"My topic for Army reunions ... this summer: How to prepare for war in time of peace. Not by fortifications, by navies, or by standing armies. But by policies which will add to the happiness and the comfort of all our people and which will tend to the distribution of intelligence [and] wealth equally among all. Our strength is a contented and intelligent community."
"The Butte citizen's blood pressure rises and falls with the price of copper. He opposes war "and yet, when you come to think of it, war would probably raise the price of copper and increase work and wages ..." Sometimes he is half-convinced that Butte is the real capital of the United States and copper instead of gold the proper standard of values. If he is a miner, or has friends or near relatives in the mines, he is often grim and worried. Butte's streets are crowded nightly with persons intent upon a round of pleasure in bars and gambling places, some seeking to forget the fears of daily existence."
"There's in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage, 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."
"... we often ask ourselves here despairingly: "What, oh, what is the use of the war? Why can't people live peacefully together? Why all this destruction?" The question is very understandable, but no one has found a satisfactory answer to it so far. Yes, why do they make still more gigantic planes, still heavier bombs and, at the same time, prefabricated houses for reconstruction? Why should millions be spent daily on the war and yet there's not a penny available for medical services, artists, or for poor people?... Oh, why are people so crazy?"
"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."
"What vast additions to the conveniences and comforts of living might mankind have acquired, if the money spent in wars had been employed in works of public utility; what an extension of agriculture even to the tops of our mountains; what rivers rendered navigable, or joined by canals; what bridges, aqueducts, new roads, and other public works, edifices, and improvements ... might not have been obtained by spending those millions in doing good, which in the last war have been spent in doing mischief."
"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?"