4 July 1948, address to the nation, London, United Kingdom
if anyone knows date and location of this speech, please let us know
I'm proud about the National Health Service. It's a piece of real socialism. It's a piece of real Christianity too, you know.
We had to wait a long time for it.
What I had in mind when we organised the National Health Service in 1946 to 1958. And remember when we did it, you know, you younger ones - this was immediately after the Second World War, when we were as Sir Winston Churchill said, a bankrupt nation. But nevertheless, we did these things. And there's nowhere in any nation in the world, communist or capitalist, any health service to compare with it.
Now, the National Health Service had two main principles:
That the medical arts of science and healing should be made available to people when they needed them, irrespective of whether they could afford to pay for them or not. That was the first principle.
The second principle was that this should be done, not at the expense of the poorer members of the community, but of the well to do.
In short, I refuse to accept the insurance principle. I refuse to accept that the National Health service should be paid for by contributions. I refuse to accept that. I refused to accept it because I thought it was nonsense. If you hadn't fully paid up, you couldn't have a second class operation because your card wasn't full of stamps, could you?
30 April 1946. Westminster, United Kingdom
I beg to move that the Bill be now read a Second time.
In the last two years there has been such a clamour from sectional interests in the field of national health that we are in danger of forgetting why these proposals are brought forward at all. It is, therefore, very welcome to me – and I am quite certain to hon. Members in all parts of the House – that consideration should now be given, not to this or that sectional interest, but to the requirements of the British people as a whole. The scheme which anyone must draw up dealing with national health must necessarily be conditioned and limited by the evils it is intended to remove. Many of those who have drawn up paper plans for the health services appear to have followed the dictates of abstract principles, and not the concrete requirements of the actual situation as it exists. They drew up all sorts of tidy schemes on paper, which would be quite inoperable in practice.
The first reason why a health scheme of this sort is necessary at all is because it has been the firm conclusion of all parties that money ought not to be permitted to stand in the way of obtaining an efficient health service. Although it is true that the national health insurance system provides a general practitioner service and caters for something like 21 million of the population, the rest of the population have to pay whenever they desire the services of a doctor. It is cardinal to a proper health organisation that a person ought not to be financially deterred from seeking medical assistance at the earliest possible stage. It is one of the evils of having to buy medical advice that, in addition to the natural anxiety that may arise because people do not like to hear unpleasant things about themselves, and therefore tend to postpone consultation as long as possible, there is the financial anxiety caused by having to pay doctors’ bills. Therefore, the first evil that we must deal with is that which exists as a consequence of the fact that the whole thing is the wrong way round. A person ought to be able to receive medical and hospital help without being involved in financial anxiety.
In the second place, the national health insurance scheme does not provide for the self-employed, nor, of course, for the families of dependants. It depends on insurance qualification, and no matter how ill you are, if you cease to be insured you cease to have free doctoring. Furthermore, it gives no backing to the doctor in the form of specialist services. The doctor has to provide himself, he has to use his own discretion and his own personal connections, in order to obtain hospital treatment for his patients and in order to get them specialists, and in very many cases, of course – in an overwhelming number of cases – the services of a specialist are not available to poor people.
Not only is this the case, but our hospital organisation has grown up with no plan, with no system; it is unevenly distributed over the country and indeed it is one of the tragedies of the situation, that very often the best hospital facilities are available where they are least needed. In the older industrial districts of Great Britain hospital facilities are inadequate. Many of the hospitals are too small – very much too small. About 70 per cent. have less than 100 beds, and over 30 per cent. have less than 30. No one can possibly pretend that hospitals so small can provide general hospital treatment. There is a tendency in some quarters to defend the very small hospital on the ground of its localism and intimacy, and for other rather imponderable reasons of that sort, but everybody knows today that if a hospital is to be efficient it must provide a number of specialised services. Although I am not myself a devotee of bigness for bigness sake, I would rather be kept alive in the efficient if cold altruism of a large hospital than expire in a gush of warm sympathy in a small one.
In addition to these defects, the health of the people of Britain is not properly looked after in one or two other respects. The condition of the teeth of the people of Britain is a national reproach. As a consequence of dental treatment having to be bought, it has not been demanded on a scale to stimulate the creation of sufficient dentists, and in consequence there is a woeful shortage of dentists at the present time. Furthermore, about 25 per cent. of the people of Great Britain can obtain their spectacles and get their eyes tested and seen to by means of the assistance given by the approved societies, but the general mass of the people have not such facilities. Another of the evils from which this country suffers is the fact that sufficient attention has not been given to deafness, and hardly any attention has been given so far to the provision of cheap hearing aids and their proper maintenance. I hope to be able to make very shortly a welcome announcement on this question.
One added disability from which our health system suffers is the isolation of mental health from the rest of the health services. Although the present Bill does not rewrite the Lunacy Acts – we shall have to come to that later on – nevertheless, it does, for the first time, bring mental health into the general system of health services. It ought to be possible, and this should be one of the objectives of any civilised health service, for a person who feels mental distress, or who fears that he is liable to become unbalanced in any way to go to a general hospital to get advice and assistance, so that the condition may not develop into a more serious stage. All these disabilities our health system suffers from at the present time, and one of the first merits of this Bill is that it provides a universal health service without any insurance qualifications of any sort. It is available to the whole population, and not only is it available to the whole population freely, but it is intended, through the health service, to generalise the best health advice and treatment. It is intended that there shall be no limitation on the kind of assistance given – the general practitioner service, the specialist, the hospitals, eye treatment, spectacles, dental treatment, hearing facilities, all these are to be made available free.
There will be some limitations for a while, because we are short of many things. We have not enough dentists and it will therefore be necessary for us, in the meantime, to give priority treatment to certain classes – expectant and nursing mothers, children, school children in particular and later on we hope adolescents, Finally we trust that we shall be able to build up a dental service for the whole population. We are short of nurses and we are short, of course, of hospital accommodation, and so it will be some time before the Bill can fructify fully in effective universal service. Nevertheless, it is the object of the Bill, and of the scheme, to provide this as soon as possible, and to provide it universally.
Specialists will be available not only at institutions but for domiciliary visits when needed. Hon. Members in all parts of the House know from their own experience that very many people have suffered unnecessarily because the family has not had the financial resources to call in skilled people. The specialist services, therefore, will not only be available at the hospitals, but will be at the back of the general practitioner should he need them. The practical difficulties of carrying out all these principles and services are very great . When I approached this problem, I made up my mind that I was not going to permit any sectional or vested interests to stand in the way of providing this very valuable service for the British people.
There are, of course, three main instruments through which it is intended that the Health Bill should be worked. There are the hospitals; there are the general practitioners; and there are the health centres. The hospitals are in many ways the vertebrae of the health system, and I first examined what to do with the hospitals. The voluntary hospitals of Great Britain have done invaluable work. When hospitals could not be provided by any other means, they came along. The voluntary hospital system of this country has a long history of devotion and sacrifice behind it, and it would be a most frivolously minded man who would denigrate in any way the immense services the voluntary hospitals have rendered to this country. But they have been established often by the caprice of private charity. They bear no relationship to each other. Two hospitals close together often try to provide the same specialist services unnecessarily, while other areas have not that kind of specialist service at all. They are, as I said earlier, badly distributed throughout the country. It is unfortunate that often endowments are left to finance hospitals in those parts of the country where the well-to-do live while, in very many other of our industrial and rural districts there is inadequate hospital accommodation. These voluntary hospitals are, very many of them, far too small and, therefore, to leave them as independent units is quite impracticable.
Furthermore – I want to be quite frank with the House – I believe it is repugnant to a civilised community for hospitals to have to rely upon private charity. I believe we ought to have left hospital flag days behind. I have always felt a shudder of repulsion when I have seen nurses and sisters who ought to be at their work, and students who ought to be at their work, going about the streets collecting money for the hospitals. I do not believe there is an hon. Member of this House who approves that system. It is repugnant, and we must leave it behind – entirely. But the implications of doing this are very considerable.
I have been forming some estimates of what might happen to voluntary hospital finance when the all-in insurance contributions fall to be paid by the people of Great Britain, when the Bill is passed and becomes an Act, and they are entitled to free hospital services. The estimates I have go to show that between 80 per cent. and 90 per cent. of the revenues of the voluntary hospitals in these circumstances will be provided by public funds, by national or rate funds. And, of course, as the hon. Member reminds me, in very many parts of the country it is a travesty to call them voluntary hospitals. In the mining districts, in the textile districts, in the districts where there are heavy industries it is the industrial population who pay the weekly contributions for the maintenance of the hospitals. When I was a miner I used to find that situation, when I was on the hospital committee. We had an annual meeting and a cordial vote of thanks was moved and passed with great enthusiasm to the managing director of the colliery company for his generosity towards the hospital; and when I looked at the balance sheet, I saw that 97.5 per cent. of the revenues were provided by the miners’ own contributions; but nobody passed a vote of thanks to the miners.
I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that I was no more silent then than I am now. But, of course, it is a misuse of language to call these ‘Voluntary hospitals.” They are not maintained by legally enforced contributions; but, mainly, the workers pay for them because they know they will need the hospitals, and they are afraid of what they would have to pay if they did not provide them. So it is, I say, an impossible situation for the State to find something like 90 per cent of the revenues of these hospitals and still to call them “voluntary.’ So I decided, for this and other reasons, that the voluntary hospitals must be taken over.
I knew very well when I decided this that it would give rise to very considerable resentment in many quarters, but, quite frankly, I am not concerned about the voluntary hospitals’ authorities: I am concerned with the people whom the hospitals are supposed to serve. Every investigation which has been made into this problem has established that the proper hospital unit has to comprise about 1,000 beds – not in the same building but, nevertheless, the general and specialist hospital services can be provided only in a group of that size. This means that a number of hospitals have to be pooled, linked together, in order to provide a unit of that sort. This cannot be done effectively if each hospital is a separate, autonomous body. It is proposed that each of these groups should have a large general hospital, providing general hospital facilities and services, and that there should be a group round it of small feeder hospitals. Many of the cottage hospitals strive to give services that they are not able to give. It very often happens that a cottage hospital harbours ambitions to the hurt of the patients, because they strive to reach a status that they never can reach. In these circumstances, the welfare of the patients is sacrificed to the vaulting ambitions of those in charge of the hospital. If, therefore, these voluntary hospitals are to be grouped in this way, it is necessary that they should submit themselves to proper organisation, and that submission, in our experience, is impracticable if the hospitals, all of them, remain under separate management.
Now, this decision to take over the voluntary hospitals meant, that I then had to decide to whom to give them. Who was to be the receiver? So I turned to an examination of the local government hospital system. Many of the local authorities in Great Britain have never been able to exercise their hospital powers. They are too poor. They are too small. Furthermore, the local authorities of Great Britain inherited their hospitals from the Poor Law, and some of them are monstrous buildings, a cross between a workhouse and a barracks – or a prison. The local authorities are helpless in these matters. They have not been able to afford much money. Some local authorities are first-class. Some of the best hospitals in this country are local government hospitals. But, when I considered what to do with the voluntary hospitals when they had been taken over, and who was to receive them I had to reject the local government unit, because the local authority area is no more an effective gathering ground for the patients of the hospitals than the voluntary hospitals themselves. My hon. Friend said that some of them are too small, and some of them too large. London is an example of being too small and too large at the same time.
It is quite impossible, therefore, to hand over the voluntary hospitals to the local authorities. Furthermore – and this is an argument of the utmost importance – if it be our contract with the British people, if it be our intention that we should universalise the best, that we shall promise every citizen in this country the same standard of service, how can that be articulated through a rate-borne institution which means that the poor authority will not be able to carry out the same thing at all- It means that once more we shall be faced with all kinds of anomalies, just in those areas where hospital facilities are most needed, and in those very conditions where the mass of the poor people will be unable to find the finance to supply the hospitals. Therefore, for reasons which must be obvious – because the local authorities are too small, because their financial capacities are unevenly distributed – I decided that local authorities could not be effective hospital administration units. There are, of course, a large number of hospitals in addition to the general hospitals which the local authorities possess. Tuberculosis sanatoria, isolation hospitals, infirmaries of various kinds, rehabilitation, and all kinds of other hospitals are all necessary in a general hospital service. So I decided that the only thing to do was to create an entirely new hospital service, to take over the voluntary hospitals, and to take over the local government hospitals and to organise them as a single hospital service. If we are to carry out our obligation and to provide the people of Great Britain, no matter where they may be, with the same level of service, then the nation itself will have to carry the expenditure, and cannot put it upon the shoulders of any other authority.
A number of investigations have been made into this subject from time to time, and the conclusion has always been reached that the effective hospital unit should be associated with the medical school. If you grouped the hospitals in about 16 to 20 regions around the medical schools, you would then have within those regions the wide range of disease and disability which would provide the basis for your specialised hospital service. Furthermore, by grouping hospitals around the medical schools, we should be providing what is very badly wanted, and that is a means by which the general practitioners are kept in more intimate association with new medical thought and training. One of the disabilities, one of the shortcomings of our existing medical service, is the intellectual isolation of the general practitioners in many parts of the country. The general practitioner, quite often, practises in loneliness and does not come into sufficiently intimate association with his fellow craftsmen and has not the stimulus of that association, and in consequence of that the general practitioners have not got access to the new medical knowledge in a proper fashion. By this association of the general practitioner with the medical schools through the regional hospital organisation, it will be possible to refresh and replenish the fund of knowledge at the disposal of the general practitioner.
This has always been advised as the best solution of the difficulty. It has this great advantage to which I call the close attention of hon. Members. It means that the bodies carrying out the hospital services of the country are, at the same time, the planners of the hospital service. One of the defects of the other scheme is that the planning authority and executive authority are different. The result is that you get paper planning or bad execution. By making the regional board and regional organisation responsible both for the planning and the administration of the plans, we get a better result, and we get from time to time, adaptation of the plans by the persons accumulating the experience in the course of their administration. The other solutions to this problem which I have looked at all mean that you have an advisory body of planners in the background who are not able themselves to accumulate the experience necessary to make good planners. The regional hospital organisation is the authority with which the specialised services are to be associated, because, as I have explained, this specialised service can be made available for an area of that size, and cannot be made available over a small area.
When we come to an examination of this in Committee, I daresay there will be different points of view about the constitution of the regional boards. It is not intended that the regional boards should be conferences of persons representing different interests and different organisations. If we do that, the regional boards will not be able to achieve reasonable and efficient homogeneity. It is intended that they should be drawn from members of the profession, from the health authorities in the area, from the medical schools and from those who have long experience in voluntary hospital administration. While leaving ourselves open to take the best sort of .individuals on these hospital boards which we can find, we hope before very long to build up a high tradition of hospital administration in the boards themselves. Any system which made the boards conferences, any proposal which made the members delegates, would at once throw the hospital administration into chaos. Although I am perfectly prepared and shall be happy to cooperate with hon. Members in all parts of the House in discussing how the boards should be constituted, I hope I shall not be pressed to make these regional boards merely representative of different interests and different areas. The general hospital administration, therefore, centres in that way.
When we come to the general practitioners we are, of course, in an entirely different field. The proposal which I have made is that the ‘general practitioner shall not be in direct contract with the Ministry of Health, but in contract with new bodies. There exists in the medical ,profession a great resistance to coming under the authority of local government – a great resistance, with which I, to some extent, sympathise. There is a feeling in the medical profession that the general practitioner would be liable to come too much under the medical officer of health, who is the administrative doctor. This proposal does not put the doctor under the local authority; it puts the doctor in contract with an entirely new body – the local executive :council, coterminous with the local health area, county or county borough. On that executive council, the dentists, doctors and chemists will have half the representation. In fact, the whole scheme provides a greater degree of professional representation for the medical profession than any other scheme I have seen.
I have been criticised in some quarters for doing that. I will give the answer now: I have never believed that the demands of a democracy are necessarily satisfied merely by the opportunity of putting a cross against someone’s name every four or five years. I believe that democracy exists in the active participation in administration and policy. Therefore, I believe that it is a wise thing to give the doctors full participation in the administration of their own profession. They must of course, necessarily be subordinated to lay control – we do not want the opposite danger of syndicalism. Therefore, the communal interests must always be safeguarded in this administration. The doctors will be in contract with an executive body of this sort. One of the advantages of that proposal is that the doctors do not become – as some of them have so wildly stated – civil servants. Indeed, one of the advantages of the scheme is that it does not create an additional civil servant.
It imposes no constitutional disability upon any person whatsoever. Indeed, by taking the hospitals from the local authorities and putting them under the regional boards, large numbers of people will be enfranchised who are now disfranchised from participation in local government. So far from this being a huge bureaucracy with all the doctors little civil servants – the slaves of the Minister of Health, as I have seen it described – instead of that, the doctors are under contract with bodies which are not under the local authority, and which are, at the same time, ever open to their own influence and control.
One of the chief problems that I was up against in considering this scheme was the distribution of the general practitioner service throughout the country. The distribution, at the moment, is most uneven. In South Shields before the war there were 4,100 persons per doctor; in Bath 1,590; in Dartford nearly 3,000 and in Bromley 1,620; in Swindon 3,100; in Hastings under 1,200. That distribution of general practitioners throughout the country is most hurtful to the health of our people. It is entirely unfair, and, therefore, if the health services are to be carried out, there must be brought about a redistribution of the general practitioners throughout the country.
Indeed, I could amplify those figures a good deal, but I do not want to weary the House, as Ihave a great deal to say. It was, therefore, decided that there must be redistribution. One of the first consequences of that decision was the abolition of the sale and purchase of practices. If we are to get the doctors where we need them, we cannot possibly allow a new doctor to go in because he has bought somebody’s practice. Proper distribution kills by itself the sale and purchase of practices. I know that there is some opposition to this, and I will deal with that opposition. I have always regarded the sale and purchase of medical practices as an evil in itself. It is tantamount to the sate and purchase of patients. Indeed, every argument advanced about the value of the practice is itself an argument against freedom of choice, because the assumption underlying the high value of a practice is that the patient passes from the old doctor to the new. If they did not pass there would be no value in it. I would like, therefore, to point out to the medical profession that every time they argue for high compensation for the loss of the value of their practices, it is an argument against the free choice which they claim. However, the decision to bring about the proper distribution of general practitioners throughout the country meant that the value of the practices was destroyed. We had, therefore, to consider compensation.
I have never admitted the legal claim, but I admit at once that very real hardship would be inflicted upon doctors if there were no compensation. Many of these doctors look forward to the value of their practices for their retirement. Many of them have had to borrow money to buy practices and, therefore, it would, I think, be inhuman, and certainly most unjust, if no compensation were paid for the value of the practices destroyed. The sum of £66,000,000 is very large. In fact, I think that everyone will admit that the doctors are being treated very generously. However, it is not all loss, because if we had, in providing superannuation, given credit for back service, as we should have had to do, it would have cost £35 million. Furthermore, the compensation will fall to be paid to the dependants when the doctor dies, or when he retires, and so it is spread over a considerable number of years. This global sum has been arrived at by the actuaries and over the figure, I am afraid, we have not had very much control, because the actuaries have agreed it. But the profession itself will be asked to advise as to its distribution among the claimants, because we are interested in the global sum, and the profession, of course, is interested in the equitable distribution of the fund to the claimants.
The doctors claim that the proposals of the Bill amount to direction – not all the doctors say this but some of them do. There is no direction involved at all. When the Measure starts to operate, the doctors in a particular area will be able to enter the public service in that area. A doctor newly coming along would apply to the local executive council for permission to practise in a particular area. His application would then be re-referred to the Medical Practices Committee. The Medical Practices Committee, which is mainly a professional body, would have before it the question of whether there were sufficient general practitioners in that area. If there were enough, the committee would refuse to permit the appointment. No one can really argue that that is direction, because no profession should be allowed to enter the public service in a place where it is not needed. By that method of negative control over a number of years, we hope to bring about over the country a positive redistribution of the general practitioner service. It will not affect the existing situation, because doctors will be able to practise under the new service in the areas to which they belong, but a new doctor, as he comes on, will have to find his practice in a place inadequately served.
I cannot, at the moment, explain to the House what are going to be the rates of remuneration of doctors. The Spens Committee report is not fully available. I hope it will be out next week. I had hoped that it would be ready for this Debate, because this is an extremely important part of the subject, but I have not been able to get the full report. Therefore, it is not possible to deal with remuneration. However, it is possible to deal with some of the principles underlying the remuneration of general practitioners. Some of my hon. Friends on this side of the House are in favour of a full salaried service. I am not. I do not believe that the medical profession is ripe for it, and I cannot dispense with the principle that the payment of a doctor must in some degree be a reward for zeal, and there must be some degree of punishment for lack of it. Therefore, it is proposed that capitation should remain the main source from which a doctor will obtain his remuneration. But it is proposed that there shall be a basic salary and that for a number of very cogent reasons. One is that a young doctor entering practice for the first time needs to be kept alive while he is building up his lists. The present system by which a young man gets a load of debt around his neck in order to practise is an altogether evil one. The basic salary will take care of that.
Furthermore, the basic salary has the additional advantage of being something to which I can attach an increased amount to get doctors to go into unattractive areas. It may also – and here our position is not quite so definite – be the means of attaching additional remuneration for special courses and special acquirements. The basic salary, however, must not be too large otherwise it is a disguised form of capitation. Therefore, the main source at the moment through which a general practitioner will obtain his remuneration will be capitation. I have also made – and I quite frankly admit it to the House – a further concession which I know will be repugnant in some quarters. The doctor, the general practitioner and the specialist, will be able to obtain fees, but not from anyone who is on any of their own lists, nor will a doctor be able to obtain fees from persons on the lists of his partner, nor from those he has worked with in group practice, but I think it is impracticable to prevent him having any fees at all. To do so would be to create a black market. There ought to be nothing to prevent anyone having advice from another doctor other than his own. Hon. Members know what happens in this field sometimes. An individual hears that a particular doctor in some place is good at this, that or the other thing, and wants to go along for a consultation and pays a fee for it. If the other doctor is better than his own all he will need to do is to transfer to him and he gets him free. It would be unreasonable to keep the patient paying fees to a doctor whose services can be got free. So the amount of fee payment on the part of the general population will be quite small. Indeed, I confess at once if the amount of fee paying is great, the system will break down, because the whole purpose of this scheme is to provide free treatment with no fee paying at all. The same principle applies to the hospitals. If an individual wishes to consult, there is no reason why he should be stopped. As I have said, the fact that a person can transfer from one doctor to another ought to keep fee paying within reasonable proportions.
The same principle applies to the hospitals. Specialists in hospitals will be allowed to have fee-paying patients. I know this is criticised and I sympathise with some of the reasons for the criticism, but we are driven inevitably to this fact, that unless we permit some fee-paying patients in the public hospitals, there will be a rash of nursing homes all over the country. If people wish to pay for additional amenities, or something to which they attach value, like privacy in a single ward, we ought to aim at providing such facilities for everyone who wants them. But while we have inadequate hospital facilities, and while rebuilding is postponed it inevitably happens that some people will want to buy something more than the general health service is providing. If we do not permit fees in hospitals, we will lose many specialists from the public hospitals for they will go to nursing homes. I believe that nursing homes ought to be discouraged. They cannot provide general hospital facilities, and we want to keep our specialists attached to our hospitals and not send them into nursing homes. Behind this there is a principle of some importance. If the State owned a theatre it would not charge the same prices for the different seats. It is not entirely analogous, but it is an illustration. For example, in the dental service the same principle will prevail. The State will provide a certain standard of dentistry free, but if a person wants to have his teeth filled with gold, the State will not provide that.
The third instrument to which the health services are to be articulated is the health centre, to which we attach very great importance indeed. It has been described in some places as an experimental idea, but we want it to be more than that, because to the extent that general practitioners can operate through health centres in their own practice, to that extent will be raised the general standard of the medical profession as a whole. Furthermore, the general practitioner cannot afford the apparatus necessary for a proper diagnosis in his own surgery. This will be available at the health centre. The health centre may well be the maternity and child welfare clinic of the local authority also. The provision of the health centre is, therefore, imposed as a duty on the local authority. There has been criticism that this creates a trichotomy in the services. It is not a trichotomy at all. If you have complete unification it would bring you back to paper planning. You cannot get all services through the regional authority, because there are many immediate and personal services which the local authority can carry out better than anybody else. So, it is proposed to leave those personal services to the local authority, and some will be carried out at the health centre. The centres will vary; there will be larger centres at which there will be dental clinics, maternity and child welfare services, and general practitioners’ consultative facilities, and there will also be smaller centres – surgeries where practitioners can see their patients.
The health centres will be managed entirely by the health authorities. The health centre itself will be provided by the local health authority and facilities will be made available there to the general practitioner. The small ones are necessary, because some centres may be a considerable distance from people’s homes. So it will be necessary to have simpler ones, nearer their homes, fixed in a constellation with the larger ones.
The representatives on the local executives will be able to coordinate what is happening at the health centres. As I say, we regard these health centres as extremely valuable, and their creation will be encouraged in every possible way. Doctors will be encouraged to practise there, where they will have great facilities. It will, of course, be some time before these centres can be established everywhere, because of the absence of these facilities.
There you have the three main instruments through which it is proposed that the health services of the future should be articulated. There has been some criticism. Some have said that the preventive services should be under the same authority as the curative services. I wonder whether Members who advance that criticism really envisage the situation which will arise. What are the preventive services – Housing, water, sewerage, river pollution prevention, food inspection – are all these to be under a regional board? If so, a regional board of that sort would want the Albert Hall in which to meet. This, again, is paper planning. It is unification for unification’s sake. There must be a frontier at which the local joins the national health service. You can fix it here or there, but it must be fixed somewhere. It is said that there is some contradiction in the health scheme because some services are left to the local authority and the rest to the national scheme. Well, day is joined to night by twilight, but nobody has suggested that it is a contradiction in nature. The argument that this is a contradiction in health services is purely pedantic, and has no relation to the facts.
It is also suggested that because maternity and child welfare services come under the local authority, and gynaecological services come under the regional board, that will make for confusion. Why should it? Continuity between one and the other is maintained by the user. The hospital is there to be used. If there are difficulties in connection with birth, the gynaecologist at the hospital centre can look after them. All that happens is that the midwife will be in charge the mother will be examined properly, as she ought to be examined then, if difficulties are anticipated, she can have her child in hospital, where she can be properly looked after by the gynaecologist. When she recovers, and is a perfectly normal person, she can go to the maternity and child welfare centre for post-natal treatment. There is no confusion there. The confusion is in the minds of those who are criticising the proposal on the ground that there is a trichotomy in the services, between the local authority, the regional board and the health centre.
I apologise for detaining the House so long, but there are other matters to which I must make some reference. The two Amendments on the Order Paper rather astonish me. The hon. Member for Denbigh informs me, in his Amendment, that I have not sufficiently consulted the medical profession – I intend to read the Amendment to show how extravagant the hon. Member has been. He says that he and his friends are:
“unable to agree to a measure containing such far reaching proposals involving the entire population without any consultations having taken place between the Minister and the organisations and bodies representing those who will be responsible for carrying out its provisions…”
I have had prepared a list of conferences I have attended. I have met the medical profession, the dental profession, the pharmacists, nurses and midwives, voluntary hospitals, local authorities, eye services, medical aid services, herbalists, insurance committees, and various other organisations. I have had 20 conferences. The consultations have been very wide. In addition, my officials have had 13 conferences, so that altogether there have been 33 conferences with the different branches of the profession about the proposals. Can anybody argue that that is not adequate consultation? Of course, the real criticism is that I have not conducted negotiations. I am astonished that such a charge should lie in the mouth of any Member of the House. If there is one thing that will spell the death of the House of Commons it is for a Minister to negotiate Bills before they are presented to the House. I had no negotiations, because once you negotiate with outside bodies two things happen. They are made aware of the nature of the proposals before the House of Commons itself; and furthermore, the Minister puts himself into an impossible position, because, if he has agreed things with somebody outside he is bound to resist Amendments from Members in the House. Otherwise he does not play fair with them. I protested against this myself when I was a Private Member. I protested bitterly, and I am not prepared, strange though it may seem, to do something as a Minister which as a Private Member I thought was wrong. So there has not been negotiation, and there will not be negotiation, in this matter. The House of Commons is supreme, and the House of Commons must assert its supremacy, and not allow itself to be dictated to by anybody, no matter how powerful and how strong he may be.
These consultations have taken place over a very wide field, and, as a matter of fact, have produced quite a considerable amount of agreement. The opposition to the Bill is not as strong as it was thought it would be. On the contrary, there is very considerable support for this Measure among the doctors themselves. I myself have been rather aggrieved by some of the statements which have been made. They have misrepresented the proposals to a very large extent, but as these proposals become known to the medical profession, they will appreciate them, because nothing should please a good doctor more than to realise that, in future, neither he nor his patient will have any financial anxiety arising out of illness.
The leaders of the Opposition have on the Order Paper an Amendment which expresses indignation at the extent to which we are interfering with charitable foundations. The Amendment states that the Bill “gravely menaces all charitable foundations by diverting to purposes other than those intended by the donors the trust funds of the voluntary hospitals.”
I must say that when I read that Amendment I was amused. I have been looking up some precedents. I would like to say, in passing, that a great many of these endowments and foundations have been diversions from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The main contributor was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But I seem to remember that, in 1941, hon. Members opposite were very much vexed by what might happen to the public schools, and they came to the House and asked for the permission of the House to lay sacrilegious hands upon educational endowments centuries old. I remember protesting against it at the time – not, however, on the grounds of sacrilege. These endowments had been left to the public schools, many of them for the maintenance of the buildings, but hon. Members opposite, being concerned lest the war might affect their favourite schools, came to the House and allowed the diversion of money from that purpose to the payment of the salaries of the teachers and the masters. There have been other interferences with endowments. Wales has been one of the criminals. Disestablishment interfered with an enormous number of endowments. Scotland also is involved. Scotland has been behaving in a most sacrilegious manner; a whole lot of endowments have been waived by Scottish Acts. I could read out a large number of them, but I shall not do so.
Do hon. Members opposite suggest that the intelligent planning of the modern world must be prevented by the endowments of the dead? Are we to consider the dead more than the living? Are the patients of our hospitals to be sacrificed to a consideration of that sort?
We are not, in fact, diverting these endowments from charitable purposes. It would have been perfectly proper for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have taken over these funds, because they were willed for hospital purposes, and he could use them for hospital purposes; but we are doing no such thing. The teaching hospitals will be left with all their liquid endowments and more power. We are not interfering with the teaching hospitals’ endowments. Academic medical education will be more free in the future than it has been in the past. Furthermore, something like £32 million belonging to the voluntary hospitals as a whole is not going to be taken from them. On the contrary, we are going to use it, and a very valuable thing it will be; we are going to use it as a shock absorber between the Treasury, the central Government, and the hospital administration. They will be given it as free money which they can spend over and above the funds provided by the State.
I welcome the opportunity of doing that, because I appreciate, as much as hon. Members in any part of the House, the absolute necessity for having an elastic, resilient service, subject to local influence as well as to central influence; and that can be accomplished by leaving this money in their hands. I shall be prepared to consider, when the Bill comes to be examined in more detail, whether any other relaxations are possible, but certainly, by leaving this money in the hands of the regional board, by allowing the regional board an annual budget and giving them freedom of movement inside that budget, by giving power to the regional board to distribute this money to the local management committees of the hospitals, by various devices of that sort, the hospitals will be responsible to local pressure and subject to local influence as well as to central direction.
I think that on those grounds the proposals can be defended. They cover a very wide field indeed, to a great deal of which I have not been able to make reference; but I should have thought it ought to have been a pride to hon. Members in all parts of the House that Great Britain is able to embark upon an ambitious scheme of this proportion. When it is carried out, it will place this country in the forefront of all countries of the world in medical services. I myself, if I may say a personal word, take very great pride and great pleasure in being able to introduce a Bill of this comprehensiveness and value. I believe it will lift the shadow from millions of homes. It will keep very many people alive who might otherwise be dead. It will relieve suffering. It will produce higher standards for the medical profession. It will be a great contribution towards the wellbeing of the common people of Great Britain. For that reason, and for the other reasons I have mentioned, I hope hon. Members will give the Bill a Second Reading.
2 September 1945, Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi, Vietnam
All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live and to be happy and free.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, made at the time of the French Revolution, in 1791, also states: “All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights.”
Those are undeniable truths.
Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice.
Politically, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.
They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, the Centre and the South of Viet Nam in order to wreck our country’s oneness and prevent our people from being united.
They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly massacred our patriots. They have drowned our uprisings in seas of blood.
They have fettered public opinion and practised obscurantism.
The have weakened our race with opium and alcohol.
In the field of economics, they have sucked us dry, driven our people to destitution and devastated our land.
They have robbed us of our ricefields, our mines, our forests and our raw materials. They have monopolised the issuing of banknotes and the import and export trade.
They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced our people, especially our peasantry, to extreme poverty.
They have made it impossible for our national bourgeoisie to prosper; they have mercilessly exploited our workers.
In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese fascists invaded Indochina to establish new bases against the Allies, the French colonialists went down on their bended knees and opened the doors of our country to welcome the Japanese in.
Thus, from that date, our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased. The result was that towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, from Quang Tri province to the North of Vietnam, more than two million of our fellow-citizens died from starvation.
On the 9th of March this year, the French troops were disarmed by the Japanese. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered, showing that not only were they incapable of “protecting” us, but that, in a period of five years, they had twice sold our country to the Japanese.
Before the 9th of March, how often the Viet Minh had urged the French to ally themselves with it against the Japanese! But instead of agreeing to this proposal, the French colonialists only intensified their terrorist activities against the Viet Minh. After their defeat and before fleeing, they massacred the political prisoners detained at Yen Bai and Cao Bang.
In spite of all this, our fellow-citizens have always manifested a lenient and humane attitude towards the French. After the Japanese putsch of March 9, 1945, the Viet Minh helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued others from Japanese jails, and protected French lives and property. In fact, since the autumn of 1940, our country had ceased to be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession.
When the Japanese surrendered to the Allies, our entire people rose to gain power and founded the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese, not from the French.
The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which have fettered them for nearly a century and have won independence for Viet Nam. At the same time they have overthrown the centuries-old monarchic regime and established a democratic republican regime.
We, the Provisional Government of the new Viet Nam, representing the entire Vietnamese people, hereby declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France; cancel all treaties signed by France on Viet Nam, and abolish all privileges held by France in our country.
The entire Vietnamese people are of one mind in their determination to oppose all wicked schemes by the French colonialists.
We are convinced that the Allies, which at the Teheran and San Francisco Conferences upheld the principle of equality among the nations, cannot fail to recognize the right of the Vietnamese people to independence.
A people who have courageously opposed French enslavement for more than eight years, a people who have resolutely sided with the Allies against the fascists during these last years, such a people must be free, such a people must be independent.
For these reasons, we, the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, solemnly make this declaration to the world:
Viet Nam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and in fact has become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their freedom and independence.
7 December 1991, USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii. USA
Thank you, Captain Ross. Thank you, sir. To our Secretary of Defense and our Chairman of our Joint Chiefs; members of our Cabinet; distinguished Governors here; and so many Members of the United States Congress; Admiral Larson; members of our Armed Forces, then and now; family and friends of the Arizona and Utah; fellow veterans. Thank you very much for that introduction, Don, and thank you all for that welcome.
It was a bright Sunday morning. Thousands of troops slept soundly in their bunks. Some who were awake looked out and savored the still and tranquil harbor.
And on the stern of the U.S.S. Nevada, a brass band prepared to play "The Star Spangled Banner." On other ships, sailors readied for the 8 a.m. flag raising. Ray Emory, who was on the Honolulu, read the morning newspaper. Aboard California, yeoman Durell Connor wrapped Christmas presents. On the West Virginia, a machinist's mate looked at the photos just received from his wife. And they were of his 8-month-old son whom he had never seen.
On the mainland, people listened to the football games on the radio, turned to songs like the "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," comics like "Terry and the Pirates," movies like "Sergeant York." In New York, families went window-shopping. Out West, it was late morning, many families still at church.
At first, to the American sailors at Pearl, the hum of engines sounded routine, and why not? To them, the idea of war seemed palpable but remote. And then, in one horrible instant, they froze in disbelief. The abstract threat was suddenly real.
But these men did not panic. They raced to their stations, and some strapped pistols over pajamas, and fought and died. And what lived was the shock wave that soon swept across America, forever immortalizing December 7th, 1941. Ask anyone who endured that awful Sunday. Each felt like the writer who observed: "Life is never again as it was before anyone you love has died; never so innocent, never so gentle, never so pliant to your will."
Today we honor those who gave their lives at this place, half a century ago. Their names were Bertie and Gomez and Dougherty and Granger. And they came from Idaho and Mississippi, the sweeping farmland of Ohio. And they were of all races and colors, native-born and foreign-born. And most of all, of course, they were Americans.
Think of how it was for these heroes of the Harbor, men who were also husbands, fathers, brothers, sons. Imagine the chaos of guns and smoke, flaming water, and ghastly carnage. Two thousand, four hundred and three Americans gave their lives. But in this haunting place, they live forever in our memory, reminding us gently, selflessly, like chimes in the distant night.
Every 15 seconds a drop of oil still rises from the Arizona and drifts to the surface. As it spreads across the water, we recall the ancient poet: "In our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair against our will comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." With each drop, it is as though God Himself were crying. He cries, as we do, for the living and the dead: men like Commander Duncan Curry, firing a .45 at an attacking plane as tears streamed down his face.
We remember machinist's mate Robert Scott, who ran the air compressors powering the guns aboard California. And when the compartment flooded, the crew evacuated; Scott refused. "This is my station," he said, "I'm going to stay as long as the guns are going." And nearby, aboard New Orleans, the cruiser, Chaplain Forgy assured his troops it was all right to miss church that day. His words became legend: "You can praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."
Captain Ross, right here, then a warrant officer or was it a chief, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism aboard Nevada that day. I salute him, the other Congressional Medal winners with us today, wherever they may be also.
For the defenders of Pearl, heroism came as naturally as breath. They reacted instinctively by rushing to their posts. They knew as well that our Nation would be sustained by the nobility of its cause.
So did Americans of Japanese ancestry who came by the hundreds to give wounded Americans blood, and the thousands of their kinsmen all across America who took up arms for their country. Every American believed in the cause.
The men I speak of would be embarrassed to be called heroes. Instead, they would tell you, probably with defiance: "Foes can sink American ships, but not the American spirit. They may kill us, but never the ideals that made us proud to serve."
Talk to those who survived to fight another day. They would repeat the Navy hymn that Barbara and I sing every Sunday in the lovely little chapel up at Camp David: "Eternal Father, strong to save, Whose arm hath bound the restless wave . . . O hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea."
Back in 1942, June of '42, I remember how Henry Stimson, the Secretary of War, defined the American soldier, and how that soldier should be, and I quote: "Brave without being brutal, self-confident without boasting, being part of an irresistible might without losing faith in individual liberty."
The heroes of the Harbor engraved that passage on every heart and soul. They fought for a world of peace, not war, where children's dreams speak more loudly than the brashest tyrant's guns. Because of them, this memorial lives to pass its lessons from one generation to the next, lessons as clear as this Pacific sky.
One of Pearl Harbor's lessons is that together we could "summon lightness against the dark"; that was Dwight Eisenhower. Another, that when it comes to national defense, finishing second means finishing last.
World War II also taught us that isolationism is a bankrupt notion. The world does not stop at our water's edge. And perhaps above all, that real peace, real peace, the peace that lasts, means the triumph of freedom, not merely the absence of war.
And as we look down at -- Barbara and I just did -- at Arizona's sunken hull, tomb to more than 1,000 Americans, the beguiling calm comforts us, reminds us of the might of ideals that inspire boys to die as men. Everyone who aches at their sacrifice knows America must be forever vigilant. And Americans must always remember the brave and the innocent who gave their lives to keep us free.
Each Memorial Day, not far from this spot, the heroes of Pearl Harbor are honored. Two leis are placed upon each grave by Hawaiian Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. We must never forget that it is for them, the future, that we must apply the lessons of the past.
In Pearl Harbor's wake, we won the war and, thus, the peace. In the cold war that followed, Americans also shed their blood, but we used other means as well. For nearly half a century, patience, foresight, personal diplomacy helped America stand fast and firm for democracy.
But we've never stood alone. Beside us stood nations committed to democracy and free markets and free expression and freedom of worship, nations that include our former enemies, Germany, Italy, and Japan. This year these same nations stood with us against aggression in the Persian Gulf.
You know, the war in the Gulf was so different: different enemy, different circumstances, the outcome never in doubt. It was short; thank God our casualties mercifully few. But I ask you veterans of Pearl Harbor and all Americans who remember the unity of purpose that followed that momentous December day 50 years ago: Didn't we see that same strength of national spirit when we launched Desert Storm?
The answer is a resounding "yes." Once the war for Kuwait began, we pulled together. We were united, determined, and we were confident. And when it was over, we rejoiced in exactly the same way that we did in 1945 -- heads high, proud, and grateful. And what a feeling. Fifty years had passed, but, let me tell you, the American spirit is as young and fresh as ever.
This unity of purpose continues to inspire us in the cause of peace among nations. In their own way, amidst the bedlam and the anguish of that awful day, the men of Pearl Harbor served that noble cause, honored it. They knew the things worth living for but also worth dying for: Principle, decency, fidelity, honor.
And so, look behind you at battleship row -- behind me, the gun turret still visible, and the flag flying proudly from a truly blessed shrine.
Look into your hearts and minds: You will see boys who this day became men and men who became heroes.
Look at the water here, clear and quiet, bidding us to sum up and remember. One day, in what now seems another lifetime, it wrapped its arms around the finest sons any nation could ever have, and it carried them to a better world.
May God bless them. And may God bless America, the most wondrous land on Earth.
6 August 1945, Washington DC, USA
Sixteen hours ago, an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British "Grand Slam" which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.
The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production and even more powerful forms are in development.
It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.
Before 1939, it was the accepted belief of scientists that it was theoretically possible to release atomic energy. But no one knew any practical method of doing it. By 1942, however, we knew that the Germans were working feverishly to find a way to add atomic energy to the other engines of war with which they hoped to enslave the world. But they failed. We may be grateful to Providence that the Germans got the V-1's and V-2's late and in limited quantities and even more grateful that they did not get the atomic bomb at all.
The battle of the laboratories held fateful risks for us as well as the battles of the air, land and sea, and we have now won the battle of the laboratories as we have won the other battles.
Beginning in 1940, before Pearl Harbor, scientific knowledge useful in war was pooled between the United States and Great Britain, and many priceless helps to our victories have come from that arrangement. Under that general policy the research on the atomic bomb was begun. With American and British scientists working together we entered the race of discovery against the Germans.
The United States had available the large number of scientists of distinction in the many needed areas of knowledge. It had the tremendous industrial and financial resources necessary for the project and they could be devoted to it without undue impairment of other vital war work. In the United States the laboratory work and the production plants, on which a substantial start had already been made, would be out of reach of enemy bombing, while at that time Britain was exposed to constant air attack and was still threatened with the possibility of invasion. For these reasons Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt agreed that it was wise to carry on the project here. We now have two great plants and many lesser works devoted to the production of atomic power. Employment during peak construction numbered 125,000 and over 65,000 individuals are even now engaged in operating the plants. Many have worked there for two and a half years. Few know what they have been producing. They see great quantities of material going in and they see nothing coming out of these plants, for the physical size of the explosive charge is exceedingly small. We have spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history-and won.
But the greatest marvel is not the size of the enterprise, its secrecy, nor its cost, but the achievement of scientific brains in putting together infinitely complex pieces of knowledge held by many men in different fields of science into a workable plan. And hardly less marvelous has been the capacity of industry to design, and of labor to operate, the machines and methods to do things never done before so that the brain child of many minds came forth in physical shape and performed as it was supposed to do. Both science and industry worked under the direction of the United States Army, which achieved a unique success in managing so diverse a problem in the advancement of knowledge in an amazingly short time. It is doubtful if such another combination could be got together in the world. What has been done is the greatest achievement of organized science in history. It was done under high pressure and without failure.
We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan's power to make war.
It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.
The Secretary of War, who has kept in personal touch with all phases of the project, will immediately make public a statement giving further details.
His statement will give facts concerning the sites at Oak Ridge near Knoxville, Tennessee, and at Richland near Pasco, Washington, and an installation near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although the workers at the sites have been making materials to be used in producing the greatest destructive force in history they have not themselves been in danger beyond that of many other occupations, for the utmost care has been taken of their safety.
The fact that we can release atomic energy ushers in a new era in man's understanding of nature's forces. Atomic energy may in the future supplement the power that now comes from coal, oil, and falling water, but at present it cannot be produced on a basis to compete with them commercially. Before that comes there must be a long period of intensive research.
It has never been the habit of the scientists of this country or the policy of this Government to withhold from the world scientific knowledge. Normally, therefore, everything about the work with atomic energy would be made public.
But under present circumstances it is not intended to divulge the technical processes of production or all the military applications, pending further examination of possible methods of protecting us and the rest of the world from the danger of sudden destruction.
I shall recommend that the Congress of the United States consider promptly the establishment of an appropriate commission to control the production and use of atomic power within the United States. I shall give further consideration and make further recommendations to the Congress as to how atomic power can become a powerful and forceful influence towards the maintenance of world peace.
20 January 1942, Wannsee, Germany
This horrendous and genocidal speech was delivered by Reinhard Heydrich to 14 other top ranking Nazis at a villa at Wannsee, just outside of Berlin. It strategises the final solution and is extremely distressing to hear and read. In the recreation above, the speech starts at 28.40.
We have the means, the methods, the organisation, experience and people. And we have the will. This is a historic moment in the struggle against Jewry. The Fuhrer has declared his determination ... to destroy European Jewry. The Fuhrer sees himself ... as exterminating fatal bacteria to save the organism. It is them or us.
What has happened so far? Step by step we have forced the Jews out of all levels of German life ...
We have forced them out of the # of the people partly by transfers to concentration camps, and partly due to Obster -bannFuhrer Eichmann’s organisation by permitting 537,000 Jews to emigrate before the war, and finally ...
We have seen since the beginning of the war the liquidation of hundreds of thousands of Polish, Baltic and Russian Jews. You gentlemen from the Party Chancellory, the Riech Chancellory, the Foreign Office, General Govenment and ministry for the East have been kept informed by Gestapo reports of the Action groups’ activities ...
The Reichsfuhrer SS has forbidden any further emigration of Jews. The Jews remaining in the Reich and all European Jews in our present and future spheres of influence will be evacuated to the East for the final solution ...
We shall work effectively but silently. Total cooperation will be required in this matter of life or death for the Reich. So that we can all envisage what the Jewish question in the Reich involves (pointing to a map of Europe) the red area shows the Reich on the eve of war. This is the Eastern front. Behind in white conquered Eastern territories under Germany’s civilian rule. In pink territories subject to the Reich - in vertical and stripes occupied territories in the rest of Europe. Horiozontal red stripes our Allies or countries under our influence. The dots on the map like fly spots represents the density of the Jewish population. That is our problem the further we advance between Riga and Odessa.
We must deal with settlements of our Jewish opponents. They’ve made themselves comfortable for centuries. In my own home town of Odessa there are more than 70,000 Jewish inhabitants. There were, used to be (laugher). To sum up gentlemen, our Action groups following hard on the heels of our troops have virtually eliminated the Jewish concentrations. We have influenced the old anti-Semitism by certain procedural measures.
Now the rough work has been done we must begin the period of finer work. We need to work in harmony with the civil administration. We count on you gentlemen as far as the final solution is concerned. What is to be resolved will be resolved here (pointing to the East), at the world’s arse, as my men say. War and gunsmoke have made immense achievements possible. It is the Reichsfuhrer SS’s will that the Jewish question is settled there in one clean sweep. The total Jews concerned - 11,000,000.
This breaks down as follows:
In the old Reich - 130,000
In Austria - 43,000
In the Protectorate - 2,500,000
In the Balkans - 1,600,000
In Occupied France - 165,000
In Unoccupied France - 740,000 (quite a task!)
In the New Europe for which we shall be responsible, in foreign unoccupied countries like England - 350,000
In neutral countries like Switzerland - 18,000 of the Chosen People.
In the final solution we will use the Jews as labour in the East. They will be marched, both sexes segregated, in columns, building roads on the way, breaking rocks, draining marshes. We’ll give them every opportunity to find out what work means, on the extensive industrial plains now being constructed by Comrade Pohl of the SS’s Economic Office ...
Of course, most of these Jews will succumb to natural wastage: the remainder, the toughest , will have to be processed accordingly. Why? Because it is the survival of the fittest. Otherwise they’d seed a new Jewish resurrection. Look at history!
3 July 1941, Moscow, USSR
Comrades! Citizens! Brothers and sisters! Men of our army and navy! I am addressing you, my friends!
The perfidious military attack on our Fatherland, begun on June 22nd by Hitler Germany, is continuing.
In spite of the heroic resistance of the Red Army, and although the enemy's finest divisions and finest airforce units have already been smashed and have met their doom on the field of battle, the enemy continues to push forward, hurling fresh forces into the attack.
Hitler's troops have succeeded in capturing Lithuania, a considerable part of Latvia, the western part of Byelo-Russia, part of Western Ukraine. The fascist airforce is extending the range of operations of its bombers, and is bombing Murmansk, Orsha, Mogilev, Smolensk, Kiev, Odessa and Sebastopol.
A grave danger hangs over our country.
How could it have happened that our glorious Red Army surrendered a number of our cities and districts to fascist armies? Is it really true that German fascist troops are invincible, as is ceaselessly trumpeted by the boastful fascist propagandists? Of course not!
History shows that there are no invincible armies and never have been. Napoleon's army was considered invincible but it was beaten successively by Russian, English and German armies. Kaiser Wilhelm's German Army in the period of the first imperialist war was also considered invincible, but it was beaten several times by the Russian and Anglo-French forces and was finally smashed by the Anglo-French forces.
The same must be said of Hitler's German fascist army today. This army had not yet met with serious resistance on the continent of Europe. Only on our territory has it met serious resistance. And if, as a result of this resistance, the finest divisions of Hitler's German fascist army have been defeated by our Red Army, it means that this army too can be smashed and will be smashed as were the armies of Napoleon and Wilhelm.
As to part of our territory having nevertheless been seized by Germany fascist troops, this is chiefly due to the fact that the war of fascist Germany on the USSR began under conditions favorable for the German forces and unfavorable for Soviet forces. The fact of the matter is that the troops of Germany, as a country at war, were already fully mobilized, and the 170 divisions hurled by Germany against the USSR and brought up to the Soviet frontiers, were in a state of complete readiness, only awaiting the signal to move into action, whereas Soviet troops had still to effect mobilization and move up to the frontier.
Of no little importance in this respect is the fact that fascist Germany suddenly and treacherously violated the Non-Aggression Pact she concluded in 1939 with the USSR, disregarding the fact that she would be regarded as the aggressor by the whole world.
Naturally, our peace-loving country, not wishing to take the initiative of breaking the pact, could not resort to perfidy.
It may be asked how could the Soviet Government have consented to conclude a Non-Aggression Pact with such treacherous fiends as Hitler and Ribbentrop? Was this not an error on the part of the Soviet Government? Of course not. Non-Aggression Pacts are pacts of peace between states. It was such a pact that Germany proposed to us in 1939.
Could the Soviet Government have declined such a proposal? I think that not a single peace-loving state could decline a peace treaty with a neighboring state, even though the latter was headed by such fiends and cannibals as Hitler and Ribbentrop. Of course only on one indispensable condition, namely, that this peace treaty does not infringe either directly or indirectly on the territorial integrity, independence and honor of the peace-loving state. As is well known, the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the USSR is precisely such a pact.
What did we gain by concluding the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany? We secured our country peace for a year and a half, and the opportunity of preparing its forces to repulse fascist Germany should she risk an attack on our country despite the Pact This was a definite advantage for us and a disadvantage for fascist Germany.
What has fascist Germany gained and what has she lost by treacherously tearing up the pact and attacking the USSR?
She has gained a certain advantageous position for her troops for a short period, but she has lost politically by exposing herself in the eyes of the entire world as a blood-thirsty aggressor.
There can be no doubt that this short-lived military gain for Germany is only an episode, while the tremendous political gain of the USSR is a serious lasting factor that is bound to form the basis for development of decisive military successes of the Red Army in the war with fascist Germany.
That is why our whole valiant Red Army, our whole valiant Navy, all our falcons of the air, all the peoples of our country, all the finest men and women of Europe, America and Asia, finally all the finest men and women of Germany--condemn the treacherous acts of German fascists and sympathize with the Soviet Government, approve the conduct of the Soviet Government, and see that ours is a just cause, that the enemy will be defeated, that we are bound to win.
By virtue of this war which has been forced upon us, our country has come to death-grips with its most malicious and most perfidious enemy--German fascism. Our troops are fighting heroically against an enemy armed to the teeth with tanks and aircraft.
Overcoming innumerable difficulties, the Red Army and Red Navy are self-sacrificingly disputing every inch of Soviet soil. The main forces of the Red Army are coming into action armed with thousands of tanks and airplanes. The men of the Red Army are displaying unexampled valor. Our resistance to the enemy is growing in strength and power.
Side by side with the Red Army, the entire Soviet people are rising in defense of our native land.
What is required to put an end to the danger hovering over our country, and what measures must be taken to smash the enemy?
Above all, it is essential that our people, the Soviet people, should understand the full immensity of the danger that threatens our country and should abandon all complacency, all heedlessness, all those moods of peaceful constructive work which were so natural before the war, but which are fatal today when war has fundamentally changed everything.
The enemy is cruel and implacable. He is out to seize our lands, watered with our sweat, to seize our grain and oil secured by our labor. He is out to restore the rule of landlords, to restore Tsarism, to destroy national culture and the national state existence of the Russians, Ukrainians, Byelo-Russians, Lithuanians, Letts, Esthonians, Uzbeks, Tatars, Moldavians, Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaidzhanians and the other free people of the Soviet Union, to Germanize them, to convert them into the slaves of German princes and barons.
Thus the issue is one of life or death for the Soviet State, for the peoples of the USSR; the issue is whether the peoples of the Soviet Union shall remain free or fall into slavery.
The Soviet people must realize this and abandon all heedlessness, they must mobilize themselves and reorganize all their work on new, wartime bases, when there can be no mercy to the enemy.
Further, there must be no room in our ranks for whimperers and cowards, for panic-mongers and deserters. Our people must know no fear in fight and must selflessly join our patriotic war of liberation, our war against the fascist enslavers.
Lenin, the great founder of our State, used to say that the chief virtue of the Bolshevik must be courage, valor, fearlessness in struggle, readiness to fight, together with the people, against the enemies of our country.
This splendid virtue of the Bolshevik must become the virtue of the millions of the Red Army, of the Red Navy, of all peoples of the Soviet Union.
All our work must be immediately reconstructed on a war footing, everything must be subordinated to the interests of the front and the task of organizing the demolition of the enemy.
The people of the Soviet Union now see that there is no taming of German fascism in its savage fury and hatred of our country which has ensured all working people labor in freedom and prosperity.
The peoples of the Soviet Union must rise against the enemy and defend their rights and their land. The Red Army, Red Navy and all citizens of the Soviet Union must defend every inch of Soviet soil, must fight to the last drop of blood for our towns and villages, must display the daring initiative and intelligence that are inherent in our people.
We must organize all-round assistance for the Red Army, ensure powerful reinforcements for its ranks and the supply of everything it requires, we must organize the rapid transport of troops and military freight and extensive aid to the wounded.
We must strengthen the Red Army's rear, subordinating all our work to this cause. All our industries must be got to work with greater intensity to produce more rifles, machine-guns, artillery, bullets, shells, airplanes; we must organize the guarding of factories, power-stations, telephonic and telegraphic communications and arrange effective air raid precautions in all localities.
We must wage a ruthless fight against all disorganizers of the rear, deserters, panic-mongers, rumor-mongers; we must exterminate spies, diversionists and enemy parachutists, rendering rapid aid in all this to our destroyer battalions.
We must bear in mind that the enemy is crafty, unscrupulous, experienced in deception and the dissemination of false rumors We must reckon with all this and not fall victim to provocation.
All who by their panic-mongering and cowardice hinder the work of defence, no matter who they are, must be immediately haled before the military tribunal. In case of forced retreat of Red Army units, all rolling stock must be evacuated, the enemy must not be left a single engine, a single railway car, not a single pound of grain or a gallon of fuel.
The collective farmers must drive off all their cattle, and turn over their grain to the safe-keeping of State authorities for transportation to the rear. All valuable property, including non-ferrous metals, grain and fuel which cannot be withdrawn, must without fail be destroyed.
In areas occupied by the enemy, guerrilla units, mounted and on foot, must be formed, diversionist groups must be organized to combat the enemy troops, to foment guerrilla warfare everywhere, to blow up bridges and roads, damage telephone and telegraph lines, set fire to forests, stores, transports.
In the occupied regions conditions must be made unbearable for the enemy and all his accomplices. They must be hounded and annihilated at every step, and all their measures frustrated.
This war with fascist Germany cannot be considered an ordinary war. It is not only a war between two armies, it is also a great war of the entire Soviet people against the German fascist forces.
The aim of this national war in defense of our country against the fascist oppressors is not only elimination of the danger hanging over our country, but also aid to all European peoples groaning under the yoke of German fascism.
In this war of liberation we shall not be alone. In this great war we shall have loyal allies in the peoples of Europe and America, including the German people who are enslaved by the Hitlerite despots.
Our war for the freedom of our country will merge with the struggle of the peoples of Europe and America for their independence, for democratic liberties.
It will be a united front of peoples standing for freedom and against enslavement and threats of enslavement by Hitler's fascist armies.
In this connection the historic utterance of the British Prime Minister Churchill regarding aid to the Soviet Union and the declaration of the United States Government signifying its readiness to render aid to our country, which can only evoke a feeling of gratitude in the hearts of the peoples of the Soviet Union, are fully comprehensible and symptomatic.
Comrades, our forces are numberless. The overweening enemy will soon learn this to his cost. Side by side with the Red Army many thousands of workers, collective farmers, intellectuals are rising to fight the enemy aggressor. The masses of our people will rise up in their millions.
The working people of Moscow and Leningrad have already commenced to form vast popular levies in support of the Red Army. Such popular levies must be raised in every city which is in danger of enemy invasion, all working people must be roused to defend our freedom, our honor, our country--in our patriotic war against German Fascism.
In order to ensure the rapid mobilization of all forces of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and to repulse the enemy who treacherously attacked our country, a State Committee of Defense has been formed in whose hands the entire power of the State has been vested.
The State Committee of Defense has entered upon its functions and calls upon all people to rally around the Party of Lenin-Stalin and around the Soviet Government, so as to self-denyingly support the Red Army and Navy, demolish the enemy and secure victory.
All our forces for support of our heroic Red Army and our glorious Red Navy! All forces of the people--for the demolition of the enemy!
Forward, to our victory!
6 January 1941, Washington DC, USA
I address you, the Members of the Seventy-seventh Congress, at a moment unprecedented in the history of the Union. I use the word "unprecedented," because at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today.
Since the permanent formation of our Government under the Constitution, in 1789, most of the periods of crisis in our history have related to our domestic affairs. Fortunately, only one of these--the four-year War Between the States--ever threatened our national unity. Today, thank God, one hundred and thirty million Americans, in forty-eight States, have forgotten points of the compass in our national unity.
It is true that prior to 1914 the United States often had been disturbed by events in other Continents. We had even engaged in two wars with European nations and in a number of undeclared wars in the West Indies, in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific for the maintenance of American rights and for the principles of peaceful commerce. But in no case had a serious threat been raised against our national safety or our continued independence.
What I seek to convey is the historic truth that the United States as a nation has at all times maintained clear, definite opposition, to any attempt to lock us in behind an ancient Chinese wall while the procession of civilization went past. Today, thinking of our children and of their children, we oppose enforced isolation for ourselves or for any other part of the Americas.
That determination of ours, extending over all these years, was proved, for example, during the quarter century of wars following the French Revolution.
While the Napoleonic struggles did threaten interests of the United States because of the French foothold in the West Indies and in Louisiana, and while we engaged in the War of 1812 to vindicate our right to peaceful trade, it is nevertheless clear that neither France nor Great Britain, nor any other nation, was aiming at domination of the whole world.
In like fashion from 1815 to 1914-- ninety-nine years-- no single war in Europe or in Asia constituted a real threat against our future or against the future of any other American nation.
Except in the Maximilian interlude in Mexico, no foreign power sought to establish itself in this Hemisphere; and the strength of the British fleet in the Atlantic has been a friendly strength. It is still a friendly strength.
Even when the World War broke out in 1914, it seemed to contain only small threat of danger to our own American future. But, as time went on, the American people began to visualize what the downfall of democratic nations might mean to our own democracy.
We need not overemphasize imperfections in the Peace of Versailles. We need not harp on failure of the democracies to deal with problems of world reconstruction. We should remember that the Peace of 1919 was far less unjust than the kind of "pacification" which began even before Munich, and which is being carried on under the new order of tyranny that seeks to spread over every continent today. The American people have unalterably set their faces against that tyranny.
Every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being' directly assailed in every part of the world--assailed either by arms, or by secret spreading of poisonous propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations that are still at peace.
During sixteen long months this assault has blotted out the whole pattern of democratic life in an appalling number of independent nations, great and small. The assailants are still on the march, threatening other nations, great and small.
Therefore, as your President, performing my constitutional duty to "give to the Congress information of the state of the Union," I find it, unhappily, necessary to report that the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.
Armed defense of democratic existence is now being gallantly waged in four continents. If that defense fails, all the population and all the resources of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia will be dominated by the conquerors. Let us remember that the total of those populations and their resources in those four continents greatly exceeds the sum total of the population and the resources of the whole of the Western Hemisphere-many times over.
In times like these it is immature--and incidentally, untrue--for anybody to brag that an unprepared America, single-handed, and with one hand tied behind its back, can hold off the whole world.
No realistic American can expect from a dictator's peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion -or even good business.
Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. "Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
As a nation, we may take pride in the fact that we are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed.
We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal preach the "ism" of appeasement.
We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests.
I have recently pointed out how quickly the tempo of modern warfare could bring into our very midst the physical attack which we must eventually expect if the dictator nations win this war.
There is much loose talk of our immunity from immediate and direct invasion from across the seas. Obviously, as long as the British Navy retains its power, no such danger exists. Even if there were no British Navy, it is not probable that any enemy would be stupid enough to attack us by landing troops in the United States from across thousands of miles of ocean, until it had acquired strategic bases from which to operate.
But we learn much from the lessons of the past years in Europe-particularly the lesson of Norway, whose essential seaports were captured by treachery and surprise built up over a series of years.
The first phase of the invasion of this Hemisphere would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would be occupied by secret agents and their dupes- and great numbers of them are already here, and in Latin America.
As long as the aggressor nations maintain the offensive, they-not we--will choose the time and the place and the method of their attack.
That is why the future of all the American Republics is today in serious danger.
That is why this Annual Message to the Congress is unique in our history.
That is why every member of the Executive Branch of the Government and every member of the Congress faces great responsibility and great accountability.
The need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily-almost exclusively--to meeting this foreign peril. For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency.
Just as our national policy in internal affairs has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has been based on a decent respect for the rights and dignity of all nations, large and small. And the justice of morality must and will win in the end.
Our national policy is this:
First, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to all-inclusive national defense.
Second, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to full support of all those resolute peoples, everywhere, who are resisting aggression and are thereby keeping war away from our Hemisphere. By this support, we express our determination that the democratic cause shall prevail; and we strengthen the defense and the security of our own nation.
Third, by an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to the proposition that principles of morality and considerations for our own security will never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers. We know that enduring peace cannot be bought at the cost of other people's freedom.
In the recent national election there was no substantial difference between the two great parties in respect to that national policy. No issue was fought out on this line before the American electorate. Today it is abundantly evident that American citizens everywhere are demanding and supporting speedy and complete action in recognition of obvious danger.
Therefore, the immediate need is a swift and driving increase in our armament production.
Leaders of industry and labor have responded to our summons. Goals of speed have been set. In some cases these goals are being reached ahead of time; in some cases we are on schedule; in other cases there are slight but not serious delays; and in some cases--and I am sorry to say very important cases--we are all concerned by the slowness of the accomplishment of our plans.
The Army and Navy, however, have made substantial progress during the past year. Actual experience is improving and speeding up our methods of production with every passing day. And today's best is not good enough for tomorrow.
I am not satisfied with the progress thus far made. The men in charge of the program represent the best in training, in ability, and in patriotism. They are not satisfied with the progress thus far made. None of us will be satisfied until the job is done.
No matter whether the original goal was set too high or too low, our objective is quicker and better results. To give you two illustrations:
We are behind schedule in turning out finished airplanes; we are working day and night to solve the innumerable problems and to catch up.
We are ahead of schedule in building warships but we are working to get even further ahead of that schedule.
To change a whole nation from a basis of peacetime production of implements of peace to a basis of wartime production of implements of war is no small task. And the greatest difficulty comes at the beginning of the program, when new tools, new plant facilities, new assembly lines, and new ship ways must first be constructed before the actual materiel begins to flow steadily and speedily from them.
The Congress, of course, must rightly keep itself informed at all times of the progress of the program. However, there is certain information, as the Congress itself will readily recognize, which, in the interests of our own security and those of the nations that we are supporting, must of needs be kept in confidence.
New circumstances are constantly begetting new needs for our safety. I shall ask this Congress for greatly increased new appropriations and authorizations to carry on what we have begun.
I also ask this Congress for authority and for funds sufficient to manufacture additional munitions and war supplies of many kinds, to be turned over to those nations which are now in actual war with aggressor nations.
Our most useful and immediate role is to act as an arsenal for them as well as for ourselves. They do not need man power, but they do need billions of dollars worth of the weapons of defense.
The time is near when they will not be able to pay for them all in ready cash. We cannot, and we will not, tell them that they must surrender, merely because of present inability to pay for the weapons which we know they must have.
I do not recommend that we make them a loan of dollars with which to pay for these weapons--a loan to be repaid in dollars.
I recommend that we make it possible for those nations to continue to obtain war materials in the United States, fitting their orders into our own program. Nearly all their materiel would, if the time ever came, be useful for our own defense.
Taking counsel of expert military and naval authorities, considering what is best for our own security, we are free to decide how much should be kept here and how much should be sent abroad to our friends who by their determined and heroic resistance are giving us time in which to make ready our own defense.
For what we send abroad, we shall be repaid within a reasonable time following the close of hostilities, in similar materials, or, at our option, in other goods of many kinds, which they can produce and which we need.
Let us say to the democracies: "We Americans are vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are putting forth our energies, our resources and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and maintain a free world. We shall send you, in ever-increasing numbers, ships, planes, tanks, guns. This is our purpose and our pledge."
In fulfillment of this purpose we will not be intimidated by the threats of dictators that they will regard as a breach of international law or as an act of war our aid to the democracies which dare to resist their aggression. Such aid is not an act of war, even if a dictator should unilaterally proclaim it so to be.
When the dictators, if the dictators, are ready to make war upon us, they will not wait for an act of war on our part. They did not wait for Norway or Belgium or the Netherlands to commit an act of war.
Their only interest is in a new one-way international law, which lacks mutuality in its observance, and, therefore, becomes an instrument of oppression.
The happiness of future generations of Americans may well depend upon how effective and how immediate we can make our aid felt. No one can tell the exact character of the emergency situations that we may be called upon to meet. The Nation's hands must not be tied when the Nation's life is in danger.
We must all prepare to make the sacrifices that the emergency-almost as serious as war itself--demands. Whatever stands in the way of speed and efficiency in defense preparations must give way to the national need.
A free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all groups. A free nation has the right to look to the leaders of business, of labor, and of agriculture to take the lead in stimulating effort, not among other groups but within their own groups.
The best way of dealing with the few slackers or trouble makers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example, and, if that fails, to use the sovereignty of Government to save Government.
As men do not live by bread alone, they do not fight by armaments alone. Those who man our defenses, and those behind them who build our defenses, must have the stamina and the courage which come from unshakable belief in the manner of life which they are defending. The mighty action that we are calling for cannot be based on a disregard of all things worth fighting for.
The Nation takes great satisfaction and much strength from the things which have been done to make its people conscious of their individual stake in the preservation of democratic life in America. Those things have toughened the fibre of our people, have renewed their faith and strengthened their devotion to the institutions we make ready to protect.
Certainly this is no time for any of us to stop thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the world.
For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:
Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
Jobs for those who can work.
Security for those who need it.
The ending of special privilege for the few.
The preservation of civil liberties for all.
The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.
These are the simple, basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.
Many subjects connected with our social economy call for immediate improvement.
We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance.
We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.
We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it.
I have called for personal sacrifice. I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call.
A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. In my Budget Message I shall recommend that a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for from taxation than we are paying today. No person should try, or be allowed, to get rich out of this program; and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation.
If the Congress maintains these principles, the voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their applause.
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want--which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
To that new order we oppose the greater conception--the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.
Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change -- in a perpetual peaceful revolution -- a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions--without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.
29 December 1940, Washington DC, USA
This is not a fireside chat on war. It is a talk on national security, because the nub of the whole purpose of your President is to keep you now, and your children later, and your grandchildren much later, out of a last-ditch war for the preservation of American independence and all of the things that American independence means to you and to me and to ours.
Tonight, in the presence of a world crisis, my mind goes back eight years to a night in the midst of a domestic crisis. It was a time when the wheels of American industry were grinding to a full stop, when the whole banking system of our country had ceased to function.
I well remember that while I sat in my study in the White House, preparing to talk with the people of the United States, I had before my eyes the picture of all those Americans with whom I was talking. I saw the workmen in the mills, the mines, the factories; the girl behind the counter; the small shopkeeper; the farmer doing his spring plowing; the widows and the old men wondering about their life's savings.
I tried to convey to the great mass of American people what the banking crisis meant to them in their daily lives.
Tonight, I want to do the same thing, with the same people, in this new crisis which faces America.
We met the issue of 1933 with courage and realism.
We face this new crisis -- this new threat to the security of our nation -- with the same courage and realism.
Never before since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock has our American civilization been in such danger as now.
For, on September 27th, 1940, this year, by an agreement signed in Berlin, three powerful nations, two in Europe and one in Asia, joined themselves together in the threat that if the United States of America interfered with or blocked the expansion program of these three nations -- a program aimed at world control -- they would unite in ultimate action against the United States.
The Nazi masters of Germany have made it clear that they intend not only to dominate all life and thought in their own country, but also to enslave the whole of Europe, and then to use the resources of Europe to dominate the rest of the world.
It was only three weeks ago their leader stated this: " There are two worlds that stand opposed to each other." And then in defiant reply to his opponents, he said this: "Others are correct when they say: With this world we cannot ever reconcile ourselves .... I can beat any other power in the world." So said the leader of the Nazis.
In other words, the Axis not merely admits but the Axis proclaims that there can be no ultimate peace between their philosophy of government and our philosophy of government.
In view of the nature of this undeniable threat, it can be asserted, properly and categorically, that the United States has no right or reason to encourage talk of peace, until the day shall come when there is a clear intention on the part of the aggressor nations to abandon all thought of dominating or conquering the world.
At this moment, the forces of the states that are leagued against all peoples who live in freedom are being held away from our shores. The Germans and the Italians are being blocked on the other side of the Atlantic by the British, and by the Greeks, and by thousands of soldiers and sailors who were able to escape from subjugated countries. In Asia the Japanese are being engaged by the Chinese nation in another great defense.
In the Pacific Ocean is our fleet.
Some of our people like to believe that wars in Europe and in Asia are of no concern to us. But it is a matter of most vital concern to us that European and Asiatic war-makers should not gain control of the oceans which lead to this hemisphere.
One hundred and seventeen years ago the Monroe Doctrine was conceived by our Government as a measure of defense in the face of a threat against this hemisphere by an alliance in Continental Europe. Thereafter, we stood (on) guard in the Atlantic, with the British as neighbors. There was no treaty. There was no "unwritten agreement."
And yet, there was the feeling, proven correct by history, that we as neighbors could settle any disputes in peaceful fashion. And the fact is that during the whole of this time the Western Hemisphere has remained free from aggression from Europe or from Asia.
Does anyone seriously believe that we need to fear attack anywhere in the Americas while a free Britain remains our most powerful naval neighbor in the Atlantic? And does anyone seriously believe, on the other hand, that we could rest easy if the Axis powers were our neighbors there?
If Great Britain goes down, the Axis powers will control the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the high seas -- and they will be in a position to bring enormous military and naval resources against this hemisphere. It is no exaggeration to say that all of us, in all the Americas, would be living at the point of a gun -- a gun loaded with explosive bullets, economic as well as military.
We should enter upon a new and terrible era in which the whole world, our hemisphere included, would be run by threats of brute force. And to survive in such a world, we would have to convert ourselves permanently into a militaristic power on the basis of war economy.
Some of us like to believe that even if (Great) Britain falls, we are still safe, because of the broad expanse of the Atlantic and of the Pacific.
But the width of those (these) oceans is not what it was in the days of clipper ships. At one point between Africa and Brazil the distance is less from Washington than it is from Washington to Denver, Colorado -- five hours for the latest type of bomber. And at the North end of the Pacific Ocean America and Asia almost touch each other.
Why, even today we have planes that (which) could fly from the British Isles to New England and back again without refueling. And remember that the range of a (the) modern bomber is ever being increased.
During the past week many people in all parts of the nation have told me what they wanted me to say tonight. Almost all of them expressed a courageous desire to hear the plain truth about the gravity of the situation. One telegram, however, expressed the attitude of the small minority who want to see no evil and hear no evil, even though they know in their hearts that evil exists. That telegram begged me not to tell again of the ease with which our American cities could be bombed by any hostile power which had gained bases in this Western Hemisphere. The gist of that telegram was: "Please, Mr. President, don't frighten us by telling us the facts."
Frankly and definitely there is danger ahead -- danger against which we must prepare. But we well know that we cannot escape danger (it), or the fear of danger, by crawling into bed and pulling the covers over our heads.
Some nations of Europe were bound by solemn non-intervention pacts with Germany. Other nations were assured by Germany that they need never fear invasion. Non-intervention pact or not, the fact remains that they were attacked, overrun, (and) thrown into (the) modern (form of) slavery at an hour's notice, or even without any notice at all. As an exiled leader of one of these nations said to me the other day, "The notice was a minus quantity. It was given to my Government two hours after German troops had poured into my country in a hundred places."
The fate of these nations tells us what it means to live at the point of a Nazi gun.
The Nazis have justified such actions by various pious frauds. One of these frauds is the claim that they are occupying a nation for the purpose of "restoring order." Another is that they are occupying or controlling a nation on the excuse that they are "protecting it" against the aggression of somebody else.
For example, Germany has said that she was occupying Belgium to save the Belgians from the British. Would she then hesitate to say to any South American country, "We are occupying you to protect you from aggression by the United States?"
Belgium today is being used as an invasion base against Britain, now fighting for its life. And any South American country, in Nazi hands, would always constitute a jumping-off place for German attack on any one of the other republics of this hemisphere.
Analyze for yourselves the future of two other places even nearer to Germany if the Nazis won. Could Ireland hold out? Would Irish freedom be permitted as an amazing pet exception in an unfree world? Or the Islands of the Azores which still fly the flag of Portugal after five
centuries? You and I think of Hawaii as an outpost of defense in the Pacific. And yet, the Azores are closer to our shores in the Atlantic than Hawaii is on the other side.
There are those who say that the Axis powers would never have any desire to attack the Western Hemisphere. That (this) is the same dangerous form of wishful thinking which has destroyed the powers of resistance of so many conquered peoples. The plain facts are that the Nazis have proclaimed, time and again, that all other races are their inferiors and therefore subject to their orders. And most important of all, the vast resources and wealth of this American Hemisphere constitute the most tempting loot in all of the round world.
Let us no longer blind ourselves to the undeniable fact that the evil forces which have crushed and undermined and corrupted so many others are already within our own gates. Your Government knows much about them and every day is ferreting them out.
Their secret emissaries are active in our own and in neighboring countries. They seek to stir up suspicion and dissension to cause internal strife. They try to turn capital against labor, and vice versa. They try to reawaken long slumbering racist and religious enmities which should have no place in this country. They are active in every group that promotes intolerance. They exploit for their own ends our own natural abhorrence of war. These trouble-breeders have but one purpose. It is to divide our people, to divide them into hostile groups and to destroy our unity and shatter our will to defend ourselves.
There are also American citizens, many of then in high places, who, unwittingly in most cases, are aiding and abetting the work of these agents. I do not charge these American citizens with being foreign agents. But I do charge them with doing exactly the kind of work that the dictators want done in the United States.
These people not only believe that we can save our own skins by shutting our eyes to the fate of other nations. Some of them go much further than that. They say that we can and should become the friends and even the partners of the Axis powers. Some of them even suggest that we should imitate the methods of the dictatorships. But Americans never can and never will do that.
The experience of the past two years has proven beyond doubt that no nation can appease the Nazis. No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb. We know now that a nation can have peace with the Nazis only at the price of total surrender.
Even the people of Italy have been forced to become accomplices of the Nazis, but at this moment they do not know how soon they will be embraced to death by their allies.
The American appeasers ignore the warning to be found in the fate of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and France. They tell you that the Axis powers are going to win anyway; that all of this bloodshed in the world could be saved, that the United States might just as well throw its influence into the scale of a dictated peace, and get the best out of it that we can.
They call it a "negotiated peace." Nonsense! Is it a negotiated peace if a gang of outlaws surrounds your community and on threat of extermination makes you pay tribute to save your own skins?
Such a dictated peace would be no peace at all. It would be only another armistice, leading to the most gigantic armament race and the most devastating trade wars in all history. And in these contests the Americas would offer the only real resistance to the Axis powers.
With all their vaunted efficiency, with all their (and) parade of pious purpose in this war, there are still in their background the concentration camp and the servants of God in chains.
The history of recent years proves that the shootings and the chains and the concentration camps are not simply the transient tools but the very altars of modern dictatorships. They may talk of a "new order" in the world, but what they have in mind is only (but) a revival of the oldest and the worst tyranny. In that there is no liberty, no religion, no hope.
The proposed "new order" is the very opposite of a United States of Europe or a United States of Asia. It is not a government based upon the consent of the governed. It is not a union of ordinary, self-respecting men and women to protect themselves and their freedom and their dignity from oppression. It is an unholy alliance of power and pelf to dominate and to enslave the human race.
The British people and their allies today are conducting an active war against this unholy alliance. Our own future security is greatly dependent on the outcome of that fight. Our ability to "keep out of war" is going to be affected by that outcome.
Thinking in terms of today and tomorrow, I make the direct statement to the American people that there is far less chance of the United States getting into war if we do all we can now to support the nations defending themselves against attack by the Axis than if we acquiesce in their defeat, submit tamely to an Axis victory, and wait our turn to be the object of attack in another war later on.
If we are to be completely honest with ourselves, we must admit that there is risk in any course we may take. But I deeply believe that the great majority of our people agree that the course that I advocate involves the least risk now and the greatest hope for world peace in the future.
The people of Europe who are defending themselves do not ask us to do their fighting. They ask us for the implements of war, the planes, the tanks, the guns, the freighters which will enable them to fight for their liberty and for our security. Emphatically we must get these weapons to them, get them to them in sufficient volume and quickly enough, so that we and our children will be saved the agony and suffering of war which others have had to endure.
Let not the defeatists tell us that it is too late. It will never be earlier. Tomorrow will be later than today.
Certain facts are self-evident.
In a military sense Great Britain and the British Empire are today the spearhead of resistance to world conquest. And they are putting up a fight which will live forever in the story of human gallantry.
There is no demand for sending an American Expeditionary Force outside our own borders. There is no intention by any member of your Government to send such a force. You can, therefore, nail -- nail any talk about sending armies to Europe as deliberate untruth.
Our national policy is not directed toward war. Its sole purpose is to keep war away from our country and away from our people.
Democracy's fight against world conquest is being greatly aided, and must be more greatly aided, by the rearmament of the United States and by sending every ounce and every ton of munitions and supplies that we can possibly spare to help the defenders who are in the front lines. And it is no more unneutral for us to do that than it is for Sweden, Russia and other nations near Germany to send steel and ore and oil and other war materials into Germany every day in the week.
We are planning our own defense with the utmost urgency, and in its vast scale we must integrate the war needs of Britain and the other free nations which are resisting aggression.
This is not a matter of sentiment or of controversial personal opinion. It is a matter of realistic, practical military policy, based on the advice of our military experts who are in close touch with existing warfare. These military and naval experts and the members of the Congress and the Administration have a single-minded purpose -- the defense of the United States.
This nation is making a great effort to produce everything that is necessary in this emergency -- and with all possible speed. And this great effort requires great sacrifice.
I would ask no one to defend a democracy which in turn would not defend everyone in the nation against want and privation. The strength of this nation shall not be diluted by the failure of the Government to protect the economic well-being of its (all) citizens.
If our capacity to produce is limited by machines, it must ever be remembered that these machines are operated by the skill and the stamina of the workers. As the Government is determined to protect the rights of the workers, so the nation has a right to expect that the men who man the machines will discharge their full responsibilities to the urgent needs of defense.
The worker possesses the same human dignity and is entitled to the same security of position as the engineer or the manager or the owner. For the workers provide the human power that turns out the destroyers, and the (air)planes and the tanks.
The nation expects our defense industries to continue operation without interruption by strikes or lockouts. It expects and insists that management and workers will reconcile their differences by voluntary or legal means, to continue to produce the supplies that are so sorely needed.
And on the economic side of our great defense program, we are, as you know, bending every effort to maintain stability of prices and with that the stability of the cost of living.
Nine days ago I announced the setting up of a more effective organization to direct our gigantic efforts to increase the production of munitions. The appropriation of vast sums of money and a well coordinated executive direction of our defense efforts are not in themselves enough. Guns, planes, (and) ships and many other things have to be built in the factories and the arsenals of America. They have to be produced by workers and managers and engineers with the aid of machines which in turn have to be built by hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the land.
In this great work there has been splendid cooperation between the Government and industry and labor, and I am very thankful.
American industrial genius, unmatched throughout all the world in the solution of production problems, has been called upon to bring its resources and its talents into action. Manufacturers of watches, of farm implements, of linotypes, and cash registers, and automobiles, and sewing machines, and lawn mowers and locomotives are now making fuses, bomb packing crates, telescope mounts, shells, and pistols and tanks.
But all of our present efforts are not enough. We must have more ships, more guns, more planes -- more of everything. And this can only be accomplished if we discard the notion of "business as usual." This job cannot be done merely by superimposing on the existing productive facilities the added requirements of the nation for defense.
Our defense efforts must not be blocked by those who fear the future consequences of surplus plant capacity. The possible consequences of failure of our defense efforts now are much more to be feared.
And after the present needs of our defense are past, a proper handling of the country's peacetime needs will require all of the new productive capacity -- if not still more.
No pessimistic policy about the future of America shall delay the immediate expansion of those industries essential to defense. We need them.
I want to make it clear that it is the purpose of the nation to build now with all possible speed every machine, every arsenal, every (and) factory that we need to manufacture our defense material. We have the men -- the skill -- the wealth -- and above all, the will.
I am confident that if and when production of consumer or luxury goods in certain industries requires the use of machines and raw materials that are essential for defense purposes, then such production must yield, and will gladly yield, to our primary and compelling purpose.
So I appeal to the owners of plants -- to the managers -to the workers -- to our own Government employees -- to put every ounce of effort into producing these munitions swiftly and without stint. (And) With this appeal I give you the pledge that all of us who are officers of your Government will devote ourselves to the same whole-hearted extent to the great task that (which) lies ahead.
As planes and ships and guns and shells are produced, your Government, with its defense experts, can then determine how best to use them to defend this hemisphere. The decision as to how much shall be sent abroad and how much shall remain at home must be made on the basis of our overall military necessities.
We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war.
We have furnished the British great material support and we will furnish far more in the future. There will be no "bottlenecks" in our determination to aid Great Britain. No dictator, no combination of dictators, will weaken that determination by threats of how they will construe that determination.
The British have received invaluable military support from the heroic Greek army and from the forces of all the governments in exile. Their strength is growing. It is the strength of men and women who value their freedom more highly than they value their lives.
I believe that the Axis powers are not going to win this war. I base that belief on the latest and best of information.
We have no excuse for defeatism. We have every good reason for hope -- hope for peace, yes, and hope for the defense of our civilization and for the building of a better civilization in the future.
I have the profound conviction that the American people are now determined to put forth a mightier effort than they have ever yet made to increase our production of all the implements of defense, to meet the threat to our democratic faith.
As President of the United States I call for that national effort. I call for it in the name of this nation which we love and honor and which we are privileged and proud to serve. I call upon our people with absolute confidence that our common cause will greatly succeed.
19 May 1940, BBC, London, United Kingdom
I speak to you for the first time as Prime Minister in a solemn hour for the life of our country, of our empire, of our allies, and, above all, of the cause of Freedom. A tremendous battle is raging in France and Flanders. The Germans, by a remarkable combination of air bombing and heavily armored tanks, have broken through the French defenses north of the Maginot Line, and strong columns of their armored vehicles are ravaging the open country, which for the first day or two was without defenders. They have penetrated deeply and spread alarm and confusion in their track. Behind them there are now appearing infantry in lorries, and behind them, again, the large masses are moving forward. The re-groupment of the French armies to make head against, and also to strike at, this intruding wedge has been proceeding for several days, largely assisted by the magnificent efforts of the Royal Air Force.
We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the presence of these armored vehicles in unexpected places behind our lines. If they are behind our Front, the French are also at many points fighting actively behind theirs. Both sides are therefore in an extremely dangerous position. And if the French Army, and our own Army, are well handled, as I believe they will be; if the French retain that genius for recovery and counter-attack for which they have so long been famous; and if the British Army shows the dogged endurance and solid fighting power of which there have been so many examples in the past — then a sudden transformation of the scene might spring into being.
It would be foolish, however, to disguise the gravity of the hour. It would be still more foolish to lose heart and courage or to suppose that well-trained, well-equipped armies numbering three or four millions of men can be overcome in the space of a few weeks, or even months, by a scoop, or raid of mechanized vehicles, however formidable. We may look with confidence to the stabilization of the Front in France, and to the general engagement of the masses, which will enable the qualities of the French and British soldiers to be matched squarely against those of their adversaries. For myself, I have invincible confidence in the French Army and its leaders. Only a very small part of that splendid Army has yet been heavily engaged; and only a very small part of France has yet been invaded. There is a good evidence to show that practically the whole of the specialized and mechanized forces of the enemy have been already thrown into the battle; and we know that very heavy losses have been inflicted upon them. No officer or man, no brigade or division, which grapples at close quarters with the enemy, wherever encountered, can fail to make a worthy contribution to the general result. the Armies must cast away the idea of resisting behind concrete lines or natural obstacles, and must realize that mastery can only be regained by furious and unrelenting assault. And this spirit must not only animate the High Command, but must inspire every fighting man.
In the air — often at serious odds, often at odds hitherto thought overwhelming — we have been clawing down three or four to one of our enemies; and the relative balance of the British and German Air Forces is now considerably more favorable to us than at the beginning of the battle. In cutting down the German bombers, we are fighting our own battle as well as that of France. May confidence in our ability to fight it out to the finish with the German Air Force has been strengthened by the fierce encounters which have taken place and are taking place. At the same time, our heavy bombers are striking nightly at the tap-root of German mechanized power, and have already inflicted serious damage upon the oil refineries on which the Nazi effort to dominate the world directly depends.
We must expect that as soon as stability is reached on the Western Front, the bulk of that hideous apparatus of aggression which gashed Holland into ruin and slavery in a few days will be turned upon us. I am sure I speak for all when I say we are ready to face it; to endure it; and to retaliate against it — to any extent that the unwritten laws of war permit. There will be many men and many women in the Island who when the ordeal comes upon them, as come it will, will feel comfort, and even a pride, that they are sharing the perils of our lads at the Front — soldiers, sailors and airmen, God bless them — and are drawing away from them a part at least of the onslaught they have to bear. Is not this the appointed time for all to make the utmost exertions in their power? If the battle is to be won, we must provide our men with ever-increasing quantities of the weapons and ammunition they need. We must have, and have quickly, more aeroplanes, more tanks, more shells, more guns. there is imperious need for these vital munitions. They increase our strength against the powerfully armed enemy. They replace the wastage of the obstinate struggle; and the knowledge that wastage will speedily be replaced enables us to draw more readily upon our reserves and throw them in now that everything counts so much.
Our task is not only to win the battle – but to win the war. After this battle in France abates its force, there will come the battle for our Island — for all that Britain is, and all the Britain means. That will be the struggle. In that supreme emergency we shall not hesitate to take every step, even the most drastic, to call forth from our people the last ounce and the last inch of effort of which they are capable. The interests of property, the hours of labor, are nothing compared with the struggle of life and honor, for right and freedom, to which we have vowed ourselves.
I have received from the Chiefs of the French Republic,and in particular form its indomitable Prime Minister, M. Reynaud, the most sacred pledges that whatever happens they will fight to the end, be it bitter or be it glorious. Nay, if we fight to the end, it can only be glorious.
Having received His Majesty’s commission, I have formed an Administration of men and women of every Party and of almost every point of view. We have differed and quarreled in the past; but now one bond unites us all — to wage war until victory is won, and never to surrender ourselves to servitude and shame, whatever the cost and the agony may be. this is one of the most awe-striking periods in the long history of France and Britain. It is also beyond doubt the most sublime. Side by side, unaided except by their kith and kin in the great Dominions and by the wide empires which rest beneath their shield – side by side, the British and French peoples have advanced to rescue not only Europe but mankind from the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny which has ever darkened and stained the pages of history. Behind them – behind us- behind the Armies and Fleets of Britain and France – gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races: the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians – upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend, unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall.
Today is Trinity Sunday. Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: “Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be."
7 May 1940, House of Commons, United Kingdom
I intervene with reluctance in this debate. All my Honourable Friends know very well that I hesitated whether I should take part in it at all, because I thought it was more desirable that we should have a discussion in which Members not of front-bench rank should take a good deal of the time, but I think that it is my duty, having regard to the fact that I have some experience of these matters.
I feel that I ought to say something, from such experience as I have had in the past of the conduct of war in victory and in disaster, about what I think of the present situation and what really ought to be done.
I have heard most of the speech of the right Honourable Gentleman, the Secretary of State for Air, and I should think that the facts which he gave us justify the criticism against the Government and are no defence of the Government.
He said that we had practically no chance of making good in our Norwegian expedition unless we were able to have our air bases there which would enable us to put our fighters into the air bases which would enable us to put our fighters into the air in order to counteract the very destructive effect of the German aeroplanes. But we knew there were no air bases available. We know they were in the hands of the enemy.
The Right Honourable Gentleman admits that. He says that the Government knew beforehand that there were no air bases unless they were captured from the enemy, he even intimates that the object of the Trondheim expedition was to capture an air base. In that case we ought to have had picked men, and not a kind of a scratch team. We ought to have sent the very best man available, especially as we could not send the whole of our force in the first instalment.
The first instalment ought to have been picked men, because the Germans had picked men, as is generally accepted. We sent there, I think, a Territorial Brigade which had not had very much training. They were very young men, but they were the advance party of an expeditionary force which had to accomplish a task upon which the success of the whole force depended.
We ought also to have had combined action between the Army and the Navy. We had neither. We gambled on the chance of getting air bases. We did not take any measures that would guarantee success. This vital expedition, which would have made a vast difference to this country’s strategical position, and an infinite difference to her prestige in the world, was made dependent upon this half-prepared, half-baked expeditionary force without any combination at all between the Army and the Navy.
There could not have been a more serious condemnation of the whole action of the Government in respect of Norway. They knew perfectly well that the Germans were preparing for a raid on some adjoining country, probably in the Balkans, and it is a severe condemnation of them that they should have gambled in this way. The right Honourable Gentleman spoke about the gallantry of our men, and were are equally proud of them. It thrills us to read the stories. All the more shame that we should have made fools of them.
Now, the situation is a grave one – I agree with what was said about that by the Prime Minister – and it would be a fatal error on our part not to acknowledge it. In such experience as I have had of war direction I have never tried to minimise the extent of such a disaster. I try to get the facts, because unless you really face the facts you cannot overcome the difficulties and restore the position.
There is no case, in m judgment, for panic. I say that deliberately, after a good deal of reflection, but there is a grave case for pulling ourselves together. We cannot do that unless we tell the country the facts. They must realise the magnitude of our jeopardy. We have two immense Empires federated in the struggle for liberty, the two greatest Empires in the world, the British Empire and the French Empire, with almost inexhaustible resources, but not easily mobilised, not easily roused, especially ours.
You are not going to rouse the British Empire – because you will have to do it not merely in Britain, but throughout the world – to put forth the whole of its strength unless and until you tell it what the facts and realities are of the peril that confronts it. At the cost of unpleasantness, I am going to do that, not with a view to terrifying them or spreading dismay and consternation, but with a view to rousing real action and not sham action as we have had. It is no use saying that the balance of advantage is in our favour, or adding up the number of ships sunk on either side. That kind of petty-cash balance-sheer is not the thing to look at. There are more serious realities than that.
First of all, we are strategically in a very much worse position than we were before. Now see these words, as they pass along, “strategically better”, “strategically worse”, because victory or defeat may depend upon the application of those two words. The greatest triumph of this extraordinary man Hitler has been that he has succeeded in putting his country into an infinitely better strategical position to wage war than his predecessors did in 1914, and by what he has done now he has increased his own advantages and he has put us into greater jeopardy.
Let us face it like men of British blood. Graver perils than this have been fought through in the past. Let us face it; just look at it, Czecho-Slovakia, that spear-heard, aimed at the heart of Germany, broken. A million of the finest troops in Europe of a very well-educated race of free man, all gone. Such advantage as there is in Czecho-Slovakia, with its great lines of fortifications and its Skoda works, which turned out the finest artillery in the 1914 war are in the hands of Hitler. That is one strategic advantage which we have handed over to the enemy.
You have a Franco-Russian Alliance, negotiated by an old friend of mine, M Barthou, by which Russia was to come to the aid of Czecho-Slovakia if France did. There would come to the aid of Czecho-Slovakia if France did. There would have been a two-front war for Germany. She knows what that means, because she had it before. That door is closed. We sent a third-class clerk to negotiate with the Prime Minister of the greatest country in the world, while Germany sent her Foreign Secretary with a resplendent retinue. That door is closed. Oil in Russian ships is now coming across the Black Sea for the aeroplanes of Germany.
Strategically, that was an immense victory for the Nazi Government.
The third – Rumania. We have tried to form one big syndicate, but Germany has been there starting, not one syndicate, but little syndicates here and there to develop the land, to increase production of work and to give her all sorts of machinery. She has practically got Rumania in her hands; and if she did not have it in her hands a month ago, by this failure in Norway you have handed over Rumania. What else? Spain. I am hoping that my fears about that will not prove true. Now you have Scandinavia and Norway, which were one of the great strategic possibilities of the war, and they are in German hands.
It is no use criticising Sweden. Sweden is now between Germany on the left and Germany on the right. What right have we to criticise the little Powers? We promised to rescue them. We promised to protect them. We never sent an aeroplane to Poland. We were too late in Norway, although we had the warning of ships in the Baltic and barges crammed with troops. They have to think about themselves. They do not want German troops on their soil, and they are definitely frightened, and for good reasons.
It deprives us of a possible opening in that direction. That has gone. It brings the German aeroplanes and submarines 200 miles nearer our coast. It does more than that. There is the opening-up of the Baltic. I venture to say that that will be considered, in regard to the protection of our trade and commerce. it is a grave menace. Strategically, we are infinitely worse off.
With regard to our prestige, can you doubt that that has been impaired? You have only to read the friendly American paper to find out, highly friendly papers that were backing us up through thick and thin, in a country which was pro-Ally. I do not know whether Honourable Members ever listen to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s relay of the American commentator, Raymond Gram Swing. He is very remarkable. He gave an account of the change in American opinion. He said that what has happened was a hammer-blow to Americans. They were perfectly dazed. Before that they were convinced that victory was going to be won by the Allies, and they had never any doubt about it. This is the first doubt that has entered their minds, and they said, “It will be up to us to defend democracy”.
There is also the fact the state of our preparations five years ago, in 1935. In 1935 a promise of rearmament was made; in 1936 active proposals were submitted to this House and were passed without a Division. The Government said they would commit us to £1,500,000,000. If they had asked for more and had said that it was necessary, then there was no party in this House that would have challenged it. And if any party had challenged it, you had your majority.
Is there anyone in this House who will say that he is satisfied with the speed and efficiency of the preparations in any respect for air, for Army or for Navy? Everybody is disappointed. Everybody knows that whatever was done was done half-heartedly, ineffectively, without drive and unintelligently. For three to four years I thought to myself that the facts with regard to Germany were exaggerated by the First Lord, because the then Prime Minister – not this Prime Minister – said that they were not true. The First Lord, Mr Churchill, was right about it. Then came the war.
The Prime Minister must remember that he has met this formidable foe of ours in peace and in war. He has always been worsted. He is not in a position to put it on the ground of friendship. He has appealed for sacrifice. The nation is prepared for every sacrifice so long as it has leadership, as long as the Government show clearly what they are aiming at and so long as the nation is confident that those who are leading it are doing their best. I say solemnly that the Prime Minister should give an example of sacrifice, because there is nothing which can contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice the seals of office.
7 May 1940, House of Commons, United Kingdom
May I say that I agree wholeheartedly with what just fell from the lips of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) as to the responsibility of the Opposition in playing a constructive part at this critical moment? The whole of Parliament has a grave responsibility at this moment; for, after all, it is Parliament itself that is on trial in this war. If we lose this war, it is not this or that ephemeral Government but Parliament as an institution that will be condemned, for good and all. I fully realise that this is not an easy Debate. There is much that ought to be said which cannot well be said in public. After listening to some of the speeches to-day, not least the profoundly impressive speech made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Portsmouth (Sir R. Keyes), it seems to me that the whole of recent events—not only in Norway, but the whole conduct of the war up to date—calls for searching inquiry, not for one stray private sitting, but for a series of private sittings in which all that Members of Parliament can contribute of their private knowledge should be put into the common stock and frankly discussed.
Meanwhile, even to-day there is plenty that can be said, that ought to be said, and that must be said frankly; for there are no loyalties to-day except to the common cause. This afternoon, as a few days ago, the Prime Minister gave us a reasoned, argumentative case for our failure. It is always possible to do that after every failure. Making a case and. winning a war are not the same thing. Wars are won, not by explanations after the event but by foresight, by clear decision and by swift action. I confess that I did not feel there was one sentence in the Prime Minister’s speech this afternoon which suggested that the Government either foresaw what Germany meant to do, or came to a clear decision when it knew what Germany had done, or acted swiftly or consistently throughout the whole of this lamentable affair. I am not going to discuss the reasons for the actual evacuation. They may well have been conclusive in the circumstances. But the circumstances should never have arisen; and it is the story of those events—of the decisions, of the absence of decisions, of the changes of decisions which brought about those circumstances—which call for our inquiry and raise many questions which have yet to be answered.
We were told by the Prime Minister on 2nd May that all except a relatively small advance guard of the Expeditionary Force which was earmarked for Finland had gone elsewhere and that the ships had been taken for employment for other purposes. Even the small, inadequate nucleus that was kept in being had no transports except warships. Why was this done? For months we had been aware that the Germans had been accumulating troops and transports and practising embarkation and disembarkation against somebody. It is perfectly true that they could spare the ships better than we could. But was there any reason which would make us believe that they were sending the men elsewhere? Obviously the danger was there and might develop into actuality at any moment. The Prime Minister suggested that we could not know which of many objectives it might be. Surely we had some good reasons for suspecting which one it might be. The Finnish war had focussed the interest of the whole world on Scandinavia. Within a week of its termination the Prime Minister declared, speaking of Norway and Sweden, that the danger to them—from Germany—”stands upon their very doorstep.” The Altmark affair had before that showed clearly the illegal uses which Germany was prepared to make of Norwegian neutrality. What is more, within a few days of that statement we ourselves decided deliberately to challenge Germany over her use of Norway’s territorial waters. All the world knew that that was the main theme of the deliberations of the Supreme War Council which met, I think, on 28th March. To make that perfectly clear to the whole world, including Germany, the Prime Minister said, on 2nd April: “We have not yet reached the limit of our effective operations in waters close to the German bases.” That was sufficient warning. On 8th April we laid our mines.
What did we expect to follow? Did we know Hitler and his merry men so little as to think that their rejoinder would be slow or half-hearted, or that it would follow the lines of “too little and too late” with which we have been so familiar here? However, it was not a question of a German rejoinder at all, but of Germany making our half-hearted intervention an excuse for measures far greater in scope and far more daring than we seem even to have envisaged. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) was congratulating ourselves upon Hitler’s strategic folly in going to Norway. Does he realise that, from the moment we were in the war, Admiral Raeder insisted that this time the German Navy could not afford to be confined to the existing German coastline, but that, for the purposes of his air and submarine warfare, he must have not only egress from the Baltic but the whole of the indented, deep-water coastline of Norway?
I understand that information as to this reached our Departments early in January. Was that aspect of the strategic situation considered? Again, it was known everywhere that Hitler had designs on Scandinavia. Was it not obvious that the first stroke must be directed against Denmark and Norway, not only because they were weaker, but because once Hitler had seized them, Sweden was automatically within his power without the need for conquest? I would ask another question: Is it not a fact that the most direct warnings of Germany’s designs against Norway were sent from both Stockholm and Copenhagen in the first few days of April? I am afraid that what really happened was that, while we thought we were taking the initiative, our initiative, such as it was, only coincided with a far more formidable and far better planned initiative of the enemy.
I remember that many years ago in East Africa a young friend of mine went lion hunting. He secured a sleeping car on the railway and had it detached from the train at a siding near where he expected to find a certain man-eating lion. He went to rest and dream of hunting his lion in the morning. Unfortunately, the lion was out man-hunting that night. He clambered on to the rear of the car, scrabbled open the sliding door, and ate my friend. That is in brief the story of our initiative over Norway. In any case, even if we did not realise that the Germans were acting at the same time, why were we not prepared to meet their inevitable counter-stroke? We had only this inadequate little force, without transports, of which the Prime Minister has told us, in readiness to occupy Norwegian western ports if there were German action against Southern Norway. There was no plan to meet the contingency that Germany might seize the western ports as well or to meet any really serious attack by Germany upon Norway. As we know now, the German detachments for the more distant ports, Trondheim and Narvik, were despatched more than a week before, in readiness for the zero hour when all the German forces were to strike.
On 8th April we laid our mines. That time happened to be just before Germany’s zero hour. On the morning of that day a great German convoy sailed up the Kattegat and into the Skagerrak on its highly dangerous mission. To cover this daring manoeuvre the Germans sent a large part of their fleet, 48 hours before, away up the West coast of Norway towards Narvik. That action was duly reported to us, and the Prime Minister has told us that the Navy went off in hot pursuit after that German decoy. Rarely in history can a feint have been more successful. The gallantry of our officers and men in the blizzards of the Arctic, and the losses of the German fleet, serious as they were, do not alter the fact that the main German expedition to Norway took place without any interference from the Fleet, except from our submarines. With amazing courage and resolution, our submarines inflicted heavy losses on the Germans. How much heavier would those losses have been if the Fleet or any substantial portion of it had been there then, or, at any rate on subsequent days. That raises very formidable questions to which answers will have to be given sooner or later.
However, let me come to the next stage. What was our reaction when we learned that Oslo and all the main ports were in German hands? If we had any hope of retrieving the situation in Norway even partially, or of relieving the Norwegian forces, our obvious move was to retake one or other of those ports without a moment’s delay. We now know that the Germans seized them with only the tiniest handful of men. Only by seizing such a port would it have been possible to obtain landing facilities for our artillery and tanks, and above all, aerodromes, without which no operation could be conducted with any hope of success. The port clearly indicated by the circumstances was Trondheim, because it was farthest removed from the main German base at Oslo—which gave us time and the opportunity of maintaining railway connection with Sweden. We could have constructed a defensive line across the waist of Norway, behind which the Norwegian forces could have rallied, and from which we could have advanced, if necessary, to the recon quest of the country. That was the obvious plan.
The Prime Minister’s statements, however, make it clear that such forces as we had were at once sent off to Narvik, and not to their original destination of Trondheim or Bergen. Why Narvik? If we had held Trondheim, the isolated German force at Narvik would have been bound to surrender in time, and it could have done no mischief to us in the meantime. If we had ever contemplated retaking Trondheim at the start, there could have been no more crass instance of the dispersion, the frittering away, of forces. It is clear, however, from what the Prime Minister said to-day that the decision to send troops to Trondheim to try and retrieve that position was an afterthought, taken only after a number of days, and only at the urgent request of the Norwegians. How was it carried out? We have listened to the impressive speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Portsmouth. It is common knowledge that the original plan accepted by the Government for the taking of Trondheim was that the Navy should force its way into Narvik fiord while subsidiary landings took place to North and South. Once in the fiord our ships could command the whole of its vast coastline, with its roads and railway and its aerodrome. What we are entitled to ask is a very serious question: By whom and on whose authority was the indispensable hammer blow at Trondheim itself countermanded? Of course, there were risks. War is not won by shirking risks. Once the linch pin of the Trondheim operations was withdrawn, the rest was bound to fail precisely as it has failed.
As to those operations, there are many stories that reach us which cannot be discussed here. Our men did their best in impossible conditions, and one can only be glad that they got away. At the same time there is something which I feel bound to say. The Prime Minister, both the other day and to-day, expressed himself as satisfied that the balance of advantage lay on our side. He laid great stress on the heaviness of the German losses and the lightness of ours. What did the Germans lose? A few thousand men, nothing to them, a score of transports, and part of a Navy which anyhow cannot match ours. What did they gain? They gained Norway, with the strategical advantages which, in their opinion at least, outweigh the whole of their naval losses. They have gained the whole of Scandinavia. What have we lost? To begin with, we have lost most of the Norwegian Army, not only such as it was but such as it might have become if only we had been given time to rally and re-equip it. It goes to one’s heart to think of the Norwegian force strapped in southern Norway and forced to surrender after their bitter protest against our withdrawal. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Opposition paid the tribute which he did to the gallantry of the Norwegian troops under adverse circumstances. What we have lost, above all, is one of those opportunities which do not recur in war. If we could have captured and held Trondheim, and if we could have rallied the Norwegian forces, then we might well have imposed a strain on Germany which might have made Norway to Hitler what Spain was once to Napoleon. All we can hope for now is that we may hang on to Narvik, and that will not be too easy, till the tide of war turns against Germany elsewhere. So much for the Norwegian chapter. It is a bad story, a story of lack of prevision and of preparation, a story of indecision, slowness and fear of taking risks. If only it stood alone. Unfortunately, it does not. It is only of a piece with the rest of it, of a piece with our hesitation and slowness in responding to Finland’s appeals for arms, in our handling of economic warfare and the reorganisation of industry, of our re-training of our workers, of the production of the essential munitions of war, of agriculture—in fact, the whole of our national effort, which, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is apparently to be at most 10 per cent. higher in the course of this year than it is to-day.
The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister—I fully understand the good reason for his absence—in a digression explained why he used a certain unlucky phrase about Hitler missing the bus. He explained that what he meant was that during these eight months of war Hitler had lost the opportunity which he had at the beginning of the war because we had been catching up on Germany’s preparations. Believe me, that is very far from the truth. While we may catch up on her presently if only we do what we ought to, there is no doubt that during these eight months, thanks to Germany’s flying start and our slowness off the mark, the gap between the German forces and ours has widened enormously as far as troops, their equipment, tanks, guns and all the paraphernalia of land war are concerned. It has widened in the air, even if we reckon in things which may be “accruing” to us. That is a curious phrase, the precise meaning of which is difficult to determine. I remember that on the very morning of that speech I was reading the financial statement of a company which among its prospects included interest accruing to it from a mine in which gold had not yet been discovered.
We cannot go on as we are. There must be a change. First and foremost, it must be a change in the system and structure of our governmental machine. This is war, not peace. The essence of peace-time democratic government is discussion, conference and agreement; the Cabinet is in a sense a miniature Parliament. The main aim is agreement, the widest possible measure of agreement. To secure that it is necessary to compromise, to postpone, to rediscuss. Under those conditions there are no far-reaching plans for sudden action. It is a good thing to let policies develop as you go along and get people educated by circumstances. That may or may not be ideal in peace. It is impossible in war. In war the first essential is planning ahead. The next essential is swift, decisive action.
We can wage war only on military principles. One of the first of these principles is the clear definition of individual responsibilities—not party responsibilities or Cabinet responsibilities—and, with it, a proper delegation of authority. What commander-in-chief attempts to command 20 or 30 divisions in the field? He delegates the task to a number of army corps commanders responsible to him alone, and with authority over the divisional commanders underneath them. The last thing such a commander-in-chief would ever dream of doing is to make some of his army corps commanders divisional commanders as well. What is our present Cabinet system? There are some 25 Ministers, heads of Departments, who have no direct chief above them except the Prime Minister. How often do they see him? How often can they get from him direct advice, direct impulse, direct drive? Who is to settle disputes between them? There should be someone, not chairmen of innumerable committees, but someone with authority over these Ministers and directly responsible for their efficiency.
There is another cardinal principle of warfare: that is, the clear separation of the framing and execution of policy and the planning of operations, from administration. That is why every Army, Navy and Air Force has its General Staff. It is well known that the same man cannot do the work of administration and also frame and execute policy. How can you get either policy or administration from a Cabinet in which the two are mixed up hugger-mugger as they are at the present time? The next blow may fall at any moment. It may be in Holland; it may be in the Mediterranean. How many hours has any of the three Service Ministers been able to give during the last three weeks to the innumerable preparations required for that contingency? With the present organisation, there is not the slightest chance for them to consider these matters properly.
The Prime Minister has told us to-day of the change that he has made in at last giving a director and guide to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He said that this struck him as being a good idea. For four years or more, ever since the Chiefs of Staff Committee was first spoken of in this House, some of us have said that it was impossible to produce adequate plans from a committee of men representing three separate Services, and each concerned to guard the interests of his own Service, without a chief over them. The result has inevitably been what I might call plans based on “the feeblest common denominator.” Now at last something is done to place the responsibility for framing and deciding plans clearly upon my right hon. Friend. The Prime Minister tells us that this has no connection with recent events in Norway; it is just a happy new idea. It is curious how we have for years now so effectively been locking the stable door always after we have discovered the loss of the horse. Anyhow, if those are the right functions for my right hon. Friend, how can he also carry on the tremendous tasks of the First Lord of the Admiralty? The Leader of the Opposition said that it was not fair to him. It is not fair to his colleagues; it is not fair to the nation.
Believe me, as long as the present methods prevail, all our valour and all our resources are not going to see us through. Above all, so long as they prevail, time is not going to be on our side, because they are methods which, inevitably and inherently, waste time and weaken decisions. What we must have, and have soon, is a supreme war directorate of a handful of men free from administrative routine, free to frame policy among themselves, and with the task of supervising, inspiring, and impelling a group of departments clearly allocated to each one of them. That is the only way. We learned that in the last war. My right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) earned the undying gratitude of the nation for the courage he showed in adopting what was then a new experiment. The experiment worked, and it helped to win the war. After the war years, the Committee of Imperial Defence laid it down as axiomatic that, while in a minor war you might go on with an ordinary Cabinet, helped perhaps by a War Committee, in a major war you must have a War Cabinet—meaning precisely the type of Cabinet that my right hon. Friend introduced then. The overwhelming opinion of this House and of the public outside has been demanding that for a long while. We are told that there would be no particular advantage in it at the present time. I ask, Is this or is this not a major war?
We must have, first of all, a right organisation of government. What is no less important to-day is that the Government shall be able to draw upon the whole abilities of the nation. It must represent all the elements of real political power in this country, whether in this House or not. The time has come when hon. and right hon. Members opposite must definitely take their share of the responsibility. The time has come when the organisation, the power and influence of the Trades Union Congress cannot be left outside. It must, through one of its recognised leaders, reinforce the strength of the national effort from inside. The time has come, in other words, for a real National Government. I may be asked what is my alternative Government. That is not my concern: it is not the concern of this House. The duty of this House, and the duty that it ought to exercise, is to show unmistakably what kind of Government it wants in order to win the war. It must always be left to some individual leader, working perhaps with a few others, to express that will by selecting his colleagues so as to form a Government which will correspond to the will of the House and enjoy its confidence. So I refuse, and I hope the House will refuse, to be drawn into a discussion on personalities.
What I would say, however, is this: Just as our peace-time system is unsuitable for war conditions, so does it tend to breed peace-time statesmen who are not too well fitted for the conduct of war. Facility in debate, ability to state a case, caution in advancing an unpopular view, compromise and procrastination are the natural qualities—I might almost say, virtues—of a political leader in time of peace. They are fatal qualities in war. Vision, daring, swiftness and consistency of decision are the very essence of victory. In our normal politics, it is true, the conflict of party did encourage a certain combative spirit. In the last war we Tories found that the most perniciously aggressive of our opponents, the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, was not only aggressive in words, but was a man of action. In recent years the normal weakness of our political life has been accentuated by a coalition based upon no clear political principles. It was in fact begotten of a false alarm as to the disastrous results of going off the Gold Standard. It is a coalition which has been living ever since in a twilight atmosphere between Protection and Free Trade and between unprepared collective security and unprepared isolation. Surely, for the Government of the last 10 years to have bred a band of warrior statesmen would have been little short of a miracle. We have waited for eight months, and the miracle has not come to pass. Can we afford to wait any longer?
Somehow or other we must get into the Government men who can match our enemies in fighting spirit, in daring, in resolution and in thirst for victory. Some 300 years ago, when this House found that its troops were being beaten again and again by the dash and daring of the Cavaliers, by Prince Rupert’s Cavalry, Oliver Cromwell spoke to John Hampden. In one of his speeches he recounted what he said. It was this:
"I said to him, ‘Your troops are most of them old, decayed serving men and tapsters and such kind of fellows.’…You must get men of a spirit that are likely to go as far as they will go, or you will be beaten still."
It may not be easy to find these men. They can be found only by trial and by ruthlessly discarding all who fail and have their failings discovered. We are fighting to-day for our life, for our liberty, for our all; we cannot go on being led as we are. I have quoted certain words of Oliver Cromwell. I will quote certain other words. I do it with great reluctance, because I am speaking of those who are old friends and associates of mine, but they are words which, I think, are applicable to the present situation. This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation:
"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."
8 May 1942, Commodore Hotel, New York City, USA
Madam Chairman, and you who have spoken so eloquently tonight, and you who represent 33 different nations on this particular occasion; and I wish especially to recognize those who are representing the 14 nations from Latin America:
I want to say to all -- all who in a formal or an informal way represent most if not all of the free people -- free peoples of the world who are met here tonight, that we are meeting in the interests of the millions of all the nations who have freedom in their souls. To my mind, this meeting has just one purpose: to let those millions in the other countries know that here in the United States are 130 million men, women, and children who are in this war to the finish. Our American people are utterly resolved to go on until they can strike the relentless blows that will assure a complete victory, and with it a new day for the lovers of freedom everywhere on this earth.
This is a fight between a slave world and a free world. Just as in the United States in 1862, we could not remain "half slave" and "half free,"1 so in 1942 the world must make its decision for a complete victory, one way or the other.
As we begin the final stages of this fight to the death between the free world and the slave world, it is worthwhile to refresh our minds about the march of freedom for the common man. The idea of freedom -- the freedom that we in the United States know and love so well -- is derived from the Bible, with its extraordinary emphasis on the dignity of the individual. Democracy is the only true political expression of Christianity.
The prophets of the Old Testament were the first to preach social justice. But that which was sensed by the prophets many centuries before Christ was not given complete and powerful political expression until our nation, here in the United States, was formed as a Federal Union a century and a half ago. Even then, the march of the common people had just begun. Most of them did not yet know how to read and write. There were no public schools. Men and women can not be really free until they have plenty to eat, and time and ability to read and think and talk things over. Down the years, the people of the United States have moved steadily forward in the practice of democracy. Through universal education, they can now read and write and form opinions of their own. They have learned, and are still learning, the art of production -- how to make a living. They have learned, and are still learning, the art of self-government.
If we were to measure freedom by standards of nutrition, education, and self-government, we might rank the United States and certain nations of Western Europe very high. But this would not be fair to other nations where education has become widespread only in the last 20 years. In many nations, a generation ago, 9 out of 10 of the people could not read or write. Russia, for example, was changed from an illiterate to a literate nation within one generation and, in the process, Russia's appreciation of freedom was tremendously increased. In China, the growth in education in reading -- and the ability of the people to read and write during the past 30 years has been matched by an increased interest in real liberty.
Everywhere, reading and writing are accompanied by industrial progress, and industrial progress, sooner or later, inevitably brings a strong labor -- labor movement. From a long-time and fundamental point of view, there are no backward peoples which are lacking in mechanical sense. Russians, Chinese, and the Indians both of India and the Americas, all learn to read and write and operate machines just as well as your children or my children. Everywhere the common people are on the march. By the millions they are learning to read and write, learning to think together, learning to use tools. They're learning to think and work together in labor movements, some of which may be extreme or a little impractical at first, but which eventually will settle down to serve effectively the interests of the common man.
When the freedom-loving people march; when the farmers have an opportunity to buy land at reasonable prices and sell the produce of their land through their own organizations; when workers have the opportunity to form unions and bargain through them collectively; and when the children of all the people have an opportunity to attend schools which teach them that truth of the real world -- when these opportunities are open to everyone, then the world moves straight ahead.
But in countries where the ability to read and write has been recently acquired -- mind you, 62% of the world today do not yet know how to read and write. But in those countries where the ability has been recently acquired or where the people have had no long experience in governing themselves on the basis of their own thinking, it is easy for demagogues to arise and prostitute the mind of the common man to their own base ends. Such a demagogue may get financial help from some person of wealth who is unaware of what the end result will be. With this backing, the demagogue may dominate the minds of the people, and, from whatever degree of freedom they have, lead them back into a most degraded slavery. Herr Thyssen, the wealthy German steel man, little realized what he was doing when he gave Hitler enough money to enable him to play on the minds of the German people.
The demagogue is the curse of the modern world, and of all the demagogues, the worst are those financed by well-meaning wealthy men who sincerely believe that their wealth is likely to be safer if they can hire men with political "it" to change the -- the sign posts and lure the people back into slavery. Unfortunately for the wealthy men who finance movements of this sort, as well as for the people themselves, the successful demagogue is a powerful genie who, when once let out of his bottle, refuses to obey anyone's command. As long as his spell holds, he defies God Himself, and Satan is turned loose on the world.
Through the -- Through the leaders of the Nazi revolution, Satan is now trying to lead the common man of the whole world back into slavery and darkness. For the stark truth is that the violence preached by the Nazis is the devil's own religion of darkness. So also is the doctrine that one race or one class is by heredity superior and that all other races or classes are supposed to be slaves. The belief in one Satan-inspired Fuhrer, with his Quislings, his Lavals, his Mussolinis -- his "gauleiters" in every nation in the world -- is the last and ultimate darkness. Is there any hell hotter than that of being a Quisling, unless it is that of being a Laval or a Mussolini?
In a twisted sense, there is something almost great in the figure of the Supreme Devil operating through a human form, in a Hitler who has the daring to spit straight into the eye of God and man. But the Nazi system has a heroic position for only one leader. By definition only one person is allowed to retain full sovereignty over his own soul. All the rest are stooges. They are stooges who have been mentally and politically degraded, and who feel that they can get square with the world only by mentally and politically degrading other people. These stooges are really psychopathic cases. Satan has turned loose upon us the insane.
The search of the freedom -- The march of freedom of the past 150 years has been a long-drawn-out people's revolution. In this Great Revolution of the people, there were the American Revolution of 1775, the French Revolution of 1792, the Latin-American revolutions of the Bolivarian era, the German Revolution of 1848, and the Russian Revolution of 191. Each spoke for the common man in terms of blood on the battlefield. Some went to excess. But the significant thing is that the people groped their way to the light. More of them learned to think and work together.
The people's revolution aims at peace and not at violence, but if the rights of the common man are attacked, it unleashes the ferocity of the she-bear who has lost a cub. When the Nazi psychologists tell their master Hitler that we in the United States may be able to produce hundreds of thousands of planes, but that we have no will to fight, they are only fooling themselves and him. The truth is that when the rights of the American people are transgressed, as these rights have been transgressed, the American people will fight with a relentless fury which will drive the ancient Teutonic gods back cowering into their caves. The Götterdämmerung has come for Odin and his crew.2
The people are on the march toward an even fuller freedom than the most fortunate peoples of the world have hitherto enjoyed. No Nazi counter-revolution will stop it. The common man will smoke the Hitler stooges out into the open in the United States, in Latin America, in India. He will -- He will destroy their influence. No Lavals, no Mussolinis will be tolerated in a Free World.
The people, in their millennial and revolutionary march toward manifesting here on earth the dignity that is in every human soul, hold as their credo the Four Freedoms enunciated by President Roosevelt in his message to Congress on January 6th, 1941. These four freedoms are the very core of the revolution for which the United Nations have taken their stand. We who live in the United States may think there is nothing very revolutionary about freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and freedom from fear -- freedom from the secret police. But when we begin to think about the significance of freedom from want for the average man, then we know that the revolution of the past 150 years has not been completed, either here in the United States or any place else in the world. We know that this revolution can not stop until freedom from want has actually been attained.
And now, as we move forward toward realizing the Four Freedoms of this people's revolution, I would like to speak about four duties.
It is my belief that every freedom, every right, every privilege has its price, its corresponding duty without which it can not be enjoyed. The four duties of the people's revolution, as I see them, as of this day, are these:
1. The duty to produce to the limit.
2. The duty to transport as rapidly as possible to the line of battle.
3. The duty to fight with all that is in us.
4. The duty to build a peace -- just, charitable, and enduring.
The fourth duty is that which inspires the other three.
We failed in our job after World War Number One. We did not know how to -- how to go about it, to build an enduring world-wide peace. We did not have the nerve to follow through and prevent Germany from rearming. We did not -- We did not insist that she "learn war no more." We did not build a peace treaty on the fundamental doctrine of the people's revolution. We did not strive whole-heartedly to create a world where there could be freedom from want for all the peoples. But by our very errors we learned much, and after this war we shall be in position to utilize our knowledge in building a world which is economically, politically, and, I hope, spiritually sound.
Modern science, which is a by-product and essential part of the people's revolution, has made it technologically possible to see that all the people of the world get enough to eat. Half in fun, half seriously, I said the other day to Madame Litvinov: "The object of this war is to make it sure that everyone can have a quart of milk to drink every day." And she said: "Yes, even half a pint." The peace must mean a better standard of living for the common man, not merely in the United States and England, but also in India, Russia, China, and Latin America -- not merely in the United Nations, but also in Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Some have spoken of the "American Century." I say that the century on which we are entering -- the century which will come into being after this war -- can be and must be the century of the common man.
Perhaps it will be America's opportunity to -- to support the Freedom[s] and Duties by which the common man must live. Everywhere, the common man must learn to build his own industries with his own hands in practical fashion. Everywhere, the common man must learn to increase his productivity so that he and his children can eventually pay to the world community all that they have received. No nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations. Older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization, but there must be neither military nor economic imperialism.
The methods of the 19th century will not work in the people's century, which is now about to begin. India, China, and Latin America have a tremendous stake in the people's century. As their masses learn to read and write, and as they become productive mechanics, their standard of living will double and treble. Modern science, when devoted whole-heartedly to the general welfare, has in it potentialities of which we do not yet dream.
And modern science must be released from German slavery. International cartels that serve American greed and German will to power must go. Cartels in the peace to come must be subjected to international control for the common man, as well as being under adequate control by the respective home governments. In this way, we can prevent the Germans from again building a war machine while we sleep. With international monopoly pools under control, it will be possible for inventions to serve all the people instead of only the few.
Yes, and when the time of peace comes, the citizen will again have a duty; the consumer will have a duty -- the supreme duty of sacrificing the lesser interest for the greater interest of the general welfare. Those who write the peace must think of the whole world. There can be no privileged peoples. We ourselves in the United States are no more a master race than the Nazis. And we can not perpetuate economic warfare without planting the seeds of military warfare. We must use our power at the peace table to build an economic peace that is charitable and enduring.
If we really believe that we are fighting for a people's peace, all the rest becomes easy. Production? Yes. It will be easy to get production without either strikes or sabotage, production with the whole-hearted cooperation between willing arms and keen brains; enthusiasm, zip, energy geared to the tempo of keeping everlastingly at it day after day. Hitler knows as well as those of us who sit in on the War Production Board meetings that we here in the United States are winning the battle of production. He knows that both labor and business in the United States are doing a most remarkable job and that his only hope is to crash through to a complete victory some time during the next six months.
Then there is the task of transportation to the line of battle by truck, and railroad car, and ship. We shall joyously deny ourselves so that our transportation system is improved by at least 30 percent. And there will have to be some denying, and you're going to hear plenty about it.
I need say little about the duty to fight. Some people declare, and Hitler believes, that the American people have grown soft in the last generation. Hitler agents continually preach in South America that we are cowards, unable to use, like the "brave" German soldiers, the weapons of modern war. It is true that American youth hates war with a holy hatred. But because of that fact and because Hitler and the German people stand as the very symbol of war, we shall fight with a tireless enthusiasm until war, and the possibility of war, have been removed from this planet. We shall cleanse the plague spot of Europe, which is Hitler's Germany, not the real Germany, and with it the hellhole of Asia, which is Japan.
The American people have always had guts and always will have. You know the story of Bomber Pilot Dixon, and Radioman Gene Aldrich, and Ordnanceman Tony Pastula -- the story which Americans will be telling their children for generations to come as an illustration man's ability to master any fate. These men lived for 34 days on the open sea in a rubber life raft, 8 feet by 4 feet, with no food but that which they took from the sea and the air with one pocket knife and a pistol. And yet they lived it through and came at last to the beach of an island they did not know. In spite of their suffering, they stood like men, with no weapon left to protect themselves, no shoes on their feet or clothes on their backs, and walked in military file because, they said, "If there were Japs, we didn't want to be crawling."
The American fighting men, and all the fighting men of the United Nations, will need to summon all their courage during the next few months. I am convinced that the summer and fall of 1942 will be a time of supreme crisis for all of us. Hitler, like the prize fighter who realizes that he is on the verge of being knocked out, is gathering all his remaining forces for one last, desperate blow. There is abject fear in the heart of the madman and a growing discontent among his people as he prepares for his last all-out offensive.
We may be sure that Hitler and Japan will cooperate to do the unexpected -- perhaps an attack by Japan against Alaska and our northwest coast at the time when German transport planes will be shuttled across from Dakar to furnish leadership and stiffening to a German uprising in Latin America. In any event, the psychological and sabotage offensive in the United States and Latin America will be timed to coincide with, or anticipate by a few weeks, the height of the military offensive.
We must be especially prepared to stifle the fifth columnists in the United States who will try to sabotage not merely our war material plants but, even more important -- infinitely more important -- our minds. We must be prepared for the worst kind of fifth-column work in Latin America, much of it operating through the agency of governments with which the United States at present is at peace. When I say this, I recognize that the peoples -- the peoples both of Latin America and of the nations supporting the agencies through which the fifth columnists work, are overwhelmingly on the side of the democracies. We must expect the offensive against us on the military, propaganda and sabotage fronts, both in the United States and Latin America, to reach its apex some time during the next few months. The convulsive efforts of the dying madman will be so great that some of us may be deceived into thinking that the situation is bad at the very time when it is really getting better.
But in the case of most of us, the events of the next few months, disturbing though they may be, will only increase our will to bring about complete victory in this war of liberation. Prepared in spirit, we cannot be surprised. Psychological terrorism will fall flat. As we nerve ourselves for the supreme effort in this hemisphere we must not forget the sublime heroism of the oppressed in Europe and Asia, whether it be in the mountains of Yugoslavia, the factories of Czechoslovakia and France, the farms of Poland, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium, among the seamen of Norway, or in the occupied areas of China and the Dutch East Indies. Everywhere the soul of man is letting the tyrant know that slavery of the body does not end resistance.
There can be no half measures. North, South, East, West, and Middle West -- the will of the American people is for complete victory.
No compromise with Satan is possible. We shall not rest until the victims under the Nazi and Japanese yoke are freed. We shall fight for a complete peace as well as a complete victory.
The people's revolution is on the march, and the devil and all his angels can not prevail against it. They can not prevail, for on the side of the people is the Lord.
He giveth power to the faint; [and] to them that have no might He increaseth strength....they that wait upon the Lord...shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not be faint.
Strong in the strength of the Lord, we who fight in the people's cause will never stop until that cause is won.
First broadcast by CBC, 1944, Canada
Story was written by Clarence Gillis, one of Douglas' close friends. Douglas made it famous.
This is the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played. Were born and died. And they lived much as you and I do. They even had a parliament. And every four years they had an election. They used to walk to the polls and cast their ballot. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. They got a ride for the next four years afterward too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day, all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big black fat cats.
Now if you think it’s strange that mice should elect a government made up of cats. You just look at the history of Canada for the last ninety years and maybe you’ll see they weren’t any stupider than we are.
Now I am not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows; they conducted the government with dignity. They passed good laws. That is, laws that were good for cats.
But the laws that were good for cats weren’t very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouse holes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much physical effort.
All the laws were good laws for cats. But oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn’t put up with it anymore they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse the polls.
They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats. The white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said all that Mouseland needs is more vision. They said the trouble with Mouseland is those round mouse holes we’ve got. If you put us in we’ll establish square mouse holes. And they did. And the square mouse holes were twice as big as the round mouse holes. And now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever.
And when they couldn’t take that anymore they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. And then they went back to the white cats, and then to the black, they even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up with up cats with spots on them. They were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but they ate like a cat.
You see my friends the trouble wasn’t with the colour of the cats. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats they naturally look after cats instead of mice.
Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends watch out for the little fellow with an idea. He said to the other mice. “Look fellows why do we keep electing a government made up of cats, why don’t we elect a government made up of mice?” Oh, they said, he’s a Bolshevik. So they put him in jail. But I want to remind you that you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can’t lock up an idea.
1 October 1949, Tienanmen Square, Beijing, 1949
The famous phrase 'the Chinese people have stood up' is believed to never have been uttered by Mao.
The people throughout China have been plunged into bitter suffering and tribulations since the Chiang Kai-shek Kuomintang reactionary government betrayed the fatherland, colluded with imperialists, and lunched the counter-revolutionary war. Fortunately our People's Liberation Army, backed by the whole nation, has been fighting heroically and selflessly to defend the territorial sovereignty of our homeland, to protect the people's lives and property, to relieve the people of their sufferings, and to struggle for their rights, and it eventually wiped out the reactionary troops and overthrew the reactionary rule of the Nationalist government. Now, the People's War of Liberation has been basically won, and the majority of the people in the country have been liberated. On this foundation, the first session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference , composed of delegates of all the democratic parties and people's organization of China, the People's Liberation Army, the various regions and nationalities of the country, and the overseas Chinese and other patriotic elements, has been convened. Representing the will of the whole nation, [this session of the conference] has enacted the organic law of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China, elected Mao Zedong as chairman of the Central People's Government; and Zhu De, Lui Shaoqi, Song Qingling, Li Jishen, Zhang Lan, and Gao Gang as vice chairmen [of the Central People's Government]; and Chen Yi, He Long, Li Lisan, Lin Boqu, Ye Jianying, He Xiangning, Lin Biao, Peng Dehuai, Liu Bocheng, Wu Yuzhang, Xu Xiangqian, Peng Zhen, Bo Yibo, Nie Rongzhen, Zhou Enlai, Dong Biwu, Seypidin, Rao Shushi, Tan Kah-kee [Chen Jiageng], Luo Ronghuan, Deng Zihui, Ulanhu, Xu Deli, Cai Chang, Liu Geping, Ma Yinchu, Chen Yun, Kang Sheng, Lin Feng, Ma Xulun, Guo Moruo, Zhang Yunyi, Deng Xiaoping, Gao Chongmin, Shen Junru, Shen Yanbing, Chen Shutong, Szeto Mei-tong [Situ Meitang], Li Xijiu, Huang Yanpei, Cai Tingkai, Xi Zhongxun, Peng Zemin, Zhang Zhizhong, Fu Zuoyi, Li Zhuchen, Li Zhangda, Zhang Nanxian, Liu Yazi, Zhang Dongsun, and Long Yun as council members to form the Central People's Government Council, proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China and decided on Beijing as the capital of the People's Republic of China. The Central People's Government Council of the People's Republic of China took office today in the capital and unanimously made the following decisions: to proclaim the establishment of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China; to adopt the Common Program of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference as the policy of the government; to elect Lin Boqu from among the council members as secretary general of the Central People's Government Council; to appoint Zhou Enlai as premier of the Government Adminstration Council of the Central People's Government and concurrently minister of Foreign Affairs, Mao Zedong as chairman of the People's Revolutionary Military Commission of the Central People's Government, Zhu De as commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army, Shen Junru as president of the Supreme People's Court of the Central People's Government, and Luo Ronghuan as procurator general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate of the Central People's Government, and to charge them with the task of the speedy formation of the various organs of the government to carry out the work of the government. At the same time, the Central People's Government Council decided to declare to the governments of all other countries that this government is the sole legal government representing all the people of the People's Republic of China. This government is willing to establish diplomatic relations with any foreign government that is willing to observe the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and mutual respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty.
4 November 1956, Trafalgar Square, London.
It is a sad sad sad story that is unfolding itself before our eyes at the present time. I very very sad one indeed. I myself feel despondent, really despondent, about the situation into which we have been got. When some young Tory’s say, ‘oh, we are giving the lead,’ the lead to where!
Yes, the lead back to chaos, back to anarchy, and back to universal destruction.
That’s not the lead we want.
This policy of the British government is a policy of bankruptcy and despair. It’s not the policy of civilisation.
They’re hoping that the military situation in Egypt will soon resolve itself, and that we will be ‘militarily successful ‘. If we are successful, what will that prove? It will only prove that we are stronger than the Egyptians. It won’t prove that weare right. It’s only the logic of the bully, many Tory newspapers are saying today, ‘oh well, perhaps we are judging too soon?’ ‘It may be that (PM) Eden will get it all over with, and then we can breathe a sigh of relief.’
That’s what the Germans said about Hitler! They said, ‘he may be a liar, but will he be a successful liar? They said, he’s a bully, but will he be a successful bully? They were perfectly prepared to accept his morality, so long as he gives them the prizes.
But yeah, we must look further into this.
We are stronger than Egypt but there are other countries stronger than us. Are we prepared to accept for ourselves the logic we are applying to Egypt? If nations more powerful than ourselves accept the absence of principle, the anarchistic attitude of Eden and launch bombs on London, what answer have we got, what complaint have we got? If we are going to appeal to force, if force is to be the arbiter to which we appeal, it would at least make common sense to try to make sure beforehand that we have got it, even if you accept that abysmal logic, that decadent point of view.
We are in fact in the position today of having appealed to force in the case of a small nation, where if it is appealed to against us it will result in the destruction of Great Britain, not only as a nation, but as an island containing living men and women. Therefore I say to Anthony, I say to the British government, there is no count at all upon which they can be defended.
They have besmirched the name of Britain. They have made us ashamed of the things of which formerly we were proud. They have offended against every principle of decency and there is only way in which they can even begin to restore their tarnished reputation and that is to get out! Get out! Get out!
5 December 1956, House of Commons, United Kingdom
The speech to which we have just listened is the last of a long succession that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has made to the House in the last few months and, if I may be allowed to say so, I congratulate him upon having survived so far. He appears to be in possession of vigorous health, which is obviously not enjoyed by all his colleagues, and he appears also to be exempted from those Freudian lapses which have distinguished the speeches of the Lord Privy Seal, and therefore he has survived so far with complete vigour.
However, I am bound to say that the speech by the right hon. Gentleman today carries the least conviction of all.
I have been looking through the various objectives and reasons that the Government have given to the House of Commons for making war on Egypt, and it really is desirable that when a nation makes war upon another nation it should be quite clear why it does so. It should not keep changing the reasons as time goes on.
There is, in fact, no correspondence whatsoever between the reasons given today and the reasons set out by the Prime Minister at the beginning. The reasons have changed all the time. I have got a list of them here, and for the sake of the record I propose to read it. I admit that I found some difficulty in organising a speech with any coherence because of the incoherence of the reasons. They are very varied.
On 30th October, the Prime Minister said that the purpose was, first, "to seek to separate the combatants"; second, "to remove the risk to free passage through the Canal".
The speech we have heard today is the first speech in which that subject has been dropped. Every other statement made on this matter since the beginning has always contained a reference to the future of the Canal as one of Her Majesty's Government's objectives, in fact, as an object of war, to coerce Egypt. Indeed, that is exactly what honourable and right honourable Gentlemen opposite believed it was all about.
Honourable Members do not do themselves justice. One does not fire in order merely to have a cease-fire. One would have thought that the cease-fire was consequent upon having fired in the first place. It could have been accomplished without starting. The other objective set out on 30th October was "to reduce the risk ... to those voyaging through the Canal." - [OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th October, 1956; Vol. 558. c. 1347.]
We have heard from the right honourable and learned Gentleman today a statement which I am quite certain all the world will read with astonishment. He has said that when we landed in Port Said there was already every reason to believe that both Egypt and Israel had agreed to cease fire.
The Minister shakes his head. If he will recollect what his right honourable and learned friend said, it was that there was still a doubt about the Israeli reply. Are we really now telling this country and the world that all these calamitous consequences have been brought down upon us merely because of a doubt? That is what he said.
Surely, there was no need. We had, of course, done the bombing, but our ships were still going through the Mediterranean. We had not arrived at Port Said. The exertions of the United Nations had already gone far enough to be able to secure from Israel and Egypt a promise to cease fire, and all that remained to be cleared up was an ambiguity about the Israeli reply. In these conditions, and against the background of these events, the invasion of Egypt still continued.
In the history of nations, there is no example of such frivolity. When I have looked at this chronicle of events during the last few days, with every desire in the world to understand it, I just have not been able to understand, and do not yet understand, the mentality of the Government. If the right honourable and learned Gentleman wishes to deny what I have said, I will give him a chance of doing so. If his words remain as they are now, we are telling the nation and the world that, having decided upon the course, we went on with it despite the fact that the objective we had set ourselves had already been achieved, namely, the separation of the combatants.
As to the objective of removing the risk to free passage through the Canal, I must confess that I have been astonished at this also. We sent an ultimatum to Egypt by which we told her that unless she agreed to our landing Ismailia, Suez and Port Said, we should make war upon her. We knew very well, did we not, that Nasser could not possibly comply? Did we really believe that Nasser was going to give in at once? Is our information from Egypt so bad that we did not know that an ultimatum of that sort was bound to consolidate his position in Egypt and in the whole Arab worId?
We knew at that time, on 29th and 30th October, that long before we could have occupied Port Said, Ismailia and Suez, Nasser would have been in a position to make his riposte. So wonderfully organised was this expedition - which, apparently, has been a miracle of military genius - that long after we had delivered our ultimatum and bombed Port Said, our ships were still ploughing through the Mediterranean, leaving the enemy still in possession of all the main objectives which we said we wanted.
Did we really believe that Nasser was going to wait for us to arrive? He did what anybody would have thought he would do, and if the Government did not think he would do it, on that account alone they ought to resign. He sank ships in the Canal, the wicked man. What did hon. Gentlemen opposite expect him to do? The result is that, in fact, the first objective realised was the opposite of the one we set out to achieve; the Canal was blocked, and it is still blocked.
The only other interpretation of the Government's mind is that they expected, for some reason or other, that their ultimatum would bring about disorder in Egypt and the collapse of the Nasser regime. None of us believed that. If honourable Gentlemen opposite would only reason about other people as they reason amongst themselves, they would realise that a Government cannot possibly surrender to a threat of that sort and keep any self-respect. We should not, should we? If somebody held a pistol at our heads and said, "You do this or we fire", should we? Of course not. Why on earth do not honourable Members opposite sometimes believe that other people have the same courage and independence as they themselves possess? Nasser behaved exactly as any reasonable man would expect him to behave.
The other objective was "to reduce the risk ... to those voyaging through the Canal." That was a rhetorical statement, and one does not know what it means. I am sorry the right honourable Gentleman the Prime Minister is not here. I appreciate why he is not here, but it is very hard to reply to him when he is not in the House, and I hope honourable Members opposite will acquit me of trying to attack him in his absence.
On 31st October, the Prime Minister said that our object was to secure a lasting settlement and to protect our nationals. What do we think of that? In the meantime, our nationals were living in Egypt while we were murdering Egyptians at Port Said. We left our nationals in Egypt at the mercy of what might have been merciless riots throughout the whole country, with no possibility whatever of our coming to their help. We were still voyaging through the Mediterranean, after having exposed them to risk by our own behaviour. What does the House believe that the country will think when it really comes to understand all this?
On 1st November, we were told the reason was "to stop hostilities" and "prevent a resumption of them". - [OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st November, 1956; Vol. 558, c. 1653.]
But hostilities had already been practically stopped. On 3rd November, our objectives became much more ambitious - "to deal with all the outstanding problems in the Middle East". - [OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd November. 1956; Vol. 558, c. 1867.]
In the famous book Madame Bovary, there is a story of a woman who goes from one sin to another, a long story of moral decline. In this case, our ambitions soar the farther away we are from realising them. Our objective was "to deal with all the outstanding problems in the Middle East".
After having outraged our friends, after having insulted the United States, after having affronted all our friends in the Commonwealth, after having driven the whole of the Arab world into one solid phalanx, at least for the moment, behind Nasser, we were then going to deal with all the outstanding problems in the Middle East.
He said that if the United Nations would send forces to relieve us no one would be better pleased than we.
It was only a few weeks ago in this house that honourable and right honourable Gentlemen opposite sneered at every mention of the United Nations. We will deal with that.
The next objective of which we were told was to ensure that the Israeli forces withdrew from Egyptian territory. That, I understand, is what we were there for. We went into Egyptian territory in order to establish our moral right to make the Israelis clear out of Egyptian territory. That is a remarkable war aim, is it not? In order that we might get Israel out, we went in. To establish our case before the eyes of the world, Israel being the wicked invader, we, of course, being the nice friend of Egypt, went to protect her from the Israelis. But, unfortunately, we had to bomb the Egyptians first.
On 6th November, the Prime Minister said: "The action we took has been an essential condition for ... a United Nations Force to come into the Canal Zone itself." - [OFFlCIAL REPORT. 6th November. 1956; Vol. 559, c. 80.]
That is one of the most remarkable claims of all, and it is one of the main claims made by right honourable and honourable Members opposite. It is, of course, exactly the same claim which might have been made, if they had thought about it in time, by Mussolini and Hitler, that they made war on the world in order to call the United Nations into being. If it were possible for bacteria to argue with each other, they would be able to say that of course their chief justification was the advancement of medical science.
As The Times has pointed out, the arrival of the United Nations force could not be regarded as a war aim by the Government; it called it, "an inadvertence". That is not my description: it is The Times. It was a by-product of the action not of Her Majesty's Government but of the United Nations itself.
Let me ask honourable Members opposite to listen to this case. The right honourable and learned Gentleman was spending most of his time in America trying to persuade the United States - that is after we were in Egypt - to make the control of the Canal one of the conditions of our withdrawal.
On Thursday last he himself said here: "I mention these facts to the House because, obviously, the build-up of this force must have important relationship to a phased withdrawal of our own and the French troops. There are, however, other important matters be considered, such as the speedy clearance of the Canal, and negotiation of a final settlement with regard to the operation of the Canal." - [OFFICIAL REPORT. 29th November, 56; Vol 561. c. 582.]
On every single occasion - and honourable Members opposite expected this - when he went upstairs to tell his honourable Friends that he had come back empty-handed, what did they say? Why did we start this operation? We started this operation in order to give Nasser a black eye - if we could to overthrow him - but, in any case, to secure control of the Canal.
The United Nations force was in Egypt as a result of a Resolution of the United Nations for the purposes of the Charter. All along, the United States and all the other nations attached to the United Nations resolutely refused to allow the future of the Canal to be tied up with the existence of the Force. But the right honourable and learned Gentleman, in order to have some trophy to wave in the faces of his hon. Friends, wanted to bring from across the Atlantic an undertaking which would have destroyed the United Nations, because if the United Nations had agreed that the future of the Canal should also be contingent upon the withdrawal of British troops, then the United Nations force would no longer have been a United Nations force but an instrument of the rump of the United Nations, that is, the Western Powers.
I put it again to the right honourable and learned Gentleman that if honourable Members opposite had succeeded in what they wanted to do, they would have ruined the United Nations, because the very essence of the United Nations force is that it is not attempting to impose upon Egypt any settlement of the Canal.
I hope that honourable Members opposite will realise that the argument is a really serious one. It was seen to be so serious by the United States that, despite what I believe to be the desire on the part of a very large number of Americans to help us in these difficulties, it was clear to President Eisenhower, as it should be clear to anybody, that a settlement of that sort was bound to be resented by the whole of the Arab world and Egypt.
It was bound to be resented by the Commonwealth because it would make it appear that Her Majesty's Government were using the United Nations to obtain an objective that we set ourselves as far back as last August. Therefore, if the right honourable and learned Gentleman had succeeded, if the future of the Canal had been tied up with our withdrawal, the United Nations Force in Egypt would no longer have been a police force for the world, but would have been a means of coercing Egypt to accept our terms about the Canal.
Of course, is known to honourable Members in all parts of the House. They may have their own explanations for it, but I was not anxious to add to the burden of my argument. That fact is known. Of course, the Government did not support the United Nations Force - we all know that. Nevertheless, in this retrospective exercise that we are having from the other side of the House, it is possible for us to deal with the seriousness of the whole case.
The right honourable and learned Gentleman is sufficiently aware of the seriousness of it to start his speech today with collusion. If collusion can be established, the whole fabric of the Government's case falls to the ground, and they know this. It is the most serious of all the charges. It is believed in the United States and it is believed by large numbers of people in Great Britain that we were well aware that Israel was going to make the attack on Egypt. In fact, very few of the activities at the beginning of October are credible except upon the assumption that the French and British governments knew that something was going to happen in Egypt.
Indeed, the right honourable and learned Gentleman has not been frank with the House. We have asked him over and over again. He has said, "Ah, we did not conspire with France and Israel." We never said that the Government might have conspired. What we said was that they might have known about it. The right honourable and learned Gentleman gave the House the impression that at no time had he ever warned Israel against attack on Egypt. Even today, he hinged the warning we gave to Jordan on the possibility of the other Arab States being involved in any attack on Jordan.
We understand from the right honourable and learned Gentleman that at no time did the Government warn Israel against an attack on Egypt. If we apprehend trouble of these dimensions - we are not dealing with small matters - if we apprehend that the opening phases of a third world war might start or turn upon an attack by Israel on anyone, why did we not make it quite clear to Israel that we would take the same view of an attack on Egypt as we took of an attack on Jordan?
The fact is that all these long telephone conversations and conferences between M. Guy Mollet, M. Pineau and the Prime Minister are intelligible only on the assumption that something was being cooked up. All that was left to do, as far as we knew from the facts at that time, was to pick up negotiations at Geneva about the future of the Canal, as had been arranged by the United Nations. But all the time there was this coming and going between ourselves and the French Government. Did the French know? It is believed in France that the French knew about the Israeli intention. If the French knew, did they tell the British Government? We would like to know. Did M. Guy Mollet, on 16th October, tell the British Prime Minister that he expected that there was to be an attack on Egypt? Every circumstantial fact that we know points to that conclusion. For instance, Mr Ben Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister, had already made it clear in the Knesset on several occasions that Israel regarded Egypt as the real enemy, and not Jordan. Therefore, a warning not to attack Jordan was not relevant. At the same time, many Israelis were saying that at last Israel had got a reliable friend.
What happened? Did Marianne take John Bull to an unknown rendezvous? Did Marianne say to John Bull that there was a forest fire going to start, and did John Bull then say, "We ought to put it out," but Marianne said, "No, let us warm our hands by it. It is a nice fire"? Did Marianne deceive John Bull or seduce him?
Now, of course, we come to the ultimate end. It is at the end of all these discussions that the war aim of the Government now becomes known. Of course, we knew it all the time. We knew where they would land. After this long voyaging, getting almost wrecked several times, they have come to safe harbour. It was a red peril all the time. It was Russia all the time. It was not to save the Canal. The honourable Member who interjected has been deceived all the time. It was not the Canal, it was the red peril which they had unmasked. The Government suspected it before, said the right honourable and learned Gentleman, about the arms to Egypt. We on this side knew it - we did not suspect it - but the right honourable and learned Gentleman suspected it, so he said, at the very time when he was informing the House that he thought there was a proper balance of arms between Egypt and Israel.
What will the Israelis think of this when they read the right honourable and learned Gentleman's words, or are we to understand that the Israelis have got as many arms as the Egyptians have? We understand that they were fully armed all the time, because the right honourable and learned Gentleman suspected that the Egyptians had these arms.
I am not in the least surprised by this situation. That the Russians have provided these arms to the Egyptians we accept - of course they did. It is a curious thing - I may be frivolous, but I am not frightened by it - and I will tell the House why. The Russians have a habit, curiously enough, it seems to me, of not knowing what is happening in other nations. They do not even know what is happening in Poland or Hungary, and it does not seem to have occurred to the Russians that there was no military advantage in providing weapons that the Egyptians could not use.
The fact of the matter is that these great modern weapons are practically useless in the hands of backward nations. [HONOURABLE MEMBERS: "There were the volunteers."] But there were no volunteers. Do not, however, let honourable Members push the argument too far. I am not for one moment seeking to justify the Russian supply of arms to Egypt. I think it was a wicked thing to do and I think it is an equally wicked thing for us to supply arms. That area is much too combustible, far too inflammatory. This is now the end of 1956, when very many things have happened in the Middle East, when it is more dangerous than ever. I think that the Russians ought not to have done it and I will say further that I think that Nasser ought not to have invited them.
It seems to me - and here I probably shall carry honourable Members opposite with me - that Nasser has not been behaving in the spirit of the Bandoeng Conference which he joined, because what he did was not to try to reduce the temperature of the cold war: what he did was to exploit it for Egyptian purposes. Therefore, Nasser's hands are not clean by any means. I have said this before. I said it in Trafalgar Square. We must not believe that because the Prime Minister is wrong, Nasser is right. That is not the view of this side of the House.
What has deeply offended us is that such wrongs as Nasser has done and such faults as he has have been covered by the bigger blunders of the British Government. That is what vexes us. We are satisfied that the arts of diplomacy would have brought Nasser to where we wanted to get him, which was to agree about the free passage of ships through the Canal, on the civilised ground that a riparian nation has got no absolute rights over a great waterway like the Canal. That is a principle which has been accepted by India and by America and by most other nations. We have never taken the position that in the exercise of sovereign rights Egypt has the right to inflict a mortal wound upon the commerce of the world.
Do not let honourable Members now bring to the forefront of the argument the fact that Egypt had not been allowing Israeli ships to go through the Canal. If they thought so much of the seriousness of that, why did they not even invite Israel to the conference? It is not good enough to bring these things forward all the time as though they were the main objectives. Of course, we take the view that Egypt should permit the ships of all nations to pass through the Canal, and we hope that that objective will still be insisted upon. We are satisfied that those objectives could have been realised by negotiation. Not only have they not been realised by the action taken by the Government, but the opposite has been realised.
It has been clear to us, and it is now becoming clear to the nation, that for many months past honourable Members opposite have been harbouring designs of this sort. One of the reasons why we could not get a civilised solution of the Cyprus problem was that the Government were harbouring designs to use Cyprus in the Middle East, unilaterally or in conjunction with France. Whenever we put in this House questions to the right honourable Gentleman asking him why he did not answer whether he wanted a base on Cyprus or Cyprus as a base, he answered quite frankly that we might want to activate the base on Cyprus independently of our allies. That was the answer. Well, we have activated it - and look at us. We have had all these murders and all this terror, we have had all this unfriendship over Cyprus between ourselves and Greece, and we have been held up to derision in all the world merely because we contemplated using Cyprus as a base for going it alone in the Middle East. And we did go it alone. Look at the result.
Was it not obvious to honourable Members opposite that Great Britain could not possibly engage in a major military adventure without involving our N.A.T.O allies? Was it not very clear, if we did contemplate any adventure at all, that it would have to be in conjunction with them? No. It is a sad and a bitter story. We hope that at least one beneficial by-product of it will be a settlement of the Cyprus question very soon indeed.
Now I would conclude by saying this. I do not believe that any of us yet - I say any of us yet - have realised the complete change that has taken place in the relationship between nations and between Governments and peoples. These were objectives, I do beg honourable Members to reflect, that were not realisable by the means that we adopted. These civil, social and political objectives in modern society are not attainable by armed force.
Even if we had occupied Egypt by armed force we could not have secured the freedom of passage through the Canal. It is clear that there is such xenophobia, that there is such passion, that there is such bitter feeling against Western imperialism - rightly or wrongly: I am not arguing the merits at the moment - among millions of people that they are not prepared to keep the arteries of European commerce alive and intact if they themselves want to cut them. We could not keep ships going through the Canal. The Canal is too easily sabotaged, if Egypt wants to sabotage it. Why on earth did we imagine that the objectives could be realised in that way in the middle of the twentieth century?
Exactly the same thing is true of the Russians in Hungary. The Russians in Hungary are attempting to achieve civil, social and political objectives by tanks and guns, and the Hungarian people are demonstrating that it cannot be done.
The social furniture of modern society is so complicated and fragile that it cannot support the jackboot. We cannot run the processes of modern society by attempting to impose our will upon nations by armed force. If we have not learned that we have learned nothing. Therefore, from our point of view here, whatever may have been the morality of the Government's action - and about that there is no doubt - there is no doubt about its imbecility. There is not the slightest shadow of doubt that we have attempted to use methods which were bound to destroy the objectives we had, and, of course, this is what we have discovered.
I commend to honourable Members, if they have not seen it, a very fine cartoon in Punch by IIlingworth and called "Desert Victory." There we see a black, ominous, sinister background and a pipeline broken, pouring oil into the desert sands. How on earth do honourable Members opposite imagine that hundreds of miles of pipeline can be kept open if the Arabs do not want it to be kept open? It is not enough to say that there are large numbers of Arabs who want the pipeline to be kept open because they live by it.
It has been proved over and over again now in the modern world that men and women are often prepared to put up with material losses for things that they really think worth while. It has been shown in Budapest, and it could be shown in the Middle East. That is why I beg honourable Members to turn their backs on this most ugly chapter and realise that if we are to live in the world and are to be regarded as a decent nation, decent citizens in the world, we have to act up to different standards than the one that we have been following in the last few weeks.
I resent most bitterly this unconcern for the lives of innocent men and women. It may be that the dead in Port Said are 100, 200 or 300. If it is only one, we had no business to take it. Do honourable Members begin to realise how this is going to revolt the world when it passes into the imagination of men and women everywhere, and in this country, that we, with eight million here in London, the biggest single civilian target in the world, with our crowded island exposed, as no nation in the world is exposed, to the barbarism of modern weapons, we ourselves set the example.
We ourselves conscript our boys and put guns and aeroplanes in their hands and say, "Bomb there." Really, this is so appalling that human language can hardly describe it. And for what? The Government resorted to epic weapons for squalid and trivial ends, and that is why all through this unhappy period Ministers - all of them - have spoken and argued and debated well below their proper form - because they have been synthetic villains. They are not really villains. They have only set off on a villainous course, and they cannot even use the language of villainy.
Therefore, in conclusion, I say that it is no use honourable Members consoling themselves that they have more support in the country than many of them feared they might have. Of course they have support in the country. They have support among many of the unthinking and unreflective who still react to traditional values, who still think that we can solve all these problems in the old ways. Of course they have. Not all the human race has grown to adult state yet. But do not let them take comfort in that thought. The right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W Churchill) has warned them before. In the first volume of his Second WorId War, he writes about the situation before the war and he says this: "Thus an Administration more disastrous than any in our history saw all its errors and shortcomings acclaimed by the nation. There was however a bill to be paid, and it took the new House of Commons nearly ten years to pay it."
It will take us very many years to live down what we have done. It will take us many years to pay the price. I know that tomorrow evening hon. and right honourable Members will probably, as they have done before, give the Government a vote of confidence, but they know in their heart of hearts that it is a vote which the Government do not deserve.
· Extracted from Hansard 5th December 1956. Columns 1268 - 1283
Aneurin (Nye) Bevan was a socialist leaning member of the Labour Party who was Health Minister post war in the Atlee government. He is the most significant figure in the history of the NHS, Britain's national health care program. This speech is about housing policy.
Mister Chairman, and comrades, the last time that I spoke in this hall was when I was leading an [inaudible] demonstration. It was a most unorthodox affair frowned upon by large numbers of respectable persons. You fellas have gone right mad now these days. This is a nuisance. But nevertheless the task that lies ahead of us is far greater than what we have already accomplished. We want to get those 45,550 families back into their homes as quickly as possible, because we want to get those 140,000 building workers on clean straightforward jobs of new building. Now I know Mister Chairman, dribbling about in a war damaged house is not a very satisfying job for a craftsman, and the sooner we can put this behind us the better. Comparisons are being made at the present time with the housing policy in different parts of the country. Our critics, and there are a good many of them, are going to be confounded.
At the end of the last war no houses at all were being built, yet we have got, as I said, throughout the country as a whole, not only to replace the consequences of a destruction of war, not only to put up the houses that Hitler's bombs blew down. Not only have we got to repair the houses that were damaged, not only have we to make up the arrears of six years of lack of housing maintenance, but in addition to that, in addition to what the enemy did to us, we have got to try and make up for the arrears of housing left by 50 years of Tory misrule in Britain.
A house is at the end of the production line, not the beginning. A house is the last product. Before you can start building on any scale, every single industry in society has got to be organised and stimulated into production. A house, a modern house, is a most complex economic production. Every single industry is a contributor. Not only the simple building materials of bricks and mortar and cement and plasterboards and slates, and tiles, and timber, but every single component and all the furnishings of a house make it built upon every single conceivable industry. And therefore before we can start houses going up in any great numbers, all these industries have got to be manned and organised, and it is to that task that I have been devoting myself during the winter months.
It was my purpose, and it is still my purpose, to try and get houses started everywhere so that as the men come home from the forces, some building work should be going on near their homes, because we want to try and make it possible for all the building operatives to do their building work and get back to their own homes at a reasonable hour. That purpose can only ... [skip]
We don't know what they are doing, where they are doing it, or how they are doing it. How is it going to be possible for the government to plan the production of all 101 components of a house unless we know what the contractors are doing, and therefore I made up my mind. As this plan had to be implemented to a plannable instrument, that the only plannable instrument lying ready to hand were the great public authorities. And so I decided to place the principle responsibility for the main features of the housing programme upon the public authorities. And there was a further reason.
Now private enterprise cannot build houses to last, because you don't make money that way. Private enterprise makes profit out of houses only when it builds houses to sell, and therefore as the primary consideration was to provide houses to let poor people, or for relatively poor people, then again the only instrument able to build houses to let in good numbers are the local authorities. And there was another ...[skip]
And that competitor is a black market in building repairs. Now repairs have to be done, as I said, because there are great arrears to be made up. A licence is obtained by a building contractor who enters a house, and then all sorts of things happen from then on. All sorts of things that I could describe if I had time, and that you could tell me about. Now comrades, that isn't good enough. That isn't good enough. There is a sacred obligation upon every building worker to refuse to engage ... [skip]
Our housing prices have got to be brought under control ...
11 September 1941, Des Moines, Iowa, USA
It is now two years since this latest European war began. From that day in September, 1939, until the present moment, there has been an over-increasing effort to force the United States into the conflict.
That effort has been carried on by foreign interests, and by a small minority of our own people; but it has been so successful that, today, our country stands on the verge of war.
At this time, as the war is about to enter its third winter, it seems appropriate to review the circumstances that have led us to our present position. Why are we on the verge of war? Was it necessary for us to become so deeply involved? Who is responsible for changing our national policy from one of neutrality and independence to one of entanglement in European affairs?
Personally, I believe there is no better argument against our intervention than a study of the causes and developments of the present war. I have often said that if the true facts and issues were placed before the American people, there would be no danger of our involvement.
Here, I would like to point out to you a fundamental difference between the groups who advocate foreign war, and those who believe in an independent destiny for America.
If you will look back over the record, you will find that those of us who oppose intervention have constantly tried to clarify facts and issues; while the interventionists have tried to hide facts and confuse issues.
We ask you to read what we said last month, last year, and even before the war began. Our record is open and clear, and we are proud of it.
We have not led you on by subterfuge and propaganda. We have not resorted to steps short of anything, in order to take the American people where they did not want to go.
What we said before the elections, we say [illegible] and again, and again today. And we will not tell you tomorrow that it was just campaign oratory. Have you ever heard an interventionist, or a British agent, or a member of the administration in Washington ask you to go back and study a record of what they have said since the war started? Are their self-styled defenders of democracy willing to put the issue of war to a vote of our people? Do you find these crusaders for foreign freedom of speech, or the removal of censorship here in our own country?
The subterfuge and propaganda that exists in our country is obvious on every side. Tonight, I shall try to pierce through a portion of it, to the naked facts which lie beneath.
When this war started in Europe, it was clear that the American people were solidly opposed to entering it. Why shouldn't we be? We had the best defensive position in the world; we had a tradition of independence from Europe; and the one time we did take part in a European war left European problems unsolved, and debts to America unpaid.
National polls showed that when England and France declared war on Germany, in 1939, less than 10 percent of our population favored a similar course for America. But there were various groups of people, here and abroad, whose interests and beliefs necessitated the involvement of the United States in the war. I shall point out some of these groups tonight, and outline their methods of procedure. In doing this, I must speak with the utmost frankness, for in order to counteract their efforts, we must know exactly who they are.
The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration.
Behind these groups, but of lesser importance, are a number of capitalists, Anglophiles, and intellectuals who believe that the future of mankind depends upon the domination of the British empire. Add to these the Communistic groups who were opposed to intervention until a few weeks ago, and I believe I have named the major war agitators in this country.
I am speaking here only of war agitators, not of those sincere but misguided men and women who, confused by misinformation and frightened by propaganda, follow the lead of the war agitators.
As I have said, these war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people; but they control a tremendous influence. Against the determination of the American people to stay out of war, they have marshaled the power of their propaganda, their money, their patronage.
Let us consider these groups, one at a time.
First, the British: It is obvious and perfectly understandable that Great Britain wants the United States in the war on her side. England is now in a desperate position. Her population is not large enough and her armies are not strong enough to invade the continent of Europe and win the war she declared against Germany.
Her geographical position is such that she cannot win the war by the use of aviation alone, regardless of how many planes we send her. Even if America entered the war, it is improbable that the Allied armies could invade Europe and overwhelm the Axis powers. But one thing is certain. If England can draw this country into the war, she can shift to our shoulders a large portion of the responsibility for waging it and for paying its cost.
As you all know, we were left with the debts of the last European war; and unless we are more cautious in the future than we have been in the past, we will be left with the debts of the present case. If it were not for her hope that she can make us responsible for the war financially, as well as militarily, I believe England would have negotiated a peace in Europe many months ago, and be better off for doing so.
England has devoted, and will continue to devote every effort to get us into the war. We know that she spent huge sums of money in this country during the last war in order to involve us. Englishmen have written books about the cleverness of its use.
We know that England is spending great sums of money for propaganda in America during the present war. If we were Englishmen, we would do the same. But our interest is first in America; and as Americans, it is essential for us to realize the effort that British interests are making to draw us into their war.
The second major group I mentioned is the Jewish.
It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. The persecution they suffered in Germany would be sufficient to make bitter enemies of any race.
No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany. But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.
Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastations. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not.
Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.
I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.
We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.
The Roosevelt administration is the third powerful group which has been carrying this country toward war. Its members have used the war emergency to obtain a third presidential term for the first time in American history. They have used the war to add unlimited billions to a debt which was already the highest we have ever known. And they have just used the war to justify the restriction of congressional power, and the assumption of dictatorial procedures on the part of the president and his appointees.
The power of the Roosevelt administration depends upon the maintenance of a wartime emergency. The prestige of the Roosevelt administration depends upon the success of Great Britain to whom the president attached his political future at a time when most people thought that England and France would easily win the war. The danger of the Roosevelt administration lies in its subterfuge. While its members have promised us peace, they have led us to war heedless of the platform upon which they were elected.
In selecting these three groups as the major agitators for war, I have included only those whose support is essential to the war party. If any one of these groups--the British, the Jewish, or the administration--stops agitating for war, I believe there will be little danger of our involvement.
I do not believe that any two of them are powerful enough to carry this country to war without the support of the third. And to these three, as I have said, all other war groups are of secondary importance.
When hostilities commenced in Europe, in 1939, it was realized by these groups that the American people had no intention of entering the war. They knew it would be worse than useless to ask us for a declaration of war at that time. But they believed that this country could be entered into the war in very much the same way we were entered into the last one.
They planned: first, to prepare the United States for foreign war under the guise of American defense; second, to involve us in the war, step by step, without our realization; third, to create a series of incidents which would force us into the actual conflict. These plans were of course, to be covered and assisted by the full power of their propaganda.
Our theaters soon became filled with plays portraying the glory of war. Newsreels lost all semblance of objectivity. Newspapers and magazines began to lose advertising if they carried anti-war articles. A smear campaign was instituted against individuals who opposed intervention. The terms "fifth columnist," "traitor," "Nazi," "anti-Semitic" were thrown ceaselessly at any one who dared to suggest that it was not to the best interests of the United States to enter the war. Men lost their jobs if they were frankly anti-war. Many others dared no longer speak.
Before long, lecture halls that were open to the advocates of war were closed to speakers who opposed it. A fear campaign was inaugurated. We were told that aviation, which has held the British fleet off the continent of Europe, made America more vulnerable than ever before to invasion. Propaganda was in full swing.
There was no difficulty in obtaining billions of dollars for arms under the guise of defending America. Our people stood united on a program of defense. Congress passed appropriation after appropriation for guns and planes and battleships, with the approval of the overwhelming majority of our citizens. That a large portion of these appropriations was to be used to build arms for Europe, we did not learn until later. That was another step.
To use a specific example; in 1939, we were told that we should increase our air corps to a total of 5,000 planes. Congress passed the necessary legislation. A few months later, the administration told us that the United States should have at least 50,000 planes for our national safety. But almost as fast as fighting planes were turned out from our factories, they were sent abroad, although our own air corps was in the utmost need of new equipment; so that today, two years after the start of war, the American army has a few hundred thoroughly modern bombers and fighters--less in fact, than Germany is able to produce in a single month.
Ever since its inception, our arms program has been laid out for the purpose of carrying on the war in Europe, far more than for the purpose of building an adequate defense for America.
Now at the same time we were being prepared for a foreign war, it was necessary, as I have said, to involve us in the war. This was accomplished under that now famous phrase "steps short of war."
England and France would win if the United States would only repeal its arms embargo and sell munitions for cash, we were told. And then [illegible] began, a refrain that marked every step we took toward war for many months--"the best way to defend America and keep out of war." we were told, was "by aiding the Allies."
First, we agreed to sell arms to Europe; next, we agreed to loan arms to Europe; then we agreed to patrol the ocean for Europe; then we occupied a European island in the war zone. Now, we have reached the verge of war.
The war groups have succeeded in the first two of their three major steps into war. The greatest armament program in our history is under way.
We have become involved in the war from practically every standpoint except actual shooting. Only the creation of sufficient "incidents" yet remains; and you see the first of these already taking place, according to plan [ill.]-- a plan that was never laid before the American people for their approval.
Men and women of Iowa; only one thing holds this country from war today. That is the rising opposition of the American people. Our system of democracy and representative government is on test today as it has never been before. We are on the verge of a war in which the only victor would be chaos and prostration.
We are on the verge of a war for which we are still unprepared, and for which no one has offered a feasible plan for victory--a war which cannot be won without sending our soldiers across the ocean to force a landing on a hostile coast against armies stronger than our own.
We are on the verge of war, but it is not yet too late to stay out. It is not too late to show that no amount of money, or propaganda, or patronage can force a free and independent people into war against its will. It is not yet too late to retrieve and to maintain the independent American destiny that our forefathers established in this new world.
The entire future rests upon our shoulders. It depends upon our action, our courage, and our intelligence. If you oppose our intervention in the war, now is the time to make your voice heard.
Help us to organize these meetings; and write to your representatives in Washington. I tell you that the last stronghold of democracy and representative government in this country is in our house of representatives and our senate.
There, we can still make our will known. And if we, the American people, do that, independence and freedom will continue to live among us, and there will be no foreign war.