Upped for Grabs by Alnair. Changed Weapons To Tools to From Military To Mundane for now.
"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."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. The Trope Namer is The Bible.
— Isaiah 2:4 (KJV)
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Anime and Manga
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!'
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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):
- 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 swordsShun words of the Bible, we need implements of war
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