27 Quotes From Military Leaders About Wars, Battlefields, and Bravery

Iwo Jima War Memorial located just outside of the Arlington National Cemetery

Hisham Ibrahim / Getty Images

Throughout history, noted military leaders, war veterans, and statesmen, such as Nathan Hale (American soldier, spy, and captain in the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War), Dwight D. Eisenhower (U.S. Army general and Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War II; 34th President of the U.S.), Giuseppe Garibaldi (Italian general), George S. Patton Jr. (U.S. Army general, veteran of World War I and World War II), and many others, have had a lot to say about war. Their strong-worded quotes that have been picked up over the ages are about patriotism, bravery, and sacrifice. These are the words that often helped soldiers to fight hard and win, and kept the country moving forward during times of great stress. Their timeless quotes can be inspirational for everyday challenges, too. Read the following quotes and see which ones resonate with you. 

Frederick C. Blesse: "No guts, no glory."

Winston Churchill: "We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us."

George Colman: "Praise the bridge that carried you over."

David G. Farragut: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."

Dwight D. Eisenhower:

"Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him."

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."

"Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free."

"The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear it it's usually lousy."

Giuseppe Garibaldi: "I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor food; I offer only hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles, and death. Let him who loves his country with his heart, and not merely his lips, follow me."

David Hackworth: "If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission properly."

Nathan Hale: "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."

Heraclitus: "Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back."

Douglas MacArthur:

"Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

"It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it."

George S. Patton Jr.:

"Live for something rather than die for nothing."

"The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country."

"Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way."

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

"No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."

Oliver Hazard Perry: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Colin Powell:

"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure."

Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.: "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."

William Tecumseh Sherman: "War is hell."

Harry S. Truman: "A leader is the man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do, and like it."

Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington (1769-1852): "I don't know what effect these men will have upon the enemy, but, by God, they terrify me."

William C. Westmoreland: "The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars."

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Khurana, Simran. "27 Quotes From Military Leaders About Wars, Battlefields, and Bravery." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/military-quotes-to-inspire-you-2830421. Khurana, Simran. (2023, April 5). 27 Quotes From Military Leaders About Wars, Battlefields, and Bravery. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/military-quotes-to-inspire-you-2830421 Khurana, Simran. "27 Quotes From Military Leaders About Wars, Battlefields, and Bravery." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/military-quotes-to-inspire-you-2830421 (accessed June 7, 2023).