Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

The Best Quotes About War 

Updated February 25, 2020 1.8k votes 172 voters 17.1k views

List Rules Must be a famous or well-known quote. Vote for the War sayings that strongly resonate with you, and downvote any you didn't like.

A list of the best war quotes and sayings, including the names of each speaker or author when available. This list is sorted by popularity, so only the most famous war quotes are at the top. The authors of these historic war quotes are displayed next to each quote, so if you see one you like be sure to check out other inspirational war quotes from that same writer.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best quotes about war?" and "What are inspirational war quotes?"

This list includes notable war quotes by various authors, writers, playwrights, speakers, politicians, athletes, poets, and more. Vote on your favorites so that the greatest war quotes rise to the top, as the order of the list changes dynamically based on votes. Don't let your favorite war sayings get to the bottom of the list.
I do not know with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones. Albert Einstein
Wars don’t bring lasting peace, only lasting death. Janet Morris, Chris Morris
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. Sun Tzu
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
Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war. Otto von Bismarck
I have known war as few men now living know it. It's very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means of settling international disputes. Douglas MacArthur
Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. Herbert Hoover
Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack. Sun Tzu
Cry havoc! and let loose the dogs of war, that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial. William Shakespeare
War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it. Desiderius Erasmus
In war there is no substitute for victory. Douglas MacArthur
If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied. Rudyard Kipling
There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war. Laozi
There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others. Niccolò Machiavelli
"Keep your enemies at a distance, your partners close at hand." Janet Morris, Chris Morris
I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. Dwight D. Eisenhower
War is like love, it always finds a way. Bertolt Brecht
The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it. George Orwell
I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again. Anne Frank
"When you give death, you give of your own life -- every time." Janet Morris
The most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield. Dwight D. Eisenhower
War is a contagion. Franklin D. Roosevelt
The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people. Ezra Pound
The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Every gun that is fired, 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. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. Dwight D. Eisenhower