"When all this is over, you know what I'm going to do? I'm gonna get married, gonna have about six kids. I'll line 'em up against the wall and tell them what it was like here in Burma. If they don't cry, I'll beat the hell out of 'em."
"If for Americans, at least, the Great War could sometimes be imagined as a brief, quasi-athletic lark, the Second War permitted no such melioration by the spirit of adolescent optimism. In North Africa alone, the 1st Infantry Division spent more time in mortal contact with the enemy than all the time it spent--forming up, marching, drawing equipment, lining up at the mess hall, training, bitching--in all of the First World War. And on December 7, 1941, the American navy lost in one day more men killed--2008, to be exact--than in all the days of the earlier war. The Second World War, total and global as it was, killed worldwide, more civilian men, women, and children than soldiers, sailors, and airmen. And compared with the idiocies of Verdun, Gallipoli, or Tannenberg, it was indescribably cruel and insane. It was not until the Second World War had enacted all its madness that one could realize how near Victorian social and ethical norms the First World War really was."
"Unless they are immediate victims, the majority of mankind behaves as if war was an act of God which could not be prevented; or they behave as if war elsewhere was none of their business. It would be a bitter cosmic joke if we destroy ourselves due to atrophy of the imagination."
"The peace conference must not adjourn without the establishment of some ordered system of international government, backed by power enough to give authority to its decrees. ... Unless a league something like this results at our peace conference, we shall merely drop back into armed hostility and international anarchy. The war will have been fought in vain ..."
"During the first World War women in the United States had a chance to try their capacities in wider fields of executive leadership in industry. Must we always wait for war to give us opportunity? And must the pendulum always swing back in the busy world of work and workers during times of peace?"
"When this immediate evil power has been defeated, we shall not yet have won the long battle with the elemental barbarities. Another Hitler, it may be an invisible adversary, will attempt, again, and yet again, to destroy our frail civilization. Is it true, I wonder, that the only way to escape a war is to be in it? When one is a part of an actuality does the imagination find a release?"
"I believe that one of the most dignified ways we are capable of, to assert and then reassert our dignity in the face of poverty and war's fears and pains, is to nourish ourselves with all possible skill, delicacy, and ever-increasing enjoyment."
"Those who actually set out to see the fall of a city ... or those who choose to go to a front line, are obviously asking themselves to what extent they are cowards. But the tests they set themselves--there is a dead body, can you bear to look at it?--are nothing in comparison with the tests that are sprung on them. It is not the obvious tests that matter (do you go to pieces in a mortar attack?) but the unexpected ones (here is a man on the run, seeking your help--can you face him honestly?)."
"It was a time of madness, the sort of mad-hysteria that always presages war. There seems to be nothing left but war--when any population in any sort of a nation gets violently angry, civilization falls down and religion forsakes its hold on the consciences of human kind in such times of public madness."
"In 1862 the congregation of the church forwarded the church bell to General Beauregard to be melted into cannon, "hoping that its gentle tones, that have so often called us to the House of God, may be transmuted into war's resounding rhyme to repel the ruthless invader from the beautiful land God, in his goodness, has given us."