Best 161 of World war ii quotes - MyQuotes
The world is wrong. I'm just doing my part to fix it.
Johann Baptist Metz
Potkraj Drugoga svjetskog rata izvukli su me iz škole i, kao šesnaestogodišnjaka, gurnuli u vojsku. Nakon kratke vojničke izobrazbe u würzburškim kasarnama došao sam na frontu koja se u to vrijeme već bila pomakla preko Rajne u Njemačku. Četa je bila sastavljena iz samih mladih ljudi, bilo nas je preko stotinu. Jedne večeri komandir čete poslao me prenijeti jednu poruku u komandu bataljona. Noću sam lutao razorenim selima i majurima, a kad sam se pred jutro našao na mjestu gdje sam ostavio svoju četu, našao sam još samo mrtvace: četu je pregazio kombinirani napad lovaca-bombardera i tenkova. Svima njima, s kojima sam još dan ranije dijelio dječje tjeskobe i mladenački smijeh, sada sam mogao gledati još samo ugasli mrtvi obraz. Ne sjećam se ničega doli jednog krika bez glasa. I danas još vidim samoga sebe tako, a iza spomena na to raspali su se snovi mojega djetinjstva.
Captain Hank Bracker
Instinctively I reached out and could feel that the object was a shoe; no it was a heavy boot. And then looking up, I realized that there was a man hanging from the tree. As my eyes adjusted to this gruesome sight, I could tell that it was one of the Russian soldiers that I had just recently met over breakfast and now here he was hanging from a noose.
The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle [World War II], while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.
Whenever a soldier needed an escape, the antidote to anxiety, relief from boredom, a bit of laughter, inspiration, or hope, he cracked open a book and drank in the words that would transport him elsewhere.
One also, in our milieu, simply didn't meet enough Americans to form an opinion. And when one did—this was in the days of crew-cuts and short-legged pants—they, too, often really did sport crew-cuts and trousers that mysteriously ended several inches short of the instep. Why was that? It obviously wasn't poverty. A colleague of my father's had a daughter who got herself married and found that an American friend she had met on holiday had offered to pay the whole cost of the nuptial feast. I forget the name of this paladin, but he had a crew-cut and amputated trouser-bottoms and a cigar stub and he came from a place called Yonkers, which seemed to me a ridiculous name to give to a suburb. (I, who had survived Crapstone… ) Anyway, once again one received a Henry Jamesian impression of brash generosity without overmuch refinement. There was a boy at my boarding school called Warren Powers Laird Myers, the son of an officer stationed at one of the many U.S. Air Force bases in Cambridgeshire. Trousers at The Leys School were uniform and regulation, but he still managed to show a bit of shin and to buzz-cut his hair. 'I am not a Yankee,' he informed me (he was from Norfolk, Virginia). 'I am a CON-federate.' From what I was then gleaning of the news from Dixie, this was unpromising. In our ranks we also had Jamie Auchincloss, a sprig of the Kennedy-Bouvier family that was then occupying the White House. His trousers managed to avoid covering his ankles also, though the fact that he shared a parent with Jackie Kennedy meant that anything he did was accepted as fashionable by definition. The pants of a man I'll call Mr. 'Miller,' a visiting American master who skillfully introduced me to J.D. Salinger, were also falling short of their mark. Mr. Miller's great teacher-feature was that he saw sexual imagery absolutely everywhere and was slightly too fond of pointing it out [...]. Meanwhile, and as I mentioned much earlier, the dominant images projected from the United States were of the attack-dog-and-firehose kind, with swag-bellied cops lying about themselves and the political succession changed as much by bullets as by ballots.
Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, cancerous growths—until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about.
It takes one a long time to become young. - Picasso
In Paris, I found myself surrounded by Germans; they were all over the place. They played music, and people would go and listen to them! All along rue de Rivoli, as far as you could see from place de la Concorde, there were enormous swastika banners five or six floors high. I just thought, This is impossible. Imagine that someone comes into your home—someone you don’t like—he settles down, gives orders: “Here we are, we’re at home now; you must obey.” To me that was unbearable.
Teresa R. Funke
The tears are falling freely now, and I don't care if he sees them. They're tears of relief for my nephew, worry for my grandfather and my brother, and shame for my mistake. I figure I earned them.
Captain Hank Bracker
As with millions of others, Adeline Perry and her two young daughters endured the horrors of the Second World War in NAZI Germany. Following her death and armed with her manuscript, Captain Hank Bracker and his wife Ursula, Adeline’s youngest daughter, followed in Adeline’s footsteps to better understand the ordeal she experienced. Realizing that this book was the only way that her story could be preserved, Captain Hank took on the task of recording it. Ursula’s brother-in-law and stepsister, Peter Klett and his wife Jutta drove them to many of the places described in this book including Bischoffsheim, Strasbourg and Rosheim, in what was known as Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen during World War II and which is now recognized as the administrative territory of Alsace-Moselle, France. He found the still existing bunker in Feudenheim and talked to people in Mannheim, Überlingen and Bischoffsheim who still remembered some of the details of the incidents in this book. Ursula’s sister Brigitte wrote her own manuscripts which helped fill in some previously unknown facts. “Suppressed I Rise” is an insight into how individual people’s lives were adversely affected by the insane acts of one man and the country he decimated.
The sepia tone of November has become blood-soaked with paper poppies festooning the lapels of our politicians, newsreaders and business leaders … I will no longer allow my obligation as a veteran to remember those who died in the great wars to be co-opted by current or former politicians to justify our folly in Iraq, our morally dubious war on terror and our elimination of one’s right to privacy.
The prospect of going home again scared them. They couldn't imagine how they could ever settle to it. How they could just walk around the streets and pretend to be normal, look women in the eye again after what they had done and seen, ride on trams, sit at a table with a white cloth, and control their hands and just slowly eat. It was the little things that scared them. The big things you could hide in. It was little ones that gave a man away.
You should get one of those new-fangled, one-piece siren suits," she teased Jedrick, stepping over to fix his collar. "Think how fast it would be!" "With the zip?" he said, dubiously. "In ten thousand years!
Captain Hank Bracker
Pier 5 in Brooklyn was within a short walking distance from the subway station and in the distance the masts and funnel of my new ship could be seen. The S/S African Sun was a C-4 cargo ship built in 1942, for the war effort. Not even 15 years old, the ship looked as good as new. Farrell Lines took good care of their ships and it showed. There was always a lot of activity prior to departure and this time was no exception. We were expected to depart prior to dusk and there were things to do. I got into my working uniform and leaving my sea bag on my bunk headed for the bridge. When I passed the open door of the Captain’s room he summoned me in. “Welcome aboard Mr. Mate. I’ve heard good things about you!” We talked briefly about his expectations. Introducing himself as Captain Brian, he seemed friendly enough and I felt that I got off to a good start. As the ship’s Third Officer, most frequently known as the Third Mate, my first order of business was to place my license into the frame alongside those of the other deck officers. I must admit that doing so gave me a certain feeling of pride and belonging. With only an hour to go before our scheduled departure I called the engine room and gave them permission to jack over the engine; a term used to engage the engine, so as to slowly turn the screw or propeller.
Even in former days, Korea was known as the 'hermit kingdom' for its stubborn resistance to outsiders. And if you wanted to create a totally isolated and hermetic society, northern Korea in the years after the 1953 'armistice' would have been the place to start. It was bounded on two sides by the sea, and to the south by the impregnable and uncrossable DMZ, which divided it from South Korea. Its northern frontier consisted of a long stretch of China and a short stretch of Siberia; in other words its only contiguous neighbors were Mao and Stalin. (The next-nearest neighbor was Japan, historic enemy of the Koreans and the cruel colonial occupier until 1945.) Add to that the fact that almost every work of man had been reduced to shards by the Korean War. Air-force general Curtis LeMay later boasted that 'we burned down every town in North Korea,' and that he grounded his bombers only when there were no more targets to hit anywhere north of the 38th parallel. Pyongyang was an ashen moonscape. It was Year Zero. Kim Il Sung could create a laboratory, with controlled conditions, where he alone would be the engineer of the human soul.
Earlier in the morning Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines had attacked eastward into the ruins of Shuri Castle and had raised the Confederate flag. When we learned that the flag of the Confederacy had been hoisted over the very heart and soul of Japanese resistance, all of us Southerners cheered loudly. The Yankees among us grumbled, and the Westerners didn’t know what to do. Later we learned that the Stars and Stripes that had flown over Guadalcanal were raised over Shuri Castle, a fitting tribute to the men of the 1st Marine Division who had the honor of being first into the Japanese citadel.
In war, the damage you inflict on the enemy might be immediately apparent. The damage you inflict on yourself in doing so will only become apparent later.
Captain Hank Bracker
I went along on this ride, as did Adolph, and we returned to the Feudenheim district of Mannheim, which was where our apartment stood. The roads were extremely cratered from the frequent bombings and the driver had to carefully circumvent these deep chasms. As we drove along we were fully aware that we could also become an inviting target, but eventually we arrived at the house safely. Surprisingly, the house was still relatively undamaged and my flat was locked up and further secured with a padlock, which I had used. It was apparent from the drawn blinds that everyone had moved out. Luckily I still had the keys and could open the door. Letting ourselves in, we looked around. It was really surprising that everything was still in place and that looters hadn’t ransacked everything, as was usually the case. Pointing out the items of furniture I would need, Herr Meyer quickly organized the boys, in a military fashion, and had them carry my things down the three flights of stairs. Even the truck driver helped carry my things, and to my delight the move went smoothly. When the truck was finally loaded, the weight became apparent. Weighted down with an old coal stove and its chimney sections, kitchen cupboard, a radio, double bed and mattress, a sofa and my wardrobe as well as pots and pans, it was down onto its axles.
Brick walls towered over her. Decrepit staircases crowded about her. Nothing had changed. The line there, the lessons there, the rape there. Shouldn't the place be crimson with blood and black with shame?
When the train stopped the local townspeople along the way offered us coffee and sandwiches. It gave you a good feeling, seeing them come out to the train. These were the people we would be fighting for.
Some read to remember the home they had left behind, others to forget the hell that surrounded them. Books uplifted their weary souls and energized their minds…books had the power to sooth an aching heart, renew hope for the future, and provide a respite when there was no other escape.
I think that is not true," Uncle Henrik said. "I think you are like your mama,and like your papa, and like me. Frightened, but determined, and if the time came to be brave, I quite sure you would be very, very brave." "But," he added, "it is much easier to be brave if you do not know everything. And so your mama does not know everything.Neither do I. We only know what we need to know." "Do you understand what I am saying?" he asked, looking into her eyes. Annemarie frowned. She wasn't sure.What did bravery mean? She had been very frightened the day--not long ago though now it seemed far in the past-- when the soldier had stopped her on the street and asked questions in his rough voice. And she had not known that the German were going to take away the Jews. And so, when the soldiers asked, looking at Ellen that day, "What is the name of your friend?"she had been able to handle him, even though she was frightened. If she had known everything, it would have not been so easy to be brave.
Were there atheists in foxholes during World War II? Of course, as can be verified by my dogtags . . . A veteran of Omaha Beach in 1944, I insisted upon including ‘None’ instead of P, C, or J as my religious affiliation.
And she felt the beauty in the music now, drank it in with tears streaming down her face. Never had she been so naked in worship before her Creator, allowing the adoration to bleed out her very fingertips onto the strings, playing her heart's cry for every single lost soul, for the loss of innocence every generation to come would possess as a result of what happened at the killing fields of Auschwitz.
In political affairs illusions are usually the product of a failure to appreciate change; but such failure-usually a necessary and perhaps salutary part of human affairs-becomes, when the change is very fast, not a stabilizing conservatism but a form of deception resembling lunacy.
Captain Hank Bracker
I find it difficult to remember all of the details of our journey after leaving Mannheim. At the time I was depressed and extremely tired. The children must have felt the same way since they were just there. The unflappable joy they always demonstrated and the sparkle in their eyes was missing. An unspeakable sadness had settled in. Being children they were being denied the right to be happy, to be able to celebrate their youth and look forward to a promising future. Now they hardly ever complained or cried. They sometimes said that they were hungry and asked if we had food, but accepted the fact that we were all hungry most of the time. My only vivid recollection is that we were headed by train towards the Bodensee, or what is called Lake Constance, near the Swiss border. The only reason we were going there was that it seemed rural, and more distant from the advancing front and active war zone. Perhaps I felt that neutral Switzerland was close by and if need be we could appeal to someone’s compassion and escape. Of course this was only a fleeting thought and could never happen….
...we're dealing with two devils who both want to rule hell.
One part of him recoiled in instinctive horror at the daily waste, the inundation of destruction and death that inexorably assaulted the mind and heart; once again he saw the faculty depleted, he saw the haunted looks upon those who remained behind, and saw in those looks the slow death of the heart, the bitter attrition of feeling and care.
I can’t recite the chronology or elaborate on the facts. I can’t explain the reasons or defend how we lived our lives. What I can tell you is how the events of 1933 sowed the seeds that fundamentally changed our future, that there was little hand-wringing or emotion, that circumstances were beyond control, that there was no recourse or appeal. I can tell you that events were incremental, that the unbelievable became the believable and, ultimately, the normal. Ralph Webster, A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other
Work, love, courage and hope, Make me good and help me cope!
It is in the very nature of things human that every act that has once made its appearance and has been recorded in the history of mankind stays with mankind as a potentiality long after its actuality has become a thing of the past. No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes.
My father chose acquiescence and life rather than resistance and death. Not a very admirable choice, but a very human one.
His words held depth, but not enough to make her forget the desire to do something more than just leave the hospital alive. All she could think of now was the pain of running away. She'd left her family, left Prague behind out of fear. And still war had chased her to an ARP shelter in the heart of London. How could she run again? Something mattered in standing up to fight.
The "herrenvolk" [master race] are all around you, threading their way on their bicycles between the piles of rubble or rushing off with jugs and buckets to meet the water cart. It is queer to think that these are the people who once ruled Europe, from the Channel to the Caspian Sea and might have conquered our own island, if they had known how weak we were.
Now we will live!” This is what the hungry little boy liked to say, as he toddled along the quiet roadside, or through the empty fields. But the food that he saw was only in his imagination. The wheat had all been taken away, in a heartless campaign of requisitions that began Europe’s era of mass killing. It was 1933, and Joseph Stalin was deliberately starving Soviet Ukraine. The little boy died, as did more than three million other people. “I will meet her,” said a young Soviet man of his wife, “under the ground.” He was right; he was shot after she was, and they were buried among the seven hundred thousand victims of Stalin’s Great Terror of 1937 and 1938. “They asked for my wedding ring, which I….” The Polish officer broke off his diary just before he was executed by the Soviet secret police in 1940. He was one of about two hundred thousand Polish citizens shot by the Soviets or the Germans at the beginning of the Second World War, while Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union jointly occupied his country. Late in 1941, an eleven-year-old Russian girl in Leningrad finished her own humble diary: “Only Tania is left.” Adolf Hitler had betrayed Stalin, her city was under siege by the Germans, and her family were among the four million Soviet citizens the Germans starved to death. The following summer, a twelve-year-old Jewish girl in Belarus wrote a last letter to her father: “I am saying good-bye to you before I die. I am so afraid of this death because they throw small children into the mass graves alive.” She was among the more than five million Jews gassed or shot by the Germans.
The autonomy this Paris command gave him was a new experience for von Choltitz. Until now, he had always been firmly locked inside Germany's impersonal military machine. His decisions, with the exception of minor tactical ones, had always been made for him. Now, at the very moment at which his visit to Rastenburg [where he met Hitler & was ordered to Paris] had jarred his confidence in the Third Reich and its leader, circumstances had placed von Choltitz in a command in which he had to make decisions. He preferred to postpone them. Nordling's suggestion offered him that chance. If, he told Nordling, the commanders at the Prefecture of Police could demonstrate in an hour's trial that they could control their men, he would agree to discuss a cease-fire for the city.
They [442nd Regimental Combat Team] did more than defend America. They helped define America at its best...Rarely has a nation been so well served by a people it has so ill-treated.
Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's aesthetic and intellectual integrity.
Muchos de los oficiales que habían tomado parte en la Gran Guerra habían ido ascendiendo automáticamente sin que hubiesen vuelto a preocuparse de las evoluciones que el arte militar hubiese podido experimentar en los últimos veinte años.
Home? What is home? Home is where a house is that you come back to when the rainy season is about to begin, to wait until the next dry season comes around. Home is where your woman is, that you come back to in the intervals between a greater love - the only real love - the lust for riches buried in the earth, that are your own if you can find them. Perhaps you do not call it home, even to yourself. Perhaps you call them 'my house,' 'my woman,' What if there was another 'my house,' 'my woman,' before this one? It makes no difference. This woman is enough for now. Perhaps the guns sounded too loud at Anzio or at Omaha Beach, at Guadalcanal or at Okinawa. Perhaps when they stilled again some kind of strength had been blasted from you that other men still have. And then again perhaps it was some kind of weakness that other men still have. What is strength, what is weakness, what is loyalty, what is perfidy? The guns taught only one thing, but they taught it well: of what consequence is life? Of what consequence is a man? And, therefore, of what consequence if he tramples love in one place and goes to find it in the next? The little moment that he has, let him be at peace, far from the guns and all that remind him of them. So the man who once was Bill Taylor has come back to his house, in the dusk, in the mountains, in Anahuac. ("The Moon Of Montezuma")
The cost of war is like an immeasurable tremor that knows no borders, its shockwaves reverberating across the world resulting in universal suffering.
The world is not static and the status quo is not sacred.
Captain Hank Bracker
We both enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant and talked until after midnight, leaving only when the staff made it clear that they wanted to close.The next day after breakfast and a reluctant goodbye, I caught the morning train to Hamburg, Germany. Amsterdam had been bombed by the Nazis at the very beginning of the war, destroying about a square kilometer in the central section of the city. The surrounding infrastructure had also been bombed and getting from place to place was not easy. Many bridges had been destroyed, and getting around took much longer than it should have, but people took it in their stride and were patient. The train to Germany was pulled by an old steam locomotive, which chugged through the Dutch lowlands and typical picturesque communities. Looking around I saw little or no signs of war damage in these rural areas. It was not until the train reached the border, that the horrors of World War II became apparent.
There was a big number over the door of the building. The number was five. Before the Americans could go inside, their only English-speaking guard told them to memorize their simple address, in case they got lost in the big city. Their address was this: 'Schlachthof-fünf.' Schlachthof means slaughterhouse. Fünf was good old five.
When I was a schoolboy in England, the old bound volumes of Kipling in the library had gilt swastikas embossed on their covers. The symbol's 'hooks' were left-handed, as opposed to the right-handed ones of the Nazi hakenkreuz, but for a boy growing up after 1945 the shock of encountering the emblem at all was a memorable one. I later learned that in the mid-1930s Kipling had caused this 'signature' to be removed from all his future editions. Having initially sympathized with some of the early European fascist movements, he wanted to express his repudiation of Hitlerism (or 'the Hun,' as he would perhaps have preferred to say), and wanted no part in tainting the ancient Indian rune by association. In its origin it is a Hindu and Jainas symbol for light, and well worth rescuing.
What people still do not like to admit is that there were two crimes in the form of one. Just as the destruction of Jewry was the necessary condition for the rise and expansion of Nazism, so the ethnic cleansing of Germans was a precondition for the Stalinization of Poland. I first noticed this point when reading an essay by the late Ernest Gellner, who at the end of the war had warned Eastern Europeans that collective punishment of Germans would put them under Stalin's tutelage indefinitely. They would always feel the guilty need for an ally against potential German revenge.
The ultimate question for a responsible man to ask is not how he is to extricate himself heroically from the affair, but how the coming generation is going to live.
Captain Hank Bracker
In 1939, Hitler expanded the German Navy and, in violation of the Munich Agreement, occupied parts of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Germany then established the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. This protectorate included those portions of Czechoslovakia that had not already been incorporated into Germany. On August 30, 1939, the German Reich issued an ultimatum to Poland concerning the Polish Corridor and the Free City of Danzig. On September 1st, without waiting for a response to its ultimatum, Germany invaded Poland. Much to Hitler’s surprise, England honored its treaty with Poland. Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany, thereby ushering in another World War. Officially, “The Second World War” in Europe was started by the German Reich when it attacked Poland, although at the time Germany blamed the Treaty of Versailles.
So much of the inexplicable about the Soviet experience—the hatred of the peasantry for example, the secrecy and paranoia, the murderous witch hunt of the Great Terror, the placing of the Party above family and life itself, the suspicion of the USSR’s own espionage that led to the success of Hitler’s 1941 surprise attack—was the result of the underground life, the konspiratsia of the Okhrana and the revolutionaries, and also the Caucasian values and style of Stalin. And not just of Stalin.