War: A Sunbeams Supplement


Thou shalt not kill.

Exodus 20:13

War, to me, is the greatest weakness of all.

Anaïs Nin

War is like love; it always finds a way.

Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage

Let him who does not know what war is go to war.

Spanish proverb

The possibility of a short and decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.

Robert Lynd

War is the unfolding of miscalculations.

Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August

How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read.

Karl Kraus

We cannot have peace if we are only concerned with peace. War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life. If we want to attack war, we have to attack that way of life.

A.J. Muste

Profits are springing, like weeds, from the fields of the dead.

Rosa Luxemburg

Show me who makes a profit from war, and I’ll show you how to stop the war.

Henry Ford

After each war, there is a little less democracy to save.

Brooks Atkinson

What does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Mahatma Gandhi, Nonviolence in Peace and War

War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus.

Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras

From the happy expression of their faces, you might have supposed they welcomed the war. I had met people who loved stamps, and men who loved stones and snakes — but I could not imagine any man loving war.

Margot Asquith

Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because it is the one thing that stops women from laughing at them.

John Fowles, The Magus

They were going to look at war, the red animal — war, the blood-swollen god.

Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

If people want to make war they should make a color war, and paint each others’ cities up in the night in pinks and greens.

Yoko Ono

Man is the only patriot. He sets himself apart in his own country, under his own flag, and sneers at the other nations, and keeps multitudinous uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people’s countries, and keep them from grabbing slices of his. And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man” — with his mouth.

Mark Twain

Renunciation of world politics offers no protection from its consequences.

Oswald Spengler

I shall die, but that is all I shall do for Death.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

In peace, sons bury their fathers; in war, fathers bury their sons.


For a Christian who believes in Jesus and his Gospel, war is an iniquity and a contradiction.

Pope John XXIII

In a war of ideas, it is people who get killed.

Stanislaw Lec

Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.

R.D. Laing

I can use up 25,000 men a month.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Remember when it’s done through idealism, nothing is disgusting. They killed millions for the love of Christ. Millions for the love of Germany, or of France. . . . No matter what horrors they perform, they are merely making love to you. They are trying to make you come.

Romain Gary, The Dance of Genghis Cohn

Men are willing to be dead if they can only be dead in a pile.

Max Eastman, The Masses

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, Notebooks 1935-1942

Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to the ego’s interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival. The ego becomes strong in strife.

A Course in Miracles

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, Statement on entering prison, 1943

A rabbi — who lived and preached a life of virtue while his congregation ignored him and went on with their selfish ways — was asked, “Rabbi, why do you bother? Nobody listens. You’re not changing anything.” And the rabbi replied, “But you misunderstand. I don’t do it to change them. I do it to keep them from changing me.”

Source unknown, Seeds of Peace

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I wondered why somebody didn’t do something for peace. Then I realized that I am somebody.

Source unknown, Seeds of Peace

True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.

Clarence Darrow

The nonviolent revolution begins in your mind. You must first redefine yourself. When people redefine themselves, slavery is dead. Then the power structure makes a motion, but doesn’t get a second.

James Bevel

Political crises are moral crises.

Octavio Paz

Violence does not and cannot exist by itself; it is invariably intertwined with the lie.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

When I pray for peace I pray for the following miracle: that God move all men to pray and do penance and recognize each one his own great guilt.

Thomas Merton

I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. . . . Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene.

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

. . . this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with
death. . . .

Pablo Neruda