World War II Quotes


They said it...and they meant what they said.



World War 2 generated a variety of house-hold names, from world leaders and generals to important political players and individual soldiers. Quotes went on to become an important part of the war in the years following, particularly to those of us today who have become students of the conflict, for they give us a glimpse of the characters within. As the reader, one has the opportunity to take something away from these quotes as spoken by their owners and begin to see the person behind the quote with a clearer set of eyes - bringing a more vivid picture of the years that encompassed man's greatest modern conflict.
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"It must be a peace without victory...Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor's terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last."
- U.S.Pres. Woodrow Wilson addressing the U.S. Senate, January 22nd, 1917
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"As long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable."
- Albert Einstein
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"The battlefront disappeared, and with it the illusion that there had ever been a battlefront. For this was no war of occupation, but a war of quick penetration and obliteration - Blitzkrieg, Lightning War."
- TIME Magazine Writer (unknown)
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"Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."
- General Douglas MacArthur
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"I'll come back as soon as I can with as much as I can. In the meantime, you've got to hold!" - As spoken to General Wainright in March of 1942"
- General Douglas MacArthur to General Wainright, March 1942
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"During the time I have had WACs under my command, they have met every test and task assigned to them...their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable."
- General Dwight Eisenhower, a speech referring to the five women whom served on his staff during the war, 1945
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"No amphibious attack in history has approached this one in size. Along miles of coastline there were hundreds of vessels and small boats afloat and ant-like files of advancing troops ashore."
- General Dwight Eisenhower, on the Allied landings at Sicily, July 1943
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"Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely"
- General Dwight Eisenhower, in an address to Allied soldiers on June 6th, 1944
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"I have seen war...I hate war."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt in an address at Chautauqua, NY, August 14th, 1936
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"The Soviet Union, as everybody who has the courage to face the fact knows, is run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt before the American youth Congress, February 10th, 1940
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"Democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of men's enlightened will...It is the most humane, the most advanced, and, in the end, the most unconquerable of all forms of human society. The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase of human history...We...would rather die on our feet than live on our knees."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, Third Inauguration speech, January 20th, 1941
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"I say that the delivery of needed supplies to Britain is imperative. I say that this can be done; it must be done; and it will be done...The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, Fireside Chat, May 27th, 1941
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"The massed, angered forces of common humanity are on the march. They are going forward - on the Russian front, in the vast Pacific area, and into Europe - converging upon their ultimate objectives: Berlin and Tokyo. I think the first crack in the Axis has come. The criminal, corrupt Fascist regime in Italy is going to pieces."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, Fireside Chat, July 28th, 1943
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"The world has never seen greater devotion, determination, and self-sacrifice than have been displayed by the Russian people...under the leadership of Marshal Joseph Stalin. With a nation that in saving itself is thereby helping to save all the world from the Nazi menace, this country of ours should always be glad to be a good neighbor and a sincere friend to the world of the future."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, Fireside Chat, July 28th, 1943
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"On this tenth day of June 1940, the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, June 10th, 1940
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"Force is the only language they understand, like bullies."
- U.S.Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, referencing Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and German dictator Adolf Hitler
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"Maybe there are 5,000, maybe 10,000 Nazi bastards in their concrete foxholes before the Third Army. Now if Ike stops holding Monty's hand and gives me some supplies, I'll go through the Siegfried Line like shit through a goose."
- General George S. Patton
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"Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper-hanging, son-of-a-bitch Hitler - just like I'd shoot a snake."
- General George S. Patton, speech delivered to his troops before embarking for Operation Overlord (D-Day)
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"We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple-%@&%# Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit."
- General George S. Patton, addressing his troops before D-Day
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"The Limeys want us in even with our hastily made plans and our half-trained and half-equipped troops."
- General Joseph Stilwell on joining the war alongside Britain
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"I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it is as humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused it, go back and retake it."
- General Joseph Stilwell, May 1942
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"Germany having seized the prey, Soviet Russia will seize that part of the carcass that Germany cannot use. It will play the noble role of hyena to the German lion."
- New York Times, 1939
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"The Chinese soldier was tough, brave, and experienced. After all he had been fighting on his own without help for years. He was a veteran among the Allies."
- Bill Slim
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"The Germans should have thought of some of these things before they began the war, particularly before attacking the Russians."
- General Bernard Montgomery, on a German soldier's request to surrender only to British or American forces and not the Russians
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"Nice chap, no General."
- General Bernard Montgomery, on first impressions of American General (and future U.S. President) Dwight Eisenhower
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"In a life and death struggle, we cannot afford to leave our destinies in the hands of failures."
- Labor Party Opposition Leader Clement Atlee on the British handling of the war in Norway
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"The knowledge not only of the enemy's precise strength and disposition, but also how, when, and where he intends to carry out his operations brought a new dimension to the prosecution of war."
- Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander on the ULTRA code system
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"How horrible, how fantastic, how incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing."
- Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, 1938
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"It is evil things we shall be fighting against, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution."
- Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, 1939
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"Like so many of our people, we have now had a personal experience of German barbarity which only strengthens the resolution of all of us to fight through to final victory."
- King George VI, September 1940
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"Singapore could only be taken after a siege by an army of at least 50,000 men. It is not considered possible that the Japanese would embark on such a mad enterprise."
- Winston Churchill, 1940
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"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Atlantic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind the line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe...All these famous cities...lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow."
- Winston Churchill, 1940
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"In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will."
- Winston Churchill, 1940
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"Without ships, we cannot live."
- Winston Churchill on the importance of winning the War in the Atlantic, 1940
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"Good night, then - sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly on all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn."
- Winston Churchill to the people of France, October 21st, 1940
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