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World War 2 Quotes

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This compilation of World War 2 quotes has been a long time in coming to the website. Due to the far-reaching impact of the war, there were a large number of quotes recorded which are of interest still to this day. The problem with trying to put together a comprehensive article on WW2 quotes is one of volume. As a result, the document will continue to be updated as time permits. If you have a favorite quote from before, during, or after the war that should be added, please leave it in the comments section of the article or on our World War 2 Facts Facebook page. The quotes included below come from various leaders and statesmen from the war to include President Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and more.

WW2 Allied Quotes

WW2 American Quotes

Quotes by Lieutenant General Omar Bradley:
I have returned many times to honour the valiant men who died…every man who set foot on Omaha Beach was a hero.” – Commander of the US First Army – (Speaking after the war)

Mathematician Albert Einstein:
“As long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable.”

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Quotes by General Douglas MacArthur:
“Nothing would please me better than if they would give me three months and then attack here.”

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur smoking his corncob pipe, probably at Manila, Philippine Islands, 2 August 1945.

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur smoking his corncob pipe, probably at Manila, Philippine Islands, 2 August 1945.

- Supreme Allied Commander of South-West Pacific – (Speaking of the Philippines) 5th December 1940

“I’ll come back as soon as I can with as much as I can. In the meantime, you’ve got to hold!” – As spoken to General Wainright in March of 1942

”Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Coregidor lead on…In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled.” – On the beach at Palo, broadcasting his return – 24th October 1944

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier in that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the sight to see that duty.”  April 19th, 1951

Quotes by General Dwight D. Eisenhower:
“During the time I have had WACs under my command, they have met every test and task assigned to them…their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable.” – in a speech referring to the five women whom served on his staff during the war – 1945

“No amphibious attack in history has approached this one in size. Along miles of coastline there were hundreds of vessels and small boats afloat and ant-like files of advancing troops ashore.” – Speaking about the Allied landings at Sicily that occurred in July 1943

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely” – Addressed to Allied soldiers on June 6th, 1944

Quotes by U.S. Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal:
“The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.”- 23rd February 1945

Quotes by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz:

“Our citizens can now rejoice that a momentous victory is in the making. Perhaps we will be forgiven if we claim we are about midway to our objective.” – June 1942

”In case opportunity for destruction of a major portion of the enemy fleet is offered, or can be created, such destruction becomes the primary task.” – In his order to Halsey, prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf – October 1944

“Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”  - March 16, 1945

Quotes by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt:
“I have seen war…I hate war.” – at in address at Chautauqua, NY – August 14, 1936

“The Soviet Union, as everybody who has the courage to face the fact knows, is run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world.” – FDR speaking before the American Youth Congress  on February 10, 1940

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fala and Ruthie Bie at Hill Top Cottage in Hyde Park, N.Y. The better of two extant photos of FDR in a wheel chair. February 1941

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fala and Ruthie Bie at Hill Top Cottage in Hyde Park, N.Y. The better of two extant photos of FDR in a wheel chair. February 1941

“On this tenth day of June 1940, the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor”

“Democracy alone, of all forms of government, enlists the full force of men’s enlightened will…It is the most humane, the most advanced, and, in the end, the most unconquerable of all forms of human society. The democratic aspiration is no mere recent phase of human history…We…would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.” –FDU during his Third Inauguration Speech, January 20, 1941

“I say that the delivery of needed supplies to Britain is imperative. I say that this can be done; it must be done; and it will be done…The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” –FDR during his now famous  Fireside Chat radio address that occurred on May 27, 1941

“On the European Front, the most important development of the past year has been the crushing German offensive against the great armies of Russia” – April 29, 1942

“The massed, angered forces of common humanity are on the march. They are going forward – on the Russian front, in the vast Pacific area, and into Europe – converging upon their ultimate objectives: Berlin and Tokyo. I think the first crack in the Axis has come. The criminal, corrupt Fascist regime in Italy is going to pieces.” – FDR during a Fireside Chat that occurred on July 28, 1943

“The world has never seen greater devotion, determination, and self-sacrifice than have been displayed by the Russian people…under the leadership of Marshal Joseph Stalin. With a nation that in saving itself is thereby helping to save all the world from the Nazi menace, this country of ours should always be glad to be a good neighbor and a sincere friend to the world of the future.” – FDR during a Fireside Chat that occurred on July 28, 1943

“Force is the only language they understand, like bullies.” – FDR speaking in reference to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and German leader Adolf Hitler.

General George S. Patton WW2 Quotes:
Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
- September 1933

“Maybe there are 5,000, maybe 10,000 Nazi bastards in their concrete foxholes before the Third Army. Now if Ike stops holding Monty’s hand and gives me some supplies, I’ll go through the Siegfried Line like shxx through a goose.”

“Never in history has the navy landed an army at the planned time and place. But if you land us anywhere within 50 miles of Fedela and within 1 week of D-Day. I’ll go ahead and win.”- November 1942 (Commenting of the North Africa Landings)

“Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper-hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler – just like I’d shoot a snake.” – In a speech delivered to his troops before embarking for Operation Overlord (D-Day).
“We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple-pissing Japs and clean out their next too…before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit. – General Patton speaking to his soldiers before Operation Overlord (D-Day).

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – War as I Knew It, 1947

“A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.” War as I Knew It, 1947

General Joseph Stilwell:
“The Limeys want us in even with our hastily made plans and our half-trained and half-equipped troops.” – Speaking about joining the war alongside Britain, date unknown

“I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it is as humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused it, go back and retake it.” – May 1942

General Bill Slim:
“The Chinese soldier was tough, brave, and experienced. After all he had been fighting on his own without help for years. He was a veteran among the Allies

The New York Times:
“Germany having seized the prey, Soviet Russia will seize that part of the carcass that Germany cannot use. It will play the noble role of hyena to the German lion.”- commenting on the joint invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, 1939.

WW2 British Quotes

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain:
“How horrible, how fantastic, how incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.”- 1938

“It is evil things we shall be fighting against, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution.” – 1939

Montgomery wearing his beret with two cap badges

Montgomery wearing his beret with two cap badges

Quotes by British General Bernard Law Montgomery:
“The Germans should have thought of some of these things before they began the war, particularly before attacking the Russians.” – referring to a German soldier’s request to surrender only to British or American forces and not the Russians.

“Nice chap, no General.” – on first impressions of American General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Quotes by British Labor Party Opposition Leader Clement Atlee:
“In a life and death struggle, we cannot afford to leave our destinies in the hands of failures.” – on the British handling of the war in Norway

Quotes by British Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander:

“The knowledge not only of the enemy’s precise strength and disposition, but also how, when, and where he intends to carry out his operations brought a new dimension to the prosecution of war.” – Commenting on the ULTRA code system

Quotes by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill:

*Note: Due to the large volume of notable quotes made by Sir Winston Churchill during the years leading up to WW2, we have only included a small number in this article. We have published a separate account of quotes by Churchill for those who are interested.

“Singapore could only be taken after a siege by an army of at least 50,000 men. It is not considered possible that the Japanese would embark on such a mad enterprise.” – 1940

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Atlantic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind the line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe…All these famous cities…lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”

Sir Winston Churchill, 1942.

Sir Winston Churchill, 1942.

“In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.”

“Without ships, we cannot live.” – on the importance of winning the War in the Atlantic

“Good night, then – sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly on all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.” – to the people of France – October 21, 1940

“We must be very careful not to assign this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations” – in a speed to Parliament on June 4th, 1940

“Before Alamein, we had no victories. After Alamein, we had no defeats.”

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” – September 1940

“The whole of northern Norway was covered with snow to depths which none of our soldiers had ever seen, felt, or imagined. There were neither snow-shoes nor skis – still less skiers. We must do our best. Thus began this ramshackle campaign.” – 1940

“The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the future of Christian civilization.” – June 1940

“In Hitler’s launching of the Nazi campaign on Russia, we can already see, after six months of fighting, that he has made one of the outstanding blunders in history.” – before the House of Commons – December 11, 1941

“The enemy is still proud and powerful. He is hard to get at. He still possesses enormous armies, vast resources, and invaluable strategic territories…No one can tell what new complications and perils might arise in four or five more years of war. And it is in the dragging-out of the war at enormous expense, until the democracies are tired or bored or split that the main hopes of Germany and Japan must reside.” – to the American Congress, May 19, 1943

“The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-Boat peril…It did not take the form of flaring battles and glittering achievements, it manifested itself through statistics, diagrams, and curves unknown to the nation, incomprehensible to the public.”

“I expected to see a wild cat roaring into the mountains – and what do I find? A whale wallowing on the beaches!” – to Sir Harold Alexander on the handling of the Allied landings at Anzio.

“We have taken a grave and hazardous decision to sustain the Greeks and try to make a Balkan Front.”

Quotes by British Air Marshal “Bomber” Harris:

“They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.

WW2 French Quotes

Quotes by French General Maxime Weygand:

“There is nothing preventing the enemy reaching Paris. We were fighting on our last line and it has been breached. I am helpless, I cannot

WWII French General Charles De Gaulle  A WWII photo portrait of General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French Forces and first president of the Fifth Republic serving from 1959 to 1969.

WWII French General Charles De Gaulle
A WWII photo portrait of General Charles de Gaulle of the Free French Forces and first president of the Fifth Republic serving from 1959 to 1969.

intervene.”

Quotes by French President Raymond Poincare:

“You hold in your hands the future of the world.” – January 1919

Quotes by Charles de Gaulle:

“Today we are crushed by the sheer weight of the mechanized forces hurled against us, but we can still look to the future in which even greater mechanized forces will bring us victory. Therein lies the destiny of the world.”

WW2 Soviet Quotes

Quotes by Leningrad Party Committee Head Andrei Zhdanov:

“The enemy is at the gate. It is a question of life and death.” – Referring to the German Army encircling the city

Quotes by Unknown Soviet Red Army Soldier:

“Men were thrown headlong at Finnish guns. Tanks and their crews were shelled and burned, whole regiments of infantry encircled. Entire battalions of troops, the spearhead of the Red Army, were cut off from their reinforcements and supplies.” – During the Soviet-Finnish Winter War

Quotes by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin:

“This war is not an ordinary war. It is the war of the entire Russian people. Not only to eliminate the danger hanging over our heads, but to aid all people groaning under the yoke of Fascism”22nd June 1941

“We secured peace for our country for one and a half years, as well as an opportunity of preparing our forces for defense if fascist Germany risked attacking our country in defiance of the pact. This was a definite gain to our country and a loss for fascist Germany.”- 3rd July 1941 – (Speaking of the 1939 non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany)

“The Red Army and Navy and the whole Soviet people must fight for every inch of Soviet soil, fight to the last drop of blood for our towns and villages…onward, to victory!” – July 1941

WW2 Axis Quotes

WW2 German Quotes

German Grand Admiral Donitz:

“Our losses… have reached and intolerable level.” – Commenting on German naval losses in the Atlantic Theater, May 1943

Quotes by German Leader Adolf Hitler:

“I saw my enemies in Munich, and they are worms.”

“It is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe, but it is a claim from which I will not recede and which, God willing, I will make good.” – Delivered in a speech covering the Sudetenland, 1938

Adolf Hitler in 1937

Adolf Hitler in 1937

“Germany must either be a world power or there will be no Germany” – from his autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’

“Soldiers of the Reich! This day, you are to take part in an offensive of such importance that the whole future of the war may depend on its outcome.” – July 5th, 1943

“Why should this war in the West be fought for the restoration of Poland? The Poland of the Versailles Treaty will never rise again.” – September 1939

“Gentlemen, you are about to witness the most famous victory in history.” – addressing his generals on June 9th, 1940, prior to ‘Operation Yellow’.

“Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist.” – March 15th, 1939

“Wipe out the entire defense potential remaining to the Soviets.” – Directive 41 issued to German Army generals

Dunkirk has fallen…with it has ended the greatest battle of world history. Soldiers! My confidence in you knew no bounds. You have not disappointed me” – June 5th, 1940

“You only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.” – on invading the Soviet Union

“A victory at Kursk would shine like a beacon to the world!” – to Hitler’s Generals

“Whenever I think of this attack, my stomach turns over.” – to tank warfare specialist Heinz Guderian prior to assaulting Kursk.

“I speak in the name of the entire German people when I assure the world that we all share the honest wish to eliminate the enmity that brings far more costs than any possible benefits. It would be a wonderful thing for all of humanity if both peoples would renounce force against each other forever. The German people are ready to make such a pledge.” – October 14th, 1933

“The assertion that it is the intention of the German Reich to coerce the Austrian State is absurd!” – January 30th, 1934

“Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affair of Austria, to annex Austria, or to conclude an Anschluss” – May 21st, 1935

“Nationalist Socialist Germany wants peace because of its fundamental convictions. And it wants peace also owing to the realization of the simple primitive fact that no war would be likely essentially to alter the distress in Europe. The principal effect of every war is to destroy the flower of the nation. Germany needs peace and desires peace!” – May 21st, 1935

“Germany has concluded a Non-Aggression Pact with Poland. We shall adhere to it unconditionally. We recognize Poland as the home of a great and nationally conscious people.” – May 21st 1935

“…the existence and increase of our race and nation, the sustenance of its children and the purity of its blood, the freedom and independence of the Fatherland, and the nation’s ability to fulfill the mission appointed to it by the Creator of the universe.”

Quotes by German General Erwin Rommel:

“Which would your men rather be, tired, or dead?” – extorting an Officer during the building of Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall’.

“To every man of us, Tobruk was a symbol of British resistance and we were now going to finish with it for good.” – June 1942

“The battle is going very heavily against us. We’re being crushed by the enemy weight. We are facing very difficult days, perhaps the most difficult

Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel

Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel

that a man can undergo” – November 3rd, 1942

“The enemy must be annihilated before he reaches our main battlefield. We must stop him in the water, destroying all his equipment while it is still afloat!” – April 22nd, 1944

Quotes by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels:

“In 1933, a French premier ought to have said – and if I had been the French premier I would have said it: The new Reich chancellor is the man who wrote Mein Kampf, which says this and that. This man cannot be tolerated in our vicinity. Either he disappears or we march! But they didn’t do it.”

“If we have power, we’ll never give it up again unless we’re carried out of our offices as corpses”

Quotes by German Lieutenant-Colonel Hermann Balck:

“Schutzenregiment 1 has, at 22:40, taken high hill just to the north of Cheveuges. Last enemy blockhouse in our hands. A complete breakthrough!” – In a wartime cable sent from the battlefield near Sedan

Quotes by German General Oberst von Armin:

“Even without the Allied offensive, I should have had to capitulate by June 1st at the latest as I had no more food to eat.” – May 1943, following the Axis surrender to the Allies in Tunisia

Quotes by German Army General Chief of Staff Franz Haldervon Armin:

“The Russian Colossus…has been underestimated by us…whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen.” – Commenting on the might of the Soviet Army following the invasion of the Soviet Union

Quotes by German Armaments Magnate Gustav Krupp von Bohlen:

“Greater Germany – the dream of our fathers and grandfathers – is finally created.”

WW2 Italy Quotes

Quotes by Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini:

“Fuehrer, we are on the march! Victorious Italian troops crossed the Greco-Albanian frontier at dawn today!”  - (to Adolf Hitler) October 28th, 1940

“Fascism accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with the state’s.”

“The Mediterranean will be turned into an Italian lake.”

“War alone can carry to the maximum tension all human energies and imprint with the seal of nobility those people who have the courage to confront it; Every other test is a mere substitute.” – 1930

“I’ve had my fill of Hitler. These conferences called by the ringing of a bell are not to my liking. The bell is rung when people call their servants. And besides, what kind of conferences are these? For five hours I am forced to listen to a monologue which is quite fruitless and boring” – To his son-in-law on June 10th, 1941

WW2 Japan Quotes

Quotes by Rear Admiral Ito, Chief of Staff of the Combined Fleet:

“A gigantic fleet… has massed in Pearl Harbor. This fleet will be utterly crushed with one blow at the very beginning of hostilities…Heaven will bear witness to the righteousness of our struggle.”- November 1941

Quotes by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Navy

“The fate of the Empire rests on this enterprise every man must devote himself totally to the task in hand.” – December 7th, 1941

Quotes by General Homa:

“You are doomed… you have already cut rations by a half…but your prestige and honour have been upheld” – Speaking of General MacArthur – January 1942

Quotes by Emperor Hirohito:

Emperor Hirohito in his dress uniform, 1935.

Emperor Hirohito in his dress uniform, 1935.

“The fruits of victory are tumbling into our mouths too quickly.” - 29th April 1942 (Speaking on his birthday)

Quotes by Major-General Kensaku Oda:

“Most of the men are stricken with dysentery…Starvation is taking many lives and it is weakening our already extended lines. We are doomed. “-(Referring to the state of Japanese troops on Guadalcanal)- 12th January 1943

Quotes by Mamoru Shigemitsu (Japanese Foreign Minister):

“Hell is on us.” -comments at the capture of Saipan – June 1944

Quotes by Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita:

”I will break into Leyte Gulf and fight to the last man…would it not be shameful to have the fleet remaining intact while our nation perishes?” -1944

Quotes by General Yamashita:

”The only words I spoke to the British commander in the negotiations for the surrender of Singapore were ‘All I want to hear from you is yes or no’. I expected to put the same question to MacArthur.” -at Manila – 10th October 1944

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