120 Dwight Eisenhower Quotes

These Dwight Eisenhower quotes are pieces of wisdom that will open your eyes to the realities of the world during its most turbulent times.

Dwight Eisenhower knows firsthand what it’s like to live through wars and political tensions. In this collection, we’re featuring 120 of his most famous quotes that will surely teach you a thing or two. Be sure to check out the full collection below.

Let’s get started.

Best Dwight Eisenhower Quotes

1. “The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.”

2. “Get it all on record now—get the films, get the witnesses—because somewhere down the road of history, some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.”

3. “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight—it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

4. “Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

5. “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care, and so on. The only thing lacking is freedom.”

6. “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

7. “Every gun that is made, 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.”

8. “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.”

9. “Never waste a minute thinking about people you don’t like.”

10. “This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

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

12. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

13. “You do not lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.”

14. “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs you would not hear of that party again in our political history.”

15. “Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”

16. “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go to your library and read every book.”

17. “Never question another man’s motive. His wisdom, yes; but not his motives.”

18. “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one great man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”

19. “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”

Dwight Eisenhower Quotes on Seeing Value in Other People

20. “No man is worth your tears, but once you find one that is, he won’t make you cry.”

21. “Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.”

22. “Only Americans can hurt America.”

23. “When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing. I told him I wanted to be a real Major League baseball player—a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he’d like to be President of the United States. Neither of us got our wish.”

24. “All generalizations are inaccurate, including this one.”

25. “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

26. “How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward light? Are we nearing the light—a day of freedom and of peace for all mankind? Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us?”

27. “History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid.”

28. “Those who take the extreme positions in American political and economic life are always wrong.”

29. “My memory goes back to Jim Thorpe. He never practiced in his life, and he could do anything better than any other football player I ever saw.”

30. “History teaches that when powerful despots can gain something through aggression, they try, by the same methods, to gain more and more and more.”

31. “I made two mistakes and both of them are sitting on the Supreme Court.”

32. “Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame! You give love a bad name.”

33. “Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts.”

34. “Without God, there could be no American form of government nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first and most basic expression of Americanism.”

35. “Here and there, there are some people who are supremely endowed.”

36. “I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.”

37. “Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power.”

38. “Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.”

39. “Ankles are nearly always neat and good-looking, but knees are nearly always not.”

Dwight Eisenhower Quotes on Values and Morals

40. “May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”

41. “As we peer into society’s future, we—you and I, and our government—must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow.”

42. “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.”

43. “The history of free men is never written by chance but by choice—their choice.”

44. “Pull the string and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.”

45. “I like to believe that people, in the long run, are going to do more to promote peace than our governments.”

46. “Always try to associate yourself with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.”

47. “Only strength can cooperate. Weakness can only beg.”

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

49. “An atheist is a man who watches a Notre Dame Southern Methodist University game and doesn’t care who wins.”

50. “Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and sacrifices of his friends.”

51. “We should take nothing for granted.”

52. “Freedom has been defined as the opportunity for self-discipline.”

53. “The time has passed for dilly-dallying. We must demand satisfactory performance.”

54. “I don’t like the idea of something where you have to depend upon the integrity of the man and not the integrity of the institution.”

55. “We are ready in short, to dedicate our strength to serving the needs, rather than the fears, of the world.”

56. “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”

57. “They may excuse failure but they will not excuse abandonment.”

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

59. “Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.”

60. “The free world must not prove itself worthy of its own past.”

61. “The purpose is clear—it is safety with solvency. The country is entitled to both.”

62. “The qualities of a great man are vision, integrity, courage, understanding, the power of articulation, and profundity of character.”

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

64. “I deplore the need or the use of troops anywhere to get American citizens to obey the orders of constituted courts.”

65. “The world moves, and ideas that were once good are not always good.”

66. “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.”

67. “In the final choice, a soldier’s pack is not so heavy as a prisoner’s chains.”

68. “There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.”

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

Dwight Eisenhower Quotes on Optimism and Having a Positive Outlook

70. “Pessimism never won any battle.”

71. “The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

72. “The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.”

73. “An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”

74. “The world could be fixed of its problems if every child understood the necessity of their existence.”

75. “Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men; and so, it must be daily earned and refreshed—else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”

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

77. “We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.”

78. “Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.”

79. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

80. “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”

81. “Worry is a word that I don’t allow myself to use.”

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

83. “Through knowledge and understanding, we will drive from the temple of freedom all those who seek to establish over us thought control, whether they be agents of a foreign state or demagogues thirsty for personal power and public notice.”

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

85. “I have found out in later years that my family was very poor, but the glory of America is that we didn’t know it.”

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

87. “The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.”

88. “How has retirement affected my golf game? A lot more people beat me now.”

89. “Leadership is a word and a concept that has been more argued than almost any other I know.”

Dwight Eisenhower Quotes on Politics and the Betterment of Society

90. “Never send a battalion to take a hill if a regiment is available.”

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

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

93. “We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.”

94. “We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

95. “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can—only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

96. “We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.”

97. “This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.”

98. “In most communities it is illegal to cry ‘fire’ in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?”

99. “Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin.”

100. “We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.”

101. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.”

102. “The problem is not merely man against man or nation against nation. It is man against war.”

103. “We must achieve both security and solvency. In fact, the foundation of military strength is economic strength.”

104. “Wars are stupid and they can start stupidly.”

105. “Statesmanship is developed in the hard knocks of general experience, private and public.”

106. “If you are waging peace, you can’t be too particular sometimes about the special attitudes that different countries take.”

107. “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.”

108. “I believe that without free enterprise there can be no democracy.”

109. “There is no person in this room whose basic rights are not involved in any successful defiance to the carrying out of court orders.”

110. “Work should be, for all of us, a word as honorable and appealing as patriotism.”

111. “There is no victory at bargain basement prices.”

112. “We have heard much of the phrase, ‘peace and friendship.’ This phrase, in expressing the aspiration of America, is not complete. We should say instead, ‘peace and friendship, in freedom.’ This, I think, is America’s real message to the rest of the world.”

113. “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

114. “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.”

115. “Few women, I fear, have had such a reason as I have to think the long sad years of youth were worth living for the sake of middle age.”

116. “I’m saving that rocker for the day when I feel as old as I really am.”

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

118. “I have only one yardstick by which I test every major problem, and that yardstick is—is it good for America?”

119. “Here in America, we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels—men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.”

120. “We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.”

What Kind of Worldview Did These Dwight Eisenhower Quotes Give You?

As a politician, Dwight Eisenhower was no doubt one of the people who contributed the most to peace and order. He was the supreme commander of the Allied Forces, and during his presidency, he managed Cold War Era tensions, and assisted in ending the war in Korea. There were also many social and infrastructural improvements made during his time. And through all his experiences in leadership and management, we learn that the most important keys to success are overcoming personal hardships, finding the right group of people to surround yourself with, and embracing your responsibilities.

Which of his tips can you apply to your life right now? Which of his quotes are your favorites? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

Leave a Comment