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date: 21 April 2024

World War II 

see also Genocide, War
  1. How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.
    on Germany's annexation of the Sudetenland
    Neville Chamberlain 1869–1940 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1937–40: radio broadcast, 27 September 1938
  2. We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
    Winston Churchill 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: speech in the House of Commons, 4 June 1940
  3. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’
    Winston Churchill 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: speech in the House of Commons, 18 June 1940
  4. It may almost be said, ‘Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat.’
    Winston Churchill 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: Second World War vol. 4 (1951)
  5. Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
    When our Victory is ultimately won.
    Noël Coward 1899–1973 English dramatist, actor, and composer: ‘Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans’ (1943 song)
  6. France has lost a battle. But France has not lost the war!
    Charles de Gaulle 1890–1970 French soldier and statesman, President of France 1959–69: proclamation, 18 June 1940
  7. I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.
    to a London policeman, 13 September 1940
    Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother 1900–2002 British Queen Consort of George VI: John Wheeler-Bennett King George VI (1958) pt. 3, ch. 6
  8. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
    at Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, while Forgy moved along a line of sailors passing ammunition by hand to the deck
    Howell Forgy 1908–83 American naval chaplain: in New York Times 1 November 1942; later the title of a song by Frank Loesser, 1942
  9. I fear we have only awakened a sleeping giant, and his reaction will be terrible.
    of the attack on Pearl Harbor
    Larry Forrester, Hideo Oguni, and Ryuzo Kikushima screenwriters: Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970 film); said by the Japanese admiral Isoruko Yamamoto, although there is no evidence that Yamamoto used these words; see Yamamoto
  10. Anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head.
    of the Second World War
    William Golding 1911–93 English novelist: The Hot Gates (1965) ‘Fable’
  11. The little ships, the unforgotten Homeric catalogue of Mary Jane and Peggy IV, of Folkestone Belle, Boy Billy, and Ethel Maud, of Lady Haig and Skylark…the little ships of England brought the Army home.
    on the evacuation of Dunkirk
    Philip Guedalla 1889–1944 English historian and biographer: Mr Churchill (1941) ch. 7
  12. I would not regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier.
    supporting the continued strategic bombing of German cities
    Arthur Harris 1892–1984 British Air Force Marshal: letter to Norman Bottomley, deputy Chief of Air Staff, 29 March 1945; see Bismarck
  13. The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage.
    announcing Japan's surrender, in a broadcast to his people after atom bombs had destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    Emperor Hirohito 1901–89 Japanese monarch, Emperor from 1926: on 15 August 1945
  14. We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line.
    Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr British songwriters: title of song (1939)
  15. I came through and I shall return.
    on reaching Australia, 20 March 1942, having broken through Japanese lines en route from Corregidor
    Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964 American general: statement in Adelaide, 20 March 1942, in New York Times 21 March 1942
  16. Right, now I understand people think you're the Forgotten Army on the Forgotten Front. I've come here to tell you you're quite wrong. You're not the Forgotten Army on the Forgotten Front. No, make no mistake about it. Nobody's ever heard of you.
    encouragement to troops when taking over as Supreme Allied Commander South-East Asia in late 1943
    Lord Mountbatten 1900–79 British sailor, soldier, and statesman: R. Hough Mountbatten (1980)
  17. Among the Americans who served in Iwo island, uncommon valour was a common virtue.
    of the battle of Iwo Jima
    Chester W. Nimitz 1885–1966 American admiral: communiqué, 16 March 1945; Karal Ann Marling and John Weten Hall Iwo Jima (1991)
  18. Who do you think you are kidding, Mister Hitler?
    If you think we're on the run?
    We are the boys who will stop your little game
    We are the boys who will make you think again.
    Jimmy Perry 1923–  English writer and songwriter: ‘Who do you think you are kidding, Mister Hitler’ (theme song of Dad's Army, BBC television, 1968–77)
  19. This little steamer, like all her brave and battered sisters, is immortal. She'll go sailing proudly down the years in the epic of Dunkirk. And our great-grand-children, when they learn how we began this war by snatching glory out of defeat, and then swept on to victory, may also learn how the little holiday steamers made an excursion to hell and came back glorious.
    J. B. Priestley 1894–1984 English novelist, dramatist, and critic: radio broadcast, 5 June 1940
  20. The first twenty-four hours of the invasion will be decisive…for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day.
    Erwin Rommel 1891–1944 German field marshal: to his aide, 22 April 1944; Cornelius Ryan The Longest Day: June 6, 1944 (1959)
  21. We have the men—the skill—the wealth—and above all, the will…We must be the great arsenal of democracy.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882–1945 American Democratic statesman, 32nd President 1933–45: ‘Fireside Chat’ radio broadcast, 29 December 1940
  22. Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882–1945 American Democratic statesman, 32nd President 1933–45: address to Congress, 8 December 1941