Famous Military Speeches

Discussion in 'The NAAFI & PX' started by imalko, May 7, 2009.

  1. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    Throughout history statesmen, military leaders and commanders addressed the public during wartime and especially soldiers in the field of battle in order to boost their morale, to inspire and motivate them. Some of these speeches are true model of oratory skill like Lincoln's Gettysburg address or many Churchill's speeches. In this thread I would like if we could make some sort of collection of quotes from most famous speeches in military history.

    Here is one example:

    "Precisely at 15.00 hours enemy is to be broken with your unstoppable charge and destroyed with your hand grenades and bayonets. Honor of our capitol city must be preserved.
    Soldiers! Heroes! The supreme command erased our regiment from their list, our regiment is sacrificed for honor of Belgrade and Fatherland... Don't think about your lives which no longer exist... Forward to glory!"

    Major Gavrilović to the soldiers of 2nd battalion 10th foot regiment Serbian Army during defence of Belgrade in September 1915 in WW1 ​


    Note: This is not limited to military speeches of WW1 WW2 era. Please feel free to post quotes from speeches from any period in history. For example, Napoleon was known to be able to inspire his men with proclamations and speeches...
     
  2. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Don't know if it would be qualified as a "speech", but it did help to boost the morale of the Screaming Eagles.....

    Brig General Anthony Clement McAuliffe's response to the German demand for the Americans' surrender of Bastogne on 22 December, 1944.

    "To the German Commander: NUTS! The American Commander."

    TO
     
  3. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Here's Eisenhower's speech to the troops before the landings on D-day.

    You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
    striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
    hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
    In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
    other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
    machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
    Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

    Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
    equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

    But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
    1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
    in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
    strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
    Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
    of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
    The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to
    Victory!

    I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
    battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

    Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
    and noble undertaking.
     
  4. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    Great one Vassili!
     
  5. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    That's a good one VZ.

    TO
     
  6. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I always liked that speech.
     
  7. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    Patrick Henry of Virginia
     
  8. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Great speeches.

    Attached is another, from one of the all time great orators, Churchill's "Never Surrender" speech from after the Fall of France.

    For those that don't want to listen to it, here is a full transcript: Churchill
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Marshall_Stack

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    OK, it is a fictitious one from a movie, but I still like it....

    "I love the smell of napalm in the morning, it smells like ..victory".
     
  10. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    Or Wiliam Wallaces speech in Mel Gibsons, Braveheart. A stirring evocation!
     
  11. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    The speech that I found most inspiring was General Douglas MacArthur's farewell speech at West Point, May 12, 1962... I would have given an arm and a leg to have been present that day. Duty, Honor, Country

    Charles


    General Westmoreland, General Groves, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps. As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, "Where are you bound for, General?" and when I replied, "West Point," he remarked, "Beautiful place, have you ever been there before?"

    No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well. It fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily for a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code - the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

    "Duty," "Honor," "Country" - those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you want to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

    The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

    But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

    They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

    They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

    And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

    Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

    His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

    But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

    In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

    From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

    I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.

    And twenty years after, on the other side of the globe, against the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of the relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation of those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropic disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.

    [Continued, below]
     
  12. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    [continued]

    Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory - always victory, always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of Duty, Honor, Country.

    The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training - sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.

    You now face a new world, a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres and missiles marked the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind - the chapter of the space age. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a greater, a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier. We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; of purifying sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundred of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

    And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purpose, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishments; but you are the ones who are trained to fight.

    Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.

    Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

    Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government. Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be.

    These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.

    You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

    The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

    This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

    The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished - tone and tints. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen then, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.

    In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

    Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.

    I bid you farewell.
     
  13. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Here is another fictitious speech but it's worth mentioning.

    From the movie "The Purple Heart" (1944), based on a true story of eight captured Doolittle Raiders put on trial by the Japanese for "war crimes".

    The raiders had a choice, tell the Japanese where they came from, or be executed.

    After refusing to divulge to a Japanese "court", where the Doolittle Raid originated, Captain Harvey Ross (Dana Andrews) was asked by the Japanese "judge" if this was their final word.

    His reply.....

    "No excellency. It's true we Americans don't know very much about you Japanese. And we never did. But now I realize you know even less about us. You can kill us. All of us, or part of us. But if you think that's going to put the fear of god into the United States of America, and stop them from sending other flyers to bomb you, you're wrong. Dead wrong. They'll come by night, they'll come by day. Thousands of them. They'll blacken your skies and burn your cities to the ground and make you get down on your knees and beg for mercy. This is your war. You wanted it. You asked for it. You started it. And now you're going to get it. And it won't be finished until your dirty little empire is wiped off the face of the earth."

    It was said that movie audiences in 1944 all over America stood and cheered as they watched this scene, and Dana Andrews became an instant Hollywood hero.

    A great morale booster for the American public. Probably a boost for military recruitment as well.

    TO
     
  14. Ferdinand Foch

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  15. bigZ

    bigZ Member

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    General Sedgewick during the Battle Of Spotsylvania, 1864 (American civil war):-

    "Don't worry, boys. They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist-"
     
  16. Ferdinand Foch

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    He, famous last words.
     
  17. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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  18. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Great thread!

    Keep them coming!
     
  19. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    Great posts guys. It wasn't my original intention but interesting that some of you mentioned fictitious speeches from movies etc. There's several I really like from movie Gettysburg. Here's one:

    "Virginians! Virginians!
    For your lands! For your homes! For your sweethearts! For your wives! For Virginia!
    Forward march!"


    Brigadier General Lewis Armistead (played by Richard Jordan) to his Brigade at the beginning of ill-fated Picket's charge.

    Keep posting.
     
  20. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    From the movie "Patton" (1970).

    The opening speech was a compilation of a number of Patton's most memorable quotes taken from actual speeches.

    "Be seated. Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball player, the toughest boxer. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.

    Now, an Army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.

    We have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit and the best men in the world. You know, by God I actually pity those poor bastards we’re going up against. By God, I do. We’re not just going to shoot the bastards, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel.

    Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken out under fire. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood. Shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do.

    Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're going to kick him in the ass. We're going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we're gonna go through him like crap through a goose.

    There’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home. And you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what did you do in the great World War II, you won’t have to say, "Well, I shoveled **** in Louisiana."

    Alright now, you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel. Oh, and I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle – anytime, anywhere.

    That’s all."


    LiveLeak.com - Patton Speech From The Movie "Patton"

    TO
     
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