- A two for one: this duel of words between King Philip II of France and Richard I of England, outside the walls of Château Gaillard:
: If its walls were iron, yet would I take it
: If these walls were butter, yet would I hold them
- For the record, Philip took the castle.
- The Soviet song В Путь ("To the road!" or "Onwards!") written after World War II contains one of these. It's even more badass when it rhymes in the original Russian:
Let our enemies remember this:
We are not threatening, but merely saying:
We crossed half the world
And if necessary we will do it again.
- The Argentine national anthem's last verse:
''May our laurels be eternal
Well, we knew how to fetch them:
Let us all live crowned with Glory
Or with Glory, let's swear to die
- The national anthem of Romania has some pretty damn badass lyrics, from beginning to end. But perhaps the best part has to be the second verse:
Look down, great shades of Mihai, Stefan, and Corvinus
Upon the Romanian nation, your great-grandchildren.
With swords in their hands and your heroism in their veins,
"Live free or die", shout all.
- Vietnam's national anthem would like to have a word with their comrades.
The flag printed in victorious blood carries the soul of the nation,
Guns from afar crowd together in an army's marching song.
The road towards glory is built with enemy corpses.
- Vietnam's first Declaration of Independence, contained in four lines of poetry. It was recited before and during battles when Lý forces were fighting off Song forces to boost morale.note
Southern emperors dwell in these Southern lands, mountains, and rivers,
It was clearly allotted thus in heavens' books.
How dare enemies trespass?
You will be completely routed!
- Douglas MacArthur was chased out of the Philippines and down to Australia by the Japanese invaders, he greeted the press in Terowie with the furious promise: "I came out of Bataan, and I shall return!" On the 20th of October 1944, he led 200,000 US soldiers in the first phase of the islands' liberation. That night, he broadcast again from Leyte:
People of the Philippines, I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil. Soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated, and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your people. The hour of your redemption is here!
- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy had this to say during the 1930s, when he argued against joining the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy because it was against Japan's interests and against war with the United States because it was a stupid idea, and as a result was sent death threats and hate mail, some of it from the Imperial Japanese Army, who actually sent men to spy on him for his own "protection":
One man's life or death is a matter of no importance. All that matters is the Empire. As Confucius said, "They may crush cinnabar, yet they do not take away its color; one may burn a fragrant herb, yet it will not destroy the scent." They may destroy my body, yet they will not take away my will.
- Admiral Yi Sun-Sin of Korea, after being ordered to disband the Navy due to his successor/predecessor's miserable loss to the Japanese Navy, replied to King Seonjo with a letter.
Yi: ...your servant still doth have twelve warships under his command and he is still alive, that the enemy shall never be safe in the West Sea.
- This supremely badass and righteous quotation from Itzhak Katzenelson, one of the participants in the futile Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, when the last 1200 Polish Jews stood against the SS forces occupying Warsaw rather than be deported to Auschwitz and held out for almost a month.
Though it be to die, we will fight.
We fight not for ourselves, but for future generations.
Although we will not live to see it.
Our murderers will pay for their crimes after we are gone. And our deeds will live forever.
- A comic example is the WWII British marching song, "We're Going to Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line", which mocks Germany's grandiose name for its defenses:
"We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line,
Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?
We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line,
Cause the washing day is here."
"Whether the weather may be wet or fine,
We just rub along without a care!
We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line,
If that Siegfried Line's still there!"
- "Am Yisrael Chai!" - "The children of Israel still liveth!" Generally a way of saying, coldly, "We're still here, despite everything." Fittingly, the Jewish chaplain to the British Second Army, Leslie Hardman, used it to conclude his service to the liberated inmates of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 20, 1945.
- John F. Kennedy's speech at Rice University was one on behalf of NASA and, by extension, the human spirit:
"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
- Nelson Mandela:
- At the Rivonia Trial, when just about everyone — including himself — thought he was facing the hangman for his part in organizing uMkhonto we Sizwe's terrorist campaign (which killed 50 civilians) in South Africa, had this to say:
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
- Later, after his release:
Our march to freedom is irreversible.
- At his inauguration:
Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.
Let freedom reign!
The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
God bless Africa!
- Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris had a decent line in these:
- Even Denmark delivered one during the Second World War, courtesy of their King Christian X. The occupying Nazi force insisted on hoisting the swastika flag over the royal palace in Copenhagen. The king, who actually was a war prisoner, protested and said he would send a soldier up to lower that flag and hoist the Danish standard. When the German officer threatened to shoot the soldier who dared the attempt, the king allegedly said:
Then you have to aim well, because that soldier will be me!
- Josip Broz "Tito" once sent Stalin a telegram which read:
"Stop sending people to kill me. We've already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle ... If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won't have to send another."
- Tito died in 1980; Stalin died in 1953 — and Stalin was only 12 years older. Think about that.
- Fourteenth-century French noblewoman turned pirate admiral Jeanne de Clisson, whose husband was betrayed and executed for treason by the French crown, to the sole survivor she always made sure to leave after taking a French ship:
"Tell the King of France that the Lioness of Brittany is coming for him."
- "The more numerous your enemies, the greater your honor." — Charles X Gustavus of Sweden. Under his lifetime he was nearly constantly at war, fighting Denmark, Russia, and Poland at the same time (gaining nearly half of Denmark's territory and inflicting enough damage on Poland so that the Poles could only win a Pyrrhic Victory) while also mopping up in Germany, so he should know.
- Christopher Hitchens: "I am not fighting cancer. Cancer is fighting me."
- Yuri Gagarin made one on his return to Earth when he was first discovered and mistaken for an alien.
Stunned farmer: Can it be that you have come from outer space?
Gagarin: As a matter of fact, yes.
- The SAS, the first modern special forces regiment and archetypal badasses, have one as their motto: "Who dares, wins." This is set underneath a flaming Excalibur set on a crusader shield. When the Brits with Battleships do badass, they don't mess around.
- Most heroes of American folklore, Davy Crockett (legendary version and the real man), Mike Fink, John Henry, Pecos Bill, etc., had a version of this, often called brags.
- These are based, at least part, in the brags of Ohio and Mississippi River boatmen, who were well-known for colorful and elaborate boasts, before fights (a major source of entertainment and betting). Examples: "My daddy can whip any man in (your area), and I can whip my pa!", "I can wrassle a buffalo and chaw the ear off a grizzly!", etc.
- During a parley with Andrew Jackson, one Crow chieftain with mixed ancestry said something to the effect of, "I got Scots in me, I got Iroquois in me, I got French in me...", and so on through a list of both White nations and Indian tribes. Then he closes with, "...but I ain't got no damn Yankee in me!"
- For Davy Crockett:
"I'm that same David Crockett, fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without scratch down a honey locust; can whip my weight in wild cats, — and if any gentleman pleases, for a ten-dollar bill, he may throw in a panther,— hug a bear too close for comfort, and eat any man opposed to Jackson."
- And for Mike Fink:
"I'm a Salt River roarer! I'm a ring-tailed squealer! I'm a reg'lar screamer from the ol' Massassip'! WHOOP! I'm the very infant that refused his milk before its eyes were open, and called out for a bottle of old Rye! I love the women an' I'm chockful o' fight! I'm half wild horse and half cock-eyed alligator and the rest o' me is crooked snags an' red-hot snappin' turkle. I can hit like fourth-proof lightnin' an' every lick I make in the woods lets in an acre o' sunshine. I can out-run, out-jump, out-shoot, out-brag, out-drink, an' out-fight, rough-an'-tumble, no holts barred, ary man on both sides the river from Pittsburgh to New Orleans an' back ag'in to St. Louiee. Come on, you flatters, you bargers, you milk-white mechanics, an' see how tough I am to chaw! I ain't had a fight for two days an' I'm spilein' for exercise. Cock-a-doodle-do!"
- The Duke of Marlborough before the Battle of Blenheim: "Here I conquer or here I die."
- Patrick Henry in a speech given at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia on March 23, 1775:
"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
- During his political battle against the Second Bank of the United States, Andrew Jackson proclaimed to his vice president, Martin Van Buren: "The bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me but I will kill it!"
- He returned to this in his last words: "I killed the bank."
- These words could only have been spoken by a man whose only language was ham.
"Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, bringing his fist down on the table I will rout you out!"
- Written about Jackson in the song "The Hunters of Kentucky" referring to his impressive victory in the Battle of New Orleans:
I s'pose you've read it in the prints
How Pakenham attempted
To make Old Hickory Jackson wince
But his scheme soon repented
For he with rifle ready cocked
Thought such occasion lucky
And soon around Old Jackson flocked
The hunters of Kentucky!
- Then there's his (sadly, quite possibly apocryphal) comment to John Calhoun during the Nullification Crisis: "John Calhoun, if you secede from my nation I will secede your head from the rest of your body."
- Admiral David G. Farragut, upon being warned about mines (called "torpedoes" back then) in the water at the Battle of Mobile Bay, responded (roughly): "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!"
- Warned nothing, one of his ships (the monitor USS Tecumseh) had just struck one and sunk. This caused the ship in front of his flagship to stop, right under the guns of a Rebel fort. The historical quote is properly two separate quotes: "Damn the Torpedoes!" to the captain of the USS Brooklyn (the guy who had stopped), and "Four bells" (which was the naval order for maximum power) to the captain of his flagship, the USS Hartford. Captain Percival Drayton then took the Hartford right past the Brooklyn and into the minefield. No other Union ships were sunk, and after several days of fierce fighting, Admiral Farragut won the battle.
- General Pedro María Anaya to the general demanding he turn over the fort's ammo after the Battle of Churubusco ended: "Si yo hubiera tenido parque, usted no estaría aquí (If I had any ammunition left, you would not be here)".
- The Brag was a tradition of the Scandinavian warriors. When going into battle, a warrior would "brag" about what feats he'd do in the upcoming battle, and his fellow warriors would hold him to this boast. If the warrior did not deliver in his brag, he'd be killed by his fellows, unless he died trying, in which case he'd be honored as one of the noble slain and burned in a funeral pyre so his spirit would go to Valhalla - a literal case of "Put up, or shut up."
- Invoked and Subverted by a (supposed) real-life example. A student is taking a test but goes over the acceptable time. The professor refuses to accept it. Three times the student asks the professor if he knows who he is, in stronger language each time; each time the professor replies 'no'. Finally, the student says "Good!" shoves the test into the middle of the stack, and walks away.
- Invoked and possibly parodied by the Church of the Subgenius. It's highly entertaining either way.
- "From youth my heart has been inclined toward the Way of strategy. My first duel was when I was thirteen, I struck down a strategist of the Shinto school, one Arima Kihei. When I was sixteen I struck down an able strategist, Tadashima Akiyama. When I was twenty-one I went up to the capital and met all manner of strategists, never once failing to win in many contests. After that I went from province to province dueling with strategists of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as many as sixty encounters. This was between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight or twenty-nine." From The Book Of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.
- After the American Civil War, the Union had one of these as a song:
So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main,
Treason fled before us for resistance was in vain,
While we were marching through Georgia.
- In his second campaign for reelection, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech immediately following an assassination attempt. His opening statement was "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."
- And of course, what Vice President Marshall said upon hearing about Roosevelt's passing. "Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight."
- This was a common pre-battle ritual for samurai, which bit them in the bum when they came up against Kublai Khan's Mongol host, who of course had no concept of the formal traditions of battle the Japanese had practised during centuries of fighting themselves. When the Japanese drew up their battle lines and sent forth their herald to read the formal Badass Boast and ritual insult of the enemy, the Mongols simply shot the guy and charged. Fortunately for Japan, a freak typhoon later sunk the colossal navy Khan had sent to conquer them, thwarting his attempt and forever entering the Japanese psyche as "Kamikaze", the Divine Wind.
- This actually happened twice, a second time after the Mongols had already crushed the first line of defence on the actual islands of Japan. After the second invasion was obliterated by storm, the Mongols apparently decided that while the enemy troops were easy, their gods were a pain in the neck.
- "If the Army and the Navy / ever look on Heaven's scenes / They shall find the streets are guarded by / The United States Marines."
"We stole the Eagle from the Air Force, the Anchor from the Navy, and the Rope from the Army. On the seventh day while God rested, we overran his perimeter, stole the Globe, and we've been running the whole show ever since. We live like soldiers, talk like sailors, and slap the hell out of both of them. Warriors by day, lovers by night, professionals by choice, and Marines by the grace of God."
- Upon being shown a flamethrower for the first time, he is reported to have asked where the bayonet was meant to be attached.
- Once, on an inspection tour, he demanded to be taken to the Brig so he could meet the "real Marines".
- Military running cadences are traditionally filled with badass boasts. This is especially true of those used within the Marines:
"Hey there Army
! / Get in your tanks and follow me! / I am Marine Corps infantry!
- They'll even boast about family members:
"My grandmamma was 92! / She could PT
better than you!
- "Μολὼν λαβέ" ("Come and take them") — Leonidas at Thermopylae, when asked to give up his weapons. That's "Molon labe" for those who can't understand Greek writing.
- Μολὼν λαβέ is currently the Badass Creed of the Greek First Army Corps, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).
- Also said at Thermopylae by Dienekes, a Spartan warrior, when informed that the Persians' arrows would block out the sun: "So much the better... then we shall fight our battle in the shade."
- The Spartans have a long history of this sort of thing. When Philip II of Macedon sent a message to Sparta saying "If I enter Laconia, I will level Sparta to the ground," The Spartans' response was one word: "If." Later, Philip II sent another message to Sparta, asking if they would rather have him come as friend or foe; the Spartan reply was, "Neither." note
- The Spartans invented short but sweet Badass boasts. Notice the name of their county, Laconia. Seem ...familiar?
- Themistocles, another hero from the Greco-Persian Wars, also had some good ones:
- During a council taking place at Salamis, he talked before Euribiades, which angered general Adeimantos and told him that those who start the race before the signal are getting beaten. Themistocles replied that those who start the race late don't win the medal.
- Later, when Adeimantos insulted him by calling him and the Athenians stateless, because Athens was burned down by King Xerxes, Themistocles, frustrated, told him that they had a country. Their ships! And if they wanted, they could sail to Italy and leave the Greek army without a naval.
- The men of the small Texas town of Gonzalez used a variant of this when the Mexican army tried to repossess their cannon: "Come And Take It". They later carried that banner — and attitude — to the Alamo. American frontiersmen were like that. Gonzalez still has the cannon, and the flag, which still says 'Come And Take It'. They have a parade every year. (A very small one, it's a pretty small town.)
- Suleiman the Lawgiver, the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire, signed his letters by titling himself
The lord of the realms of the Romans, and the Persians and the Arabs, hero of all that is, pride of the arena of earth and time!
Of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea;
Of the glorified Kaaba and the illuminated Medina, the noble Jerusalem and the throne of Egypt, that rarity of the age;
Of the province of Yemen, and Aden and Sana, and of Baghdad the abode of rectitude, and Basra and al-Hasa and the Cities of Nushirivan;
Of the lands of Algiers and Azerbaijan, the steppes of the Kipchak and the lands of Tartars;
Of Kurdistan and Luristan, and of the countries of Rumelia and Anatolia and Karaman and Wallachia and Moldavia and Hungary all together, and of many more worthy kingdoms of countries.
Sultan and Padishah.
- That was actually his short title. The full one is this:
His Sacred and Imperial Majesty Sultan Suleiman Khan,
Sovereign of the House of Osman,
Sultan of Sultans,
Khan of Khans,
Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe,
Custodian of the Holy Sanctuaries of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem,
Caesar of Rome,
Emperor of The Three Cities of Constantinople, Adrianople, and Bursa, and of the Cities of Damascus and Cairo,
Of all Azerbaijan, of the Magreb, of Barka, of Kairouan, of Aleppo,
Of the Arabic and the Persian Iraq, of Basra, of Al-Hasa strip, of Ar Raqqah, of Mosul,
Of Diyarbakır, of Cilicia, of the provinces of Erzurum, of Sivas, of Adana, of Karaman, of Van,
Of Barbary, of Abyssinia, of Tunisia, of Algiers, of Tripoli, of Damascus, of Cyprus, of Rhodes, of Crete,
Of the province of the Morea,
Of the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and also their coasts,
Of Anatolia, Rumelia, Baghdad, Kurdistan, Greece, Turkistan, Tartary, Circassia,
Of the two regions of Kabarda, of Georgia, of the Steppe of Kypchaks, of the whole country of the Tatars,
Of Kefe and of all the neighboring regions,
Of the City and Fort of Belgrade, of the province of Serbia, with all the castles and cities,
Of all Albania
Of all Eflak and Bogdania, as well as all the dependencies and borders, and many other countries and cities.
- Speaking of Ottoman sultans, the letter of Sultan Mahmud IV to the Zaporogian Cossacks. And, topping that, the Cossacks' reply.
- That reply is probably a fake, though.
- Atahualpa, the final sovereign emperor of the Inca empire, had such a (possibly ahistorical) boast to the Spanish when they told him his land had been granted to them by the Pope:
"Your emperor may be a great prince; I do not doubt it, seeing that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters; and I am willing to treat him as a brother. As for your pope of whom you speak, he must be mad to speak of giving away countries that do not belong to him. As for my faith, I will not change it. Your own God, as you tell me, was put to death by the very men He created. But my God still looks down on His children."
- Things... didn't go so well for him after that. But it was still an awesome Badass Boast.
- During his conquest of the Aztec Empire, Hernán Cortés had to defeat the army of the Governor of Cuba, which was sent after him. He bested them, even outnumbered and outgunned, AND convinced the survivors to join him. Accounts say that the army's general spoke to him like this:
General: Mister Cortez, it is a great victory for you to capture me.
- Muhammad Ali. That man only spoke in Badass Boast.
- Julius Caesar: "Veni, vidi, vici." ("I came. I saw. I conquered.") . Caesar's report on the Pontus war sent to the Senate. Also posthumous Take That! against Pompey the Great, who got a bit tangled in the previous war in that zone.
- Many great people have made their own quotes basing on this. For example, king of Poland, John III, after massacring the Turks at Vienna and breaking their power forever, send all their banners to the Pope along with the letter:
Veni, vidi, Deus vicit (I came, I saw, God conquered).
- Robert A. Heinlein quipped, "I came, I saw, She conquered. (Something seems to have been lost in the original translation...)"
- After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, one slogan used by the Royal Navy was Venit, vidit, fugit. "They came, they saw, they fled."
- People born and bred in Falkirk, UK, are known as "The Bairns of Falkirk". The town motto is "Touch ane, touch a'" and the Bairns are keen on the saying, "Better meddle with the Devil than the Bairns of Falkirk".
- The McPherson clan motto, "Touch not the cat but a glove", refers to McPherson as a wildcat. When its claws are unsheathed, (without the glove), well... tomfoolery will not be met with kindness.
- Most Scottish Clan mottoes pretty much boil down to, "Oi! You think you're hard enough?" in Latin or Scots Gaelic. My own family's motto, "Gang Warily", roughly translates as, "Watch your step", and only partly refers to us introducing the caltrop to Scottish warfare.
- My family's motto is "Audentes Fortuna Juvat." The translation is "Fortune favors the bold."
- "...we are Sherpas and we have never willingly let anyone die on a mountain. It is not our way..." (Tenzing Norgay's grandson rallying disgruntled porters.)
- "The wolves will eat well this year" (Finnish officer surveying his army's handiwork during the Winter War)
- When Stalin made his demands known the Finns cried out "They are so many and our country is so small. Where will we bury them all?" Finns don't really boast.
- Seems that that's one of the better boasts. When you recall that they had a single guy with over 700 kills, it's not an idle one, either.
German General: "If there were 50 million Finns we would share the world together with you."
Finnish General Paavo Talvela: "If there were 50 million Finns... what makes you think we would share anything with you?"
Khrushchev: "Dear Brother what do you say about finally removing the border between out nations as proof of our friendship?"
Kekkonen: "Unfortunately i must say no dear Brother. I cannot possibly govern a country that big."
- From The Napoleonic Wars:
- Napoleon himself had this one when France had to face invasion in 1814: "The cannonball that will kill me has not been molded yet!".
- Previously, in 1798, at the start the Battle of the Pyramids during France's invasion of Egypt:
"Forward! Remember that from those monuments yonder forty centuries look down upon you."
- The Viscount Pierre Cambronne, Napoleon's Old Guard commander at the battle of Waterloo, is usually quoted as saying after the battle, "The Guard dies, but does not surrender!". That's badass enough, yet what he actually said in the heroic Last Stand of the Old Guard was even more so:
- Somewhat subverted in that he survived the carnage and surrendered anyway.
- To this day, "merde" is sometimes known as "le mot de Cambronne" ("Cambronne's word").
- Marshal Lefebvre, one of Napoleon's senior generals. One of his dinner guests supposedly expressed envy of his wealth. Lefebvre's response was to offer to take him outside and take twenty shots at him from thirty paces; if the guest survived it would all be his. Unsurprisingly, he declined. "I had a thousand bullets fired at me from much closer range before I got this," said Lefebre. Most other French generals could have said the same.
- King Shulgi of Urim is known today only for the magnificent Badass Boast he left behind him.
- One very obvious joke (but no less badass) apparently did the rounds of the Israelis with Infrared Missiles after the Six-Day War:
"And on the seventh day, we rested."
- One time, Genghis Khan had his horse shot under him during a clan war. After the fighting, he assembled the prisoners and asked who had done that. One of the prisoners said, "It was I." After that Ghenghis Khan rewarded him. He may have been ruthless sometimes but he did have style at other times.
- General Allenby made a Badass Antiboast. By tradition only a conqueror gets to ride into Jerusalem on a horse, at least until Kaiser Wilhelm II insisted to ride just as a dignified visitor in 1898. Allenby of course was a conqueror . But what he did was dismount and walk in saying, "I will not ride where Christ has walked."
- The next conqueror of course was Moshe Dayan. He didn't ride in, but he didn't stop to remind people that he was not riding in the way Allenby did, which is really too bad. Perhaps he hadn't heard of the custom or wished the credit to go to the IDF.
- In the second case he should have had a man chosen by lottery as representative. It would have been too cool a Badass Boast not to remember.
- Gajah Mada, before his campaign to unify the archipelago, made this oath to his queen: "If the external territories of Majapahit are lost, I will not taste any spices. And until I have conquered Malaka, Seram, Tanjungpura, Haru, Pahang, Dompo, Bali, Sunda and Palembang... I will never taste any spices." And, he actually succeeded and even expands the territory of Majapahit into the whole archipelago that will be known as Indonesia.
- In 1990, 18-year-old Hugh Gallagher wrote his college application essay, which is one long, massive (and slightly surreal) Badass Boast. It reads in part:
Occasionally I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
- It worked. He got into college, the essay won a contest, and Gallagher is now a successful novelist.
- During World War II, Bob Hope performed for an audience of combat engineers:
Hope: Are you the Corps of Engineers, the guys who build the runways the planes land on?
Hell no! We're the Seabees
! We build the roads the Japs retreat on!
- During the fateful hours leading up to the Weserübung (the German invasion of Norway in April 1940), German ambassador Breuer had talks with the Norwegian foreign minister Koht - while the German fleet was only hours away. Breuer had warned the Norwegian government that if the government didn`t give in, war would be certain for Norway. Koht calmly answered:
- Many armed forces have a battle cry they use to psych themselves up (and scare the enemy) in case they have to end up stabbing some poor bastard to death with their bayonet. For example, the 506th P.I.R of the 101st Airborne's battle cry was "Currahee!" a Cherokee word which literally means "stand alone". Even today, it is still used by the 101st as a morale booster.
- The Celts would often do this before battle while challenging their enemies to duels.
- During the Siege of Jerusalem in 1948, Shaltiel, the Hagannah's military governor, claimed that his side would make Jerusalem their "Bloody little Stalingrad". Which they did.
- John Paul Jones informing the British Navy "I have not yet begun to fight!" during his fighting on the Bonhomme Richard.
- Historical evidence actually indicates that he said "I may sink, but I'll be damned if I strike!" (strike being a common term for naval surrender, referring to taking down your flag). Still badass.
- Jones won the above-mentioned battle after refusing to surrender. Upon learning that the captain he defeated, Richard Pearson, had been knighted for giving a convoy of British merchant ships time to escape. Jones responded that his foe had deserved it, but went on to boast that "I'd like to meet him on the high seas again; I'll make him a lord!"
- He had another one too: "I wish to have no connection with any ship which does not sail fast, for I intend to go In Harm's Way."
- BRIAN BLESSED reportedly kept Oliver Reed from making trouble during the filming of Prisoner Of Honor with one of these to the point that Reed was sober the whole time for fear of starting a fight that Brian had said he would end.
- General McAuliffe, at the Battle of the Bulge, was presented with a surrender ultimatum by the Germans.
- Here's the story: the German Commander sent him a long letter detailing his position in a haughty manner and demanding surrender. The letter was "To the American Commander," and signed, "The German Commander." McAuliffe read it and blurted out "Nuts!" When he and his men tried to compose a reply, they came to the conclusion nothing was better than that, so the full text of the reply was, "To the German Commander: Nuts! The American Commander."
- The German officers who were sent with the surrender request weren't familiar with the American slang and asked if it was an affirmative or a negative. The American officers' response? "The reply is decidedly not affirmative", then added, "If you continue this foolish attack, your losses will be tremendous."
- Then they asked what "Nuts" meant. One of the more hot-tempered officers suggested "Go take a flying S—-!". The translator considered this for a moment, then decided on the more tactful "You can go to Hell."
- Oh, we forgot to mention that reaction came after McAuliffe initially believed the Germans were wanting to surrender to him!
- One anonymous soldier during the same battle is recorded as having commented "Haven't you heard? They've got us surrounded. The poor bastards." When one of his fellow soldiers asked him to clarify, he said, "They can only shoot in one direction to hit us. We can shoot any direction we want to hit them!"
- US Army Corporal Alvin York had this to say about the battle in which he, alone, took fire from thirty-two German machine guns and over 100 riflemen without receiving a scratch and returned rifle fire to kill 28 Germans without missing even one shot:
couldn't miss a German's head or body at that distance. And I didn't.
Besides, it weren't no time to miss nohow.
- When the German major who surrendered to York realized York had no other troops but a handful of terrified privates to corral his 132 prisoners:
Major: How many men have you got?
- Micheal Wittmann, famed Tiger Tank ace: "At this point, enemy tanks have ceased to be a strain on my nerves."
- Doctor Peter Rhee, one of the men taking care of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she's been shot through the head, seems to be prone to this, with two quotes coming to mind: "She will not die. She does not have that permission from me." and "If she comes to me alive, I can keep her alive." - Considering that, so far, he seems to have delivered very well, quality of life and speed of recovery included, he earned it.
- For informational purposes: Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head on January 8th, 2011. She had recovered enough to travel to Washington D.C. from Arizona to vote on an important bill on August 1st, 2011. That's seven months recovery time for being shot in the head. Doctor Rhee has more than earned his status as a badass doctor. (It goes without saying that Gabby Giffords is also an incontrovertible badass.)
- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a (probably unintentional) one in 2008 when he claimed in the House of Commons that by bailing out the banks his government had "saved the world". It didn't stop him from losing the next election, of course.
- Following a recent crash during a race, Kiwi cyclist Edward Dawkins was asked where he hurt. "I'm from New Zealand", he responded. "We don't feel pain."
- "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender" Winston Churchill's response to the threat of Nazi invasion - bearing in mind that Britain was one of the only European countries that was not yet part of Nazi Germany or Nazi-affiliated. So badass that Iron Maiden made sure to use the speech as an intro to their song about World War II dogfights. (not only in that music video but every live performance of "Aces High" as well)
- This T-shirt:
. Where the weak are killed and eaten."
- Evel Knievel gave a memorable interview with radio host Jim Rome, which included this interchange discussing Knievel's attempted Snake Canyon jump:
Rome: "If you knew that the chances of making it were only 50/50, why did you do it? Why did you jump?"
Knievel: (Beat) "Know who the hell I am?"
- The USA, during the invasion of Afghanistan, flooded the airwaves with the following message to demoralize and intimidate the Taliban: "Attention. You are condemned. Did you know that? The instant the terrorists you support took over our planes, you sentenced yourselves to death. You will be attacked by land, sea and air. Resistance is futile."
- During a siege of Quebec in 1690, the English Admiral Phips sent an ambassador into the city to offer terms for its surrender. Governor Frontenac said to him "my only reply to your general will be from the mouth of my cannons!"
- When Ronald Reagan was asked about his plan for the Cold War with the Soviets, he said, "We win. They lose."
- The way Soviet soldiers spoke of one of their most formidable pieces of ordnance - MLRS BM-13, aka Katyusha (Katie): "Those foes who heard Katyusha are now deaf; those of them who saw Katyusha are now blind; those who tussled with Katyusha are naught but ash."
- Allegedly when the U.S. military entered World War I a group of soldiers in France went to the tomb of Lafayette, the French noble who was responsible for much of the French assistance in the American Revolution and said "Lafayette, we have come" or "Lafayette, we are here."
- French general Henri Gouraud, after marching into Damascus in July 1920 to put down an anti-colonial rising, stood upon Saladin's grave, kicked it and said: "The Crusades have ended now! Awake Saladin, we have returned! My presence here consecrates the victory of the Cross over the Crescent."
- While Jesus Christ (see also: The Bible) never personally gave a Badass Boast, the late S.M. Lockridge gave a pretty good one describing him, in accordance to the Christian doctrine of "boasting in Christ."
- As recounted by Foxe's Book of Martyrs, William Tyndale engaged in a debate with clergyman who'd said "It would be better to be without God's laws than the pope's." replied "I defy the pope, and all his laws; if God spares my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that drives the plough to know more of the Scripture than you do!" — he then translated the entire New Testament and significant portions of the Old Testament into English.
- The US Army has a Military Occupational Specialty known as "13F". Officially this is what is known as a Fire Support Specialist; colloquially as a Forward Observer. As do many specialties in the US Army, Forward Observers have an unofficial prayer: "Yea, tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for I command the biggest damn guns in the valley."
- This may be more along the lines of Truth in Advertising, as Forward Observers in the US Army are trained to direct fire for 4.2" mortars, 105mm & 155mm Howitzers, 8" Howitzers, Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, helicopter gunships, all forms of close air support including AC-130 Spectre Gunships, Naval gunfire up to 16" Battleship main guns, and if "released" by the President; Tactical Nuclear Weapons. This may be why during the Cold War the unofficial US Army estimate of a Forward Observer's life expectancy upon contact with Soviet forces was approximately 13 seconds.
- Clearly cribbed from Green Beret prayer: "Yea, tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for I am the baddest mother*** in the valley."
- The same prayer has been attributed to Army Air Force bomber crews in World War II.
- An alternative and possibly even more badass version "Yea, tho I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for the Valley of the Shadow of Death is wherever I walk through."
- Or the motto of the Kadena SR-71 base, "Yea, though I fly through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I will fear no evil; for I am at 80,000 feet and climbing."
- A boast about the US Navy, if not actually by them: Enemy targets continue to exist within the strike radius of an American carrier task force at the discretion of the task force commander.
- In the 1980s and 90s it was common for Royal Navy ships on patrol to pass US Navy ships on patrol. There would often be an exchange of greetings, as would be expected between friends. If the Americans went first, the usual message was, "Hello, from the biggest navy in the world." The British reply was customarily, "Hello, from the best."
- From Abraham Lincoln; "Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years."
- Almogavars were mercenary soldiers from the 13th and 14th century. "Awake iron!" was their battle cry. The badassery of it relies on the fact that, while shouting the battle cry, they used to strike their blades against rocks, so the steel would spark.
- At the First Battle of the Marne, Ferdinand Foch's counterattack was preceded by the now-famous Badass Boast: "Hard pressed on my right. My centre is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I attack."
- Origin of the line "The center cannot hold" (depending on translation).
- While qualifying for the 2001 World's Strongest Man competition, American Phil Pfister roared "I AM GONNA BE THE WORLD'S STRONGEST MAN!" while holding up two massive concrete pillars. He came fourth in the final, didn't reach the final again until 2006... and then made good on his boast, bringing the title back to America after 24 years.
- Back in the Eighties, Jón Páll Signarsson was the most iconic strongman of his time partly for his badass boasts, and partly because he was able to back them up - he was the first man to win four titles and is still considered one of the strongest men who ever lived. His most iconic boast, after winning the 1986 title, gets aired at least once every year:
- Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix' epitaph. The exact wording is lost, and it may have been either Greek or Latin, but one version reads: "No better friend...no worse enemy."
- The American Civil War had a few:
- The Mayor of Atlanta sent a letter to General William T. Sherman, pleading for him to spare the city the fate of everything else Sherman's army had come across during their infamous March to the Sea. His response is in equal measures badass for him and Nightmare Fuel for the people of Atlanta.
Gen. William T. Sherman
: You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out...you might as well appeal against the thunder-storm...
- In other words, Sherman was a force of nature a century and a half before the Scout was.
- However, General Sherman's most famous Badass Boast came up when his commanding officer, the also badass General Ulysses S. Grant, stated that he doubted Sherman could carry out his March to the Sea through the heavily fortified state of Georgia. Sherman's response:
Gen. William T. Sherman: I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl!
- Sherman was an absolute fount of these, especially in hindsight, because he always tended to be right. In some ways its a shame he made his famous refusal of the White House, because he'd likely have been excellent:
- On the South's decision to go to war:
If they want eternal war, well and good; we accept the issue, and will dispossess them and put our friends in their place. I know thousands and millions of good people who at simple notice would come to North Alabama and accept the elegant houses and plantations there. If the people of Huntsville think different, let them persist in war three years longer, and then they will not be consulted. Three years ago by a little reflection and patience they could have had a hundred years of peace and prosperity, but they preferred war; very well. Last year they could have saved their slaves, but now it is too late.
- Sherman's prediction of how the war would go wasn't a boast - it was a prediction:
You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it
Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else, you are totally unprepared - and with a bad cause to start with.
- Another was from Captain Philip Sheridan, a Union officer whose entry took place at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. It would normally be enough that he stood in plain view of the Confederate position on the ridge, took out a flask, raised it towards them, and toasted, "Here's at you." But in anger at the mocking display, the Confederates fired a volley at Sheridan and his entrenched troops, missing him but disrupting his drink. A mistake, as it turned out.
Captain Philip Sheridan: That was ungenerous. I'll take your guns for that!
- Sheridan's men interpreted this as an order, and charged the Confederate line along with their captain. The Confederates, despite their superior position, fled in panic, and the equally off-guard Union troops who weren't under Sheridan's immediate command (including Ulysses S. Grant) hastily mounted their own offensive and won the battle. Bear in mind that the Battle of Missionary Ridge was what led largely to the Confederate defeat in the West, which in turn led to Grant being made overall general of the Union army.
- The Confederates had plenty of good boasts as well. From General Stonewall Jackson:
General Jackson: "Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave."
- President Jefferson Davis:
President Davis: "The time for compromise has now passed, and the South is determined to maintain her position, and make all who oppose her smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel."
- Later on, during the war, he said:
President Davis: "The war...must go on till the last man of this generation falls in his tracks...unless you acknowledge our right to self-government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for independence, and that, or extermination, we WILL have."
- A rather dark example. After assassinating President Lincoln at Ford's Theater, John Wilkes Booth leaped off the presidential balcony onto the stage and proclaimed to the audience "Sic Semper Tyrannis. The South is avenged!". (Sic semper tyrannis — "Thus always to tyrants" — is supposedly what Brutus said after Caesar's assassination, and is the state motto of Virginia; shortly after Booth shot Lincoln, Virginia sent a letter to the federal government stating that it did not condone the use of its motto in this way.)
- This Royal Marines Commando advert: "I am your worse nightmare. I have conquered fear. I have come to terms with terror, and pain is my best friend. I am a Royal Marines Commando. I will come from the sea. I will disappear without trace. My brothers will lay down their lives for me, as I will for them."
- This video by Youtube user "TheThinkingAtheist" in response to Pastor Mike Stahl, who compared atheists to ex-convicts, sex offenders, and the KKK, and suggested they should be registered on a list, so that they could be shunned and avoided, and their businesses boycotted. Needless to say, TheThinkingAtheist was most displeased, leading to a Badass Boast demonstrating the sheer size of the atheist demographic today and yesterday.
If The Christian National Registry of Atheists suggests that anyone should be discounted, avoided, or shunned, it should be any person who conceives of such a list. The one who attempts to quell opposing opinions with ignorance and oppression. To paraphrase Robert Green Ingersoll, "You are the inferior of any man whose rights you trample underfoot". Pastor Stahl, we are your neighbours, your educators, your entertainers, your authors, your scientists, your business partners, your community. Your world. We are atheists. We are everywhere. And no list will ever contain us.
- As the story goes, the Nazis sent an ambassador to Switzerland before the outbreak of World War II. The ambassador noted that the Swiss didn't have a very large standing army, to which the Swiss Representative replied that all citizens of the country were trained as citizen soldiers and kept their rifles in their homes, and that, if their country were to be invaded, their standing army of 20,000 would be increased to 500,000 in 24 hours. Which led to the following exchange:
Nazi Ambassador: But sir, what if you were invaded by an army numbering one million troops?
Swiss Representative: Then, sir, we would shoot twice and go home.
- Germany never tried to invade Switzerland throughout the entirety of the Second World War. note
- Although, of course, you would think twice before invading the place that keeps your money safe in case the unthinkable happens and you lose the war...
- This story is also attributed to the Kaiser and the first war.
- An old legend states that a man challenged another man to a duel on the following day (I forget why), the second man showed up to the duel the next day wielding a double-bladed weapon. The first man laughs and says to the second man "I've never heard of someone being defeated by a weapon like that!" The second man replies "That's because no one's ever survived fighting against it." the first man was soundly beaten and killed.
- Many a sniper (and less seriously, SCA combat archer) has adopted the motto "Go ahead and run—you'll just die tired."
- The national motto of Scotland is Nemo me impune lacessit—"Nobody attacks me with impunity". It sounds even more menacing in the original Scots: "Wha daur meddle wi' me?"
- King Darius I of Persia, in the Behistun Inscription:
King Darius says: Within these lands, whosoever was a friend, him have I surely protected; whosoever was hostile, him have I utterly destroyed. By the grace of Ahuramazda these lands have conformed to my decrees; as it was commanded unto them by me, so was it done.
- A cover letter is, ideally, a three-paragraph speech about why you kick the most ass at the job you're applying for.
- "You may think you're big. You may have 50 people in your gang, you might have 100. My gang has 100,000 people in it, it's called the Metropolitan Police."
- The British, Churchill notwithstanding, do not appear to do badass boasts terribly well. They appear to tend more towards understated stoicism and vicious self-mockery, but if you look carefully you can spot a few, more impressive perhaps because of their quiet nature.
- We don't need to. We ran the largest empire the world has ever known.
- Does the above count as an example?
- Winston, let us not forget, was half American. He was in fact the grandson of a man who calmly informed his dinner guests; "Gentlemen, I am ruined. But don't worry, your dinner is paid for." before proceeding to make himself another fortune.
- A fine example of the understated British Badass Boast: The Royal Engineers and the Royal Artillery hold no battle honours. Instead they have their motto, unassuming and completely accurate: it is simply Ubique— "Everywhere".
- "Fight to get your men ashore, fight to save your ships, and if you have any strength left, fight to save yourselves!" - Landing Craft commander, June 6, 1944
- Khalid Bin Walid, named the Drawn Sword of God by The Prophet Muhammad himself, gave one on his deathbed: "I fought in so many battles seeking martyrdom that there is no place in my body but having a stabbing mark by a spear, a sword or a dagger, and yet here I am, dying on my bed like an old camel dies. May the eyes of cowards never sleep."
- In late 2011, a guy named Paul Christoforo was acting like a dick to one of his company's customers and it came to the attention of one Mike Krahulik. Christoforo began insulting Krahulik as well until he realized that Krahulik is better known as Gabe from Penny Arcade. Realizing the catastrophic shitstorm he had just brought down on himself, Christoforo began alternately begging for mercy and threatening legal action. Gabe posted on his blog in reply: "When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I've made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames."
- Nikita Khrushchev's declaration of "We will bury you" meant this, but was exaggerated after its translation. The translator thought it meant that the Soviets will kill the Americans, while he intended it to mean that they will outlive the "rotting capitalists" and will see them buried...which is a badass boast on its own.
- He got another one: "Of course, we will not bury you. Your own working class will bury you!"
- Later on, Ronald Reagan would claim "Freedom and Democracy will leave Marxism and Leninism on the ash heap of history." Of the two, he was right.
- The motto of the Spanish crown is pretty good. According to legend, during the Roman era, the Pillars of Hercules (the two hills on either side of the straits of Gibraltar) had the words "Nec Plus Ultra" "Nothing Further Beyond" carved on them. After the Spanish discovered the New World and carved out their famous empire, they took as their motto: Plus Ultra - "Further Beyond"
- The Jesuits used to remark that while other priests lived for God, "only the Jesuits died for Him."
- Calling a weapon the Peacemaker is already fairly boastful, and possibly makes it a Name To Run Away From Really Fast, but the Colt .45 Single Action Army spawned a particularly badass boast, reportedly engraved onto at least one cylinder:
Be not afraid
Of any man
No matter what his size.
When danger threatens
Call on me
And I will equalize.
- Herodotus' description of the Persian Empire's couriers, adopted as the motto of the US Postal Service:
Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
- A recent example comes from the Shia militia leader Abu Azrael.
"ISIS, we will cut you like shawarma."
- This is also the first documented case of shawarma being used in an effective threat.
- The motto of the Appin Stewarts is, Not us from kings but kings from us.
- While the USAF's Strategic Air Command had the official slogan of "Peace is Our Profession," complete with an armored fist clutching lightning bolts, its unofficial slogan was "...but War is Our Hobby. Want to Play?" but was only displayed in areas where the public was not allowed. The emblem was changed to an armored fist holding a scrotum.
- Archimedes is said to have remarked of the lever: "Give me a lever and a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth."
- Joseph Conrad said, "Give me the right word and the right accent and I will move the world."
- After helping to repair valves in the Prince George's County, Maryland plumbing system so that water would continue to flow to thousands of customers during a summer heatwave, Brad Destelhorst said, "They said it was broken. I fix things."
- Another American naval hero, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, was tasked with preventing the British from using the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie, as a route for troops and supplies to invade the United States during the War of 1812. Both sides constructed their fleets right there on different ends of the lakeshore, and though it was a close-fought thing, he and his men managed to capture the entire British lake fleet. His letter to General Harrison is one of the most badass and laconic after-action reports ever:
Dear Gen'l: We have met the enemy and they are ours, two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem, O. H. Perry.
- Russian Chess grandmaster Efim Bogoljubow (1889-1952) liked to say: "When I play white, I win, because I play white. When I play black, I win, because I am Bogoljubow!" (Actually a Stealth Pun, since "Bogoljubow" means "favoured by God").
- Facing an Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1890s, Menelik II of Shoa made a very understated boast. "Our enemies have began the affair by advancing and digging into the country like moles. With the help of God, I will not deliver up my country to them." This was carried through when Menelik's Ethiopian forces crushed the Italian invaders so comprehensively at the Battle of Adwa that the Italian government of the time collapsed.
- After the Battle of Adwa mentioned above and other blunders, the Italian Royal Army came to be considered a joke by most powers. At the end of World War I, Italy gave the following and completely truthful answer:
The war against Austria-Hungary
, which the Italian Army, inferior in number and equipment, began on 24 May 1915 under the leadership of His Majesty and supreme leader the King and conducted with unwavering faith and tenacious bravery without rest for 41 months
, is won.
The gigantic battle, which opened on the 24th of last October and in which fifty-one Italian divisions, three British, two French, one Czechoslovak and a US regiment joined
against seventy-three Austrian divisions, is over.
The lightning-fast and most audacious advance of the XXIX Army Corps on Trento, blocking the retreat of the enemy armies from Trentino, as they were overwhelmed from the west by the troops of the VII army and from the east by those of the I, VI, and the IV Armies, led to the utter collapse of the enemy's front. From the Brenta to the Torre, the fleeing enemy is pushed ever further back by the irresistible onslaught of the XII, VIII, X Armies and of the cavalry divisions.
In the plains, His Royal Highness the Duke of Aosta
is advancing at the head of his undefeated III Army, eager to return to the previously successfully conquered positions, which they had never lost. The Austro-Hungarian Army is vanquished: it suffered terrible losses in the dogged resistance of the early days, and during the pursuit it lost an enormous quantity of materials of every kind as well as almost all its stockpiles and supply depots. The Austro-Hungarian Army has so far left about 300,000 prisoners of war in our hands along with multiple entire officer corps and at least 5,000 pieces of artillery. The remnants of what was one of the world's most powerful armies are returning in hopelessness and chaos up the valleys from which they had descended with boastful confidence.
Army Chief of Staff, General Diaz
- At the time of the the Norwegian Constituent Assembly and the events leading up to it, several boasts were made from the Norwegian side, usually on the "rather dead than Swedish" variety. One of the most epic ones was delivered by an elderly farmer in February 1814, knowing full well that the Swedish army was assembling on the Norwegian border:
I do not like the thought of becoming Swedish. To prevent this, we will gather all men and march for the border, and leave all women and children behind. Even I will go!
- Another one from the same time: "Sweden will not get control of Norway unless they exterminate every single Norwegian living!"
- Norwegian mountain farmers had a knack of those when confronting officials. One legendary example is the story of Ola Uppsata, who allegedly paid his way out of a murder in 1687 (while still a teenager). He was known for his bragging behaviour, showing off all his siver (on the hat, on his vest and on his shoes), making said officials claim that he should bargain himself out of the mess with all his silver (thus humiliating him). Ola paid up the weregild and asked for the price of a punch out. When he got that answer, he paid up again and requested if he could punch out whoever he wanted to, and the official confirmed it. Ola (or Blank-Ola as they called him), responded by knocking out said official, and proceeded to make a high leap in the air in front of the jury, with this legendary boast:
Blank-Ola is still dancing with his silver on his vest and shoes!
- Colonel Francisco Bolognesi during the War of the Pacific gave one to the Chileans before his Last Stand in Arica.
I have sacred duties and I will fulfill them until the last cartridge has been fired.
- Michele Roberts, the first female head of the NBA players union:
My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.
- According to some records of the Second World War in a small village in Twente (in the Netherlands) a man hid 15 Jews in his house. When the Germans came searching for Jews to round up, they asked him at gunpoint: Do you have any Jews hidden here? to which he replied Yes, fifteen!. The Germans scoffed at this and left without searching the house.
- Triệu Thị Trinh, Vietnamese military leader, had this to answer when asked about marriage at age 19: "I only wish to ride the great wind, step upon the raging wave, slay the murderous beast of the Eastern sea, take back my homeland, build independence, remove the yokes of slavery, and never to bend my back and become servant girls and concubines!" The Chinese forces were so afraid of her that supposedly they coined the phrase, "Fighting a tiger with a spear is easy, facing the Woman-King is hard."
- When his fingerprint was found on a car he stole after an attack and rape, the serial killer who'd terrorized California was discovered, Richard "The Night Stalker" Ramirez. When it was announced at a conference, police claimed
"We know who you are now, and soon everyone else will. There will be no place you can hide."
- After the completion of the Oosterscheldekering, a 9-kilometer long movable storm surge barrier in the Netherlands which lets the tide through but can close if a large enough storm surge is expected, the Dutch installed a plaque which reads, in typical understated Dutch fashion:
"Hier gaan over het tij, de wind, de maan en wij." translation
- 16th-century Spanish conquistador Lope de Aguirre is reputed to have once said: "I am the wrath of God, the Prince of Freedom, Lord of Tierra Firme and the Provinces of Chile."
- During World War I, shortly before the United States joined the war, an American ambassador was told by the German Foreign Minister that intervention on the side of the Allies would be a mistake because there were 500,000 German immigrants who would side with Germany and 500,000 Irish who would object to siding with the British. The ambassador's response was to point out that the United States was prepared for any uprising, it had more than a million lamp posts (for the hanging of traitors).
- During World War II, as of June 7, 1942, the US Navy had only one operational aircraft carrier in the Pacific, the USS Enterprise. A banner was then put upon the ship's hangar deck of a new motto, "Enterprise vs Japan". Enterprise won.
- In 1970, Nicaraguan poet/revolutionary/guerrillero Leonel Rugama was surrounded, outmanned and outgunned by the men of Somoza and advised to give up. His response has become immortalized in Nicaragua: "¡Que se rinda tu madre!" - Your momma give up! Which goes to prove that a good poem can be short and a "your momma" response is always a valid move. Naturally the guardia proceeded to kill him, making this also Defiant to the End.
- Like the above, during the War of the Pacific in 1879, when Bolivian engineer/civilian resistance fighter Eduardo Abaroa was surrounded at the battle of Topáter and asked to surrender by the Chilean forces, he made a reply that still lives on in Bolivian national lore: "¿Rendirme yo? ¡Que se rinda su abuela, carajo!" - "Me, surrender? Your grandmother should surrender, you bastard!"
- In the fall of 1966 Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany started one of the most influential and enduring ad campaigns in the history of German language ads. So enduring in fact, That Other Wiki has an article on it "Alle reden vom Wetter (line break) Wir nicht." note . Six words, a Cool Train and a railway had written a check it is still accused five decades later of not making good on whenever something weather related throws a wrench into the smooth operation of trains. The slogan itself has become so iconic that there is a reasonable chance most Germans will know it (if not necessarily its origin) and variations have made its way into popular culture, e.g. the same slogan only with images of Marx, Engels and Lenin or a similar slogan "Alle reden von Deutschland, wir reden vom Wetter" note by the Greens in their (ultimately disastrous) 1990 election campaign. It is fair to say the slogan has become a meme in its own right in Germany.
- When Babe Ruth signed a contract giving him a larger salary than the President, his response to the public disapproval was "I had a better year than he did". Doubles as a Take That!, as the President in question was Herbert Hoover and the year in question was 1929.
- Babe's most famous boast, however, was nonverbal. While at-bat the third game of the 1932 World Series, he pointed to the center field bleachers; indicating that was where the home run he was planning to hit would go. On the next pitch, he did indeed hit a home run into the center field bleachers.
- Any time someone says, "I've been doing [x] since before you were born!"
- Brazilian bandit Lampião was known for both his ruthlessness and his fervent Catholic beliefs, and one of his most famous quotes (featured in his page quote) would have made Genghis Khan nod in approval.
"When I fire upon a man, he dies because God wants to, if God didn't want it, he wouldn't die."
- General Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, leader of the Indian army in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, also happened to be around for quite a few other conflicts, and with them had some rather choice words for everyone.
- When sent to take command of routed Indian forces in the 1962 Indochina war:
"Gentlemen, I have arrived. There will be no withdrawals without written orders. These orders will never be issued."
- To an injured soldier in the 1971 conflict:
"You have received three (gunshot wounds) at this age. When I was your age, I took nine, and now look, I am commander in chief of the Indian army."
- And finally, boasting on behalf of the Gurkhas:
"If anyone tells you that he is never afraid, he is either a liar, or a Gurkha."
- A pretty recent one, uttered by Iranian Major General Hassan Qassen Soleimani, proves that boasts like this is not out of style. Note that this one is directed towards the United States of America:
"We are near you, where you cant even imagine. We are the nation of martyrdom, we are the nation of Imam Hossein, you better ask. Come; we are ready. We are the man of this arena. You know that this war would mean annihilation of all your means. You may begin the war, but it is us who will end it!
- Soleimani was killed in a targeted drone strike on January 3rd, 2020. Despite Iran responding with a missile attack on several nearby US bases, both sides managed to keep relatively cool heads and things fortunately did not degrade into all-out war.
- And before you think the United States is lacking generals with eloquent ways of saying, "fuck you," consider former USMC General James Mattis, who dropped two of these during his time in Iraq. The first is well known to any Team Fortress 2 fan as the Sniper's "be polite, be professional and (but) have a plan to kill everybody you meet" quote from "Meet The Sniper". The other is lesser-known but just as badass. After the end of the Invasion of Iraq, Mattis spoke to Iraqi leaders in a message sent to each of them. It read:
- As Secretary of Defense, he has managed to match (at least) these statements. Asked in an interview, "What keeps you awake at night?":
"Nothing. I keep other people awake at night."
- When the army generals suggested withdrawing the (British) Royal Navy from the evacuation of Crete in 1941, on the grounds that it was too dangerous and ships would be lost in a futile effort, Admiral Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham's response went back long before Nelson:
"It takes the Navy three years to build a ship. It will take three hundred years to build a new tradition. The evacuation will continue"
- Kubla Khan issued his emissaries diplomatic passports made of simple metal disks with nothing but this on them:
"I am the emissary of the Khan. If you defy me, you die."
- Attila the Hun had a few, as any conqueror should.
"For what fortress, what city, in the wide extent of the Roman Empire, can hope to exist, secure and impregnable, if it is our wish that it be erased from the earth?"
- A Hungarian legend attributes this boast to him upon receiving the Sword of God:
"With you, I will become the Lord of this whole wide world, I shall tread upon peoples, nations shall tremble, "Hammer of the World" and "Scourge of God", wherever the earth bears man upon its back, shall I be named."note
- Though she is often thought of as being a Badass Pacifist or Messianic Archetype today, Joan of Arc was also a surprising font of these. Her particular mixture of religious and national zeal helped rally the armies of France to decisively win the Hundred Years War and secure the existence of the modern French state, after all.
"Of the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die here."
- IRA soldier Bobby Sands wrote extensively during his time in jail, including while he was literally starving himself to death, and he managed to give out more than a few across his body of work. One quote in particular stands out as a rallying cry for Irish republicanism to this day.
- A lot of Romans interestingly played this trope in reverse: Whenever they were competing against another, they made a point to boast about the other guy's accomplishments and badassery. If they lost, they could save face afterwards; if they won, it made their victory look even more impressive.
- Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto made a humble one when he said "I don't think I'm better than anybody, but nobody is better than me."
- Lieutenant Commander Earnest E. Evans made one when the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Johnston was commissioned.
"This is going to be a fighting ship. I intend to go in harm's way, and anyone who doesn't want to go along had better get off right now."
- Said tin can more than lived up to his words in the Battle Off Samar, when she faced the Japanese Center Force with the rest of Taffy 3, dealing enough damage that the Center Force, who's flagship alone surpassed their combined displacement (and a single turret on said flagship was heavier than USS Johnston), was forced to retreat.
- The day after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, United States Senator Arthur Vandenburg had some very choice words for Japan in his address to the rest of the senate regarding America's declaration of war:
- Prior to defending his Chess World Championship against British GM Nigel Short in 1993, Garri Kasparov predicted "It will be Short and it will be short".
- The Russian Chess master Efim Bogoljubov (1889-1952) liked to say "When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubov" note
- "To you, Herr Lasker, I have only three words to say: Check and mate!" (Siegbert Tarrasch to World Champion Emanuel Lasker before their match in 1908. Tarrasch lost.)
- Bobby Fisher once offered a draw to the East German Grand Master Wolfgang Uhlmann, and when Uhlmann hesitated to accept the offer, Fisher snarled "A draw when I say it - or I'll keep playing!"
- Bruce Schneier, in the preface to ''Applied Cryptography'':
There are two kinds of cryptography in this world: cryptography that will stop your kid sister from reading your files, and cryptography that will stop major governments from reading your files. This book is about the latter.
- Welsh volunteer Tom Thomas offered a short and simple one as he left to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, as immortalised by the Manic Street Preachers
If I can shoot rabbits, I can shoot facists.