Greta Garbo as Queen Christina    Archbishop: "This is not an ordinary war for treasure or conquest. It is for our faith and for our God!" Queen Christina (Greta Garbo):  "God is being invoked in many lands these days, your grace. What about the enemy's God?" To the reply that the enemy is guilty of blasphemy, she says: "I wish I had your confidence, Archbishop."
From Rouben Mamoulian's QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933).

    "Spoils, glory, flags and trumpets! What is behind these high-sounding words? Death and destruction, triumphals of crippled men, Sweden victorious in a ravaged Europe, an island in a dead sea. I tell you, I want no more of it. I want for my people security and happiness. I want to cultivate the arts of peace, the arts of life. I want peace and peace I will have!"
Greta Garbo in the title role of QUEEN CHRISTINA as she calls for an end to the Thirty Years' War.

    A lady (Carole Lombard): "Tell me about it."
Aviator Jerry Young (Fredric March):  "Oh, there's nothing to tell.   It's the same old thing over and over and over again. . .I thought it was like a game--polo or something like that.  And then on the first time I went up, I brought down a plane and that started it.  That started everything--a treadmill.  Somebody slapped me on the back and told me I was great and I had to go on.  More planes, more dead men, more medals.  There isn't any end.  And then what do you think happened to me?  I was what they call a shining example.  Can there be anything more terrible than that?  A shining example.  The only way I can go on is to kill somebody.  When I get up in the morning, the first thing I say to myself is, 'Well, you've got to do it again today!'. . .And they bring young boys, only kids just away from their mothers who don't know anything.  And then they point to me and say, 'Be like him, be like him.' That's what I've got to do.  You don't think I'm afraid, do you?"
The lady: "I know you're not afraid."
Jerry: "Every time I knock some poor devil down burning, they buy me drinks."
—From the 1933 drama about World War I aviators, THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK.

    "I'm drinking to the man I killed. . .I went to the field hospital to see him--thought I'd find a man.  I found a blond kid like a lot of you--two bullet holes in him.  They congratulated me for it, congratulated me all day, told me I'd done a great thing.  They set me up as a shiny tin god, a hero, an ace--expect me to act like a hero so you can all play at being heroes, so you'll go out and shoot other kids down burning--get killed yourselves.  They'll decorate you for it!  They'll give you medals just like they did me!  I got these for killing kids!  They're all chunks of torn flesh and broken bones and blood!  And for what?  I give you war!"
—Jerry (Fredric March) to the other aviators celebrating his shooting down of a top German ace just before he commits suicide in THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK.

    An American woman (Laura Hope Crews) to the German (Otto Kruger) married to her granddaughter Mary (Barbara Stanwyck): "Now there's only one thing we're asking you to do for us. . .We want you to change your name."
Hugo Willebrandt (Otto Kruger):"No, I won't change my name.  It was my father's and his father before him--further back even than your Plymouth Rock.  No, I won't change my name for anybody.  I'm not ashamed of the blood that is in me."
—From EVER IN MY HEART (1933), a drama about prejudice against German-Americans during World War I.  In the film, the bias, infecting children as well as adults, is inflamed by sensational news stories of beastly "Huns" bombing hospitals, mutilating soldiers and using gas in war.

    "Think of me and remember that what I do is forced upon me. They let me be a citizen but they won't let me be an American."
—From a letter by Hugo Willebrandt (Otto Kruger) to his wife Mary (Barbara Stanwyck) announcing his return to Germany in EVER IN MY HEART.  Although a naturalized citizen, the science professor loses his job and is ostracized during the anti-German hysteria of World War I.

    "We have one weapon we have not yet used!  No children! Let us band together and tell the men who have so bravely sent our sons out to meet death: 'War must stop or we'll stop making men for you.  If you have no children, you have no men.  And if you have no men, you have no war.' Let the military leaders and the old men do the fighting ... they'll soon find a way to avoid war."
Laura (Diana Wynyard) at a peace rally in MEN MUST FIGHT, a 1933 film by Edgar Selwyn that predicted US involvement in a Second World War in 1940.

    "With our knowledge of war, we want peace."
Indian chief to Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey whom the Indians send as their representatives to promote peace at the Geneva Peace Conference in the 1933 comedy, DIPLOMANIACS.  Their mission is sabotaged by the High Explosive Bullet Company whose profits are threatened by peace.

    "Geneva-where the nations of the world fight over peace."

    Bert Wheeler:"We'd like to do something about peace."
Chairman of the Peace Conference (Edgar Kennedy): "Well, you can't do anything about it here -- this is a peace conference."
Wheeler:  "We only want to talk about it."
Chairman:  "Oh, that's different. Go right ahead."
Bob Woolsey:  "Peace! ... The forgotten man, he wants peace. My mother and your mother, they both want peace. We all want peace. All God's chillun want peace."
From DIPLOMANIACS, a satire on the arms industry and tumultuous peace conferences that lead to a world war at the end of the film.

    Ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern): 'I'm willing to do anything to prevent this war."
Rufus T. Firefly, Prime Minister of Freedonia (Groucho Marx):  "It's too late-I've already paid a month's rent on a battlefield."
From the Marx Brothers comedy, DUCK SOUP (1933).

    Groucho Marx (to Harpo and Chico): "Which one of us is going to have the rare privilege of sacrificing his life for his country?" 
When Chico chooses Harpo for the dangerous mission on the battlefield, Groucho says:  "You're a brave man.  Go and break through the lines.  And remember, while you're out there risking life and limb, through shot and shell, we'll be in here thinking what a sucker you are ... For Freedonia!"

    Mary Girard (Madeleine Carroll) upon learning of the World War I armistice: 
"So it's over at last."
Henri Girard (Raul Roulien): "Yes, we've won the war. . . .Between us all, we've torn down everything that matters -- faith, freedom, civilization."
From John Ford's THE WORLD MOVES ON (1934), the story of a family caught up in World War I.

    Jacques Girard (Barry Norton):  "There's no way out except another war. . . .War is nature's way of eliminating surplus people."
Mary (Madeleine Carroll):"And what a pity to interfere with nature's other way of eliminating surplus people.  Why not shut the hospitals and let disease have a free hand?  Why spend millions on child welfare?  So that the guns shan't go hungry?  Is that the idea?"
Jacques:  "Oh, but disease has nothing to do with it."
Mary:  "Disease has everything to do with it.  War is a disease, homicidal mania on the grand scale brought on by fear and jealousy. . . .Has it ever occurred to you that there are women in the world about to become mothers?"
Erik von Gerhardt (Reginald Denny):  "That's just sentiment.  Why generalize?"
Mary: "Because I happen to be one of them.  And you dare to tell me that the world is preparing for another war!"
From THE WORLD MOVES ON during a discussion of gathering war clouds in the 1930s.

    Richard the Lionhearted (Henry Wilcoxon):  "I fight for the Cross."
Saladin (Ian Keith): "No.  You wear the Cross of one who gave his life in this very land that men might be at peace.  But you have no faith in this Cross."
From Cecil B. DeMille's historical spectacle, THE CRUSADES (1935).

    "If only we could put an end to pain, if only we could have peace.  If you fight on, thousands and thousands more will die.  Richard, you musn't. . . .We've been blind.  We were proud, dearest, when we took the Cross.  And in our pride, we fought to conquer Jerusalem.  We tried to ride through blood to the holy place of God.  But now--now we suffer. . . .So what if we call Him Allah or God?  Shall men fight because they travel different roads to Him?  There is only one God.  His Cross is burned deep into our hearts.  It's here and we must carry it with us wherever we go.  Oh, don't you see, Richard?  There's only one way--Peace.  Make peace between Christian and Saracen."
Berengaria (Loretta Young) to Richard the Lionhearted urging an end to the conflict in Cecil B. DeMille's THE CRUSADES.

    "It's men like him who start these wars so they'll have something to do."
Joe E. Brown on a superpatriotic general in the World War I comedy, SONS O'GUNS (1936).

    Monique (June Lang), a Red Cross nurse: "It's crazy, but it goes on and on, just the same, without end and without meaning.  Why do you all have to die, why?"'
Michel (Fredric March), a French lieutenant:  "Darling, that question has been asked as many times as men have died. The answer hasn't satisfied anybody."
From the conclusion of Howard Hawks' World War I drama, THE ROAD TO GLORY (1936).

    Captain Mack (Henry Wilcoxon): "War is tough, isn't it?"
Corporal Jericho Jackson (Paul Robeson):  "Yes, war. Did I want to learn how to kill? No, but they taught me and taught me until my arms ached with sticking steel into sandbags.  These hands that I want to use to heal, to save life, to give life, turned into hands for killing."
From JERICHO (1937), a drama starring Paul Robeson as a heroic World War I black American soldier who escapes a false charge of insubordination and the brutal regimentation of militarism for an adventurous life in Africa.

    "The High Lama said he saw all nations strengthening--not in wisdom but in vulgar passions and the will to destroy.... He foresaw a time when man, exultant in the technique of homicide, would rage so hotly over the world that every precious thing would be in danger; a time when every book, every treasure, would be doomed to destruction. Anticipating the holocaust, Shangri-La had, for nearly two centuries, been accumulating the treasures of the mind and the wisdom of the ages."
The theme of LOST HORIZON (1937) as described by its director, Frank Capra.

    "The world about to hurl itself to destruction, the will of nations for peace, a powerful brake stopping it on the brink! . . . To save Dreyfus we had to challenge the might of those who dominate the world. It is not the swaggering militarists!  They're but puppets that dance as the strings are pulled!  It is those others, those who would ruthlessly plunge us into the bloody abyss of war to protect their power.  Think of it . . . thousands of children sleeping peacefully tonight under the roofs of Paris, Berlin, London, all the world!  Doomed to die horribly under some titanic battlefield unless it can be prevented! And it can be prevented!  The world must be conquered, but not by force of arms, but by ideas that liberate.  Then can we build it anew, build for the humble and the wretched."
Paul Muni in the title role of THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA (1937).

    "I am against war because war is foolish. Ten or twenty years afterward, one reflects that millions have died and all for nothing. One has found friends among one's old enemies, and enemies among one's friends. To wage war for nothing is totally illogical.  People who get killed are never asked how they feel about going to war ... To tell a man, 'Tomorrow you're off to the front, where you'll be killed ... there's no alternative.'  I'm afraid I don't consider that a normal attitude. One doesn't have the right to play with people's lives. People's lives are sacred."
Abel Gance, director of the 1919 World War I film, J'ACCUSE, and the 1937 remake which warned of the new war.

    "I accuse the war of yesterday of having made the Europe of today and I accuse the war of tomorrow for preparing the destruction of Europe.  I accuse mankind of having learned no lesson from the last catastrophe but waiting with folded arms for the next war.  I accuse the careless, the short-sighted, the egotists of having allowed Europe to be divided in spite of the blood spilled in vain.  And I accuse the men of today, not only of not understanding but of laughing when someone like myself reminds you of the most beautiful expression on earth:   love one another.  And I accuse you same men of not having listened to the voices of the millions who died in the war and who cry out to you for twenty years: 
'Stop!. . .You're taking the same terrible path.' "
The visionary inventor and war veteran, Jean Diaz (Victor Francen), to the politicians arguing for armaments in Abel Gance's J'ACCUSE (1937).

    "You're all walking around with your eyes closed.  The political horizon is darkening.  War is on the way.  It's there, I can feel it.  I'll prevent it, by God!  Yes, yes, I alone will stop it!  Alone, I will throw myself in the way of mankind's madness!  And I will stop it!  Alone!  I will be the one to get up and yell,  'No!'  It won't happen again!  This stupidity, this obsession, this monstrous absurdity!  It won't happen again!  The murder of innocent millions!  It won't happen again!  Me, Jean Diaz, I stand up and proclaim the sacred right of life!  J'accuse!  J'accuse!  J'accuse!"
Jean Diaz (Victor Francen) on the coming Second World War in J'ACCUSE.

    "I made this film because I am a pacifist.  To me, a true pacifist is a Frenchman, a German, an American.  The day will come when men of good faith will find a common meeting ground. Cynics will say that my words at this point in time are naive. But why not?"
Jean Renoir on his 1937 film, LA GRANDE ILLUSION, a drama about the relationship between French POWs and their German captors during World War I.

    Marechal (Jean Gabin), a French soldier:  "We've got to end this stinking war.  Maybe it'll be the last."
Rosenthal (Marcel Dalio), another French soldier:  "You've still got illusions."
—From Jean Renoir's LA GRANDE ILLUSION.

    "It's a slaughterhouse, that's what it is, and I'm the executioner. You send men in rotten ships up to die."
-Major Brand (Basil Rathbone), the flight commander, in the 1938 version of the World War I aviation drama, THE DAWN PATROL.

    "Man is a savage animal who periodically tries to destroy himself."
—Courtenay (Errol Flynn), the new flight commander, in THE DAWN PATROL.

GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)"Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars, and when the wars were over, no one ever knew what they were about."
Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939).

    "I'm angry. Waste always makes me angry, and that's what all this is, sheer waste."
Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) to Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) as the citizens of Atlanta mourn their dead upon learning of the Southern defeat at Gettysburg in GONE WITH THE WIND.

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara

    "I don't want any more of them dying. I don't want any more!"
Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) as she flees the war hospital with its wounded, screaming soldiers during the siege of Atlanta in GONE WITH THE WIND.

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Introduction copyright ©1991, 1998-2001 by William M. Drew.  All rights reserved.

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