open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Read or Die: The leader of the I-jin has revealed himself, announced his Apocalypse How and revealed Nancy is Mata Hari and spying for them. In response, Gentleman informs Joker over the PA that Operation Manuscript Retrieval is suspended...
Joker: British Library Special Engineer Force, suspend Operation Manuscript Retrieval immediately. As of now, we begin "Operation Exterminate I-Jin Corps!" (cheers)
- Also a Crowning Moment of Awesome and Heartwarming Moment, Luffy and the crew (Mostly Sogeking) from One Piece declare war on the World Government by not only shooting the Government Flag, but burning it as well. As it stands atop a major governmental base. Being watched by hundreds of marines. All to send a message to Robin that they would never abandon her.
- Later, Admiral Kizaru is fighting with four of the most powerful rookie pirates in the world. He's clearly toying with them, but doesn't go for the finishing blow. Then one of them hits him with a surprise attack that cuts him in half and blows the pieces to smithereens. After he pulls himself back together, he's clearly had enough. He then declares the fight is over and dispatches them all in a matter of seconds.
- Luffy has now declared war on one of the Four Emperors, Big Mom.
- In Berserk, Guts gives a Rousing Speech variant of this against The Apostles and The Godhand after surviving The Eclipse.
- Volume 3 of Hellsing has Millenium essentially declare war on Hellsing when they openly send one of their operatives, backed up by troops from the local law enforcement, to attack Alucard and Seras, live on national television no less. Just in case they didn't get the message, Volume 4 has them send a messanger to Hellsing headquarters with a live link to the Major, so that he can pretty much say "Let's fight!".
- The homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist caused major problems for themselves because of this trope. Before Maes Hughes' death, Mustang knew pretty much nothing about the homunculi and consequently was not involved in trying to stop their evil schemes. The moment one of them killed Hughes, he quietly went into a sort of chronic Heroic B.S.O.D. mode and became such a danger to them that Lust finally decided he wasn't worth it as a sacrifice and simply tried to kill him.
- In Naruto, Tobi declares war on the entire ninja world after the Kages refusal to hand over Naruto and Bee, starting the fourth great ninja war.
- In A Certain Magical Index Last Order steals Misaka-10032's goggles and taunts her before running off. 10032 loads her submachine gun with (thankfully) rubber bullets and declares it's time for a revolution.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 2 (Battle Tendency), the vampire Straizo claims to have killed Robert E.O. Speedwagon. Joseph Joestar, who viewed Speedwagon as an uncle, responds by pulling a Tommy gun out of Hammer Space, giving the blood-sucker several dozen new orifices, and then issuing a declaration of war. Appropriately enough, Joseph is a Guile Hero who's occasionally been referred to as Japan's answer to Bugs Bunny.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, Joseph has a super move which re-creates this scene; its name is, of course, the same as this trope's.
- Cross Ange: After being publically humiliated, whipped, and nearly hanged in the hometown that once treasured her, and knowing that life as a Norma in Arzenal is a literally thankless dead end, Ange declares that she wants to destroy the entire world. Hilda, who was just rejected by her own mother, is only too happy to oblige.
- Played for drama in the Astro City story "Serpent's Teeth", when an alternate-timeline version of Jack-in-the-Box's son uses Jack's "Of course you realize, this means war" as motivation to become a Knight Templar on the city's criminals... without realizing Jack was quoting Bugs Bunny.
- In The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurf Threat", the Grey Smurfs send an Arrowgram to the Smurfs, warning them to surrender Hefty or else. Papa Smurf refuses to turn over Hefty to the Grey Smurfs, and the next Arrowgram reads something to the effect of "this means war" — with the next thing the Smurfs see is the Grey Smurfs surrounding the village.
- In the Supergirl/Green Lantern crossover Red Daughter of Krypton, when Atrocitus ravages planet Ysmault, poisons the Blood Lake, defaces their statues and destroys the Red Power Battery, Guy Gardner and his Red Lanterns know he has declared war on them.
- In the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), Rainbow Dash jokingly says this to Pinkie Pie at the slumber party when the latter initiates a pillow fight.
- In This Bites!, listening to the horror happening on the secret island has virtually every superpower in the world, from Whitebeard, to Ace, to Dragon, gunning to sink the island into the sea, with the Marines planning on sending every Buster Call they have to make sure. And even that pales in the face of Garp's rage.
- In How the Light Gets In this retroactively mused on. A recently resurrected Laurel isn't very surprised to learn that Dean hunted down, tortured, and killed her murdered in revenge.
"You can't murder a Winchester, leave the other ones standing, and have the audacity to expect to live. Do you know what Winchesters consider the murder of a family member? An act of war."
Films — Live-Action
- Duck Soup and the Marx Brothers used this as a Catchphrase well before Looney Tunes did. They even made a song out of it.
- Groucho alludes back to it in A Night at the Opera.
- In Chuck Norris movies, they'd abuse his woman, destroy his truck, and kick his dog... but when they messed with his hat, "Oh, it's on."
- Serenity: "So no more running. I aim to misbehave."
- Wrong Is Right: The US president uses this reason to invade the Middle East after 2 nuclear warheads are found in New York City. However, the film is a parody of Patriotic Fervor and Eagleland as the warheads were allowed into the city to ensure the president's re-election.
- The trope as used in the Looney Tunes cartoons is referenced in Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Daffy Duck says the exact phrase when Donald Duck drops a piano lid on his head during their
- Johnny Dangerously
- Layla, one of the characters in the superhero film Sky High (2005), won't use her powers except in self-defense, which means she gets relegated to the Sidekick track, constantly teased, and thought of as a complete wimp. Then one of the bad guys, convinced that their side is about to be victorious and not being able to resist, slaps her. "Big. Mistake."
- The Charge of the Light Brigade has a doozy from Lord Raglan, describing the outbreak of The Crimean War. Intended In-Universe as a Rousing Speech to his staff, it plays as a paranoid rant:
"This means war, gentlemen! Our passage to India is threatened, I should think, wouldn't you? The honour, the reputation, the glory of England is threatened. Our Queen's Majesty is sure to be threatened, she is... If the Turks go down like cards, flip-flop, then next up our own Solent, against our own Queen will come the Russians - ships and guns to rip our country into shame.
- One of the gangsters in When Darkness Falls says this word for word after they got thrown out of Aram's restaurant.
- Captain America: Civil War:
Steve Rogers: This doesn't have to end in a fight, Tony.Tony Stark: You just started a war!
- In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Arthur has no interest in being king despite being the rightful heir and finding out that Vortigern had murdered his parents. But then Vortigern murdered Arthur's adopted mother and his best friend.
Arthur:I'm going to kill him.
- Used with a Lampshade Hanging in Anansi Boys.
- The novel Point of Impact, made into a movie called Shooter, had Bob Lee Swagger get upset when they framed him for trying to kill the President and tried to kill him. But he really declared war when they killed his dog!
- The Dresden Files
- Dead Beat. After finishing the job he was forced into by the Black Court Vampire Mavra when she blackmailed Murphy, Harry said this and threatened that if she ever went after Murphy or any other of his friends again he would take up every weapon he has to his potential and go after her and kill her. It has so far been taken seriously as she hasn't reappeared since. Yet
- Fast forward to Changes: when his daughter, whom he didn't know about, was kidnapped by the Red Court, he showed that he hadn't been kidding with the above threat. He took up every weapon he had, including becoming the Winter Knight. The only ones he didn't pick up was the Darkhollow and the Denarius and he would have if it would have been necessary. When the dust had settled the Red Court was no more
- Happens a couple other times too. Molly getting dragged into Arctis Tor, the Nickelheads kidnapping Ivy, one side story when Michael's daughter is nearly killed, Bianca after Susan was turned... Let's face it. If you truly piss off Harry, stick you head between your knees and kiss your sorry ass goodbye.
- Also the Jerkass that dared to try and hit Mouse with a truck. Moral of the story kids? Never mess with Harry's True Companions.
- Though not in the literal sense, Anne Shirley, declares war on Gilbert Blythe after he teases her for her red hair by calling her "Carrots". She becomes his academic rival, and vows that she will always beat him and never forgive him. She eventually does forgive him, and goes one step further by marrying him.
- In the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, the section Of The Dwarves recounts how Thorin's grandfather went to Moria and was caught by orcs, who threw out his head with a purse of small coins stuffed in the mouth. The purse was taken to the Dwarf-king Nain who regarded it in silence for a day or two, then said "This cannot be borne". The dwarves suffered horribly in the years that followed, but the orcs of the Misty Mountains took a hiding.
- In Roman mythology an Etruscan Royal Brat decided it would be a good idea to rape a respectable Roman woman named Lucretia. Naturally this meant war. With Rome. As in the future most famous millitary power in civilization.
- In Mission of Honor, an entire treecat clan is wiped out during Oyster Bay. In A Rising Thunder it turns out that one member of the clan was visiting a neighboring clan and survived... and now the treecats have declared war on Mesa. For the uninitiated, a treecat is a telepathic, six-limbed, furry buzzsaw of DOOM.
- This is actually their general response to a threat. Treecats divide their enemies into two categories: those who have been dealt with and those who are still alive.
- Fattypuffs & Thinifers:
At that moment a soldier entered bearing a message from President Rugifer. It said that the proposal which he had sent by his secretary was the last he would make, that it was an ultimatum, that he gave the Fattypuffs ten minutes to accept it and that he had ordered his train and would leave immediately if his wishes were not complied with.
"This means war!" said Marshal Puff in despair.
"C'est la guerre!" repeated Professor Ramfatty with satisfaction.
- In the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, the Marquise de Merteuil replies to a letter from her unfaithful lover, the Vicomte de Valmont, in just four words: Hé bien! la guerre (Very well, it's war!). She then gets a rival to kill him in a duel.
- Doctor Who:
- The 10th Doctor in "The Idiot's Lantern".
The Doctor: The street. They left her in the street. They took her face, and just chucked her out and left her in the street. And as a result, that makes things... simple. Very very simple. Do you know why?
Inspector Bishop: No.
The Doctor: Because now, Detective Inspector Bishop, there is no power on this earth that can stop me!
- This a trait that all Doctors can show pieces of. Although they rarely use the word 'war', if you hurt anyone close to them, anyone they love, you will pay.
- Played straight as an arrow in the appropriately-titled Series Six midseason cliffhanger "A Good Man Goes to War".
- The title doesn't just describe the Doctor, but also Rory. After the Silence kidnapped Amy and his unborn baby, Rory immediately goes on the war-path, even going so far as to storm through a Cyberman warship and scaring the crap out of them for information.
Rory: Where! Is! My! WIFE?!
- Defied in the episode, "Doomsday":
Cyberman: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.
Dalek Sec: This is not war! THIS IS PEST CONTROL!
- The 10th Doctor in "The Idiot's Lantern".
- On Good Eats, host Alton Brown, in response to one of the Mad French Chef's declarations, said to the camera, "I hope he knows, this means war!" in a fake French accent.
- He also declares war on a cupcake shop that's run like a fancy restaurant, complete with a maitre'd taking reservations out front, saying that they're sucking all the joy out of cupcakes.
- Played with on Supernatural, when Dean tells Rufus, "It's war, you hear me? It's war!" The latter replies with, "You're damn right it is," before punching Dean in the face, not realizing that he actually meant War.
- In Gossip Girl's fourth season Chuck declares war on Blair after she drives Eva away, though one might wonder where he feels entitled to declare war over something like that after he sold Blair for a hotel and slept with her nemesis in the previous season. Chuck and Blair are then at war for a few episodes until Nate and Serena sit them down and write an actual legally binding peace treaty. These kids sure do take things seriously...
- On Boy Meets World, Rachel actually says these words after she fails to get Cory and Shawn in trouble for a prank they pulled on her. This leads to an Escalating War.
- Battlestar Galactica (2003). This quote is often used in trailers, fan-made or otherwise.
"This is the Commander. Moments ago, this ship received word of a Cylon attack against our homeworlds is under way. We do not know the size or the disposition or the strength of the enemy forces, but all indications point to a massive assault against Colonial defenses. Admiral Nagala has taken personal command of the Fleet aboard the battlestar Atlantia following the complete destruction of Picon Fleet Headquarters in the first wave of the attacks. "How? Why?" doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that as of this moment, we are at war. You've trained for this. You're ready for this. Stand to your duties, trust your fellow shipmates, and we'll all get through this. Further updates as we get them. Thank you."
- In the pilot of Star Trek: Voyager, the Kazon-Ogla make clear that they are not happy with Capt. Janeway destroying the Caretaker's space station, which not only keeps Voyager in the Delta Quadrant for the time being, but also prevents the Kazon them from using its power to bully the Ocampa. This would result in the Kazon-Ogla and later Kazon-Nistrim being the primary Arc Villains for the first two seasons.
Maje Jabin: You have made an enemy today.
- In Zoey 101, Zoey tries to avoid retaliation by the girls during the guys' Prank Week. Until she gets soaked by an extra-large water balloon:
''Allright. This. Means. War.
- In Babylon 5, after breaking away from Earth due to the unconstitutional and tyrannical rule of President William Morgan Clark, Babylon 5 essentially enters a cold war period with Earth that lasts through the second half of Season 3 and the first half of Season 4, until President Clark begins ordering ships to shoot on defenseless civilian and medical transports resulting in the murder of over 10,000 people. Captain Sheridan immediately declares that this is the last straw, and begins an offensive to liberate Earth.
Captain John Sheridan: Captain's personal log. September 2nd, 2261. Enough is enough!
- Occurs on an episode of Law & Order, about a person training children as anti-Terrorist Terrorists.
- Hed PE's song "War" begins with this line.
- Ill Niño's song "This Is War".
- Attack Attack! (the US band) released an album in 2012 titled "This Means War."
- Petra's 1987 album and single, "This Means War!"
- In In Nomine, the worst of all possible occurrences is the Archangel Novalis responding to something you've done with a frown and the quietly uttered phrase "Oh dear". Because when you get to the point where the Archangel of Flowers, heavenly incarnation of peace, love and forgiveness, decides that something has to be done about you, then you have really messed up.
- Novalis's followers are forbidden from engaging in unnecessary violence. She also has a subordinate Malakim - one of Heaven's mightiest warriors - who is the Angel of Necessary Violence. It can come as a great surprise when a known Angel of Flowers suddenly, with absolute surety, goes for the throat.
- In Traveller, the titular Travellers make sure to not do anything that louses up the Imperium's internal economic and political cohesion. Small wars between sub-states are ok; after all boys will be boys. But if you extend your war too far and bother your neighbors, use Weapons of Mass Destruction or otherwise become too much of a trouble then you will receive a visit from the Space Marines.
- In Shadowrun, a Fatwa was issued in Tehran against metahumans and the Awakened. In response, the Great Dragon Aden went there and made the declaration "if you desire war, then see what you would make war against!" He then proceeded to destroy the city. Personally.
- In It's Tough to be a Bug at the Disney Theme Parks, Hopper crashes Flik's presentation and states to the human audience how much he hates them for the way they've mass-murdered bugs and portrayed them as monsters, as well as declaring that he won't put up with humans any longer. He then exclaims, "THIS. MEANS. WAR!", before sending his army of bugs onto the audience.
- Subverted in The Godfather game. Shopkeepers and racket bosses will fight back if you apply too much pressure on them and you won't be able to get a payout from them... but since your pressure-application would probably have involved hitting them, shooting them, harming or killing innocents, all this does is mark them as Too Dumb to Live. Sure, you'll need to come back in a week's in-game time to try again should you kill them, but really, they knew what would ensue...
- In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police game Abe Lincoln Must Die!, The Soda Poppers, a triplet of Former Child Stars, have become governors of Dakota. You are supposed to rile up their latent Sibling Rivalry until:
Specs: Of course you realise. This means war!Peepers: WAR!Whizzer: WAR!
- In World of Warcraft, King Varian after the Wrathgate incident, and the subsequent Battle for the Undercity.
- "Hey, Kirby! This means war! If you can stack this many *'s, you win!"
- Played for Laughs in the Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC: By this stage a lot has been done to Shepard, and the plot is someone is trying to kill her/him, a Cerberus clone. S/he brushes off numerous insults, Kick the Dog moments and attempts on her/his life until the clone tries to dispose of Shepard's pet space hamster. S/he reacts the same as s/he does in regards to Batarian slavers, finding David Archer, and the renegade resolution to Tali's trial. Combined.
Shepard: They messed with my hamster, guys. Now it's personal.
- In Dragon Age II, Meredith's decision to issue the right of annulment on the Kirkwall Circle, despite having nothing to do with Anders' destruction of the Chantry causes the Mages in Kirkwall to finally have enough, with their rebellion either supported or quashed by Hawke. The events at Kirkwall later ripple across the face of Thedas and lead to other Circles rising up as a result, leading to the outbreak of open war, three years later.
- In Saints Row: The Third, Monica Hughes almost says this (her exact words are "this is war") when Killbane has the Hughes bridge destroyed.
- Travis Touchdown, in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, declares this after his best friend is murdered by hitmen who happen to be on the payroll of the number 1-ranked assassin.
Travis: "This isn't a battle anymore. It's a motherfucking war!"
- This is one of the things the Paperboy might say if he loses a life.
"You realize of course, this means war."
- In Final Fantasy XIV the Warrior of Light's story is filled with enough trauma to send most people over the deepend 10 times over (and it's noted at various points) but the Warrior of Light becomes notibly upset and enraged upon the death of Haurchefaunt, one of their closest friends, who dies to protect them. The responses the player can choose during cutscenes start to become noticeably more violent and angry in tone after this, calling for the killer's heart.
- Yoda quotes the trope verbatim (and Groucho Marx almost verbatim) in this episode of Darths & Droids.
Yoda: You realise... this means war.
- Sluggy Freelance:
Messenger: My King, [this letter's] from Warlord Torgamous. It says "Your mustache smells like parmesan."
Sighard Lionson: THIS MEANS WAR!
- Said verbatim by the Eddy the Wizard in Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic after having his beard tied to a tree branch.
- Chaos of Life and Death almost does this, but doesn't due to a coin toss. But still, you have to wonder. How indirect can he get?
- The Whiteboard: After digging out from beneath a whole bunch of snow dumped on her, Kasi informs Doc "You realize, of course... that this means War."
- After being turned into a goth chick in one of the Newspaper arcs, Raven in El Goonish Shive responded by threatening the author with "to quote a rabbit who was quoting Groucho Marx, of course you know this means war."
- Looney Tunes:
- A traditional Bugs Bunny Catchphrase ("Of course you realise, dis means war!") — any time Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam or some other
buffoonmaroon harasses him to this point.
- Foghorn Leghorn made that same declaration after he was cocooned in his lovely beach umbrella by his eternal nemesis the Barnyard Dog ("of course you know, this means war").
- In one Elmer Fudd short, an ant says this after Elmer harassed some ants with firecrackers.
- A traditional Bugs Bunny Catchphrase ("Of course you realise, dis means war!") — any time Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam or some other
- Bugs Bunny's Tiny Toon Adventures counterpart Buster Bunny would say "It's time to party - Buster-style!" in the same kind of situation that would prompt Bugs declaring war on whoever's provoked his ire.
- The Animaniacs episode "King Yakko" has the bad guy say "this means war" when his first attempt to take over Anvilania fails. However, he was holding his hands over his head when he said it, leading to Yakko's rejoinder:
Yakko: "I thought that meant 'touchdown'."
Slappy: If I was a better person, I'd ignore this and move on with my life. But I'm not!
- Slappy Squirrel (who is a clear expy of the likes of Screwy Squirrel, Bugs Bunny and the may other characters who embodied this trope in the golden age of animation) will make your life hell if you cross her, even if it's just for petty issues. Just ask the neighbor she drove to insanity because said neighbor wouldn't let her throw away a soda can in her trash.
Yakko: Of course you realize, this means Warners.
- In the segment "O Silly Mio", Yakko, Walking, and Dot are pushed far when an opera singer constantly ignores their request to tone her voice down. Bonus points for the pun.
- In some old Disney toons, Donald Duck would utter "That's the last straw!" before getting medieval on the ass of whoever dared to push his Berserk Button way too much.
- Family Guy:
- In one episode, Lois gets splashed on by a car driven by her rival, who constantly beats her for the award for best piano student. Needless to say, This Means War.
- In another episode, a bomb blows up in Meg's face, which leads to her suddenly having a duck bill backwards on her head... exactly like what happens to Daffy Duck in Looney Tunes. She then says, "Of course you realize, this means war!".
- Brian in "Halloween on Spooner Street", when he tried to reason with the bullies who took Stewie's candy, only for them to dye his fur pink.
- In DuckTales (1987), Fenton Crackshell (prior to his becoming Gizmoduck) declares to the Beagle Boys, "Of course you realize, this means . . . a skirmish."
- Tarantulas mutters it in an episode of Beast Wars, after Blackarachnia turns on him (again).
- During one of the "Spacecataz" segments, Oglethorpe and Emory have the following discussion after the Mooninites expose themselves at them:
Emory: Hey, maybe we should just back off. I mean, this is how fight starts.Oglethorpe: This is not a fight... THIS IS A WAR!
- Popeye in the face of abuse, he would finally roar, "I've had all that I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"
- Non-humorous example on Gargoyles. When Xanatos turns Derek into a mutate, Elisa tells him that it's war now, and that she won't give up until she gets him back for it. It escalates to the point where when Fox turns into a werefox, Xanatos has to beg Elisa for help, and even then Goliath had to talk it over with her in private before she'd do it.
- In The Smurfs episode "All's Smurfy That Ends Smurfy", the fairy Prince Garth declares war on the Smurfs for supposedly stealing their gold, which turns out to be the work of Gargamel.
- Used somewhat frequently in SpongeBob SquarePants
[washes the plate but the spot is still on there]SpongeBob: You're a tough little guy, aren't ya?[tries to clean it some more but it's not coming off]SpongeBob: This means war!
- The episode "The Battle of Bikini Bottom" revolves around SpongeBob and Patrick having a "war" over cleanliness and dirtiness.
- In "The Krusty Plate" Spongebob is instructed to wash a plate and the fallowing scene ensues.
- In The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Kootie Pie, upset at being insulted by Bully, yells this before starting a garbage fight.
- Variations of this phrase (one of which is in the Quotes section) are used in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, often Punctuated! For! Emphasis!.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "From Here to Ed", after Kevin wrecks Eddy's latest scam, the Ed declares war on him.
Eddy: I hope you're a light sleeper, 'cause I'll be all over you like a bad itch! It's war, I tell you!
- Cobra Commander declares this when he emerges from the wreckage of his mansion badly scarred in G.I. Joe: Renegades.
Cobra Commander: They want to start a war with Cobra? Then Cobra will finish it...
- Samurai Jack: In the episode "Jack and the Scotsman", the Scotsman seemed to be rather enjoying himself squaring up against Jack... until Jack stabs his bagpipes, at which point he starts going all-out with his attacks.
The Scotsman: (calmly) You’ve done it now.
- Ben 10: Alien Force: After Rath forces his way into his mouth to rescue the Tiffin, Jarett of Pantophage declares with his broken teeth "Certainly you realize that this means war!" However, Rath threatening to knit his intestines into a sweater put those plans to an end.
- South Park: In "The Passion of the Jew", Stan and Kenny hated "The Passion of the Christ" so they go to Mel Gibson's house to demand their money back. Then they find out who Gibson really is...
Stan: Dude, this guy is freaking daffy!Mel Gibson: How DARE you call me crazy! This means war! (whoops like a Native American and starts shooting Stan and Kenny)
- The immediate lead-up to and course of World War I is famously complicated, but suffice it to say that this phrase got tossed around a whole lot right after Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, as pretty much everyone wanted a war.
- Austria-Hungary (Central Powers) wanted to crush Serbia's military Junta and end their campaign of state-sponsored terrorism by replacing them with a stable and peaceful government.
- Russia (Entente) was unwilling to look bad on the international stage by refusing to support Serbia after so many perceived humiliations in recent decades, wanted to expand her influence in The Balkans, was sure she could defeat Austria-Hungary, and was confident France would help if Germany got involved.
- Germany (Central Powers) was deeply pessimistic about her chances in a war with France and Russia and hated to be dragged into a war over something as stupid as this, but was terrified of facing them alone.
- France (Entente) was supremely confident that her army was the best in Europe, wanted to conquer Alsace-Lorraine, cynically noted that now was the best time for a warnote , and knew that this was her best chance to get Russia on her side in a war against Germany (since it involved Russian interests, whereas if it only involved French interests then Russia couldn't be counted on to join).
- Britain (Entente) was looking for a convenient 'out' to dangerous levels of popular unrest at home and jumped at the chance to grab German colonies and German ships and devastate Germany's economy. But the Cabinet was still divided over getting involved and the waverers staked their involvement a cause that opinion polls told them the British Public would back - guaranteeing Belgian Neutrality (and, indirectly, upholding the post-Great War European order that Britain had helped shape in 1815).
- The Ottoman Empire (eventually Central Powers) was deeply divided on which side (if any) to support, with even the military being split. The army was heavily pro-German, while the navy was just as heavily pro-British. But then Britain seized a pair of battleships they'd been building for the Ottomans to bolster their own fleet; while the contract allowed for this in wartime emergencies, this outraged the Turkish people who had helped pay for the ships via donations when the Ottoman navy had proved unable to afford the full purchase price. The Germans capitalized by giving one of their battlecruisers (for free!) to the Ottomans (but with the crew remaining entirely German; this would soon become very important), decisively pulling them into the Central Powers camp.
- Russia (Entente) wanted the end of the Ottoman Empire and chunks of Ottoman territory. When Germany ordered the German crew of an Ottoman Navy ship (see above) to bombard Russian ports, Russia refused the Ottomans' apology and declared war on them.
- Yuan Shikai's China (Entente) wanted German Qingdao.
- Japan (Entente) wanted German Qingdao, and German Pacific Territories.
- Italy (Entente, 1915) wanted large chunks of Austro-Hungarian territory that the latter was not willing to give her.
- Bulgaria (Central Powers, 1915) wanted parts of Serbia and Rumania.
- Rumania (Entente, 1916) wanted parts of Hungary and Bulgaria.
- The USA (Entente, 1917) wanted a say in the post-war peace settlement without sacrificing too many of her own people. It also wanted to make sure it and its bankers got paid (many if not most of the belligerents had borrowed heavily from the US).
- On October 28, 1940, the Italian Ambassador to Greece presented a three-hour ultimatum to Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas, demanding that Italian troops be allowed free passage to unspecified strategic points throughout Greek territory. Today, Greeks acclaim Metaxas' reply via "Ohi Day," or "No! Day," but Metaxas' actual response was "Alors, c'est la guerre!" note
- The picture above is the USS Arizona burning in Pearl Harbor. Japanese Naval Marshal General Isoroku Yamamoto is alleged to have said:
"I fear that all we have done is awakened a sleeping giant, and filled it with a desire for vengeance."
- Although he probably didn't say those exact words, he did think that way... and he was right.
- It's also worth noting that in fact he may have realized that the most important thing to do from Japan's perspective was to destroy the U.S. Aircraft Carriers, which they were unable to do as they were at sea and all they had really accomplished was to destroy some battleships that the Americans didn't greatly rely on anyway.
- President Roosevelt said something more true to the trope title: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy..." If this doesn't sound badass to you, remember what "infamy" means: what he essentially said was "This Is Unforgivable!, and we shall never forget it." Less than one hour after those words were spoken, America officially declared war.
- Charles Francis Adams was the American ambassador to England during The American Civil War. He was convinced that a British company was building warships for the Confederacy. He sent a series of notes to the British Foreign Minister insisting that the British government stop this, since England was supposed to be neutral. The last note contained the sentence: "It would be superfluous of me to point out to your Lordship that this is war." The British government bought the ships in question.
- While not a formal declaration of war, when the government began executing the handful of captured rebel leaders of the Dublin Shoot-out/'Easter Rising' on the grounds that they'd crossed a line by killing innocent people, well-known (Irish) 'Home Rule' supporter John Dillon rushed to London and warned Asquith (Prime Minister of the time) to halt the executions, saying: "You are washing our whole life work in a sea of blood." This was promptly ignored, and over time public opinion in the city and the rest of west-Britain came down on the side of the killers who hadn't been in uniform.
- Before the Six Day War, Israel specifically said that blocking the Straits of Tiran meant this. They weren't kidding.
- Likewise several maritime powers have a standing "This Means War" on anyone who captures Istanbul. The reason for this is that Constantinople keeps the Russian fleet bottled up in the Black sea.
- The Latin phrase for this is Casus Belli and this is the version often used in diplo-speak. Actually it sounds scarier in English then in Latin despite the reputation of the original Latin speakers.
- After the attack on Saguntum in the beginning of the Second Punic War the Roman ambassador to Carthage went before the Carthaginian Senate and said that he carried in the folds of his toga peace or war and demanded that they choose. The Carthaginians said "you choose". So the Roman said he let fall war. And the Carthaginians said, "We accept it".
- After having given Hitler what he wanted again and again, Britain and France finally drew a line in the sand after the Munich agreement and said that an attack on Poland would the final straw. When Hitler decided to attack Poland on September 1 1939 even Neville Chamberlain finally had enough and Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany two days later. It still took months for even an attempt at an Anglo-French offensive against the Nazis, though.