While “peace” can refer to an inner peace as well as civil peace, war is usually about armed conflict involving physical violence between groups, states, or nations. In a war, each party competes for power over the other or for freedom from oppressive power. What are some of the reflections of great thinkers about war?
Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
When all is said and done, and statesmen discuss the future of the world, the fact remains that people fight these wars.
We want to live at any price; so we cannot burden ourselves with feelings which, though they might be ornamental enough in peace-time, would be out of place here.
A hospital alone shows what war is.
I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.
A privately owned world can never be a free world and a society based upon warring classes cannot stand.
The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles.
The working class who fight the battles, the working class who make the sacrifices, the working class who shed the blood, the working class who furnish the corpses, the working class have never yet had a voice in declaring war.
War has always been the grand sagacity of every spirit which has grown too inward and too profound; its curative power lies even in the wounds one receives.
Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.
I had grown up in a humanist atmosphere, and war to me was never anything but horror, mutilation and senseless destruction, and I knew that many great and wise people felt the same way about it.
I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.
All war propaganda, all the screaming and the lies, and the hatred comes invariably from people who are not fighting.
The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.
Our enemies are innovative and resourceful…. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
No, I know all the war rhetoric, but it’s all aimed at achieving peace.
I’ve been to war. I’ve raised twins. If I had a choice, I’d rather go to war.
The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.
There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy.
I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.
War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.
Never advise anyone to go to war or to get married. Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present. He that has no children brings them up well.
A nice war is a war where everybody who is heroic is a hero, and everybody more or less is a hero in a nice war. Now this war is not at all a nice war.
All wars are planned by older men
In council rooms apart,
Who plan for greater armament
And map the battle chart.
It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.
Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of justice.
I hate war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatreds it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in the place of democracies, and for the starvation that stalks after it. I hate war, and never again will I sanction or support another.
I look upon the whole world as my fatherland, and every war has to me the horror of a family feud.
You don’t spread democracy with a barrel of a gun.
As peacemakers we must resist resolutely all the powers of war and destruction and proclaim that peace is the divine gift offered to all who affirm life.
A peace which depends upon fear is nothing but a suppressed war.
Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine 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. 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 to 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.
Religion and science both profess peace (and the sincerity of the professors is not being doubted), but each always turns out to have a dominant part in any war that is going or contemplated.
During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.
I suggest that if you know history, then you might not be so easily fooled by the government when it tells you you must go to war for this or that reason — that history is a protective armor against being misled.
When people don’t understand that the government doesn’t have their interests in mind, they’re more susceptible to go to war.
One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression.
I am willing to accept that there might be rare circumstances where applications of force might be effective,
We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children
Historically, the most terrible things — war, genocide, and slavery — have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.
When guns boom, the arts die.
People like Eugene Debs, Helen Keller, Emma Goldman, Jack London and Upton Sinclair were wonderful writers who joined the movement against war and injustice, against capitalism and corporate power. That was a very exciting period in American history.
The first and most imperative necessity in war is money, for money means everything else – men, guns, ammunition.
It is not only the living who are killed in war.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.
We kind o’ thought Christ went agin war an’ pillage.
Psychologists intimate that action is determined by the selection of the subject upon which the attention is habitually fixed. The newspapers, the theatrical posters, the street conversations for weeks had to do with war and bloodshed. The little children on the street played at war, day after day, killing Spaniards. The humane instinct, which keeps in abeyance the tendency to cruelty, the growing belief that the life of each human being — however hopeless or degraded, is still sacred — gives way, and the barbaric instinct asserts itself.