By all accounts, World War II was the deadliest military conflict in the history of mankind. During the War, more than 60 million people lost their lives. At the time, 60 million accounted for 3% of world population, which at the time, was estimated at 2.3 billion people. The number can go even higher, as some countries have different statistics than others. The number varies between 50 million and 80 million.
The War started when Germany and Hitler decided to invade Poland, with Hitler delivering speech after speech how Germany has to go to war in order to ensure peace. With that being said, here are 10 memorable quotes from the World War II, and what they meant at the time.
We no longer demand anything, we want war, August 1939.
Stated by Germany’s foreign minister at the time, Germany was no longer intend to keeping the peace by talking and conferences. In the following month, September, Nazi forces invaded Poland and Britain, France and Australia declared war on Germany.
It is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe, but it is a claim from which I will not recede and which, God willing, I will make good, Adolf Hitler, 1938.
The War might officially started in 1939, but Hitler was planning ahead long before. In 1938, in what is known as the Sudeten crisis, Hitler declared Anschluss on Austria and then on Czechoslovakia. The Allied forces at the time ignored the event, and did nothing to prevent it. They looked elsewhere, hoping that Hitler’s ambition will be satisfied. As we now know, that didn’t happen. The Crisis started with Hitler demanded self-determination for all Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
You only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down, Adolf Hitler, June 1941.
Hitler delivered this iconic message before delivering the Soviet Union. For Hitler, the key to domination in Europe lied in the invasion of the Soviet Union. What is more interesting is that Hitler had a peace treaty signed with Stalin, the Soviet Union leader. Hitler took Russia by surprise, but it was not long after that he felt sorry for the decision. Historians nowadays believe that invading Russia was the key mistake Hitler made during the War, as his troops were not prepared for the cold and chilly winter in Russia.
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, Jr, June 5, 1944.
General Patton delivered a wonderful speech before Operation Overlord, or what is now known as D-Day. The Allied Forces invaded Normandy by landings from air. To this day, D-Day is still the largest seaborne invasion.
Once the Allied forces freed Normandy, they continued towards Germany. D-Day is considered one of the turning points during World War II. The planning took months, and the Allied forces had to use decoys and deception to manipulate Hitler into moving his forces away from Normandy.
The world must know what happened, and never forget, General Eisenhower, 1945.
The General delivered this important message when he was visiting Nazi death camps in 1945. The Holocaust nowadays might be denied by some people, and there are even some who think it never happened, but history shows us otherwise. General Eisenhower made sure to bring media people to the death camps, show them the scrutiny and disaster that happened, and prompted them to write and show the world what happened.
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, July 5th, 1943.
Another speech delivered by Hitler before an important battle. This one was delivered before the battle of Prokhorovka began, which is still the largest tank battle in the history of mankind and military operations. The battle was part of a larger battle, the Battle of Kursk, for which Hitler believed that a victory in Kursk would shine like a beacon to Russia and rest of the world. The pivotal battle in the Operation Citadel was fought between 290 German tanks and 610 Soviet tanks. The Germans were led by General Paul Hausser, while Pavel Rotmistrov commanded the Soviet forces.
Today we are crushed by the sheer weight of the mechanized forces hurled against us, but we can still look to the future in which even greater mechanized forces will bring us victory. Therein lies the destiny of the world, French General Charles de Gaulle, 1940.
The French General delivered the message before the battle of the Ardennes, where Hitler lured the French and Belgium army and then delivered a fatal blow to the French army. But Charles de Gaulle was right, while they lost the battle by mechanized forces, they managed to win the War with the help of even more superior mechanized forces.
During the time I have had WACs under my command, they have met every test and task assigned to them…their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable, American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1945
One of the underrated speeches of the post-war period is the one delivered by General Eisenhower. The General made sure to underline the value and contribution from female individuals during the War. He referred to the five women who served on his staff during World War II, each of which played a pivotal role according to Eisenhower.
The world has never seen greater devotion, determination, and self-sacrifice than have been displayed by the Russian people…under the leadership of Marshal Joseph Stalin. With a nation that in saving itself is thereby helping to save all the world from the Nazi menace, this country of ours should always be glad to be a good neighbor and a sincere friend to the world of the future, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, July 28, 1943.
President Roosevelt made sure that the contribution by the Soviet forces will not go unnoticed. Sadly, his successors, General Eisenhower and president Kennedy did not share the same enthusiasm. Just several years after the World War II, American and Soviet president were tangled in the Cold War.
– If we have power, we’ll never give it up again unless we’re carried out of our offices as corpses, German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.
Goebbels was solely responsible for motivating the German population, constantly delivering messages and speeches of German’s superiority, gentile race and so on. This quote is just a single example how Germany saw that power is the key to world domination.