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For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls

by Ernest Hemingway

Warfare Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

"You know why we did not kill them, though?" Robert Jordan said quietly.

"Yes," Agustín said. "Yes. But the necessity was on me as it is on a mare in heat. You cannot know what it is if you have not felt it."

"You sweated enough," Robert Jordan said. "I thought it was fear."

"Fear, yes," Agustín said. "Fear and the other. And in this life there is no stronger thing than the other." (23.84-87)

Here's Agustín, a much more likeable fellow than Pablo, giving voice to that same powerful urge to kill. He thinks it's the strongest human impulse, and he faced a real struggle to restrain himself when offered the opportunity to kill fascists. That bloodlust can provide an energy and courage to fight which war might otherwise sap. It can also be disastrous, as it would have been if Agustín had not controlled it here.

Quote #8

It is doubtful the outcome of Andrés's mission would have been any different if he and Gomez had been allowed to proceed without Andre Marty's hindrance. There was no one at the front with sufficient authority to cancel the attack. The machinery had been in motion much too long for it to be stopped suddenly now. There is a great inertia about all military operations of any size. But once this inertia has been overcome and movement is under way they are almost as hard to arrest as to initiate. (42.111)

This passage echoes Golz's initial sentiment about the lack of control he had over his attack. A modern military operation is an enormous undertaking, slowed down by bureaucracy, and almost impossible to tweak once initiated.

Quote #9

In him, too, was the despair from the sorrow that soldiers turn to hatred in order that they may continue to be soldiers. Now it was over he was lonely, detached and unrelated and he hated everyone he saw. (43.148)

This passage echoes Golz's initial sentiment about the lack of control he had over his attack. A modern military operation is an enormous undertaking, slowed down by bureaucracy, and almost impossible to tweak once initiated.

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