Whether it's an inspirational call to arms, a biting insult, or defiance in the face of certain doom, there's just something about a pithy quote that stirs the blood. Across the ages, men and women have found those perfect words at the moment, which the rest of us only ever think of in the shower a week later.
This collection features the pick of the quotes we uncovered in the year 2021.
I ain’t afraid to love a man. I ain’t afraid to shoot him either!
Annie Oakley was best known for her shooting skills. It was highly unusual during her lifetime (1860-1926) for a woman to compete in a male-dominated sporting event like sharpshooting.
She often performed high-stakes, risky shooting tricks involving her husband and fellow marksman, Frank E. Butler, such as shooting a cigarette out of Butler's mouth. Apparently for Oakley, such tricks were well worth the risk.
I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler, and my life is much simplified thereby. If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.
The characteristically pithy quote was in reference to the German incursion into the Soviet Union in 1941. While Churchill's extreme disdain for Communism was well documented, he had no reservations over backing Stalin in the struggle against Nazi Germany.
The opening stages of the German invasion of the Soviet Union were initially successful, but bad weather, a determined enemy, and the sheer size of Russia saw Operation Barbarossa grind to a halt by the winter.
Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did.
Sophie Scholl was a member of the White Rose, a nonviolent resistance group of student activists who distributed anti-Nazi leaflets in Munich, Germany, from 1942-3. They also scrawled anti-war slogans on the walls around Munich using black tar paint.
Scholl was arrested by the Gestapo, along with her brother Hans and another member of the group, Christoph Probst, and subjected to a show trial in 1943. She refused to remain silent and interrupted the judge several times. She also refused to give up the names of any other members of the group and accepted her predetermined fate, arguing she did the best thing for her nation and that she had no regrets.
After her execution by guillotine on February 22, 1943, copies of the White Rose's sixth leaflet were smuggled to the UK and dropped on German cities by Allied planes.
It may be inappropriate to put it in this way, but the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war are, in a sense, God's gifts... Now we can end the war without making it clear that we have to end the war because of the domestic situation.
This extraordinary way of thinking came to light when the US National Security Archives were opened after 60 years, revealing the mindset of the Japanese leadership at the end of World War II.
The nightmare scenario of an Allied invasion of Japan was projected to cost millions of lives by even the most optimistic assessments. The lack of viable landing sites on Japanese soil meant that any incursion would be fiercely contested every step of the way.
With no hope of victory, the Japanese sought to exact the highest possible number of casualties to secure the best peace deal possible. Backed into an ideological corner, senior Japanese officials saw no way out of a gruesome fight to the death. That was, until news of the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war in the Pacific came through in August 1945. The dire news was a blessing in disguise, as it gave the beleaguered Japanese a way out of the war.
- 512 VOTES
Daniel Daly Asked A Not-So-Rhetorical Question At The Battle Of Belleau Wood
Come on, you sons o' b*tches! Do you want to live forever?
Daniel Daly was a 1st sergeant in the 73rd Machine Gun Company fighting at Belleau Wood in June 1918 during World War I. The Marine found himself and his platoon under heavy gunfire during the fight, struggling to advance against German forces.
He rallied, yelling, "Come on, you sons o' b*tches! Do you want to live forever?" or some variant of the phrase. Daly recalled saying, "For Christ's sake, men - come on! Do you want to live forever?" but the Marine Corps has immortalized the former quote in a carving at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia.
- 631 VOTES
Tomyris Was True To Her Words When She Killed Cyrus Of Persia
Information about Queen Tomyris comes from Greek historian Herodotus of the 5th century BCE. Tomyris ruled the nomadic Massagetae people from the area around modern-day Iran. She and her army fought against the Persians in 530 BCE, taking on forces led by Cyrus the Great.
According to Herodotus, the queen's son Spargapises was captured by Cyrus. Upon learning this, Tomyris notified Cyrus that she would kill him if he didn't release her son. Cyrus dismissed the threat, Spargapises committed suicide, and Tomyris unleashed her wrath.
The queen and her army engaged with the Persians. Cyrus perished during the battle, and when Tomyris found his body:
[She] took a skin, and, filling it full of human blood, she dipped the head of Cyrus in the gore, saying, as she thus insulted the corpse, "I live and have conquered you in fight, and yet by you am I ruined, for you took my son with guile; but thus I make good my threat, and give you your fill of blood."