Created By: mythbuster on April 29, 2012 Last Edited By: alnair20aug93 on August 8, 2017

From Military to Mundane (formerly Swords to Plowshares)

Converting weapons of war into peaceful use.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Upped for Grabs by Alnair.
Proposed Alternate/Redirect Names:
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/swords_into_plowshares.jpeg
"Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares'", a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City

"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up their sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Isaiah 2:4 (KJV)

Great news! The war is over! Now what do we do with all these weapons we built for the war? Turn them into things civilians can use! All that scrap steel can make some heavy machinery or be used in construction. Those nuclear weapons? Fuel rods. TNT? Use it for earth-moving. Those factories that built bombers and warships? Use them to build cars.

A variation of this is that when a simple tool in the current time is revealed to be a weapon in the past. Perhaps it's due to the current people finding a Lost Technology or alien tech without knowing its real purpose, only figuring out that it's an useful tool in some way.

If a weapon of war does not even require conversion to be used for civilian purposes, then it doubles as an example of Mundane Utility. Compare and contrast Improvised Weapon. Also contrast Training the Peaceful Villagers and Superweapon Surprise.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 

     Film 
  • Arms Dealer Yuri Orlov claims this is happening in one scene of Lord of War, when Agent Valentine catches him shipping a helicopter gunship to the African nation of Burkina Faso. Yuri claims that with all the excess hardware after the recent fall of the Soviet Union, all they can do with it all is repurpose it for civilian use. Valentine isn't fooled, especially since the missiles and bullets for the helicopter are also going to Burkina Faso, albeit to a client at a different address. Unfortunately, this was apparently a real life legal loophole at the time, and Valentine is forced to let Yuri go.
  • At the start of Small Soldiers, the GloboTech Industries has basically resolved to do this by buying up companies in other industries, then using its state-of-the-art military technology to make superior products. This is how A.I. Is a Crapshoot computer chips end up in the Commando Elite and Gorgonite action figures. Inverted at the end when the CEO decides to sell the toys as weapons after all.

     Literature 
  • From The Bible: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and study war no more."- Isaiah 2:4
  • In A Darkling Plain, Tom notes that the medical technology which diagnosed his weak heart was made from repurposed Stalker technology, which is typically used to turn corpses into military cyborgs.
  • Discussed in The Heroes of Olympus novel "The House of Hades", where Frank threatens that unless Triptolemus frees his friends, he will beat his sword into Triptolemus' head instead of beating it into a plowshare.
  • Known Space: On the backstory of the Man-Kzin Wars saga, humanity had decided to become peaceful and gotten rid of all of its weapons, meaning that during the first encounters with the Kzin, the Earthlings had only unarmed vehicles and other civilian equipment... unfortunately for the Kzin, the fact that Humans Are Warriors means that they are also murderously adaptive, and Improvised Weaponry that was the result of on-the-spot MacGyvering was what killed those early Kzin war parties (one of the most famous instances being using a ship's fusion torch engine and the energy beam it fired off for propulsion to cut a Kzin ship in half ).
  • This trope is mentioned in George R.R. Martin's "And Seven Times Never Kill Man", in the story describing the creation of the militant cult of the Children of Bakkalon, and it's portrayed as being a stupid idea and displeasing to their god, Bakkalon the Pale Child, who thinks Humans Are Warriors should be the norm and all other species should be under their heel:
    "And the pale child came and stood before them, with His great sword in His hand, and in a voice like thunder He rebuked them. 'You have been weak children,' He told them, 'for you have disobeyed. Where are your swords? Did I not set swords in your hands?'
    "And the children cried out, 'We have beaten them into plowshares, oh Bakkalon!'
    "And He was sore angry. 'With plowshares, then, shall you face the Sons of Hranga! With plowshares shall you slay the Horde of Fyndii!' And He left them, and heard no more their weeping, for the Heart of Bakkalon is a Heart of Fire."
  • Terran Trade Authority series by Stewart Cowley. After the Proxima War, many of the military spacecraft used in the war are converted for civilian use, e.g. by removing their weapons.

     Music 
  • In the climax of the music video for Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms", Mark Knopfler is shown holding an assault rifle in hands which then switches into a guitar for the final solo.

     Video Games 
  • Halo 3: ODST: The M313 "Elephant", a military vehicle designed for mass troop deployment, is seen in the city of New Mombasa as the "Oliphant", repurposed into a garbage truck. Though smaller now and lacking weapons, the Oliphant is still durable enough to plow through cars and serve as a minor tank.

     Web Comics 
  • The premise of Warbot In Accounting is that a Killer Robot was repurposed and reintegrated into civilian life. Its unsuccessful attempts at doing so are played for Black Comedy.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • The space-habitat of Credomar. A journalist even mentions that it was created by the 'Swords to Plowshears' project. Essentially, it's a Hyperspace Death Ray with enormous stategic value, which has been repurposed as a deep-space habitat. An Arc centers around the king of Credomar evacuating the entire population to a habitable moon somewhere in order to reactivate the weapon - not because he's looking to pick a fight with anyone, but because he's worried that The Federation - who BUILT the damn thing in the first place - may at some point declare a 'state of emergency' and fire the weapon without evacuating the population first...
    • At one point Kevyn converts their terapedo supply into a Very Large Array, placing them around a solar system and using their targeting sensors to survey it without giving out radar signals. Of course, they're still fully functional teleporting missiles, which is why he calls it a Very Dangerous Array.
    • Referenced by Petey when he sends the Tohdfraug invasion fleet to Andromeda to fight the Paanuri with no supply line and compares them to swords.
      Tohdfraug Admiral: "But if you break a sword through abuse or neglect, it's useless."
      Petey: "As a sword, yes. Eventually I'll be needing plowshares."

     Western Animation 
  • One early Mighty Mouse cartoon shows a cheese factory making Swiss cheese by rolling wheels of regular cheese in front of a World War I Vickers machine gun, which shoots the distinctive holes in the cheese, making it Swiss.
  • In the 1939 animated short Peace on Earth, the debris of a terrible war that killed off the human species is converted into little houses made of soldier helmets and street posts made from bayonets by Woodland Creatures.
  • Downplayed example from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The show has instances were weapons such as catapults, cannons, and even tanks are being used for games (like chucking pumpkins) or celebrating parties.

     Real Life 
  • The Philippine "jeepney", specifically the "Sarao" style, originated from Willys MB jeeps used during World War II, and the structure was converted as public utility vehicles that ultimately became an icon of the country.
  • As gunpowder and cannons rendered medieval castles obsolete, some castles that weren't abandoned or in ruins were converted into more habitable places, and over the centuries, especially with the Medieval revival in the 19th century, the original function of castles has been abandoned and the modern concept of the castle has been imagined as a fortified palace, both include stained glass windows found in cathedrals. This video explains more about the modern/fantasy concept of castles.
  • The Megatons to Megawatts program converts nuclear weapons into fuel rods that produce 10% of the US electricity supply.
  • Nuclear power itself is an example, because for over a decade the only use of nuclear power was to build bombs, and then later to power submarines.
  • The Internet. Invented for military and scientific uses when it was called ARPANET, it is now used for information, communication, business, and research, if not used for other things.
  • Drones such as for attack and/or for surveillance are now being used by civilians for fun and to see the sights in a bird's eye view perspective.
  • The escopattera (A portmanteau of the Spanish words escopeta and guitarra, meaning "shotgun" and "guitar" respectively) is a type of guitar made from a modified gun, first invented by Colombian peace activist Cesar Lopez after seeing a soldier holding his gun like a guitar following the 2003 El Nogal Club bombing in Bogota.


Inversions (Plowshares to Swords):

     Music 
  • Inverted on the national anthem of Costa Rica, which says that, should the nation be under threat, the nation's citizens will turn their ploughshares into swords.
  • Inverted by "Ashes In Your Mouth" by Megadeth, which references the biblical line.
    Melting down all metals, turning plows and shears to swords
    Shun words of the Bible, we need implements of war

     Video Games 
  • Invoked and inverted in Empire Earth 2 with the "Plows to Spears" infantry upgrade, although it doesn't affect to your farming speed.
  • Inverted in Starcraft II: Most of the new Protoss weapons are old work vehicles that have been repurposed.

Community Feedback Replies: 98
  • April 29, 2012
    Mauri
    • In the case you wonder it is also the name of a Magic the Gathering card: [1]
    • A LOT of Military Technology is sent towards the civilian side... also known as the plowshare of your trope. Cellphones where initially quick Intel tools for communicating important information and or saying where to drop the artillery strike.
    Also if I don't recall wrong:
    • In the Italian written series of "Don Camilo" by Giovanni Guareschi there is a story about some family that tries to re-purpose a tank into a field tractor but given the lack of knowledge they have one hell of a time then forget it and then ask the local priest and then the priest involves the towns mechanic which is also the major... hilarityensues
  • January 15, 2017
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Terran Trade Authority series by Stewart Cowley. After the Proxima War, many of the military spacecraft used in the war are converted for civilian use, e.g. by removing their weapons.
  • April 30, 2012
    Belfagor

    VVV It replaces a creature with life gain, so I think it can fit.
  • April 30, 2012
    Antigone3
    Wasn't there a Bolo story where the titular supertank had an bulldozer blade mounted on its front end?
  • April 30, 2012
    LeeM
    I wonder if the Thames Estuary forts would count as a RL example? Former WWII ack-ack stations converted into BuccaneerBroadcasters by some enterprising squatters in the 60s.
  • April 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^ The magic card is named for it, but the effect isn't really related to the trope.

    • Hero had a metaphorical example, in that the way of the warrior was supposed to end in peace, without the need to kill anymore.
  • April 30, 2012
    katiek
    I'm pretty sure that in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror II, when Lisa wishes for world peace, there are a couple of sight gags of the Pentagon being turned into a playground and weapons being melted down to make something else, but I can't remember what it is.
  • April 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^In a different Treehouse Of Horror episode (XIII) all the guns in Springfield are melted down into playground equipment, but they still look like guns and apparently still have the bullets in them, since they go off as kids slide down the slide.
  • May 1, 2012
    mythbuster
    Sculpture: The Plowblade in Washington D.C. It's a plowshare made of guns.
  • May 1, 2012
    Generality
    If the weapons retain functionality, they may provide a Superweapon Surprise if invaders rear their heads.

    • Inverted in Starcraft II: Most of the new Protoss weapons are old work vehicles that have been repurposed.
  • May 1, 2012
    aurora369
    The Internet, period. Invented for military and scientific uses, now used mostly for porn and procrastination.
  • May 2, 2012
    Surenity
    In the 1939 animated short Peace On Earth, the debris of a terrible war that killed off the human species is converted into little houses made of soldier helmets and street posts made from bayonets by Woodland Creatures.
  • May 2, 2012
    BlackDragon
    The space-habitat of Credomar from Schlock Mercenary. A journalist even mentions that it was created by the 'Swords to Plowshears' project. Essentially, it's a Hyperspace Death Ray with enormous stategic value, which has been repurposed as a deep-space habitat. An Arc centers around the king of Credomar evacuating the entire population to a habitable moon somewhere in order to reactivate the weapon - not because he's looking to pick a fight with anyone, but because he's worried that The Federation - who BUILT the damn thing in the first place - may at some point declare a 'state of emergency' and fire the weapon without evacuating the population first...
  • May 2, 2012
    MarkThis
    " used mostly for porn and procrastination." Get some perspective please.
  • August 12, 2015
    kraas
    • This trope is mentioned in George RR Martin's "And Seven Times Never Kill Man", in the story describing the creation of the militant cult of the Children of Bakkalon, and it's portrayed as being a stupid idea and displeasing to their god, Bakkalon the Pale Child, who thinks Humans Are Warriors should be the norm and all other species should be under their heel:
      "And the pale child came and stood before them, with His great sword in His hand, and in a voice like thunder He rebuked them. 'You have been weak children,' He told them, 'for you have disobeyed. Where are your swords? Did I not set swords in your hands?'
      "And the children cried out, 'We have beaten them into plowshares, oh Bakkalon!'
      "And He was sore angry. 'With plowshares, then, shall you face the Sons of Hranga! With plowshares shall you slay the Horde of Fyndii!' And He left them, and heard no more their weeping, for the Heart of Bakkalon is a Heart of Fire."
  • August 12, 2015
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    No New Stock Phrases

    Unfortunately, this phrase is a little too well known and widely dispersed and this trope is just going to end up a dumping ground of every time anyone references the parable. It's already starting to show in the examples you're attracting.

    Rename this before launching.
  • August 12, 2015
    Chabal2
    • Referenced in Night Watch, where Vimes sees the stuff the government ban on weapons has missed, like an old haldberd used to hold up a clothesline, a sword used to poke a fire... which is by far outstripped by the perfectly legal tools (billhooks, cleavers...) that are being repurposed into very efficient weapons.
    • Warhammer Fantasy: Several Steam Tanks exist in the Empire, one of which has been converted into a mobile kitchen by its halfling owners.
    • Inverted in Artemis Fowl, where a mining laser can be easily converted into an extremely powerful weapon.
  • August 12, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ Weapon Recycled For Peaceful Use? It's clunky, but it's clear.
  • August 12, 2015
    robbulldog
  • August 12, 2015
    shimaspawn
    ^ Decent as a working title, but I'd prefer something less clunky. Weapons To Tools maybe? It keeps the same juxtaposition and the parable but won't get the stock phrase misuse. That said, the inverse trope Tools To Weapons would probably be good to develop in conjunction with this one.
  • August 12, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ "That said, the inverse trope Tools To Weapons would probably be good to develop in conjunction with this one."

    Would Improvised Weapon cover that, or would this be more about making a weapon from improvised equipment?
  • August 12, 2015
    shimaspawn
    ^ Not quite. Improvised Weapon is just picking the tool and using it as a weapon. This is actually doing work and transforming those old tools into weapons.

    When you hit someone with a wrench, you're using an Improvised Weapon. When you rework the wrench in a forge into a spiked mace, you're changing Tools To Weapons. The difference is do you just grab it? Or do you turn it into something else.
  • August 12, 2015
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    Star Trek Voyager: Had a episode where a a missile guided by artificial intelligence could have been repurposed for terraforming but never got the chance.
  • August 12, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ That is what I meant by the last part of my comment. Anyway that should be on ykttw.

    ^ And in First Contact a nuke missle was turned into the hull of the Phoenix, which was the first human warp ship.

    Could Peacefully Repurposed Weapon work as a trope name?
  • August 12, 2015
    Hodor2
    Would the Iron Throne from A Song Of Ice And Fire count? It was created by swords taken by Aegon the Conqueror from lords he had defeated, which were then melted down via dragonfire. Due to its origin, it originally doubled as a Monument Of Humiliation And Defeat.

    Also:

    • In The Grace Of Kings, one of these was planned by the Visionary Villain Emperor Mapidere but never came to fruition. After conquering a continent and subduing warring states, he wanted to confiscate all swords in the realm and then melt them down to make statutes of all of the deities in the pantheon as a monument to peace.
  • August 13, 2015
    robinjohnson
    • The Infocom text adventure game Nord And Bert Couldn't Make Head Or Tail Of It had a section called "Buying the Farm" where you had to perform certain metaphorical actions literally, one of which was to HAMMER SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES.
  • August 13, 2015
    69BookWorM69
    Would a picture of that sculpture near the UN Headquarters do as a page image?
  • August 13, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • One early Mighty Mouse cartoon shows a cheese factory making Swiss cheese by rolling wheels of regular cheese in front of a World War I Vickers machine gun, which shoots the distinctive holes in the cheese, making it Swiss.
  • August 13, 2015
    robinjohnson
    "Nuclear power itself is an example, because for over a decade the only use of nuclear power was to build bombs, and then later to power submarines."

    This reads at first like you're saying the "plowshare" is the submarines (which are military submarines and therefore still swords) - but I guess you mean the plowshare is nuclear plants for the civilian electricity supply? You should probably make that explicit.
  • August 13, 2015
    TonyG
    In defense of the current title, I feel the way it is worded doesn't sound like a stock phrase. Also, while it is well-known, I'm not sure how widely distributed it is.
  • August 19, 2015
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    snowcloneing still considered evil? Weapon Tool Turn might work.
  • August 19, 2015
    shimaspawn
    It's close enough to a stock phrase to have picked up stock phrase misuse already in this YKTTW. That's enough to say it's not allowed in the wild.
  • August 20, 2015
    aurora369
    This is a running theme in Russian Humour. The jokes are based either on how repurposed military hardware is ineffective and unergonomic, or how it is repurposed into the most improbable things (e.g. perambulators from machine gun parts, a worker steals the parts and can't get how to assemble something other than a machine gun from them), or how the repurposed hardware is still perfectly fit for military use (e.g. the "peaceful Soviet tractor" that can release a Macross Missile Massacre).
  • November 22, 2015
    alnair20aug93
    If I could broaden this regarding military clothing turned into everyday apparel, do trenchcoats count? Trenchcoats, for it's namesake, were originally worn by officers and soldiers in the trenches during World War One to protect them from rain and cold. Today, it's been adopted by civilians, and private detectives.
  • November 22, 2015
    Alucard
    Inverted by "Ashes In Your Mouth" by Megadeth, which references the biblical line.
    Melting down all metals, turning plows and shears to swords
    Shun words of the Bible, we need implements of war
  • November 22, 2015
    BKelly95
    Would the civilian versions of the Jeep and Hummer count as Real Life examples?
  • November 22, 2015
    eroock
    Music:
    • In the climax of the music video for Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms", Mark Knopfler is shown holding an assault rifle in hands which then switches into a guitar for the final solo.
  • November 22, 2015
    acrobox
    It's not a stock phrase as much as it is an Idiom.

    Like how Lead Balloon means something that fails because its flawed by design
  • November 22, 2015
    Gatomon41

    Literature:

    • In in one Retief story, the CDT have re-purposed Bolo tanks (AI supertanks with megaton firepower) for farming and mining by attaching bulldozing blades. Subverted in that the Bolos are still more than capable of being used for weapons of war.

  • November 22, 2015
    DAN004
    There was a ykttw about "Tools to Weapons" before, and I grabbed it, but I then abandoned it because it then turns into dumping grounds of real life weapons that were once tools.

    This one looks more tropable to me.

    Compare Mundane Utility for when the weapons are still functioning as weapons; in this trope, the tools may be derived from those weapons' Mundane Utility.
  • February 10, 2016
    alnair20aug93
    Some more fashion items that came from military use:
    • Neckties: although it has always been a civilian article for centuries, it's ancestor, the cravat, were worn by Croatian mercenaries fighting for France during the Thirty Years War. France, being France, adopted the styles, and the rest is history;
    • Ray-Ban aviator glasses;
    • Cardigans and Bomber jackets;
    • Pants like khakis and cargo pants;
    • Footwear like Doc Martens and Wellington boots. And the aptly named combat boots;

    I can't describe most of the aforementioned examples, but here is the source I found: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2014/08/14/the-military-influence-on-fashion/
  • February 11, 2016
    DAN004
    Weapons To Tools plz.

    ^ Sadly I don't think that counts.
  • January 14, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Drones such as for attack and/or for surveillance are now being used by civilians for fun and to see the sights in a bird's eye view perspective.
  • January 14, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Oh, and I forgot. Bump.
  • January 14, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/swords_into_plowshares.jpeg
    [[caption-width-right:"Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares'", a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City]]
  • January 14, 2017
    Bisected8
    Repurposed Weapon, perhaps?

    • At the start of Small Soldiers, the GloboTech Industries has basically resolved to do this by buying up companies in other industries, then using its state-of-the-art military technology to make superior products. This is how AI Is A Crapshoot computer chips end up in the Commando Elite and Gorgonite action figures. Inverted at the end when the CEO decides to sell the toys as weapons after all.
  • January 14, 2017
    JujuP
    The Trope Namer should be the head trope for this.
  • January 14, 2017
    Xtifr
    ^ Since the mods have ruled that the trope must be renamed, we don't yet know what the Trope Namer will be or if there will even be one.

    Weapon Repurposed For Peace perhaps.
  • January 14, 2017
    alnair20aug93
  • January 14, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Repurposed Weapon can be misleading in my opinion. I could also mean as repurposing one weapon into another weapon. I stand for "Swords To Plowshares".
  • January 20, 2017
    Bisected8
    The rules say it can't be used, and the reasons the rule exists have been outlined and shown to apply. No ifs ands or buts.
  • January 20, 2017
    DustSnitch
    "Weapons Repurposed for Peace" sounds like something about "evil" weapons being used by the good guys to bring peace and justice or whatever.
  • January 21, 2017
    Xtifr
    Ok, if we're not going to name it with a stock phrase, how about broadening the trope a little bit? After the war, you're going to do more than turn your missiles into planter-boxes. You're probably also going to stop building new ones! And turn your tank factory into an automobile factory. It's basically the Switch To A Peacetime Economy.
  • January 21, 2017
    KaiYves
    If the weapons being turned into peacetime tools were developed by a villain, this trope can overlap with Cut Lex Luthor A Check.
  • January 22, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Man, had this TLP been made before 2011, it would've went well. We need a title that's Clear Concise And Witty. If Swords To Plowshares can't be used, why not use it as a redirect?
  • January 22, 2017
    TheWanderer
    • Arms Dealer Yuri Orlov claims this is happening in one scene of Lord Of War, when Agent Valentine catches him shipping a helicopter gunship to the African nation of Burkina Faso. Yuri claims that with all the excess hardware after the recent fall of the Soviet Union, all they can do with it all is repurpose it for civilian use. Valentine isn't fooled, especially since the missiles and bullets for the helicopter are also going to Burkina Faso, albeit to a client at a different address. Unfortunately, this was apparently a real life legal loophole at the time, and Valentine is forced to let Yuri go.
  • January 23, 2017
    Bisected8
    • The premise of Warbot In Accounting is that a Killer Robot was repurposed and reintegrated into civilian life. Its unsuccessful attempts at doing so are played for Black Comedy.

    • In Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex, some Tachikoma are repurposed into civilian roles after Section 9 is "disbanded". One works in a care home, and another is used in high altitude construction sites, etc. The one in the care home is "gifted" an explosive shell from a Shell Shocked Veteran and sets of to rescue Bateau in the finale.
  • January 28, 2017
    rmctagg09
    Real Life

    • The escopattera (A portmanteau of the Spanish words escopeta and guitarra, meaning "shotgun" and "guitar" respectively) is a type of guitar made from a modified gun, first invented by Colombian peace activist Cesar Lopez after seeing a soldier holding his gun like a guitar following the 2003 El Nogal Club bombing in Bogota.
  • January 29, 2017
    JujuP
    @Xtifr

    Nevertheless, it should provide the head quote.
  • January 29, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    @Xtifr
    ...missiles to planter-boxes...
    That's a good title, Missiles To Planter Boxes

    Anyway, has anyone checked out on the OP and their activities lately?
  • January 31, 2017
    Arivne
    ^ "Anyway, has anyone checked out on the OP and their activities lately?"

    The OP mythbuster last edited a work/trope page in 2014, but is currently active in the forums.
  • February 4, 2017
    Noah1
  • February 4, 2017
    zarpaulus
    • Other Schlock Mercenary examples:
      • At one point Kevyn converts their terapedo supply into a Very Large Array, placing them around a solar system and using their targeting sensors to survey it without giving out radar signals. Of course, they're still fully functional teleporting missiles, which is why he calls it a Very Dangerous Array.
      • Referenced by Petey when he sends the Tohdfraug invasion fleet to Andromeda to fight the Paanuri with no supply line and compares them to swords.
      Tohdfraug Admiral: "But if you break a sword through abuse or neglect, it's useless."
      Petey: "As a sword, yes. Eventually I'll be needing plowshares."
  • March 10, 2017
    Getta
    Maybe if it's taken from the Bible then I'm okay with the name...

    Compare Improbable Use Of A Weapon and Mundane Utility
  • March 12, 2017
    Arivne
    Since the title Swords Into Plowshares has been officially forbidden by the moderators as per No New Stock Phrases, I have changed it to the best proposed alternative Weapons To Tools.

    It can be changed to some other title before launch.
  • March 11, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Sure, why not? About the trenchcoats and neckties.
  • March 28, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Up For Grabs, anyone?
  • March 28, 2017
    Getta
    Since Internet and weapon factories aren't weapons but are of military use, should the name be changed? Or can they still be added as Tropes Are Flexible?
  • March 29, 2017
    alnair20aug93
  • March 29, 2017
    sarysa
    Only have an inversion (for Western Animation) but here goes:

    • Family Guy: Inverted in the Y2K-themed episode Da Boom, where Peter had all the post-apocalyptic town's irrigation pipes converted into guns. Ironically, the town was overrun as the guns were being melted down — presumably to be returned to tools.
  • March 29, 2017
    Malady
    If this is Up Gor Grabs, someone please note how this is different from Mundane Utility for weapons only. so we don't have to read all the comments?

    ... Turning the phrase into a link...

    • Fanfic.Dungeon Keeper Ami:
      • Time-accelerating Necromancy Spell for Crop Growth Acceleration...
      • Magic Electric Traps used as Power Source
  • March 29, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Like the example from the Bible, it's a sign of peace. Examples here follow the "peace" element.
  • April 10, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    In the meantime, would this be called "From Military to Mundane"?
  • April 10, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Perhaps
  • April 20, 2017
    Chabal2
    Invoked and inverted in Empire Earth 2 with the Plows to Spears infantry upgrade, although it doesn't affect to your farming speed.
  • April 20, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    Inverted on the national anthem of Costa Rica, which says that, should the nation be under threat, the nation's citizens will turn their ploughshares into swords.
  • April 25, 2017
    Gatomon41
    Downplayed example from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. The show has instances were weapons such as catapults, cannons, and even tanks are being used for games (like chucking pumpkins) or celebrating parties.
  • May 8, 2017
    hszmv1
    [1] How about Tactical To Practical? The show is obscure, but the phrase is catchy, describes what this trope is, and is... well... Practical.

    I'm not certain about Nuclear Power... I think it actually came first (or developed side by side with the Manhattan project). Reactors did need to work in order to prove concept and produce weapons grade plutonium and uranium. The first Reactor (Chicago Pile-1) came online in 1942. The first Atomic Bomb (Trinity) was detonated in 1945. Early atomic scientists concieved of both the Energy and Weapons aspect of the results of nuclear physics as far back as 1938, when fission was first proven to exist.
  • May 8, 2017
    hszmv1
    Also, under Yanks With Tanks, there's a list of modern tech that got it's start with military funding.

    • The true reason for the Space Race was so that Russian and United States could more openly test (and flaunt) their missal systems. The Saturn V rocket was the first rocket built exclusively for NASA purposes... this came almost a decade after shooting stuff into orbit. Some critics even find that specific treaties banning the weaponization of space have chilled the development of space flight and exploration, as they offer little in the way of research funding from militaries.
  • May 17, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
    • Halo 3 ODST: The M313 "Elephant", a military vehicle designed for mass troop deployment, is seen in the city of New Mombasa as the "Oliphant", repurposed into a garbage truck. Though smaller now and lacking weapons, the Oliphant is still durable enough to plow through cars and serve as a minor tank.
  • May 17, 2017
    Leporidae
    There seem to be a handful of inverted examples. Maybe there could be two sections? One for straight "Swords into Plowshares" examples and one for inverted "Plowshares into Swords" examples.
  • May 17, 2017
    Getta
    ^ I don't exactly mind.
  • May 17, 2017
    NightShade96
    • Discussed in The Heroes Of Olympus novel "The House of Hades", where Frank threatens that unless Triptolemus frees his friends, he will beat his sword into Triptolemus' head instead of beating it into a plowshare.
  • May 25, 2017
    Astaroth
    • In A Darkling Plain, Tom notes that the medical technology which diagnosed his weak heart was made from repurposed Stalker technology, which is typically used to turn corpses into military cyborgs.
  • May 28, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    Known Space: On the backstory of the Man-Kzin Wars saga, humanity had decided to become peaceful and gotten rid of all of its weapons, meaning that during the first encounters with the Kzin, the Earthlings had only unarmed vehicles and other civilian equipment... unfortunately for the Kzin, the fact that Humans Are Warriors means that they are also murderously adaptive, and Improvised Weaponry that was the result of on-the-spot Mac Gyvering was what killed those early Kzin war parties (one of the most famous instances being using a ship's fusion torch engine and the energy beam it fired off for propulsion to cut a Kzin ship in half ).
  • May 28, 2017
    Getta
    A variation of this is that when a simple tool in the current time is revealed to be a weapon in the past. Perhaps it's due to the current people finding a Lost Technology or alien tech without knowing its real purpose, only figuring out that it's an useful tool in some way.
  • June 8, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Bump.
  • June 8, 2017
    MazeMaker
    I have an example but I'm not sure if it counts. In the short story The Gun Without a Bang by Robert Sheckley, the protagonist is on maintenance job on some backwoods communications equipment on an alien planet, and for his protection he's armed with a prototype disintegration gun. The protagonist's ship gets destroyed in a battle with some wild dog-like aliens, and he's forced to survive in the wild for weeks or months. His prototype gun works, but it doesn't serve as a very good deterrent against the dog creatures (since it doesn't make a bang to scare them off). When the protagonist is finally found, his rescuers ask how the gun worked. He says he couldn't have survived without it, revealing that he had been using it as a hammer to drive sharp stakes into the ground to keep the dogs out.

    So this isn't so much a military technology being re-purposed for civilian use as a self defense weapon being used as a mundane tool in extenuating circumstances. Does that fit the essence of this trope, or no?
  • June 8, 2017
    Getta
  • June 9, 2017
    MazeMaker
    Ah, yeah, my example works way better there, thanks
  • June 20, 2017
    Gamermaster
  • June 20, 2017
    Getta
  • July 31, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    I was watching videos about castles, and do castles and fortresses that were converted to palaces and legitimate residences count?
  • August 1, 2017
    ANTMuddle
    Live-Action TV: The premise of the short-lived Tactical to Practical, hosted by Survivor: Marquesas alumnus and ex-naval aviator Hunter Ellis.
  • August 1, 2017
    AHI-3000
    I think I prefer the title "Swords to Plowshares".
  • August 1, 2017
    ANTMuddle
    OK, so now the dilemma: Military To Mundane, or Swords To Plowshares? What say the rest of you?
  • August 2, 2017
    Arivne
    ^^ ^ On August 12, 2015, the moderator Shimaspawn gave an official decision that Swords To Plowshares violates No New Stock Phrases. You can't name it that.
  • August 8, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Swords To Plowshares could be a redirect name. Anyway, does the page image fit the trope?
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