Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
Quotations


Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. (April 1953, Washington, D.C.)

Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. (June 1953, Dartmouth College)

May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. (May 1954, New York City)

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field. (Sept. 1956, Peoria, Ill.)

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. (Inaugural address, 20 Jan. 1953)

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. (Jan. 1954)

Like all successful politicians I married above myself.

I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.

I feel impelled to speak today in a language that in a sense is new -- one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use. That new language is the language of atomic warfare.

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.

When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war.

When you are in any contest, you should work as if there were -- to the very last minute -- a chance to lose it. This is battle, this is politics, this is anything.

When you put on a uniform, there are certain inhibitions that you accept.

I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem -- and that yardstick is: Is it good for America? Unlike presidential administrations, problems rarely have terminal dates.

[on Senator Joe McCarthy] I just won't get into a pissing contest with that skunk.

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

In the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains.

In the service, when a man gives you his word, his word is binding. In politics, you never know.

Inflation is not a Robin Hood, taking from the rich to give to the poor. Rather, it deals most cruelly with those who can least protect themselves. It strikes hardest those millions of our citizens whose incomes do not quickly rise with the cost of living. When prices soar, the pensioner and the widow see their security undermined, the man of thrift sees his savings melt away; the white collar worker, the minister, and the teacher see their standards of living dragged down.

It is far more important to be able to hit the target than it is to haggle over who makes a weapon or who pulls a trigger.

[on the atomic bomb] It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of soldiers. It must be put into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.

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

No one should be appointed to political office if he is a seeker after it.

No one should ever sit in this office over 70 years old, and that I know.

No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

Our pleasures were simple -- they included survival.

Our real problem, then, is not our strength today; it is rather the vital necessity of action today to ensure our strength tomorrow.

Patronage is almost a wicked word. By itself it could well-nigh defeat democracy.

Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.

Peace signifies more than the stilling of guns, easing the sorrow of war. More than escape from death, it is a way of life. More than a haven for the weary, it is a hope for the brave.

Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs.

Some years ago I became president of Columbia University and learned within 24 hours to be ready to speak at the drop of a hat, and I learned something more, the trustees were expected to be ready to speak at the passing of the hat.

The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it's usually lousy.

The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.

The day will come when the people will make so insistent their demand that there be peace in the world that the Governments will get out of the way and let them have peace.

The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. [Address to troops on D-Day.]

The final battle against intolerance is to be fought -- not in the chambers of any legislature -- but in the hearts of men.

The most terrible job in warfare is to be a second lieutenant leading a platoon when you are on the battlefield.

The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first -- a process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.

The only answer to a regime that wages total cold war is to wage total peace.

The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fiber of a nation than its wealth.

The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.

The United States strongly seeks a lasting agreement for the discontinuance of nuclear weapons tests. We believe that this would be an important step toward reduction of international tensions and would open the way to further agreement on substantial measures of disarmament.

The unity of all who dwell in freedom is their only sure defense.

There is no victory at bargain basement prices.

There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.

There is one thing about being President -- nobody can tell you when to sit down.

There must be law, steadily invoked and respected by all nations, for without law, the world promises only such meager justice as the pity of the strong upon the weak.

There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Things have never been more like the way they are today in history.

This desk of mine is one at which a man may die, but from which he cannot resign.

This world of ours must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.

To be true to one’s own freedom is, in essence, to honor and respect the freedom of all others.

War is a contest, and you finally get to a point where you are talking merely about race suicide, and nothing else.

War settles nothing.



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