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The Big Page O' Military Quotes

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a collection of quotations and aphorisms on the science and art of warfare, leadership and strategy, compiled by Eric Lewan alphabetically by speaker. The Historic Military Quotes page has more quotes, dealing more with history than theory. Quotes by the great writers on strategy Karl Von Clausewitz, Sir Basil H. Liddel-Hart, and Sun Tzu are on a separate page.

Please note that, due to the nature of the subject, several unsavory individuals and foolish ideas are presented within this page besides those noble and true. Inclusion of a quote or a source does not imply my agreement with, nor endorsement of, the person or the sentiment. Consideration of the occasion and circumstances of the quote, as well as the personal characteristics of the speaker, is essential to contemplate its fullest meaning.


In most forms of unconventional war, the objective is the allegiance of the people around whom, and presumably on whose behalf, the conflict is taking place. The occupation of some specific bit of ground is secondary, if it matters at all.
- Thomas K. Adams (U.S. Special Operations Forces in Action)
Human war has been the most successful of our cultural traditions.
- Robert Ardrey
We make war that we may live in peace.
- Aristotle

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Throughout the entire course of history, warfare is always changing.
-Andre Beaufre
Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by others' experience
- Bismark
A soldier is he whose blood makes the glory of the general.
- Henry G. Bohn
Every plan of campaign ought to have several branches and to have been so well thought out that one or other of the said branches cannot fail of success.
- Bourchet


Machines don't fight wars. People do, and they use their minds.
— Col John R. Boyd, USAF
People, ideas, and hardware -- In that order!
- Col John R. Boyd, USAF
Complexity (technical, organizational, operational, etc.) causes commanders and subordinates alike to be captured by their own internal dynamics or interaction – hence they cannot adapt to rapidly changing external (or even internal) circumstances.
- Col John R. Boyd, USAF
Harmony in operations is created by the bonds of implicit communications and trust that evolve as a consequence of the similar mental images or impressions each individual creates and commits to memory by repeatedly sharing the same variety of experience in the same ways.
- Col John R. Boyd, USAF
Leadership is the art of inspiring people to enthusiastically take action toward the achievement of uncommon goals.
- Col John R. Boyd, USAF
During those years (1909-1916),I had,as the boys in the back room would say,a swell racket.Looking back on it,I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints.The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts.I operated on three continents.
- U.S.M.C.Major General Smedley Butler

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The side with the simplest uniforms wins.
- Maj Mark Cancian
There is the guilt all soldiers feel for having broken the taboo against killing, a guilt as old as war itself. Add to this the soldier's sense of shame for having fought in actions that resulted, indirectly or directly, in the deaths of civilians. Then pile on top of that an attitude of social opprobrium, an attitude that made the fighting man feel personally morally responsible for the war, and you get your proverbial walking time bomb.
- Philip Caputo, 1982
Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.
- Edith Cavell
War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against one other.
- Thomas Carlyle
"However much we may sympathize with a small nation confronted by a big and powerful neighbor, we cannot in all circumstances undertake to involve the whole British Empire in a war simply on her account. If we have to fight it must be on larger issues than that..."
- Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (1938, on the conflict between Germany and Czechoslavkia)
If the enemy's dispositions are visible, we can make for him in one body; whereas, our own dispositions being kept secret, the enemy will be obliged to divide his forces in order to guard against attack from every quarter.
- Chang Yu
If a spirit of anger can be made to pervade all ranks of an army at one and the same time, its onset will be irresistible. Now the spirit of the enemy's soldiers will be keenest when they have newly arrived on the scene, and it is therefore our cue not to fight at once, but to wait until their ardor and enthusiasm have worn off, and then strike. it is in this way that they may be robbed of their keen spirit.
- Chang Yu

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I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
It is probable that future war will be conducted by a special class, the Air Force, as it was by the armored knights of the Middle Ages.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (about the Royal Air Force)
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terrors. Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
- Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
Endless money forms the sinews of war.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), PPhilippics

Carl Von Clausewitz

see pg. 3

War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.
- Georges Clemenceau (1841 - 1929)

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Army: A body of men assembled to rectify the mistakes of the diplomats.
-Josephus Daniels
Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.
- Demosthenes
The issue is not war and peace, rather, how best to preserve our freedom.
- General Russell E. Dougherty
"the battlefield in the air will be the decisive one"
- Douhet
The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities. Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith.
- John Foster Dulles
Through most of its wars, the united states successfully used the attrition approach. It is easier to be proficient at this type of warfare. You need to master only the simplest military skills and possess enormous quantities of arms and munitions.
- James F. Dunnigan (How To Make War, 1993))

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I know not with what weapons world war III will be fought, but world war IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
- Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear deevastation)
The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a huge arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-- economic, political, and even spiritual--is felt in every city, every state house, and every office of the federal government . . . In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex
- Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower
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. This 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. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
You have a row of dominoes set up; you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is that it will go over very quickly.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954
As soon as technological advances may be applied to military goals, and furthermore are already used for military purposes, they almost immediately seem obligatory, and also often go against the will of the commanders in triggering changes or even revolutions in the modes of combat
- Frederich Engels
War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.
- Desiderius Erasmus

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Moderation in war is imbecility.
- Admiral John Fisher
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
- Marechal Ferdinand Foch [Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre] (circa 1911)
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; For want of a shoe, the horse was lost; For want of a horse, the rider was lost; For want of a rider, the battle was lost.
- Benjamin Franklin
Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither.
- Benjamin Franklin
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin
A defensive war is apt to betray us into too frequent detachment. Those generals who have had but little experience attempt to protect every point, while those who are better acquainted with their profession, having only the capital object in view, guard against a decisive blow, and acquiesce in small misfortunes to avoid greater.
- Frederick the Great
If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks.
- Frederick The Great
There is no type of human endeavor where it is so important that the leader understands all phases of his job as that of the profession of arms.
- Major General James C. Fry

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The air force's real strength lies in its people. the mission is not done by machines, it is done by people. The best weapons are of little value without trained and motivated people to operate and support them.
- Gen Charles Gabriel, USAF
An eye for an eye only ends by making the whole world blind.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi
Wars teach us not to love our enemies, but to hate our allies.
- W. L. George
Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today?
- Josef Goebbel, Minister of Popular Enlighhtenment and Propaganda
The battle we are now approaching demands a colossal measure of production capacity. No limit on rearmament can be visualized. The only alternatives are victory or destruction... We live in a time when the final battle is in sight. We are ready on the threshold of mobilization and we are already at war. All that is lacking is the actual shooting.
- Reich Marshal Hermann Göring, Commander-iin-Chief of the Luftwaffe (1936)
The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving.
- Ulysses S. Grant

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I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
- Nathan Hale
The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him...but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing...but controlled and purposeful violence.
- Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers<)
Peace is an extension of war by political means.
- Robert Heinlein
Discipline is simply the art of making the soldiers fear their officers more than the enemy.
- Helvetius
Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war.
- Ernest Hemmingway
The highest generalship is to compel the enemy to disperse his army, and then to concentrate superior force against each fraction in turn.
- Col. Henderson
The rules of strategy are few and simple. they may be learned in a week. they may be taught by familiar illustrations or a dozen diagrams. but such knowledge will no more teach a man to lead an army like Napoleon than a knowledge of grammar will teach him to write like Gibbon.
- Col. Henderson
The line of supply may be said to be as vital to the existence of an army as the heart to the life of a human being. Just as the duelist who finds his adversary's point menacing him with certain death, and his own guard astray, is compelled to conform to his adversary's movements, and to content himself with warding off his thrusts, so the commander whose communications are suddenly threatened find s himself in a false position, and he will be fortunate if he has not to change all his plans, to split up his force into more or less isolated detachments, and to fight with inferior numbers on ground which he has not had time to prepare, and where defeat will not be an ordinary failure, but will entail the ruin or surrender of his whole army.
- Col. Henderson
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave...
- Patrick Henry
We have resolved to endure the unendurable and suffer what is insufferable.
- Emperor Hirohito
How to achieve the moral breakdown of the enemy before the war has started -- that is the problem that interests me. whoever has experienced war at the front will want to refrain from all avoidable bloodshed.
- Adolph Hitler (from Hitler Speaks))
Strength lies not in defense but in attack.
- Adolf Hitler
People have killed only when they could not achieve their aim in other ways ... there is a broadened strategy, with intellectual weapons ... Why should i demoralize the enemy by military means if I can do so better and more cheaply in other ways?"
- Adolf Hitler
Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. this is the war of the future.
- Adolf Hitler
Our strategy is to destroy the enemy from within, to conquer him through himself.
- Adolf Hitler
Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a sledge hammer.
- Major Holdridge
The greatest mistake you can make in this life is to be continually fearing you will make one.
- Elbert Hubbard

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We've got no place in this outfit for good loosers. We want tough hombres who will go in there and win!
-Admiral Jonas Ingram, 1929

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The hardships of forced marches are often more painful than the dangers of battle
- Stonewall Jackson
The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots
- Thomas Jefferson, 1787
My views and feelings (are) in favor of the abolition of war--and I hope it is practicable, by improving the mind and morals of society, to lessen the disposition to war; but of its abolition I despair.
- Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel
- Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)

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Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.
- John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), Speech to UN General Assembly, Sept. 25, 1961
We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace.
- Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read.
- Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936)
Being ready is not what matters. What matters is winning after you get there.
-Lieutenant General V.H. Krulak, USMC

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It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it.
- Gen. Robert E. Lee
Duty then, is the most sublime word in the Eglish language. You can never do more. You should never wish to do less.
- Gen. Robert E. Lee
I don't mind being called tough, since I find in this racket it's the tough guys who lead the survivors.
- Gen. Curtis LeMay, Air Force chief of Staaff
The soundest strategy in war is to postpone operations until the moral disintegration of the enemy renders the delivery of the mortal blow both possible and easy.
- V. I. Lenin, Russian revolutionary leaderr
In maneuver warfare, we attempt not to destroy the entire enemy force but to render most of it irrelevant.
- Lt.Col.Robert R. Leonhard, U.S.A.
Attacking does not merely consist in assaulting walled cities or striking at an army in battle array; it must include the art of assailing the enemy's mental equilibrium.
- Li Ching (571-649 C.E.)

Sir Basil H. Liddell-hart

see pg. 3

The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind is to get an old one out.
- Sir B. H. Liddell-Hart
Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.
- Pres. Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
- Pres. Abraham Lincoln

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In war there is no substitute for victory.
- Gen Douglas MacArthur
There is no security in this life. There is only opportunity.
- Gen Douglas Macarthur
On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seed that on other days and other fields will bear the fruits of victory.
- General Douglas MacArthur
In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military.
- General Douglas MacArthur
We must hold our minds alert and receptive to the application of unglimpsed methods and weapons. The next war will be won in the future, not in the past. We must go on, or we will go under.
- General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur (as Chief of Staff, 1931)
"It is my earnest hope - indeed the hope of all mankind - that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world found upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice."
- General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander of South-West Pacific (1945)
A prince should therefore have no other aim or thought, nor take up any other thing for his study but war and it organization and discipline, for that is the only art that is necessary to one who commands.
- Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 - 1527), The Prrince
Never do an enemy a small injury.
- Niccolo Machiavelli
The first law of war is to preserve ourselves and destroy the enemy.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
Historical experience is written in blood and iron.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
Imaginative, intelligent, and bold leadership is absolutely essential. Commanders and leaders at every echelon must be selected with these specific qualities in mind. Officers and NCOs who are more than competent under normal conditions will frequently be hopelessly ineffective when confronted with dynamic and totally different situations.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
Select the tactic of seeming to come from the East and attacking from the West; avoid the solid, attack the hollow; attack; withdraw; deliver a lightning blow, seek a lightning decision. When guerrillas engage a stronger enemy, they withdraw when he advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
In spite of the most complete preparation, there can be no victory if mistakes are made in the matter of command.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
It is necessary to be completely unsympathetic to abstract formulas and rules and to study with sympathy the conditions of the actual fighting, for these will change in accordance with the political and economic situations and the realization of the people's aspirations. These progressive changes in conditions create new methods.
- Mao Tse-Tung, 1937
Guerrilla units formed from the people may gradually develop into regular units and, when operating as such, employ the tactics of orthodox mobile war ... While it is improper to confuse orthodox with guerrilla operations, it is equally improper to consider that there is a chasm between the two.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
If [a conventional army facing guerrillas] can maintain communications, she will be able at will to concentrate powerful forces speedily at strategic points to engage our organized units in decisive battle ... severing her supply lines destroys her life line.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
The fountainhead of guerrilla warfare is in the masses of the people, who organize guerrilla units directly from themselves.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
The people must be inspired to cooperate voluntarily. We must not force them, for if we do it will be ineffectual.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
The equipment of guerrillas cannot be based on what they want, or even on what they need, but on what is available for their use ... Guerrillas must not depend too much on an armory; the enemy is their principal source of supply.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
An officer should have the following qualities: great powers of endurance so that in spite of any hardship he sets an example to his men ... he must be able to mix easily with the people ... he must study tactics ... The most important natural quality is that of complete loyalty
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
There are three matters that must be considered under the broad question of political activities: first, spiritual unification of officers and men within the army; second, spiritual unification of the army and the people; and last, destruction of the unity of the enemy.
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
The people may be likened to water, and guerrillas to the fish that swim in it. How may it be that these two cannot coexist?
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
- Mao Tse-Tung (On Guerrilla Warfare, 1937))
Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun
- Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (Sayings)
War can only be abolished by war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun
- Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (Sayings)
Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.
- Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (Sayings)
Revolutionary war is an antitoxin which not only eliminates the enemy's poison but also purges us of our own filth.
- Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (Sayings)
There is no limit to the good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.
- General George C. Marshall
We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand, of overwhelming power on the other.
- Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff
Control presupposes that the leaders knows the location of all elements of his command at all times and can communicate with any element at any time.
- Gen. George C. Marshal (this sentiment, nnecessary for readying an unprepared amateur force for war, later helped foster the culture of micromanagement in the U.S. military)
Patriotism...is the egg from which wars are hatched.
-de Maupassant
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
- H. L. Mencken
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
- John Stuart Mill (1868)
Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe.
- Milton
To master the virtue of the long sword is to govern the world and oneself, thus the long sword is the basis of strategy. The principle is "strategy by means of the long sword". If he attains the virtue of the long sword, one man can beat ten men. Just as one man can beat ten, so a hundred men can beat a thousand, and a thousand men can beat ten thousand. In my strategy (ARETE), one man is the same as ten thousand, so this strategy is the complete warrior's craft.
- Miyamoto Musashi
In all forms of strategy, it is necessary to maintain the combat stance in everyday life and to make your everyday stance your combat stance. You must research this well
- Miyamoto Musashi
Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.
- Miyamoto Musashi, 1645
The number of medals on an officer's breast varies in inverse proportion to the square of the distance of his duties from the front line.
-Charles Edward Montague

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The moral is to the physical as three to one
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821)
The secret of war lies in the communications
- Napoleon Bonaparte
To have good soldiers, a nation must always be at war.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Soldiers usually win the battles and generals get the credit for them.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Victory belongs to the most persevering.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.
- Jawaharlal Nehru
it is the function of the navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it will not be fought on u.s. soil.
- Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in CChief of the Pacific Fleet
"Perhaps my dynamite plants will put an end to war sooner than your [pacifist] congresses. On the day two army corps can annihilate each other in one second all civilized nations will recoil from war in horror."
- Alfred Nobel

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we sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
- George Orwell (1903 - 1950)
The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.
- George Orwell


What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly ... it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated.
- Thomas Paine
Ten good soldiers, wisely led, will beat a hundred without a head.
- Charles Henry Parkhurst


No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. he won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Make your plans to fit the circumstances.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Take calculated risks.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
There's a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. one of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
You're never beaten until you admit it.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
It is only by doing things others have not that one can advance.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
All glory is fleeting.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Success demands a high level of logistical and organizational competence.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Perpetual peace is a futile dream.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
The test of success is not what you do when your on top. success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
If I win i can't be stopped! if I lose I shall be dead.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Always moving, do not sit down, do not say “I have done enough.” Keep on; see what else you can do to raise the devil with the enemy.
- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.
If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself.
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
If you can't get them to salute when they should salute and wear the clothes you tell them to wear, how are you going to get them to die for their country?
- General George S. Patton, Jr.
Violent attacks, though costly at the time, save lives in the end.
- General George Patton, 1947
No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself.
- William Penn
In the moment of action remember the value of silence and order.
- Phormio of Athens
All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time.
- Lt Gen Lewis B. Puller, USMC

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Although ancient states were great, they inevitably perished when they were fond of war
- Sima Rangju
The greatest intensification of the horrors of war is a direct result of the democratisation of the state. So long as the army was a professional unit, the specialist function of a limited number of men, war remained a relatively harmless contest for power. But once it became everyman's duty to defend his home (or his political "rights") warfare was free to range wherever that home might be, and to attack every form of life and property associated with that home.
- Herbert Read
... the basic principles of the military services are unchangeable. courage and candor, obedience and comradeship, love of fatherland and loyalty to the state: these are ever the distinguishing characteristics of the soldier and sailor. Building character through intelligent training and education is always the first and greatest goal.
- Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, Commander in Chief of the German Navy
The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.
- George Hyman Rickover
My greatest contribution as chief of staff was to nourish the mavericks.
- General Matthew Ridgway
"War is about killing people and breaking things." I have done it, war is not a lot of fun, and intellectually there is little to defend the practice. Notice, I did not say "nothing," I said "little," and it is a damn BIG little. It is this simple, if they are willing to kill people and break things, and you are not, they win. One ugly fact about human nature is: If someone will not fight for what is theirs, they lose it.
-John Carl Roat, CLASS-29
You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.
- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)
Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it.... You take diplomacy out of war, and the thing would fall flat in a week.
- Will Rogers
Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your endurance of fatigue and privation. always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide.
- Field Marshall Erwin Rommel
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt (Paris Sorbonne,1910)
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt (speech before the Hammilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899)
No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.
- Theodore Roosevelt (The Strenuous Life: EEssays and Addresses)
Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.
- Theodore Roosevelt
History shows that weakness is provocative.
- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom
-Bertrand Russell

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It is a pity that kings and rulers do not apply their mental powers as effectively to the preservation of peace as to the prosecution of war
- Gaius Sallustius Crispus
Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come.
- Carl Sandburg
Every waking and sleeping moment, my nightmare is the fact that I will give an order that will cause countless numbers of human beings to lose their lives.
- Gen H. Norman Schwarzkopf, February 1991
I am quite confident that in the foreseeable future armed conflict will not take the form of huge land armies facing each other across extended battle lines, as they did in World War I and World War II or, for that matter, as they would have if NATO had faced the Warsaw Pact on the field of battle.
- H. Norman Schwartzkopf
The fear of war is worse than war itself.
Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste death but once.
- William Shakespeare: 'Julius Caesar'
In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness, and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood...now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit to its full height!
- William Shakespeare: 'The Life of King Heenry V'
There's only one truth about war: people die.
- Gen. Sheridan
War is hell.
- Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is the sooner it will be over
- Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
Pentagon's readiness and modernization problems are not due to budget cuts. The are the result of habitual modes of conduct evolved during the Cold War and a desire by the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (MICC) to protect its comfortable life style in a world that is changing rapidly.
- Chuck Spinney

Sun Tzu

see pg. 3

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The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war.
- Thucydides
If the tools of warfare are no longer tanks and artillery, but rather computer viruses and microrobots, then we can no longer say that nations are the only armed groups or that soldiers are the only ones in possession of the tools of war
- Alvin & Heidi Toffler
Without war no State could be. All those we know of arose through war, and the protection of their members by armed force remains their primary and essential task. War, therefore, will endure to the end of history, as long as there is a multiplicity of states.
- Heinrich von Treitschke
A leader is a man who had the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do, and like it.
- Pres. Harry S. Truman
Whether in an advantageous position or a disadvantageous one, the opposite state should be always present to your mind.
- Ts`ao Kung
Bravery without forethought causes a man to fight blindly and desperately like a mad bull. Such an opponent must not be encountered with brute force, but may be lured into an ambush and slain
- Ts`ao Kung
If you wish to feign confusion in order to lure the enemy on, you must first have perfect discipline; if you wish to display timidity in order to entrap the enemy, you must have extreme courage; if you wish to parade your weakness in order to make the enemy over-confident, you must have exceeding strength
- Tu Mu
If I wish to wrest an advantage from the enemy, I must not fix my mind on that alone, but allow for the possibility of the enemy also doing some harm to me... If I wish to extricate myself from a dangerous position, I must consider not only the enemy's ability to injure me, but also my own ability to gain an advantage over the enemy"
- Tu Mu
If the enemy is the invading party, we can cut his line of communications and occupy the roads by which he will have to return; If we are the invaders, we may direct our attack against the sovereign himself.
- Tu Mu

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God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions.
- Francois Voltaire

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The jealousies of a standing army, and the evils to be apprehended from one are remote, and in my judgment, situated and circumstanced as we are, not at all to be dreaded.
- Gen. George Washington
I know [patriotism] exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But 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.
- Gen. George Washington
When we assumed the Soldier, We did not lay aside the Citizen.
- Gen. George Washington (to the New York LLegislature, 1775)
Weapons are baleful instruments, strife is antagonistic to virtue, a military commander is the negation of civil order!
- Wei Liao Tzu
The hardest thing of all for a soldier is to retreat.
- Wellington
Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology.
- Rebecca West
Only the winners decide what were war crimes.
- Garry Wills
Without harmony in the state, no military expedition can be undertaken; without harmony in the army, no battle array can be formed.
- Wu Tzu

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X, Y, Z

"A military man can scarcely pride himself on having 'smitten a sleeping enemy'; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten."
- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Navy (about Pearl Harbor, 1942)

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Frederick the great's horse was on seven separate campaigns with him. in the end he was still a dumb horse.
- anonymous
If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; and if you can't pick it up, paint it.
- Anonymous
Freedom isn't free.
- Anonymous
We always prefer war on our terms to peace on someone else's.
- Anonymous
Those who beat their swords into plowshares end up plowing for those who don't
- Anonymous
Si vis pacem, para bellum. (He who desires peace must prepare for war)
- anonymous
"No battle plan survives its first contact with the enemy."
- ?
The goal of this kind of warfare will encompass more than merely using means that involve the force of arms to force the enemy to accept one's own will. Rather, the goal should be to use all means whatsoever--means that involve the force of arms and means that do not involve the force of arms, means that involve military power and means that do not involve military power, means that entail casualties and means that do not entail casualties--to force the enemy to serve one's own interests.
- Chinese military paper

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More Military Quotations: Historic; Clausewitz, Liddel-hart, & Sun Tzu

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