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War Is Glorious

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"You smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for 12 hours, and when it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinking dink body. The smell, you know? That gasoline smell? The whole hill. It smelled like... victory."

It's exciting. It makes you a stronger, better person. It breeds Badasses. It's finer than Spring. The sacrifices may be extreme, but are extremely noble, maybe even saintly. In many ways the opposite of War Is Hell. Some people deeply enjoy waging war, rather than just endure it. The Shell-Shocked Veteran might have a different view on the matter, though.

Common features:

Not all War is Glorious works are war propaganda, but all war propaganda says that War is Glorious. Both tend to be marked by dehumanisation/demonisation of the enemy, censorship of the motivations for war, sanitisation of wounds and deaths, whitewashing of war crimes, dismissal of pacifism as insanity/weakness, etc. In a war propaganda work, these things take center-stage whereas a War is Glorious work may or may not feature these, however incidentally.

War is Glorious has a natural association with the justification of wars. For example, the cost of avoiding a war can be shown as greater than the cost of fighting it. Many serious justification of wars lie outside this trope, being no more jingoistic than a surgeon is in favour of open-heart surgery.note 

By the same token, this attitude is very often used in recruiting pitches to get people to join the service. Soldiers are badass; do you want to be badass too?

When war is part of the Back Story, former soldiers may invoke this trope by remembering the camaraderie, excitement, and purpose of their Glory Days, the war, as opposed to the greed and selfishness of subsequent civilian life, which leave them Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life.

War is Glorious and War Is Hell are not exclusive categories. And it is perfectly possible to aim for one trope exclusively yet be received as the other. In some cases, War is Hell can be served as a deconstruction of War is Glorious tropes. It's also possible to play War Is Hell straight, while simultaneously praising the heroes who went into that Hell for the sake of a worthy cause.

It should be noted that sometimes this is not the work's theme, but the mentality of the General Ripper inside the work, serving as the foil to the heroes' belief that War Is Hell.

Compare Propaganda Piece. Contrast Prevent the War. See also Proud Warrior Race and War Has Never Been So Much Fun. A character with this mentality is firmly a Warrior in the Soldier Versus Warrior dichotomy.

Because of how controversial this is, No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Thorkell from Vinland Saga loves war. A lot. So much so that he switches sides twice in order to prolong the enjoyment of battle. He is a Viking, after all.
  • Hellsing - Have you heard yet that the Major loves war? Because he does. Ultimately deconstructed by Integra; according to her, war is only glorious to creatures who can't stand life, and the Major's love of war ultimately amounts to a sixty year long suicide attempt.
  • Dorothy Catalonia and Treize Khushreneda claim to believe this in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, but it may have been an act.
    Treize: There is nothing more beautiful than a warrior with no distractions.
    • It's more obvious a subversion with Treize, since his ultimate goal is to produce a war so horrific that the powers-that-be would think twice before going to war again. He even keeps a list of every single person who died under his command.
    • Somewhat zig-zagged with Dorothy, whom later reveals that she actually loathes wars and wants peace, but understands that peace cannot just be given to the people. If she truly believes in this trope, it's because she sees war as a means to help people open their eyes and realize that War Is Hell and in turn learn to realize how precious and fragile peace really is.
    • At the beginning of Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, Al and his friends all think that the One Year War is totally cool. (They're ten years old, and the war is being fought with Giant Robots, can you blame them?) By the end of the series, Al has become thoroughly disillusioned with that notion.
  • Dog Days take this trope to Serial Escalation. Helped by the fact that battles are restricted to certain enchanted areas of the countryside where people can't die. With the threat of death removed, wars are mostly done for fun and profit, and overall training in case of actual demonic outbreaks that happen occasionally.
  • Sword Princess Altina. Many soldiers, regardless of country of origin firmly believe this in the story. In Belgaria, this is justified by the fact that the Emperor deliberately set up a system where the only way out of poverty is to go into battle and gain many meritorious achievements, and woe be to anyone who complains about it. Other countries have different reasons, but the propaganda narrative is so thick, that soldiers of High Britannia's army in volume 5 tried to shoot, and kill, the crown princess in full view of the public just so they could have her war-mongering relative take the throne instead. When they failed, Margaret sentenced the commander of that unit for execution, not for trying to kill the crown princess, or even for doing so in public, but for failing.
  • Isabelle of Paris: The French military are portrayed as badass gunslingers, and the Parisian commoners are full of Patriotic Fervour, willing to fight even if they don't have arms. While Isabelle has roots in the upper-class, who are normally unconcerned with war, she refuses to stand idly as her country burns and joins the war effort. The series doesn't shy away from showing the ugly side of war, but it's also portrayed as a matter of national pride.

    Comic Books 
  • Private Siegfried Von Nibelungen from Sturmtruppen is a clear parody of this trope: all he want is an heroic death on a battlefield facing the sun and giving his life for the home country. He ends up exploding on a friendly mine and being horribly mutilated.
  • Ares from Marvel believes he should have a better reputation among mortals because of the positive things war brings with it.
  • DC's Ares, Wonder Woman's oft enemy, will occasionally espouse such views but it's always either a sign that he's up to something or that his sanity is slipping because at his core he's of the opinion that War Is Hell, and he revels in it even if some things which occur during wars disgust him. He also feels that mankind's best and worst can only be seen in war.

  • Examples from the ball-crushingly prevalent and relevant kalash93:
    • Telny from Racer And The Geek certainly seems to believe this. That is, when he's not suffering the consequences when Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs.
    • Serzhant Shining Armor comes off this way in Shell Shock. Played for horror.
    • The unnamed protagonist from Welcome To The Brothel mixes this bizarrely with War Is Hell. On one hand, he prefers killing to sex. On the other hand, it's obvious that he's traumatized from his experiences and probably not thinking all to clearly.
    • Zig-zaggedin Bratan. It's a fic for Veterans' Day 2013. The characters have had their lives shaped by war, but neither of them would give up their experiences or what they have accomplished or who they have become, despite the results not all being pretty or easy to deal with. Veterans chimed in on the page confirming that this is more or less what they feel.
  • Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness has a strange relationship with this trope and War Is Hell. On the one hand, Thanfiction bangs the drum of how horrible the final battle will be... but on the other hand, most of the DA are quite excited by the prospect of fighting Voldemort. The story plays them up and contrasts them to Harry and company, who try to avoid the war entirely... in the favor of the children about to be slaughtered. All in all, the story's schizophrenic.
  • Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: Implied that the final days of the Silver Millennium were this to the Sailor Scouts. Luna and Artemis recount the Scouts' adventures as if they were something wondrous and amazing. This includes Sailor Jupiter leading her armies into battle in the Great Sky Cities of Jupiter, and Sailors Venus and Mars' "suicide" mission to the heliopause.
  • Blood Meridian with extra sprinkles: Judge Holden espouses war as glorious and tries to convince The Man to agree with him.
    “GIVE INTO WAR AND HATRED!” said The Judge before bashing The Man.

    “NEVER! WAR IS GAY!” said The Man before bashing The Judge.

    “DO IT!” said the Judge before bashing The Man.

    “WAR IS SUPER ULTRA GAY” said The Man before bashing the Judge.

    “IF YOU GIVE INTO WAR AND ALL ITS GLORY, YOU CAN HAVE AN OREO COOKIE” said The Judge before bashing the Man.

    “I’M DIABETIC” said the Man before bashing The Judge.

    “DIABETES IS GAYER THAN WAR” said The Judge before bashing The Man.

    “YOU ARE GAYER THAN DIABETES” said The Man before bashing The Judge.
  • Cool Cat Saves Vietnam: Played for Laughs - Cool Cat doesn't know what a war is and never actually harms the Vietnamese people, though he brags about being drafted.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mulan, where the Chinese soldiers are constantly talking (if not singing) about the personal improvements and honors of war. Though the opposite trope also shows up, particularly when the army arrives at a village only to find it already razed by the enemy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Glory. Black soldiers, many of them former slaves, go down fighting against slavery. That said, the actual battle scenes and some of the scenes around it (like inside a field hospital where men are being amputated after the film's first battle), pretty firmly show what a cruel, grim, bloody mess the war actually is.
  • Parodied in Starship Troopers, or at least the director tried to. Tough-talking, bug-stomping, brutally xenophobic Space Marines with big guns and big sweaty muscles, fighting as comrades against a faceless implacable enemy. In a vacuous and horrifying fascist society where you are a nonperson if you don't fight, the media is nothing but government propaganda (and the film itself is an in-universe propaganda movie) and everybody is horribly desensitized to violence.
    • In the third movie, the Sky Marshall (Commanding General/President) is singing at a concert. The song chorus goes "It's a good day to die!"
    • This is the opposite of the original novel where Robert Heinlein played the trope straight without a hint of satire.
  • 300, in all its oily pec-ed glory.
  • As Studs Terkel noted, World War II is "The Good War" for the overwhelming majority of US and UK audiences. Thus, most American and British movies about it can fairly be classed under this trope, especially those made during and immediately after the conflict.
  • Many John Wayne movies are labeled as this, especially his self-directed The Green Berets and The Alamo (1960) and his WW II movies such as The Fighting Seabees and Sands of Iwo Jima. Ironically, the last three are in the small subset of his movies in which Wayne's character dies.
  • Prior to the US entry into World War II, Sergeant York was deliberately produced with this trope in mind, as producer Jesse Lasky saw the need for a message film to move the American public from its then-overwhelming isolationism and apathy.
  • The hero of Patton certainly views war as glorious, but the film's director was more ambiguous (and a close reading of the picture reveals this).
  • The film adaptations of Henry V (see Theater below) can't help but use this trope to some extent, Laurence Olivier's more enthusiastically than Kenneth Branagh's.
  • The Longest Day, though, according to producer Zanuck, unintentionally.
  • Apocalypse Now: Colonel Kilgore wholeheartedly enjoys the war: he does not flinch at bombs and bullets, and is shown heading a helicopter attack to the Ride of the Valkyries. The film itself though, is anti-war.
  • Taps: Cadet Shawn starts a gunfight with the National Guard with a machine gun (outnumbered 100:1 and they have a tank) rather than admit defeat during their standoff. When confronted by his friend and commander Cadet Moreland he raves about how beautiful the battle is. A second later he's shot about a hundred times.
  • The Big Red One is the only major World War II film directed by a veteran of that conflict and Samuel Fuller shows by and large that War Is Hell with little time for Band of Brothers sentimentality and conventional wisdom. He does assert at the end, via Author Avatar and budding writer Zab(Keith Carradine) that,
    ''"I'm gonna dedicate my book to those who shot but didn't get shot, because it's about survivors. And surviving is the only glory in war, if you know what I mean."
  • Black Hawk Down: Generally discussed as a anti-war film, there is a strong positive side. Both the book and film depict the horror of the mission but also the extraordinary success and tenacity of the Americans in completing the raid: less than two hundred men engage in a firefight with several thousand Somalis and kill 1,000 of them, even with serious problems in command and control hindering the raid.
  • The Star Wars films. It's right there in the title. The enemies are dehumanized (faceless stormtroopers or mindless droids) and portrayed as evil. The Rebels are a ragtag bunch of heroes and the Empire is an evil oppressive regime. In any case, all battle scenes in the series are played for action and excitement and deaths are clean and bloodless.
    • It's a bit subverted with the Jedi being a big part of the franchise and part of their philosophy is war makes no one great.
    • The Mandalorians view wars this way. The rest of the galaxy would disagree. Ironic, since they were the ones who lost the Mandalorian Wars.
  • The infamous Mortal Kombat: Annihilation has Shao Khan saying, "Earth is under attack, and It! Is! GLORIOUS!" This is also the sequel that amped up the Fanservice to the detriment of the plot or good filmmaking.
  • Discussed in Buffalo Soldiers. War may be hell, but waiting around as a US soldier on a military base in West Germany with nothing to do is nearly as bad. When one of the soldiers is beaten up for walking on the wrong part of the base, he points out how his father's war friends are the best of friends, how they still meet up every year, even 45 years later (the films is incidentally set against the fall of the wall).
  • The Wind and the Lion is made of this trope, with pretty much every character (be they Theodore Roosevelt, the Raisuli or the Marine Captain) eager for armed conflict. Topped off by the Captain's comment:
    "Gentlemen, if we fail and are killed, I certainly hope that the world *does* go to war!"
  • 9th Company, a Russian film about Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, has a character who mixes this with a dash of Mad Artist:
    "There was an artist called Michelangelo during the Renaissance. He was asked once how he worked. He simply said, “I take a stone and chip off all the unnecessary bits.” Got it? Beauty is something without unnecessary bits, without any rubbish. In war, there is only life and death, nothing unnecessary. War itself is beauty."
  • Parodied in Hot Shots! Part Deux. After Harbinger heroically kills a bunch of enemy soldiers, he turns to the camera with a grin and says, "War: It's faaann-tastic!" This comes mere minutes after Harbinger reveals himself to be a Shell-Shocked Veteran, unable to continue killing... until Topper gives him a Rousing Speech.
  • In Hussar Ballad, a Russian musical comedy, every main character would agree that the only real glory comes from fighting in the war.
  • Vacation from Marriage: Although they went through a lot, both Cathy and Robert become better, stronger people because of their experiences in World War II.
  • General Ludendorff from Wonder Woman is obsessed with war, to the point that he murders the German High Command to try and prolong World War I. Dr. Maru seems to share this, although it's implied that she has a more general death fetish.
    "You know your ancient Greeks? They understood that war is a god. A god that requires human sacrifice. And in exchange, war gives man purpose. Meaning. A chance to rise above his petty mortal little self. And be courageous. Noble. Better."
  • Fahrenheit 9/11: This is certainly the opinion of the U.S. soldiers that Moore depicts in the film. A tank crew proudly tells him that they play rock music in the cockpit during engagements in the Iraq War.

  • Tennyson's The Charge Of The Light Brigade. Like many works it's not a simple glorification of war. Tennyson notes horrible and worthless war can be, while simultaneously praising the soldiers. He certainly draws attention to the casualties suffered. Compared to his The Charge Of The Heavy Brigade (about another action in the same battle), Light Brigade is downright bitter. Nevertheless Kipling was moved to deconstruct the work in his sequel, The Last of the Light Brigade.
  • Lays Of Ancient Rome By Sir Thomas Macaulay. For instance:
    Thine Roman is the Pilum
    Roman the sword is thine
    The even trench, the bristling mound
    The legion's ordered line
  • This is a very common trope in older American war stories. It lasted about through 1900 and The Four Feathers, before The Red Badge of Courage became the Trope Codifier for War Is Hell.
  • Speaking of older American war stories, this trope is still played straight in 1922 novel One of Ours by Willa Cather. Claude Wheeler, a young dreamer who is discontent with his Small Town Boredom life as a Nebraska farmer, finds purpose in life after he goes over to France to fight in World War I. Even in 1922 Cather took criticism from folks like Ernest Hemingway for writing of the war in this way.
    "When she can see nothing that has come of it all but evil, she reads Claude's letters over again and reassures herself; for him the call was clear, the cause was glorious."
  • German philosopher Oswald Spengler claimed this in his (non-fiction) book The Decline of the West.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche Inverted, subverted, deconstructed, and then played this trope straight. He was critical of war in one sense, and especially for how it was used and abused by the state for petty reasons, but he regards conflict (in a general sense) as the great mover of history and ideas, and the fount of creativity. He also saw war as a way that a broken society might find renewed purpose, though he notes that a healthy society has no need for war. He admires numerous men who were soldiers and conquerors like Julius Caesar, Caesre Borgia, Napoléon Bonaparte and Alexander the Great, and frequently invoked war imagery in his writings especially when he was attacking someone (ie. more often than not). He is strongly opposed to pacifism and in Thus Spoke Zarathustra seemed to change his mind about war and praise it, or at least praise warriors. In his insane period he declared that Germany would fall shortly due to its war-making; he was dead on right. In other words- inconclusive.
  • Parodied in the third chapter of Voltaire's Candide:
    Nothing could have been more splendid, brilliant, smart or orderly than the two armies. The trumpets, fifes, oboes, drums and cannons produced a harmony whose equal was never heard in hell. First the cannons laid low about six thousand men on each side, then rifle fire removed from the best of worlds about nine or ten thousand scoundrels who had been infesting its surface. The bayonet was also the sufficient reason for the death of several thousand men. The total may well have risen to thirty thousand souls. Candide, trembling like a philosopher, hid himself as best he could during this heroic carnage.
  • Starship Troopers, as written by Heinlein. Unlike in the film version, Heinlein's pro-military message isn't undercut with any Robocop-style over-the-top TV commercials. Though Heinlein wrote more about the glory of military service than battle itself, and didn't ignore the bad bits.
  • Horace was not being sarcastic when he said, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." (it is sweet and right to die for the fatherland). Wilfred Owen, who fought in WWI, took the line and threw it back in Horace's face.
  • In Blood Meridian, Judge Holden says in one of his many speeches:
    "War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner"
    "War is God."
    "All other trades are contained in that of war. Is that why war endures? No. It endures because young men love it and old men love it in them. Those that fought, those that did not."
  • In The Stormlight Archive, the Alethi are a Proud Warrior Race who preach this message, even claiming that valorous warriors who die in battle will join the fight to retake Heaven in the afterlife. Part of it is the basic problem of nobles not understanding what it's like down in the trenches, but there's also the fact that the Alethi are stricken with the "Thrill," a bloodlust that drives them to fight and contest, especially in real battle. It lets them ignore the horrors of war, even when they're right in front of their faces.
  • Storm of Steel: Whereas most accounts of World War I emphasize the pointlessness and horror of the fighting, Ernst Jünger takes a different approach, treating it almost as a boys' own adventure, but without ever glorifying the war or flinching away from the violence and terror.
  • Played completely straight by Audrey in "Okuyyuki". Reilly is more ambivalent, but he too does want to see active combat when his country goes to war.
  • Several times in the 1632 series, the up-timers watch the preparation for a battle and remark on how impressive and often beautiful it is. Slightly subverted in that they all feel completely differently about the battles themselves, and especially the aftermaths of the battles, which horrify them.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Message": The time-traveller has gone to visit Oran beach in northern Africa during World War II in order to collect direct research on the social life of infantry servicemen. He's ecstatic with the experience, watching tracer rounds and flares, hearing artillery and airplanes. He's so excited that he wants to be remembered for having been there, and carves into the building "Kilroy Was Here".
  • In The War Prayer by Mark Twain the townspeople think it is. The angel shows them otherwise, but they denounce him as a lunatic.
  • Discussed in The Arts of Dark and Light. The overall sentiment of the story is far closer to War Is Hell, but various characters opine that it can be glorious as well—at least in certain specific contexts. Its real elements of excitement, heroism, camaraderie, glamor and martial spirituality are acknowledged by the narrative, even as its waste and horror are portrayed fully. In-Universe, meanwhile, the militaristic propaganda of the various powers presents a straighter version of this, with military characters sneering appropriately at that as well.
  • Dispatches is a Vietnam War memoir by the journalist Michael Herr. War might not be much fun for the average grunt, but it can be great for reporters:
    • Herr says “A few extreme cases felt that the experience there had been a glorious one, while most of us felt that it had been merely wonderful. I think that Vietnam was what we had instead of happy childhoods.”
    • One of Herr’s friends was the photographer Tim Page. Page was approached by the publishers of a book called Through With War, which intended to “once and for all take the glamour out of war.” Page’s reaction was “It’s like trying to take the glamour out of sex, trying to take the glamour out of The Rolling Stones […] Ohh, what a laugh! Take the bloody glamour out of bloody war.” Note that this was after Page had been nearly killed by a landmine.
  • The Tales Of Ensign Stål: The glories of war are definitely a major theme, though how straight it is played has been the subject of many scholarly articles and much academic yelling for over a century. The mainstream opinion seems to be that Runeberg lionises the valor and deeds of individual soldiers, while painting war and the political machinations behind it as a whole as vile and stupid.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Shadows from Babylon 5 believe this is true as part of their philosophy that growth is driven by conflict. They use agents like Morden to tempt people into making deals after asking them "What do you want?" that ultimately lead to war.
  • General Melchett of Blackadder Goes Forth is a fanatical believer of this. He views World War I as a jolly scrap between the Brits and Germans and genuinely doesn't understand why Captain Blackadder would want to get away from the fighting. He's completely oblivious to the true carnage of the trenches and the futility of trying to march across No Man's Land. In the series finale he "rewards" his loyal assistant Captain Darling with a reassignment to the front lines for the "Big Push".
  • Doctor Who:
    • It's the general philosophy of the Sontarans.
    • "The Family of Blood": One of the Family mocks the headmaster for instilling patriotic fervour in his students, knowing that a terrible war will occur in the near future. He asks the headmaster whether his students will be grateful to him for teaching them that war is glorious while they are dying in the mud. The headmaster angrily retorts that he knows War Is Hell, being a veteran himself, but he's still willing to fight for King and Country.
  • Game of Thrones: This is how Robert likes to portray his warrior days to other people. Subverted in that in odd moments of clarity it's clear it's not so much war itself but the purpose war gave him. In fact when recalling his first kill in battle, his boisterous attitude noticeably falters as he's inadvertently dragged up an unpleasant memory.
  • Star Trek: The national philosophy of Klingons.
  • Pretty much every one-off bad guy ever ( and most of the recurring ones) on Xena: Warrior Princess, and Xena herself before her redemption.
  • Invoked by a Drill Sergeant Nasty the day after the aliens attack in Space: Above and Beyond:
    "All right, knock off the grab-ass and fall in. "We are at war. Hoorah!"
    • His next statement is a reminder that war is difficult and "The only easy day is yesterday!"

  • Every other song by Manowar (just look at the band's name). Look at "Call to Arms":
    Fight for the kingdom bound for glory
    Armed with a heart of steel
    I swear by the brothers who stand before me
    To no man shall I kneel
    Their blood is upon my steel
    • Similarly, Hammerfall is just Manowar with even MORE fantastical elements. While Manowar has a 'low fantasy' barbarian theme Hammerfall has a clanky Knight Templar Sword Brethren theme.
      Chorus linked above for instance:
    Here we stand
    Mighty, Glorious
    At the end of the Rainbow
    With gold in our haa~aaa~aaands
    and next we have (note that there's also a minor inversion earlier on, as well, but primarily they're on the glory side)
    Riders of the storm
    one with the wind, defenders of creation
    Riders of the storm
    aligned with the sun
    Speak the word of Nemesis
    Call for thunder call for rain
    Let us meet our Genesis
    Save us from the unholy pain
  • Every other song by Bal-Sagoth. Look at "The Splendour of a Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath the Blazon of the Hyperborean Empire":
    Hearken, the clarion is upon the winds,
    now the call to arms is upon us all.
    The glory of battle is nigh at last.
    Our banner shall fly this day in victory!
    My warriors, a legacy shall this day be wrought by our blades.
    Decreed by the gods, blessed by the blood of vanquished foes.
    Our destiny beckons...
  • Heather Alexander (now Alexander James Adams):
    • March of Cambeadth is probably one of the most jovial sounding.
    • "Courage Knows No Bounds" is primarily about War Is Hell and a wasteful Pyrrhic Victory, but it makes a point to commend the courage of the singer's comrades, who stood and gave their lives for that worthless victory.
  • Satirically invoked and played for all the laughs the trope is worth by Tom Lehrer whenever deemed in/appropriate. "So Long, Mom (A Song For World War III)", from That Was the Year That Was, is perhaps his most triumphant example, updating the jingoistic songs of World War II for the next big conflict. Special mention should go to We Will All Go Together When We Go which is about how wonderful nuclear annihilation would be.
  • Nightwish plays it straight...
    Warrior with power along the path
    A hammerheart, his gallantry to last
    Rhythm of sirens, enemies take heed
    For in this war, laws are in silent sleepnote 
    Death is the winner in any war
    Nothing noble in dying for your religion
    For your country
    For ideology, for faith
    For another man?
    I see all those empty cradles
    and wonder if mankind will ever change.note 
  • "Invincible" by Pat Benatar, the theme song for the 1985 movie The Legend of Billie Jean.
    We can't afford to be innocent
    Stand up and face the enemy
    It's a do or die situation
    We will be invincible
  • GWAR literally lives this trope.
  • "Indestructible" by the band Disturbed from the 2008 album of the same name.
    Every broken enemy will know
    That their opponent had to be invincible
    Take a last look around while you're alive
    I'm an indestructible master of war
    • Their song "Warrior" definitely qualifies as well.
  • The controversial "Smoke On The Water" by country pioneer Red Foley, at the top of the folk record charts for 13 weeks in 1944 with a very cheerful tune about turning Japan into a graveyard.
    There'll be smoke on the water
    On the land and the sea
    When our army and navy overtakes the enemy
  • Jag Panzer spans both medieval and high-tech warfare, and glorifies both deliciously as their name might imply. Warning: May cause your heart to explode due to sheer manliness. Even Patton might have trouble withstanding this assault.
    On the battlefield we fight with all our might
    Valour and honour is our right
    The bloody battlefield where men and sons have tried
    To stand for what is good and what is right
    Only the steel will win the day
    Cold sword of the brave (Cold is the blade)
    Pure hearts bring us to truth
    Is it the heart of the brave
    Or the cold of the blade
    and for the second
    Upon reaching altitude earth seems so small below
    Silent, invisible black death from above
    Laser guided, automated, precise computer control
    The enemy blind and unprotected
    Pinpoint accuracy certain death sent down below
    No mercy, no regret for the unknowing foe
  • "This Is War" from the 2009 album of the same name by Thirty Seconds to Mars. It is a very upbeat song giving it an enthusiastic feeling though the lyrics aren't perfectly clear one way or the other.
    I do believe in the light
    Raise your hands into the sky
    The fight is done, the war is won
    Lift your hands toward the sun
    • Further obfuscating things is that the music video for the song is promoting an anti-war message. The music video has the band play the role of soldiers who are fighting a deathball of tanks, fighters and weapons.
  • Pick an Amon Amarth song. Pretty much any one.
  • The National Anthem of Mexico is actually a Call to Arms Warsong. Jaime Nunó wrote the lyrics thinking about the glory of the battle and the honor of dying in the defense of the nation. Francisco González Bocanegra's military music just adds points to it. Just read the main chorus:
    Mexicans, at the cry of war,
    Make ready the Steel and the bridle;
    And may the Earth trembles at its center,
    at the resounding roar of the cannon.
    • You can check the rest here.
  • Sabaton mixes this up with War Is Hell, writing as they do about real warfare. "To Hell and Back" takes the Tennyson approach - while lamenting the costs of war, it also makes a point to glorify the soldiers who went into the fire.
    Bright, a white light, if there'd be any glory in war
    Let it rest, on men like him, who went to hell and came back!
  • The narrator of "1995" by Mikhail Shcherbakov argues this:
    While oil is at zero, seeds are rotting.
    Taxes are growing by leaps and bounds, the country is dying.
    You are inclined to agree with someone who assures
    that the worst misfortune would still be a war.
    Not true! War is a very glorious thing!

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Norse Mythology. Norsemen loved it Bloodier and Gorier. So much that what we call War Is Hell would be considered by them to be war is glorious.
  • Greek Mythology.
    • Special attention to Athena though. Beyond being the goddess of wisdom, she was considered the goddess of strategy and the Greeks (at least the Athenians) granted her the glorious aspects of war to her. The War Is Hell aspects went to her brother, Ares.
  • Even the pacifistic religions sometimes to have this in their backstory. Several examples pop up in the early books of The Bible.
    • Ephesians 6:10-18 compares the Christians' struggle with sin and the Devil to a battlefield, with the Apostle Paul urging his followers to "put on the whole armour of God," which, considering the time period in which it was written, may have been modeled on a Roman legionary's uniform:
    "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..."

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech:
    • The Clans hold this view, at least in regards to ritualized combat. Their entire society is based around stomping around, shooting each other in Humongous Mecha in organized battles. However, they do not extend the attitude to actual war, which they are not very good at, as being a good warrior (and thus, in charge), doesn't necessarily make a good commander, strategist, or make one good at logistics. Further, their peace-time conflicts are heavily ritualized, with plenty of Honor Before Reason. Applying their standards of ritual combat to actual war tends to turn out badly for them when up against more pragmatic foes.
    • A common attitude found in the Draconis Combine, which isn't a big surprise since they're basically Samurai IN SPACE!!! with a traditional belief in their Manifest Destiny to eventually conquer everybody else.
  • Warhammer 40,000: "In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war..." And awesome. Even the lowly Imperial Guard are sometimes depicted as having a good time, or at least "winning glory and honor".
    • The Iron Warriors Traitor Marines are a special case because its played in a particularly messed up way. The Iron Warriors know that War Is Hell and they love every minute. Pure, unadulterated contempt for life is all that motivates them and war is the ultimate way for them to express that hatred.
    • The Orks were bred for War, and their entire culture is built around it.
  • This is what Tempus, the main War God in the Forgotten Realms is about, and he takes measures to ensure that is what he remains about (specifically, he is involved in a Divine Conflict in which he overmatches the other side to a nearly ridiculous degree — but while he could easily smash Garagos, he doesn't want to pick up Garagos' portfolios of bloodlust and destruction).

  • In Hamilton, Hamilton really wants a command during the Revolutionary War so he can rack up heroic deeds and build a legacy worth protecting. He is not throwing away his shot at being a war hero.
  • William Shakespeare's Henry V is this trope in its purest form.
    We few, we happy few, we Band of Brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition:
    And gentlemen in England now a-bed
    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
  • In Pippin, the number "Glory" is entirely about glorifying war. The aftermath proves a bit sobering, however. Before that, "War Is A Science" depicts Pippin's father planning an attack in a more tongue-in-cheek manner.

    Video Games 
  • In Team Fortress 2, war is not only glorious, but funny as hell, given all the people involved in the Gravel War (which as more of a Mob War between two extremely rich brothers that control thousands of corporations and outfit their mercenary armies in hats) are eccentric nutcases who love yelling and swearing regardless of their backstories and nationalities.
  • The Metal Gear series is notable in that while its creators clearly do not have this outlook, many of its characters do which often leads to many Do Not Do This Cool Thing moments.
  • The Shadow-Mirrors in Super Robot Wars Advance and Original Generation held this philosophy proudly, as in their world, the lack of war causes humans to become lazy and non-progressive thus they decided to have as much war as possible, because therein lies human evolution and progress.
  • The Thraddash in Star Control II are a parody of this trope (among other things ), what with them considering never-ending fighting a viable social scheme and seeing no problem with their species having blasted themselves back to Stone Age several times over.
    "This doesn't really count as news, Teacher but War is truly magnificent, isn't it? The gut wrenching sight of molten warships! The boiling blood of depressurized soldiers! I just love it!... Don't you?
    • The K'tang Kattori in Star Control III tricked into attacking THEMSELVES For the Evulz and enjoying every minute of it. (But they'll still be pissed at you afterwards, because you took them away from their primary goal of attacking you.) They're also prone to bouts of malapropisms and Bushisms as they were uplifted from barbarian battlers with napoleon complexes (They were the smallest things on their planet but they still killed the crap out of everything with acceptable losses here and there. Their power armour is just for show, they're really the size of Daleks without it. It is implied they were on the verge of extinction because their wars were growing so consuming, when the Ploxis came and taught them how to use spaceships. Now they are in no danger of of extinction (or running out of things to shoot at) because look at all those muthabucking targets out in space man!!! They are by far one of the funnest alien races to speak with in the game. On another amusing note to any Dynasty Warriors fans, they tend to sound a little bit like Meng Huo, especially when flustered.
  • Reconstructed in Starcraft II. As Raynor says, some things are just worth fighting for.
    Mengsk: War is coming. With all its glory... and all its horror.
  • The traditionalist krogan in Mass Effect hold this belief, though there are plenty of krogan either disillusioned or at least far-sighted enough to know that war is idiotic while still limited by the genophage. Some krogan did feel that the Genophage had reduced some krogans to Death Seeker types.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins most sensible characters view war very negatively, however King Cailan is eager to fight the Darkspawn because he's heard all the stories of the Grey Wardens' glorious victories... he dies fairly ignobly in the first few hours of the game, himself and his entire army betrayed by his own general Loghain.
  • Homefront — although it portrays war as horrible, inhumane, and with even the "good guys" committing horrible atrocities, it also portrays the rebellion against North Korea as completely necessary and justified.
  • This is the mentality of Apollyon, the primary villain of For Honor. After a thousand years of war, the knights, samurai, and Vikings have begun to seek peace. Apollyon finds this disgusting and leads her Blackstone Legion in a campaign to incite war between the factions once again so that the "wolves" among them will be freed to do what they were meant to do.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police have an entire song and dance number extolling the virtues of war, delivered by Agent Superball.
    Sam: Well...
    Max: Let's never do that again!
  • Helldivers is aggressively pro-war, but it's a Satire of American neoconservatism and The War on Terror politics. Fight for Super Earth! For freedom and democracy across the stars!... whatever that means.

  • Deconstructed in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, since in the nondescript spacefuture anyone can destroy a planet with the push of a button, war is fought on 'public opinion', and the point of it all is to say 'War is Cool' and make the raddest, coolest army around...which has left the soldiers they grew and genetically modified with serious hang-ups, knowing they could be modified at any moment to increase public visibility, or mentally fucked with just so they can be 'more like Batman'. Of course, this can also backfire on the army, as marketing decided the Commander punching the Admiral would be 'mad bitching' and will allow one punch with no repercussions, preferably in public.
    Jones: So you're saying that in the future they send actual humans to fight and die for the sake of looking really badass?
    Commander: Don' get me wrong, there's plenty a'real respectable causes t'fight for. But when people run outta those, it don't take 'em long t'find all sorts'a stupid shit t'keep busy with.
  • Unsounded: Ssaelism teaches that all men must be trained fighters, preferably soldiers, who fight for the glory of Ssael and slay the Gefendur so that they may be reincarnated as Ssaelit. The religion glorifies war and a warriors death for men. Duane told stories of the glory in the battles he fought in life and is horrified that he cannot find the same stories in death when faced with the stark reality of war which he was able to deny while reminiscing when alive.

    Western Animation 
  • Cotton Hill from King of the Hill and his fellow VFW members holds this view to a degree, always bragging about how he killed "fiddy men" during WWII and talking about his war experiences that may or may not have happened. This eventually comes to a head when the VFW has to include Vietnam vets in order to stay afloat, with the old guard fondly remembering their WWII days and mocking the PTSD-addled Vietnam vets for losing the war until they snap and try to kill them.


Video Example(s):


No Higher Destiny

Shura sings a song about the glory of dying nobly in battle.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / WarIsGlorious

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