Who said: "Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live"

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"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live" – Dorothy Thompson

Dorothy ThompsonDorothy Thompson (1893-1961), sometimes called the "First Lady of American Journalism," was noted in a 1939 edition of Time magazine as one of the two most influential women in America, the other being Eleanor Roosevelt. During her lifetime, she published widely in books, magazines and newspapers.

Her mother died in 1901 and her father, a Methodist pastor, remarried two years later. Dorothy fought frequently with her stepmother, and in 1908, her father sent her to live with relatives in Chicago.

She graduated from Syracuse University in 1914 and began her career as a publicist for the women's suffrage movement and for the Red Cross. She then moved on to work as a foreign correspondent. She is remembered for her 1931 interview of Adolf Hitler in which she underestimated him, describing him as "insignificant". Later, in 1934, she was the first American journalist to be expelled from Nazi Germany for a series of articles and for her book, I Saw Hitler.

As an American of German descent, Thompson organized other German-Americans to speak out against Nazism. After World War II, she wrote an article cautioning American Jews about Zionism as it would lead to dual loyalty. Later, she became very critical of the newly created state of Israel.

Apparently, the inspiration for the character of Tess Harding played by Katharine Hepburn in the film Woman of the Year (1942), Dorothy Thompson was married three times, the second time to the novelist Sinclair Lewis. She also had a relationship with the German author and playwright Christa Winsloe, claiming "the right to love." She died in Portugal in 1961.


More quotes by Dorothy Thompson

"Age is not measured by years. Nature does not equally distribute energy. Some people are born old and tired while others are going strong at seventy."

"No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will. ... When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American. And nobody will ever say 'Heil' to him, nor will they call him 'Führer' or 'Duce.' But they will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike bleat of 'O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief! Oh Kaaaay!'"

"Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow."

"It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives."

"They have not wanted peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war--as though the absence of war was the same as peace."

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

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