The Purpose of War is…

“The purpose of war is to support your government’s decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him … but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing … but controlled and purposeful violence. But it’s not your business or mine to decide the purpose of the control. It’s never a soldier’s business to decide when or where or how – or why – he fights; that belongs to the statesmen and the generals. The statesmen decide why and how much; the generals take it from there and tell us where and when and how. We supply the violence; other people – ‘older and wiser heads,’ as they say – supply the control. Which is as it should be.” (Heinlein, 1959, p.63).

Robert A. Heinlein (1907 to 1988)

First published in 1959, Starship Troopers is a controversial science fiction novel that received a Hugo Award in 1960 and is the only science fiction novel on the reading lists of four out of five of the US military academies, as well as the official reading lists of the US Army and the US Marine Corps. It has been in continuous print since its first printing in 1959.


Heinlein, R.A. (1959) Starship Troopers. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.


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