Archive for WWII Quotes

Famous and some not so famous quotes from World War II. Here you will find daily, sometimes twice daily postings of quotes from some well known and not so well known WWII figures.

“Hell is on us.” – Mamoru Shigemitsu , June 1944 (capture of Saipan)

Mamoru Shigemitsu  (07/29/1887 — 01/26/1957) was appointed ambassador to the Nanjing Nationalist Government two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and by the end of WWII was the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs. He came into that position on April 20, 1943, when Japan’s Premier, Hideki Tojo, fired foreign minister Masayuki Tani, which was viewed as a sign that Japan was preparing for a collapse of the Axis Powers. Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu signed the instrument of surrender on September 2, 1945.

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“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” – J.R.R Tolkien

J.R.R. TolkienJohn Ronald Reuel Tolkein, CBE (01/03/1982 — 09/02/1973) was an English writer, university professor, poet, and philologist. J.R.R. Tolkein was best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In the days leading up to World War II, he was earmarked as a codebreaker and in January of 1939 he was asked, in the event of national emergency, if he was prepared to serve in the cryptographic department of the Foreign Office. He confirmed his willingness to serve and began taking an instructional course at the London HQ of the Government Code and Cypher School on March 27, 1939. While he was willing to serve, he was informed in October that his services wouldn’t be required and ultimately he never served as a codebreaker.

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“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 (December, 8, 1941)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (01/30/1882 — 04/12/1945), also known by his initials FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and the only president elected into more than two terms in office. FDR was a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the U.S. during a time of worldwide economic crisis and war, and worked closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II.

In July of 1941, after Japan occupied the rest of Indo-China, FDR cut off all sales of oil to Japan, causing them to lose more than 95% of their oil supply. While he continued negotiation with the Japanese government, he shifted the long-range B-17 force to the Philippines. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed a declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941 and made his famous speech, quoted above.

On the afternoon of April 12, 1945, while sitting for a portrait painting by Elizabeth Shoumatoff (see image), President Roosevelt said, “I have a terrific pain in the back of my head.” He slumped forward in his chair unconscious and had to be carried to his room. His doctor, Dr. Howard Bruenn, diagnosed FDR with a massive stroke, and that day, at 3:35 p.m. Roosevelt passed away. The moment Roosevelt fought so hard for, V-E Day, came on May 8th, less than a month after his death.

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“You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” – Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Admiral Isoroku YamamotoAdmiral Isoroku Yamamoto (04/04/1884 — 04/18/1943) was a Naval Marshal General and the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during WWII. A graduate of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and a student of Harvard University Yamamoto held several important posts in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Admiral Yamamoto was the commander-in-chief during the early years of the Pacific War and was responsible for major battles including Pearl Harbor and Midway. On the morning of April 18th, Isoroku Yamamoto took off for an inspection tour in the Solomon Islands when his plane was shot down by First Lieutenant Rex T. Barber. Yamamoto’s body was found the next day. His death was a major blow to the morale of the Japanese military during WWII.

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“Before we’re through with ‘em, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell.” – Admiral Halsey (December 1941)

Fleet Admiral William “Bill” or “Bull” Halsey, Jr. Fleet Admiral William “Bill” or “Bull” Halsey, Jr. (10/20/1882 — 08/16/1959) was the commander of the U.S. Third Fleet during part of the Pacific War again Japan. During the attack on Pearl Harbor Vice Admiral Halsey was at sea in his flagship, USS Enterprise. It is rumored that upon learning of the attacks he made the remark, “Before we’re through with ‘em, the Japanese language will be spoken only in hell.” His contempt for the Japanese was used to boost morale of officers and sailors under his command. Several slogans, including “Kill Japs, Kill Japs, Kill More Japs!” and “The more of the little yellow bastards you kill, the quicker we go home!” were attributed to Halsey. He was promoted to Fleet Admiral in December 1945 and retired from active duty in March 1947. Admiral Halsey died August 16, 1959 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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