Having just quoted from Otto von Bismarck, I thought it time we did one of our Top Ten Conflict Tips on him:
- People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election
- Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war
- When you want to fool the world, tell the truth
- Politics is the art of the possible
- When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn’t the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice
- A statesman cannot create anything himself. He must wait and listen until he hears the steps of God sounding through events; then leap up and grasp the hem of his garment
- Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death.
- Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal … A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all … I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where … Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.
- A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence
- Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”