One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.

[On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées.]

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
The History of a Crime [Histoire d’un Crime], ch. 10, Conclusion [tr. Joyce & Locker]

Alternate translations/paraphrases:

  • One withstands the invasion of armies; one does not withstand the invasion of ideas.
  • One can resist the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.
  • One cannot resist an idea whose time has come.
  • No one can resist an idea whose time has come.
  • Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.
  • Armies cannot stop an idea whose time has come.
  • No army can stop an idea whose time has come.
  • Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.
  • Nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
  • There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.
Added on 6-Dec-10 | Last updated 6-Dec-10
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