Posted by Gary Martin on November 04, 1999
In Reply to: A fit country for heroes... posted by Gary Martin on November 03, 1999
: : : Where does the saying "a land fit for heroes" come from?". Who first said "lions led by donkeys" of the 1st World War"?
: : "What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in." David Lloyd George (Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor) 1863-1945. Speech at Wolverhampton, Nov. 23, 1918, quoted in The Times, Nov. 25, 1918. (The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations" by Tony Augarde.)
: : Does anyone else remember the children's song, "Lloyd George knew my father; father knew Lloyd George..." To the tune of "Onward Christian Soldiers."
: : I couldn't find "lions led by donkeys." But I really like the sentiment.
: The lions were the British soldiery in WW1 and the
: donkeys were the generals. I believe the sentiment
: was first expressed by the German forces, who were
: appalled by the slaughter at the Somme. I don't
: know who the quotation originated from though.
: Alan Clark, the recently-deceased British conservative
: politian and historian wrote a book called "The Donkeys",
: in which he puts the case against the top brass at length.
: Yes, I remember the Lloyd George song. From what I do
: recall that's all the lyrics there were - repeated over
: and over.
I've done a little more delving and found this
exchange between two German generals, which is
reported in the Bloombury Treasury of Quotations:
Erich Ludendorf: The English soldiers fight like lions.
Max Hoffman(1869-1927): True. But don't we know that they are lions led by donkeys.
Other sources attribute the quote to Ludendorf.