Quotes & Quotations

World War Two produced a plethora of household names, from world leaders and generals to important political players and individual soldiers. Quotes went on to become an important part of the war in the following years, particularly to those of us today who have become students of the conflict, for they give us a glimpse of the characters within.


I speak in the name of the entire German people when I assure the world that we all share the honest wish to eliminate the enmity that brings far more costs than any possible benefits... It would be a wonderful thing for all of humanity if both peoples would renounce force against each other forever. The German people are ready to make such a pledge.
Adolf Hitler - 14th October 1933

The assertion that it is the intention of the German Reich to coerce the Austrian State is absurd. Adolf Hitler - 30th January 1934

Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria, or to conclude an Anschluss.
Adolf Hitler - 21st May 1935

Germany has concluded a Non-Aggression Pact with Poland... We shall adhere to it unconditionally... we recognize Poland as the home of a great and nationally conscious people. Adolf Hitler - 21st May 1935

National Socialist Germany wants peace because of its fundamental convictions. And it wants peace also owing to the realization of the simple primitive fact that no war would be likely essentially to alter the distress in Europe... The principal effect of every war is to destroy the flower of the nation... Germany needs peace and desires peace!
Adolf Hitler - 21st May 1935

Germany has solemnly recognized and guaranteed France her frontiers as determined after the Saar plebiscite... We thereby finally renounced all claims to Alsace-Lorraine, a land for which we have fought two great wars.
Adolf Hitler - 21st May 1935

Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria, or to conclude an Anschluss."
Adolf Hitler - 21st May 1935

The League of Nations is still strong enough by its collective actions to avert or arrest aggression... There is no room for bargaining or compromise.
Foreign Commissar Litvinoff - 21st September 1938

I have no further interest in the Czecho-Slovakian State, that is guaranteed. We want no Czechs..."
Adolf Hitler - 26th September 1938


In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power, it was in the first instance only the Jewish race that received my prophecies with laughter when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the state and with it that of the whole nation and that I would then among other things settle the Jewish problem...but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face. Today I will once more be a prophet: if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevising of the earth and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!".
Adolf Hitler - Speech to the Reichstag - 30th January 1939

Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist".
Adolf Hitler - 15th March 1939

In the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to this effect. I may add that the French Government have authorized me to make it plain that they stand in the same position in this matter."
Neville Chamberlain - 31st March 1939

This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by eleven o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you that no such understanding has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.
Neville Chamberlain - 3rd September 1939

This is a sad day for all of us, and to none is it sadder than to me. Everything that I have worked for, everything that I have believed in during my public life, has crashed into ruins. There is only one thing left for me to do: That is, to devote what strength and powers I have to forwarding the victory of the cause for which we have to sacrifice so much... I trust I may live to see the day when Hitlerism has been destroyed and a liberated Europe has been re-established.
Neville Chamberlain - 3rd September 1939


My strength has now been reduced to the equivalent of 36 squadrons...we should be able to carry on the war single-handed for some time if not indefinitely.
Sir Hugh Dowding - RAF Fighter Command - May 1940

We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. War's are not won by evacuations.
Winston Churchill - To Parliament - 4th June 1940

Dunkirk has fallen... with it has ended the greatest battle of world history. Soldiers! My confidence in you knew no bounds. You have not disappointed me.
Adolf Hitler - Order of the Day - 5th June 1940

Mussolini is quite humiliated because our troops have not moved a step forward. Even today they have not succeeded in advancing and have halted in front of the first French fortification which put up some resistance.
Count Ciano - Italian Foreign Minister (written in his diary) - 21st June 1940

My Luftwaffe is invincible...And so now we turn to England. How long will this one last - two, three weeks?
Hermann Goring - June 1940

Like so many of our people, we have now had a personal experience of German barbarity which only strengthens the resolution of all of us to fight through to final victory.
King George VI - September 1940

Never has a military operation been undertaken so much against the will of the commanders.
Count Ciano - Italian Foreign Minister (Commenting on the Italian Advance into Egypt) - September 1940

Never in the field of human conflict, has so much, been owed by so many, to so few!
Winston Churchill - September 1940

Once more a red fire blows steeply upwards...the factory will do no more work for Herr Churchill...tomorrow morning Coventry will lie in smoke and ruins.
Josef Goebbels - Ministry of Propaganda - September 1940

Fuhrer, we are on the march! Victorious Italian troops crossed the Greco-Albanian frontier at dawn today!
Benito Mussolini - (to Adolf Hitler) 28th October 1940

Nothing would please me better than if they would give me three months and then attack here.
General Douglas Macarthur - Supreme Allied Commander of South-West Pacific - (Speaking of the Philippines) 5th December 1940

Singapore... could only be taken after a siege by an army of at least 50,000 men... its not considered possible that the Japanese...would embark on such a mad enterprise.
Winston Churchill - 1940


In my opinion the limit of endurance has been reached by the troops under my command...our position here is hopeless .
Major General Freyberg VC - (Shortly before the evacuation of Crete) - May 1941

We did not intend to fight enemy warships...but we took up the fight. The crew have behaved magnificently. we shall win or die.
Admiral Lütjens - Commander of the Bismarck's Naval Squadron - 25th May 1941

I should like to pay the highest tribute for the most gallant fight put up against impossible odds .
Admiral Tovey - (After the sinking of the Bismarck) - 27th May 1941

I've had my fill of Hitler. These conferences called by a ringing of a bell are not to my liking; the bell is rung when people call their servants. And besides, what kind of conferences are these? For five hours I am forced to listen to a monologue which is quite fruitless and boring.
Benito Mussolini - (To his son in law) - 10th June 1941

This war is not an ordinary war. It is the war of the entire Russian people. Not only to eliminate the danger hanging over our heads, but to aid all people groaning under the yoke of Fascism .
Josef Stalin - 22nd June 1941

The Red Army and Navy and the whole Soviet people must fight for every inch of Soviet soil, fight to the last drop of blood for our towns and villages...onward, to victory!
Josef Stalin - July 1941

We secured peace for our country for one and a half years, as well as an opportunity of preparing our forces for defense if fascist Germany risked attacking our country in defiance of the pact. This was a definite gain to our country and a loss for fascist Germany.
Josef Stalin - 3rd July 1941 - (Speaking of the 1939 non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany)

The Russian colossus...has been underestimated by us...whenever a dozen divisions are destroyed the Russians replace them with another dozen.
General Franz Halder - Army Chief of Staff - August 1941

A gigantic fleet... has massed in Pearl Harbor. This fleet will be utterly crushed with one blow at the very beginning of hostilities...Heaven will bear witness to the righteousness of our struggle.
Rear-Admiral Ito - Chief of Staff of the Combined Fleet - November 1941

As a result of the cold, the machine-guns were no longer able to fire...the result of all this was a panic...The battle worthiness of our infantry is at an end .
General Heinz Guderian - November 1941

Oh merciful lord? crown our effort with victory? and give us faith in the inevitable power of light over darkness, of justice over evil and brutal force? Of the cross of Christ over the Fascist swastika? so be it, amen.
Sergei - Archbishop of Moscow - 27th November 1941

The fate of the Empire rests on this enterprise every man must devote himself totally to the task in hand.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - Commander in Chief of the Japanese Navy - 7th December 1941

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...As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense...With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
President F.D. Roosevelt - 8th December 1941

Before we're through with them, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell.!
Admiral Halsey - December 1941


With Malta in enemy hands, the Mediterranean route would be completely closed to us...this tiny island was a vital feature in the defence of our Middle East position.
General Hastings Ismay - 1942

The assault on Malta will cost us many casualties...but...I consider it absolutely essential for the future development of the war. If we take Malta, Libya will be safe.
Count Ugo Cavallero - Italian Chief of Staff 1940-1943

You are doomed... you have already cut rations by a half...but your prestige and honour have been upheld .
General Homma - Speaking of General MacArthur - January 1942

I'll come back as soon as I can with as much as I can. In the meantime, you've got to hold.
General MacArthur - Speaking to General Wainwright - March 1942

My attack on Singapore was a bluff, a bluff that worked... I was very frightened that all the time the British would discover our numerical weakness and lack of supplies and force me into disastrous street fighting .
General Yamashita - 1942

On the European Front, the most important development of the past year has been the crushing German offensive against the great armies of Russia .
President Franklin D. Roosevelt - 29th April 1942

The fruits of victory are tumbling into our mouths too quickly.
Emperor Hirohito - 29th April 1942

Japan...is operating in the Pacific in the hope of extending her hold over New Guinea...from such a position she...could carry out raids on Australia...whilst awaiting our final defeat by Germany .
General Alan Brooke - 5th May 1942

To every man of us, Tobruk was a symbol of British resistance, and we were now going to finish with it for good.
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel - June 1942

Am sending mobile troops out tonight. Not possible to hold tomorrow... Will resist to the last man and last round.
Major General Hendrik Klopper - (Commander of the Tobruk Garrison to General Ritchie) - 21st June 1942

Our citizens can now rejoice that a momentous victory is in the making. Perhaps we will be forgiven if we claim we are about midway to our objective.
Admiral Chester Nimitz - June 1942

Just as the defending force has gathered valuable experience from...Dieppe, so has the assaulting force...He will not do it like this a second time.
Field Marshal von Rundstedt - August 1942

The Russian convoys are and always have been an unsound operation of this war .
Rear Admiral L.H.K Hamilton - September 1942

The battle is going very heavily against us. We're being crushed by the enemy weight...We are facing very difficult days, perhaps the most difficult that a man can undergo.
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel - 3rd November 1942

Never in history has the navy landed an army at the planned time and place. But if you land us anywhere within 50 miles of Fedela and within 1 week of D-Day. I'll go ahead and win.
Major General George Patton - November 1942 (Commenting of the North Africa Landings)


Most of the men are stricken with dysentery...Starvation is taking many lives and it is weakening our already extended lines. We are doomed.
Major-General Kensaku Oda (Referring to the state of Japanese troops on Guadalcanal)- 12th January 1943

Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!
Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe - 13th January 1943 - (Guadalcanal)

The defeat of the enemy in the Battle of El Alamein, the pursuit of his beaten army and the final capture of Tripoli...has all been accomplished in three months. This is probably without parallel in history.
Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery - 23rd January 1943

The troops of the Don Front at 4pm on the 2nd February 1943 completed the rout and destruction of the encircled group of enemy forces in Stalingrad. Twenty two division have been destroyed or taken prisoner.
Lieutenant General Rokossovski - February 1943

Even without the allied offensive, I should have had to capitulate by the 1st June at the latest as I had no more to eat.
General Oberst von Arnim - May 1943 - (Commenting after the Axis surrender in Tunisia)

?Our losses?have reached an intolerable level. The enemy air force played a decisive role in inflicting these high losses.
Grand Admiral Carl Donitz - C-in-C of the German Navy - 24th May 1943

The heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy have greatly affected his morale and will prove to be a turning point in the battle of the Atlantic.
Admiral Sir Max Horton - May 1943 - Commander of the Western Approaches

The disaster of Stalingrad profoundly shocked the German people and armed forces alike...Never before in Germany's history had so large a body of troops come to so dreadful an end.
General Siegfried von Westphal - 1943

No amphibious attack in history had approached this one in size. Along miles of coastline there were hundreds of vessels and small boats afloat and ant-like files of advancing troops ashore.
General Dwight Eisenhower - July 1943 (Sicily)

Soldiers of the Reich! This day you are to take part in an offensive of such importance that the whole future of the war may depend on its outcome.
Adolf Hitler - 5th July 1943

It would have been easier to fight alone with inadequate forces than to have to accept...responsibility for our ally's lack of fighting qualities and dubious loyalty.
Field Marshal Albert Kesselring - August 1943 (After the German evacuation of Sicily)

The Germans may claim with some justification to have won if not a victory at least an important success over us.
General Alexander - September 1943

They (the Americans) are, I think, a bit unwarrantably cock-a-hoop as a result of their limited experience to date. But they are setting about it in a realistic and business-like way...I have a feeling that they will do it...
Air Vice-Marshal Sir John Slessor - 1943

The enemy knows that he must wipe out our fighters. Once he has done that, he will be able to play football with the German people.
Field Marshal Erhard Milch - 1943

The 2nd Marine Division has been especially chosen by the High Command for the assault on Tarawa...what you do there will set a standard for all future operations in the central pacific area.
Major General Julian C. Smith - Commander of the U.S. 2nd Marine Division - November 1943

Casualties many; Percentage of dead not known; Combat efficiency; we are winning.
Colonel David M. Shoup - (Tarawa) - 21st November 1943


I say that the bombing of the Abbey...was a mistake...It only made our job more difficult, more costly in terms of men, machines and time .
Lieutenant General Mark Clark - Commander of the U.S. Fifth Army - 1944 (After the bombing of Monte Cassino)

Had Clark given more heed to Juin's views...the savage battles of Cassino would probably never have been fought and the venerable house of St Benedict would have been unscathed .
Rudolf Böhmler - 1st Fallschirmjäger Division - 1944 (After the bombing of Monte Cassino)

(Wingate was) and absolute born genius with a mystical fire about him.
Earl Mountbatton of Burma - Speaking after the death of Brigadier Orde Wingate - March 1944

The enemy must be annihilated before he reaches our main battlefield...We must stop him in the water...destroying all his equipment while it is still afloat.
Field Marshall Erwin Rommel - 22nd April 1944

At Sevastopol stands the Seventeenth Army, and at Sevastopol, the Soviets will bleed to death.
General Jaenicke - Commander of the Seventeenth Army - May 1944

Permit me, in the name of the Front Command, to present you with the keys to the Crimea.
Marshall Biryuzov - Commander of the 4th Ukrainian Front to Marshall Vasilevski - May 1944

Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!
General George S. Patton - (addressing to his troops before Operation Overlord) - 5th June 1944

We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.
General George S. Patton - (addressing to his troops before Operation Overlord) - 5th June 1944

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely
General Dwight Eisenhower - 6th June 1944

At the present time, it is still too early to say whether this is a large-scale diversionary attack or the main effort .
German C-in-C West - Morning Report for the 6th June 1944

Hell is on us.
Mamoru Shigemitsu - Japanese Foreign Minister's comments at the capture of Saipan - June 1944

In spite of intense efforts, the moment has drawn near when this front, already so heavily strained, will break. I consider it my duty to bring these conclusions to your notice,...my fuhrer.
Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge - C-in-C West - July 1944

For the first time a British force had met, held and decisively defeated a major Japanese attack, and followed this up by driving the enemy out of the strongest possible natural positions.
General Bill Slim - Commander of the British Fourteenth Army (Commenting on the Second Battle of Arakan) - July 1944

I have always considered Saipan the decisive battle of the Pacific offensive?(it was) the naval and military heart and brain of the Japanese defence strategy.
Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith - Commander of the US Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific - July 1944

Defend Paris to the last, destroy all bridges over the Seine and devastate the city.
Adolf Hitler - August 1944

We shall solve this problem, and afterwards Warsaw as the Capital and the pool of intelligentsia of that nation will be destroyed.
Heinrich Himmler - August 1944

In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen me fight so hard.
Lieutenant General Wilhelm Bittrich - Commander of II SS Panzer Korps - (Commenting on the British Paratroopers at Arnhem) - September 1944

I will break into Leyte Gulf and fight to the last man - would it not be shameful to have the fleet remaining intact while our nation perishes?
Vice-Admiral Takeo Kurita - 1944

In case opportunity for destruction of a major portion of the enemy fleet is offered, or can be created, such destruction becomes the primary task.
Admiral Chester Nimitz - In his order to Halsey, prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf - October 1944

The only words I spoke to the British commander in the negotiations for the surrender of Singapore were "All I want to hear from you is yes or no". I expected to put the same question to MacArthur.
General Yamashita - Manila - 10th October 1944

Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Coregidor lead on - In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled.
General Douglas MacArthur - On the beach at Palo, broadcasting his return - 24th October 1944


The losses were heavy, but all ranks would willingly undertake another operation under similar conditions?We have no regrets.
Major General Robert Urquhart - Commander of 1st British Airborne Division - (Commenting on the British defeat at Arnhem) - January 1945

The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.
James Forrestal - Secretary of the Navy - 23rd February 1945

Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz - 16th March 1945

Attacks on cities are strategically justified in so far as they tend to shorten the war and so preserve the lives of allied soldiers.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris - 29th March 1945

It is on this beautiful day that we celebrate the Fuhrers birthday and thank him for he is the only reason why Germany is still alive today .
Josef Goebbels - Ministry of Propaganda - 26th April 1945


In the burning and devastated cities, we daily experienced the direct impact of war. It spurred us to do our utmost...the bombing and the hardships that resulted from them (did not) weaken the morale of the populace.
Albert Speer - Chief of the German War Economy

The battle of Kursk... the forcing of the Dnieper... and the liberation of Kiev, left Hitlerite Germany facing catastrophe.
General Vasili I. Chuikov - Commander of the 8th Guards Army

I have returned many times to honour the valiant men who died?every man who set foot on Omaha Beach was a hero.
Lieutenant General Omar Bradley - Commander of the US First Army

Hitler's large-scale demands for the Mediterranean meant that...the plans for...an 'Eastern Wall' were overtaken by the increasingly rapid advance of the Red Army .
Lieutenant General Warlimont