Chelmsford TUC

Time for Peace

Peace Quotations To Remember and Debate

Herodotus 484-424 BC In peace children bury their parents. War violates the order of nature and causes parents to bury their children. (Histories Book 1)

That war is an evil is something that we all know, and it would be pointless to go on cataloguing all the disadvantages involved in it. No one is forced into war by ignorance, nor, if he thinks he will gain from it, is he kept out of it by fear. The fact is that one side thinks that the profits to be won outweigh the risks to be incurred, and the other side is ready to face danger rather than accept an immediate loss.

Thucydides 400 BC-Realise, while there is time, the inscrutable nature of war...the misfortune is that in their hurry to go to war, men begin with blows, and when a reverse comes upon them, then they have recourse to words.

William Shakespeare 1564-1616 Peace is of the nature of a conquest; For whom both parties nobly subdued, and neither party loser. (Henry IV)

Montesquieu 1689-1755 Ever since the invention of gunpowder.. I continually tremble lest men should, in the end, uncover some secret which would provide a short way of abolishing mankind, of annihilating peoples and nations in their entirety. (lettres Persanes 1721).

Charles Dickens 1812-1870 What is peace? Is it war? No. Is it strife? No. Is it lovely, and gentle, and beautiful, and pleasant, and serene, and joyful? O Yes! (Bleak House 1853)

General Sherman 1820-1891 I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine...War is hell. (1879)

Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790 There never was a good war or a bad peace. (Letter 1783)

Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826 Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations - entangling alliances with none. (1801)

Alfred Tennyson 1809-1892 Ring out the narrowing lust of gold; Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace. (In Memoriam 1850)

Keir Hardie 1856-1915 War is the mass murder of workers. When workers refuse to obey the calls of their governments, there will be no more war.

Versailles Treaty Article 1, 1919 The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies.

Carl von Ossietzky 1889-1938 The hellish instruments of war must be smoked out while there is still peace. The Trade Union Movement must be compelled not to allow their old resolutions to fade in the files. (1929)

Albert Einstein 1879-1955 Any brief military advantage the USA might gain with nuclear weapons would be offset by political and psychological losses and damage to American prestige. The United States might even touch off a worldwide armaments race. (1945)


Committee of the International Red Cross, 1945 War, which remains an anomaly in a civilised world, has taken on so devastating and universal a character...that every thought and every effort should be aimed, above all, at making it impossible.

Pope John XX111 In this age which boasts of its atomic power it no longer makes sense to maintain that war is a fit instrument with which to repair the violation of justice. (Pacem in Terris, (1963)

Harold Macmillan 1894-1986 If ever the call comes to them, the young will go straight from the ranks of the neutralists into the ranks of he Majesty’s Forces, as they have so often done in the past.

Lord Louis Mountbatten 1900-1979 As a military man who has given half a century of active service I say in all sincerity that the nuclear arms race has no military purpose. Wars cannot be fought with nuclear weapons. Their existence only adds to our perils because of the illusions they have generated. There are powerful voices around the world who still give credence to the old Roman precept - if you desire peace, prepare for war. This is absolute nuclear nonsense. (1979)

Dwight D. Eisenhower 1890-1969 In the councils of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. (1961)

John Lennon 1940-1980 I want to make love not war. I know you heard it before.

William Whitelaw 1918-1999 The whitewashing of windows can provide very effective protection against fire resulting from the heat-flash from nuclear explosions. (1980)

Protect and Survive’ - a Government Civil Defence Booklet, 1976 After a nuclear attack, there will be a short period before fall-out starts to descend. Use this time to do essential things.

Field Marshall Lord Carver, Former Chief of Defence Staff 1915-2001 The urgent need is for NATO to abandon the concept that it can avert conventional defeat by initiating nuclear war: it would only result in an even greater defeat. Its military men must stop training their soldiers, airmen and sailors to make that assumption. Its politicians and officials must stop thinking that the existence of nuclear weapons of any kind means that they can economise on conventional forces.

The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is so great, and their use so catastrophic, that they have no military utility against a comparably equipped opponent other than the belief that they deter such an opponent from using his nuclear weapons. Therefore, their elimination would remove that justification for their retention. Their use against a non-nuclear opponent is politically and morally indefensible, as history has shown. (1996)

Dr. Boutros Ghali 1922- In today’s world, societies can no longer afford to solve problems by the use of force. In international politics the most important means of reducing violence in inter-state relations is disarmament. (1992)

Mikhail Gorbachev 1931- If the majority of human beings do not want wars but at the same time believe that it is impossible to stop them, then the first change we must bring about is in our heads. We must change the idea that ’it is not possible’ because it is only what we believe about reality that prevents us from transforming it. Today, after having comprehended the inadmissibility of nuclear war - whose significance we cannot minimize - we must take a new step, also of decisive importance, a step towards understanding the unacceptability of war itself as a way of resolving present and future problems so that wars can be rejected and definitively excluded from policies of government. It is difficult to take this new and decisive step, very difficult. Because here we must speak on one hand of overcoming the psychological pre-disposition of the people, and especially of the world political class, to resolving conflictive situations by force. (1997)

Robert McNamara 1916-2009 The ’realist’ conception of continuing old-fashioned ’balance of power’ politics may have been well founded in the past, but it is inconsistent with our increasing interdependent world. On moral grounds alone there can be no justification for the 20th century level of killing. To settle disputes without violence must become the primary goal of foreign policy for every nation. (1998)

If you have enjoyed this page you might like to have a look at our Quotations for Socialists.


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