„Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?“

—  Bertrand Russell, 1950s, Context: Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war? People will not face this alternative because it is so difficult to abolish war. The abolition of war will demand distasteful limitations of national sovereignty. But what perhaps impedes understanding of the situation more than anything else is that the term "mankind" feels vague and abstract. People scarcely realize in imagination that the danger is to themselves and their children and their grandchildren, and not only to a dimly apprehended humanity. They can scarcely bring themselves to grasp that they, individually, and those whom they love are in imminent danger of perishing agonizingly. And so they hope that perhaps war may be allowed to continue provided modern weapons are prohibited. This hope is illusory. Whatever agreements not to use H-bombs had been reached in time of peace, they would no longer be considered binding in time of war, and both sides would set to work to manufacture H-bombs as soon as war broke out, for, if one side manufactured the bombs and the other did not, the side that manufactured them would inevitably be victorious.
Bertrand Russell photo
Bertrand Russell175
filosofo, logico e matematico gallese 1872 - 1970
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„Mankind must put an end to war - or war will put an end to mankind.“

—  John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America 1917 - 1963
1961, UN speech, Context: Mankind must put an end to war — or war will put an end to mankind. So let us here resolve that Dag Hammarskjold did not live, or die, in vain. Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war. Context: We meet in an hour of grief and challenge. Dag Hammarskjold is dead. But the United Nations lives. His tragedy is deep in our hearts, but the task for which he died is at the top of our agenda. A noble servant of peace is gone. But the quest for peace lies before us. The problem is not the death of one man — the problem is the life of this organization. It will either grow to meet the challenges of our age, or it will be gone with the wind, without influence, without force, without respect. Were we to let it die, to enfeeble its vigor, to cripple its powers, we would condemn our future. For in the development of this organization rests the only true alternative to war — and war appeals no longer as a rational alternative. Unconditional war can no longer lead to unconditional victory. It can no longer serve to settle disputes. It can no longer concern the great powers alone. For a nuclear disaster, spread by wind and water and fear, could well engulf the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the committed and the uncommitted alike. Mankind must put an end to war — or war will put an end to mankind. So let us here resolve that Dag Hammarskjold did not live, or die, in vain. Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war.

Kenzaburō Ōe photo

„After the end of the Second World War it was a categorical imperative for us to declare that we renounced war forever in a central article of the new Constitution.“

—  Kenzaburō Ōe Japanese author 1935
Japan, The Ambiguous, and Myself (1994), Context: After the end of the Second World War it was a categorical imperative for us to declare that we renounced war forever in a central article of the new Constitution. The Japanese chose the principle of eternal peace as the basis of morality for our rebirth after the War. I trust that the principle can best be understood in the West with its long tradition of tolerance for conscientious rejection of military service. In Japan itself there have all along been attempts by some to obliterate the article about renunciation of war from the Constitution and for this purpose they have taken every opportunity to make use of pressures from abroad. But to obliterate from the Constitution the principle of eternal peace will be nothing but an act of betrayal against the peoples of Asia and the victims of the Atom Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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„We are going to scourge the Third Reich from end to end. We are bombing Germany city by city and ever more terribly in order to make it impossible for her to go on with the war. That is our object; we shall pursue it relentlessly.“

—  Arthur Travers Harris Royal Air Force air marshal 1892 - 1984
Radio address (28 July 1942), as quoted by Sir Courtauld Thomson, in a House of Lords debate on bombing policy (9 February 1944) http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1944/feb/09/bombing-policy

Theodore Roosevelt photo

„As a people we must be united. If we are not united we shall slip into the gulf of measureless disaster. We must be strong in purpose for our own defense and bent on securing justice within our borders. If as a nation we are split into warring camps, if we teach our citizens not to look upon one another as brothers but as enemies divided by the hatred of creed for creed or of those of one race against those of another race, surely we shall fail and our great democratic experiment on this continent will go down in crushing overthrow.“

—  Theodore Roosevelt American politician, 26th president of the United States 1858 - 1919
1910s, Address to the Knights of Columbus (1915), Context: Even in the matter of national defense there is such a labyrinth of committees and counsels and advisors that there is a tendency on the part of the average citizen to become confused and do nothing. I ask you to help strike the note that shall unite our people. As a people we must be united. If we are not united we shall slip into the gulf of measureless disaster. We must be strong in purpose for our own defense and bent on securing justice within our borders. If as a nation we are split into warring camps, if we teach our citizens not to look upon one another as brothers but as enemies divided by the hatred of creed for creed or of those of one race against those of another race, surely we shall fail and our great democratic experiment on this continent will go down in crushing overthrow. I ask you here tonight and those like you to take a foremost part in the movement a young men's movement for a greater and better America in the future.

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„I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that We Shall overcome!“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr. American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement 1929 - 1968
1960s, Nobel Prize acceptance speech (1964), Context: I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that We Shall overcome!' (This contains an allusion to the book of Isaiah Chapter 11, verse 6

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„The story of the human race is war.“

—  Winston S. Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1874 - 1965
The 1930s, Context: The story of the human race is war. Except for brief and precarious interludes, there has never been peace in the world; and before history began, murderous strife was universal and unending. Mankind is Confronted by One Supreme Task, News of the World, 14 November 1937 Reproduced in The Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill, Vol IV, Churchill at Large, Centenary Edition (1976), Library of Imperial History, p. 421.

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„We shall have a harder Christmas than we have known since the war.“

—  Edward Heath Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1970–1974) 1916 - 2005
Prime Minister, ibid. Reported in Time magazine (24 December 1973). It was spoken on television. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj9OlIiHFo4

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„We must be prepared to pay the price for peace, or assuredly we shall pay the price of war.“

—  Harry Truman American politician, 33rd president of the United States (in office from 1945 to 1953) 1884 - 1972
Special Message to the Congress on the Threat to the Freedom of Europe (1948), Context: The recommendations I have made represent the most urgent steps toward securing the peace and preventing war. We must be ready to take every wise and necessary step to carry out this great purpose. This will require assistance to other nations. It will require an adequate and balanced military strength. We must be prepared to pay the price for peace, or assuredly we shall pay the price of war. We in the United States remain determined to seek peace by every possible means, a just and honorable basis for the settlement of international issues.

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„We shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on the ministers and generals, or warmongering imperialists, or all the other banal bogeys. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers.“

—  Paddy Chayefsky American playwright, screenwriter and novelist 1923 - 1981
The Americanization of Emily (1964), Context: We shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on the ministers and generals, or warmongering imperialists, or all the other banal bogeys. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers. The rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widow's weeds like nuns, Mrs. Barham, and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices. Lt. Cmdr. Charles E. Madison.

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„At eleven o’clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible War that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars.“

—  David Lloyd George Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1863 - 1945
Prime Minister, Speech http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1918/nov/11/time-limit-for-reply in the House of Commons (11 November 1918)

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„One of these days they'll be making a film where the whole human race gets wiped out in a nuclear war, but everything works out in the end.“

—  Haruki Murakami, book A Wild Sheep Chase
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel (1982), Context: I watched an old American submarine movie on television. The creaking plot had the captain and first officer constantly at each other’s throat. The submarine was a fossil, and one guy had claustrophobia. But all that didn’t stop everything from working out well in the end. It was an everything-works-out-in-the-end-so-maybe-war’s-not-so-bad-after-all sort of film. One of these days they’ll be making a film where the whole human race gets wiped out in a nuclear war, but everything works out in the end.

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„We need not war to awaken human energy. There is at least equal scope for courage and magnanimity in blessing, as in destroying mankind.“

—  William Ellery Channing United States Unitarian clergyman 1780 - 1842
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