Weird History
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12 Quotes From History So Savage They Sound Made Up - But Aren't

Updated October 2, 2020 70.4k votes 12.2k voters 564.4k views12 items

List RulesVote up the historical quotes you can't believe someone said - but are glad they did.

Some of the most savage quotes from history come from people you may know. It's no secret that men like Teddy Roosevelt and Gen. George S. Patton were willing to speak their minds. The origin of the laconic phrase, however, is derived from the pure terse nature of Spartan dialogue - resulting in some pretty savage quotes from other historical figures, as well.

When Redditors offered their favorite savage history quotes for consideration, it was a mix of lore, movie quotes, and actual lines uttered by people from the past. Mostly made up of revolutionary and battlefield quotes, the phrases below may strike you as brave or defiant. They could very well offer some historical truth and validity. Regardless, which ones are you pretty glad entered historical consciousness at all? 

  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    From Redditor u/ArkL: "Stop sending people to kill me! We've already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle... If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won't have to send another."

    Context: In his continued efforts to resist Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) and Soviet authority, Yugoslavian leader Josip Tito (1892-1980) proved troublesome. Stalin tried to eliminate Tito, even planning to inject him with the plague - something that did not occur as a result of Stalin's own passing. Tito didn't seem to be afraid, however, writing to the Soviet ruler with threats to act in kind. Stalin kept the letter, later located in his desk or personal safe (depending on the source). 

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  • From Redditor u/JohnProbe: "Come on, you sons-o'-b*tches! Do you want to live forever?"

    Context: When the US Marines fought against German forces at Belleau Wood in 1918, the group led by Sgt. Dan Daly took heavy fire from their much larger and better-equipped enemy. Daly reportedly compelled his men to advance anyway, crying out, "Come on! Do you want to live forever?"

    According to the Marine Corps, his declaration included, "You sons of b*tches!" - and the entire phrase is now immortalized at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia. 

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  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Breaker Morant Offering Instructions To His Firing Squad

    From Redditor u/Neverforget345: "Shoot straight you b*stards. Don't make a mess of it."

    Context: As an Australian soldier serving in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), Harry "Breaker" Morant was tried and convicted of murder in 1902. Sentenced to death, Morant stood before a firing squad on the evening of February 27, allegedly telling them exactly how to do their job. In a variant account of Morant's final moments, he said, "Take this thing [a blindfold] off... be sure you make a good job of it!" Regardless of the wording, Morant was defiant to the end. 

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  • Photo: Hans Knappe / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Flavius Vegetius Renatus Linking War And Peace

    From Redditor u/GrabTheReef: "If you want peace, prepare for war."

    Context: Vegetius (c. 400 AD), as he is more commonly known, is believed to have authored his treatise on warfare and battle, De Re Militari, during the late fourth century. Based on Roman military practices, his work is a discourse on strategy, weapons, and formations, but also includes commentary on the act of war itself.  

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