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

Updated October 2, 2020 28.1k votes 5.5k voters 337.7k 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? 

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    Sparta's Clear - And Dismissive - Response To Philip II Of Macedon

    From Redditor u/AxtionJaxon07

    Phillip II of Macedon to Sparta: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

    Sparta: "If."

    Context: As Philip II of Macedon (d. 336 BC) made his way through Greece during the fourth century BC, he systematically brought individual city-states under his control. When he wrote to Sparta to offer them a peaceful alternative to destruction, he was met with a single word.

    Characteristic of Spartan asceticism and recorded in Plutarch's De Garrulitate, "the laconic way of speech has nothing of bark upon it, but by cutting off all superfluity of words, it becomes steeled and sharpened to pierce the understanding of the hearers."

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  • George S. Patton Being Blunt With Pretty Much Everyone
    Photo: US Army / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    From Redditor u/Gimli_the-White

    Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to Patton: "You are to bypass the city of Trier, as it will take four divisions to capture it."

    Gen. George S. Patton's reply: "Have taken Trier with two divisions. What do you want me to do? Give it back?"

    Context: From his expletive-laden speeches intended to rally troops to comments made back to his colleague, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gen. George Patton was never one to mince words. After seizing the city of Trier on March 1, 1945, Patton received orders from Eisenhower telling him that he needn't take the city for the Allies.

    Eisenhower was aware of Patton's fighting style and aggressive tactics, even referring to him as a "problem child," but also considered Patton "indispensable to the war effort and one of the guarantors of our victory." Patton's reply, perhaps, came as no surprise to his superior officer.

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  • Theodore Roosevelt Telling A Crowd Of Onlookers That He'd Just Been Shot
    Photo: Pach Bros. / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    From Redditor u/KiltMan34: "Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot - but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."

    Context: On a presidential campaign stop in Milwaukee, WI, in 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest as he made his way to a speaking event - an obligation he met before going to the hospital. The folded pages of his speech - some 50 pieces of paper - and the case for his glasses were both in his breast pocket, slowing the bullet and, ultimately, saving his life. 

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  • Josip Broz Tito Not Backing Down To Joseph Stalin
    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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