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"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." - Franklin D Roosevelt


Now you've gone and done it.

A declaration that someone has broken the last straw, crossed the Moral Event Horizon, hit the Berserk Button or otherwise gone too far. The person making this declaration will now commit themselves to unleashing every ounce of asskicking they have at you until they get their way, and will not allow anything to stop them.

If the offended party is a Karmic Trickster, expect much Slapstick to follow. The Japanese have a specific cultural sub-trope and Stock Phrase for this: This Is Unforgivable!. May lead to a character exhibiting Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, Let's Get Dangerous and similar qualities. Compare It's Personal. See also Pretext for War, when the trigger is a blown out of proportion to start the war.

You can expect that this declaration will be followed by a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and/or a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.

Not to be confused with the 2012 romantic action-comedy film.

Examples of This Means War include:

Anime & Manga

  • Read or Die: The leader of the I-jin has revealed himself, announced his Apocalypse How and revealed Nancy is Mata Hari and spying for them. In response, Gentleman informs Joker over the PA that Operation Manuscript Retrieval is suspended...

 Joker: British Library Special Engineer Force, suspend Operation Manuscript Retrieval immediately. As of now, we begin "Operation Exterminate I-Jin Corps!" (cheers)

  • Also a Crowning Moment of Awesome, Luffy and the crew (Mostly Sogeking) from One Piece declare war on the World Government by not only shooting the Government Flag, but burning it as well. As it stands atop a major governmental base. Being watched by hundreds of marines.
    • Later, Admiral Kizaru is fighting with four of the most powerful rookie pirates in the world. He's clearly toying with them, but doesn't go for the finishing blow. Then one of them hits him with a surprise attack that cuts him in half and blows the pieces to smithereens. After he pulls himself back together, he's clearly had enough. He then declares the fight is over and dispatches them all in a matter of seconds.
    • Luffy has now declared war on the Emperor, Big Mam.
  • In Berserk, Guts gives a Rousing Speech variant of this against The Apostles and The Godhand after surviving The Eclipse.
  • Volume 3 of Hellsing has Millenium essentially declare war on Hellsing when they openly send one of their operatives, backed up by troops from the local law enforcement, to attack Alucard and Seras, live on national television no less. Just in case they didn't get the message, Volume 4 has them send a messanger to Hellsing headquarters with a live link to the Major, so that he can pretty much say "Let's fight!".
  • The homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist caused major problems for themselves because of this trope. Before Maes Hughes' death, Mustang knew pretty much nothing about the homunculi and consequently was not involved in trying to stop their evil schemes. The moment one of them killed Hughes, he quietly went into a sort of chronic Heroic BSOD mode and became such a danger to them that Lust finally decided he wasn't worth it as a sacrifice and simply tried to kill him.


  • Played for drama in the Astro City story "Serpent's Teeth", when an alternate-timeline version of Jack-in-the-Box's son uses Jack's "Of course you realize, this means war" as motivation to become a Knight Templar on the city's criminals... without realizing Jack was quoting Bugs Bunny.

Films — Live-Action


  Roman Moroni: "This is fargin war!"



  • Used with a Lampshade Hanging in Anansi Boys.
  • The novel Point of Impact, made into a movie called Shooter, had Bob Lee Swagger get upset when they framed him for trying to kill the President and tried to kill him. But he really declared war when they killed his dog!
  • Just the threat of this in The Dresden Files was so epic it stood out as Badass in a chapter following Harry riding an undead dinosaur into battle.
    • Happens a couple other times too. Molly getting dragged into Arctis Tor, the Nickelheads kidnapping Ivy, one side story when Michael's daughter is nearly killed, Bianca after Susan was turned... Let's face it. If you truly piss off Harry, stick you head between your knees and kiss your sorry ass goodbye.
    • Also the Jerkass that dared to try and hit Mouse with a truck. Moral of the story kids? Never mess with Harry's True Companions.
    • Changes: he pretty much goes to what his threat was.
  • Though not in the literal sense, Anne Shirley, declares war on Gilbert Blythe after he teases her for her red hair by calling her "Carrots". She becomes his academic rival, and vows that she will always beat him and never forgive him. She eventually does forgive him, and goes one step further by marrying him.
  • In the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, the section Of The Dwarves recounts how Thorin's grandfather went to Moria and was caught by orcs, who threw out his head with a purse of small coins stuffed in the mouth. The purse was taken to the Dwarf-king Nain who regarded it in silence for a day or two, then said "This cannot be borne". The dwarves suffered horribly in the years that followed, but the orcs of the Misty Mountains took a hiding.

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor in "The Idiot's Lantern".

 The Doctor: The street. They left her in the street. They took her face, and just chucked her out and left her in the street. And as a result, that makes things... simple. Very very simple. Do you know why?

Inspector Bishop: No.

The Doctor: Because now, Detective Inspector Bishop, there is no power on this earth that can stop me!

    • This a trait that all Doctor's can show pieces of. Although they rarely use the word 'war', if you hurt anyone close to them, anyone they love, you will pay.
    • Played straight as an arrow in the appropriately-titled Series Six midseason cliffhanger "A Good Man Goes to War".
    • Defied in the later episode, "Doomsday":

 Cyberman: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.

Dalek Sec: This is not war! THIS IS PEST CONTROL!

  • On Good Eats, host Alton Brown, in response to one of the Mad French Chef's declarations, said to the camera, "I hope he knows, this means war!" in a fake French accent.
    • He also declares war on a cupcake shop that's run like a fancy restaurant, complete with a maitre'd taking reservations out front, saying that they're sucking all the joy out of cupcakes.
  • Played with on Supernatural, when Dean tells Rufus, "It's war, you hear me? It's war!" The latter replies with, "You're damn right it is," before punching Dean in the face, not realizing that he actually meant War.
  • In Gossip Girls fourth season Chuck declares war on Blair after she drives Eva away, though one might wonder where he feels entitled to declare war over something like that after he sold Blair for a hotel and slept with her nemesis in the previous season. Chuck and Blair are then at war for a few episodes until Nate and Serena sit them down and write an actual legally binding peace treaty. These kids sure do take things seriously...
  • On Boy Meets World, Rachel actually says these words after she fails to get Cory and Shawn in trouble for a prank they pulled on her. This leads to an Escalating War.

 "This is the Commander. Moments ago, this ship received word of a Cylon attack against our homeworlds is under way. We do not know the size or the disposition or the strength of the enemy forces, but all indications point to a massive assault against Colonial defenses. Admiral Nagala has taken personal command of the Fleet aboard the battlestar Atlantia following the complete destruction of Picon Fleet Headquarters in the first wave of the attacks. "How? Why?" doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that as of this moment, we are at war. You've trained for this. You're ready for this. Stand to your duties, trust your fellow shipmates, and we'll all get through this. Further updates as we get them. Thank you."



  • Hed PE's song "War" begins with this line.
  • Ill Niño's song "This Is War".
  • Attack Attack! (the US band) realeased an album in 2012 titled "This Means War."

Tabletop Games

  • Traveller do not do anything that louses up the Imperium's internal economic and political cohesion. Small wars between sub-states are ok; after all boys will be boys. But if you extend your war to far and bother your neighbors, use WM Ds, or otherwise become to much trouble then you will receive a visit from the Space Marine s.

Video Games

  • Subverted in The Godfather game. Shopkeepers and racket bosses will fight back if you apply too much pressure on them and you won't be able to get a payout from them... but since your pressure-application would probably have involved hitting them, shooting them, harming or killing innocents, all this does is mark them as Too Dumb to Live. Sure, you'll need to come back in a week's in-game time to try again should you kill them, but really, they knew what would ensue...
  • In the Sam and Max Freelance Police game Abe Lincoln Must Die!, The Soda Poppers, a triplet of Former Child Stars, have become governors of Dakota. You are supposed to rile up their latent Sibling Rivalry until:

 Specs: Of course you realise. This means war!

Peepers: WAR!

Whizzer: WAR!


Web Comics


 Messenger: My King, [this letter's] from Warlord Torgamous. It says "Your mustache smells like parmesan."

Sighard Lionson: THIS MEANS WAR!


Western Animation

  • Looney Tunes: A Bugs Bunny Catch Phrase of course ("Of course you realise, dis means war!") — any time Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam or other buffoon harasses him to this point.
    • Similarly, his Tiny Toons counterpart Buster Bunny would say "It't time to party - Buster-style!" in the same kind of situation.
    • The Animaniacs episode "King Yakko" has the bad guy say "this means war" when his first attempt to take over Anvilania fails.
  • In some old Disney toons, Donald Duck would utter "This is the last straw!" before going medieval on whoever dared to push his Berserk Button way too much.
  • Family Guy: In one episode, Lois gets splashed on by a car driven by her rival, who constantly beats her for the award for best piano student. Needless to say, This Means War.
    • Also in one Family Guy episode, a bomb blows up in Meg's face, which leads to her suddenly having a duck bill backwards on her head... exactly like what happens to Daffy Duck in Looney Tunes. She then says, "Of course you realize, this means war!".
  • In DuckTales,Fenton Crackshell (prior to his becoming Gizmoduck) declares to the Beagle Boys, "Of course you realize,this means . . . a skirmish."
  • Tarantulas mutters it in an episode of Beast Wars, after Blackarachnia turns on him (again).
  • During one of the "Spacecataz" segments, Oglethorpe and Emory have the following discussion after the Mooninites expose themselves at them:

 Emory: Hey, maybe we should just back off. I mean, this is how fight starts.

Oglethorpe: This is not a fight... THIS IS A WAR!

  • Popeye in the face of abuse, he would finally roar, "I've had all that I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"

Real Life

  • The immediate lead-up to World War I is famously complicated, but suffice it to say that this phrase got tossed around a whole lot right after Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, as centuries-old political and ethnic tensions started to unwind.
  • On October 28, 1940, the Italian Ambassador to Greece presented a three-hour ultimatum to Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas, demanding that Italian troops be allowed free passage to unspecified strategic points throughout Greek territory. Today, Greeks acclaim Metaxas' reply via "Ohi Day," or "No! Day," but Metaxas' actual response was "Alors, c'est la guerre!"
  • The picture above is the USS Arizona burning in Pearl Harbor. Japanese Naval Marshal General Isoroku Yamamoto is alleged to have said:
    • Although he probably didn't say those exact words, he did think that way... and he was right.
    • President Roosevelt said something more true to the trope title: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy..." If this doesn't sound badass to you, remember what "infamy" means: what he essentially said was "This Is Unforgivable!, and we shall never forget it." Less than one hour after those words were spoken, America officially declared war. Notably, except for a reciprocal declaration against Germany and Italy a couple days later, this was the last formal Declaration of War by the United States.
  • Charles Francis Adams was the American ambassador to England during the American Civil War. He was convinced that a British company was building warships for the Confederacy. He sent a series of notes to the British Foreign Minister insisting that the British government stop this, since England was supposed to be neutral. The last note contained the sentence: "It would be superfluous of me to point out to your Lordship that this is war." The British government bought the ships in question.
  • While not a formal declaration of war, after the British government began executing the captured rebel leaders of the 1916 Rising in Ireland well-known Home Rule supporter John Dillon rushed to London and warned Asquith (Prime Minister of the time) to halt the executions, saying: "You are washing our whole life work in a sea of blood." This was promptly ignored, leading to public opinion in Ireland swinging to support of the rebels, and, well, the rest is history.
  • Before the Six Day War, Israel specifically said that blocking the Straits of Tiran meant this. They weren't kidding.
  • Likewise several maritime powers have a standing This Means War on anyone who captures Istanbul. The reason for this is that Constantinople keeps the Russian fleet bottled up in the Black sea.
  • The Latin phrase for this is Casus Belli and this is the version often used in diplo-speak. Actually it sounds scarier in English then in Latin despite the reputation of the original Latin speakers.
  • After the attack on Saguntum in the beginning of the Second Punic War the Roman ambassador to Carthage went before the Carthaginian Senate and said that he carried in the folds of his toga peace or war and demanded that they choose. The Carthaginians said "you choose". So the Roman said he let fall war. And the Carthaginians said, "We accept it".
  • 9/11/2001