Quotations about   wartime

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We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“The Tercentenary of the Areopagitica,” Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
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Added on 18-Mar-20 | Last updated 20-Mar-20
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Wisdom is publicly rejected, affairs are pursued with force,
A good speaker is spurned, and the wretched warrior is loved.
Men strive not with educated speeches but instead with insults
attack one another and enter into mutual enmity.
They seize property suddenly not by the right of law but with swords
As they seek sovereignty and wander with the power of the mob.

[Pellitur e medio sapientia, vi geritur res,
spernitur orator bonus, horridus miles amatur.
haut doctis dictis certantes nec maledictis
miscent inter sese inimicitiam agitantes,
non ex iure manum consertum, sed magis ferro
rem repetunt regnumque petunt, vadunt solida vi.]

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) Roman poet, writer
Annales, Book 8, Sec. 3, l. 262-8
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On public discourse during wars. Fragment quoted by Cicero in Epistle 171.

Alt. trans.: "Pushed away from the centre good sense, force rules the day, / despised the good orator, the horrid soldier cherished. / Fighting, not with learned words or curses, / they clash with one another, pushing hostilities, / laying hand onto one another not rightfully, but rather with the sword / they seek material gain and strive for power, advancing with brute force."
Added on 23-Jan-20 | Last updated 23-Jan-20
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Success in war, like charity in religion, covers a multitude of sins.

William Napier (1785-1860) Irish soldier and military historian
History of the War in the Peninsula, Vol. 5, Book 25, ch. 2 (1837)
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Added on 18-Nov-14 | Last updated 18-Nov-14
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I can imagine no greater disservice to the country than to establish a system of censorship that would deny to the people of a free republic like our own their indisputable right to criticize their own public officials. While exercising the great powers of the office I hold, I would regret in a crisis like the one through which we are now passing to lose the benefit of patriotic and intelligent criticism.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) US President (1913-20), educator, political scientist
Letter to Arthur Brisbane (25 Apr 1917)

Three weeks after the US entered WW I.

Added on 28-Jan-09 | Last updated 5-Jul-16
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