and debase the name of man.
Laws are commanded to hold their tongues among arms, and tribunals fall to the ground with the peace they are no longer able to uphold.
Let us pity and forgive those who urge increased armaments, for "they know not what they do."
The chief evil of war is more evil. War is the concentration of all human crimes. Here is its distinguishing, accursed brand. Under its standard gather violence, malignity, rage, fraud, perfidy, rapacity, and lust. If it only slew man, it would do little. It turns man into a beast of prey.
We cannot make a more lively representation and emblem to ourselves of hell, than by the view of a kingdom in war.
The man who enjoys marching in line and file to the strains of music falls below my contempt; he received his great brain by mistake—the spinal cord would have been amply sufficient.
I now know that wars do not end wars.
Universal peace will be realized, not because man will become better, but because a new order of things, a new science, new economic necessities, will impose peace.
The men are included in the eight million dollars.
There never was a good war, or a bad peace.
A great war leaves the country with three armies—an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves.
When wars do come, they fall upon the many, the producing class, who are the sufferers.
It is the business of the church to make my business impossible.
A book glorifying war may be quite as anti-social, and to my mind quite as obscene, as one glorifying illicit love, but it is never suppressed, and seldom publicly denounced.
War is nothing less than a temporary repeal of the principles of virtue. It is a system out of which almost all the virtues are excluded, and in which nearly all the vices are included.
Yes; quaint and curious a war is! You shoot a fellow down you'd treat if met where any bar is, or help to half a crown.
The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party. The military feelings are too deeply grounded to abdicate their place among our ideals until better substitutes are offered than the glory and shame that come to nations as well as individuals from the ups and downs of politics and the vicissitudes of trade.
War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.
Dress it as we may, feather it, daub it with gold, huzza it, and sing swaggering songs about it, what is war, nine times out of ten, but murder in uniform?
O snap the fife and still the drums and show the monster as she is.
All the talk of history is of nothing almost but fighting and killing, and the honor and renown which are bestowed on conquerors, who, for the most part are mere butchers of mankind, mislead growing youth, who, by these means, come to think slaughter the most laudable business of mankind, and the most heroic of virtues.
Even toy soldiers should be abolished. We must disarm the nursery!
He who makes war his profession cannot be otherwise than vicious.—War makes thieves, and peace brings them to the gallows.
War is a profession by which a man cannot live honorably; an employment by which the soldier, if he would reap any profit, is obliged to be false, rapacious, and cruel.
Of all the evils to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes, are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people! No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly scarce heard amid the guns below.
War will disappear, like the dinosaur, when changes in world conditions have destroyed its survival value.
War hath no fury like a non-combatant.
The life of states is like that of men. The latter have the right of killing in self-defence; the former to make wars for their own preservation.
One of the most remarkable things about war, as Thucydides has remarked, is that it takes away your freedom and puts you in a region of necessity. You may choose whether or not to fight, but once fighting, your power of choice is gone.
If nations could overcome the mutual fear and distrust whose somber shadow is now thrown over the world, and could meet with confidence and good will to settle their possible differences, they would easily be able to establish a lasting peace.
The old proverb that Beelzebub has to be driven out by Beelzebub is a dangerous one: the use of evil will create more evil, war more hostile feelings, and the use of force more need of force.
Success in war, like charity in religion, covers a multitude of sins.
War is the business of barbarians.
War, which society draws upon itself, is but organized barbarism, an inheritance of the savage state, however disguised or ornamented.
The monk that invented gunpowder did as much to stop war as did all the sermons of his brethren.
It is only necessary to make war with five things: with the maladies of the body, the ignorances of the mind, with the passions of the body, with the seditions of the city, and the discords of families.
The practices of war are so hateful to God, that were not his mercies infinite, it were in vain for those of that profession to hope for any portion of them.
Moral disarmament is to safeguard the future; material disarmament is to save the present, that there may be a future to safeguard.
War comes today as the result of one of three causes: either actual or threatened wrong by one country to another, or suspicion by one country that another intends to do it wrong ... or, from bitterness of feeling, dependent in no degree whatever upon substantial questions of difference. . . . The least of these three causes of war is actual injustice.
If the intellectual has any function in society, it is to preserve a cool and unbiased judgment in the face of all solicitations to passion. . . . During the war, the ordinary virtues, such as thrift, industry, and public spirit, were used to swell the magnitude of the disaster by producing a greater energy in the work of mutual extermination.
There is only one virtue, pugnacity; only one vice, pacifism. That is an essential condition of war.
Let the gulled fool the toils of war pursue, where bleed the many to enrich the few.
The greatest curse that can be entailed on mankind is a state of war. All the atrocious crimes committed in years of peace, all that is spent in peace by the secret corruptions, or by the thoughtless extravagance of nations, are mere trifles compared with the gigantic evils which stalk over this world in a state of war. God is forgotten in war; every principle of Christianity is trampled upon.
War, even in the best state of an army, with all the alleviations of courtesy and honor, with all the correctives of morality and religion, is nevertheless so great an evil, that to engage in it without a clear necessity is a crime of the blackest dye. When the necessity is clear, it then becomes a crime to shrink from it.
It is a puzzling fact that international conduct is so often judged by far lower standards than are the acts of individuals. . . . Men who would not think of assaulting another to gain an end—who would indeed suffer great loss, and be proud to suffer it, rather than obtain their rights by such a method—feel that a nation should be ever ready to assert its claims by blows.
War! that mad game the world so loves to play.
The difficulty about arguing is that when you get before an audience everybody is in favor of peace. . . . But when it comes to an election the issue as to international peace does not play any part at all.
I am for anything in this world that keeps the problem of finding a substitute for war in people's minds.
Rash, fruitless war, from wanton glory waged, is only splendid murder.
Peace is the happy natural state of man; war is corruption and disgrace.
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual ways of preserving peace.
Men who have nice notions of religion have no business to be soldiers.
The next dreadful thing to a battle lost is a battle won.
Militarism and warfare are childish things, if they are not more horrible than anything childish can be. They must become things of the past.
As long as war is regarded as wicked it will always have its fascinations. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.
We Americans cannot conceive of a war without a moral background. . . . It may now be accepted as a principle that any weak saddle-colored nation that happens to be situated near us and also happens to possess a lot of mahogany or hemp or cocoanuts or gold mines had better look out. We have our moral eye on such people and are likely to introduce American morality at any moment.
We wake up to find the whole world building competitive trade barriers, just as we found it a few years ago building competitive armaments. We are trying to reduce armaments to preserve the world's solvency. We shall have to reduce competitive trade barriers to preserve the world's sanity. As between the two, trade barriers are more destructive than armaments and more threatening to the peace of the world.