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Thomas Mann Quotes


Thomas Mann
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Paul Thomas Mann
  • Born: 6th June 1875, Lübeck, German Empire
  • Died: 12th August 1955, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Alma mater: Maximillians University of Munich and Technical University of Munich
  • Occupation: Novelist and short story writer
  • Awards: He won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Influenced: Heinrich Böll, Joseph Heller, Orhan Pamuk and Yukio Mishima
  • Trivia: During WWII the BBC broadcast his speeches and criticisms of the Nazi regime on long wave to the German people in their native language
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace"

Thomas Mann

"Today, I am an American citizen. Long before Germany's terrible defeat I declared publicly and privately, that I had no intention of ever turning my back to America"

Thomas Mann

"Deep down I believe that creation of the universe out of nothingness and that of life out of inorganic state ultimately aimed at the creation of man"

Thomas Mann

"I believe that man is meant as a great experiment whose possible failure by man's own guilt would be paramount to the failure of creation itself"

Thomas Mann

"The revolutionary opportunism and the glow of false dawn in the Fascist tendencies are tainted magic"

Thomas Mann

"I met the New Passion, then, as democracy, as political enlightenment and the humanitarianism of happiness. I understood its efforts to be toward the politicization of everything ethos"

Thomas Mann

"What is success? It is an inner, an indescribable force, resourcefulness, power of vision; a consciousness that I am, by my mere existence, exerting pressure on the movement of life about me"

Thomas Mann

"I think of my suffering, of the problem of my suffering. What am I suffering from? From knowledge"

Thomas Mann

"Life is not the means for the achievement of an esthetic ideal of perfection; on the contrary, the work is an ethical symbol of life"

Thomas Mann

"Fanaticism turns into a means of salvation, enthusiasm into epileptic ecstasy, politics becomes an opiate for the masses, a proletarian eschatology; and reason veils her face"

Thomas Mann

"Fascism is so thoroughly false that honorable youth throughout the world should be ashamed to have anything to do with it"

Thomas Mann

"Only indifference is free. What is distinctive is never free, it is stamped with its own seal, conditioned and chained"

Thomas Mann

"It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory"

Thomas Mann

"The revolutionary opportunism and the glow of false dawn in the Fascist tendencies are tainted magic"

Thomas Mann

"The war is horrible, but it has the advantage of keeping Hitler from making speeches about culture"

Thomas Mann

"There are so many different kinds of stupidity, and cleverness is one of the worst"

Thomas Mann

"Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil"

Thomas Mann

"A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people"

Thomas Mann

"A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth"

Thomas Mann

"Beauty can pierce one like pain"

Thomas Mann

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Thomas Mann Biography

Thomas Mann was born into a politically active dynasty of merchants in the ancient city of Lubeck on the northern coast of Germany. His family became the unwitting passive objects of one of his biggest successes when he included the decline of three generations of his family in his 1901 publication Buddenbrooks.

Mann was a prolific writer and many short story's were to follow and after a great number of his works were translated to English in the mid 1920's his writing was beginning to earn him global acclaim. After numerous nominations he claimed the nobel prize in literature in 1929 and his reputation as one of the great modern German writers was complete.



Although politically aware he was never active until the rise of Nazism drove him to despair and to speak out loudly of the despotic regime. Aware that his life was in great danger he fled the Adolf Hitler inspired Nazi Germany and took up political protest initially in Switzerland and then Czechoslovakia until the Germans marched on Prague in 1939 that forced him to flee Europe to the United States.

Thomas returned to live in Switzerland in 1952 after the witch hunts of the McCarthyism era deemed him a communist sympathiser that was a threat to national security.

Mann's body of work became an inspiration to generations of German writers including 3 of his children who went on to become famous German writers in their own right. Prolific writers like Mann always make research interesting when sifting their their speeches and statements, so this is my compilation of 20 of the best Thomas Mann quotes.

Quotes About Thomas Mann

Upon his death the following eulogy appeared in the August 13, 1955 edition of the New York Times: "Thomas Mann knew well where freedom lay; he had the courage to make his choice and gave his full allegiance to this new land"

An unnamed editor wrote the following as part of a 1936 article published at The New Republic: "Mann at last has publicly joined those forces which, from Moscow and Kiev westward to Madrid and San Francisco, are bent on keeping alive the best of the old culture. Hitler's book-burning has had the effect of uniting his opponents in the defense of intellectual freedom"


Thomas Mann image quote