121 Quotes that Analyze the Nature of War and Violence

A comprehensive list of quotes on war and violence by great thinkers throughout history. They are organized into ten categories and include reflections on practical insights offered in each category.

by Taylor O’Connor | on 14 July 2023

Photo by Duncan Kidd on Unsplash

You may have stumbled upon this blog post in search of a compelling quote on war and violence. Perhaps you’re here out of curiosity, seeking a quote for your class or social media, or even better – seeking inspiration for your involvement in peace activism.

If you’ve read some of my other writings, you’ll know that I proudly consider myself a peace nerd. Over the years, I’ve gathered lists of organizations, books, quotes, and anything related to peace and the abolition of war. Recently, I’ve reached a point where my personal databases are massive, allowing me to organize and share them with you bit by bit, feeling like I’ve covered whatever topic in a comprehensive manner. I don’t think you’ll find a more comprehensive list of quotes analyzing the nature of war and violence.

I thoroughly enjoyed curating the thousands of quotes I have on all topics related to peace, peacebuilding, war abolition and the like, and I’ve categorized them into separate, thematic posts.

In this post you’ll find more than one hundred quotes analyzing the nature of war and violence, organized into ten categories. Categories here:

  • Conceptualizing war
  • On the irrationality of war
  • War, death, destruction, and suffering
  • On the causes of war and on those who wage war
  • Militarism, money, and inequality
  • War narratives, lies, and propaganda
  • On the culture of war and violence
  • On the outcomes of war and violence
  • On imagining a world without war
  • On war abolition

I hope the organization I’ve provided is helpful for you to find what you are looking for. Additionally, I’ve found that reading through the quotes category by category can offer valuable insights into the nature of war and violence.

These quotes represent great minds from diverse backgrounds throughout history and across the globe. To showcase the range of perspectives and experiences, I have included information about each author’s country (or countries) and time period, as well as their stated profession. This allows you to gain a glimpse into their unique backgrounds, whether they are comedians or philosophers, soldiers or sociologists, poets or politicians, and so on. By knowing their geographic location and timeframe, you can contextualize what they have said. While you may recognize some of the authors, most you will not.

I encourage you to explore the quotes category by category, pondering deeply on the nature of war and violence. Consider how these quotes apply to your own context and to modern-day conflicts. If you are actively engaged in peace efforts, seek lessons that you can apply to enhance your effectiveness in promoting peace.

Enjoy your exploration and reflection!

Conceptualizing war

This first batch of quotes analyzes what war is. Authors convey that war is a human invention, and the most evil of human endeavors.

“War itself is the enemy of the human race.” – Howard Zinn (Historian, activist, 1922 – 2010, USA)

“There is but one evil, war. All the other proclaimed evils such as hate, greed, discrimination, and jealousy are only sub-categories of it.” – José Barreiro (Journalist, writer, activist, 1948 – present, Cuba and USA)

“War is only an invention, not a biological necessity.” – Margaret Mead (Anthropologist, 1901 – 1978, USA)

“War is not the continuation of politics with different means, it is the greatest mass-crime perpetrated on the community of man.” – Alfred Adler (Medical doctor, psychotherapist, 1870 – 1937, Austria)

“War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost limits.” – Carl von Clausewitz (Military leader, 1780 – 1831, Kingdom of Prussia)

“War is an invention of the human mind. The human mind can invent peace.” – Norman Cousins (Journalist, writer, activist, 1915 – 1990, USA)

“Wars are not acts of God. They are caused by man, by man-made institutions, by the way in which man has organized his society.” – Frederick Moore Vinson (Politician, Former Chief Justice of the United States, 1890 – 1953, USA)

On the irrationality of war

This batch of quotes highlights the irrationality of war from numerous different angles. I think that these can be helpful for those considering how to deconstruct arguments for war or formulate responses when confronted with the blind patriotism underlying all formal wars waged from one country to another.

“Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of the river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarreled with him?” – Blaise Pascal (Physicist, philosopher, writer, 1623 – 1662, France)

“All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” -Voltaire (Writer, philosopher, 1694 – 1778, France)

“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.” – George Carlin (Comedian, 1937 – 2008, USA)

“You can no more win a war than win an earthquake.” – Jeanette Rankin (Politician, activist, 1880 – 1973, USA)

“War-making is one of the few activities that people are not supposed to view realistically; that is, with an eye to expense and practical outcome. In all-out war, expenditure is all-out, imprudent – war being defined as an emergency in which no sacrifice is excessive.” – Susan Sontag (Writer, philosopher, activist, 1933 – 2004, USA)

“To all those who walk the path of human cooperation, war must appear loathsome and inhuman.” – Alfred Adler (Medical doctor, psychotherapist, 1870 – 1937, Austria)

“There never has been a war yet which, if the facts had been put calmly before the ordinary folk, could not have been prevented. The common man, I think, is the great protection against war.” – Ernest Bevin (Activist, politician, 1881 – 1951, England)

“Belligerent peoples will have long ago realized that war is its own end, and that, to paraphrase a popular ditty, they fight because they fight because they fight.” – Randolph Bourne (Writer, activist, 1886 – 1918, USA)

“War itself is, of course, a form of madness. It’s hardly a civilized pursuit. It’s amazing how we spend so much time inventing devices to kill each other and so little time working on how to achieve peace.” – Walter Cronkite (Journalist, 1916 – 2009, USA)

“War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.” – Thomas Jefferson (Third President of the United States, 1743 – 1826, USA)

“War is as outmoded as cannibalism, chattel slavery, blood-feuds, and dueling, an insult to God and humanity, a daily crucifixion of Christ.” – Muriel Lester (Activist, 1883 – 1968, England)

“War is the unfolding of miscalculations.” – Barbara Tuchman (Historian, writer, 1912 – 1989, USA)

“You can bomb the world into pieces, but you can’t bomb it into peace.” – Michael Franti (Musician, 1966 – present, USA)

“I guess every generation is doomed to fight its war, suffer the loss of the same old illusions, and learn the same old lessons on its own.” – Phillip Caputo (Writer, journalist, 1941, USA)

“Why does man have reason if he can only be influenced by violence?” – Leo Tolstoy (Writer, 1828 – 1910, Russia)

“Everything you do in war is a crime in peace.” – Helen McCloy (Writer, 1904 – 1994, USA)

War, death, destruction, and suffering

This batch of quotes underscores the immense suffering, death and destruction ever present in wars, yet always hidden from the public eye. I think these quotes are helpful to shine light on the immense human suffering that is hidden in any war. And in cases where politicians are making the case for war, it is important to make the public aware of inevitability of such suffering and death. Statements, slogans, narratives, and messages inspired by these below quotes can be very powerful.

“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” – General William Tecumseh Sherman (Military leader, 1820 – 1891, USA)

“Every war is a war against children.” – Eglantyne Jebb (Humanitarian, founder of Save the Children, drafted Declaration on the Rights of the Child, 1876 – 1928, England)

“When the rich make war, it’s the poor that die.” – Jean-Paul Sartre (Philosopher, activist, writer, 1905 – 1980, France)

“War doesn’t make boys men, it makes men dead.” – Ken Gillespie (Retired military leader, 1952 – present, Austrailia)

“Everything, everything in war is barbaric. But the worst barbarity of war is that it forces men collectively to commit acts against which individually they would revolt with their whole being.” – Ellen Key (Writer, activist, 1849 – 1926, Sweden)

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” – José Narosky (Writer, 1930 – present, Argentina)

“If it were proved to me that in making war, my ideal had a chance of being realized, I would still say ‘No’ to war. For one does not create human society on mounds of corpses.” – Louis Lecoin (Activist, 1888 – 1971, France)

“Old men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.” – Herbert C. Hoover (Former President of the United States, 1874 – 1964)

“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 (Physicist, 1879 – 1955, Germany and USA)

“There can be no compromise with war; it cannot be reformed or controlled; cannot be disciplined into decency or codified into common sense; for war is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible.” – Jeanette Rankin (Politician, activist, 1880 – 1973, USA)

“There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.” – Thomas Edison (Inventor, businessman, 1847 – 1931, USA)

On the causes of war and on those who wage war

The true causes of war are also always hidden from the public by its leaders. It highlights the incompetence and mal intent of leaders who coerce young people to fight and die for nefarious reasons. This batch of quotes focus on the true causes of war and the true intentions of those who wage war.

“The principal cause of war is war itself.” – C. Wright Mills (Sociologist, 1916 – 1962, USA)

“I went into the Army believing that if you want peace you must prepare for war. I now believe that if you prepare thoroughly for war you will get it.” – Sir John Frederick Maurice (Military leader, 1841 – 1912, England)

“The cause of violence is not ignorance. It is self-interest.” – Rev. William Sloan Coffin Jr.

“There are no warlike people, just warlike leaders.” – Ralph Bunche (Political scientist, diplomat, 1904 – 1971, USA)

“All wars are wars among thieves who are too cowardly to fight and who therefore induce the young manhood of the whole world to do the fighting for them.” – Emma Goldman (Writer, activist, 1869 – 1940, Canada)

“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” – George McGovern (Politician, 1922 – 2012, USA)

“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 each other.” – Thomas Carlyle (Writer, historian, philosopher, 1795 – 1881, Scotland)

“I hate those men who would send into war youth to fight and die for them; the pride and cowardice of those old men, making their wars that boys must die.” – Mary Roberts Rinehart (Writer, 1876 – 1958, USA)

“All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.” – Leo Tolstoy (Writer, 1828 – 1910, Russia)

“War is the statesman’s game, the priest’s delight, the lawyer’s jest, the hired assassin’s trade.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley (Poet, 1792 – 1822)

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” – Isaac Asimov (Biochemist, writer, 1920 – 1992, Russia and USA)

“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.” – Thomas Mann (Writer, philanthropist, 1875 – 1955, Germany)

Militarism, money, and inequality

A lot of quotes I found focus on money as a driving force for war and militarism, and in the domestic and global inequality produced as a result of war and militarism. Indeed money has been cited as a core cause of militarism and war in some of the oldest quotes I have collected in the BC era. And to the modern day, the incomprehensible sums of money allocated for war continue to produce a class of super rich while driving poverty at home and abroad.

“All wars are fought for money.” – Socrates (Philosopher, 470 BC – 399 BC, Greece)

“To wage war, you need first of all money; second, you need money, and third, you also need money.” –  Raimondo Montecuccoli (Military leader, 1609 – 1680, Austria)

“The sinews of war are infinite money.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (Philosopher, writer, 106 BC – 43 BC, Roman Republic)

“The first and most imperative necessity in war is money, for money means everything else — men, guns, ammunition.” – Ida Tarbell (Educator, journalist, writer, 1857 – 1944, USA)

“The two decisive powers of the government with respect to war are the power to conscript and the power to tax.” – A.J. Muste (Theologian, activist, writer, 1885 – 1967, Netherlands and USA)

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” – Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (Military leader, 1881 – 1940, USA)

“Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared.” – Henri Nouwen (Theologian, writer, 1932 – 1996, Netherlands)

“In all wars the object is to protect or to seize money, property and power, and there will always be wars so long as Capital rules and oppresses people.” – Ernst Friedrich (Writer, activist, 1894 – 1967, Germany)

“The essence of so-called war prosperity: it enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.” – Ludwig von Mises (Economist, historian, sociologist, 1881 – 1973, Austria)

“War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings.” – Ludwig von Mises (Economist, historian, sociologist, 1881 – 1973, Austria)

“May we look upon our treasure, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try to discover whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions.” – John Woolman (Journalist, abolitionist, 1720 – 1772, England)

“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.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower (Former President of the United States, 1890 – 1969, USA)

“The arms race can kill, though the weapons themselves may never be used, by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.” – Vatican statement to the U.N., 1976

“Hungry people cannot be good at learning or producing anything, except perhaps violence.” – Pearl Bailey (Actress, singer, writer, 1918 – 1990, USA)

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.” – Mohandas Gandhi (Activist, lawyer, 1869 – 1948, India)

“Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.” – Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov (Actor, filmmaker, writer, 1921 – 2004, England)

“How can one not speak about war, poverty, and inequality when people who suffer from these afflictions don’t have a voice to speak?” – Isabel Allende (Writer, 1942 – present, Chile and USA)

War narratives, lies, and propaganda

To conceal the real causes of war, the immense suffering, and the huge sums of war money behind war and militarism, leaders of any war employ their resources to develop false narratives and propaganda campaigns. This is a collection of quotes illuminating these lies and propaganda.

“Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.” – George Orwell (Writer, 1903 – 1950, England)

“The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.” – Robert Lynd (Writer, Journalist, 1879 – 1949, Ireland)

“Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Writer, 1918 – 2008, Russia)

“Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower (Former President of the United States, 1890 – 1969, USA)

“All war is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu (Military strategist, philosopher, 544 BC – 496 BC, China)

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire (Writer, philosopher, 1694 – 1778, France)

“Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?” – George Carlin (Comedian, 1937 – 2008, USA)

“A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.” – G.K. Chesterton (Writer, philosopher, 1874 – 1936, England)

“War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn’t any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone’s being worse off.” – Karl Kraus (Writer, journalist, 1874 – 1936, Austrian)

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Writer, 1918 – 2008, Russia)

On the culture of war and violence

This bunch of quotes describes different elements of the culture of war and violence that is strong in countries that wage war. Some cover elements like patriotism that in itself is part of war culture, while other elements like religion and education which can promote a culture of peace or can promote a culture of war/violence. I hope these are helpful for those whose peace efforts include building a culture of peace.

“During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.” – Howard Thurman (Educator, activist, 1899 – 1981, USA)

“We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves.” – Albert Camus (Philosopher, writer, 1913 – 1960, France)

“Hitler and Mussolini were only the primary spokesmen for the attitude of domination and craving for power that are in the heart of almost everyone. Until the source is cleared, there will always be confusion and hate, wars and class antagonisms.” – J. Krishnamurti (Philosopher, writer, 1895 – 1986, India)

“There never was a war that was not inward; I must fight till I have conquered in myself what causes war.” – Marianne Moore (Poet, 1887 – 1972, USA)

“Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.” – Francis Meehan (Politician, 1864 – 1946, Ireland)

“War is sweet to those who haven’t tasted it.” – Erasmus of Rotterdam (Philosopher, theologian, 1466 – 1536, Netherlands)

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.” – Howard Zinn (Historian, activist, 1922 – 2010, USA)

“Very few people chose war. They chose selfishness and the result was war. Each of us, individually and nationally, must choose: total love or total war.” – Dave Dellinger (Writer, activist, 1915 – 2004, USA)

“The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.” – Thomas Merton (Theologian, writer, activist, 1915 – 1968, USA)

“Our schoolbooks glorify war and conceal its horrors. They indoctrinate children with hatred. I would teach peace rather than war, love rather than hate.” – Albert Einstein (Physicist, 1879 – 1955, Germany and USA)

“It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.” – Andre Gide (Writer, 1869 – 1951, France)

“The most violent element in society is ignorance.” – Emma Goldman (Writer, activist, 1869 – 1940, Canada)

“Weapons do not fire on their own. Those who have lost hope fire them.” – Oscar Arias (Former President of Costa Rica, 1940 – present, Costa Rica)

“The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure.” – Lyndon Johnson (Former President of the United States, 1908 – 1973, USA)

“The story of the human race is characterized by efforts to get along much more than by violent disputes, although it’s the latter that make the history books. Violence is actually exceptional. The human race has survived because of cooperation, not aggression.” – Gerard A. Vanderhaar (Writer, educator, 1931 – 2005, USA)

On the outcomes of war and violence

This bunch of quotes highlights how humanity struggles as a result of the existence of war. Some cover how those who ‘win’ war are harmed just as those who lose it, some focus on international consequences of war, and others discuss elements of domestic tyranny that always accompanies war.

“Warmaking doesn’t stop warmaking. If it did, our problems would have stopped millennia ago.” – Colman McCarthy (Journalist, educator, activist, 1938 – present, USA)

“In modern war there is no such thing as victor and vanquished. There is only a loser, and the loser is mankind.” – U Thant (Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1909 – 1974, Myanmar)

“War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” – Bertrand Russell (Mathematician, philosopher, 1872 – 1970, England)

“In all history, there is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a long war can realize the supreme importance of rapidity in brining it to a close.” – Sun Tzu (Military strategist, philosopher, 544 BC – 496 BC, China)

“One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.” – Agatha Christie (Writer, 1890 – 1976, England)

“When you go to war, both sides lose totally.” – Yoko Ono (Musician, 1933 – present, Japan and United States)

“All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.” – Alexis de Tocqueville (Diplomat, philosopher, 1805 – 1859, France)

“A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Writer, 1918 – 2008, Russia)

“Either war is obsolete or men are.” – Buckminster Fuller (Architect, philosopher, writer, 1895 – 1983, USA)

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – Mohandas Gandhi (Activist, lawyer, 1869 – 1948, India)

“Violence produces only something resembling justice, but it distances people from the possibility of living justly, without violence.” – Leo Tolstoy (Writer, 1828 – 1910, Russia)

“War stirs in men’s hearts the mud of their worst instincts. It puts a premium on violence, nourishes hatred, and gives free rein to cupidity. It crushes the weak, exalts the unworthy, and bolsters tyranny. Time and time again it has destroyed all ordered living, devastated hope, and put the prophets to death.” – Charles DeGaulle (Former President of France, 1890 – 1970, France)

“There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it.” – Havelock Ellis (Physician, writer, 1859 – 1939, England)

On imagining a world without war

A key part of building peace is imagining a world without war. Sometimes this can be hard, so I hope these quotes are helpful to get your imagination working.

“My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.” – George Washington (first President of the United States, 1732 – 1799, USA)

“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask: ‘Mother, what was war?’” – Eve Merriam (Poet, writer, 1916 – 1992, USA)

“I hope that mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable creatures, have reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats; for in my opinion there never was a good war, or a bad peace.” – Benjamin Franklin (Former President of the United States, 1706 – 1790, USA)

“To kill a man will be considered as disgusting [in the twentieth century] as we in this day consider it disgusting to eat one.” – Andrew Carnegie (Businessman, philanthropist, 1835 – 1919, USA)

“The belief that we some day shall be able to prevent war is to me one with the belief in the possibility of making humanity really human.” – Ellen Key (Writer, activist, 1849 – 1926, Sweden)

“War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished.” – Albert Einstein (Physicist, 1879 – 1955, Germany and USA)

“More than just an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (Former President of the United States, 1882 – 1945, USA)

On war abolition

These quotes highlight approaches to abolish war. I hope that in them you can find both inspiration and some practical tips to help you find ways to work towards a world without war.

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” – UNESCO Charter

“The only way to abolish war is to make peace heroic.” – James Sidney Hinton (War veteran and politician, 1834 – 1892, USA)

“The pacifist’s task today is to find a method of helping and healing which provides a revolutionary constructive substitute for war.” – Vera Brittain (Nurse, writer, activist, 1839 – 1970, England)

“To destroy governmental violence, only one thing is needed: It is that people should understand that the feeling of patriotism, which alone supports that instrument of violence, is a rude, harmful, disgraceful, and bad feeling, and, above all, is immoral.” – Leo Tolstoy (Writer, 1828 – 1910, Russia)

“To have peace and not war, the drift toward a war economy, as facilitated by the moves and the demands of the sophisticated conservatives, must be stopped; to have peace without slump, the tactics and policies of the practical right must be overcome. The political and economic power of both must be broken. The power of these giants of main drift is both economically and politically anchored.” – C. Wright Mills (Sociologist, 1916 – 1962, USA)

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage —to move in the opposite direction.” – E. F. Schumacher (Statistician, economist, 1911 – 1977, Germany, England)

“We can best help you to prevent war not by repeating your words and following your methods but by finding new words and creating new methods.” – Virginia Woolf (Writer, 1882 – 1941, England)

“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” – John F. Kennedy (Former President of the United States, 1917 – 1963, USA)

“Nuclear war is inevitable, says the pessimists; Nuclear war is impossible, says the optimists; Nuclear war is inevitable unless we make it impossible, says the realists.” – Sydney J. Harris (Journalist, 1917 – 1986, USA)

“The law of violence is not a law, but a simple fact which can only be a law when it does not meet with protest and opposition. It is like the cold, darkness and weight, which people had to put up with until recently when warmth, illumination and leverage were discovered.” – Leo Tolstoy (Writer, 1828 – 1910, Russia)

“The pioneers of a warless world are the young men (and women) who refuse military service.” – Albert Einstein (Physicist, 1879 – 1955, Germany and USA)

“War will stop when we no longer praise it, or give it any attention at all. Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited.” – Alice Walker (Writer, activist, 1944 – present, USA)

“In this war — as in others — I am less interested in honoring the dead than in preventing the dead.” – Butler Shaffer (Lawyer, author, 1935 – 2019, USA)

“I really see no other solution than to turn inwards and to root out all the rottenness there. I no longer believe that we can change anything in the world until we first change ourselves. And that seems to me the only lesson to be learned from this war.” – Etty Hillesum (Writer, 1914 – 1943, Netherlands)

“War would end if the dead could return.” – Stanley Baldwin (Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1867 – 1947, England)

“Someday they’ll give a war and nobody will come.” – Carl Sandburg (Poet, journalist, writer, 1878 – 1967, USA)

I hope you enjoyed looking over this collection of quotes. I hope you found some inspiration, something to get you thinking about the nature of war and violence. And perhaps you have found ideas you can use in any effort to build peace.

We regularly update our database of quotes on peace and peacebuilding and update blog posts. If you know a good quote that should be added to this blog post, let us know by filling out a quick form. CLICK HERE to submit a quote for review to be added to this or any of our blog posts on quotes.

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