Historic and inspirational speeches – During 20th century

Introduction

Quotes

Selected speeches

Woodrow Wilson
War message (1917)
Fourteen Points (1918)

Emmeline Pankhurst
“Freedom or death” (1913)

Marie Curie
Radium and the New Concepts in Chemistry (1911)

Mohandas K. Gandhi
“Quit India”/ “Do or Die” (1942)

Albert Einstein
“Wonders of science” speech (1930)
On education (1931)

Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (1933)
Pearl Harbor address to the nation (1941)

Huey Long, Jr.
“Every man a king” (1934)

Adolf Hitler
Statement in trial for treason (1924)
“My patience is now at an end” (1938)
A reply to U.S. president F.D. Roosevelt (1939)
Declaration of war on the US (1941)

Sir Charlie Chaplin
Final Speech in The Great Dictator (1940)

Sir Winston Churchill
“Blood, toil, tears and sweat” (1940)
“We shall fight on the beaches” (1940)
“Their finest hour” (1940)
“The Few” (1940)

Charles de Gaulle
The Appeal of 18 June (1940)

Mao Zedong
Serve the People (1944)

Douglas MacArthur
Speeches in Surrender ceremony (1945)
“Old soldiers never die”/ “Farewell Address to Congress” (1951)
“Duty, Honor, Country” (1962)

Muhammad Ali Jinnah
First Presidential Address (1947)

George C. Marshall
“The Marshall Plan” (1947)

Jawaharlal Nehru
“Tryst with Destiny” (1947)
Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi (1948)

William Faulkner
Nobel Banquet Speech (1950)

Dwight Eisenhower
“Atoms for peace” (1953)
Farewell Address/ Military-industrial complex warning (1961)

Fidel Castro
“History will absolve me” (1953)

Albert Schweitzer
The Problem of Peace (1954)

Nikita Khrushchev
On the cult of personality (1956)

Kwame Nkrumah
Independence Speech (1957)

Harold Macmillan
“Wind of change”/ “No going back” speech (1960)

John F. Kennedy
“Ask not what America will do for you” (1961)
“We choose to go to the Moon” (1962)
“Ich bin ein Berliner”

Malcolm X
The ballot or the bullet (1964)

Che Guevara
“Homeland or death” (1964)

Nelson Mandela
“An ideal for which I am prepared to die” (1964)
Speech on release (1990)

Lyndon B. Johnson
“We shall overcome”/ “The American promise” (1965)

Golda Meir
For the attainment of peace (1970)

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
“This time the struggle is for our freedom” (1971)

Salvador Allende Gossens
Last speech (1973)

Yasser Arafat
“An olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun” (1974)

Anwar Sadat
Speech to the Knesset (1977)

Margaret Thatcher
“The lady’s not for turning” (1980)

Ronald Reagan
Remarks on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day (1984)
Shuttle Challenger Tragedy Address (1986)
“Tear down this wall” (1987)

Mikhail Gorbachev
“Freedom of choice” (1988)

Barbara Bush
Commencement Address to the Wellesley College (1990)

Sir Geoffrey Howe
Resignation speech (1990)

The 14th Dalai Lama
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech (1989)

Václav Havel
“A contaminated moral environment” (1990)

W. de Klerk
Address at the Opening of the 2nd session of the Ninth Parliament (1990)

Yitzhak Rabin
Nobel Lecture (1994)

Benazir Bhutto
“Equality and partnership” (1995)

References and Bibliography

 

Introduction

This is the first post in the series “Historic and inspirational speeches”. Two other posts are:

  • Historic and inspirational speeches – Before 20th century
  • Historic and inspirational speeches – After 20th century

Some speeches have been posted separately, as follows:

“Personalities are not formed by what is heard and said” (1931) – Albert Einstein – https://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/personalities-are-not-formed-by-what-is-heard-and-said-albert-einstein/

“The most serious decision of my life” (1936) – Edward VIIIhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/valedictory-speech-edward-viii/

Craftiness, irony, sarcasm and hypocrisy (1939) – Adolf Hitlerhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/craftiness-irony-sarcasm-and-hypocrisy-adolf-hitler/

“We shall fight on the beaches” (1940 – Winston Churchillhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/we-shall-fight-on-the-beaches-winston-churchill/

“Infamous falsehoods and distortions” (1942) – Cordell Hullhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/infamous-falsehoods-and-distortions-cordell-hull/

“A date which will live in infamy” (1942) – Franklin D. Roosevelthttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/a-date-which-will-live-in-infamy-franklin-d-roosevelt/

“Enduring the unendurable” (1945) – Hirohitohttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/enduring-the-unendurable-hirohito/

“It is an atomic bomb” (1945) – Harry S. Trumanhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/it-is-an-atomic-bomb-harry-s-truman/

“A better world shall emerge” (1945) – Douglas MacArthurhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/a-better-world-shall-emerge-douglas-macarthur/

“Old soldiers never die” (1951) – Douglas MacArthurhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/old-soldiers-never-die-douglas-macarthur-2/

“We choose to go to the Moon” (1962) – John F. Kennedyhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/we-choose-to-go-to-the-moon-john-f-kennedy/

“I have a dream” (1963) – Martin Luther King, Jr.https://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/i-have-a-dream-martin-luther-king-jr/

“We shall overcome” (1965) – Lyndon B. Johnsonhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/we-shall-overcome-lyndon-b-johnson/

“What we need is love and wisdom” (1968) – Robert F. Kennedyhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/on-the-death-of-martin-luther-king-robert-f-kennedy/

“Love begins at home” (1979) – St. Teresa of Calcuttahttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/love-begins-at-home-mother-teresa/

Remarks on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day (1984) – Ronald Reagan https://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/remarks-on-the-40th-anniversary-of-d-day-ronald-reagan/

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted” (1986) – Ronald Reaganhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/shuttle-challenger-tragedy-address-ronald-reagan/

“A whisper of AIDS” (1992) – Mary Fisherhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/a-whisper-of-aids-mary-fisher/

“I think we owe it” (1994) – Princess Diana https://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/i-think-we-owe-it-princess-diana/

“Women rights are human rights” (1995) – Hillary Rodham Clintonhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/women-rights-are-human-rights-hillary-rodham-clinton/

Stand up against hatred – (1995) Bill Clintonhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/oklahoma-bombing-address-bill-clinton/

“She needed no royal title” (1997) – Earl Spencerhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/she-needed-no-royal-title-earl-spencer/

Quotes

One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat. (Woodrow Wilson)

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. (Marie Curie)

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. (Mohandas K. Gandhi)

Personalities are not formed by what is heard and said. (Albert Einstein)

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

The victor will never be asked if he told the truth. (Adolf Hitler)

Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. (Charlie Chaplin)

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. (Sir Winston Churchill)

A better world shall emerge based on faith and understanding. (Douglas MacArthur)

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. (Albert Schweitzer)

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. (John F. Kennedy)

I’m not for separation and you’re not for integration, what you and I are for is freedom. (Malcolm X)

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. (Nelson Mandela)

We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors. (Lyndon B. Johnson)

It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake. (Margaret Thatcher)

The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted. (Ronald Reagan)

The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self. (The 14th Dalai Lama)

Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. (Václav Havel)

Selected speeches

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson.jpg
Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921.

In his first term, Wilson successfully pushed a legislative agenda that few presidents have equaled, and remained unmatched up until the New Deal.(1) This agenda included the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and an income tax. Child labor was curtailed by the Keating–Owen Act of 1916, but the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1918. He also had Congress pass the Adamson Act, which imposed an 8-hour workday for railroads.(2) Wilson, after first sidestepping the issue, became a major advocate for the women’s suffrage.

Narrowly re-elected in 1916, he had full control of American entry into World War I, and his second term centered on World War I and the subsequent peace treaty negotiations in Paris. He based his re-election campaign around the slogan, “He kept us out of war”, but U.S. neutrality was challenged in early 1917 when the German government began unrestricted submarine warfare despite repeated strong warnings, and tried to enlist Mexico as an ally. In April 1917, Wilson asked Congress to declare war. During the war, Wilson focused on diplomacy and financial considerations, leaving the waging of the war itself primarily in the hands of the Army.

On the home front in 1917, he began the United States’ first draft since the American Civil War, raised billions of dollars in war funding through Liberty Bonds, set up the War Industries Board, promoted labor union cooperation, supervised agriculture and food production through the Lever Act, took over control of the railroads, and suppressed anti-war movements. During his term in office, Wilson gave a well-known Flag Day speech that fueled the wave of anti-German sentiment sweeping the country.

In the late stages of the war, Wilson took personal control of negotiations with Germany, including the armistice. In 1918, he issued his Fourteen Points, his view of a post-war world that could avoid another terrible conflict. In 1919, he went to Paris to create the League of Nations and shape the Treaty of Versailles, with special attention on creating new nations out of defunct empires.

An intellectual – the only president with a PhD – he bitterly fought other intellectuals such as Roosevelt and Lodge. A Presbyterian of deep religious faith, Wilson appealed to a gospel of service and infused a profound sense of moralism into his idealistic internationalism, now referred to as “Wilsonian”. Wilsonianism calls for the United States to enter the world arena to fight for democracy, and has been a contentious position in American foreign policy.(3)

For his peace-making efforts, particularly his advocacy of the League of Nations, Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize.

War message (1917)

Woodrow Wilson delivered his War Message to Congress on the evening of 2 April 1917. Introduced to great applause, he remained intense and almost motionless for the entire speech, only raising one arm as his only bodily movement.(4)

Wilson announced that his previous position of “armed neutrality” was no longer tenable now that the Imperial German Government had announced that it would use its submarines to sink any vessel approaching the ports of Great Britain, Ireland or any of the Western Coasts of Europe. He advised Congress to declare that the recent course of action taken by the Imperial German Government constituted an act of war. He proposed that the United States enter the war to “vindicate principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power”. He also charged that Germany had “filled our unsuspecting communities and even our offices of government with spies and set criminal intrigues everywhere afoot against our national unity of counsel, our peace within and without our industries and our commerce”. Furthermore, the United States had intercepted a telegram sent to the German ambassador in Mexico City that evidenced Germany’s attempt to instigate a Mexican attack upon the U.S. The German government, Wilson said, “means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors”. He then warned that “if there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with a firm hand of repression.”(5) Wilson closed with the statement that the world must be again safe for democracy.

This speech is ranked #19 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University.

Gentlemen of the Congress:

I have called the Congress into extraordinary session because there are serious, very serious, choices of policy to be made, and made immediately, which it was neither right nor constitutionally permissible that I should assume the responsibility of making.

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean.

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy, when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats.

The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel and unmanly business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, haven been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that hitherto subscribed to the humane practices of civilized nations. International law had its origin in the attempt to set up some law which would be respected and observed upon the seas, where no nation had right of dominion and where lay the free highways of the world. By painful stage after stage has that law been built up, with meager enough results, indeed, after all was accomplished that could be accomplished, but always with a clear view, at least, of what the heart and conscience of mankind demanded.

This minimum of right the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world.

I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of non-combatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be.

The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is war against all nations.

American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind.

Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

When I addressed the Congress on the twenty-sixth of February last I thought that it would suffice to assert our neutral rights with arms, our right to use the seas against unlawful interference, our right to keep our people safe against unlawful violence. But armed neutrality, it now appears, is impracticable. Because submarines are in effect outlaws when used as the German submarines have been used against merchant shipping, it is impossible to defend ships against their attacks as the law of nations has assumed that merchantmen would defend themselves against privateers or cruisers, visible craft giving chase upon the open sea. It is common prudence in such circumstances, grim necessity indeed, to endeavor to destroy them before they have shown their own intention. They must be dealt with upon sight, if dealt with at all.

The German Government denies the right of neutrals to use arms at all within the areas of the sea which it has proscribed, even in the defense of rights which no modern publicist has ever before questioned their right to defend. The intimation is conveyed that the armed guards which we have placed on our merchant ships will be treated as beyond the pale of law and subject to be dealt with as pirates would be. Armed neutrality is ineffectual enough at best; in such circumstances and in the face of such pretensions it is worse than ineffectual; it is likely only to produce what it was meant to prevent; it is practically certain to draw us into the war without either the rights or the effectiveness of belligerents. There is one choice we cannot make, we are incapable of making: we will not choose the path of submission and suffer the most sacred rights of our nation and our people to be ignored or violated. The wrongs against which we now array ourselves are no common wrongs: they cut to the very roots of human life.

With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities which it involves, but in unhesitating obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the government and people of the United States; that it formally accept the status of belligerent which has thus been thrust upon it; and that it take immediate steps not only to put the country in a more thorough state of defense but also to exert all its power and employ all its resources to bring the Government of the German Empire to terms and end the war.

What this will involve is clear.

It will involve the utmost practicable cooperation in counsel and action with the governments now at war with Germany, and, as incident to that, the extension to those governments of the most liberal financial credits, in order that our resources may so far as possible be added to theirs.

It will involve the organization and mobilization of all the material resources of the country to supply the materials of war and serve the incidental needs of the nation in the most abundant and yet the most economical and efficient way possible.

It will involve the immediate full equipment of the navy in all respects but particularly in supplying it with the best means of dealing with the enemy’s submarines.

It will involve the immediate addition to the armed forces of the United States already provided for by law in case of war at least five hundred thousand men, who should, in my opinion, be chosen upon the principle of universal liability to service, and also the authorization of subsequent additional increments of equal force so soon as they may be needed and can be handled in training.

It will involve also, of course, the granting of adequate credits to the Government, sustained, I hope, so far as they can equitably be sustained by the present generation, by well conceived taxation.

I say sustained so far as may be equitable by taxation because it seems to me that it would be most unwise to base the credits which will now be necessary entirely on money borrowed. It is our duty, I most respectfully urge, to protect our people so far as we may against the very serious hardships and evils which would be likely to arise out of the inflation which would be produced by vast loans.

In carrying out the measures by which these things are to be accomplished we should keep constantly in mind the wisdoms of interfering as little as possible in our own preparation and in the equipment of our own military forces with the duty – for it will be a very practical duty – of supplying the nations already at war with Germany with the materials which they can obtain only from us or by our assistance. They are in the field and we should help them in every way to be effective there.

I shall take the liberty of suggesting, through the several executive departments of the government, for the consideration of your committees, measures for the accomplishment of the several objects I have mentioned. I hope that it will be your pleasure to deal with them as having been framed after very careful thought by the branch of the Government upon which the responsibility of conducting the war safeguarding the nation will most directly fall.

While we do these things, these deeply momentous things, let us be very clear, and make very clear to all the world what our motives and our objects are. My own thought has not been driven from its habitual and normal course by the unhappy events of the last two months, and I do not believe that the thought of the nation has been altered or clouded by them. I have exactly the same things in mind now that I had in mind when I addressed the Senate on the twenty-second of January last; the same that I had in mind when I addressed the Congress on the third day of February and on the twenty-sixth of February. Our object now, as then, is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power and to set up amongst the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth ensure the observance of those principles.

Neutrality is no longer feasible or desirable where the peace of the world is involved and the freedom of its peoples, and the menace to that peace and freedom lies in the existence of autocratic governments backed by organized force which is controlled wholly by their will, not by the will of their people. We have seen the last of neutrality in such circumstances. We are at the beginning of an age in which it will be insisted that the same standards of conduct and responsibility for wrong done shall be observed among nations and their governments that are observed among the individual citizens of civilized states.

We have no quarrel with the German people. We have no feeling towards them but one of sympathy and friendship. It was not upon their impulse that their government acted in entering this war. It was not with their previous knowledge or approval. It was a war determined upon as wars used to be determined upon in the old, unhappy days when peoples were nowhere consulted by their rulers and wars were provoked and waged in the interest of dynasties or of little groups of ambitious men who were accustomed to use their fellow men as pawns and tools.

Self-governed nations do not fill their neighbor states with spies or set the course of intrigue to bring about some critical posture of affairs which will give them an opportunity to strike and make conquest. Such designs can be successfully worked out only under cover and where no one has the right to ask questions. Cunningly contrived plans of deception or aggression, carried, it may be, from generation to generation, can be worked out and kept from the light only within the privacy of courts or behind carefully guarded confidences of a narrow and privileged class. They are happily impossible where public opinion commands and insists upon full information concerning all the nation’s affairs.

A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within it or observe its covenants. It must be a league of honor, a partnership of opinion. Intrigue would eat its vitals away; the plottings of inner circles who could plan what they would and render account to no one would be a corruption seated at its very heart. Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honor steady to a common end and prefer the interests of mankind to any narrow interest of their own.

Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia? Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact democratic at heart, in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual attitude towards life.

The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, long as it had stood and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin, character, or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great, generous Russian people have been added in all their naïve majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace. Here is a fit partner for a League of Honor.

One of the things that has served to convince us that the Prussian autocracy was not and could never be our friend is that from the very outset of the present war it has filled our unsuspecting communities and even our offices of government with spies and set criminal intrigues everywhere afoot against our national unity of counsel, our peace within and without, our industries and our commerce. Indeed it is now evident that its spies were here even before the war began; and it is unhappily not a matter of conjecture but a fact proved in our courts of justice that the intrigues which have more than once come perilously near to disturbing the peace and dislocating the industries of the country have been carried on at the instigation, with the support, and even under the personal direction of official agents of the Imperial Government accredited to the Government of the United States.

Even in checking these things and trying to extirpate them we have sought to put the most generous interpretation possible upon them because we know that their source lay, not in any hostile feeling or purpose of the German people towards us (who were, no doubt, as ignorant of them as we ourselves were), but only in the selfish designs of a Government that did what it pleased and told its people nothing. But they have played their part in serving to convince us at last that that Government entertains no real friendship for us and means to act against our peace and security at its convenience. That it means to stir up enemies against us at our very doors that intercepted note to the German Minister at Mexico City is eloquent evidence.

We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that in such a government, following such methods, we can never have a friend; and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security of the democratic governments of the world. We are now about to accept a gauge of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power.

We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included: for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve.

We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall cheerfully make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.

Just because we fight without rancor and without selfish object, seeking nothing for ourselves but what we shall wish to share with all free peoples, we shall, I feel confident, conduct our operations as belligerents without passion and ourselves observe with proud punctilio the principles of right and fair play we profess to be fighting for. I have said nothing of the governments allied with the Imperial Government of Germany because they have not made war upon us or challenged us to defend our right and our honor.

The Austro-Hungarian Government has, indeed, avowed its unqualified endorsement and acceptance of the reckless and lawless submarine warfare adopted now without disguise by the Imperial German Government, and it has therefore not been possible for this Government to receive Count Tarnowski, the Ambassador recently accredited to this Government by the Imperial and Royal Government of Austria-Hungary; but that Government has not actually engaged in warfare against citizens of the United States on the seas, and I take the liberty, for the present at least, of postponing a discussion of our relations with the authorities at Vienna.

We enter this war only where we are clearly forced into it because there are no other means of defending our rights.

It will be all the easier for us to conduct ourselves as belligerents in a high spirit of right and fairness because we act without animus, not in enmity towards a people or with the desire to bring any injury or disadvantage upon them, but only armed opposition to an irresponsible government which has thrown aside all considerations of humanity and of right and is running amuck.

We are, let me say again, the sincere friends of the German people, and shall desire nothing so much as the early reestablishment of intimate relations of mutual advantage between us – however hard it may be for them, for the time being, to believe that this is spoken from our hearts.

We have borne with their present government through all these bitter months because of that friendship – exercising a patience and forbearance which would otherwise have been impossible.

We shall, happily, still have an opportunity to prove that friendship in our daily attitude and actions towards the millions of men and women of German birth and native sympathy who live amongst us and share our life, and we shall be proud to prove it towards all who are in fact loyal to their neighbors and to the Government in the hour of test. They are, most of them, as true and loyal Americans as if they had never known any other fealty or allegiance. They will be prompt to stand with us in rebuking and restraining the few who may be of a different mind and purpose. If there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with a firm hand of stern repression; but, if it lifts its head at all, it will lift it only here and there and without countenance except from a lawless and malignant few.

It is a distressing and oppressive duty, Gentlemen of the Congress, which I have performed in thus addressing you. There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance.

But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts, for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world at last free.

To such a task we can dedicate our lives and our fortunes, everything that we are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured.

God helping her, she can do no other.

Woodrow Wilson War Messagehttp://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/wilsonwarmessage.htm

* * *

With 50 Representatives and 6 Senators in opposition, the declaration of war by the United States against Germany was passed by the Congress on 4 April 1917, and was approved by the President on 6 April 1917.

Notes

(1) Cooper, John Milton. Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (2009), p. 201.

(2) Kerr, K. Austin (1967). “Decision For Federal Control: Wilson, McAdoo, and the Railroads, 1917”. Journal of American History 54 (3): 550–560. doi:10.2307/2937406. JSTOR 2937406.

(3) John Morton Blum, Woodrow Wilson and the Politics of Morality (1956); Richard M. Gamble, “Savior Nation: Woodrow Wilson and the Gospel of Service”, Humanitas Volume: 14. Issue: 1. 2001. pp 4+; Cooper, Woodrow Wilson (2009) p 560.

(4) Baker, Ray Stannard, Woodrow Wilson Life and Letters (Garden City, NY, 1937).

(5) Cooper, John Milton, Reconsidering Woodrow Wilson: Progressivism, Internationalism, War, and Peace, Baltimore MD: John Hopkins University Press, ISBN 9780801890741 (2008), p. 190: Wilson insisted that those who refused to support the nation in time of war surrendered their civil liberties.

Fourteen Points (1918)

Fourteen Points were listed in a speech delivered by President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on 8 January 1918, intended to assure the country that the war was being fought for a moral cause and for peace in Europe after World War I. The Fourteen Points became the basis for the terms of the German surrender, as negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and documented in the Treaty of Versailles, although the U.S. Senate did not ratify it.

Wilson’s speech on 8 January took many of the principles of progressivism that had produced domestic reform in the U.S. and translated them into foreign policy (free trade, open agreements, democracy and self-determination). Based on the research of “the Inquiry”, a team of about 150 advisers, the Fourteen Points speech was the only explicit statement of war aims by any of the nations fighting in World War I, and also responded to Vladimir Lenin’s Decree on Peace of October 1917.

This speech is ranked #40 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University.

Gentlemen of the Congress:

Once more, as repeatedly before, the spokesmen of the Central Empires have indicated their desire to discuss the objects of the war and the possible basis of a general peace. Parleys have been in progress at Brest-Litovsk between Russian representatives and representatives of the Central Powers to which the attention of all the belligerents has been invited for the purpose of ascertaining whether it may be possible to extend these parleys into a general conference with regard to terms of peace and settlement.

The Russian representatives presented not only a perfectly definite statement of the principles upon which they would be willing to conclude peace, but also an equally definite program of the concrete application of those principles. The representatives of the Central Powers, on their part, presented an outline of settlement which, if much less definite, seemed susceptible of liberal interpretation until their specific program of practical terms was added. That program proposed no concessions at all, either to the sovereignty of Russia or to the preferences of the populations with whose fortunes it dealt, but meant, in a word, that the Central Empires were to keep every foot of territory their armed forces had occupied–every province, every city, every point of vantage as a permanent addition to their territories and their power.

It is a reasonable conjecture that the general principles of settlement which they at first suggested originated with the more liberal statesmen of Germany and Austria, the men who have begun to feel the force of their own peoples’ thought and purpose, while the concrete terms of actual settlement came from the military leaders who have no thought but to keep what they have got. The negotiations have been broken off. The Russian representatives were sincere and in earnest. They cannot entertain such proposals of conquest and domination.

The whole incident is full of significance. It is also full of perplexity. With whom are the Russian representatives dealing? For whom are the representatives of the Central Empires speaking? Are they speaking for the majorities of their respective parliaments or for the minority parties, that military and imperialistic minority which has so far dominated their whole policy and controlled the affairs of Turkey and of the Balkan States which have felt obliged to become their associates in this war?

The Russian representatives have insisted, very justly, very wisely, and in the true spirit of modern democracy, that the conferences they have been holding with the Teutonic and Turkish statesmen should be held within open, not closed, doors, and all the world lies been audience, as was desired. To whom have we been listening, then? To those who speak the spirit and intention of the resolutions of the German Reichstag of the 9th of July last, the spirit and intention of the liberal leaders and parties of Germany, or to those who resist and defy that spirit and intention and insist upon conquest and subjugation? Or are we listening, in fact, to both, unreconciled and in open and hopeless contradiction? These are very serious and pregnant questions. Upon the answer to them depends the peace of the world.

But whatever the results of the parleys at Brest-Litovsk, whatever the confusions of counsel and of purpose in the utterances of the spokesmen of the Central Empires, they have again attempted to acquaint the world with their objects in the war and have again challenged their adversaries to say what their objects are and what sort of settlement they would deem just and satisfactory. There is no good reason why that challenge should not be responded to, and responded to with the utmost candor. We did not wait for it. Not once, but again and again we have laid our whole thought and purpose before the world, not in general terms only, but each time with sufficient definition to make it clear what sort of definite terms of settlement must necessarily spring out of them. Within the last week Mr. Lloyd George has spoken with admirable candor and in admirable spirit for the people and Government of Great Britain.

There is no confusion of counsel among the adversaries of the Central Powers, no uncertainty of principle, no vagueness of detail. The only secrecy of counsel, the only lack of fearless frankness, the only failure to make definite statement of the objects of the war, lies with Germany and her allies. The issues of life and death hang upon these definitions. No statesman who has the least conception of his responsibility ought for a moment to permit himself to continue this tragical and appalling outpouring of blood and treasure unless he is sure beyond a peradventure that the objects of the vital sacrifice are part and parcel of the very life of society and that the people for whom he speaks think them right and imperative as he does.

There is, moreover, a voice calling for these definitions of principle and of purpose which is, it seems to me, more thrilling and more compelling than any of the many moving voices with which the troubled air of the world is filled. It is the voice of the Russian people. They are prostrate and all but helpless, it would seem, before the grim power of Germany, which has hitherto known no relenting and no pity. Their power, apparently, is shattered. And yet their soul is not subservient. They will not yield either in principle or in action. Their conception of what is right, of what is humane and honorable for them to accept, has been stated with a frankness, a largeness of view, a generosity of spirit, and a universal human sympathy which must challenge the admiration of every friend of mankind; and they have refused to compound their ideals or desert others that they themselves may be safe.

They call to us to say what it is that we desire, in what, if in anything, our purpose and our spirit differ from theirs; and I believe that the people of the United States would wish me to respond, with utter simplicity and frankness. Whether their present leaders believe it or not, it is our heartfelt desire and hope that some way may be opened whereby we may be privileged to assist the people of Russia to attain their utmost hope of liberty and ordered peace.

It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret understandings of any kind. The day of conquest and aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret covenants entered into in the interest of particular governments and likely at some unlooked-for moment to upset the peace of the world. It is this happy fact, now clear to the view of every public man whose thoughts do not still linger in an age that is dead and gone, which makes it possible for every nation whose purposes are consistent with justice and the peace of the world to avow now or at any other time the objects it has in view.

We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secured once for all against their recurrence.

What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world, as against force and selfish aggression.

All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us.

The program of the world’s peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, all we see it, is this:

  1. Open covenants of peace must be arrived at, after which there will surely be no private international action or rulings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
  2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
  3. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
  4. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest points consistent with domestic safety.
  5. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the population concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.
  6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy, and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
  7. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
  8. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.
  9. A re-adjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
  10. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.
  11. Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.
  12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.
  13. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.
  14. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right, we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.

For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this program does remove.

We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this program that impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or of pacific enterprise such as have made her record very bright and very enviable. We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade, if she is willing to associate herself with us and the other peace-loving nations of the world in covenants of justice and law and fair dealing.

We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world–the new world in which we now live–instead of a place of mastery.

Neither do we presume to suggest to her any alteration or modification of her institutions. But it is necessary, we must frankly say, and necessary as a preliminary to any intelligent dealings with her on our part, that we should know whom her spokesmen speak for when they speak to us, whether for the Reichstag majority or for the military party and the men whose creed is imperial domination.

We have spoken now, surely, in terms too concrete to admit of any further doubt or question. An evident principle runs through the whole program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak.

Unless this principle be made its foundation, no part of the structure of international justice can stand. The people of the United States could act upon no other principle, and to the vindication of this principle they are ready to devote their lives, their honor, and everything that they possess. The moral climax of this, the culminating and final war for human liberty has come, and they are ready to put their own strength, their own highest purpose, their own integrity and devotion to the test.

Excerpted from http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Fourteen_Points_Speech

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst
Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst, born Emmeline Goulden (1858–1928) was a British political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement which helped women win the right to vote. She was widely criticized for her militant tactics, and historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognized as a crucial element in achieving women’s suffrage in Britain.(2)

Born Emmeline Goulden and raised in Moss Side, Manchester, England by politically active parents, Pankhurst was introduced at the age of 8 to the women’s suffrage movement. Although her parents encouraged her to prepare herself for life as a wife and mother, she attended the École Normale de Neuilly in Paris. In 1878 she married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister known for supporting women’s right to vote. He also supported her activities outside the home, and she quickly became involved with the Women’s Franchise League, which advocated suffrage for women. When that organization broke apart, she attempted to join the left-leaning Independent Labour Party through her friendship with socialist Keir Hardie but was initially refused membership by the local branch of the Party on account of her gender. She also worked as a Poor Law Guardian and was shocked by the harsh conditions she encountered in Manchester workhouses.

After her husband died in 1898, Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to “deeds, not words.”[4] The group placed itself separately from – and often in opposition to – political parties. The group quickly became infamous when its members smashed windows and assaulted police officers. Pankhurst, her daughters, and other WSPU activists were sentenced to repeated prison sentences, where they staged hunger strikes to secure better conditions. As Pankhurst’s oldest daughter Christabel took the helm of the WSPU, antagonism between the group and the government grew. Eventually arson became a common tactic among WSPU members, and more moderate organisations spoke out against the Pankhurst family. In 1913 several prominent individuals left the WSPU, among them Pankhurst’s daughters Adela and Sylvia. The family rift was never healed.

With the advent of the First World War, Emmeline and Christabel called an immediate halt to militant suffrage activism in support of the British government’s stand against the “German Peril.”(3) They urged women to aid industrial production and encouraged young men to fight. In 1918 the Representation of the People Act granted votes to women over the age of 30. Pankhurst transformed the WSPU machinery into the Women’s Party, which was dedicated to promoting women’s equality in public life.

In her later years she became concerned with what she perceived as the menace posed by Bolshevism and – unhappy with the political alternatives – joined the Conservative Party. She died in 1928 and was commemorated two years later with a statue in London’s Victoria Tower Gardens.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmeline_Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhuerst is named as
– one of 28 most influential people of the 20th century by BBC;
– one of 100 Persons of the Century by Time Magazine.

“Freedom or death” (1913)

Emmeline Pankhurst delivered this speech in Hartford, Connecticut on 13 November 1913.

This speech is evaluated as one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian.

I do not come here as an advocate, because whatever position the suffrage movement may occupy in the United States of America, in England it has passed beyond the realm of advocacy and it has entered into the sphere of practical politics. It has become the subject of revolution and civil war, and so tonight I am not here to advocate woman suffrage. American suffragists can do that very well for themselves.

I am here as a soldier who has temporarily left the field of battle in order to explain – it seems strange it should have to be explained – what civil war is like when civil war is waged by women. I am not only here as a soldier temporarily absent from the field at battle; I am here – and that, I think, is the strangest part of my coming – I am here as a person who, according to the law courts of my country, it has been decided, is of no value to the community at all; and I am adjudged because of my life to be a dangerous person, under sentence of penal servitude in a convict prison.

It is not at all difficult if revolutionaries come to you from Russia, if they come to you from China, or from any other part of the world, if they are men. But since I am a woman it is necessary to explain why women have adopted revolutionary methods in order to win the rights of citizenship. We women, in trying to make our case clear, always have to make as part of our argument, and urge upon men in our audience the fact – a very simple fact – that women are human beings.

Suppose the men of Hartford had a grievance, and they laid that grievance before their legislature, and the legislature obstinately refused to listen to them, or to remove their grievance, what would be the proper and the constitutional and the practical way of getting their grievance removed? Well, it is perfectly obvious at the next general election the men of Hartford would turn out that legislature and elect a new one.

But let the men of Hartford imagine that they were not in the position of being voters at all, that they were governed without their consent being obtained, that the legislature turned an absolutely deaf ear to their demands, what would the men of Hartford do then? They couldn’t vote the legislature out. They would have to choose; they would have to make a choice of two evils: they would either have to submit indefinitely to an unjust state of affairs, or they would have to rise up and adopt some of the antiquated means by which men in the past got their grievances remedied.

Your forefathers decided that they must have representation for taxation, many, many years ago. When they felt they couldn’t wait any longer, when they laid all the arguments before an obstinate British government that they could think of, and when their arguments were absolutely disregarded, when every other means had failed, they began by the tea party at Boston, and they went on until they had won the independence of the United States of America.

It is about eight years since the word militant was first used to describe what we were doing. It was not militant at all, except that it provoked militancy on the part of those who were opposed to it. When women asked questions in political meetings and failed to get answers, they were not doing anything militant. In Great Britain it is a custom, a time-honoured one, to ask questions of candidates for parliament and ask questions of members of the government. No man was ever put out of a public meeting for asking a question. The first people who were put out of a political meeting for asking questions, were women; they were brutally ill-used; they found themselves in jail before 24 hours had expired.

We were called militant, and we were quite willing to accept the name. We were determined to press this question of the enfranchisement of women to the point where we were no longer to be ignored by the politicians.

You have two babies very hungry and wanting to be fed. One baby is a patient baby, and waits indefinitely until its mother is ready to feed it. The other baby is an impatient baby and cries lustily, screams and kicks and makes everybody unpleasant until it is fed. Well, we know perfectly well which baby is attended to first. That is the whole history of politics. You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact you have to be there all the time and see that they do not snow you under.

When you have warfare things happen; people suffer; the noncombatants suffer as well as the combatants. And so it happens in civil war. When your forefathers threw the tea into Boston Harbour, a good many women had to go without their tea. It has always seemed to me an extraordinary thing that you did not follow it up by throwing the whiskey overboard; you sacrificed the women; and there is a good deal of warfare for which men take a great deal of glorification which has involved more practical sacrifice on women than it has on any man. It always has been so. The grievances of those who have got power, the influence of those who have got power commands a great deal of attention; but the wrongs and the grievances of those people who have no power at all are apt to be absolutely ignored. That is the history of humanity right from the beginning.

Well, in our civil war people have suffered, but you cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs; you cannot have civil war without damage to something. The great thing is to see that no more damage is done than is absolutely necessary, that you do just as much as will arouse enough feeling to bring about peace, to bring about an honourable peace for the combatants; and that is what we have been doing.

We entirely prevented stockbrokers in London from telegraphing to stockbrokers in Glasgow and vice versa: for one whole day telegraphic communication was entirely stopped. I am not going to tell you how it was done. I am not going to tell you how the women got to the mains and cut the wires; but it was done. It was done, and it was proved to the authorities that weak women, suffrage women, as we are supposed to be, had enough ingenuity to create a situation of that kind. Now, I ask you, if women can do that, is there any limit to what we can do except the limit we put upon ourselves?

If you are dealing with an industrial revolution, if you get the men and women of one class rising up against the men and women of another class, you can locate the difficulty; if there is a great industrial strike, you know exactly where the violence is and how the warfare is going to be waged; but in our war against the government you can’t locate it. We wear no mark; we belong to every class; we permeate every class of the community from the highest to the lowest; and so you see in the woman’s civil war the dear men of my country are discovering it is absolutely impossible to deal with it: you cannot locate it, and you cannot stop it.

“Put them in prison,” they said, “that will stop it.” But it didn’t stop it at all: instead of the women giving it up, more women did it, and more and more and more women did it until there were 300 women at a time, who had not broken a single law, only “made a nuisance of themselves” as the politicians say.

Then they began to legislate. The British government has passed more stringent laws to deal with this agitation than it ever found necessary during all the history of political agitation in my country. They were able to deal with the revolutionaries of the Chartists’ time; they were able to deal with the trades union agitation; they were able to deal with the revolutionaries later on when the Reform Acts were passed: but the ordinary law has not sufficed to curb insurgent women. They had to dip back into the middle ages to find a means of repressing the women in revolt.

They have said to us, government rests upon force, the women haven’t force, so they must submit. Well, we are showing them that government does not rest upon force at all: it rests upon consent. As long as women consent to be unjustly governed, they can be, but directly women say: “We withhold our consent, we will not be governed any longer so long as that government is unjust.” Not by the forces of civil war can you govern the very weakest woman. You can kill that woman, but she escapes you then; you cannot govern her. No power on earth can govern a human being, however feeble, who withholds his or her consent.

When they put us in prison at first, simply for taking petitions, we submitted; we allowed them to dress us in prison clothes; we allowed them to put us in solitary confinement; we allowed them to put us amongst the most degraded of criminals; we learned of some of the appalling evils of our so-called civilisation that we could not have learned in any other way. It was valuable experience, and we were glad to get it.

I have seen men smile when they heard the words “hunger strike”, and yet I think there are very few men today who would be prepared to adopt a “hunger strike” for any cause. It is only people who feel an intolerable sense of oppression who would adopt a means of that kind. It means you refuse food until you are at death’s door, and then the authorities have to choose between letting you die, and letting you go; and then they let the women go.

Now, that went on so long that the government felt that they were unable to cope. It was [then] that, to the shame of the British government, they set the example to authorities all over the world of feeding sane, resisting human beings by force. There may be doctors in this meeting: if so, they know it is one thing to feed by force an insane person; but it is quite another thing to feed a sane, resisting human being who resists with every nerve and with every fibre of her body the indignity and the outrage of forcible feeding. Now, that was done in England, and the government thought they had crushed us. But they found that it did not quell the agitation, that more and more women came in and even passed that terrible ordeal, and they were obliged to let them go.

Then came the legislation – the “Cat and Mouse Act”. The home secretary said: “Give me the power to let these women go when they are at death’s door, and leave them at liberty under license until they have recovered their health again and then bring them back.” It was passed to repress the agitation, to make the women yield – because that is what it has really come to, ladies and gentlemen. It has come to a battle between the women and the government as to who shall yield first, whether they will yield and give us the vote, or whether we will give up our agitation.

Well, they little know what women are. Women are very slow to rouse, but once they are aroused, once they are determined, nothing on earth and nothing in heaven will make women give way; it is impossible. And so this “Cat and Mouse Act” which is being used against women today has failed. There are women lying at death’s door, recovering enough strength to undergo operations who have not given in and won’t give in, and who will be prepared, as soon as they get up from their sick beds, to go on as before. There are women who are being carried from their sick beds on stretchers into meetings. They are too weak to speak, but they go amongst their fellow workers just to show that their spirits are unquenched, and that their spirit is alive, and they mean to go on as long as life lasts.

Now, I want to say to you who think women cannot succeed, we have brought the government of England to this position, that it has to face this alternative: either women are to be killed or women are to have the vote. I ask American men in this meeting, what would you say if in your state you were faced with that alternative, that you must either kill them or give them their citizenship? Well, there is only one answer to that alternative, there is only one way out – you must give those women the vote.

You won your freedom in America when you had the revolution, by bloodshed, by sacrificing human life. You won the civil war by the sacrifice of human life when you decided to emancipate the negro. You have left it to women in your land, the men of all civilised countries have left it to women, to work out their own salvation. That is the way in which we women of England are doing. Human life for us is sacred, but we say if any life is to be sacrificed it shall be ours; we won’t do it ourselves, but we will put the enemy in the position where they will have to choose between giving us freedom or giving us death.

So here am I. I come in the intervals of prison appearance. I come after having been four times imprisoned under the “Cat and Mouse Act”, probably going back to be rearrested as soon as I set my foot on British soil. I come to ask you to help to win this fight. If we win it, this hardest of all fights, then, to be sure, in the future it is going to be made easier for women all over the world to win their fight when their time comes.

Great speeches of the 20th century: Emmeline Pankhurst’s Freedom or deathhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2007/apr/27/greatspeeches

Notes

(1) Warner, Marina (14 June 1999). “Emmeline Pankhurst – Time 100 People of the Century”. Time Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,991250,00.html.

(2) Bartley, Paula. Emmeline Pankhurst. London: Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0-415-20651-0.

(3) Purvis, June. Emmeline Pankhurst: A Biography. London: Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0-415-23978-8.

Marie Curie

Marie CurieMarie Skłodowska Curie, born Maria Salomea Skłodowska (1867–1934), was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, is the only woman to win the Nobel prize twice, and is the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Her achievements included the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals.

While a French citizen, Marie Curie never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element she discovered polonium, after her native country.

Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia from exposure to radiation in the course of her scientific research and in the course of her radiological work at field hospitals during World War 1.

Marie Curie is named one of 28 most influential people of the 20th century by BBC.

Radium and the New Concepts in Chemistry (1911)

Nobel Lecture
11 December 1911 at Stockholm Concert Hall, Stockholm, Sweden.

Some 15 years ago the radiation of uranium was discovered by Henri Becquerel, and two years later the study of this phenomenon was extended to other substances, first by me, and then by Pierre Curie and myself. This study rapidly led us to the discovery of new elements, the radiation of which, while being analogous with that of uranium, was far more intense. All the elements emitting such radiation I have termed radioactive, and the new property of matter revealed in this emission has thus received the name radioactivity. Thanks to this discovery of new, very powerful radioactive substances, particularly radium, the study of radioactivity progressed with marvellous rapidity. Discoveries followed each other in rapid succession, and it was obvious that a new science was in course of development. The Swedish Academy of Sciences was kind enough to celebrate the birth of this science by awarding the Nobel Prize for Physics to the first workers in the field, Henri Becquerel, Pierre Curie and Marie Curie (1903).

From that time onward numerous scientists devoted themselves to the study of radioactivity. Allow me to recall to you one of them who, by the certainty of his judgement, and the boldness of his hypotheses and through the many investigations carried out by him and his pupils, has succeeded not only in increasing our knowledge but also in classifying it with great clarity; he has provided a backbone for the new science, in the form of a very precise theory admirably suited to the study of the phenomena. I am happy to recall that Rutherford came to Stockholm in 1908 to receive the Nobel Prize as a well-deserved reward for his work.

Far from halting, the development of the new science has constantly continued to follow an upward course. And now, only 15 years after Becquerel’s discovery, we are face to face with a whole world of new phenomena belonging to a field which, despite its close connexion with the fields of physics and chemistry, is particularly well-defined. In this field the importance of radium from the viewpoint of general theories has been decisive. The history of the discovery and the isolation of this substance has furnished proof of my hypothesis that radioactivity is an atomic property of matter and can provide a means of seeking new elements. This hypothesis has led to present-day theories of radioactivity, according to which we can predict with certainty the existence of about 30 new elements which we cannot generally either isolate or characterize by chemical methods. We also assume that these elements undergo atomic transformations, and the most direct proof in favour of this theory is provided by the experimental fact of the formation of the chemically-defined element helium starting from the chemically-defined element radium.

Viewing the subject from this angle, it can be said that the task of isolating radium is the corner-stone of the edifice of the science of radioactivity. Moreover, radium remains the most useful and powerful tool in radioactivity laboratories. I believe that it is because of these considerations that the Swedish Academy of Sciences has done me the very great honour of awarding me this year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

It is therefore my task to present to you radium in particular as a new chemical element, and to leave aside the description of the many radioactive phenomena which have already been described in the Nobel Lectures of H. Becquerel, P. Curie and E. Rutherford.

Before broaching the subject of this lecture, I should like to recall that the discoveries of radium and of polonium were made by Pierre Curie in collaboration with me. We are also indebted to Pierre Curie for basic research in the field of radioactivity, which has been carried out either alone, in collaboration with his pupils.

The chemical work aimed at isolating radium in the state of the pure salt, and at characterizing it as a new element, was carried out specially by me, but it is intimately connected with our common work. I thus feel that I interpret correctly the intention of the Academy of Sciences in assuming that the award of this high distinction to me is motivated by this common work and thus pays homage to the memory of Pierre Curie.

I will remind you at the outset that one of the most important properties of the radioactive elements is that of ionizing the air in their vicinity (Becquerel). When a uranium compound is placed on a metal plate A situated opposite another plate B and a difference in potential is maintained between the plates A and B, an electric current is set up between these plates; this current can be measured with accuracy under suitable conditions and will serve as a measure of the activity of the substance. The conductivity imparted to the air can be ascribed to ionization produced by the rays emitted by the uranium compounds.

In 1897, using this method of measurement, I undertook a study of the radiation of uranium compounds, and soon extended this study to other substances, with the aim of finding out whether radiation of this type occurs in other elements. I found in this way that of the other elements known, only the compounds of thorium behave like the compounds of uranium.

I was struck by the fact that the activity of uranium and thorium compounds appears to be an atomic property of the element uranium and of the element thorium. Chemical compounds and mixtures containing uranium and thorium are active in direct proportion to the amount of these metals contained in them. The activity is not destroyed by either physical changes of state or chemical transformations.

I measured the activity of a number of minerals; all of them that appear to be radioactive always contain uranium or thorium. But an unexpected fact was noted: certain minerals (pitchblende, chalcolite, autunite) had a greater activity than might be expected on the basis of their uranium or thorium content. Thus, certain pitchblendes containing 75% of uranium oxide are about four times as radioactive as this oxide. Chalcolite (crystallized phosphate of copper and uranium) is about twice as radioactive as uranium. This conflicted with views which held that no mineral should be more radioactive than metallic uranium. To explain this point I prepared synthetic chalcolite from pure products, and obtained crystals, whose activity was completely consistent with their uranium content; this activity is about half that of uranium.

I then thought that the greater activity of the natural minerals might be determined by the presence of a small quantity of a highly-radioactive material, different from uranium, thorium and the elements known at present. It also occurred to me that if this was the case I might be able to extract this substance from the mineral by the ordinary methods of chemical analysis. Pierre Curie and I at once carried out this research, hoping that the proportion of the new element might reach several per cent. In reality the proportion of the hypothetical element was far lower and it took several years to show unequivocally that pitchblende contains at least one highly-radioactive material which is a new element in the sense that chemistry attaches to the term.

We were thus led to create a new method of searching for new elements, a method based on radioactivity considered as an atomic property of matter. Each chemical separation is followed by a measurement of the activity of the products obtained, and in this way it is possible to determine how the active substance behaves from the chemical viewpoint. This method has come into general application, and is similar in some ways to spectral analysis. Because of the wide variety of radiation emitted, the method could be perfected and extended, so that it makes it possible, not only to discover radioactive materials, but also to distinguish them from each other with certainty.

It was also found in using the method being considered, that it was in fact possible to concentrate the activity by chemical methods. We found that pitchblende contains at least two radioactive materials, one of which, accompanying bismuth, has been given the name polonium, while the other, paired with barium, has been called radium.

Other radioactive elements have been discovered since: actinium (Debierne), radiothorium and mesothorium (Hahn), ionium (Boltwood), etc.

We were convinced that the materials which we had discovered were new chemical elements. This conviction was based solely on the atomic nature of radioactivity. But at first, from the chemical viewpoint, it was as if our substances had been, the one pure bismuth, and the other pure barium. It was vital to show that the radioactive property was connected with traces of elements that were neither bismuth nor barium. To do that the hypothetical elements had to be isolated. In the case of radium isolation was completely successful but required several years of unremitting effort. Radium in the pure salt form is a substance the manufacture of which has now been industrialized; for no other new radioactive substance have such positive results been obtained.

The radiferous minerals are being subjected to very keen study because the presence of radium lends them considerable value. They are identifiable either by the electrometric method, or very simply by the impression they produce on a photographic plate. The best radium mineral is the pitchblende from St. Joachimsthal (Austria) which has for a long time been processed to yield uranium salts. After extraction of the latter, the mineral leaves a residue which contains radium and polonium. We have normally used this residue as our raw material.

The first treatment consists in extracting the radiferous barium and the bismuth containing the polonium. This treatment, which was first performed in the laboratory on several kilograms of raw material (as many as 20 kg) had then to be undertaken in a factory owing to the need to process thousands of kilograms. Actually, we gradually learned from experience that the radium is contained in the raw material in the proportion of a few decigrams per ton. About 10 to 20 kg crude barium sulphate containing radium are extracted from one ton of residue. The activity of these sulphates is even then 30 to 60 times greater than that of uranium. These sulphates are purified and converted to chlorides. In the mixture of barium and radium chlorides the radium is present only in the proportion of about 3 parts per 100,000. In the radium industry in France a much lower grade mineral is most often used and the proportion indicated is far lower still. To separate the radium from the barium I have used a method of fractional crystallization of the chloride (the bromide can also be used). The radium salt, less soluble than the barium salt, becomes concentrated in the crystals. Fractionation is a lengthy, methodical operation which gradually eliminates the barium. To obtain a very pure salt I have had to perform several thousands of crystallizations. The progress of the fractionation is monitored by activity measurements.

A first proof that the element radium existed was furnished by spectral analysis. The spectrum of a chloride enriched by crystallization exhibited a new line which Demarçay attributed to the new element. As the activity became more concentrated, the new line increased in intensity and other lines appeared while the barium spectrum became at the same time less pronounced. When the purity is very high the barium spectrum is scarcely visible.

I have repeatedly determined the average atomic weight of the metal in the salt subjected to spectral analysis. The method used was the one consisting in determining the chlorine content in the form of silver chloride in a known amount of the anhydrous chloride. I have found that this method gives very good results even with quite small amounts of substance (0.1 to 0.5 g), provided a very fast balance is used to avoid the absorption of water by the alkaline-earth salt during the weighings. The atomic weight increases with the enrichment of the radium as indicated by the spectrum. The successive atomic weights obtained were: 138; 146; 174; 225; 226.45. This last value was determined in 1907 with 0.4 g of very pure radium salt. The results of a number of determinations are, 226.62; 226.31; 226.42. These have been confirmed by more recent experiments.

The preparation of pure radium salts and the determination of the atomic weight of radium have proved positively that radium is a new element and have enabled a definite position to be assigned to it. Radium is the higher homologue of barium in the family of alkaline-earth metals; it has been entered in Mendeleev’s table in the corresponding column, on the row containing uranium and thorium. The radium spectrum is very precisely known. These very clear-cut results for radium have convinced chemists and justified the establishment of the new science of radioactive substances.

In chemical terms radium differs little from barium; the salts of these two elements are isomorphic, while those of radium are usually less soluble than the barium salts. It is very interesting to note that strong radioactivity of radium involves no chemical anomalies and that the chemical properties are actually those which correspond to the position in the Periodic System indicated by its atomic weight. The radioactivity of radium in solid salts is ca. 5 million times greater than that of an equal weight of uranium. Owing to this activity its salts are spontaneously luminous. I also wish to recall that radium gives rise to a continuous liberation of energy which can be measured as heat, being about 118 calories per gram of radium per hour.

Radium has been isolated in the metallic state (M. Curie and A. Debierne, 1910). The method used consisted in distilling under very pure hydrogen the amalgam of radium formed by the electrolysis of a chloride solution using a mercury cathode. One decigram only of salt was treated and consequently considerable difficulties were involved. The metal obtained melts at about 700° C, above which temperature it starts to volatilize. It is very unstable in the air and decomposes water vigorously.

The radioactive properties of the metal are exactly the ones that can be forecast on the assumption that the radioactivity of the salts is an atomic property of the radium which is unaffected by the state of combination. It was of real importance to corroborate this point as misgivings had been voiced by those to whom the atomic hypothesis of radioactivity was still not evident.

Although radium has so far only been obtained in very small amounts, it is nevertheless true to say, in conclusion, that it is a perfectly defined and already well-studied chemical element.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be stated for polonium, for which nevertheless considerable effort has already been spent. The stumbling block here is the fact that the proportion of polonium in the mineral is about 5,000 times smaller than that of radium.

Before theoretical evidence was available from which to forecast this proportion, I had conducted several extremely laborious operations to concentrate polonium and in this way had secured products with very high activity without being able to arrive at definite results as in the case of radium. The difficulty is heightened by the fact that polonium disintegrates spontaneously, disappearing by half in a period of 140 days. We now know that radium has not an infinite life either, but the rate of disappearance is far less (it disappears by half in 2,000 years). With our facilities we can scarcely hope to determine the atomic weight of polonium because theory foresees that a rich mineral can contain only a few hundredths of a milligram per ton, but we can hope to observe its spectrum. The operation of concentrating polonium, as I shall point out later, is, moreover, a problem of great theoretical interest.

Recently, in collaboration with Debierne, I undertook to treat several tons of residues from uranium mineral with a view to preparing polonium. Initially conducted in the factory, then in the laboratory, this treatment finally yielded a few milligrams of substance about 50 times more active than an equal weight of pure radium. In the spectrum of the substance some new lines could be observed which appear attributable to polonium and of which the most important has the wavelength 4170.5Å. According to the atomic hypothesis of radioactivity, the polonium spectrum should disappear at the same time as the activity and this fact can be confirmed experimentally.

I have so far considered radium and polonium only as chemical substances. I have shown how the fundamental hypothesis which states that radioactivity is an atomic property of the substance has led to the discovery of new chemical elements. I shall now describe how the scope of this hypothesis has been greatly enlarged by the considerations and experimental facts which resulted in establishing the theory of atomic radioactive transformations.

The starting-point of this theory must be sought in the considerations of the source of the energy involved in the phenomena of radioactivity. This energy becomes manifest as an emission of rays which produce thermal, electrical and light phenomena. As the emission occurs spontaneously without any known cause of excitation, various hypotheses have been advanced to account for the liberation of energy. One of the hypotheses put forward at the beginning of our research by Pierre Curie and myself consisted in assuming that the radiation is an emission of matter accompanied by a loss in weight of the active substances and that the energy is taken from the substance itself whose evolution is not yet complete and which undergoes an atomic transformation. This hypothesis, which at first could only be enunciated together with other equally valid theories, has attained dominant importance and finally asserted itself in our minds owing to a body of experimental evidence which substantiated it. This evidence is essentially the following: A series of radioactive phenomena exists in which radioactivity appears to be tied up to matter in an imponderable quantity, the radiation moreover not being permanent but disappearing more or less rapidly with time. Such are polonium, radioactive emanations and deposits of induced radioactivity.

It has been established moreover in certain cases that the radioactivity observed increases with time. This is what happens in the case of freshly prepared radium, of the emanation freshly introduced into the measuring apparatus, of thorium deprived of thorium X, etc.

A careful study of these phenomena has shown that a very satisfactory general explanation can be given by assuming that each time a decrease of radioactivity is observed there is a destruction of radioactive matter, and that each time an increase of activity is observed, there is a production of radioactive matter. The radiations which disappear and appear are, besides, of very varied nature and it is admitted that every kind of rays determined can serve to characterize a substance which is its source, and appears and disappears with it.

As radioactivity is in addition a property which is essentially atomic, the production or the destruction of a distinct type of radioactivity corresponds to a production or a destruction of atoms of a radioactive substance.

Finally, if it is supposed that radioactive energy is a phenomenon which is borrowed from atomic transformation, it can be deduced from this that every radioactive substance undergoes such a transformation, even though it appears to us to be invariable. Transformation in this case is only very slow and this is what takes place in the case of radium or uranium.

The theory I have just summarized is the work of Rutherford and Soddy, which they have called theory of atomic disintegration. By applying this theory it can be concluded that a primary radioactive substance such as radium undergoes a series of atomic transmutations by virtue of which the atom of radium gives birth to a train of atoms of smaller and smaller weights, since a stable state cannot be attained as long as the atom formed is radioactive. Stability can only be attained by inactive matter.

From this point of view one of the most brilliant triumphs of the theory is the prediction that the gas helium, always present in radioactive minerals, can represent one of the end-products of the evolution of radium, and that it is in the form of alpha rays that the helium atoms which are formed when radium atoms disintegrate are discharged. Now, the production of helium by radium has been proved by the experiments of Ramsay and Soddy, and it cannot now be contested that the perfectly defined chemical element, radium, gives rise to the formation of another equally defined element–helium. Moreover, the investigations done by Rutherford and his students have proved that the alpha particles emitted by radium with an electric charge are also to be found in the form of helium gas in the space where they have been recovered.

I must remark here that the bold interpretation of the relationship existing between radium and helium rests entirely upon the certitude that radium has the same claim to be a chemical element as have all the other known elements, and that there can be no question of regarding it to be a molecular combination of helium with another element. This shows how fundamental in these circumstances has been the work carried out to prove the chemical individuality of radium, and it can also be seen in what way the hypothesis of the atomic nature of radioactivity and the theory of radioactive transformations have led to the experimental discovery of a first clearly-established example of atomic transmutation. This is a fact the significance of which cannot escape anyone, and one which incontestably marks an epoch from the point of view of chemists.

Considerable work, guided by the theory of radioactive transformations, has led to approximately 30 new radioactive elements being envisaged, classified in 4 series according to the primary substance: these series are uranium, radium, thorium and actinium. The uranium and radium series can, in fact, be combined, for it seems to be proved that radium is a derivative of uranium. In the radium series the last known radioactive body is polonium, the production of which by radium is now a proven fact. It is likely that the actinium series is related to that of radium.

We have seen that helium gas is one of the products of radium disintegration. The helium atoms are detached from those of radium and its derivatives during the course of the transformation. It is supposed that after the departure of four atoms of helium, the radium atom yields one atom of polonium; the departure of a fifth helium atom determines the formation of an inactive body with an atomic weight believed to be equal to 206 (20 units below that of radium). According to Rutherford this final element is nothing more than lead, and this supposition is now being subjected to experimental verification in my laboratory. The production of helium from polonium has been directly proved by Debierne.

The relatively large amount of polonium prepared by Curie and Debierne has allowed an important study to be undertaken. This consists in counting a large number of alpha particles emitted by polonium and in collecting and measuring the corresponding volume of helium. Since each particle is a helium atom, the number of helium atoms is thus found which occupy a given volume and have a given weight. It can therefore allow us to deduce, in a general way, the number of molecules in a grammolecule. This number, known as Avogadro’s constant, is of great importance. Experiments conducted on polonium have supplied a first value for this number, which is in good agreement with the values obtained by other methods. The enumeration of alpha particles is done by an electrometric method due to Rutherford; this method has been brought to perfection by means of a photographic recording apparatus.

Recent investigations have shown that potassium and rubidium emit a very feeble radiation, similar to the beta radiation of uranium and radium. We do not yet know whether we should regard these substances as true radioactive bodies, i.e. bodies in the process of transformation.

To conclude I should like to emphasize the nature of the new chemistry of radioactive bodies. Tons of material have to be treated in order to extract radium from the ore. The quantities of radium available in a laboratory are of the order of one milligram, or of a gram at the very most, this substance being worth 400,000 francs per gram. Very often material has been handled in which the presence of radium could not be detected by the balance, nor even by the spectroscope. And yet we have methods of measuring so perfect and so sensitive that we are able to know very exactly the small quantities of radium we are using. Radioactive analysis by electrometric methods allows us to calculate to within 1% a thousandth of a milligram of radium, and to detect the presence of 10-10 grams of radium diluted in a few grams of material. This method is the only one which could have led to the discovery of radium in view of the dilution of this substance in the ore. The sensitivity of the methods is still more striking in the case of radium emanation, which can be detected when the quantity present amounts, for example, to only 10-10mm3. As the specific activity of a substance is, in the case of analogous radiations, approximately in inverse proportion to the average life, the result is that if the average life is very brief, the radioactive reaction can attain an unprecedented sensitivity. We are also accustomed to deal currently in the laboratory with substances the presence of which is only shown to us by their radioactive properties but which nevertheless we can determine, dissolve, reprecipitate from their solutions and deposit electrolytically. This means that we have here an entirely separate kind of chemistry for which the current tool we use is the electrometer, not the balance, and which we might well call the chemistry of the imponderable.

Gifts of speech, Women’s speeches from around the worldhttp://gos.sbc.edu/c/curie1911.html

Sources: “Radium and the New Concepts in Chemistry,” by Marie Curie in Chemistry, New York, Published for the Nobel Foundation by Elsevier, 1964, pp. 197-211.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869–1948), Indian nationalist leader, who established his country’s freedom through a nonviolent revolution. In the first half of the 20th century, Mohandas K. Gandhi was one of the leaders of India’s struggle to gain independence from Britain. To achieve this goal, he advocated a policy of nonviolent noncooperation with Britain’s systems and laws.

In the 1999 Encarta Yearbook, he was considered to be one of the “ten who changed the millennium.”

“Quit India”/ “Do or Die” (1942)

The historic “Quit India” speech was delivered by Mahatma Gandhi before the AICC (the All India Congress Committee) on 8 August 1942, the eve of the Quit India Movement. Earlier that day the AICC – the main organizational wing of the Indian National Congress – had endorsed the Quit India Resolution, which demanded an immediate end to British rule in India; this endorsement provided the occasion for Gandhi’s speech.

In his speech, Gandhi called for determined, but passive, resistance that signified the certitude that Gandhi foresaw for the movement, best described by his call to Do or Die.

Gandhi finished delivering his address shortly before midnight at Gowalia Tank Maidan, a park in Bombay (now Mumbai).

The speech can be divided into three parts.

Part One – Delivered in Hindustani. Gandhi’s remarks before the Congress passed the Quit India resolution.

Part Two – Delivered in Hindustani. Gandhi’s remarks after the Congress passed the Quit India resolution.

Part Three – Delivered in English. Gandhi’s final remarks and conclusions.

This speech is evaluated as #15 in 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness.

I

[Gandhiji addressed the A.I.C.C. at Bombay on 8-8-42 outlining his plan of action, in Hindustani, as follows:]

Gandhi-independence-quit-india 1942

Before you discuss the resolution, let me place before you one or two things, I want you to understand two things very clearly and to consider them from the same point of view from which I am placing them before you. I ask you to consider it from my point of view, because if you approve of it, you will be enjoined to carry out all I say. It will be a great responsibility. There are people who ask me whether I am the same man that I was in 1920, or whether there has been any change in me. You are right in asking that question.

Let me, however, hasten to assure that I am the same Gandhi as I was in 1920. I have not changed in any fundamental respect. I attach the same importance to nonviolence that I did then. If at all, my emphasis on it has grown stronger. There is no real contradiction between the present resolution and my previous writings and utterances.

Occasions like the present do not occur in everybody’s and but rarely in anybody’s life. I want you to know and feel that there is nothing but purest Ahimsa in all that I am saying and doing today. The draft resolution of the Working Committee is based on Ahimsa, the contemplated struggle similarly has its roots in Ahimsa. If, therefore, there is any among you who has lost faith in Ahimsa or is wearied of it, let him not vote for this resolution.

Let me explain my position clearly. God has vouchsafed to me a priceless gift in the weapon of Ahimsa. I and my Ahimsa are on our trail today. If in the present crisis, when the earth is being scorched by the flames of Hims2 and crying for deliverance, I failed to make use of the God given talent, God will not forgive me and I shall be judged unwrongly of the great gift. I must act now. I may not hesitate and merely look on, when Russia and China are threatened.

Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a nonviolent fight for India’s independence. In a violent struggle, a successful general has been often known to effect a military coup and to set up a dictatorship. But under the Congress scheme of things, essentially nonviolent as it is, there can be no room for dictatorship. A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself, he fights only for the freedom of his country. The Congress is unconcerned as to who will rule, when freedom is attained. The power, when it comes, will belong to the people of India, and it will be for them to decide to whom it placed in the entrusted. May be that the reins will be placed in the hands of the Parsis, for instance-as I would love to see happen-or they may be handed to some others whose names are not heard in the Congress today. It will not be for you then to object saying, “This community is microscopic. That party did not play its due part in the freedom’s struggle; why should it have all the power?” Ever since its inception the Congress has kept itself meticulously free of the communal taint. It has thought always in terms of the whole nation and has acted accordingly… I know how imperfect our Ahimsa is and how far away we are still from the ideal, but in Ahimsa there is no final failure or defeat. I have faith, therefore, that if, in spite of our shortcomings, the big thing does happen, it will be because God wanted to help us by crowning with success our silent, unremitting Sadhana1 for the last twenty-two years.

I believe that in the history of the world, there has not been a more genuinely democratic struggle for freedom than ours. I read Carlyle’s French Resolution while I was in prison, and Pandit Jawaharlal has told me something about the Russian revolution. But it is my conviction that inasmuch as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by nonviolence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence.

Then, there is the question of your attitude towards the British. I have noticed that there is hatred towards the British among the people. The people say they are disgusted with their behaviour. The people make no distinction between British imperialism and the British people. To them, the two are one This hatred would even make them welcome the Japanese. It is most dangerous. It means that they will exchange one slavery for another. We must get rid of this feeling. Our quarrel is not with the British people, we fight their imperialism. The proposal for the withdrawal of British power did not come out of anger. It came to enable India to play its due part at the present critical juncture It is not a happy position for a big country like India to be merely helping with money and material obtained willy-nilly from her while the United Nations are conducting the war.

We cannot evoke the true spirit of sacrifice and velour, so long as we are not free. I know the British Government will not be able to withhold freedom from us, when we have made enough self-sacrifice. We must, therefore, purge ourselves of hatred. Speaking for myself, I can say that I have never felt any hatred. As a matter of fact, I feel myself to be a greater friend of the British now than ever before. One reason is that they are today in distress. My very friendship, therefore, demands that I should try to save them from their mistakes. As I view the situation, they are on the brink of an abyss. It, therefore, becomes my duty to warn them of their danger even though it may, for the time being, anger them to the point of cutting off the friendly hand that is stretched out to help them. People may laugh, nevertheless that is my claim. At a time when I may have to launch the biggest struggle of my life, I may not harbour hatred against anybody.

II

[Gandhiji’s address before the A.I.C.C. at Bombay on 8-8-’42 delivered in Hindustani:]

I congratulate you on the resolution that you have just passed. I also congratulate the three comrades on the courage they have shown in pressing their amendments to a division, even though they knew that there was an overwhelming majority in favour of the resolution, and I congratulate the thirteen friends who voted against the resolution. In doing so, they had nothing to be ashamed of. For the last twenty years we have tried to learn not to lose courage even when we are in a hopeless minority and are laughed at. We have learned to hold on to our beliefs in the confidence that we are in the right. It behaves us to cultivate this courage of conviction, for it ennobles man and raises his moral stature.

I was, therefore, glad to see that these friends had imbibed the principle which I have tried to follow for the last fifty years and more.

Having congratulated them on their courage, let me say that what they asked this Committee to accept through their amendments was not the correct representation of the situation. These friends ought to have pondered over the appeal made to them by the Maulana to withdraw their amendments; they should have carefully followed the explanations given by Jawaharlal. Had they done so, it would have been clear to them that the right which they now want the Congress to concede has already been conceded by the Congress.

Time was when every Mussalman claimed the whole of India as his motherland. During the years that the Ali brothers were with me, the assumption underlying all their talks and discussions was that India belonged as much to the Mussalmans as to the Hindus. I can testify to the fact that this was their innermost conviction and nor a mask; I lived with them for years. I spent days and nights in their company. And I make bold to say that their utterances were the honest expression of their beliefs. I know there are some who say that I take things too readily at their face value, that I am gullible. I do not think I am such a simpleton, nor am I so gullible as these friends take me to be. But their criticism does not hurt me. I should prefer to be considered gullible rather deceitful.

What these Communist friends proposed through their amendments is nothing new. It has been repeated from thousands of platforms. Thousands of Mussalmans have told me, that if Hindu-Muslim question was to be solved satisfactorily, it must be done in my lifetime. I should feel flattered at this; but how can I agree to proposal which does not appeal to my reason? Hindu-Muslim unity is not a new thing. Millions of Hindus and Mussalmans have sought after it. I consciously strove for its achievement from my boyhood. While at school, I made it a point to cultivate the friendship of Muslims and Parsi co-students. I believed even at that tender age that the Hindus in India, if they wished to live in peace and amity with the other communities, should assiduously cultivate the virtue of neighbourliness. It did not matter, I felt, if I made no special effort to cultivate the friendship with Hindus, but I must make friends with at least a few Mussalmans. It was as counsel for a Mussalmans merchant that I went to South Africa. I made friends with other Mussalmans there, even with the opponents of my client, and gained a reputation for integrity and good faith. I had among my friends and co-workers Muslims as well as Parsis. I captured their hearts and when I left finally for India, I left them sad and shedding tears of grief at the separation.

In India too I continued my efforts and left no stone unturned to achieve that unity. It was my life-long aspiration for it that made me offer my fullest co-operation to the Mussalmans in the Khilafat movement. Muslims throughout the country accepted me as their true friend.

How then is it that I have now come to be regarded as so evil and detestable? Had I any axe to grind in supporting the Khilafat movement? True, I did in my heart of hearts cherish a hope that it might enable me to save the cow. I am a worshipper of the cow. I believe the cow and myself to be the creation of the same God, and I am prepared to sacrifice my life in order to save the cow. But, whatever my philosophy of life and my ultimate hopes, I joined the movement in no spirit of bargain. I co-operated in the struggle for the Khilafat solely on order to discharge my obligation to my neighbour who, I saw, was in distress. The Ali brothers, had they been alive today, would have testified to the truth of this assertion. And so would many others bear me out in that it was not a bargain on my part for saving the cow. The cow like the Khilafat. Stood on her own merits. As an honest man, a true neighbour and a faithful friend, it was incumbent on me to stand by the Mussalmans in the hour of their trial.

In those days, I shocked the Hindus by dinning time they have now got used to it. Maulana Bari told me, however, that through he would not allow me dine with him, lest some day he should be accused of a sinister motive. And so, whenever I had occasion to stay with him, he called a Brahmana cook and made social arrangements for separate cooking. Firangi,Mahal, his residence, was an old-styled structure with limited accommodation; yet he cheerfully bore all hardships and carried out his resolve from which I could not dislodge him. It was the spirit of courtesy, dignity and nobility that inspired us in those days. They respected one another’s religious feelings, and considered it a privilege to do so. Not a trace of suspicion lurked in anybody’s heart. Where has all that dignity, that nobility of spirit, disappeared now? I should ask all Mussalmans, including Quaid-I-Azam Jinnah, to recall those glorious days and to find out what has brought us to the present impasse. Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah himself was at one time a Congressman. If today the Congress has incurred his wrath, it is because the canker of suspicion has entered his heart. May God bless him with long life, but when I am gone, he will realize and admit that I had no designs on Mussalmans and that I had never betrayed their interests. Where is the escape for me, if I injure their cause or betray their interests? My life is entirely at their disposal. They are free to put an end to it, whenever they wish to do so. Assaults have been made on my life in the past, but God has spared me till now, and the assailants have repented for their action. But if someone were to shoot me in the belief that he was getting rid of a rascal, he would kill not the real Gandhi, but the one that appeared to him a rascal.

To those who have been indulging in a campaign of a abuse and vilification I would say, “Islam enjoins you not to revile even an enemy. The Prophet treated even enemies with kindness and tried to win them over by his fairness and generosity. Are you followers of that Islam or of any other? If you are followers of the true Islam, does it behave you to distrust the words of one who makes a public declaration of his faith? You may take it from me that one day you will regret the fact that you distrusted and killed one who was a true and devoted friend of yours.” It cuts me to the quick to see that the more I appeal and the more the Maulana importunes, the more intense does the campaign of vilification grow. To me, these abuses are like bullets. They can kill me, even as a bullet can put an end to my life. You may kill me. That will not hurt me. But what of those who indulge in abusing? They bring discredit to Islam. For the fair name of Islam, I appeal to you to resist this unceasing campaign of abuse and vilification.

Maulana Saheb is being made a target for the filthiest abuse. Why? Because he refuses to exert on me the pressure of his friendship. He realizes that it is a misuse of friendship to seek up to compel a friend to accept as truth what he knows is an untruth.

To the Quaid-Azam I would say: Whatever is true and valid in the claim for Pakistan is already in your hands. What is wrong and untenable is in nobody’s gift, so that it can be made over to you. Even if someone were to succeed in imposing an untruth on others, he would not be able to enjoy for long the fruits of such a coercion. God dislikes pride and keeps away from it. God would not tolerate a forcible imposition of an untruth.

The Quaid-Azam says that he is compelled to say bitter things but that he cannot help giving expression to his thoughts and his feelings. Similarly I would say: “I consider myself a friend of Mussalmans. Why should I then not give expression to the things nearest to my heart, even at the cost of displeasing them? How can I conceal my innermost thoughts from them? I should congratulate the Quaid-i-Azam on his frankness in giving expression to his thoughts and feelings, even if they sound bitter to his hearers. But even so why should the Mussalmans sitting here be reviled, if they do not see eye to eye with him? If millions of Mussalmans are with you can you not afford to ignore the handful of Mussalmans who may appear to you to be misguided? Why should one with the following of several millions be afraid of a majority community, or of the minority being swamped by the majority? How did the Prophet work among the Arabs and the Mussalmans? How did he propagate Islam? Did he say he would propagate Islam only when he commanded a majority? I appeal to you for the sake of Islam to ponder over what I say. There is neither fair play nor justice in saying that the Congress must accept a thing, even if it does not believe in it and even if it goes counter to principles it holds dear.

Rajaji said:”I do not believe in Pakistan. But Mussalmans ask for it, Mr. Jinnah asks for it, and it has become an obsession with them. Why not then say, “yes” to them just now? The same Mr. Jinnah will later on realize the disadvantages of Pakistan and will forgo the demand.” I said: “It is not fair to accept as true a thing which I hold to be untrue, and ask others to do say in the belief that the demand will not be pressed when the time comes for settling in finally. If I hold the demand to be just, I should concede it this very day. I should not agree to it merely in order to placate Jinnah Saheb. Many friends have come and asked me to agree to it for the time being to placate Mr. Jinnah, disarm his suspicious and to see how he reacts to it. But I cannot be party to a course of action with a false promise. At any rate, it is not my method.”

The Congress as no sanction but the moral one for enforcing its decisions. It believes that true democracy can only be the outcome of non-violence. The structure of a world federation can be raised only on a foundation of non-violence, and violence will have to be totally abjured from world affairs. If this is true, the solution of Hindu-Muslim question, too, cannot be achieved by a resort to violence. If the Hindus tyrannize over the Mussalmans, with what face will they talk of a world federation? It is for the same reason that I do not believe in the possibility of establishing world peace through violence as the English and American statesmen propose to do. The Congress has agreed to submitting all the differences to an impartial international tribunal and to abide by its decisions. If even this fairest of proposals is unacceptable, the only course that remains open is that of the sword, of violence. How can I persuade myself to agree to an impossibility? To demand the vivisection of a living organism is to ask for its very life. It is a call to war. The Congress cannot be party to such a fratricidal war. Those Hindus who, like Dr. Moonje and Shri Savarkar, believe in the doctrine of the sword may seek to keep the Mussalmans under Hindus domination. I do not represent that section. I represent the Congress. You want to kill the Congress which is the goose that lays golden eggs. If you distrust the Congress, you may rest assured that there is to be perpetual war between the Hindus and the Mussalmans, and the country will be doomed to continue warfare and bloodshed. If such warfare is to be our lot, I shall not live to witness it.

It is for that reason that I say to Jinnah Saheb, “You may take it from me that whatever in your demand for Pakistan accords with considerations of justice and equity is lying in your pocket; whatever in the demand is contrary to justice and equity you can take only by the sword and in no other manner.”

There is much in my heart that I would like to pour out before this assembly. One thing which was uppermost in my heart I have already dealt with. You may take it from me that it is with me a matter of life and death. If we Hindus and Mussalmans mean to achieve a heart unity, without the slightest mental reservation on the part of either, we must first unite in the effort to be free from the shackles of this empire. If Pakistan after all is to be a portion of India, what objection can there be for Mussalmans against joining this struggle for India’s freedom? The Hindus and Mussalmans must, therefore, unite in the first instance on the issue of fighting for freedom. Jinnah Saheb thinks the war will last long. I do not agree with him. If the war goes on for six months more, how shall we able to save China?

I, therefore, want freedom immediately, this very night, before dawn, if it can be had. Freedom cannot now wait for the realization of communal unity. If that unity is not achieved, sacrifices necessary for it will have to be much greater than would have otherwise sufficed. But the Congress must win freedom or be wiped out in the effort. And forget not that the freedom which the Congress is struggling to achieve will not be for the Congressmen alone but for all the forty cores of the Indian people. Congressmen must for ever remain humble servants of the people.

The Quaid-i-Azam has said that the Muslim League is prepared to take over the rule from the Britishers if they are prepared to hand it over to the Muslim League, for the British took over the empire from the hands of the Muslims. This, however, will be Muslim Raj. The offer made by Maulana Saheb and by me does not imply establishment of Muslim Raj or Muslim domination. The Congress does not believe in the domination of any group or any community. It believes in democracy which includes in its orpit Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Jews-every one of the communities inhabiting this vast country. If Muslim Raj is invetable, then let it be; but how can we give it the stamp of our assent? How can we agree to the domination of one community over the others?

Millions of Mussalmans in this country come from Hindu stock. How can their homeland be any other than India? My eldest son embraced Islam some years back. What would his homeland be-Porbandar or the Punjab? I ask the Mussalmans: “If India is not your homeland, what other country do you belong to? In what separate homeland would you put my son who embraced Islam?” His mother wrote him a letter after his conversion, asking him if he had on embracing Islam given up drinking which Islam forbids to its follower. To those who gloated over the conversion, she wrote to say: “I do not mind his becoming a Mussalmans, so much as his drinking. Will you, as pious Mussalmans, tolerate his drinking even after his conversion? He has reduced himself to the state of a rake by drinking. If you are going to make a man of him again, his conversion will have been turned to good account. You will, therefore, please see that he as a Mussalman abjures wine and woman. If that change does not come about, his conversion goes in vain and our non-co-operation with him will have to continue.”

India is without doubt the homeland of all the Mussalmans inhabiting this country. Every Mussalman should therefore co-operate in the fight for India’s freedom. The Congress does not belong to any one class or community; it belongs to the whole nation. It is open to Mussalmans to take possession of the Congress. They can, if they like, swamp the Congress by their numbers, and can steer it along the course which appeals to them. The Congress is fighting not on behalf of the Hindu but on behalf of the whole nation, including the minorities. It would hurt me to hear of a single instance of a Mussalman being killed by a Congressman. In the coming revolution, Congressmen will sacrifice their lives in order to protect the Mussalman against a Hindu’s attack and vice versa. It is a part of their creed, and is one of the essentials of non-violence. You will be excepted on occasions like these not to lose your heads. Every Congressman, whether a Hindu or a Mussalman, owes this duty to the organization to which will render a service to Islam. Mutual trust is essential for success in the final nation-wide struggle that is to come.

I have said that much greater sacrifice will have to be made this time in the wake of our struggle because of the opposition from the Muslim League and from Englishmen. You have seen the secret circular issued by Sir Frederick Puckle. It is a suicidal course that he has taken. It contains an open incitement to organizations which crop up like mushrooms to combine to fight the Congress. We have thus to deal with an empire whose ways are crooked. Ours is a straight path which we can tread even with our eyes closed. That is the beauty of Satyagraha.

In Satyagraha, there is no place for fraud or falsehood, or any kind of untruth. Fraud and untruth today are stalking the world. I cannot be a helpless witness to such a situation. I have traveled all over India as perhaps nobody in the present age has. The voiceless millions of the land saw in me their friend and representative, and I identified myself with them to an extent it was possible for a human being to do. I saw trust in their eyes, which I now want to turn to good account in fighting this empire upheld on untruth and violence. However gigantic the preparations that the empire has made, we must get out of its clutches. How can I remain silent at this supreme hour and hide my light under the bushel? Shall I ask the Japanese to tarry awhile? If today I sit quiet and inactive, God will take me to task for not using up the treasure He had given me, in the midst of the conflagration that is enveloping the whole world. Had the condition been different, I should have asked you to wait yet awhile. But the situation now has become intolerable, and the Congress has no other course left for it.

Nevertheless, the actual struggle does not commence this moment. You have only placed all your powers in my hands. I will now wait upon the Viceroy and plead with him for the acceptance of the Congress demand. That process is likely to take two or three weeks. What would you do in the meanwhile? What is the programme, for the interval, in which all can participate? As you know, the spinning wheel is the first thing that occurs to me. I made the same answer to the Maulana. He would have none of it, though he understood its import later. The fourteen fold constructive programme is, of course, there for you to carry out. What more should you do? I will tell you. Every one of you should, from this moment onwards, consider yourself a free man or woman, and acts as if you are free and are no longer under the heel of this imperialism.

It is not a make-believe that I am suggesting to you. It is the very essence of freedom. The bond of the slave is snapped the moment he consider himself to be a free being. He will plainly tell the master: “I was your bond slave till this moment, but I am a slave no longer. You may kill me if you like, but if you keep me alive, I wish to tell you that if you release me from the bondage, of your own accord, I will ask for nothing more from you. You used to feed and cloth me, though I could have provided food and clothing for myself by my labour. I hitherto depended on you instead of on God, for food and raiment. But God has now inspired me with an urge for freedom and I am today a free man, and will no longer depend on you.”

You may take it from me that I am not going to strike a bargain with the Viceroy for ministries and the like. I am not going to be satisfied with anything short of complete freedom. May be, he will propose the abolition of salt tax, the drink evil, etc. But I will say, “Nothing less than freedom.”

Here is a mantra, a short one, that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is: ‘Do or Die’. We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery. Every true Congressman or woman will join the struggle with an inflexible determination not to remain alive to see the country in bondage and slavery. Let that be your pledge. Keep jails out of your consideration. If the Government keep me free, I will not put on the Government the strain of maintaining a large number of prisoners at a time, when it is in trouble. Let every man and woman live every moment of his or her life hereafter in the consciousness that he or she eats or lives for achieving freedom and will die, if need be, to attain that goal. Take a pledge, with God and your own conscience as witness, that you will no longer rest till freedom is achieved and will be prepared to lay down your lives in the attempt to achieve it. He who loses his life will gain it; he who will seek to save it shall lose it. Freedom is not for the coward or the faint-hearted.

A word to the journalists. I congratulate you on the support you have hitherto given to the national demand. I know the restrictions and handicaps under which you have to labour. But I would now ask you to snap the chains that bind you. It should be the proud privilege of the newspapers to lead and set an example in laying down one’s life for freedom.

You have the pen which the Government can’t suppress. I know you have large properties in the form of printing presses, etc., and you would be afraid lest the Government should attach them. I do not ask you to invite an attachment of the printing-press voluntarily. For myself, I would not suppress my pen, even if the press was to be attached. As you know my press was attached in the past and returned later on. But I do not ask from you that final sacrifice. I suggest a middle way. You should now wind up your standing committee, and you may declare that you will give up the pen only when India has won her freedom. You may tell Sir Frederick Puckle that he can’t except from you a command performance, that his press notes are full of untruth, and that you will refuse to publish them. You will openly declare that you are wholeheartedly with the Congress. If you do this, you will have changed the atmosphere before the fight actually begins.

From the Princes I ask with all respect due to them a very small thing. I am a well-wisher of the Princes. I was born in a State. My grandfather refused to salute with his right hand any Prince other than his own. But he did not say to the Prince, as I fell he ought to have said, that even his own master could not compel him, his minister, to act against his conscience. I have eaten the Prince’s salt and I would not be false to it. As a faithful servant, it is my duty to warn the Princes that if they will act while I am still alive, the Princes may come to occupy an honourable place in free India. In Jawaharlal’s scheme of free India, no privileges or the privileged classes have a place. Jawaharlal considers all property to be State-owned. He wants planned economy. He wants to reconstruct India according to plan. He likes to fly; I do not. I have kept a place for the Princes and the Zamindars1 in India that I envisage. I would ask the Princes in all humility to enjoy through renunciation. The Princes may renounce ownership over their properties and become their trustees in the true sense of the term. I visualize God in the assemblage of people. The Princes may say to their people: “You are the owners and masters of the State and we are your servants.” I would ask the Princes to become servants of the people and render to them an account of their own services. The empire too bestows power on the Princes, but they should prefer to derive power from their own people; and if they want to indulge in some innocent pleasures, they may seek to do so as servants of the people. I do not want the Princes to live as paupers. But I would ask them: “Do you want to remain slaves for all time? Why should you, instead of paying homage to a foreign power, not accept the sovereignty of your own people?” You may write to the Political Department: “The people are now awake. How are we to withstand an avalanche before which even the Large empire are crumbling? We, therefore, shall belong to the people from today onwards. We shall sink or swim with them.” Believe me, there is nothing unconstitutional in the course I am suggesting. There are, so far as I know, no treaties enabling the empire to coerce the Princes. The people of the States will also declare that though they are the Princes’ subjects, they are part of the Indian nation and that they will accept the leadership of the Princes, if the latter cast their lot with the people, the latter will meet death bravely and unflinchingly, but will not go back on their word.

Nothing, however, should be done secretly. This is an open rebellion. In this struggle secrecy is a sin. A free man would not engage in a secret movement. It is likely that when you gain freedom you will have a C.I.D. of your own, in spite of my advice to the contrary. But in the present struggle, we have to work openly and to receive bullets on our chest, without taking to heels.

I have a word to say to Government servants also. They may not, if they like, resign their posts yet. The late Justice Ranade did not resign his post, but he openly declared that he belonged to the Congress. He said to the Government that though he was a judge, he was a Congressman and would openly attend the sessions of the Congress, but that at the same time he would not let his political views warp his impartiality on the bench. He held Social Reform Conference in the very Pandal1 of the Congress. I would ask all the Government servants to follow in the footsteps of Ranade and to declare their allegiance to the Congress as an answer to the secret circular issued by Sir Frederick Puckle.

This is all that I ask of you just now. I will now write to the Viceroy. You will be able to read the correspondence not just now but when I publish it with the Viceroy’s consent. But you are free to aver that you support the demand to be put forth in my letter. A judge came to me and said: “We get secret circulars from high quarters. What are we to do?” I replied, “If I were in your place, I would ignore the circulars. You may openly say to the Government: ‘I have received your secret circular. I am, however, with the Congress. Though I serve the Government for my livelihood, I am not going to obey these secret circulars or to employ underhand methods,’”

Soldiers too are covered by the present programme. I do not ask them just now to resign their posts and to leave the army. The soldiers come to me, Jawaharlal and the Maulana and say: “We are wholly with you. We are tired of the Governmental tyranny.” To these soldiers I would say: You may say to the Government, “Our hearts are with the Congress. We are not going to leave our posts. We will serve you so long as we receive your salaries. We will obey your just orders, but will refuse to fire on our own people.”

To those who lack the courage to do this much I have nothing to say. They will go their own way. But if you can do this much, you may take it from me that the whole atmosphere will be electrified. Let the Government then shower bombs, if they like. But no power on earth will then be able to keep you in bondage any longer.

If the students want to join the struggle only to go back to their studies after a while, I would not invite them to it. For the present, however, till the time that I frame a programme for the struggle, I would ask the students to say to their professors: “We belong to the Congress. Do you belong to the Congress, or to the Government? If you belong to the Congress, you need not vacate your posts. You will remain at your posts but teach us and lead us unto freedom.” In all fights for freedom, the world over, the students have made very large contributions.

If in the interval that is left to us before the actual fight begins, you do even the little I have suggested to you, you will have changed the atmosphere and will have prepared the ground for the next step.

There is much I should et like to say. But my heart is heavy. I have already taken up much of your time. I have yet to say a few words in English also. I thank you for the patience and attention with which you have listened to me even at this late hour. It is just what true soldiers would do. For the last twenty-two years, I have controlled my speech and pen and have stored up my energy. He is a true Brahmacharri1 who does not fritter away his energy. He will, therefore, always control his speech. That has been my conscious effort all these years. But today the occasion has come when I had to unburden my heart before you. I have done so, even though it meant putting a strain on your patience; and I do not regret having done it. I have given you my message and through you I have delivered it to the whole of India.

III

[ The following is the concluding portion of Gandhiji’s speech before the A.I.C.C. at Bombay on 8-8-`42 which was delivered in English:]

I have taken such an inordinately long time over pouring out, what was agitating my soul, to those whom I had just now the privilege of serving. I have been called their leader or, in the military language, their commander. But I do not look at my position in that light. I have no weapon but love to wield my authority over any one. I do sport a stick which you can break into bits without the slightest exertion. It is simply my staff with the help of which I walk. Such a cripple is not elated, when he has been called upon to bear the greatest burden. You can share that burden only when I appear before you not as your commander but as a humble servant. And he who serves best is the chief among equals.

Therefore, I was bound to share with you such thoughts as were welling up in my breast and tell you, in as summary a manner as I can, what I except you to do as the first step.

Let me tell you at the outset that the real struggle does not commence today. I have yet to go through much ceremonial as I always do. The burden, I confess, would be almost unbearable. I have to continue to reason in those circles with whom I have lost my credit and who have no trust left in me. I know that in the course of the last few weeks I have forfeited my credit with a large number of friends, so much so, that they have begun to doubt not only my wisdom but even my honesty. Now I hold my wisdom is not such a treasure which I cannot afford to lose; but my honesty is a precious treasure to me and I can ill-afford to lose it. I seem however to have lost it for the time being.

Friend of the Empire

Such occasions arise in the life of the man who is a pure seeker after truth and who would seek to serve the humanity and his country to the best of his lights without fear or hypocrisy. For the last fifty years I have known no other way. I have been a humble servant of humanity and have rendered on more than one occasion such services as I could to the Empire, and here let me say without fear of challenge that throughout my career never have I asked for any personal favour. I have enjoyed the privilege of friendship as I enjoy it today with Lord Linlithgow. It is a friendship which has outgrown official relationship. Whether Lord Linlithgow will bear me out, I do not know, but there is a personal bond between him and myself. He once introduced me to his daughter. His son-in law, the A.D.C. was drawn towards me. he fell in love with Mahadev more than with me and Lady Anna and he came to me. She is an obedient and favourite daughter. I take interest in their welfare. I take the liberty to give out these personal and sacred tit-bits only to give you an earnest of the personal bond will never interfere with the stubborn struggle on which, if it falls to my lot, I may have to launch against Lord Linlithgow, as the representative of the Empire. I will have to resist the might of that Empire with the might of the dumb millions with no limit but of nonviolence as policy confined to this struggle. It is a terrible job to have to offer resistance to a Viceroy with whom I enjoy such relations. He has more than once trusted my word, often about my people. I would love to repeat that experiment, as it stands to his credit. I mention this with great pride and pleasure. I mention it as an earnest of my desire to be true to the Empire when that Empire forfeited my trust and the Englishman who was its Viceroy came to know it.

Charlie Andrews

Then there is the sacred memory of Charlie Andrews which wells up within me. At this moment the spirit of Andrews hovers about me. For me he sums up the brightest traditions of English culture. I enjoyed closer relations with him than with most Indians. I enjoyed his confidence. There were no secrets between us. We exchanged our hearts every day. Whatever was in his heart, he would blurt out without the slightest hesitation or reservation. It is true he was a friend of Gurudev1 but he looked upon Gurudev with awe. He had that peculiar humility. But with me he became the closest friend. Years ago he came to me with a note of introduction from Gokhale. Pearson and he were the first-rank specimens of Englishmen. I know that his spirit is listening to me.

Then I have got a warm letter of congratulations from the Metropolitan of Calcutta. I hold him to be a man of God. Today he is opposed to me.

Voice of Conscience

With all this background, I want to declare to the world, although I may have forfeited the regard of many friends in the West and I must bow my head low; but even for their friendship or love I must not suppress the voice of conscience – promoting of my inner basic nature today. There is something within me impelling me to cry out my agony. I have known humanity. I have studied something of psychology. Such a man knows exactly what it is. I do not mind how you describe it. That voice within tells me, “You have to stand against the whole world although you may have to stand alone. You have to stare in the face the whole world although the world may look at you with bloodshot eyes. Do not fear. Trust the little voice residing within your heart.” It says: “Forsake friends, wife and all; but testify to that for which you have lived and for which you have to die. I want to live my full span of life. And for me I put my span of life at 120 years. By that time India will be free, the world will be free.

Real Freedom

Let me tell you that I do not regard England or for that matter America as free countries. They are free after their own fashion, free to hold in bondage coloured races of the earth. Are England and America fighting for the liberty of these races today? If not, do not ask me to wait until after the war. You shall not limit my concept of freedom. The English and American teachers, their history, their magnificent poetry have not said that you shall not broaden the interpretation of freedom. And according to my interpretation of that freedom I am constrained to say they are strangers to that freedom which their teachers and poets have described. If they will know the real freedom they should come to India. They have to come not with pride or arrogances but in the spite of real earnest seekers of truth. It is a fundamental truth which India has been experimenting with for 22 years.

Congress and Non-violence

Unconsciously from its very foundations long ago the Congress has been building on non-violence known as constitutional methods. Dadabhai and Pherozeshah who had held the Congress India in the palm of their hands became rebels. They were lovers of the Congress. They were its masters. But above all they were real servants. They never countenanced murder, secrecy and the like. I confess there are many black sheep amongst us Congressmen. But I trust the whole of India today to launch upon a non-violent struggle. I trust because of my nature to rely upon the innate goodness of human nature which perceives the truth and prevails during the crisis as if by instinct. But even if I am deceived in this I shall not swerve. I shall not flinch. From its very inception the Congress based its policy on peaceful methods, included Swaraj and the subsequent generations added non-violence. When Dadabhai entered the British Parliament, Salisbury dubbed him as a black man; but the English people defeated Salisbury and Dadabhai went to the Parliament by their vote. India was delirious with joy. These things however India has outgrown.

I will go Ahead

It is, however, with all these things as the background that I want Englishmen, Europeans and all the United Nations to examine in their hearts what crime had India committed in demanding Independence. I ask, is it right for you to distrust such an organization with all its background, tradition and record of over half a century and misrepresent its endeavours before all the world by every means at your command? Is it right that by hook or by crook, aided by the foreign press, aided by the President of the U.S.A., or even by the Generalissimo of China who has yet to win his laurels, you should present India’s struggle in shocking caricature? I have met the Generalissimo. I have known him through Madame Shek who was my interpreter; and though he seemed inscrutable to me, not so Madame Shek; and he allowed me to read his mind through her. There is a chorus of disapproval and righteous protest all over the world against us. They say we are erring, the move is inopportune. I had great regard for British diplomacy which has enabled them to hold the Empire so long. Now it stinks in my nostrils, and others have studied that diplomacy and are putting it into practice. They may succeed in getting, through these methods, world opinion on their side for a time; but India will speak against that world opinion. She will raise her voice against all the organized propaganda. I will speak against it. Even if all the United Nations opposed me, even if the whole of India forsakes me, I will say, “You are wrong. India will wrench with non-violence her liberty from unwilling hands.” I will go ahead not for India’s sake alone, but for the sake of the world. Even if my eyes close before there is freedom, non-violence will not end. They will be dealing a mortal blow to China and to Russia if they oppose the freedom of non-violent India which is pleading with bended knees for the fulfillment of debt along overdue. Does a creditor ever go to debtor like that? And even when, India is met with such angry opposition, she says, “We won’t hit below the belt, we have learnt sufficient gentlemanliness. We are pledged to non-violence.” I have been the author of non-embarrassment policy of the Congress and yet today you find me talking this strong language. I say it is consistent with our honour. If a man holds me by the neck and wants to draw me, may I not struggle to free myself directly? There is no inconsistency in our position today.

Appeal to United Nations

There are representatives of the foreign press assembled here today. Through them I wish to say to the world that the United Powers who somehow or other say that they have need for India, have the opportunity now to declare India free and prove their bona fides. If they miss it, they will be missing the opportunity of their lifetime, and history will record that they did not discharge their obligations to India in time, and lost the battle. I want the blessings of the whole world so that I may succeed with them. I do not want the United Powers to go beyond their obvious limitations. I do not want them to accept non-violence and disarm today. There is a fundamental difference between fascism and this imperialism which I am fighting. Do the British get from India which they hold in bondage. Think what difference it would make if India was to participate as a free ally. That freedom, if it is to come, must come today. It will have no taste left in it today you who have the power to help cannot exercise it. If you can exercise it, under the glow of freedom what seems impossible, today, will become possible tomorrow. If India feels that freedom, she will command that freedom for China. The road for running to Russia’s help will be open. The Englishmen did not die in Malaya or on Burma soil. What shall enable us to retrieve the situation? Where shall I go, and where shall I take the forty crores of India? How is this vast mass of humanity to be aglow in the cause of world deliverance, unless and until it has touched and felt freedom. Today they have no touch of life left. It has been crushed out of them. Its lustre is to be put into their eyes, freedom has to come not tomorrow, but today.

Do or Die

I have pledged the Congress and the Congress will do or die.

The “Quit India” Speecheshttp://www.mkgandhi.org/speeches/qui.htm

* * *

Within less than twenty-four hours after Gandhi’s speech, almost the entire Congress leadership, and not merely at the national level, was put into confinement, and the greater number of the Congress leaders were to spend the rest of the war in jail.

The Quit India Movement, or the August Movement, was launched by Mahatma Gandhi on 8 August 1942, demanding an end to British Rule of India.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein (1879–1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. One of the greatest physicists of all time, Einstein is best known to the general public for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc², which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”.

Albert’s theories of relativity revolutionized the world. He was born in Germany and died in the US.

Near the beginning of his career, Einstein thought that Newtonian mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led him to develop his special theory of relativity during his time at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern (1902–1909). He subsequently realized that the principle of relativity could be extended to gravitational fields, and published a paper on general relativity in 1916 introducing his theory of gravitation. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light and the quantum theory of radiation, the basis of laser, which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light. In 1917, he applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe.

In 1921, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect,” a pivotal step in the development of quantum theory.

In 1933, while Einstein was visiting the United States, Adolf Hitler came to power. Because of his Jewish background, Einstein did not return to Germany. He settled in the United States and became an American citizen in 1940. He was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

Einstein is named
– the Person of the 20th century by Time magazine;
– one of 28 most influential people of the 20th century by BBC.

“Wonders of science” speech (1930)

On August 22 in 1930 Albert Einstein held a speech on the exhibition site at the radio tower in Berlin-Charlottenburg at the opening of the 7. Deutsche Funkausstellung und Phonoschau (7th German Radio and Audio Show) in Berlin. The speech which was broadcast via radio was held at stormy weather and near the trams rattling along in the open. Both these unfavourable circumstances and the technical imperfection of the back then sound recording are reflected in the sound quality which can be listened to here.

Despite the shortness of the sound document Einstein’s simple way of lecturing can be recognized. It is pepped up with little jokes. His slightly south German dialect can be heard well, too. Einstein received vivid applause at the end of his speech.

It follows the English translation of the full text transcript.

Ladies and Gentlemen who are present and who are not!

Einstein 1930
“When you hear the radio…”

When you hear the radio think also about the fact how people have come to possess such a wonderful tool of communication. The origin of all technical achievements is the divine curiosity and the play instinct of the working and thinking researcher as well as the constructive fantasy of the technical inventor.

Think of Oersted who as the first person noticed the magnetic effect of electric currents, of Reis who as the first one made use of this effect to generate sound by using electromagnetism, of Bell who as the first person converted sound waves into variable electric currents with his microphone by using sensitive contacts. Think also of Maxwell who showed us the existence of electric waves by using a mathematical way, of Hertz who as the first person generated them with the help of a spark and thus proved them. Think especially of Liebens who invented an unprecedented measuring instrument for electric pulses, the electric valve tube. It was also an ideal and simple instrument to generate electric waves. Think gratefully of the big number of unknown engineers who simplified the instruments of communication via radio and adapted them to mass production in such a fashion that they have become ready to be used by everybody nowadays.

And everybody should be ashamed who uses the wonders of science and engineering without thinking and having mentally realized not more of it than a cow realizes of the botany of the plants which it eats with pleasure.

Think also about the fact that it is the engineers who make true democracy possible. They facilitate not only the daily work of the people but also make the works of the finest thinkers and artists accessible to the public. The pleasure of these works had recently still been a privilege of the preferred classes. Thus the engineers wake the peoples from their sleepy bluntness.

The radio has to fulfill a special and unique function for international reconciliation. Up to now peoples got to know each other almost only with the help of the distorting mirror of their own daily press. Radio shows them to each other in their most vivid form and mainly from their amicable side. Thus it will contribute to end the feeling of bilateral strangeness which so easily turns to mistrust and hostility.

With this attitude look at the results of the creation which this exhibition offers the astonished senses of the visitors.

“The radio has to fulfil a special and unique function for international reconciliation.”http://www.einstein-website.de/z_biography/speechfunkausstellung.html

On education (1931)

See: “Personalities are not formed by what is heard and said” – Albert Einstein – https://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/personalities-are-not-formed-by-what-is-heard-and-said-albert-einstein/

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he facilitated a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. During the Great Depression, FDR’s persistent optimism and activism contributed to a renewal of the national spirit, reflecting his victory over paralytic illness to become the longest serving president in U.S. history. He worked closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War 2, but died just as victory was in sight.

In his first hundred days in office, which began 4 March 1933, Roosevelt spearheaded major legislation and issued a profusion of executive orders that instituted the New Deal – a variety of programs designed to produce relief (government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (economic growth), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). The economy improved rapidly from 1933 to 1937, but then relapsed into a deep recession. The bipartisan Conservative Coalition that formed in 1937 prevented his packing the Supreme Court or passing any considerable legislation; it abolished many of the relief programs when unemployment diminished during World War 2.

As World War 2 loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the “Arsenal of Democracy” which would supply munitions to the Allies. In March 1941, Roosevelt, with Congressional approval, provided Lend-Lease aid to the countries fighting against Nazi Germany with Britain. With very strong national support he made war on Japan and Germany after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, calling it a “date which will live in infamy”. He supervised the mobilization of the U.S. economy to support the Allied war effort. As an active military leader, Roosevelt implemented an overall war strategy on two fronts that ended in the defeat of the Axis Powers and the development of the world’s first atom bomb. Unemployment dropped to 2%, relief programs largely ended, and the industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to new jobs in war centers, and 16 million men and 300,000 women were drafted or volunteered for military service.

Roosevelt dominated the American political scene, not only during the twelve years of his presidency, but for decades afterward. He orchestrated the realignment of voters that created the Fifth Party System. FDR’s New Deal Coalition united labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans and rural white Southerners. Roosevelt’s diplomatic impact also resonated on the world stage long after his death, with the United Nations and Bretton Woods as examples of his administration’s wide-ranging impact.

Roosevelt is consistently rated by scholars as one of the top three U.S. Presidents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt

Roosevelt is named
– one of 28 most influential people of the 20th century by BBC;
– one of 100 Persons of the Century by Time Magazine.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (1933)

Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. President during the worst crisis America had faced since the Civil War. By early 1933, the U.S. economy had sunk to its lowest point in the period known as the Great Depression. Over 13 million Americans were unemployed while wages had declined 60 percent in value. Business losses were reported at $6 Billion with industry operating at half its pre-depression capacity.

People lost their life’s savings, their homes and farms. Some began to lose faith in the American system of democracy itself.

Roosevelt had campaigned for the presidency promising a “new deal for the American people.” The ‘new deal’ term became the motto for the sweeping economic and political changes Roosevelt would enact to address the national economic emergency.

In this speech delivered on 4 March 1933, President Roosevelt first tries to calm the fear gripping Americans, then outlines some of the “lines of attack” to be immediately taken in the days and weeks ahead.

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/

This address is evaluated as

– one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian;
– #3 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University;
– #11 in 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness;
– #5 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time.

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

President Hoover, Mr. Chief Justice, my friends:

This is a day of national consecration. And I am certain that on this day my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency, I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impels.

FDR inauguration 1933
FDR inauguration 1933

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; and the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone. More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

And yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered, because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.

Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True, they have tried. But their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

Yes, the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.

Recognition of that falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, and on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.

Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation is asking for action, and action now.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing great – greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our great natural resources.

Hand in hand with that we must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land.

Yes, the task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products, and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities. It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, the State, and the local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical, unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities that have a definitely public character. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped by merely talking about it.

We must act. We must act quickly.

And finally, in our progress towards a resumption of work, we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order. There must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments. There must be an end to speculation with other people’s money. And there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.

These, my friends, are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress in special session detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the 48 States.

Through this program of action we address ourselves to putting our own national house in order and making income balance outgo. Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are in point of time, and necessity, secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy. I favor, as a practical policy, the putting of first things first. I shall spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment; but the emergency at home cannot wait on that accomplishment.

The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not nationally – narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in and parts of the United States of America – a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that recovery will endure.

In the field of world policy, I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor: the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others; the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.

If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize, as we have never realized before, our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take, but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress can be made, no leadership becomes effective.

We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and our property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at the larger good. This, I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us, bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in times of armed strife.

With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.

Action in this image, action to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple, so practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has ever seen.

It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations. And it is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly equal, wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.

I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.

But, in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis – broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

For the trust reposed in me, I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded, a permanent national life.

We do not distrust the – the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

In this dedication – In this dedication of a Nation, we humbly ask the blessing of God.

May He protect each and every one of us.

May He guide me in the days to come.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt First Inaugural Address (with videotape excerpt and audio recording) – http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrfirstinaugural.html

Pearl Harbor address to the nation (1941)

See: “A date which will live in infamy” – Franklin D. Roosevelthttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/a-date-which-will-live-in-infamy-franklin-d-roosevelt/

Huey Long, Jr.

Huey P. Long, Jr
Huey Long, Jr.

Huey Pierce Long, Jr. (1893–1935), served as the 40th Governor of Louisiana from 1928–1932 and as a U.S. Senator from 1932 to 1935. A Democrat, he was noted for his radical populist policies. Though a backer of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election, Long split with Roosevelt in June 1933 and planned to mount his own presidential bid for 1936.

Long created the Share Our Wealth program in 1934 with the motto “Every Man a King”, proposing new wealth redistribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on corporations and individuals to curb the poverty and homelessness endemic nationwide during the Great Depression. To stimulate the economy, Long advocated federal spending on public works, schools and colleges, and old age pensions. He was an ardent critic of the Federal Reserve System’s policies. Charismatic and immensely popular for his programs and willingness to take forceful action, Long was accused by his opponents of dictatorial tendencies for his near-total control of the state government.

A leftist populist who fought the rich, Long expanded state highways, hospitals and educational institutions. His governance has had critics and supporters, debating whether he was a dictator, demagogue or populist.

“Every man a king” (1934)

Huey P. Long is known for his autocratic methods and colorful speech.

Adapting his rhetoric to the techniques of broadcasting, on 23 February 1934Louisiana Senator Huey P. Long used a nationwide radio address to spread his ideas about the redistribution of wealth.

This speech is ranked #26 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have only 30 minutes in which to speak to you this evening, and I, therefore, will not be able to discuss in detail so much as I can write when I have all of the time and space that is allowed me for the subjects, but I will undertake to sketch them very briefly without manuscript or preparation, so that you can understand them so well as I can tell them to you tonight.

I contend, my friends, that we have no difficult problem to solve in America, and that is the view of nearly everyone with whom I have discussed the matter here in Washington and elsewhere throughout the United States – that we have no very difficult problem to solve.

It is not the difficulty of the problem which we have; it is the fact that the rich people of this country – and by rich people I mean the super-rich – will not allow us to solve the problems, or rather the one little problem that is afflicting this country, because in order to cure all of our woes it is necessary to scale down the big fortunes, that we may scatter the wealth to be shared by all of the people.

We have a marvelous love for this Government of ours; in fact, it is almost a religion, and it is well that it should be, because we have a splendid form of government and we have a splendid set of laws. We have everything here that we need, except that we have neglected the fundamentals upon which the American Government was principally predicated.

How many of you remember the first thing that the Declaration of Independence said? It said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that there are certain inalienable rights of the people, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”; and it said, further, “We hold the view that all men are created equal.”

Now, what did they mean by that? Did they mean, my friends, to say that all me were created equal and that that meant that any one man was born to inherit $10,000,000,000 and that another child was to be born to inherit nothing?

Did that mean, my friends, that someone would come into this world without having had an opportunity, of course, to have hit one lick of work, should be born with more than it and all of its children and children’s children could ever dispose of, but that another one would have to be born into a life of starvation?

That was not the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it said that all men are created equal of “That we hold that all men are created equal.”

Now was it the meaning of the Declaration of Independence when it said that they held that there were certain rights that were inalienable – the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Is that right of life, my friends, when the young children of this country are being reared into a sphere which is more owned by 12 men than it is by 120,000,000 people?

Is that, my friends, giving them a fair shake of the dice or anything like the inalienable right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or anything resembling the fact that all people are created equal; when we have today in America thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of children on the verge of starvation in a land that is overflowing with too much to eat and too much to wear? I do not think you will contend that, and I do not think for a moment that they will contend it.

Now let us see if we cannot return this Government to the Declaration of Independence and see if we are going to do anything regarding it. Why should we hesitate or why should we quibble or why should we quarrel with one another to find out what the difficulty is, when we know what the Lord told us what the difficulty is, and Moses wrote it out so a blind man could see it, then Jesus told us all about it, and it was later written in the Book of James, where everyone could read it?

I refer to the Scriptures, now, my friends, and give you what it says not for the purpose of convincing you of the wisdom of myself, not for the purpose ladies and gentlemen, of convincing you of the fact that I am quoting the Scripture means that I am to be more believed than someone else; but I quote you the Scripture, rather refer you to the Scripture, because whatever you see there you may rely upon will never be disproved so long as you or your children or anyone may live; and you may further depend upon the fact that not one historical fact that the Bible has ever contained has ever yet been disproved by any scientific discovery or by reason of anything that has been disclosed to man through his own individual mind or through the wisdom of the Lord which the Lord has allowed him to have.

But the Scripture says, ladies and gentlemen, that no country can survive, or for a country to survive it is necessary that we keep the wealth scattered among the people, that nothing should be held permanently by any one person, and that 50 years seems to be the year of jubilee in which all property would be scattered about and returned to the sources from which it originally came, and every seventh year debt should be remitted.

Those two things the Almighty said to be necessary – I should say He knew to be necessary, or else He would not have so prescribed that the property would be kept among the general run of the people and that everyone would continue to share in it; so that no one man would get half of it and hand it down to a son, who takes half of what was left, and that son hand it down to another one, who would take half of what was left, until, like a snowball going downhill, all of the snow was off of the ground except what the snowball had.

I believe that was the judgment and the view and the law of the Lord, that we would have to distribute wealth every so often, in order that there could not be people starving to death in a land of plenty, as there is in America today. We have in American today more wealth, more goods, more food, more clothing, more houses than we have ever had. We have everything in abundance here. We have the farm problem, my friends, because we have too much cotton, because we have too much wheat, and have too much corn, and too much potatoes.

We have a home-loan problem because we have too many houses, and yet nobody can buy them and live in them.

We have trouble, my friends, in the country, because we have too much money owing, the greatest indebtedness that has ever been given to civilization, where it has been shown that we are incapable of distributing to the actual things that are here, because the people have not money enough to supply themselves with them, and because the greed of a few men is such that they think it is necessary that they own everything, and their pleasure consists in the starvation of the masses, and in their possessing things they cannot use, and their children cannot use, but who bask in the splendor of sunlight and wealth, casting darkness and despair and impressing it on everyone else.

“So, therefore, “ said the Lord, in effect, “if you see these things that now have occurred and exist in this and other countries, there must be a constant scattering of wealth in any country if this country is to survive.”

“Then,” said the Lord, in effect, “every seventh year there shall be a remission of debts; there will be no debts after 7 years.” That was the law.

Now, let us take America today. We have in American today, ladies and gentlemen, $272,000,000,000 of debt. Two hundred and seventy-two thousand millions of dollars of debts are owed by the various people of this country today. Why, my friends, that cannot be paid. It is not possible for that kind of debt to be paid.

The entire currency of the United States is only $6,000,000,000. That is all of the money that we have got in America today. All the actual money you have got in all of your banks, all that you have got in the Government Treasury, is $6,000,000,000; and if you took all that money and paid it out today you would still owe $266,000,000,000; and if you took all that money and paid again you would still owe $260,000,000,000; and if you took it, my friends, 20 times and paid it you would still owe $150,000,000,000.

You would have to have 45 times the entire money supply of the United States today to pay the debts of the people of America, and then they would just have to start out from scratch, without a dime to go on with.

So, my friends, it is impossible to pay all of these debts, and you might as well find out that it cannot be done. The United States Supreme Court has definitely found out that it could not be done, because, in a Minnesota case, it held that when a State has postponed the evil day of collecting a debt it was a valid and constitutional exercise of legislative power.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, if I may proceed to give you some other words that I think you can understand – I am not going to belabor you by quoting tonight – I am going to tell you what the wise men of all ages and all times, down even to the present day, have all said: That you must keep the wealth of the country scattered, and you must limit the amount that any one man can own. You cannot let any man own $300,000,000,000 or $400,000,000,000. If you do, one man can own all of the wealth that they United States has in it.

Now, my friends, if you were off on an island where there were 100 lunches, you could not let one man eat up the hundred lunches, or take the hundred lunches and not let anybody else eat any of them. If you did, there would not be anything else for the balance of the people to consume.

So, we have in America today, my friends, a condition by which about 10 men dominate the means of activity in at least 85 percent of the activities that you own. They either own directly everything or they have got some kind of mortgage on it, with a very small percentage to be excepted. They own the banks, they own the steel mills, they own the railroads, they own the bonds, they own the mortgages, they own the stores, and they have chained the country from one end to the other, until there is not any kind of business that a small, independent man could go into today and make a living, and there is not any kind of business that an independent man can go into and make any money to buy an automobile with; and they have finally and gradually and steadily eliminated everybody from the fields in which there is a living to be made, and still they have got little enough sense to think they ought to be able to get more business out of it anyway.

If you reduce a man to the point where he is starving to death and bleeding and dying, how do you expect that man to get hold of any money to spend with you? It is not possible. Then, ladies and gentlemen, how do you expect people to live, when the wherewith cannot be had by the people?

In the beginning I quoted from the Scriptures. I hope you will understand that I am not quoting Scripture to convince you of my goodness personally, because that is a thing between me and my Maker, that is something as to how I stand with my Maker and as to how you stand with your Maker. That is not concerned with this issue, except and unless there are those of you who would be so good as to pray for the souls of some of us. But the Lord gave his law, and in the Book of James they said so, that the rich should weep and howl for the miseries that had come upon them; and, therefore, it was written that when the rich hold goods they could not use and could not consume, you will inflict punishment on them, and nothing but days of woe ahead of them.

Then we have heard of the great Greek philosopher, Socrates, and the greater Greek philosopher, Plato, and we have read the dialog between Plato and Socrates, in which one said that great riches brought on great poverty, and would be destructive of a country. Read what they said. Read what Plato said; that you must not let any one man be too poor, and you must not let any one man be too rich; that the same mill that grinds out the extra rich is the mill that will grind out the extra poor, because, in order that the extra rich can become so affluent, they must necessarily take more of what ordinarily would belong to the average man.

It is a very simple process of mathematics that you do not have to study, and that no one is going to discuss with you.

So that was the view of Socrates and Plato. That was the view of the English statesmen. That was the view of American statesmen. That was the view of American statesmen like Daniel Webster, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, and Theodore Roosevelt, and even as late as Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Both of these men, Mr. Hoover and Mr. Roosevelt, came out and said there had to be a decentralization of wealth, but neither one of them did anything about it. But, nevertheless, they recognized the principle. The fact that neither one of them ever did anything about it is their own problem that I am not undertaking to criticize; but had Mr. Hoover carried out what he says ought to be done, he would be retiring from the President’s office, very probably, 3 years from now, instead of 1 year ago; and had Mr. Roosevelt proceeded along the lines that he stated were necessary for the decentralization of wealth, he would have gone, my friends, a long way already, and within a few months he would have probably reached a solution of all of the problems that afflict this country.

But I wish to warn you now that nothing that has been done up to this date has taken one dime away from these big-fortune holders; they own just as much as they did, and probably a little bit more; they hold just as many of the debts of the common people as they ever held, and probably a little bit more; and unless we, my friends, are going to give the people of this country a fair shake of the dice, by which they will all get something out of the funds of this land, there is not a chance on the topside of this God’s eternal earth by which we can rescue this country and rescue the people of this country.

It is necessary to save the Government of the country, but is much more necessary to save the people of America. We love this country. We love this Government. It is a religion, I say. It is a kind of religion people have read of when women, in the name of religion, would take their infant babes and throw them into the burning flame, where they would be instantly devoured by the all-consuming fire, in days gone by; and there probably are some people of the world even today, who, in the name of religion, throw their tear-dimmed eyes into the sad faces of their fathers and mothers, who cannot given them food and clothing they both needed, and which is necessary to sustain them, and that goes on day after day, and night after night, when day gets into darkness and blackness, knowing those children would arise in the morning without being fed, and probably to bed at night without being fed.

Yet in the name of our Government, and all alone, those people undertake and strive as hard as they can to keep a good government alive, and how long they can stand that no one knows. If I were in their place tonight, the place where millions are, I hope that I would have what I might say – I cannot give you the word to express the kind of fortitude they have; that is the word – I hope that I might have the fortitude to praise and honor my Government that had allowed me here in this land, where there is too much to eat and too much to wear, to starve in order that a handful of men can have so much more than they can ever eat or they can ever wear.

Now, we have organized a society, and we call it “Share Our Wealth Society, “ a society with the motto “every man a king.”

Every man a king, so there would be no such thing as a man or woman who did not have the necessities of life, who would not be dependent upon the whims and caprices and ipsi dixit of the financial martyrs for a living. What do we propose by this society? We propose to limit the wealth of big men in the country. There is an average of $15,000 in wealth to every family in America. That is right here today.

We do not propose to divide it up equally. We do not propose a division of wealth, but we propose to limit poverty that we will allow to be inflicted upon any man’s family. We will not say we are going to try to guarantee any equality, or $15,000 to families. No; but we do say that one third of the average is low enough for any one family to hold, that there should be a guaranty of a family wealth of around $5,000; enough for a home, and automobile, a radio, and the ordinary conveniences, and the opportunity to educate their children; a fair share of the income of this land thereafter to that family so there will be no such thing as merely the select to have those things, and so there will be no such thing as a family living in poverty and distress.

We have to limit fortunes. Our present plan is that we will allow no one man to own more than $50,000,000. We think that with that limit we will be able to carry out the balance of the program. It may be necessary that we limit it to less than $50,000,000. It may be necessary, in working out of the plans, that no man’s fortune would be more than $10,000,000 or $15,000,000. But be that as it may, it will still be more than any one man, or any one man and his children and their children, will be able to spend in their lifetimes; and it is not necessary or reasonable to have wealth piled up beyond that point where we cannot prevent poverty among the masses.

Another thing we propose is old-age pension of $30 a month for everyone that is 60 years old. Now, we do not give this pension to a man making $1,000 a year, and we do not give it to him if he has $10,000 in property, but outside of that we do.

We will limit hours of work. There is not any necessity of having over-production. I think all you have got to do, ladies and gentlemen, is just limit the hours of work to such an extent as people will work only so long as is necessary to produce enough for all of the people to have what they need. Why, ladies and gentleman, let us say that all of these labor-saving devices reduce hours down to where you do not have to work but 4 hours a day; that is enough for these people, and then praise be the name of the Lord, if it gets that good. Let it be good and not a curse, and then we will have 5 hours a day and 5 days a week, or even less that that, and we might give a man a whole month off during a year, or give him 2 months; and we might do what other countries have seen fit to do, and what I did in Louisiana, by having schools by which adults could go back and learn the things that have been discovered since they went to school.

We will not have any trouble taking care of the agricultural situation. All you have to do is balance your production with your consumption. You simply have to abandon a particular crop that you have too much of, and all you have to do is store the surplus for the next year, and the Government will take it over. When you have good crops in the area in which the crops that have been planted are sufficient for another year, put in your public works in the particular year when you do not need to raise any more, and by that means you get everybody employed. When the Government has enough of any particular crop to take care of all of the people, that will be all that is necessary; and in order to do all of this, our taxation is going to be to take the billion-dollar fortunes and strip them down to frying size, not to exceed $50,000,000, and it is necessary to come to $10,000,000, we will come to $10,000,000. We have worked the proposition out to guarantee a limit upon property (and no man will own less than one third the average), and guarantee a reduction of fortunes and a reduction of hours to spread wealth throughout this country. We would care for the old people above 60 and take them away from this thriving industry and given them a chance to enjoy the necessities and live in ease, and thereby lift from the market the labor which would probably create a surplus of commodities.

Those are the things we propose to do. “Every man a king.” Every man to eat when there is something to eat; all to wear something when there is something to wear. That makes us all sovereign.

You cannot solve these things through these various and sundry alphabetical codes. You can have the N.R.A. and P.W.A. and C.W.A. and the U.U.G. and G.I.N. and any other kind of “dad-gummed” lettered code. You can wait until doomsday and see 25 more alphabets, but that is not going to solve this proposition. Why hide? Why quibble? You know what the trouble is. The man that says he does not know what the trouble is just hiding his face to keep from seeing the sunlight.

God told you what the trouble was. The philosophers told you what the trouble was; and when you have a country where one man owns more than 100,000 people, or a million people, and when you have a country where there are four men, as in America, that have got more control over things than all the 120,000,000 people together, you know what the trouble is.

We had these great incomes in this country; but the farmer, who plowed from sunup to sundown, who labored here from sunup to sundown for 6 days a week, wound up at the end of the with practically nothing.

And we ought to take care of the veterans of the wars in this program. That is a small matter. Suppose it does cost a billion dollars a year – that means that the money will be scattered throughout this country. We ought to pay them a bonus. We can do it. We ought to take care of every single one of the sick and disabled veterans. I do not care whether a man got sick on the battlefield or did not; every man that wore the uniform of this country is entitled to be taken care of, and there is money enough to do it; and we need to spread the wealth of the country, which you did not do in what you call the N.R.A.

If the N.R.A. has done any good, I can put it all in my eye without having it hurt. All I can see that N.R.A. has done is to put the little man out of business – the little merchant in his store, the little Dago that is running a fruit stand, or the Greek shoe-shining stand, who has to take hold of a code of 275 pages and study with a spirit level and compass and looking-glass; he has to hire a Philadelphia lawyer to tell him what is in the code; and by the time he learns what the code is, he is in jail or out of business; and they have got a chain code system that has already put him out of business. The N.R.A. is not worth anything, and I said so when they put it through.

Now, my friends, we have got to hit the root with the axe. Centralized power in the hands of a few, with centralized credit in the hands of a few, is the trouble.

Get together in your community tonight or tomorrow and organize one of our Share Our Wealth societies. If you do not understand it, write me and let me send you the platform; let me give you the proof of it.

This is Huey P. Long talking, United States Senator, Washington, D.C. Write me and let me send you the data on this proposition. Enroll with us. Let us make known to the people what we are going to do. I will send you a button, if I have got enough of them left. We have got a little button that some of our friends designed, with our message around the rim of the button, and in the center “Every man a king.” Many thousands of them are meeting through the United States, and every day we are getting hundreds and hundreds of letters. Share Our Wealth societies are now being organized, and people have it within their power to relieve themselves from this terrible situation.

Look at what the Mayo brothers announced this week, these greatest scientists of all the world today, who are entitled to have more money than all the Morgans and the Rockefellers, or anyone else, and yet the Mayos turn back their big fortunes to be used for treating the sick, and said they did not want to lay up fortunes in this earth, but wanted to turn them back where they would do some good; but the other big capitalists are not willing to do that, are not willing to do what these men, 10 times more worthy, have already done, and it is going to take a law to require them to do it.

Organize your Share Our Wealth Society and get your people to meet with you, and make known your wishes to your Senators and Representatives in Congress.

Now, my friends, I am going to stop. I thank you for this opportunity to talk to you. I am having to talk under the auspices and by the grace and permission of the National Broadcasting System tonight, and they are letting me talk free. If I had the money, and I wish I had the money, I would like to talk to you more often on this line, but I have not got it, and I cannot expect these people to give it to me free except on some rare instance. But, my friends, I hope to have the opportunity to talk with you, and I am writing to you, and I hope that you will get up and help in the work, because the resolution and bills are before Congress, and we hope to have your help in getting together and organizing your Share Our Wealth society.

Now, that I have but a minute left, I want to say that I suppose my family is listening in on the radio in New Orleans, and I will say to my wife and three children that I am entirely well and hope to be home before many more days, and I hope they have listened to my speech tonight, and I wish them and all their neighbors and friends everything good that may be had.

I thank you, my friends, for your kind attention, and I hope you will enroll with us, take care of your own work in the work of this Government, and share or help in our Share Our Wealth society.

I thank you.

Huey P. Long Every Man a King — Radio Speech to the Nationhttp://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hueyplongking.htm

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler is commonly associated with the rise of fascism in Europe, World War 2, and the Holocaust.

A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the German Workers’ Party, precursor of the Nazi Party, in 1919, and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923 he attempted a coup d’état, known as the Beer Hall Putsch, in Munich. The failed coup resulted in Hitler’s imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained support by promoting Pan-Germanism, antisemitism, and anticommunism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. After his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism. His avowed aim was to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe.

Hitler’s foreign and domestic policies had the goal of seizing lebensraum (“living space”) for the Germanic people. He oversaw the rearmament of Germany and the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in September 1939, which led to the outbreak of World War 2 in Europe. Under Hitler’s direction, in 1941 German forces and their European allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa. These gains were gradually reversed after 1941, and in 1945 the Allied armies defeated the German army. Hitler’s supremacist and racially motivated policies resulted in the systematic murder of eleven million people, including nearly six million Jews.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler

Adolf Hitler believed the magic of the spoken word was the primary propaganda weapon. Historian David Irving called Hitler’s power of elemental oratory “his greatest gift.”

Hitler is named one of 100 Persons of the Century by Time Magazine.

Statement in trial for treason (1924)

The trial of Adolf Hitler for high treason after the Beer Hall Putsch provided Hitler an opportunity to become one of the world’s most influential orators, and the first opportunity to be well known internationally. Therefore, the trial was not the end of Hitler’s political career as many had expected. In many ways it marked the true beginning.

Overnight, Hitler became a nationally and internationally known figure due to massive press coverage. The judges in this sensational trial were chosen by a Nazi sympathizer in the Bavarian government. They allowed Hitler to use the courtroom as a propaganda platform from which he could speak at any length on his own behalf, interrupt others at any time and even cross examine witnesses.

Rather than deny the charges, Hitler admitted wanting to overthrow the government and outlined his reasons, portraying himself as a German patriot and the democratic government itself, its founders and leaders, as the real criminals.

Hitler considered the traitors of 1918 to be the German politicians responsible for the so called ‘stab in the back,’ who prematurely ended World War I and established the German democratic republic. In Hitler’s mind and among many Germans, their Army had not been defeated on the battlefield but had been undermined by political treachery at home.

In reality, German Army leaders themselves had opened negotiations with the Allies to end the war which they were losing.

But newspapers quoted Hitler at length. Thus, for the first time, the German people as a whole had a chance to get acquainted with this man and his thinking. And many liked what they heard.

During 24 days of long, rambling arguments, Hitler’s daring grew.

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/trial.htm

Excerpts from Hitler’s statement follow.

[…] Lossow said here that he had spoken with me in the spring and had not noticed then that I was trying to get something for myself and had thought that I only wanted to be a propagandist and a man who would rouse people.

How petty are the thoughts of small men! You can take my word for it, that I do not consider a ministerial post worth striving for. […]

From the very first I have aimed at something more than becoming a Minister. I have resolved to be the destroyer of Marxism. This I shall achieve and once I’ve achieved that, I should find the title of ‘Minister’ ridiculous. When I first stood in front of Wagner’s grave, my heart overflowed with pride that here lay a man who had forbidden any such inscription as ‘Here lies State Councilor, Musical Director, His Excellency Richard von Wagner’. I was proud that this man and so many others in German history have been content to leave their names to posterity and not their titles. It was not through modesty that I was willing to be a ‘drummer’ at that time for that is the highest task [das Höchste]: the rest is nothing. […]

Adolf Hitler_Defendants in the 1924 Trial
Defendants in the 1924 Trial

Mr Public Prosecutor! You emphasize in the indictment that we had to wait with clenched teeth until the seed ripened. Well, we did wait and when the man came, we cried: ‘The seed is ripe, the hour has come.’ Only then, after long hesitation, did I put myself forward. I demanded for myself the leadership in the political struggle; and secondly, I demanded that the leadership of the organization for which we all longed and for which you inwardly long just as much should go to the hero who, in the eyes of the whole of German youth, is called to it. The witness Seisser declared cynically that we had to have Ludendorff so that the Reichswehr would not shoot. Is that a crime? Was it treason that I said to Lossow, ‘The way you are beginning it must come to a conflict; as I see it, there need be no conflict’? […]

What did we want on the evening of 8 November? All these gentlemen wanted a Directory in the Reich. If one has striven for something in the Reich, one cannot condemn it in Bavaria. The Directory already existed in Bavaria, it consisted of Messrs Kahr, Lossow and Seisser. We no longer knew anything of a legal government, we only feared that there might be scruples over the final decision.

I am no monarchist, but ultimately a Republican. Pöhner is a monarchist, Ludendorff is devoted to the House of Hohenzollern [Prussia-Germany]. Despite our different attitudes we all stood together. The fate of Germany does not lie in the choice between a Republic or a Monarchy, but in the content of the Republic and the Monarchy. What I am contending against is not the form of a state as such, but its ignominious content. We wanted to create in Germany the precondition which alone will make it possible for the iron grip of our enemies to be removed from us. We wanted to create order in the state, throw out the drones, take up the fight against international stock exchange slavery, against our whole economy being cornered by trusts, against the politicizing of the trade unions, and above all, for the highest honorable duty which we, as Germans, know should be once more introduced – the duty of bearing arms, military service. And now I ask you: Is what we wanted high treason? […]

Now people say: But His Excellency von Kahr, von Lossow and von Seisser did not want the events of the evening of 8 November. The bill of indictment says that we pushed these gentlemen into an embarrassing situation. But it was through these gentlemen that we ourselves had got into an embarrassing situation; they had pushed us into it. Herr von Kahr should have said honorably: Herr Hitler, we understand something different by a coup d’état, we mean something different by a march on Berlin. He had a duty to say to us: In what we are doing here we mean something different from what you think. He did not say that, and the consequences should be borne solely by these three gentlemen. […]

… I alone bear the responsibility. But I am not a criminal because of that. If today I stand here as a revolutionary, it is as a revolutionary against the revolution. There is no such thing as high treason against the traitors of 1918.

… The deed of November 8th has not failed. It would have failed, if a mother had come to me and had said: You also have my child on your conscience. But I may assure you: no mother came. Quite the opposite, thousands of others have come and have joined our ranks. That is the visible sign of the success of November 8th, that in its aftermath the youth has arisen like a flood and joins together. That is the greatest gain of November 8th, that it is has not led to depression, rather has contributed to greatly enthusing the folk. I believe that the hour will come when the masses who today stand on the street with our swastika flag will unite with those who on November 9th fired upon us. I believe that the blood will not eternally separate us.

… When I learned that it was the police who fired, I was happy that it was not the Reichswehr (the army) which had stained its record: the Reichswehr stands as untarnished as before. One day the hour will come when the Reichswehr will stand at our side, officers and men…

[During 24 days of long, rambling arguments, Hitler’s daring grew. As the trial concluded, sensing the national impact he was having, Hitler gave this closing statement:]

The man who is born to be a dictator is not compelled. He wills it. He is not driven forward, but drives himself. There is nothing immodest about this. Is it immodest for a worker to drive himself toward heavy labor? Is it presumptuous of a man with the high forehead of a thinker to ponder through the nights till he gives the world an invention? The man who feels called upon to govern a people has no right to say, ‘If you want me or summon me, I will cooperate.’ No! It is his duty to step forward.

The army that we have formed grows faster from day to day, from hour to hour. Precisely in these days I have the proud hope that the hour will one day come when these wild throngs become battalions, the battalions regiments, the regiments divisions, that the old cockades will be pulled out of the dirt, and that the old flags will again flatter up front, that then reconciliation comes at the eternal final judgment of God, to which we are willing to step. Then, from our bones and from our graves, the voice of the court will speak which alone is called on to judge us. For not you, my sirs, pronounce the verdict over us, the eternal court of history pronounces the verdict… That court will judge us, the General Quartermaster of the old army [General Ludendorf], his officers and soldiers, who as Germans wanted the best for their folk and fatherland, who want to fight and die. You may pronounce us guilty a thousand times, the goddess of the eternal court of history will laughingly tear up the prosecutor’s request and the court’s verdict: for she acquits us!”

* * *

The court’s verdict – guilty. Possible sentence – life. Hitler’s sentence – five years, eligible for parole in six months.

The three judges in the trial had become so sympathetic that the presiding judge had to persuade them to find him guilty at all. They agreed to find Hitler guilty only after being assured he would get early parole.

On 1 April 1924, Hitler was taken to the old fortress at Landsberg and given a spacious private cell with a fine view. He got gifts, was allowed to receive visitors whenever he liked and had his own private secretary, Rudolf Hess.

The Nazi Party after the Putsch became fragmented and disorganized, but Hitler had gained national influence by taking advantage of the press to make his ideas known.

Pacing back and forth in his cell, he continued expressing his ideas, while Hess took down every word. The result would be the first volume of a book, Mein Kampf, outlining Hitler’s political and racial ideas in brutally intricate detail, serving both as a blueprint for future actions and as a warning to the world.

Source of original German text: Der Hilter-Prozeß vor dem Volksgericht in München. Part Two. Munich, 1924, pp. 88-91; reprinted in Albrecht Tyrell, ed., Führer Befiehl…Selbstzeugnisse aus der »Kampfzeit« der NSDAP. Dokumentation und Analyse. Droste Verlag: Düsseldorf, 1969, pp. 64-67.

http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/pdf/eng/NAZI_PUTSCH_TRIAL_ENG-.pdf
http://www.third-reich-books.com/x-664-the-hitler-trial.htm
http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/trial.htm

* * *

The trial was expected to bring about the final nail in the coffin for the Nazi party — then just four years old, and which garnered little support across Germany. Indeed, when the trial was announced in December 1923, the international press predicted Hitler would either be executed, serve a long prison sentence, or face deportation.

Instead, the courtroom drama, which took place over 24 days, worked wonders for Nazi propaganda. Hitler turned the dock into a platform for both himself and his party in an attempt to put the young Weimar Republic on trial. Hitler was, in fact, found guilty. But his prison time would amount to just eight-and-a-half months of what was supposed to be a five-and-a-half-year sentence.

The court room drama turned its star defendant into an unlikely international celebrity and statesman in the making. The incident caused headlines all over the international press, and Hitler’s name became known thereafter. He could not have bought the kind of publicity he got at the trial even if he wanted to.

Even if some members of the liberal media at the time were condemning the trial as a grave miscarriage of justice, that the sensationalist headlines and extensive coverage the trial received gave Hitler a much larger and more prominent audience than he had ever known.

During the trial the socialist and communist newspapers called Hitler a racist and said, ‘Don’t fall for this guy’. But a lot of the far-right media built Hitler into a martyr and national hero from this moment on, because he brought the far right together by taking some responsibility and leadership, and then created an enemy by attacking the Jews.

The 1924 trial of Adolf Hitler that made the Nazi party a household namehttps://www.timesofisrael.com/the-1924-trial-of-adolf-hitler-that-made-the-nazi-party-a-household-name/

“My patience is now at an end” (1938)

German dictator Adolf Hitler often worked himself and his audiences to a fever pitch of emotion during his orations. By 26 September 1938, when he gave this speech, Germany had annexed Austria and laid claim to the area of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland, where many ethnic Germans lived. Hitler insisted in this speech that aside from Sudetenland, he had no “territorial problem” in Europe.

Professor Bruce Loebs, who has taught a class called “The Rhetoric of Hitler and Churchill” for the past 46 years at Idaho State University, credits the Führer’s oratory success to his charisma. “He learned how to become a charismatic speaker, and people, for whatever reason, became enamored with him,” Loebs said. “People were most willing to follow him, because he seemed to have the right answers in a time of enormous economic upheaval.”(1)

And now before us stands the last problem that must be solved and will be solved. It is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe, but it is the claim from which I will not recede and which, God willing, I will make good.

The history of the problem is as follows: in 1918 under the watchword ‘The Right of the Peoples to Self-determination’ Central Europe was torn in pieces and was newly formed by certain crazy so-called ‘statesmen.’ Without regard for the origin of the peoples, without regard for either their wish as nations or for economic necessities Central Europe at that time was broken up into atoms and new so-called States were arbitrarily formed. To this procedure Czechoslovakia owes its existence. This Czech state began with a single lie and the father of this lie was named [Eduard] Beneš [president of Czechoslovakia]. This Mr Beneš at that time appeared in Versailles and he first of all gave the assurance that there was a Czechoslovak nation. He was forced to invent this lie in order to give to the slender number of his own fellow-countrymen a somewhat greater range and thus a fuller justification. And the Anglo-Saxon statesmen, who were, as always, not very adequately versed in respect of questions of geography or nationality, did not at that time find it necessary to test these assertions of Mr Beneš. Had they done so, they could have established the fact that there is no such thing as a Czechoslovak nation but only Czechs and Slovaks and that the Slovaks did not wish to have anything to do with the Czechs but … [the rest of the sentence was drowned in a tumultuous outburst of applause].

So in the end through Mr Beneš these Czechs annexed Slovakia. Since this state did not seem fitted to live, out of hand three and a half million Germans were taken in violation of their right to self-determination and their wish for self-determination. Since even that did not suffice, over a million Magyars had to be added, then some Carpathian Russians, and at last several hundred thousand Poles.

That is this state which then later proceeded to call itself Czechoslovakia – in violation of the right of the peoples to self-determination, in violation of the clear wish and will of the nations to which this violence had been done.…

Now the shameless part of this story begins. This state whose government is in the hands of a minority compels the other nationalities to cooperate in a policy which will oblige them one of these days to shoot at their own brothers. Mr Beneš demands of the German: ‘If I wage war against Germany, then you have to shoot against the Germans. And if you refuse to do this, you are a traitor against the state and I will have you yourself shot.’ And he makes the same demand of Hungary and Poland. He demands of the Slovaks that they should support aims to which the Slovak people are completely indifferent. For the Slovak people wishes to have peace – and not adventures. Mr Beneš thus actually turns these folk either into traitors to their country or traitors to their people. Either they betray their people, are ready to fire on their fellow-countrymen, or Mr Beneš says: ‘You are traitors to your country and you will be shot for that by me.’ Can there be anything more shameless than to compel folk of another people, in certain circumstances, to fire on their own fellow-countrymen only because a ruinous, evil, and criminal government so demands it? I can here assert: when we had occupied Austria, my first order was: no Czech needs to serve, rather he must not serve, in the German Army. I have not driven him to a conflict with his conscience…

Mr Beneš now places his hopes on the world! And he and his diplomats make no secret of the fact. They state: it is our hope that [British prime minister Neville] Chamberlain will be overthrown, that [French premier Édouard] Daladier will be removed, that on every hand revolutions are on the way. They place their hope on Soviet Russia. He still thinks then that he will be able to evade the fulfillment of his obligations.

And then I can say only one thing: now two men stand arrayed one against the other: there is Mr Beneš and here stand I. We are two men of a different make-up. In the great struggle of the peoples while Mr Beneš was sneaking about through the world, I as a decent German soldier did my duty. And now today I stand over against this man as the soldier of my people!

I have only a few statements still to make: I am grateful to Mr Chamberlain for all his efforts. I have assured him that the German people desires nothing else than peace, but I have also told him that I cannot go back behind the limits set to our patience. I have further assured him, and I repeat it here, that when this problem is solved there is for Germany no further territorial problem in Europe. And I have further assured him that at the moment when Czechoslovakia solves her problems, that means when the Czechs have come to terms with their other minorities, and that peaceably and not through oppression, then I have no further interest in the Czech state. And that is guaranteed to him! We want no Czechs!

But in the same way I desire to state before the German people that with regard to the problem of the Sudeten Germans my patience is now at an end! I have made Mr Beneš an offer which is nothing but the carrying into effect of what he himself has promised. The decision now lies in his hands: Peace or War! He will either accept this offer and now at last give to the Germans their freedom or we will go and fetch this freedom for ourselves. The world must take note that in four and a half years of war and through the long years of my political life there is one thing which no one could ever cast in my teeth: I have never been a coward!

Now I go before my people as its first soldier and behind me – that the world should know – there marches a people and a different people from that of 1918!

If at that time a wandering scholar was able to inject into our people the poison of democratic catchwords – the people of today is no longer the people that it was then. Such catchwords are for us like wasp-stings: they cannot hurt us: we are now immune.

In this hour the whole German people will unite with me! It will feel my will to be its will. Just as in my eyes it is its future and its fate which give me the commission for my action.

And we wish now to make our will as strong as it was in the time of our fight, the time when I, as a simple unknown soldier, went forth to conquer a Reich and never doubted of success and final victory.

Then there gathered close about me a band of brave men and brave women, and they went with me. And so I ask you my German people to take your stand behind me, man by man, and woman by woman.

In this hour we all wish to form a common will and that will must be stronger than every hardship and every danger.

And if this will is stronger than hardship and danger then one day it will break down hardship and danger.

We are determined!

Now let Mr Beneš make his choice!

Microsoft Encarta 2009

Notes

(1) Why Hitler was such a successful oratorhttps://www.businessinsider.com/why-hitler-was-such-a-successful-orator-2015-5

* * *

On 29 September Britain, France, and Italy signed the Munich Pact with Germany, allowing the Sudetenland to be ceded to Germany.

A reply to U.S. president F.D. Roosevelt (1939)

See: Craftiness, irony, sarcasm and hypocrisy: Adolf Hitlerhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/craftiness-irony-sarcasm-and-hypocrisy-adolf-hitler/

Declaration of war on the US (1941)

It has often been said that Hitler’s greatest mistakes were his decisions to go to war against the Soviet Union and the United States. Whatever the truth may be, it’s worth noting his own detailed justifications for these fateful decisions. On Thursday afternoon, 11 December 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler spoke to the Reichstag in Berlin. The 88-minute address, which he had written himself, was broadcast to the nation. In it the German leader recounted the reasons for the outbreak of war in September 1939, explained why he decided to strike against the Soviet Union in June 1941, reviewed the dramatic course of the war thus far, and dealt at length with President Franklin Roosevelt’s hostile policies toward Germany. Hitler detailed the increasingly belligerent actions of Roosevelt’s government, and then dramatically announced that Germany was now joining Japan in war against the United States. The day after it was delivered, an inaccurate and misleading translation of portions of the address appeared in The New York Times. Although this historic address should be of particular interest to Americans, a complete text has apparently never before been made available in English.

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v08/v08p389_Hitler.html

This speech is evaluated as
– #15 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time;
– one in 40 Best Commencement Speeches by the website Essence.

Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!

A year of world-historical events is coming to an end. A year of great decisions is approaching. In this grave period I speak to you, deputies of the Reichstag, as the representatives of the German nation. In addition, the entire German nation should also review what has happened and take note of the decisions required by the present and the future.

Adolf Hitler 28-Apr-1939
Adolf Hitler in the Reichstag, 28-Apr-1939

After the repeated rejection of my peace proposal in 1940 by the British prime minister [Winston Churchill] and the clique that supports and controls him, it was clear by the fall of that year that this war would have to be fought through to the end, contrary to all logic and necessity. You, my old Party comrades, know that I have always detested half-hearted or weak decisions. If Providence has deemed that the German people are not to be spared this struggle, then I am thankful that She has entrusted me with the leadership in a historic conflict that will be decisive in determining the next five hundred or one thousand years, not only of our German history, but also of the history of Europe and even of the entire world.

The German people and its soldiers work and fight today not only for themselves and their own age, but also for many generations to come. A historical task of unique dimensions has been entrusted to us by the Creator that we are now obliged to carry out.

The western armistice which was possible shortly after the conclusion of the conflict in Norway [in June 1940] compelled the German leadership, first of all, to militarily secure the most important political, strategic and economic areas that had been won. Consequently, the defense capabilities of the lands which were conquered at that time have changed.

From Kirkenes [in northern Norway] to the Spanish frontier stretches the most extensive belt of great defense installations and fortresses. Countless air fields have been built, including some in the far north that were blasted out of granite. The number and strength of the protected submarine shelters that defend naval bases are such that they are practically impregnable from both the sea and the air. They are defended by more than one and a half thousand gun battery emplacements, which had to be surveyed, planned and built. A network of roads and rail lines has been laid out so that the connections [to the installations] between the Spanish frontier and Petsamo [in northern Norway] can be defended independently from the sea. The installations built by the Pioneer and construction battalions of the navy, army and air force in cooperation with the Todt Organization are not at all inferior to those of the Westwall [along the German frontier with France]. The work to further strengthen all this continues without pause. I am determined to make this European front impregnable against any enemy attack.

This defensive work, which continued during the past winter, was complemented by military offensives insofar as seasonal conditions permitted. German naval forces above and below the waves continued their steady war of annihilation against the naval and merchant vessels of Britain and her subservient allies. Through reconnaissance flights and air attacks, the German air force helps to destroy enemy shipping and in countless retaliation air attacks to give the British a better idea of the reality of the so-called “exciting war,” which is the creation, above all, of the current British prime minister [Churchill].

During the past summer Germany was supported in this struggle above all by her Italian ally. For many months our ally Italy bore on its shoulders the main weight of a large part of British might. Only because of the enormous superiority in heavy tanks were the British able to bring about a temporary crisis in North Africa, but by 24 March of this year a small combined force of German and Italian units under the command of General [Erwin] Rommel began a counterattack. Agedabia fell on 2 April. Benghazi was reached on the 4th. Our combined forces entered Derna on the 8th, Tobruk was encircled on the 11th, and Bardia was occupied on 12 April. The achievement of the German Afrika Korps is all the more outstanding because this field of battle is completely alien and unfamiliar to the Germans, climatically and otherwise. As once in Spain [1936–1939], so now in North Africa, Germans and Italians stand together against the same enemy.

While these daring actions were again securing the North African front with the blood of German and Italian soldiers, the threatening clouds of terrible danger were gathering over Europe. Compelled by bitter necessity, I decided in the fall of 1939 to at least try to create the prerequisite conditions for a general peace by eliminating the acute tension between Germany and Soviet Russia [with the German-Soviet non-aggression pact of 23 August 1939]. This was psychologically difficult because of the basic attitude toward Bolshevism of the German people and, above all, of the [National Socialist] Party. Objectively, though, this was a simple matter because in all the countries that Britain said were threatened by us and which were offered military alliances, Germany actually had only economic interests.

I may remind you, deputies and men of the German Reichstag, that throughout the spring and summer of 1939 Britain offered military alliances to a number of countries, claiming that Germany intended to invade them and rob them of their freedom. However, the German Reich and its government could assure them with a clear conscience that these insinuations did not correspond to the truth in any way. Moreover, there was the sober military realization that in case of a war which might be forced upon the German nation by British diplomacy, the struggle could be fought on two fronts only with very great sacrifices. And after the Baltic states, Romania, and so forth, were inclined to accept the British offers of military alliance, and thereby made clear that they also believed themselves to be threatened [by Germany], it was not only the right but also the duty of the German Reich government to delineate the [geographical] limits of German interests [between Germany and the USSR].

All the same, the countries involved realized very quickly – which was unfortunate for the German Reich as well – that the best and strongest guarantee against the [Soviet] threat from the East was Germany. When those countries, on their own initiative, cut their ties with the German Reich and instead put their trust in promises of aid from a power [Britain] that, in its proverbial egotism, has for centuries never given help but has always demanded it, they were thereby lost. Even so, the fate of these countries aroused the strongest sympathy of the German people. The winter war of the Finns [against the Soviet Union, 1939–1940] aroused in us a feeling of admiration mixed with bitterness: admiration because, as a soldierly nation, we have a sympathetic heart for heroism and sacrifice, and bitterness because our concern for the enemy threat in the West and the danger in the East meant that we were no position to help. When it became clear to us that Soviet Russia concluded that the [German-Soviet] delineation [in August 1939] of political spheres of influence gave it the right to practically exterminate foreign nations, the [German-Soviet] relationship was maintained only for utilitarian reasons, contrary to reason and sentiment.

Already in 1940 it became increasingly clear from month to month that the plans of the men in the Kremlin were aimed at the domination, and thus the destruction, of all of Europe. I have already told the nation of the build-up of Soviet Russian military power in the East during a period when Germany had only a few divisions in the provinces bordering Soviet Russia. Only a blind person could fail to see that a military build-up of unique world-historical dimensions was being carried out. And this was not in order to protect something that was being threatened, but rather only to attack that which seemed incapable of defense.

The quick conclusion of the campaign in the West [May-June 1940] meant that those in power in Moscow were not able to count on the immediate exhaustion of the German Reich. However, they did not change their plans at all, but only postponed the timing of their attack. The summer of 1941 seemed like the ideal moment to strike. A new Mongol invasion was ready to pour across Europe. Mr. Churchill also promised that there would be a change in the British war against Germany at this same time. In a cowardly way, he now tries to deny that during a secret meeting in the British House of Commons in 1940 he said that an important factor for the successful continuation and conclusion of this war would be the Soviet entry into the war, which would come during 1941 at the latest, and which would also make it possible for Britain to take the offensive. Conscious of our duty, this past spring we observed the military build-up of a world power that seemed to have inexhaustible reserves of human and material resources. Dark clouds began to gather over Europe.

What is Europe, my deputies? There is no geographical definition of our continent, but only an ethnic-national [volkliche] and cultural one. The frontier of this continent is not the Ural mountains, but rather the line that divides the Western outlook on life from that of the East.

At one time, Europe was confined to the Greek isles, which had been reached by Nordic tribes, and where the flame first burned that slowly but steadily enlightened humanity. And when these Greeks fought against the invasion of the Persian conquerors, they did not just defend their own small homeland, which was Greece, but [also] that concept that is now Europe. And then [the spirit of] Europe shifted from Hellas to Rome. Roman thought and Roman statecraft combined with Greek spirit and Greek culture. An empire was created, the importance and creative power of which has never been matched, much less surpassed, even to this day. And when the Roman legions defended Italy in three terrible wars against the attack of Carthage from Africa, and finally battled to victory, in this case as well Rome fought not just for herself, but [also] for the Greco-Roman world that then encompassed Europe.

The next invasion against the home soil of this new culture of humanity came from the wide expanses of the East. A horrific storm of cultureless hordes from the center of Asia poured deep into the heart of the European continent, burning, ravaging and murdering as a true scourge of God. On the Catalaunian fields, Roman and Germanic men fought together for the first time [in 451] in a decisive battle of tremendous importance for a culture that had begun with the Greeks, passed on to the Romans, and then encompassed the Germanic peoples.

Europe had matured. The Occident arose from Hellas and Rome, and for many centuries its defense was the task not only of the Romans, but above all of the Germanic peoples. What we call Europe is the geographic territory of the Occident, enlightened by Greek culture, inspired by the powerful heritage of the Roman empire, its territory enlarged by Germanic colonization. Whether it was the German emperors fighting back invasions from the East on the Unstrut [river, in 933] or on the Lechfeld [plain, in 955], or others pushing back Africa from Spain over a period of many years, it was always a struggle of a developing Europe against a profoundly alien outside world.

Just as Rome once made her immortal contribution to the building and defense of the continent, so now have the Germanic peoples taken up the defense and protection of a family of nations which, although they may differ and diverge in their political structure and goals, nevertheless together constitute a racially and culturally unified and complementary whole.

And from this Europe there have not only been settlements in other parts of the world, but intellectual-spiritual [geistig] and cultural fertilization as well, a fact that anyone realizes who is willing to acknowledge the truth rather than deny it. Thus, it was not England that cultivated the continent, but rather Anglo-Saxon and Norman branches of the Germanic nation that moved from our continent to the [British] island and made possible her development, which is certainly unique in history. In the same way, it was not America that discovered Europe, but the other way around. And all that which America did not get from Europe may seem worthy of admiration to a Jewified mixed race, but Europe regards that merely as symptomatic of decay in artistic and cultural life, the product of Jewish or Negroid blood mixture.

My Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!

I have to make these remarks because this struggle, which became obviously unavoidable in the early months of this year, and which the German Reich, above all, is called upon this time to lead, also greatly transcends the interests of our own people and nation. When the Greeks once stood against the Persians, they defended more than just Greece. When the Romans stood against the Carthaginians, they defended more than just Rome. When the Roman and Germanic peoples stood together against the Huns, they defended more than just the West. When German emperors stood against the Mongols, they defended more than just Germany. And when Spanish heroes stood against Africa, they defended not just Spain, but all of Europe as well. In the same way, Germany does not fight today just for itself, but for our entire continent.

And it is an auspicious sign that this realization is today so deeply rooted in the subconscious of most European nations that they participate in this struggle, either with open expressions of support or with streams of volunteers.

When the German and Italian armies took the offensive against Yugoslavia and Greece on 6 April of this year, that was the prelude to the great struggle in which we now find ourselves. That is because the revolt in Belgrade [on 26 March 1941], which led to the overthrow of the former prince regent and his government, determined the further development of events in that part of Europe. Although Britain played a major role in that coup, Soviet Russia played the main role. What I had refused to Mr. Molotov [the Soviet Foreign Minister] during his visit to Berlin [in November 1940], Stalin believed he could obtain indirectly against our will by revolutionary activity. Without regard for the treaties they had signed, the Bolshevik rulers expanded their ambitions. The [Soviet] treaty of friendship with the new revolutionary regime [in Belgrade ] showed very quickly just how threatening the danger had become.

The achievements of the German armed forces in this campaign were honored in the German Reichstag on 4 May 1941. At that time, though, I was not able to reveal that we were very quickly approaching a confrontation with a state [Soviet Russia] that did not attack at the time of the campaign in the Balkans only because its military build-up was not yet complete, and because it was not able to use its air fields as a result of the mud from melting snow at this time of year, which made it impossible to use the runways.

My Deputies! Men of the Reichstag!

When I became aware of the possibility of a threat to the east of the Reich in 1940 through [secret] reports from the British House of Commons and by observations of Soviet Russian troop movements on our frontiers, I immediately ordered the formation of many new armored, motorized and infantry divisions. The human and material resources for them were abundantly available. [In this regard] I can make only one promise to you, my deputies, and to the entire German nation: while people in democratic countries understandably talk a lot about armaments, in National Socialist Germany all the more will actually be produced. It has been that way in the past, and it is not any different now. Whenever decisive action has to be taken, we will have, with each passing year, more and, above all, better quality weapons.

We realized very clearly that under no circumstances could we allow the enemy the opportunity to strike first into our heart. Nevertheless, in this case the decision [to attack Soviet Russia] was a very difficult one. When the writers for the democratic newspapers now declare that I would have thought twice before attacking if I had known the strength of the Bolshevik adversaries, they show that they do not understand either the situation or me.

I have not sought war. To the contrary, I have done everything to avoid conflict. But I would forget my duty and my conscience if I were to do nothing in spite of the realization that a conflict had become unavoidable. Because I regarded Soviet Russia as the gravest danger not only for the German Reich but for all of Europe, I decided, if possible, to give the order myself to attack a few days before the outbreak of this conflict.

A truly impressive amount of authentic material is now available which confirms that a Soviet Russian attack was intended. We are also sure about when this attack was to take place. In view of this danger, the extent of which we are perhaps only now truly aware, I can only thank the Lord God that He enlightened me in time, and has given me the strength to do what must be done. Millions of German soldiers may thank Him for their lives, and all of Europe for its existence.

I may say this today: If this wave of more than 20,000 tanks, hundreds of divisions, tens of thousands of artillery pieces, along with more than 10,000 airplanes, had not been kept from being set into motion against the Reich, Europe would have been lost.

Several nations have been destined to prevent or parry this blow through the sacrifice of their blood. If Finland [for one] had not immediately decided, for the second time, to take up weapons, then the comfortable bourgeois life of the other Nordic countries would quickly have been extinguished.

If the German Reich, with its soldiers and weapons, had not stood against this opponent, a storm would have burned over Europe that would have eliminated, once and for all time, and in all its intellectual paucity and traditional stupidity, the laughable British idea of the European balance of power.

If the Slovaks, Hungarians and Romanians had not also acted to defend this European world, then the Bolshevik hordes would have poured over the Danube countries as did once the swarms of Attila’s Huns, and [Soviet] Tatars and Mongols would [then], on the open country by the Ionian Sea, force a revision of the Treaty of Montreux [regarding the Dardanelles strait].

If Italy, Spain and Croatia had not sent their divisions, then a European defense front would not have arisen that proclaims the concept of a new Europe and thereby powerfully inspires all other nations as well. Because of this awareness of danger, volunteers have come from northern and western Europe: Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Flemish, Belgians and even French. They have all given the struggle of the allied forces of the Axis the character of a European crusade, in the truest sense of the word.

This is not yet the right time to speak of the planning and direction of this campaign. However, in a few sentences I would like to say something about what has been achieved [so far] in this greatest conflict in history. Because of the enormous area involved as well as the number and size of the events, individual impressions may be lost and forgotten.

The attack began at dawn on 22 June [1941]. With dauntless daring, the frontier fortifications that were meant to protect the Soviet Russian build-up against us from surprise attack were broken through. Grodno fell by 23 June. On 24 June, following the capture of Brest-Litovsk, the fortress [there] was taken in combat, and Vilnius and Kaunas [in Lithuania] were also taken. Daugavpils [in Latvia] fell on 26 June.

The first two great encirclement battles near Bialystok and Minsk were completed on 10 July. We captured 324,000 prisoners of war, 3,332 tanks and 1,809 artillery pieces. By 13 July the Stalin Line had been broken through at almost every decisive point. Smolensk fell on 16 July after heavy fighting, and German and Romanian units were able to force their way across the Dniester [river] on 19 July. The Battle of Smolensk ended on 6 August after many encircling operations. As a result, another 310,000 Russians were taken as prisoners. Moreover, 3,205 tanks and 3,120 artillery pieces were counted – either destroyed or captured. Just three days later the fate of another Soviet Russian army group was sealed. On 9 August, in the battle of Uman, another 103,000 Soviet Russian prisoners of war were taken, and 317 tanks and 1,100 artillery pieces were either destroyed or captured.

Nikolayev [in the Ukraine] fell on 13 August, and Kherson was taken on the 21st. On the same day the battle near Gomel ended, resulting in 84,000 prisoners as well as 144 tanks and 848 artillery pieces either captured or destroyed. The Soviet Russian positions between the Ilmen and Peipus [lakes] were broken through on 21 August, while the bridgehead around Dnepropetrovsk fell into our hands on 26 August. On the 28th of that month German troops entered Tallinn and Paldiski [Estonia] after heavy fighting, while the Finns took Vyborg on the 20th. With the capture of Petrokrepost on 8 September, Leningrad was finally cut off from the south. By 16 September bridgeheads across the Dnieper were formed, and on 18 September Poltava fell into the hands of our soldiers. German units stormed the fortress of Kiev on 19 September, and on 22 September the conquest of [the Baltic island of] Saaremaa [Oesel] was crowned by the capture of its capital.

And now came the anticipated results of the greatest undertakings. The battle near Kiev was completed on 27 September. Endless columns of 665,000 prisoners of war marched to the west. In the encircled area, 884 tanks and 3,178 artillery pieces were captured. The battle to break through the central area of the Eastern front began on 2 October, while the battle of the Azov Sea was successfully completed on 11 October. Another 107,000 prisoners, 212 tanks and 672 artillery pieces were counted. After heavy fighting, German and Romanian units were able to enter Odessa on 16 October. The battle to break through the center of the Eastern front, which had begun on 2 October, ended on 18 October with a success that is unique in world history. The result was 663,000 prisoners, as well as 1,242 tanks and 5,452 artillery pieces either destroyed or captured. The capture of Dagoe [Hiiumaa island] was completed on 21 October. The industrial center of Kharkov was taken on 24 October. After very heavy fighting, the Crimea was finally reached, and on 2 November the capital of Simferopol was stormed. On 16 November the Crimea was overrun as far as Kerch.

As of 1 December, the total number of captured Soviet Russian prisoners was 3,806,865. The number of destroyed or captured tanks was 21,391, of artillery pieces 32,541, and of airplanes 17,322.

During this same period of time, 2,191 British airplanes were shot down. The navy sank 4,170,611 gross registered tons of shipping, and the air force sank 2,346,180 tons. Altogether, 6,516,791 gross registered tons were destroyed.

My Deputies! My German people!

These are sober facts and, perhaps, dry figures. But may they never be forgotten by history or vanish from the memory of our own German nation! For behind these figures are the achievements, sacrifices and sufferings, the heroism and readiness to die of millions of the best men of our own people and of the countries allied with us. Everything had to be fought for at the cost of health and life, and through struggle such as those back in the homeland can hardly imagine.

They have marched endless distances, tortured by heat and thirst, often bogged down with despair in the mud of bottomless dirt roads, exposed to the hardships of a climate that varies between the White and Black Seas from the intense heat of July and August days to the winter storms of November and December, tormented by insects, suffering from dirt and pests, freezing in snow and ice, they fought – the Germans and the Finns, the Italians, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians and Croatians, the volunteers from the northern and western European countries – in short, the soldiers of the Eastern front!

Today I will not single out specific branches of the armed forces or praise specific leaders – they have all done their best. And yet, truth and justice requires that something be mentioned again: As in the past, so also today, of all of our German fighting men in uniform, the greatest burden of battle is born by our ever-present infantry soldiers.

From 22 June to 1 December [1941], the German army has lost in this heroic struggle: 158,773 dead, 563,082 wounded and 31,191 missing. The air force has lost: 3,231 dead, 8,453 wounded and 2,028 missing. The navy: 310 dead, 232 wounded and 115 missing. For the German armed forces altogether: 162,314 dead, 571,767 wounded and 33,334 missing.

That is, the number of dead and wounded is somewhat more than double the number of those lost in the [four month long] battle of the Somme of the [First] World War [in 1916], but somewhat less than half the number of missing in that battle – all the same, fathers and sons of our German people.

And now let me speak about another world, one that is represented by a man [President Franklin Roosevelt] who likes to chat nicely at the fireside while nations and their soldiers fight in snow and ice: above all, the man who is primarily responsible for this war.

When the nationality problem in the former Polish state was growing ever more intolerable in 1939, I attempted to eliminate the unendurable conditions by means of a just agreement. For a certain time it seemed as if the Polish government was seriously considering giving its approval to a reasonable solution. I may also add here that in all of these German proposals, nothing was demanded that had not previously belonged to Germany. In fact, we were willing to give up much that had belonged to Germany before the [First] World War.

You will recall the dramatic events of that period – the steadily increasing numbers of victims among the ethnic Germans [in Poland]. You, my deputies, are best qualified to compare this loss of life with that of the present war. The military campaign in the East has so far cost the entire German armed forces about 160,000 deaths, whereas during just a few months of peace [in 1939] more than 62,000 ethnic Germans were killed, including some who were horribly tortured. There is no question that the German Reich had the right to protest against this situation on its border and to press for its elimination, if for no other reason than for its own security, particularly since we live in an age in which [some] other countries [notably, the USA and Britain] regard their security at stake even in foreign continents. In geographical terms, the problems to be resolved were not very important. Essentially they involved Danzig [Gdansk] and a connecting link between the torn-away province of East Prussia and the rest of the Reich. Of much greater concern were the brutal persecutions of the Germans in Poland. In addition, the other minority population groups [notably the Ukrainians] were subject to a fate that was no less severe.

During those days in August [1939], when the Polish attitude steadily hardened, thanks to Britain’s blank check of unlimited backing, the German Reich was moved to make one final proposal. We were prepared to enter into negotiations with Poland on the basis of this proposal, and we verbally informed the British ambassador of the proposal text. Today I would like to recall that proposal and review it with you.

[Text of the German proposal of 29 August 1939:]

Proposal for a settlement of the Danzig-Corridor problem and the German-Polish minority question:

The situation between the German Reich and Poland is now such that any further incident could lead to action by the military forces that have taken position on both sides of the frontier. Any peaceful solution must be such that the basic causes of this situation are eliminated so that they are not simply repeated, which would mean that not only eastern Europe but other areas as well would be subject to the same tension. The causes of this situation are rooted in, first, the intolerable border that was specified by the dictated peace of Versailles [of 1919], and, second, the intolerable treatment of the minority populations in the lost territories.

In making these proposals, the German Reich government is motivated by the desire to achieve a permanent solution that will put an end to the intolerable situation arising from the present border demarcation, secure to both parties vitally important connecting routes, and which will solve the minority problem, insofar as that is possible, and if not, will at least insure a tolerable life for the minority populations with secure guarantees of their rights.

The German Reich government is convinced that it is absolutely necessary to investigate the economic and physical damage inflicted since 1918, with full reparations to be made for that. Of course, it regards this obligation as binding on both sides.

On the basis of these considerations, we make the following concrete proposals:

  1. The Free City of Danzig returns immediately to the German Reich on the basis of its purely German character and the unanimous desire of its population.
  2. The territory of the so-called [Polish] Corridor will decide for itself whether it wishes to belong to Germany or to Poland. This territory consists of the area between the Baltic Sea [in the north] to a line marked [in the south] by the towns of Marienwerder, Graudenz, Kuhn and Bromberg – including these towns – and then westwards to Schoenlanke.
  3. For this purpose a plebiscite will be conducted in this territory. All Germans who lived in this territory on 1 January 1918, or were born there on or before that date will be entitled to vote in the plebiscite. Similarly, all Poles, Kashubians, and so forth, who lived in this territory on or before that date, or were born there before that date, will also be entitled to vote. Germans who were expelled from this territory will return to vote in the plebiscite.

To insure an impartial plebiscite and to make sure that all necessary preliminary preparation work is properly carried out, this territory will come under the authority of an international commission, similar to the one organized in the Saar territory [for the 1935 plebiscite there]. This commission is to be organized immediately by the four great powers of Italy, the Soviet Union, France and Britain. This commission will have all sovereign authority in the territory. Accordingly, Polish military forces, Polish police and Polish authorities are to clear out of this territory as soon as possible, by a date to be agreed upon.

  1. Not included in this territory is the Polish port of Gdynia, which is regarded as fundamentally sovereign Polish territory, to the extent of [ethnic] Polish settlement, but as a matter of principle is recognized as Polish territory. The specific border of this Polish port city will be negotiated by Germany and Poland and, if necessary, established by an international court of arbitration.
  2. In order to insure ample time for the preparations necessary in order to conduct an impartial plebiscite, the plebiscite will not take place until after at least twelve months have elapsed.
  3. In order to ensure unhindered traffic between Germany and East Prussia, and between Poland and the [Baltic] Sea, during this period [before the plebiscite], certain roads and rail lines may be designated to enable free transit. In that regard, only such fees may be imposed that are necessary for the maintenance of the transit routes or for transport itself.
  4. A simple majority of the votes cast will decide whether the territory will go to Germany or to Poland.
  5. After the plebiscite has been conducted, and regardless of the result, free transit will be guaranteed between Germany and its province of Danzig-East Prussia, as well as between Poland and the [Baltic] Sea. If the plebiscite determines that the territory belongs to Poland, Germany will obtain an extraterritorial transit zone, consisting of a motor super-highway [Reichsautobahn] and a four-track rail line, approximately along the line of Buetow-Danzig and Dirschau. The highway and the rail line will be built in such a way that the Polish transit lines are not disturbed, which means that they will pass either above or underneath. This zone will be one kilometer wide and will be sovereign German territory. In case the plebiscite is in Germany’s favor, Poland will have free and unrestricted transit to its port of Gdynia with the same right to an extraterritorial road and rail line that Germany would have had.
  6. If the Corridor returns to Germany, the German Reich declares that it is ready to carry out an exchange of population with Poland to the extent that this would be suitable for the [people of the] Corridor.
  7. The special rights that may be claimed by Poland in the port of Danzig will be negotiated on the basis of parity for rights to Germany in the port of Gdynia.
  8. In order to eliminate all fear of threat from either side, Danzig and Gdynia will be purely commercial centers, that is, with no military installations or military fortifications.
  9. The peninsula of Hela, which will go to either Poland or Germany on the basis of the plebiscite, will also be demilitarized in any case.
  10. The German Reich government has protested in the strongest terms against the Polish treatment of its minority populations. For its part, the Polish government also believes itself called upon to make protests against Germany. Accordingly, both sides agree to submit these complaints to an international investigation commission, which will be responsible for investigating all complaints of economic and physical damage as well as other acts of terror.

Germany and Poland pledge to compensate for all economic and other damages inflicted on minority populations on both sides since 1918, and/or to revoke all expropriations and provide for complete reparation for the victims of these and other economic measures.

  1. In order to eliminate feelings of deprivation of international rights in the part of the Germans who will remain in Poland, as well as of the Poles who will remain in Germany, and above all, to insure that they are not forced to act contrary to their ethnic-national feelings, Germany and Poland agree to guarantee the rights of the minority populations on both sides through comprehensive and binding agreements. These will insure the right of these minority groups to maintain, freely develop and carry on their national-cultural life. In particular, they will be allowed to maintain organizations for these purposes. Both sides agree that members of their minority populations will not be drafted for military service.
  2. If agreement is reached on the basis of these proposals, Germany and Poland declare that they will immediately order and carry out the demobilization of their armed forces.
  3. Germany and Poland will agree to whatever additional measures may be necessary to implement the above points as quickly as possible.

[End of the text of the German proposal]

The same [measures] would have applied with regard to the proposals to secure [the rights of] the minorities.

This is the treaty proposal – as straight-forward and as generous as has ever been presented by a government – that was made by the National Socialist leadership of the German Reich.

The former Polish government refused to respond to these proposals in any way. In this regard, the question presents itself: How is it possible that such an unimportant state could dare to simply disregard such proposals and, in addition, carry out further cruelties against the Germans, the people who have given this land its entire culture, and even order the general mobilization of its armed forces?

A look at the documents of the [Polish] Foreign Ministry in Warsaw later provided the surprising explanation. They told of the role of a man [President Roosevelt] who, with diabolical lack of principle, used all of his influence to strengthen Poland’s resistance and to prevent any possibility of understanding. These reports were sent by the former Polish ambassador in Washington, Count [Jerzy] Potocki, to his government in Warsaw. These documents clearly and shockingly reveal the extent to which one man and the powers behind him are responsible for the Second World War. Another question arises: Why had this man [Roosevelt] developed such a fanatic hostility against a country that, in its entire history, had never harmed either America or him?

With regard to Germany’s relationship with America, the following should be said:

  1. Germany is perhaps the only great power which has never had a colony in either North or South America. Nor has it been otherwise politically active there, apart from the emigration of many millions of Germans with their skills, from which the American continent, and particularly the United States, has only benefited.
  2. In the entire history of the development and existence of the United States, the German Reich has never been hostile or even politically unfriendly towards the United States. To the contrary, many Germans have given their lives to defend the USA.
  3. The German Reich has never participated in wars against the United States, except when the United States went to war against it in 1917. It did so for reasons that have been thoroughly explained by a commission [a special U.S. Senate investigating committee, 1934–1935, chaired by Sen. Gerald Nye], which president Roosevelt himself established [or rather, endorsed]. This commission to investigate the reasons for America’s entry into the [First World] war clearly established that the United States entered the war in 1917 solely for the capitalist interests of a small group, and that Germany itself had no intention to come into conflict with America.

Furthermore, there are no territorial or political conflicts between the American and German nations that could possibly involve the existence or even the [vital] interests of the United States. The forms of government have always been different. But this cannot be a reason for hostility between different nations, as long as one form of government does not try to interfere with another, outside of its naturally ordained sphere.

America is a republic led by a president with wide-ranging powers of authority. Germany was once ruled by a monarchy with limited authority, and then by a democracy that lacked authority. Today it is a republic of wide-ranging authority. Between these two countries is an ocean. If anything, the differences between capitalist America and Bolshevik Russia, if these terms have any meaning at all, must be more significant than those between an America led by a President and a Germany led by a Führer.

It is a fact that the two historical conflicts between Germany and the United States were stimulated by two Americans, that is, by Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, although each was inspired by the same forces. History itself has rendered its verdict on Wilson. His name will always be associated with the most base betrayal in history of a pledge [notably, Wilson’s “14 points”]. The result was the ruin of national life, not only in the so-called vanquished countries, but among the victors as well. Because of this broken pledge, which alone made possible the imposed Treaty of Versailles [1919], countries were torn apart, cultures were destroyed and the economic life of all was ruined. Today we know that a group of self-serving financiers stood behind Wilson. They used this paralytic professor to lead America into a war from which they hoped to profit. The German nation once believed this man, and had to pay for this trust with political and economic ruin.

After such a bitter experience, why is there now another American president who is determined to incite wars and, above all, to stir up hostility against Germany to the point of war? National Socialism came to power in Germany in the same year [1933] that Roosevelt came to power in the United States. At this point it is important to examine the factors behind the current developments.

First of all, the personal side of things: I understand very well that there is a world of difference between my own outlook on life and attitude, and that of President Roosevelt. Roosevelt came from an extremely wealthy family. By birth and origin he belonged to that class of people that is privileged in a democracy and assured of advancement. I myself was only the child of a small and poor family, and I had to struggle through life by work and effort in spite of immense hardships. As a member of the privileged class, Roosevelt experienced the [First] World War in a position under Wilson’s shadow [as assistant secretary of the Navy]. As a result, he only knew the agreeable consequences of a conflict between nations from which some profited while others lost their lives. During this same period, I lived very differently. I was not one of those who made history or profits, but rather one of those who carried out orders. As an ordinary soldier during those four years, I tried to do my duty in the face of the enemy. Of course, I returned from the war just as poor as when I entered in the fall of 1914. I thus shared my fate with millions of others, while Mr. Roosevelt shared his with the so-called upper ten thousand.

After the war, while Mr. Roosevelt tested his skills in financial speculation in order to profit personally from the inflation, that is, from the misfortune of others, I still lay in a military hospital along with many hundreds of thousands of others. Experienced in business, financially secure and enjoying the patronage of his class, Roosevelt then finally chose a career in politics. During this same period, I struggled as a nameless and unknown man for the rebirth of my nation, which was the victim of the greatest injustice in its entire history.

Two different paths in life! Franklin Roosevelt took power in the United States as the candidate of a thoroughly capitalistic party, which helps those who serve it. When I became the Chancellor of the German Reich, I was the leader of a popular national movement, which I had created myself. The powers that supported Mr. Roosevelt were the same powers I fought against, out of concern for the fate of my people, and out of deepest inner conviction. The “brain trust” that served the new American president was made up of members of the same national group that we fought against in Germany as a parasitical expression of humanity, and which we began to remove from public life.

And yet, we also had something in common: Franklin Roosevelt took control of a country with an economy that had been ruined as a result of democratic influences, and I assumed the leadership of a Reich that was also on the edge of complete ruin, thanks to democracy. There were 13 million unemployed in the United States, while Germany had seven million unemployed and another seven million part-time workers. In both countries, public finances were in chaos, and it seemed that the spreading economic depression could not be stopped.

From then on, things developed in the United States and in the German Reich in such a way that future generations will have no difficulty in making a definitive evaluation of the two different socio-political theories. Whereas the German Reich experienced an enormous improvement in social, economic, cultural and artistic life in just a few years under National Socialist leadership, President Roosevelt was not able to bring about even limited improvements in his own country. This task should have been much easier in the United States, with barely 15 people per square kilometer, as compared to 140 in Germany. If economic prosperity is not possible in that country, it must be the result of either a lack of will by the ruling leadership or the complete incompetence of the men in charge. In just five years, the economic problems were solved in Germany and unemployment was eliminated. During this same period, President Roosevelt enormously increased his country’s national debt, devalued the dollar, further disrupted the economy and maintained the same number of unemployed.

But this is hardly remarkable when one realizes that the intellects appointed by this man, or more accurately, who appointed him, are members of that same group who, as Jews, are interested only in disruption and never in order. While we in National Socialist Germany took measures against financial speculation, it flourished tremendously under Roosevelt. The New Deal legislation of this man was spurious, and consequently the greatest error ever experienced by anyone. If his economic policies had continued indefinitely during peace time, there is no doubt that sooner or later they would have brought down this president, in spite of all his dialectical cleverness. In a European country his career would certainly have ended in front of a national court for recklessly squandering the nation’s wealth. And he would hardly have avoided a prison sentence by a civil court for criminally incompetent business management.

Many respected Americans also shared this view. A threatening opposition was growing all around this man, which led him to think that he could save himself only by diverting public attention from his domestic policies to foreign affairs. In this regard it is interesting to study the reports of Polish Ambassador Potocki from Washington, which repeatedly point out that Roosevelt was fully aware of the danger that his entire economic house of cards could collapse, and that therefore he absolutely had to divert attention to foreign policy.

The circle of Jews around Roosevelt encouraged him in this. With Old Testament vindictiveness they regarded the United States as the instrument that they and he could use to prepare a second Purim [slaughter of enemies] against the nations of Europe, which were increasingly anti-Jewish. So it was that the Jews, in all of their satanic baseness, gathered around this man, and he relied on them.

The American president increasingly used his influence to create conflicts, intensify existing conflicts, and, above all, to keep conflicts from being resolved peacefully. For years this man looked for a dispute anywhere in the world, but preferably in Europe, that he could use to create political entanglements with American economic obligations to one of the contending sides, which would then steadily involve America in the conflict and thus divert attention from his own confused domestic economic policies.

His actions against the German Reich in this regard have been particularly blunt. Starting in 1937, he began a series of speeches, including a particularly contemptible one on 5 October 1937, in Chicago, with which this man systematically incited the American public against Germany. He threatened to establish a kind of quarantine against the so-called authoritarian countries. As part of this steady and growing campaign of hate and incitement, President Roosevelt made another insulting statement [on 15 November 1938] and then called the American ambassador in Berlin back to Washington for consultations. Since then the two countries have been represented only by charges d’affaires.

Starting in November 1938, he began systematically and consciously to sabotage every possibility of a European peace policy. In public he hypocritically claimed to be interested in peace while at the same time he threatened every country that was ready to pursue a policy of peaceful understanding by blocking credits, economic reprisals, calling in loans, and so forth. In this regard, the reports of the Polish ambassadors in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels provide a shocking insight.

This man increased his campaign of incitement in January 1939. In a message [on 4 January 1939] to the U.S. Congress he threatened to take every measure short of war against the authoritarian countries.

He repeatedly claimed that other countries were trying to interfere in American affairs, and he talked a lot about upholding the Monroe Doctrine. Starting in March 1939 he began lecturing about internal European affairs that were of no concern of the President of the United States. In the first place, he doesn’t understand these problems, and secondly, even if he did understand them and appreciated the historical circumstances, he has no more right to concern himself with central European affairs than the German head of state has to take positions on or make judgments about conditions in the United States.

Mr. Roosevelt went even beyond that. Contrary to the rules of international law, he refused to recognize governments he didn’t like, would not accept new ones, refused to dismiss ambassadors of non-existent countries, and even recognized them as legal governments. He went so far as to conclude treaties with these ambassadors, which then gave him the right to simply occupy foreign territories [Greenland and Iceland ].

On 15 April 1939, Roosevelt made his famous appeal to me and the Duce [Mussolini], which was a mixture of geographical and political ignorance combined with the arrogance of a member of the millionaire class. We were called upon to make declarations and to conclude non-aggression pacts with a number of countries, many of which were not even independent because they had either been annexed or turned into subordinate protectorates by countries [Britain and France] allied with Mr. Roosevelt. You will recall, my Deputies, that then [on 28 April 1939] I gave a polite but straightforward answer to this obtrusive gentleman, which succeeded in stopping, at least for a few months, the storm of chatter from this unsophisticated warmonger.

But now the honorable wife [Eleanor Roosevelt] took his place. She and her sons [she said] refused to live in a world such as ours. That is at least understandable, for ours is world of work and not one of deceit and racketeering. After a short rest, though, he was back at it. On 4 November 1939, the Neutrality Act was revised and the arms embargo was repealed in favor of a one-sided supply [of weapons] to Germany’s adversaries. In the same way, he pushed in eastern Asia for economic entanglements with China that would eventually lead to effective common interests. That same month he recognized a small group of Polish emigrants as a so-called government in exile, the only political basis of which was a few million Polish gold pieces they had taken from Warsaw.

On 9 April [1940] he froze all Norwegian and Danish assets [in the United States] on the lying pretext of wanting to keep them from falling into German hands, even though he knew full well, for example, that Germany has not interfered with, much less taken control of, the Danish government’s administration of its financial affairs. Along with the other governments in exile, Roosevelt now recognized one for Norway. On 15 May 1940, Dutch and Belgian governments in exile were also recognized, and at the same time Dutch and Belgian assets [in the USA ] were frozen.

This man revealed his true attitude in a telegram of 15 June [1940] to French premier [Paul] Reynaud. Roosevelt told him that the American government would double its aid to France, on the condition that France continue the war against Germany. In order to give special emphasis to his desire that the war continue, he declared that the American government would not recognize acquisitions brought about by conquest, which included, for example, the retaking of territories that had been stolen from Germany. I do not need to emphasize that now and in the future, the German government will not be concerned about whether or not the President of the United States recognizes a border in Europe. I mention this case because it is characteristic of the systematic incitement of this man, who hypocritically talks about peace while at the same time he incites to war.

And now he feared that if peace were to come about in Europe, the billions he had squandered on military spending would soon be recognized as an obvious case of fraud, because no one would attack America unless America itself provoked the attack. On 17 June 1940, the President of the United States froze French assets [in the USA] in order, so he said, to keep them from being seized by Germany, but in reality to get hold of the gold that was being brought from Casablanca on an American cruiser.

In July 1940 Roosevelt began to take many new measures toward war, such as permitting the service of American citizens in the British air force and the training of British air force personnel in the United States. In August 1940 a joint military policy for the United States and Canada was established. In order to make the establishment of a joint American-Canadian defense committee plausible to at least the stupidest people, Roosevelt periodically invented crises and acted as if America was threatened by immediate attack. He would suddenly cancel trips and quickly return to Washington and do similar things in order to emphasize the seriousness of the situation to his followers, who really deserve pity.

He moved still closer to war in September 1940 when he transferred fifty American naval destroyers to the British fleet, and in return took control of military bases on British possessions in North and Central America. Future generations will determine the extent to which, along with all this hatred against socialist Germany, the desire to easily and safely take control of the British empire in its hour of disintegration may have also played a role.

After Britain was no longer able to pay cash for American deliveries he imposed the Lend-Lease Act on the American people [in March 1941]. As President, he thereby obtained the authority to furnish lend-lease military aid to countries that he, Roosevelt, decided it was in America’s vital interests to defend. After it became clear that Germany would not respond under any circumstances to his continued boorish behavior, this man took another step forward in March 1941.

As early as 19 December 1939, an American cruiser [the Tuscaloosa] that was inside the security zone maneuvered the [German] passenger liner Columbus into the hands of British warships. As a result, it had to be scuttled. On that same day, US military forces helped in an effort to capture the German merchant ship Arauca. On 27 January 1940, and once again contrary to international law, the US cruiser Trenton reported the movements of the German merchant ships Arauca, La Plata and Wangoni to enemy naval forces.

On 27 June 1940, he announced a limitation on the free movement of foreign merchant ships in US ports, completely contrary to international law. In November 1940 he permitted US warships to pursue the German merchant ships Phrygia, Idarwald and Rhein until they finally had to scuttle themselves to keep from falling into enemy hands. On 13 April 1941, American ships were permitted to pass freely through the Red Sea in order to supply British armies in the Middle East.

In the meantime, in March [1941] all German ships were confiscated by the American authorities. In the process, German Reich citizens were treated in the most degrading way, ordered to certain locations in violation of international law, put under travel restrictions, and so forth. Two German officers who had escaped from Canadian captivity [to the United States] were shackled and returned to the Canadian authorities, likewise completely contrary to international law.

On 27 March [1941] the same president who is [supposedly] against all aggression announced support for [General Dusan] Simovic and his clique of usurpers [in Yugoslavia], who had come to power in Belgrade after the overthrow of the legal government. Several months earlier, President Roosevelt had sent [OSS chief] Colonel Donovan, a very inferior character, to the Balkans with orders to help organize an uprising against Germany and Italy in Sofia [Bulgaria] and Belgrade. In April he [Roosevelt] promised lend-lease aid to Yugoslavia and Greece. At the end of April he recognized Yugoslav and Greek emigrants as governments in exile. And once again, in violation of international law, he froze Yugoslav and Greek assets.

Starting in mid-April [1941] US naval patrols began expanded operations in the western Atlantic, reporting their observations to the British. On 26 April, Roosevelt delivered twenty high speed patrol boats to Britain. At the same time, British naval ships were routinely being repaired in US ports. On 12 May, Norwegian ships operating for Britain were armed and repaired [in the USA], contrary to international law. On June 4, American troop transports arrived in Greenland to build air fields. And on June 9 came the first British report that a US war ship, acting on orders of President Roosevelt, had attacked a German submarine near Greenland with depth charges.

On 14 June, German assets in the United States were frozen, again in violation of international law. On 17 June, on the basis of a lying pretext, President Roosevelt demanded the recall of the German consuls and the closing of the German consulates. He also demanded the shutting down of the German “Transocean” press agency, the German Library of Information [in New York] and the German Reichsbahn [national railway] office.

On 6 and 7 July [1941], American armed forces acting on orders from Roosevelt occupied Iceland, which was in the area of German military operations. He hoped that this action would certainly, first, finally force Germany into war [against the USA] and, second, also neutralize the effectiveness of the German submarines, much as in 1915–1916. At the same time, he promised military aid to the Soviet Union. On July 10 Navy Secretary [Frank] Knox suddenly announced that the US Navy was under orders to fire against Axis warships. On 4 September the US destroyer Greer, acting on his orders, operated together with British airplanes against German submarines in the Atlantic. Five days later, a German submarine identified US destroyers as escort vessels with a British convoy.

In a speech delivered on 11 September [1941], Roosevelt at last personally confirmed that he had given the order to fire against all Axis ships, and he repeated the order. On 29 September US patrols attacked a German submarine east of Greenland with depth charges. On 17 October the US destroyer Kearny, operating as an escort for the British, attacked a German submarine with depth charges, and on November 6 US armed forces seized the German ship Odenwald in violation of international law, took it to an American port, and imprisoned its crew.

I will overlook as meaningless the insulting attacks and rude statements by this so-called President against me personally. That he calls me a gangster is particularly meaningless, since this term did not originate in Europe, where such characters are uncommon, but in America. And aside from that, I simply cannot feel insulted by Mr. Roosevelt because I regard him, like his predecessor Woodrow Wilson, as mentally unsound [geisteskrank].

We know that this man, with his Jewish supporters, has operated against Japan in the same way. I don’t need to go into that here. The same methods were used in that case as well. This man first incites to war, and then he lies about its causes and makes baseless allegations. He repugnantly wraps himself in a cloak of Christian hypocrisy, while at the same time slowly but very steadily leading humanity into war. And finally, as an old Freemason, he calls upon God to witness that his actions are honorable. His shameless misrepresentations of truth and violations of law are unparalleled in history.

I am sure that all of you have regarded it as an act of deliverance that a country [Japan] has finally acted to protest against all this in the very way that this man had actually hoped for, and which should not surprise him now [the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941]. After years of negotiating with this deceiver, the Japanese government finally had its fill of being treated in such a humiliating way. All of us, the German people and, I believe, all other decent people around the world as well, regard this with deep appreciation.

We know the power behind Roosevelt. It is the same eternal Jew that believes that his hour has come to impose the same fate on us that we have all seen and experienced with horror in Soviet Russia. We have gotten to know first-hand the Jewish paradise on earth. Millions of German soldiers have personally seen the land where this international Jewry has destroyed and annihilated people and property. Perhaps the President of the United States does not understand this. If so, that only speaks for his intellectual narrow-mindedness.

And we know that his entire effort is aimed at this goal: Even if we were not allied with Japan, we would still realize that the Jews and their Franklin Roosevelt intend to destroy one state after another. The German Reich of today has nothing in common with the Germany of the past. For our part, we will now do what this provocateur has been trying to achieve for years. And not just because we are allied with Japan, but rather because Germany and Italy with their present leaderships have the insight and strength to realize that in this historic period the existence or non-existence of nations is being determined, perhaps for all time. What this other world has in store for us is clear. They were able to bring the democratic Germany of the past [1918–1933] to starvation, and they seek to destroy the National Socialist Germany of today.

When Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt declare that they want to one day build a new social order, that’s about the same as a bald-headed barber recommending a tonic guaranteed to make hair grow. Rather than incite war, these gentlemen, who live in the most socially backward countries, should have concerned themselves with their own unemployed people. They have enough misery and poverty in their own countries to keep themselves busy insuring a just distribution of food there. As far as the German nation is concerned, it doesn’t need charity, either from Mr. Churchill, Mr. Roosevelt or [British foreign secretary] Mr. Eden – but it does demand its rights. And it will do what it must to insure its right to life, even if a thousand Churchills and Roosevelts conspire together to prevent it.

Our nation has a history of nearly two thousand years. Never in this long period has it been so united and determined as it is today, and thanks to the National Socialist movement it will always be that way. At the same time, Germany has perhaps never been as far-sighted, and seldom as conscious of honor. Accordingly, today I had the passports returned to the American charge d’affaires, and he was bluntly informed of the following:

President Roosevelt’s steadily expanding policy has been aimed at an unlimited world dictatorship. In pursuing this goal, the United States and Britain have used every means to deny the German, Italian and Japanese nations the prerequisites for their vital natural existence. For this reason, the governments of Britain and the United States of America have opposed every effort to create a new and better order in the world, for both the present and the future.

Since the beginning of the war [in September 1939], the American President Roosevelt has steadily committed ever more serious crimes against international law. Along with illegal attacks against ships and other property of German and Italian citizens, there have been threats and even arbitrary deprivations of personal freedom by internment and such. The increasingly hostile attacks by the American President Roosevelt have reached the point that he has ordered the U.S. navy, in complete violation of international law, to immediately and everywhere attack, fire upon and sink German and Italian ships. American officials have even boasted about destroying German submarines in this criminal manner. American cruisers have attacked and captured German and Italian merchant ships, and their peaceful crews were taken away to imprisonment In addition, President Roosevelt’s plan to attack Germany and Italy with military forces in Europe by 1943 at the latest was made public in the United States [by the Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers on 4 December 1941], and the American government made no effort to deny it.

Despite the years of intolerable provocations by President Roosevelt, Germany and Italy sincerely and very patiently tried to prevent the expansion of this war and to maintain relations with the United States. But as a result of his campaign, these efforts have failed.

Faithful to the provisions of the Tripartite Pact of 27 September 1940, German and Italy accordingly now regard themselves as finally forced to join together on the side of Japan in the struggle for the defense and preservation of the freedom and independence of our nations and realms against the United States of America and Britain.

The three powers have accordingly concluded the following agreement, which was signed today in Berlin:

[Agreement text:]

With an unshakable determination not to lay down arms until the common war against the United States of America and Britain has been fought to a successful conclusion, the German, Italian and Japanese governments have agreed to the following:

Article 1. Germany, Italy and Japan will together conduct the war that has been forced upon them by the United States of America and Britain with all the means at their command to a victorious conclusion.

Article 2. Germany, Italy and Japan pledge not to conclude an armistice or make peace with either the United States of America or Britain unless by complete mutual agreement.

Article 3. Germany, Italy and Japan will also work very closely together after a victorious conclusion of the war for the purpose of bringing about a just new order in accord with the Tripartite Pact concluded by them on 27 September 1940.

Article 4. This agreement is effective immediately upon signing and is valid for the same period as the Tripartite Pact of 27 September 1940. The high contracting parties shall inform each other in due time before the expiration of this term of validity of their plans for cooperation as laid out in Article 3 of this agreement.

[End of Agreement text]

Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!

Ever since my peace proposal of July 1940 was rejected, we have clearly realized that this struggle must be fought through to the end. We National Socialists are not at all surprised that the Anglo-American, Jewish and capitalist world is united together with Bolshevism. In our country we have always found them in the same community. Alone we successfully fought against them here in Germany, and after 14 years of struggle for power we were finally able to annihilate our enemies.

When I decided 23 years ago to enter political life in order to lead the nation up from ruin, I was a nameless, unknown soldier. Many of you here know just how difficult those first years of that struggle really were. The way from a small movement of seven men to the taking of power on 30 January 1933, as the responsible government is so miraculous that only the blessing of Providence could have made it possible. Today I stand at the head of the mightiest army in the world, the most powerful air force and a proud navy. Behind and around me is a sacred community – the [National Socialist] Party – with which I have become great and which has become great through me.

Our adversaries today are the same familiar enemies of more than twenty years. But the path before us cannot be compared with the road we have already taken. Today the German people fully realizes that this is a decisive hour for our existence. Millions of soldiers are faithfully doing their duty under the most difficult conditions. Millions of German farmers and workers, and German women and girls, are in the factories and offices, in the fields and farm lands, working hard to feed our homeland and supply weapons to the front. Allied with us are strong nations that have suffered the same misery and face the same enemies.

The American President and his plutocratic clique have called us the “have not” nations. That is correct! But the “have nots” also want to live, and they will certainly make sure that what little they have to live on is not stolen from them by the “haves.” You, my Party comrades, know of my relentless determination to carry through to a successful conclusion any struggle that has already commenced. You know of my determination in such a struggle to do everything necessary to break all resistance that must be broken. In my first speech [of this war] on 1 September 1939, I pledged that neither force of arms nor time would defeat Germany. I want to assure my opponents that while neither force of arms nor time will defeat us, in addition no internal uncertainty will weaken us in the fulfillment of our duty.

When we think of the sacrifice and effort of our soldiers, then every sacrifice of [those here in] the homeland is completely insignificant and unimportant. And when we consider the number of all those in past generations who gave their lives for the survival and greatness of the German nation, then we are really conscious of the magnitude of the duty that is ours.

But whoever tries to shirk this duty has no right to be regarded as a fellow German. Just as we were pitilessly hard in the struggle for power, so also will we be just as ruthless in the struggle for the survival of our nation. During a time in which thousands of our best men, the fathers and sons of our people, have given their lives, anyone in the homeland who betrays the sacrifice on the front will forfeit his life. Regardless of the pretext with which an attempt is made to disrupt the German front, undermine the will to resist of our people, weaken the authority of the regime, or sabotage the achievements of the homeland, the guilty person will die. But with this difference: The soldier at the front who makes this sacrifice will be held in the greatest honor, whereas the person who debases this sacrifice of honor will die in disgrace.

Our opponents should not deceive themselves. In the two thousand years of recorded German history, our people have never been more determined and united than today. The Lord of the universe has been so generous to us in recent years that we bow in gratitude before a Providence that has permitted us to be members of such a great nation. We thank Him, that along with those in earlier and coming generations of the German nation, our deeds of honor may also be recorded in the eternal book of German history!

* * *

Germany’s Formal Declaration of War Against the United States

About two hours before Hitler began his address to the Reichstag, Germany formally declared war against the United States when Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop delivered a diplomatic note to the American Charge d’Affaires in Berlin, Leland B. Morris.

At almost the same time, the German Charge d’Affaires in Washington, Hans Thomsen, presented a copy of this note to the Chief of the European Division of the Department of State, Ray Atherton.

Germany’s Declaration of War Against the United States (translated by Mark Weber) – http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v08/v08p389_Hitler.html

From: The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1988-89 (Vol. 8, No. 4), pages 389-416. Revised: October 2007 and August 2012 and July 2013

Source: Der grossdeutsche Freiheitskampf: Reden Adolf Hitlers vom 16. März bis 15. März 1942 (P. Bouhler, ed.) III. Band. Munich: F. Eher, 1942, pages 113-148.

Sir Charlie Chaplin

Sir Charles Spencer ‘Charlie’ Chaplin (1889–1977) spent his childhood fraught with hardship and poverty – an apathetic, alcoholic father who deserted his family, and an income-less mother who suffered from psychosis resulted in Chaplin being sent to a workhouse at the tender age of seven. After abandoning his education at a school for paupers at the age of 13, Chaplin began his slow and arduous climb through the world of entertainment. Having started out as a member of a dancing troupe, he progressed through minor roles in stage plays to the burlesque pieces which first gave an indication of his comedic prowess. Soon after, he was recruited by an American film studio and plunged into the world of silent films where he would soon reign supreme.

In his second movie released to audiences, Chaplin appeared on screen as ‘the Tramp’ – the on-screen persona of Chaplin identified by the baggy pants, tight coat, small hat, and oversized shoes. Several movies later, Charlie Chaplin had become a household name for movie-watchers not only in the US, but all over the world. Commensurately, he became the highest paid actor in the industry. He established, along with three other artists, an independent film studio called United Artists, which gave him the creative freedom to make films as he saw fit. The movies that followed – The Gold Rush, City Lights, and Modern Times – were the best ones he ever made, as declared both personally and critically.

When sound films first made an appearance in Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin was hesitant to embrace them as he felt that silent films were more artistic. He released two films (City Lights and Modern Times) that featured sound effects but no speaking before he finally decided to create one with dialogue. In the late-1930s, Chaplin was encumbered by controversies in his personal and professional lives which damaged his popularity in the US. Yet, as Europe reeled under the destruction wrought by the fascist regimes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, Chaplin decided to address the world’s dire socio-political environment in his next movie – The Great Dictator.

In this political comedy-drama that satirized fascism and condemned Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, anti-Semitism, and the Nazis, Chaplin plays two roles of identical characters: one is a ruthless dictator named Adenoid Hynkel and the other a persecuted Jewish barber. A series of comedic events transpire and the barber is mistaken for Hynkel. In the final scene of the movie, the barber takes the stage to give a speech to the gathered masses, and it is this speech, written and delivered to perfection by Chaplin, that has surprisingly gone down in history as one of the most inspiring and evocative orations.

This speech held special importance when it was first heard in 1940 – one year into the second World War. It gave its listeners a ray of hope in the face of overwhelming despair. It also secured a place for Charlie Chaplin in the pantheon of great orators, a commendable feat considering that he was primarily a comedian and entertainer. And the speech still maintains relevance today. Over 70 years after the death and destruction wrought during the last World War came to a halt, the world is still gripped in the vice of detrimental prejudices and ideologies. Race, religion, and nationality have divided the people who are being manipulated by those in power for their personal gains. And if things don’t change soon, we might soon be heading towards another great war, and this time, it might just be the final one mankind will fight. Things need to change and they need to change now, of that there is no doubt. And perhaps messages like this one by Chaplin need to be heard once again for that to happen.

Charlie Chaplin and his ‘Great Speech’ that remains relevant after 76 yearshttps://yourstory.com/2017/04/charlie-chaplin-great-speech

Final Speech in The Great Dictator (1940)

The Great Dictator was Chaplin’s first film with dialogue. Chaplin plays both a little Jewish barber, living in the ghetto, and Hynkel, the dictator ruler of Tomainia. In his autobiography Chaplin quotes himself as having said: “One doesn’t have to be a Jew to be anti Nazi. All one has to be is a normal decent human being.”

Chaplin and Hitler were born within a week of one another. “There was something uncanny in the resemblance between the Little Tramp and Adolf Hitler, representing opposite poles of humanity,” writes Chaplin biographer David Robinson, reproducing an unsigned article from The Spectator dated 21 April 1939:

“Providence was in an ironical mood when, fifty years ago this week, it was ordained that Charles Chaplin and Adolf Hitler should make their entry into the world within four days of each other….Each in his own way has expressed the ideas, sentiments, aspirations of the millions of struggling citizens ground between the upper and the lower millstone of society. (…) Each has mirrored the same reality – the predicament of the “little man” in modern society. Each is a distorting mirror, the one for good, the other for untold evil.”

Chaplin spent many months drafting and re-writing the speech for the end of the film, a call for peace from the barber who has been mistaken for Hynkel. Many people criticized the speech, and thought it was superfluous to the film. Others found it uplifting. Regrettably Chaplin’s words are as relevant today as they were in 1940.

The Final Speech from The Great Dictatorhttps://www.charliechaplin.com/en/articles/29-the-final-speech-from-the-great-dictator-

Following is the transcript of Charlie Chaplin’s Final Speech in The Great Dictator.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator
Charles Chaplin in The Great Dictator

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost…

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish…

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

The Final Speech from The Great Dictator (with full video) – https://www.charliechaplin.com/en/articles/29-the-final-speech-from-the-great-dictator-

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874–1965) was a British Conservative politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War 2.

Out of office and politically “in the wilderness” during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in warning about Nazi Germany and in campaigning for rearmament.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century, he served as Prime Minister twice (1940–45 and 1951–55). His courage, decisiveness, political experience, and enormous vitality enabled him to lead his country through the war, one of the most desperate struggles in British history.

His steadfast refusal to consider defeat, surrender, or a compromise peace helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult early days of the War when Britain stood alone in its active opposition to Hitler. Churchill was particularly noted for his speeches and radio broadcasts, which helped inspire the British people.

Named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is widely regarded as being among the most influential persons in British history.

Churchill is named
– one of 28 most influential people of the 20th century by BBC;
– one of 100 Persons of the Century by Time Magazine.

“Blood, toil, tears and sweat” (1940)

This was Churchill’s first speech to the House after taking over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the first year of World War 2, having replaced Neville Chamberlain on 10 May.

The famous phrase “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” was first uttered on 2 July 1849 by Giuseppe Garibaldi when rallying his revolutionary forces in Rome. Theodore Roosevelt also uttered the phrase in an address to the Naval War College on 2 June 1897, following his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

However, the phrase became well known after a speech given by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 13 May 1940. Churchill, a keen soldier, was likely to have read works by Theodore Roosevelt, who was a widely published military historian; it is also possible he read the speech after being appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, a position similar to Roosevelt’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood,_Sweat_and_Tears

This speech is evaluated as
– one of Time Magazine’s Top 10 Greatest Speeches;
– one of the 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness.

I beg to move,

That this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion.

Churchill gives the speech on the BBC that he just delivered at the House of Commons blood, toil, tears and sweat
Churchill gives the speech on the BBC that he just delivered at the House of Commons : “… blood, toil, tears and sweat…”

On Friday evening last I received His Majesty’s commission to form a new Administration. It as the evident wish and will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties, both those who supported the late Government and also the parties of the Opposition. I have completed the most important part of this task. A War Cabinet has been formed of five Members, representing, with the Opposition Liberals, the unity of the nation. The three party Leaders have agreed to serve, either in the War Cabinet or in high executive office. The three Fighting Services have been filled. It was necessary that this should be done in one single day, on account of the extreme urgency and rigour of events. A number of other positions, key positions, were filled yesterday, and I am submitting a further list to His Majesty to-night. I hope to complete the appointment of the principal Ministers during to-morrow. the appointment of the other Ministers usually takes a little longer, but I trust that, when Parliament meets again, this part of my task will be completed, and that the administration will be complete in all respects.

I considered it in the public interest to suggest that the House should be summoned to meet today. Mr. Speaker agreed, and took the necessary steps, in accordance with the powers conferred upon him by the Resolution of the House. At the end of the proceedings today, the Adjournment of the House will be proposed until Tuesday, 21st May, with, of course, provision for earlier meeting, if need be. The business to be considered during that week will be notified to Members at the earliest opportunity. I now invite the House, by the Motion which stands in my name, to record its approval of the steps taken and to declare its confidence in the new Government.

To form an Administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many other points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations, such as have been indicated by my hon. Friend below the Gangway, have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make allowance, all allowance, for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

The Churchill Center and Museumhttp://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/92-blood-toil-tears-and-sweat

We shall fight on the beaches” (4 June 1940)

See: “We shall fight on the beaches” – Winston Churchillhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/we-shall-fight-on-the-beaches-winston-churchill/

“Their finest hour” (1940)

On 10 May 1940, Germany began a massive attack against Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Defending those countries were the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) along with the French, Belgian, and Dutch armies.

The Allies assumed a defensive, World War I style battle plan centered around the Maginot Line, a string of defensive forts along the French-German border, south of the Ardennes forest, stretching from Luxembourg to Switzerland.

Allied generals were usually nowhere near the front and even relied on hand-delivered messages. The high-speed mechanized German ‘blitzkrieg’ continually caught the Allied armies off-guard. In many cases, Allied generals ordered troops to defend areas which had already been overtaken by the Germans.

The Maginot Line was simply bypassed by German Panzer tanks which attacked through the ‘impassable’ Ardennes forest. The Germans then circled north and surrounded the Allied armies in Belgium. The ‘Miracle at Dunkirk’ occurred next as 338,000 British and French soldiers were picked up from the coastline by over a thousand vessels, including Royal Navy destroyers and a flotilla of smaller boats of every shape and size.

After just a few weeks of battle, Hitler’s armies had experienced stunning victories on all fronts. Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium had capitulated by the end of May. Paris fell on June 14. Three days later, France sued for peace.

In this speech delivered to the House of Commons on 18 June 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill discusses the disastrous turn of events in Europe with the realization that Britain now stands alone against the seemingly unstoppable German military juggernaut.

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/churchill-hour.htm.

This speech is evaluated as
– #16 in 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness;
– one of 50 Incredible, Historical Speeches You Should Watch Online by the website OnlineUniversities.

I spoke the other day of the colossal military disaster which occurred when the French High Command failed to withdraw the northern Armies from Belgium at the moment when they knew that the French front was decisively broken at Sedan and on the Meuse. This delay entailed the loss of fifteen or sixteen French divisions and threw out of action for the critical period the whole of the British Expeditionary Force. Our Army and 120,000 French troops were indeed rescued by the British Navy from Dunkirk but only with the loss of their cannon, vehicles and modern equipment. This loss inevitably took some weeks to repair, and in the first two of those weeks the battle in France has been lost.

When we consider the heroic resistance made by the French Army against heavy odds in this battle, the enormous losses inflicted upon the enemy and the evident exhaustion of the enemy, it may well be the thought that these 25 divisions of the best-trained and best-equipped troops might have turned the scale. However, General Weygand had to fight without them. Only three British divisions or their equivalent were able to stand in the line with their French comrades. They have suffered severely, but they have fought well. We sent every man we could to France as fast as we could re-equip and transport their formations.

I am not reciting these facts for the purpose of recrimination. That I judge to be utterly futile and even harmful. We cannot afford it. I recite them in order to explain why it was we did not have, as we could have had, between twelve and fourteen British divisions fighting in the line in this great battle instead of only three. Now I put all this aside. I put it on the shelf, from which the historians, when they have time, will select their documents to tell their stories. We have to think of the future and not of the past. This also applies in a small way to our own affairs at home. There are many who would hold an inquest in the House of Commons on the conduct of the Governments – and of Parliaments, for they are in it, too – during the years which led up to this catastrophe. They seek to indict those who were responsible for the guidance of our affairs. This also would be a foolish and pernicious process. There are too many in it. Let each man search his conscience and search his speeches. I frequently search mine.

Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future. Therefore, I cannot accept the drawing of any distinctions between members of the present Government. It was formed at a moment of crisis in order to unite all the Parties and all sections of opinion. It has received the almost unanimous support of both Houses of Parliament. Its members are going to stand together, and, subject to the authority of the House of Commons, we are going to govern the country and fight the war. It is absolutely necessary at a time like this that every Minister who tries each day to do his duty shall be respected; and their subordinates must know that their chiefs are not threatened men, men who are here today and gone tomorrow, but that their directions must be punctually and faithfully obeyed.

Without this concentrated power we cannot face what lies before us. I should not think it would be very advantageous for the House to prolong this debate this afternoon under conditions of public stress. Many facts are not clear that will be clear in a short time. We are to have a secret session on Thursday, and I should think that would be a better opportunity for the many earnest expressions of opinion which members will desire to make and for the House to discuss vital matters without having everything read the next morning by our dangerous foes.

The disastrous military events which have happened during the past fortnight have not come to me with any sense of surprise. Indeed, I indicated a fortnight ago as clearly as I could to the House that the worst possibilities were open; and I made it perfectly clear then that whatever happened in France would make no difference to the resolve of Britain and the British Empire to fight on, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

During the last few days we have successfully brought off the great majority of the troops we had on the line of communication in France; and seven-eighths of the troops we have sent to France since the beginning of the war – that is to say, about 350,000 out of 400,000 men – are safely back in this country. Others are still fighting with the French, and fighting with considerable success in their local encounters against the enemy. We have also brought back a great mass of stores, rifles and munitions of all kinds which had been accumulated in France during the last nine months.

We have, therefore, in this Island today a very large and powerful military force. This force comprises all our best-trained and our finest troops, including scores of thousands of those who have already measured their quality against the Germans and found themselves at no disadvantage. We have under arms at the present time in this Island over a million and a quarter men. Behind these we have the Local Defense Volunteers, numbering half a million, only a portion of whom, however, are yet armed with rifles or other firearms. We have incorporated into our Defense Forces every man for whom we have a weapon. We expect very large additions to our weapons in the near future, and in preparation for this we intend forthwith to call up, drill and train further large numbers. Those who are not called up, or else are employed during the vast business of munitions production in all its branches – and their ramifications are innumerable – will serve their country best by remaining at their ordinary work until they receive their summons.

We have also over here Dominions armies. The Canadians had actually landed in France, but have now been safely withdrawn, much disappointed, but in perfect order, with all their artillery and equipment. And these very high-class forces from the Dominions will now take part in the defense of the Mother Country.

Lest the account which I have given of these large forces should raise the question: Why did they not take part in the great battle in France? I must make it clear that, apart from the divisions training and organizing at home, only twelve divisions were equipped to fight upon a scale which justified their being sent abroad. And this was fully up to the number which the French had been led to expect would be available in France at the ninth month of the war. The rest of our forces at home have a fighting value for home defense which will, of course, steadily increase every week that passes. Thus, the invasion of Great Britain would at this time require the transportation across the sea of hostile armies on a very large scale, and after they had been so transported they would have to be continually maintained with all the masses of munitions and supplies which are required for continuous battle – as continuous battle it will surely be.

Here is where we come to the Navy – and after all, we have a Navy. Some people seem to forget that we have a Navy. We must remind them. For the last thirty years I have been concerned in discussions about the possibilities of oversea invasion, and I took the responsibility on behalf of the Admiralty, at the beginning of the last war, of allowing all regular troops to be sent out of the country. That was a very serious step to take, because our Territorials had only just been called up and were quite untrained. Therefore, this Island was for several months particularly denuded of fighting troops. The Admiralty had confidence at that time in their ability to prevent a mass invasion even though at that time the Germans had a magnificent battle fleet in the proportion of 10 to 16, even though they were capable of fighting a general engagement every day and any day, whereas now they have only a couple of heavy ships worth speaking of – the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau.

We are also told that the Italian Navy is to come out and gain sea superiority in these waters. If they seriously intend it, I shall only say that we shall be delighted to offer Signor Mussolini a free and safeguarded passage through the Strait of Gibraltar in order that he may play the part to which he aspires. There is a general curiosity in the British Fleet to find out whether the Italians are up to the level they were at in the last war or whether they have fallen off at all.

Therefore, it seems to me that as far as sea-borne invasion on a great scale is concerned, we are far more capable of meeting it today than we were at many periods in the last war and during the early months of this war, before our other troops were trained, and while the B.E.F. had proceeded abroad. Now, the Navy have never pretended to be able to prevent raids by bodies of 5,000 or 10,000 men flung suddenly across and thrown ashore at several points on the coast some dark night or foggy morning. The efficacy of sea power, especially under modern conditions, depends upon the invading force being of large size; It has to be of large size, in view of our military strength, to be of any use. If it is of large size, then the Navy have something they can find and meet and, as it were, bite on.

Now, we must remember that even five divisions, however lightly equipped, would require 200 to 250 ships, and with modern air reconnaissance and photography it would not be easy to collect such an armada, marshal it, and conduct it across the sea without any powerful naval forces to escort it; and there would be very great possibilities, to put it mildly, that this armada would be intercepted long before it reached the coast, and all the men drowned in the sea or, at the worst blown to pieces with their equipment while they were trying to land. We also have a great system of minefields, recently strongly reinforced, through which we alone know the channels. If the enemy tries to sweep passages through these minefields, it will be the task of the Navy to destroy the mine-sweepers and any other forces employed to protect them. There should be no difficulty in this, owing to our great superiority at sea.

Those are the regular, well-tested, well-proved arguments on which we have relied during many years in peace and war. But the question is whether there are any new methods by which those solid assurances can be circumvented. Odd as it may seem, some attention has been given to this by the Admiralty, whose prime duty and responsibility is to destroy any large sea-borne expedition before it reaches, or at the moment when it reaches, these shores. It would not be a good thing for me to go into details of this. It might suggest ideas to other people which they have not thought of, and they would not be likely to give us any of their ideas in exchange. All I will say is that untiring vigilance and mind-searching must be devoted to the subject, because the enemy is crafty and cunning and full of novel treacheries and stratagems. The House may be assured that the utmost ingenuity is being displayed and imagination is being evoked from large numbers of competent officers, well-trained in tactics and thoroughly up to date, to measure and counterwork novel possibilities. Untiring vigilance and untiring searching of the mind is being, and must be, devoted to the subject, because, remember, the enemy is crafty and there is no dirty trick he will not do.

Some people will ask why, then, was it that the British Navy was not able to prevent the movement of a large army from Germany into Norway across the Skagerrak? But the conditions in the Channel and in the North Sea are in no way like those which prevail in the Skagerrak. In the Skagerrak, because of the distance, we could give no air support to our surface ships, and consequently, lying as we did close to the enemy’s main air power, we were compelled to use only our submarines. We could not enforce the decisive blockade or interruption which is possible from surface vessels. Our submarines took a heavy toll but could not, by themselves, prevent the invasion of Norway. In the Channel and in the North Sea, on the other hand, our superior naval surface forces, aided by our submarines, will operate with close and effective air assistance.

This brings me, naturally, to the great question of invasion from the air, and of the impending struggle between the British and German Air Forces. It seems quite clear that no invasion on a scale beyond the capacity of our land forces to crush speedily is likely to take place from the air until our Air Force has been definitely overpowered. In the meantime, there may be raids by parachute troops and attempted descents of airborne soldiers. We should be able to give those gentry a warm reception both in the air and on the ground, if they reach it in any condition to continue the dispute.

But the great question is: Can we break Hitler’s air weapon? Now, of course, it is a very great pity that we have not got an Air Force at least equal to that of the most powerful enemy within striking distance of these shores. But we have a very powerful Air Force which has proved itself far superior in quality, both in men and in many types of machine, to what we have met so far in the numerous and fierce air battles which have been fought with the Germans. In France, where we were at a considerable disadvantage and lost many machines on the ground when they were standing round the aerodromes, we were accustomed to inflict in the air losses of as much as two and two-and-a-half to one. In the fighting over Dunkirk, which was a sort of no-man’s-land, we undoubtedly beat the German Air Force, and gained the mastery of the local air, inflicting here a loss of three or four to one day after day. Anyone who looks at the photographs which were published a week or so ago of the re-embarkation, showing the masses of troops assembled on the beach and forming an ideal target for hours at a time, must realize that this re-embarkation would not have been possible unless the enemy had resigned all hope of recovering air superiority at that time and at that place.

In the defense of this Island the advantages to the defenders will be much greater than they were in the fighting around Dunkirk. We hope to improve on the rate of three or four to one which was realized at Dunkirk; and in addition all our injured machines and their crews which get down safely – and, surprisingly, a very great many injured machines and men do get down safely in modern air fighting – all of these will fall, in an attack upon these Islands, on friendly soil and live to fight another day; whereas all the injured enemy machines and their complements will be total losses as far as the war is concerned.

During the great battle in France, we gave very powerful and continuous aid to the French Army, both by fighters and bombers; but in spite of every kind of pressure we never would allow the entire metropolitan fighter strength of the Air Force to be consumed. This decision was painful, but it was also right, because the fortunes of the battle in France could not have been decisively affected even if we had thrown in our entire fighter force. That battle was lost by the unfortunate strategical opening, by the extraordinary and unforseen power of the armored columns, and by the great preponderance of the German Army in numbers. Our fighter Air Force might easily have been exhausted as a mere accident in that great struggle, and then we should have found ourselves at the present time in a very serious plight. But as it is, I am happy to inform the House that our fighter strength is stronger at the present time relatively to the Germans, who have suffered terrible losses, than it has ever been; and consequently we believe ourselves possessed of the capacity to continue the war in the air under better conditions than we have ever experienced before. I look forward confidently to the exploits of our fighter pilots – these splendid men, this brilliant youth – who will have the glory of saving their native land, their island home, and all they love, from the most deadly of all attacks.

There remains, of course, the danger of bombing attacks, which will certainly be made very soon upon us by the bomber forces of the enemy. It is true that the German bomber force is superior in numbers to ours; but we have a very large bomber force also, which we shall use to strike at military targets in Germany without intermission. I do not at all underrate the severity of the ordeal which lies before us; but I believe our countrymen will show themselves capable of standing up to it, like the brave men of Barcelona, and will be able to stand up to it, and carry on in spite of it, at least as well as any other people in the world. Much will depend upon this; every man and every woman will have the chance to show the finest qualities of their race, and render the highest service to their cause. For all of us, at this time, whatever our sphere, our station, our occupation or our duties, it will be a help to remember the famous lines:

He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene.

I have thought it right upon this occasion to give the House and the country some indication of the solid, practical grounds upon which we base our inflexible resolve to continue the war. There are a good many people who say, ‘Never mind. Win or lose, sink or swim, better die than submit to tyranny – and such a tyranny.’ And I do not dissociate myself from them. But I can assure them that our professional advisers of the three Services unitedly advise that we should carry on the war, and that there are good and reasonable hopes of final victory. We have fully informed and consulted all the self-governing Dominions, these great communities far beyond the oceans who have been built up on our laws and on our civilization, and who are absolutely free to choose their course, but are absolutely devoted to the ancient Motherland, and who feel themselves inspired by the same emotions which lead me to stake our all upon duty and honor. We have fully consulted them, and I have received from their Prime Ministers, Mr. Mackenzie King of Canada, Mr. Menzies of Australia, Mr. Fraser of New Zealand, and General Smuts of South Africa – that wonderful man, with his immense profound mind, and his eye watching from a distance the whole panorama of European affairs – I have received from all these eminent men, who all have Governments behind them elected on wide franchises, who are all there because they represent the will of their people, messages couched in the most moving terms in which they endorse our decision to fight on, and declare themselves ready to share our fortunes and to persevere to the end. That is what we are going to do.

We may now ask ourselves: In what way has our position worsened since the beginning of the war? It has worsened by the fact that the Germans have conquered a large part of the coast line of Western Europe, and many small countries have been overrun by them. This aggravates the possibilities of air attack and adds to our naval preoccupations. It in no way diminishes, but on the contrary definitely increases, the power of our long-distance blockade. Similarly, the entrance of Italy into the war increases the power of our long-distance blockade. We have stopped the worst leak by that. We do not know whether military resistance will come to an end in France or not, but should it do so, then of course the Germans will be able to concentrate their forces, both military and industrial, upon us. But for the reasons I have given to the House these will not be found so easy to apply. If invasion has become more imminent, as no doubt it has, we, being relieved from the task of maintaining a large army in France, have far larger and more efficient forces to meet it.

If Hitler can bring under his despotic control the industries of the countries he has conquered, this will add greatly to his already vast armament output. On the other hand, this will not happen immediately, and we are now assured of immense, continuous and increasing support in supplies and munitions of all kinds from the United States; and especially of aeroplanes and pilots from the Dominions and across the oceans coming from regions which are beyond the reach of enemy bombers.

I do not see how any of these factors can operate to our detriment on balance before the winter comes; and the winter will impose a strain upon the Nazi regime, with almost all Europe writhing and starving under its cruel heel, which, for all their ruthlessness, will run them very hard. We must not forget that from the moment when we declared war on the 3rd September it was always possible for Germany to turn all her Air Force upon this country, together with any other devices of invasion she might conceive, and that France could have done little or nothing to prevent her doing so. We have, therefore, lived under this danger, in principle and in a slightly modified form, during all these months. In the meanwhile, however, we have enormously improved our methods of defense, and we have learned what we had no right to assume at the beginning, namely, that the individual aircraft and the individual British pilot have a sure and definite superiority. Therefore, in casting up this dread balance sheet and contemplating our dangers with a disillusioned eye, I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatever for panic or despair.

During the first four years of the last war the Allies experienced nothing but disaster and disappointment. That was our constant fear: one blow after another, terrible losses, frightful dangers. Everything miscarried. And yet at the end of those four years the morale of the Allies was higher than that of the Germans, who had moved from one aggressive triumph to another, and who stood everywhere triumphant invaders of the lands into which they had broken. During that war we repeatedly asked ourselves the question: ‘How are we going to win?’ And no one was able ever to answer it with much precision, until at the end, quite suddenly, quite unexpectedly, our terrible foe collapsed before us, and we were so glutted with victory that in our folly we threw it away.

We do not yet know what will happen in France or whether the French resistance will be prolonged, both in France and in the French Empire overseas. The French Government will be throwing away great opportunities and casting adrift their future if they do not continue the war in accordance with their treaty obligations, from which we have not felt able to release them. The House will have read the historic declaration in which, at the desire of many Frenchmen – and of our own hearts – we have proclaimed our willingness at the darkest hour in French history to conclude a union of common citizenship in this struggle. However matters may go in France or with the French Government, or other French Governments, we in this Island and in the British Empire will never lose our sense of comradeship with the French people. If we are now called upon to endure what they have been suffering, we shall emulate their courage, and if final victory rewards our toils they shall share the gains, aye, and freedom shall be restored to all. We abate nothing of our just demands; not one jot or tittle do we recede. Czechs, Poles, Norwegians, Dutch, Belgians have joined their causes to our own. All these shall be restored.

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us.

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’

Winston Churchill – Their Finest Hourhttp://www.historyplace.com/speeches/churchill-hour.htm

“The Few” (1940)

At the height of the Battle of Britain, on 20 August 1940 Churchill gave his landmark speech in the House of Commons, paying tribute to the Royal Air Force pilots whose struggle was eventually to win the battle. Churchill’s measured but soaring rhetoric was a source of great inspiration and comfort for a nation under the greatest sustained bombing campaign to date and confronting the prospect of a German invasion.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/2446608/Top-25-political-speeches-of-all-time.html

On 15 August, the crisis of the battle of Britain was reached. All the resources of Fighter Command in the South were used. The most difficult and dangerous period of the Battle of Britain was between 24 August and 6 September, when the German attack was directed against the R.A.F airfields in the South of England with considerable success. In this speech Churchill coined the phrase “The Few” to describe the R.A.F fighter-pilots. The phrase stuck. The final sentence of this speech, including the use of the word “benignant,” is a good example of Churchill’s choice of unexpected and assertive adjectives to make a phrase memorable.

https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1940-the-finest-hour/the-few/

This speech is ranked #1 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time.

Almost a year has passed since the war began, and it is natural for us, I think, to pause on our journey at this milestone and survey the dark, wide field. It is also useful to compare the first year of this second war against German aggression with its forerunner a quarter of a century ago. Although this war is in fact only a continuation of the last, very great differences in its character are apparent. In the last war millions of men fought by hurling enormous masses of steel at one another. “Men and shells” was the cry, and prodigious slaughter was the consequence.

In this war nothing of this kind has yet appeared. It is a conflict of strategy, of organisation, of technical apparatus, of science, mechanics, and morale. The British casualties in the first 12 months of the Great War amounted to 365,000. In this war, I am thankful to say, British killed, wounded, prisoners, and missing, including civilians, do not exceed 92,000, and of these a large proportion are alive as prisoners of war. Looking more widely around, one may say that throughout all Europe for one man killed or wounded in the first year perhaps five were killed or wounded in 1914-15.

The slaughter is only a small fraction, but the consequences to the belligerents have been even more deadly. We have seen great countries with powerful armies dashed out of coherent existence in a few weeks. We have seen the French Republic and the renowned French Army beaten into complete and total submission with less than the casualties which they suffered in any one of half a dozen of the battles of 1914-18.

The entire body – it might almost seem at times the soul – of France has succumbed to physical effects incomparably less terrible than those which were sustained with fortitude and undaunted will power 25 years ago. Although up to the present the loss of life has been mercifully diminished, the decisions reached in the course of the struggle are even more profound upon the fate of nations than anything that has ever happened since barbaric times. Moves are made upon the scientific and strategic boards, advantages are gained by mechanical means, as a result of which scores of millions of men become incapable of further resistance, or judge themselves incapable of further resistance, and a fearful game of chess proceeds from check to mate by which the unhappy players seem to be inexorably bound.

There is another more obvious difference from 1914. The whole of the warring nations are engaged, not only soldiers, but the entire population, men, women, and children. The fronts are everywhere. The trenches are dug in the towns and streets. Every village is fortified. Every road is barred. The front line runs through the factories. The workmen are soldiers with different weapons but the same courage. These are great and distinctive changes from what many of us saw in the struggle of a quarter of a century ago.

There seems to be every reason to believe that this new kind of war is well suited to the genius and the resources of the British nation and the British Empire and that, once we get properly equipped and properly started, a war of this kind will be more favourable to us than the sombre mass slaughters of the Somme and Passchendaele. If it is a case of the whole nation fighting and suffering together, that ought to suit us, because we are the most united of all the nations, because we entered the war upon the national will and with our eyes open, and because we have been nurtured in freedom and individual responsibility and are the products, not of totalitarian uniformity but of tolerance and variety.

If all these qualities are turned, as they are being turned, to the arts of war, we may be able to show the enemy quite a lot of things that they have not thought of yet. Since the Germans drove the Jews out and lowered their technical standards, our science is definitely ahead of theirs. Our geographical position, the command of the sea, and the friendship of the United States enable us to draw resources from the whole world and to manufacture weapons of war of every kind, but especially of the superfine kinds, on a scale hitherto practised only by Nazi Germany.

Hitler is now sprawled over Europe. Our offensive springs are being slowly compressed, and we must resolutely and methodically prepare ourselves for the campaigns of 1941 and 1942. Two or three years are not a long time, even in our short, precarious lives. They are nothing in the history of the nation, and when we are doing the finest thing in the world, and have the honour to be the sole champion of the liberties of all Europe, we must not grudge these years of weary as we toil and struggle through them. It does not follow that our energies in future years will be exclusively confined to defending ourselves and our possessions. Many opportunities may lie open to amphibious power, and we must be ready to take advantage of them.

One of the ways to bring this war to a speedy end is to convince the enemy, not by words, but by deeds, that we have both the will and the means, not only to go on indefinitely but to strike heavy and unexpected blows. The road to victory may not be so long as we expect. But we have no right to count upon this. Be it long or short, rough or smooth, we mean to reach our journey’s end.

It is our intention to maintain and enforce a strict blockade not only of Germany but of Italy, France, and all the other countries that have fallen into the German power. I read in the papers that Herr Hitler has also proclaimed a strict blockade of the British Islands. No one can complain of that. I remember the Kaiser doing it in the last war. What indeed would be a matter of general complaint would be if we were to prolong the agony of all Europe by allowing food to come in to nourish the Nazis and aid their war effort, or to allow food to go in to the subjugated peoples, which certainly would be pillaged off them by their Nazi conquerors.

There have been many proposals, founded on the highest motives, that food should be allowed to pass the blockade for the relief of these populations. I regret that we must refuse these requests. The Nazis declare that they have created a new unified economy in Europe. They have repeatedly stated that they possess ample reserves of food and that they can feed their captive peoples.

In a German broadcast of 27th June it was said that while Mr. Hoover’s plan for relieving France, Belgium, and Holland deserved commendation, the German forces had already taken the necessary steps. We know that in Norway when the German troops went in, there were food supplies to last for a year. We know that Poland, though not a rich country, usually produces sufficient food for her people. Moreover, the other countries which Herr Hitler has invaded all held considerable stocks when the Germans entered and are themselves, in many cases, very substantial food producers. If all this food is not available now, it can only be because it has been removed to feed the people of Germany and to give them increased rations – for a change – during the last few months.

At this season of the year and for some months to come, there is the least chance of scarcity as the harvest has just been gathered in. The only agencies which can create famine in any part of Europe now and during the coming winter, will be German exactions or German failure to distribute the supplies which they command.

There is another aspect. Many of the most valuable foods are essential to the manufacture of vital war material. Fats are used to make explosives. Potatoes make the alcohol for motor spirit. The plastic materials now so largely used in the construction of aircraft are made of milk. If the Germans use these commodities to help them to bomb our women and children, rather than to feed the populations who produce them, we may be sure that imported foods would go the same way, directly or indirectly, or be employed to relieve the enemy of the responsibilities he has so wantonly assumed.

Let Hitler bear his responsibilities to the full and let the peoples of Europe who groan beneath his yoke aid in every way the coming of the day when that yoke will be broken. Meanwhile, we can and we will arrange in advance for the speedy entry of food into any part of the enslaved area, when this part has been wholly cleared of German forces, and has genuinely regained its freedom. We shall do our best to encourage the building up of reserves of food all over the world, so that there will always be held up before the eyes of the peoples of Europe, including – I say deliberately – the German and Austrian peoples, the certainty that the shattering of the Nazi power will bring to them all immediate food, freedom and peace.

Rather more than a quarter of a year has passed since the new Government came into power in this country. What a cataract of disaster has poured out upon us since then. The trustful Dutch overwhelmed; their beloved and respected Sovereign driven into exile; the peaceful city of Rotterdam the scene of a massacre as hideous and brutal as anything in the Thirty Years’ War. Belgium invaded and beaten down; our own fine Expeditionary Force, which King Leopold called to his rescue, cut off and almost captured, escaping as it seemed only by a miracle and with the loss of all its equipment; our Ally, France, out; Italy in against us; all France in the power of the enemy, all its arsenals and vast masses of military material converted or convertible to the enemy’s use; a puppet Government set up at Vichy which may at any moment be forced to become our foe; the whole Western seaboard of Europe from the North Cape to the Spanish frontier in German hands; all the ports, all the air-fields on this immense front, employed against us as potential springboards of invasion. Moreover, the German air power, numerically so far outstripping ours, has been brought so close to our Island that what we used to dread greatly has come to pass and the hostile bombers not only reach our shores in a few minutes and from many directions, but can be escorted by their fighting aircraft.

Why, Sir, if we had been confronted at the beginning of May with such a prospect, it would have seemed incredible that at the end of a period of horror and disaster, or at this point in a period of horror and disaster, we should stand erect, sure of ourselves, masters of our fate and with the conviction of final victory burning unquenchable in our hearts. Few would have believed we could survive; none would have believed that we should to-day not only feel stronger but should actually be stronger than we have ever been before.

Let us see what has happened on the other side of the scales. The British nation and the British Empire finding themselves alone, stood undismayed against disaster. No one flinched or wavered; nay, some who formerly thought of peace, now think only of war. Our people are united and resolved, as they have never been before. Death and ruin have become small things compared with the shame of defeat or failure in duty.

We cannot tell what lies ahead. It may be that even greater ordeals lie before us. We shall face whatever is coming to us. We are sure of ourselves and of our cause and that is the supreme fact which has emerged in these months of trial.

Meanwhile, we have not only fortified our hearts but our Island. We have rearmed and rebuilt our armies in a degree which would have been deemed impossible a few months ago. We have ferried across the Atlantic, in the month of July, thanks to our friends over there, an immense mass of munitions of all kinds, cannon, rifles, machine-guns, cartridges, and shell, all safely landed without the loss of a gun or a round. The output of our own factories, working as they have never worked before, has poured forth to the troops. The whole British Army is at home. More than 2,000,000 determined men have rifles and bayonets in their hands to-night and three-quarters of them are in regular military formations. We have never had armies like this in our Island in time of war. The whole Island bristles against invaders, from the sea or from the air.

As I explained to the House in the middle of June, the stronger our Army at home, the larger must the invading expedition be, and the larger the invading expedition, the less difficult will be the task of the Navy in detecting its assembly and in intercepting and destroying it on passage; and the greater also would be the difficulty of feeding and supplying the invaders if ever they landed, in the teeth of continuous naval and air attack on their communications. All this is classical and venerable doctrine. As in Nelson’s day, the maxim holds, “Our first line of defence is the enemy’s ports.” Now air reconnaissance and photography have brought to an old principle a new and potent aid.

Our Navy is far stronger than it was at the beginning of the war. The great flow of new construction set on foot at the outbreak is now beginning to come in. We hope our friends across the ocean will send us a timely reinforcement to bridge the gap between the peace flotillas of 1939 and the war flotillas of 1941. There is no difficulty in sending such aid. The seas and oceans are open. The U-boats are contained. The magnetic mine is, up to the present time, effectively mastered. The merchant tonnage under the British flag, after a year of unlimited U-boat war, after eight months of intensive mining attack, is larger than when we began. We have, in addition, under our control at least 4,000,000 tons of shipping from the captive countries which has taken refuge here or in the harbours of the Empire. Our stocks of food of all kinds are far more abundant than in the days of peace and a large and growing programme of food production is on foot.

Why do I say all this? Not assuredly to boast; not assuredly to give the slightest countenance to complacency. The dangers we face are still enormous, but so are our advantages and resources.

I recount them because the people have a right to know that there are solid grounds for the confidence which we feel, and that we have good reason to believe ourselves capable, as I said in a very dark hour two months ago, of continuing the war “if necessary alone, if necessary for years.” I say it also because the fact that the British Empire stands invincible, and that Nazidom is still being resisted, will kindle again the spark of hope in the breasts of hundreds of millions of downtrodden or despairing men and women throughout Europe, and far beyond its bounds, and that from these sparks there will presently come cleansing and devouring flame.

The great air battle which has been in progress over this Island for the last few weeks has recently attained a high intensity. It is too soon to attempt to assign limits either to its scale or to its duration. We must certainly expect that greater efforts will be made by the enemy than any he has so far put forth. Hostile air fields are still being developed in France and the Low Countries, and the movement of squadrons and material for attacking us is still proceeding.

It is quite plain that Herr Hitler could not admit defeat in his air attack on Great Britain without sustaining most serious injury. If, after all his boastings and blood-curdling threats and lurid accounts trumpeted round the world of the damage he has inflicted, of the vast numbers of our Air Force he has shot down, so he says, with so little loss to himself; if after tales of the panic-stricken British crushed in their holes cursing the plutocratic Parliament which has led them to such a plight; if after all this his whole air onslaught were forced after a while tamely to peter out, the Fuehrer’s reputation for veracity of statement might be seriously impugned. We may be sure, therefore, that he will continue as long as he has the strength to do so, and as long as any preoccupations he may have in respect of the Russian Air Force allow him to do so.

On the other hand, the conditions and course of the fighting have so far been favourable to us. I told the House two months ago that whereas in France our fighter aircraft were wont to inflict a loss of two or three to one upon the Germans, and in the fighting at Dunkirk, which was a kind of no-man’s-land, a loss of about three or four to one, we expected that in an attack on this Island we should achieve a larger ratio. This has certainly come true. It must also be remembered that all the enemy machines and pilots which are shot down over our Island, or over the seas which surround it, are either destroyed or captured; whereas a considerable proportion of our machines, and also of our pilots, are saved, and soon again in many cases come into action.

A vast and admirable system of salvage, directed by the Ministry of Aircraft Production, ensures the speediest return to the fighting line of damaged machines, and the most provident and speedy use of all the spare parts and material. At the same time the splendid, nay, astounding increase in the output and repair of British aircraft and engines which Lord Beaverbrook has achieved by a genius of organisation and drive, which looks like magic, has given us overflowing reserves of every type of aircraft, and an ever-mounting stream of production both in quantity and quality.

The enemy is, of course, far more numerous than we are. But our new production already, as I am advised, largely exceeds his, and the American production is only just beginning to flow in. It is a fact, as I see from my daily returns, that our bomber and fighter strength now, after all this fighting, are larger than they have ever been. We believe that we shall be able to continue the air struggle indefinitely and as long as the enemy pleases, and the longer it continues the more rapid will be our approach, first towards that parity, and then into that superiority in the air, upon which in a large measure the decision of the war depends.

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power. On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain.

We are able to verify the results of bombing military targets in Germany, not only by reports which reach us through many sources, but also, of course, by photography. I have no hesitation in saying that this process of bombing the military industries and communications of Germany and the air bases and storage depots from which we are attacked, which process will continue upon an ever-increasing scale until the end of the war, and may in another year attain dimensions hitherto undreamed of, affords one at least of the most certain, if not the shortest of all the roads to victory. Even if the Nazi legions stood triumphant on the Black Sea, or indeed upon the Caspian, even if Hitler was at the gates of India, it would profit him nothing if at the same time the entire economic and scientific apparatus of German war power lay shattered and pulverised at home.

The fact that the invasion of this Island upon a large scale has become a far more difficult operation with every week that has passed since we saved our Army at Dunkirk, and our very great preponderance of sea-power enable us to turn our eyes and to turn our strength increasingly towards the Mediterranean and against that other enemy who, without the slightest provocation, coldly and deliberately, for greed and gain, stabbed France in the back in the moment of her agony, and is now marching against us in Africa.

The defection of France has, of course, been deeply damaging to our position in what is called, somewhat oddly, the Middle East. In the defence of Somaliland, for instance, we had counted upon strong French forces attacking the Italians from Jibuti. We had counted also upon the use of the French naval and air bases in the Mediterranean, and particularly upon the North African shore. We had counted upon the French Fleet. Even though metropolitan France was temporarily overrun, there was no reason why the French Navy, substantial parts of the French Army, the French Air Force and the French Empire overseas should not have continued the struggle at our side.

Shielded by overwhelming sea-power, possessed of invaluable strategic bases and of ample funds, France might have remained one of the great combatants in the struggle. By so doing, France would have preserved the continuity of her life, and the French Empire might have advanced with the British Empire to the rescue of the independence and integrity of the French Motherland.

In our own case, if we had been put in the terrible position of France, a contingency now happily impossible, although, of course, it would have been the duty of all war leaders to fight on here to the end, it would also have been their duty, as I indicated in my speech of 4th June, to provide as far as possible for the Naval security of Canada and our Dominions and to make sure they had the means to carry the struggle from beyond the oceans. Most of the other countries that have been overrun by Germany for the time being have preserved valiantly and faithfully. The Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Dutch, the Belgians are still in the field, sword in hand, recognised by Great Britain and the United States as the sole representative authorities and lawful Governments of their respective States.

That France alone should lie prostrate at this moment, is the crime, not of a great and noble nation, but of what are called “the men of Vichy.” We have profound sympathy with the French people. Our old comradeship with France is not dead. In General de Gaulle and his gallant band, that comradeship takes an effective form. These free Frenchmen have been condemned to death by Vichy, but the day will come, as surely as the sun will rise to-morrow, when their names will be held in honour, and their names will be graven in stone in the streets and villages of a France restored in a liberated Europe to its full freedom and its ancient fame.

But this conviction which I feel of the future cannot affect the immediate problems which confront us in the Mediterranean and in Africa. It had been decided some time before the beginning of the war not to defend the Protectorate of Somaliland. That policy was changed when the French gave in, and when our small forces there, a few battalions, a few guns, were attacked by all the Italian troops, nearly two divisions, which had formerly faced the French at Jibuti, it was right to withdraw our detachments, virtually intact, for action elsewhere. Far larger operations no doubt impend in the Middle East theatre, and I shall certainly not attempt to discuss or prophesy about their probable course. We have large armies and many means of reinforcing them. We have the complete sea command of the Eastern Mediterranean. We intend to do our best to give a good account of ourselves, and to discharge faithfully and resolutely all our obligations and duties in that quarter of the world. More than that I do not think the House would wish me to say at the present time.

A good many people have written to me to ask me to make on this occasion a fuller statement of our war aims, and of the kind of peace we wish to make after the war, than is contained in the very considerable declaration which was made early in the Autumn. Since then we have made common cause with Norway, Holland, and Belgium. We have recognised the Czech Government of Dr. Benes, and we have told General de Gaulle that our success will carry with it the restoration of France.

I do not think it would be wise at this moment, while the battle rages and the war is still perhaps only in its earlier stage, to embark upon elaborate speculations about the future shape which should be given to Europe or the new securities which must be arranged to spare mankind the miseries of a third World War. The ground is not new, it has been frequently traversed and explored, and many ideas are held about it in common by all good men, and all free men. But before we can undertake the task of rebuilding we have not only to be convinced ourselves, but we have to convince all other countries that the Nazi tyranny is going to be finally broken.

The right to guide the course of world history is the noblest prize of victory. We are still toiling up the hill; we have not yet reached the crest-line of it; we cannot survey the landscape or even imagine what its condition will be when that longed-for morning comes. The task which lies before us immediately is at once more practical, more simple and more stern. I hope – indeed I pray – that we shall not be found unworthy of our victory if after toil and tribulation it is granted to us. For the rest, we have to gain the victory. That is our task.

There is, however, one direction in which we can see a little more clearly ahead. We have to think not only for ourselves but for the lasting security of the cause and principles for which we are fighting and of the long future of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Some months ago we came to the conclusion that the interests of the United States and of the British Empire both required that the United States should have facilities for the naval and air defence of the Western hemisphere against the attack of a Nazi power which might have acquired temporary but lengthy control of a large part of Western Europe and its formidable resources.

We had therefore decided spontaneously, and without being asked or offered any inducement, to inform the Government of the United States that we would be glad to place such defence facilities at their disposal by leasing suitable sites in our Transatlantic possessions for their greater security against the unmeasured dangers of the future.

The principle of association of interests for common purposes between Great Britain and the United States had developed even before the war. Various agreements had been reached about certain small islands in the Pacific Ocean which had become important as air fuelling points. In all this line of thought we found ourselves in very close harmony with the Government of Canada.

Presently we learned that anxiety was also felt in the United States about the air and naval defence of their Atlantic seaboard, and President Roosevelt has recently made it clear that he would like to discuss with us, and with the Dominion of Canada and with Newfoundland, the development of American naval and air facilities in Newfoundland and in the West Indies. There is, of course, no question of any transference of sovereignty – that has never been suggested – or of any action being taken, without the consent or against the wishes of the various Colonies concerned, but for our part, His Majesty’s Government are entirely willing to accord defence facilities to the United States on a 99 years’ leasehold basis, and we feel sure that our interests no less than theirs, and the interests of the Colonies themselves and of Canada and Newfoundland will be served thereby.

These are important steps. Undoubtedly this process means that these two great organisations of the English-speaking democracies, the British Empire and the United States, will have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs for mutual and general advantage.

For my own part, looking out upon the future, I do not view the process with any misgivings. I could not stop it if I wished; no one can stop it. Like the Mississippi, it just keeps rolling along. Let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broader lands and better days.

The Fewhttps://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1940-the-finest-hour/the-few/

Charles de Gaulle

Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (1890–1970) was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War 2. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969.

During World War 2, de Gaulle earned the rank of brigadier general (retained throughout his life), leading one of the few successful armoured counter-attacks during the 1940 Battle of France in May at Montcornet, and then briefly served in the French government as France was falling. De Gaulle was the most senior French military officer to reject the June 1940 armistice to Nazi Germany right from the outset.

He escaped to Britain and organised the Free French Forces with exiled French officers in Britain. As the war progressed de Gaulle gradually gained control of all French colonies except Indochina most of which had at first been controlled by the pro-German Vichy regime. Despite earning a reputation for being a difficult man to do business with, by the time of the Allied invasion of France in 1944 he was heading what amounted to a French government in exile, but although he insisted that France be treated as a great independent power by the other Allies, the Americans in particular remained deeply suspicious of his motives. De Gaulle became prime minister in the French Provisional Government, resigning in 1946 due to political conflicts.

Charles de Gaullehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Gaulle

The Appeal of 18 June (1940)

The Appeal of 18 June (L’Appel du 18 juin) was a famous speech in 1940 by Charles de Gaulle. The appeal is often considered to be the origin of the French Resistance to the German occupation during World War 2. De Gaulle spoke to the French people from London after the fall of France. He declared that the war for France was not yet over, and rallied the country in support of the Resistance. It is one of the most important speeches in French history.

In spite of its reputation as the beginning of the Resistance and Free French, historians have shown that the appeal was heard only by a minority of French people. De Gaulle’s 22 June 1940 speech on the BBC was much more widely heard.

This speech is evaluated as
– one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian;
– #12 in the 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness;
– #17 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time.

Charles de Gaulle delivers a speech from London in 1940
De Gaulle: L’Appel du 18 juin

The leaders who, for many years, have been at the head of the French armies have formed a government. This government, alleging the defeat of our armies, has made contact with the enemy in order to stop the fighting. It is true, we were, we are, overwhelmed by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it is the tanks, the aeroplanes, the tactics of the Germans which are causing us to retreat. It was the tanks, the aeroplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point of bringing them to where they are today.

But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!

Believe me, I who am speaking to you with full knowledge of the facts, and who tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us victory one day. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of the United States.

This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not over as a result of the Battle of France. This war is a worldwide war. All the mistakes, all the delays, all the suffering, do not alter the fact that there are, in the world, all the means necessary to crush our enemies one day. Vanquished today by mechanical force, in the future we will be able to overcome by a superior mechanical force. The fate of the world depends on it.

I, General de Gaulle, currently in London, invite the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who might end up here, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the specialised workers of the armament industries who are located in British territory or who might end up here, to put themselves in contact with me.

Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished. Tomorrow, as today, I will speak on the radio from London.

Appeal of 18 June, translationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_of_18_June

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong, 1957
Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong (1893–1976), was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, his theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

Mao adopted Marxism–Leninism while working at Peking University, and became a founding member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the CPC, Mao helped to found the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet’s radical land policies, and ultimately became head of the CPC during the Long March. Although the CPC temporarily allied with the KMT under the United Front during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), China’s civil war resumed after Japan’s surrender and in 1949 Mao’s forces defeated the Nationalist government, which withdrew to Taiwan.

On 1 October 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the PRC, a single-party state controlled by the CPC. In the following years he solidified his control through land reforms and through a psychological victory in the Korean War, as well as through campaigns against landlords, people he termed “counter-revolutionaries”, and other perceived enemies of the state.

In 1957, he launched a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward that aimed to rapidly transform China’s economy from agrarian to industrial. In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove “counter-revolutionary” elements in Chinese society which lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts, and an unprecedented elevation of Mao’s cult of personality. The program is now officially regarded as a “severe setback” for the PRC.

A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history. He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary. Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China, modernising the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing life expectancy as China’s population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership. Conversely, his regime has been called autocratic and totalitarian, and condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artifacts and sites. It was additionally responsible for vast numbers of deaths as Mao’s Great Leap Forward killed 37.55 million(1)  through starvation, prison labour and mass executions.

Serve the People (1944)

The speeches by Mao Zedong often highlight two important themes both in Mao’s thinking and in the goals of the communist revolution:

1/ The notion of “voluntarism” in Mao’s thought. He believed that any task could be accomplished through sheer will. He also had great confidence in the power of the “harnessed” will of the people — especially the peasants.

2/ The idea of selflessness. This is brought out quite clearly in the speech “Serve the People.” The notion of sacrificing one’s own interest to the interests of the greater good is universal, and greatly influenced Mao’s thinking.

The following speech was delivered on 8 September 1944 by Mao Zedong at a memorial ceremony for Chang Szu-the, held by departments directly under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Our Communist Party and the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies led by our Party are battalions of the revolution. These battalions of ours are wholly dedicated to the liberation of the people and work entirely in the people’s interests. Comrade Chang Szu-the(2) was in the ranks of these battalions.

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Sima Qian said, “Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.”(3) To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather. Comrade Chang Szu-teh died for the people, and his death is indeed weightier than Mount Tai.

If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the people, we will act upon it. The idea of “better troops and simpler administration” was put forward by Mr. Li Tingming(4), who is not a Communist. He made a good suggestion which is of benefit to the people, and we have adopted it. If, in the interests of the people, we persist in doing what is right and correct what is wrong, our ranks will surely thrive.

We hail from all corners of the country and have joined together for a common revolutionary objective. And we need the vast majority of the people with us on the road to this objective. Today, we already lead base areas with a population of 91 million(5) but this is not enough; to liberate the whole nation more are needed. In times of difficulty we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and must pluck up our courage. The Chinese people are suffering; it is our duty to save them and we must exert ourselves in struggle. Wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence. But we have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart, and when we die for the people it is a worthy death. Nevertheless, we should do our best to avoid unnecessary sacrifices. Our cadres must show concern for every soldier, and all people in the revolutionary ranks must care for each other, must love and help each other.

From now on, when anyone in our ranks who has done some useful work dies, be he soldier or cook, we should have a funeral ceremony and a memorial meeting in his honor. This should become the rule. And it should be introduced among the people as well. When someone dies in a village, let a memorial meeting be held. In this way we express our mourning for the dead and unite all the people.

Commonly Read Speeches and Writings of Mao Zedong (1927-1945)http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/china_1900_mao_speeches.htm#introduction

Also in: Selected works of Mao Tse-Tung, Volume 3. Pergamon Press, 1965.

Notes

(1) 37.55 million deaths is China’s official figure, see: Xin Ziling (2007). 紅太陽的隕落 : 千秋功罪毛澤東 – Hong tai yang de yun luo: Qian qiu gong zui Mao Zedong.

(2) Comrade Chang Szu-the: a soldier in the Guards Regiment of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. A member of Communist Party, he joined the revolation in 1933, took part in the Long March and was wounded in service. On 5 September 1944, when making charcoal in the mountains of Ansai County, northern Shensi, he was killed by the sudden collapse of a kiln.

(3) Sima Qian (c. 145 BC – c. 86 BC): the famous Chinese historian of the 2nd century BCE, was the author of the “Historical Records” (Chinese name: Shiji). This work covers a 2500-year period from the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han in the author’s own time. The quotation comes from his “Reply to Ren Shaoqing’s Letter.”

(4) Li Ting-ming: an enlightened landlord of northern Shensi Province, was at one time elected Vice-Chairman of the Shensi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region Government.

(5) 91 million: this was the total population of the Shensi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region and all other Liberated Areas in northern, central and southern China.

Douglas MacArthur

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War 2. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign. Arthur MacArthur, Jr., and Douglas MacArthur were the first father and son to each be awarded the medal. He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.

Douglas MacArthur was raised in a military family in the American Old West. He attended the West Texas Military Academy, where he was valedictorian, and the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was First Captain and graduated top of the class of 1903. During the 1914 United States occupation of Veracruz, he conducted a reconnaissance mission, for which he was nominated for the Medal of Honor. In the fighting on the Western Front during World War I, he rose to the rank of brigadier general, was again nominated for a Medal of Honor, and was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as well as the Silver Star seven times.

From 1919–1922, MacArthur served as Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he attempted a series of reforms. His next assignment was in the Philippines, where in 1924 he was instrumental in quelling the Philippine Scout Mutiny. In 1930, he became Chief of Staff of the United States Army. As such, he was involved with the expulsion of the Bonus Army protesters from Washington, D.C., in 1932, and the establishment and organization of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1937 to become Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.

MacArthur was recalled to active duty in 1941 as commander of U.S. Army Forces Far East. A series of disasters followed, starting with the destruction of his air force on 8 December 1941, and the invasion of the Philippines by the Japanese. MacArthur’s forces were soon compelled to withdraw to Bataan, where they held out until May 1942.

In March 1942, MacArthur, his family and his staff left Corregidor Island in PT boats and escaped to Australia, where MacArthur became Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area. For his defense of the Philippines, MacArthur was awarded the Medal of Honor. After more than two years of fighting in the Pacific, he fulfilled a promise to return to the Philippines. He officially accepted Japan’s surrender on 2 September 1945, and oversaw the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. As the effective ruler of Japan, he oversaw sweeping economic, political and social changes. He led the United Nations Command in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951. On 11 April 1951, MacArthur was removed from command by President Harry S. Truman. He later became Chairman of the Board of Remington Rand.

Speeches in Surrender ceremony (1945)

See: “A better world shall emerge” – Douglas MacArthurhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/a-better-world-shall-emerge-douglas-macarthur/

“Old soldiers never die”/ Farewell Address to Congress (1951)

See: “Old soldiers never die” – Douglas MacArthurhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/old-soldiers-never-die-douglas-macarthur-2/

“Duty, Honor, Country” (1962)

In 1962, MacArthur was in the twilight of his life and came to West Point to accept the Sylvanus Thayer Award(1) and participate in his final cadet roll call. His address reflects upon and celebrates the brave and courageous men who came before, men he personally led, men who embodied “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Sylvanus Thayer Award Acceptance Address delivered 12 May 1962, West Point, NY.

This speech is evaluated as
– one of the 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness;
– #20 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University.

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Duty Honor Country (Paul Steucke) General Westmoreland(2), General Grove, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps!

Douglas MacArthur_Duty Honor Country (Paul Steucke)
“Duty, Honor, Country” (Paul Steucke)

As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, “Where are you bound for, General?” And when I replied, “West Point,” he remarked, “Beautiful place. Have you ever been there before?” [laughter]

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this [Thayer Award]. Coming from a profession I have served so long, and a people I have loved so well, it fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily to honor a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code – the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the animation of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future yet never neglect the past; to be serious yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now – as one of the world’s noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give.

He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage.

As I listened to those songs [of the glee club], in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always, for them: Duty, Honor, Country; always their blood and sweat and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth.

And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts; those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms; the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails; the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished; the deadly pestilence of tropical disease; the horror of stricken areas of war; their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory – always victory. Always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men reverently following your password of: Duty, Honor, Country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice.

In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him.

However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.

You now face a new world – a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres, and missiles mark the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier.

We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; to purify sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundreds of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

And through all this welter of change and development, your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable: it is to win our wars.

Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment. But you are the ones who are trained to fight. Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed; that the very obsession of your public service must be: Duty, Honor, Country.

Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds; but serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation’s war-guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

This does not mean that you are war mongers.

On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.

But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point.

Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps.

I bid you farewell.

General Douglas MacArthur Sylvanus Thayer Award Acceptance Address (with audio recording) – http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/douglasmacarthurthayeraward.html

Notes

(1) Sylvanus Thayer Award: an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created. During his tenure, Thayer transformed West Point into an excellent engineering school.

(2) Westmoreland: major general, superintendent of West Point.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai (1876–1948) was a lawyer, politician, and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan’s independence on 14 August 1947, and as Pakistan’s first Governor-General from independence until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam[b] (Great Leader) and Baba-i-Qaum[c] (Father of the Nation). His birthday is observed as a national holiday.

Born in Karachi and trained as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in London, Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In these early years of his political career, Jinnah advocated Hindu–Muslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, a party in which Jinnah had also become prominent. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims should a united British India become independent. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, or non-violent resistance, advocated by the influential leader, Mohandas Gandhi.

By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Indian Muslims should have their own state. In that year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for a united India, leading all parties to agree to separate independence for a predominately Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state, to be called Pakistan.

As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation’s government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim migrants who had emigrated from the new nation of India to Pakistan after the partition, personally supervising the establishment of refugee camps. Jinnah died at age 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the British Raj. He left a deep and respected legacy in Pakistan, though he is less well thought of in India. According to his biographer, Stanley Wolpert, he remains Pakistan’s greatest leader.

First Presidential Address (1947)

This is one of the most notable speeches made by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It was the speech in which Muhammad Ali Jinnah set out his vision for the nascent Pakistan, a nation he hoped would be prosperous, tolerant and where corruption would find no home.

While Pakistan was created as a result of what could be described as Indian Muslim nationalism, Jinnah was once an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity. When the partition of India finally occurred, Jinnah, soon-to-be Governor-General of the Dominion of Pakistan, outlined his vision of Pakistan in an address to the Constituent Assembly, delivered on 11August 1947. He spoke of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen!

[[1]] I cordially thank you, with the utmost sincerity, for the honour you have conferred upon me – the greatest honour that is possible for this Sovereign Assembly to confer – by electing me as your first President. I also thank those leaders who have spoken in appreciation of my services and [thank them for] their personal references to me. I sincerely hope that with your support and your co-operation we shall make this Constituent Assembly an example to the world. The Constituent Assembly has got two main functions to perform. The first is the very onerous and responsible task of framing the future constitution of Pakistan and the second of functioning as a full and complete sovereign body as the Federal Legislature of Pakistan. We have to do the best we can in adopting a provisional constitution for the Federal Legislature of Pakistan. You know really that not only we ourselves are wondering but, I think, the whole world is wondering at this unprecedented cyclonic revolution which has brought about the plan of creating and establishing two independent Sovereign Dominions in this sub-continent. As it is, it has been unprecedented; there is no parallel in the history of the world. This mighty sub-continent with all kinds of inhabitants has been brought under a plan which is titanic, unknown, unparalleled. And what is very important with regard to it is that we have achieved it peacefully and by means of an evolution of the greatest possible character.

[[2]] Dealing with our first function in this Assembly, I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement at this moment, but I shall say a few things as they occur to me. The first and the foremost thing that I would like to emphasize is this: remember that you are now a Sovereign Legislative body and you have got all the powers. It therefore places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions. The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.

[[3]] The second thing that occurs to me is this: One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering – I do not say that other countries are free from it, but I think our condition is much worse – is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand, and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do so.

[[4]] Black-marketing is another curse. Well, I know that black-marketeers are frequently caught and punished. Judicial sentences are passed, or sometimes fines only are imposed. Now you have to tackle this monster, which today is a colossal crime against society, in our distressed conditions, when we constantly face shortage of food and other essential commodities of life. A citizen who does black-marketing commits, I think, a greater crime than the biggest and most grievous of crimes. These black-marketeers are really knowing, intelligent, and ordinarily responsible people, and when they indulge in black-marketing, I think they ought to be very severely punished, because they undermine the entire system of control and regulation of foodstuffs and essential commodities, and cause wholesale starvation and want and even death.

[[5]] The next thing that strikes me is this: Here again it is a legacy which has been passed on to us. Along with many other things, good and bad, has arrived this great evil – the evil of nepotism and jobbery. I want to make it quite clear that I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery [=corrupt employment practices], nepotism, or any any influence directly or indirectly brought to bear upon me. Whenever I will find that such a practice is in vogue or is continuing anywhere, low or high, I shall certainly not countenance it.

[[6]] I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of every one of us to loyally abide by it and honourably act according to the agreement which is now final and binding on all. But you must remember, as I have said, that this mighty revolution that has taken place is unprecedented. One can quite understand the feeling that exists between the two communities wherever one community is in majority and the other is in minority. But the question is, whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done. A division had to take place. On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it; but in my judgement there was no other solution, and I am sure future history will record its verdict in favour of it. And what is more, it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that that was the only solution of India’s constitutional problem. Any idea of a united India could never have worked, and in my judgement it would have led us to terrific disaster. Maybe that view is correct; maybe it is not; that remains to be seen. All the same, in this division it was impossible to avoid the question of minorities being in one Dominion or the other. Now that was unavoidable. There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that every one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste, or creed, is first, second, and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.

[[7]] I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit, and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community – because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalees, Madrasis and so on – will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence, and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls, in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State. The people of England in [the] course of time had to face the realities of the situation, and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country; and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain, and they are all members of the Nation.

[[8]] Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus, and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.

[[9]] Well, gentlemen, I do not wish to take up any more of your time; and thank you again for the honour you have done to me. I shall always be guided by the principles of justice and fair play without any, as is put in the political language, prejudice or ill-will; in other words, partiality or favouritism. My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest Nations of the world.

[[10]] I have received a message from the United States of America addressed to me. It reads:

I have the honour to communicate to you, in Your Excellency’s capacity as President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, the following message which I have just received from the Secretary of State of the United States:

On the occasion of of the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly for Pakistan, I extend to you and to the members of the Assembly, the best wishes of the Government and the people of the United States for the successful conclusion of the great work you are about to undertake.

Source: G. Allana, Pakistan Movement Historical Documents (Karachi: Department of International Relations, University of Karachi, nd [1969]), pp. 407-411. Paragraph numbers in double brackets have been added by FWP for classroom use; punctuation has been slightly adjusted for clarity. Editorial comments in square brackets have been added by FWP.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s first Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (August 11, 1947)http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/txt_jinnah_assembly_1947.html

George C. Marshall

George Catlett Marshall (1880–1959) was an American military leader with a rank of General of the Army, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense. Once noted as the “organizer of victory” by Winston Churchill for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War 2, Marshall served as the United States Army Chief of Staff during the war and as the chief military adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As Secretary of State, his name was given to the Marshall Plan.

After leaving office, in a television interview, Harry Truman was asked who he thought was the American who made the greatest contribution of the last thirty years. Without hesitation, Truman picked Marshall, adding “I don’t think in this age in which I have lived, that there has been a man who has been a greater administrator; a man with a knowledge of military affairs equal to General Marshall.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_C._Marshall

The Marshall Plan (1947)

Two years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall returned home from a visit to Europe and reported, “The recovery of Europe is far slower than had been expected. Disintegrating forces are becoming evident. The patient is sinking while the doctors deliberate…” Much of Europe lay in ruins. People faced shortages of housing, food, raw materials such as coal, and also lacked the money to pay for imports. The survival of Europe was at stake.

When asked to deliver the 5 June 1947 commencement address at Harvard University, Marshall accepted the invitation and used the opportunity to suggest an economic recovery plan to revitalize Europe, later known as the Marshall Plan.

This speech is ranked #54 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University.

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Mr. President, Dr. Conant, members of the Board of Overseers, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am profoundly grateful, touched by the great distinction and honor and great compliment accorded me by the authorities of Harvard this morning. I am overwhelmed, as a matter of fact, and I am rather fearful of my inability to maintain such a high rating as you’ve been generous enough to accord to me. In these historic and lovely surroundings, this perfect day, and this very wonderful assembly, it is a tremendously impressive thing to an individual in my position.

George Marshall at Havard 1947
George Marshall at Havard University, 1947

But to speak more seriously, I need not tell you that the world situation is very serious. That must be apparent to all intelligent people. I think one difficulty is that the problem is one of such enormous complexity that the very mass of facts presented to the public by press and radio make it exceedingly difficult for the man in the street to reach a clear appraisement of the situation. Furthermore, the people of this country are distant from the troubled areas of the earth, and it is hard for them to comprehend the plight and consequent reactions of the long-suffering peoples of Europe and the effect of those reactions on their governments in connection with our efforts to promote peace in the world.

In considering the requirements for the rehabilitation of Europe, the physical loss of life, the visible destruction of cities, factories, mines, and railroads was correctly estimated, but it has become obvious during recent months that this visible destruction was probably less serious than the dislocation of the entire fabric of European economy. For the past ten years conditions have been highly abnormal. The feverish preparation for war and the more feverish maintenance of the war effort engulfed all aspects of national economies. Machinery has fallen into disrepair or is entirely obsolete. Under the arbitrary and destructive Nazi rule, virtually every possible enterprise was geared into the German war machine. Long-standing commercial ties, private institutions, banks, insurance companies, and shipping companies disappeared through loss of capital, absorption through nationalization, or by simple destruction. In many countries, confidence in the local currency has been severely shaken. The breakdown of the business structure of Europe during the war was complete. Recovery has been seriously retarded by the fact that two years after the close of hostilities a peace settlement with Germany and Austria has not been agreed upon. But even given a more prompt solution of these difficult problems, the rehabilitation of the economic structure of Europe quite evidently will require a much longer time and greater effort than had been foreseen.

There is a phase of this matter which is both interesting and serious. The farmer has always produced the foodstuffs to exchange with the city dweller for the other necessities of life. This division of labor is the basis of modern civilization. At the present time it is threatened with breakdown. The town and city industries are not producing adequate goods to exchange with the food-producing farmer. Raw materials and fuel are in short supply. Machinery, as I have said, is lacking or worn out. The farmer or the peasant cannot find the goods for sale which he desires to purchase. So the sale of his farm produce for money which he cannot use seems to him an unprofitable transaction. He, therefore, has withdrawn many fields from crop cultivation and he’s using them for grazing. He feeds more grain to stock and finds for himself and his family an ample supply of food, however short he may be on clothing and the other ordinary gadgets of civilization.

Meanwhile, people in the cities are short of food and fuel, and in some places approaching the starvation levels. So, the governments are forced to use their foreign money and credits to procure these necessities abroad. This process exhausts funds which are urgently needed for reconstruction. Thus, a very serious situation is rapidly developing which bodes no good for the world. The modern system of the division of labor upon which the exchange of products is based is in danger of breaking down. The truth of the matter is that Europe’s requirements for the next three or four years of foreign food and other essential products – principally from America – are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character.

The remedy seems to lie in breaking the vicious circle and restoring the confidence of the people of Europe in the economic future of their own countries and of Europe as a whole. The manufacturer and the farmer throughout wide areas must be able and willing to exchange their product for currencies, the continuing value of which is not open to question.

Aside from the demoralizing effect on the world at large and the possibilities of disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people concerned, the consequences to the economy of the United States should be apparent to all. It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.

Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis, as various crises develop. Any assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation, I am sure, on the part of the United States Government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. [applause] Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit there from politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States. [applause]

It is already evident that before the United States Government can proceed much further in its efforts to alleviate the situation and help start the European world on its way to recovery, there must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take in order to give a proper effect to whatever actions might be undertaken by this Government. It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for our Government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the Europeans. The initiative, I think, must come from Europe. The role of this country should consist of friendly aid in the drafting of a European program and of later support of such a program so far as it may be practical for us to do so. The program should be a joint one, agreed to by a number, if not all, European nations.

An essential part of any successful action on the part of the United States is an understanding on the part of the people of America of the character of the problem and the remedies to be applied. Political passion and prejudice should have no part. With foresight, and a willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibility which history has clearly placed upon our country, the difficulties I have outlined can and will be overcome. [applause]

I am sorry that on each occasion I have said something publicly in regard to our international situation, I have been forced by the necessities of the case to enter into rather technical discussions. But, to my mind, it is of vast importance that our people reach some general understanding of what the complications really are, rather than react from a passion or a prejudice or an emotion of the moment.

As I said more formally a moment ago, we are remote from the scene of these troubles. It is virtually impossible at this distance merely by reading, or listening, or even seeing photographs and motion pictures, to grasp at all the real significance of the situation. And yet the whole world of the future hangs on a proper judgment. It hangs, I think, to a large extent on the realization of the American people, of just what are the various dominant factors. What are the reactions of the people? What are the justifications of those reactions? What are the sufferings? What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done?

Thank you very much.

George C. Marshall The Marshall Plan (with audio recording) – http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/georgecmarshall.html
http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/marshall.htm

* * *

In 1948, the European Recovery Program (ERP) went into effect and was popularly known as the Marshall Plan. To help restore Europe and halt the spread of Communism, the U.S. Congress approved funds that would eventually rise to over USD 12 billion for the rebuilding of Western Europe. The Marshall Plan spurred European re-industrialization and brought much needed humanitarian relief to the war-torn countries. It also stimulated the U.S. economy by establishing overseas markets for American goods. In 1953, George C. Marshall became the only former military general ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

From April 1948 to December 1951 western Europe received a gigantic financial boost that, all in all, was worth around USD 13 billion.

In recognition of his work in the Marshall Plan, Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964), often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian lawyer, politician and statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India (1947–64) and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the 1930s and ‘40s. Nehru was elected by the Indian National Congress to assume office as independent India’s first Prime Minister, and re-elected when the Congress Party won India’s first general election in 1951 and 1952. Nehru contributed to the establishment of a secular Parliamentary democracy in India and was one of the founders of the international Non-Aligned Movement.

The son of moderate nationalist leader and Congressman Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru became a leader of the left wing of the Congress when fairly young. Rising to become Congress President under the mentorship of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Nehru was a charismatic and radical leader, advocating complete independence for India from the British Empire. In the long struggle for Indian independence, Nehru was eventually recognized as Gandhi’s political heir. Throughout his life, Nehru advocated Democratic socialism/Fabian Socialism and a strong Public sector as the means by which economic development could be pursued by poorer nations. He was the father of Indira Gandhi and the maternal grandfather of Rajiv Gandhi, who would later serve as the third and sixth Prime Ministers of India.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawaharlal_Nehru

Tryst with Destiny (1947)

Tryst with Destiny was a speech made by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. The speech was made to the Indian Constituent Assembly, on the eve of India’s Independence, towards midnight on 14 August 1947. It focuses on the aspects that transcend India’s history. It is considered to be one of the greatest speeches of all time and to be a landmark oration that captures the essence of the triumphant culmination of the hundred-year non-violent Indian freedom struggle against the British Empire in India. The phrase Rendezvous with destiny was used by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1936 Democratic National Convention speech, inspiring the similar phrase Tryst with destiny by Jawaharlal Nehru.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryst_with_destiny

This speech is evaluated as
– one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian;
– #9 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time.

Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny; and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.

Jawaharlal Nehru 1947
Jawaharlal Nehru before the Constituent Assembly, 1947

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new — when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India, and her people, and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries which are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her successes and her failures. Through good and ill fortunes alike, she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again.

Freedom and power bring responsibility. That responsibility rests upon this assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labor, and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now. Nevertheless, the past is over, and it is the future that beckons to us now.

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity.

The ambition of the greatest man(1) of our generation has been to wipe “every tear from every eye.”(2) That may be beyond us, but so long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

And so we have to labor and to work, and work hard, to — to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart.

Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom; so is prosperity now; and so also is disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

To the people of India, whose representatives we are, we make appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.

Notes

(1) Possibly “men” instead of “man.” The singular is grammatically consistent with the suggestive phrase “every tear from every eye” which has long been associated with Mahatma Gandhi (man), although the source of that quotation is disputed.

(2) Phrase widely claimed to be the raison d’être of Mahatma Gandhi, though, as a quotation, its precise source remains in question. A similar phrase is found in the Book of Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

‘Tryst with Destiny’ Address to the Constituent Assembly of India in New Delhihttps://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jawaharlalnehrutrystwithdestiny.htm

Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi (1948)

Delivered on 02 February 1948

Jawaharlal Nehru was a close associate of Gandhi during India’s freedom struggle. At the time of this famous speech he was serving as the first Prime Minister of independent India.

A glory has departed and the sun that warmed and brightened our lives has set, and we shiver in the cold and dark. Yet he would not have us feel this way. After all, that glory that we saw for all these years, that man with divine fire, changed us also–and such as we are, we have been molded by him during these years; and out of that divine fire many of us also took a small spark which strengthened and made us work to some extent on the lines that he fashioned. And so if we praise him, our words seem rather small, and if we praise him, to some extent we also praise ourselves. Great men and eminent men have monuments in bronze and marble set up for them, but this man of divine fire managed in his lifetime to become enshrined in millions and millions of hearts so that all of us became somewhat of the stuff that he was made of, though to an infinitely lesser degree. He spread out in this way all over India, not just in palaces, or in select places or in assemblies, but in every hamlet and hut of the lowly and those who suffer. He lives in the hearts of millions and he will live for immemorial ages.

What, then, can we say about him except to feel humble on this occasion? To praise him we are not worthy–to praise him whom we could not follow adequately and sufficiently. It is almost doing him an injustice just to pass him by with words when he demanded work and labor and sacrifice from us; in a large measure he made this country, during the last thirty years or more, attain to heights of sacrifice which in that particular domain have never been equaled elsewhere. He succeeded in that. Yet ultimately things happened which no doubt made him suffer tremendously, though his tender face never lost its smile and he never spoke a harsh word to anyone. Yet, he must have suffered – suffered for the failing of this generation whom he had trained, suffered because we went away from the path that he had shown us. And ultimately the hand of a child of his – for he, after all, is as much a child of his as any other Indian–the hand of a child of his struck him down.

Long ages afterwards history will judge of this period that we have passed through. It will judge of the successes and the failures – we are too near it to be proper judges and to understand what has happened and what has not happened. All we know is that there was a glory and that it is no more; all we know is that for the moment there is darkness, not so dark certainly, because when we look into our hearts we still find the living flame which he lighted there. And if those living flames exist, there will not be darkness in this land, and we shall be able, with our effort, remembering him and following his path, to illumine this land again, small as we are, but still with the fire that he instilled into us.

He was perhaps the greatest symbol of the India of the past, and may I say, of the India of the future, that we could have had. We stand on this perilous edge of the present, between that past and the future to be, and we face all manner of perils. And the greatest peril is sometimes the lack of faith which comes to us, the sense of frustration that comes to us, the sinking of the heart and of the spirit that comes to us when we see ideals go overboard, when we see the great things that we talked about somehow pass into empty words, and life taking a different course. Yet, I do believe that perhaps this period will pass soon enough.

He has gone, and all over India there is a feeling of having been left desolate and forlorn. All of us sense that feeling, and I do not know when we shall be able to get rid of it. And yet together with that feeling there is also a feeling of proud thankfulness that it has been given to us of this generation to be associated with this mighty person. In ages to come, centuries and maybe millennia after us, people will think of this generation when this man of God trod on earth, and will think of us who, however small, could also follow his path and tread the holy ground where his feet had been.

Let us be worthy of him.

Kamat’s potpourihttp://www.kamat.com/mmgandhi/eulogy.htm

William Faulkner

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897–1962), American novelist, was born in New Albany, Mississippi. As a boy, his family moved to Oxford, Miss., the little town that became the setting for much of his beloved fiction.

He created endearing characters in classic works such as; The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, These Thirteen (short stories) and Light in August.

William Faulkner is known for his epic portrayal, in some 20 novels, of the tragic conflict between the old and the new South. Although Faulkner’s intricate plots and complex narrative style alienated many readers of his early writings, he was a literary genius whose powerful works and creative vision earned him the 1949 Nobel Prize in literature.

Nobel Banquet Speech (1950)

Faulkner was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature (for “his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”) during a time of worldwide fear over the possibility of atomic warfare.

Faulkner accepted his Nobel Prize in the midst of the Atomic Age, an era marked by nuclear fear and widespread anxiety about the future. In his speech, Faulkner addressed these fears, asserting his belief that “man will not merely endure: he will prevail.”

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/faulkner.htm

This speech is evaluated as
– #17 in 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness;
– #33 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University;
– one of 50 Incredible, Historical Speeches You Should Watch Online by the website OnlineUniversities.

Delivered on 10 December 1950 at Nobel Banquet at city hall, Stockholm, Sweeden

The following is from sound recording

Ladies and gentlemen,

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work – a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

William Faulkner Banquet speechhttp://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-speech.html

* * *

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901–1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969.

The speech was apparently revised by the author for publication in The Faulkner Reader. These minor changes, all of which improve the address stylistically, have been incorporated here.

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (1890–1969) was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. Prior to that he was a five-star general in the United States Army. During World War 2, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe; he had responsibility for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45, from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.

Eisenhower was of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, and was reared in a large family in Kansas, by parents with a robust work ethic and religious background. As one of five sons, he was conditioned by a competitive atmosphere requiring self-reliance. He was admitted to, and graduated from, West Point, and later was married with two sons. After World War 2 Eisenhower served as Chief of Staff under President Harry S. Truman, then assumed the post of President at Columbia University.

A Republican, Eisenhower entered the 1952 presidential race to counter the non-interventionism of Senator Robert A. Taft, and to crusade against “Communism, Korea and corruption.” He won by a landslide, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson and ending two decades of the New Deal Coalition. In the first year of his presidency Eisenhower deposed the leader of Iran in the 1953 Iranian coup d’etat, and used nuclear threats to conclude the Korean War with China. His New Look policy of nuclear deterrence gave priority to inexpensive nuclear weapons while reducing the funding for the other military forces; the goal was to keep pressure on the Soviet Union and reduce federal deficits. When the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957 he had to play catchup in the space race.

Eisenhower forced Israel, the UK and France to end their invasion of Egypt during the Suez Crisis of 1956. In 1958 he sent 15,000 US troops to Lebanon to prevent the pro-Western government falling to a Nasser-inspired revolution. Near the end of his term, his efforts to set up a summit meeting with the Soviets collapsed because of the U-2 incident when an American spy plane was shot down over Russia and its pilot captured.

On the domestic front, he covertly helped remove Joseph McCarthy from power but otherwise left most political activity to his Vice President, Richard Nixon. He was a moderate conservative who continued New Deal agencies, expanded Social Security and launched the Interstate Highway System. He sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time since Reconstruction to enforce federal court orders to desegregate public schools, and signed civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 to protect the right to vote. He implemented desegregation of the armed forces in two years, and made five appointments to the Supreme Court. He was the first term-limited president in accordance with the 22nd Amendment.

Eisenhower’s two terms were peaceful ones for the most part and saw considerable economic prosperity except for a sharp recession in 1958–59. Although he left office in 1961 with low overall approval ratings, his posthumous reputation has grown and in recent surveys of historians, Eisenhower is often ranked as one of the top ten U.S. Presidents.

“Atoms for peace” (1953)

The “Atoms for peace” speech was delivered to the United Nations by Eisenhower on 8 December 1953. In this address, Eisenhower spelled out the necessity of repurposing existing nuclear weapons technology to peaceful ends, stating that it must be humanity’s goal to discover “the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.” The speech marked one of the earliest calls to curb the global nuclear arms race, and it inspired the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1956.

This speech is ranked #36 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University.

AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio.

Madam President, Members of the General Assembly:

Eisenhower Atoms for Peace
Eisenhower: “Atoms for peace”

When Secretary General Hammarskjold’s invitation to address this General Assembly reached me in Bermuda, I was just beginning a series of conferences with the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of Great Britain and of France. Our subject was some of the problems that beset our world.

During the remainder of the Bermuda Conference, I had constantly in mind that ahead of me lay a great honor. That honor is mine today, as I stand here, privileged to address the General Assembly of the United Nations.

At the same time that I appreciate the distinction of addressing you, I have a sense of exhilaration as I look upon this Assembly. Never before in history has so much hope for so many people been gathered together in a single organization. Your deliberations and decisions during these somber years have already realized part of those hopes.

But the great tests and the great accomplishments still lie ahead. And in the confident expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain steadfast in its support of this body. This we shall do in the conviction that you will provide a great share of the wisdom, of the courage, and the faith which can bring to this world lasting peace for all nations, and happiness and well-being for all men.

Clearly, it would not be fitting for me to take this occasion to present to you a unilateral American report on Bermuda. Nevertheless, I assure you that in our deliberations on that lovely island we sought to invoke those same great concepts of universal peace and human dignity which are so cleanly etched in your Charter. Neither would it be a measure of this great opportunity merely to recite, however hopefully, pious platitudes.

I therefore decided that this occasion warranted my saying to you some of the things that have been on the minds and hearts of my legislative and executive associates, and on mine, for a great many months – thoughts I had originally planned to say primarily to the American people.

I know that the American people share my deep belief that if a danger exists in the world, it is a danger shared by all; and equally, that if hope exists in the mind of one nation, that hope should be shared by all.

Finally, if there is to be advanced any proposal designed to ease even by the smallest measure the tensions of today’s world, what more appropriate audience could there be than the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations. I feel impelled to speak today in a language that in a sense is new, one which I, who have spent so much of my life in the military profession, would have preferred never to use. That new language is the language of atomic warfare.

The atomic age has moved forward at such a pace that every citizen of the world should have some comprehension, at least in comparative terms, of the extent of this development, of the utmost significance to everyone of us. Clearly, if the peoples of the world are to conduct an intelligent search for peace, they must be armed with the significant facts of today’s existence.

My recital of atomic danger and power is necessarily stated in United States terms, for these are the only incontrovertible facts that I know. I need hardly point out to this Assembly, however, that this subject is global, not merely national in character.

On 16 July 1945, the United States set off the world’s first atomic explosion.

Since that date in 1945, the United States of America has conducted forty-two test explosions. Atomic bombs today are more than twenty-five times as powerful as the weapons with which the atomic age dawned, while hydrogen weapons are in the ranges of millions of tons of TNT equivalent.

Today, the United States stockpile of atomic weapons, which, of course, increases daily, exceeds by many times the total [explosive] equivalent of the total of all bombs and all shells that came from every plane and every gun in every theatre of war in all the years of World War 2.

A single air group, whether afloat or land based, can now deliver to any reachable target a destructive cargo exceeding in power all the bombs that fell on Britain in all of World War 2. In size and variety, the development of atomic weapons has been no less remarkable. The development has been such that atomic weapons have virtually achieved conventional status within our armed services.

In the United States, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps are all capable of putting this weapon to military use. But the dread secret and the fearful engines of atomic might are not ours alone.

In the first place, the secret is possessed by our friends and allies, Great Britain and Canada, whose scientific genius made a tremendous contribution to our original discoveries and the designs of atomic bombs.

The secret is also known by the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union has informed us that, over recent years, it has devoted extensive resources to atomic weapons. During this period the Soviet Union has exploded a series of atomic advices – devices, including at least one involving thermo-nuclear reactions. If at one time the Unites States possessed what might have been called a monopoly of atomic power, that monopoly ceased to exist several years ago.

Therefore, although our earlier start has permitted us to accumulate what is today a great quantitative advantage, the atomic realities of today comprehend two facts of even greater significance.

First, the knowledge now possessed by several nations will eventually be shared by others, possibly all others.

Second, even a vast superiority in numbers of weapons, and a consequent capability of devastating retaliation, is no preventive, of itself, against the fearful material damage and toll of human lives that would be inflicted by surprise aggression. The free world, at least dimly aware of these facts, has naturally embarked on a large program of warning and defense systems. That program will be accelerated and expanded. But let no one think that the expenditure of vast sums for weapons and systems of defense can guarantee absolute safety for the cities and citizens of any nation. The awful arithmetic of the atomic bomb does not permit of any such easy solution. Even against the most powerful defense, an aggressor in possession of the effective minimum number of atomic bombs for a surprise attack could probably place a sufficient number of his bombs on the chosen targets to cause hideous damage.

Should such an atomic attack be launched against the United States, our reactions would be swift and resolute. But for me to say that the defense capabilities of the United States are such that they could inflict terrible losses upon an aggressor, for me to say that the retaliation capabilities of the Unites States are so great that such an aggressor’s land would be laid waste, all this, while fact, is not the true expression of the purpose and the hope of the United States.

To pause there would be to confirm the hopeless finality of a belief that two atomic colossi are doomed malevolently to eye each other indefinitely across a trembling world. To stop there would be to accept hope – helplessly the probability of civilization destroyed, the annihilation of the irreplaceable heritage of mankind handed down to use generation from generation, and the condemnation of mankind to begin all over again the age-old struggle upward from savagery toward decency, and right, and justice. Surely no sane member of the human race could discover victory in such desolation.

Could anyone wish his name to be coupled by history with such human degradation and destruction? Occasional pages of history do record the faces of the “great destroyers, “ but the whole book of history reveals mankind’s never-ending quest for peace and mankind’s God-given capacity to build.

It is with the book of history, and not with isolated pages, that the United States will ever wish to be identified. My country wants to be constructive, not destructive. It wants agreements, not wars, among nations. It wants itself to live in freedom and in the confidence that the people of every other nation enjoy equally the right of choosing their own way of life.

So my country’s purpose is to help us move out of the dark chamber of horrors into the light, to find a way by which the minds of men, the hopes of men, the souls of men everywhere, can move forward toward peace and happiness and well-being.

In this quest, I know that we must not lack patience. I know that in a world divided, such as ours today, salvation cannot be attained by one dramatic act. I know that many steps will have to be taken over many months before the world can look at itself one day and truly realize that a new climate of mutually peaceful confidence is abroad in the world. But I know, above all else, that we must start to take these steps now.

The United States and its allies, Great Britain and France, have, over the past months, tried to take some of these steps. Let no one say that we shun the conference table. On the record has long stood the request of the United States, Great Britain, and France to negotiate with the Soviet Union the problems of a divided Germany. On that record has long stood the request of the same three nations to negotiate an Austrian peace treaty. On the same record still stands the request of the United Nations to negotiate the problems of Korea.

Most recently we have received from the Soviet Union what is in effect an expression of willingness to hold a four-Power meeting. Along with our allies, Great Britain and France, we were pleased to see that his note did not contain the unacceptable pre-conditions previously put forward. As you already know from our joint Bermuda communiqué, the United States, Great Britain, and France have agreed promptly to meet with the Soviet Union.

The Government of the United States approaches this conference with hopeful sincerity. We will bend every effort of our minds to the single purpose of emerging from that conference with tangible results towards peace, the only true way of lessening international tension. We never have, we never will, propose or suggest that the Soviet Union surrender what is rightfully theirs. We will never say that the people of Russia are an enemy with whom we have no desire ever to deal or mingle in friendly and fruitful relationship.

On the contrary, we hope that this coming conference may initiate a relationship with the Soviet Union which will eventually bring about a free intermingling of the peoples of the East and of the West – the one sure, human way of developing the understanding required for confident and peaceful relations.

Instead of the discontent which is now settling upon Eastern Germany, occupied Austria, and the countries of Eastern Europe, we seek a harmonious family of free European nations, with none a threat to the other, and least of all a threat to the peoples of the Russia. Beyond the turmoil and strife and misery of Asia, we seek peaceful opportunity for these peoples to develop their natural resources and to elevate their lives.

These are not idle words or shallow visions. Behind them lies a story of nations lately come to independence, not as a result of war, but through free grant or peaceful negotiation. There is a record already written of assistance gladly given by nations of the West to needy peoples and to those suffering the temporary effects of famine, drought, and natural disaster. These are deeds of peace. They speak more loudly than promises or protestations of peaceful intent.

But I do not wish to rest either upon the reiteration of past proposals or the restatement of past deeds. The gravity of the time is such that every new avenue of peace, no matter how dimly discernible, should be explored. There is at least one new avenue of peace which has not yet been well explored – an avenue now laid out by the General Assembly of the Unites Nations.

In its resolution of 18 November 1953 this General Assembly suggested – and I quote – “that the Disarmament Commission study the desirability of establishing a sub-committee consisting of representatives of the Powers principally involved, which should seek in private an acceptable solution and report such a solution to the General Assembly and to the Security Council not later than September 1, of 1954.”

The United States, heeding the suggestion of the General Assembly of the United Nations, is instantly prepared to meet privately with such other countries as may be “principally involved, “ to seek “an acceptable solution” to the atomic armaments race which overshadows not only the peace, but the very life of the world. We shall carry into these private or diplomatic talks a new conception.

The United States would seek more than the mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials for military purposes. It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It must be put into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.

The United States knows that if the fearful trend of atomic military build-up can be reversed, this greatest of destructive forces can be developed into a great boon, for the benefit of all mankind. The United States knows that peaceful power from atomic energy is no dream of the future. That capability, already proved, is here, now, today. Who can doubt, if the entire body of the world’s scientists and engineers had adequate amounts of fissionable material with which to test and develop their ideas, that this capability would rapidly be transformed into universal, efficient, and economic usage?

To hasten the day when fear of the atom will begin to disappear from the minds of people and the governments of the East and West, there are certain steps that can be taken now. I therefore make the following proposals:

The governments principally involved, to the extent permitted by elementary prudence, to begin now and continue to make joint contributions from their stockpiles of normal uranium and fissionable materials to an international atomic energy agency. We would expect that such an agency would be set up under the aegis of the United Nations.

The ratios of contributions, the procedures, and other details would properly be within the scope of the “private conversations” I have referred to earlier.

The United States is prepared to undertake these explorations in good faith. Any partner of the United States acting in the same good faith will find the United States a not unreasonable or ungenerous associate.

Undoubtedly, initial and early contributions to this plan would be small in quantity. However, the proposal has the great virtue that it can be undertaken without the irritations and mutual suspicions incident to any attempt to set up a completely acceptable system of world-wide inspection and control.

The atomic energy agency could be made responsible for the impounding, storage, and protection of the contributed fissionable and other materials. The ingenuity of our scientists will provide special, safe conditions under which such a bank of fissionable material can be made essentially immune to surprise seizure.

The more important responsibility of this atomic energy agency would be to devise methods whereby this fissionable material would be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of mankind. Experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture, medicine, and other peaceful activities. A special purpose would be to provide abundant electrical energy in the power-starved areas of the world. Thus the contributing Powers would be dedicating some of their strength to serve the needs rather than the fears of mankind.

The United States would be more than willing – it would be proud to take up with others “principally involved” the development of plans whereby such peaceful use of atomic energy would be expedited.

Of those “principally involved” the Soviet Union must, of course, be one. I would be prepared to submit to the Congress of the United States, and with every expectation of approval, any such plan that would, first, encourage world-wide investigation into the most effective peacetime uses of fissionable material, and with the certainty that they [the investigators] had all the material needed for the conduct of all experiments that were appropriate; second, begin to diminish the potential destructive power of the world’s atomic stockpiles; third, allow all peoples of all nations to see that, in this enlightened age, the great Powers of the earth, both of the East and of the West, are interested in human aspirations first rather than in building up the armaments of war; fourth, open up a new channel for peaceful discussion and initiate at least a new approach to the many difficult problems that must be solved in both private and public conversations, if the world is to shake off the inertia imposed by fear and is to make positive progress toward peace.

Against the dark background of the atomic bomb, the United States does not wish merely to present strength, but also the desire and the hope for peace.

The coming months will be fraught with fateful decisions. In this Assembly, in the capitals and military headquarters of the world, in the hearts of men everywhere, be they governed or governors, may they be the decisions which will lead this world out of fear and into peace.

To the making of these fateful decisions, the United States pledges before you, and therefore before the world, its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma – to devote its entire heart and mind to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.

I again thank the delegates for the great honor they have done me in inviting me to appear before them and in listening me – to me so courteously.

Thank you.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Atoms for Peace (with videotape excerpt and audio recording) – http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwightdeisenhoweratomsforpeace.html

Farewell Address/ Military-industrial complex warning (1961)

This is the Farewell Address delivered by President Eisenhower on 17 January 1961, at the conclusion of a successful two-term presidency.

As the new President in 1953, he forged an armistice to end the Korean War, which had begun three years earlier during the presidency of Harry Truman.

As Commander-in-Chief throughout the 1950s, amid the ongoing Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Russia, Eisenhower oversaw a permanent and ever-expanding military establishment designed to forestall any aggression by Soviet Russia and keep America a step ahead of the Russians in war technology.

Remarkably, in this speech, Eisenhower (the old soldier) argues that it is this new military-industrial complex that has the potential to undermine the very freedoms in America it was meant to protect.

This speech is evaluated as
– one of Time Magazine’s Top 10 Greatest Speeches;
– #18 in 35 Greatest Speeches in History by the website The Art of Manliness;
– #18 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University;
– one of 50 Incredible, Historical Speeches You Should Watch Online by the website OnlineUniversities.

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Good evening, my fellow Americans.

First, I should like to express my gratitude to the radio and television networks for the opportunities they have given me over the years to bring reports and messages to our nation. My special thanks go to them for the opportunity of addressing you this evening.

Three days from now, after half century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor. This evening, I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other – Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the nation. My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and finally to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years. In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the nation good, rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling – on my part – of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts, America is today the strongest, the most influential, and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches, and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace, to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity, and integrity among peoples and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension, or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt, both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insiduous [insidious] in method. Unhappily, the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research – these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs, balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages, balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable, balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual, balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress. Lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration. The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their Government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of threat and stress.

But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. Of these, I mention two only.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known of any of my predecessors in peacetime, or, indeed, by the fighting men of World War 2 or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States cooperations – corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations – past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of disarmament – of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent, I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war, as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years, I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

So, in this, my last good night to you as your President, I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and in peace. I trust in that – in that – in that service you find some things worthy. As for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I, my fellow citizens, need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations’ great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration: We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its few spiritual blessings. Those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibility; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; and that the sources – scourges of poverty, disease, and ignorance will be made [to] disappear from the earth; and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to it.

Thank you, and good night.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Farewell Addres (with audio recording) – https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwightdeisenhowerfarewell.html

Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBNmecVtdU

Fidel Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (1926–2016) was a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. A Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, Castro also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state, while industry and business were nationalized and state socialist policies were implemented throughout society.

Fidel Castro claimed power in 1959 following the Cuban Revolution, an armed revolt that overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Shortly thereafter, he cancelled elections and suspended Cuba’s constitution. Also, he did not keep his promise for press freedom. Castro ruled without regard for the 1940 constitution until 1976, when the nation enacted a new constitution that allowed limited electoral participation by Cuban voters.

“History will absolve me” (1953)

On 26 July 1953, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro led approximately 180 young men in an attack on the Moncada military fortress in Santiago de Cuba. This assault on the political leadership of dictator Fulgencio Batista ended in Castro’s capture and imprisonment. At his trial Castro acted as his own attorney and gave the following speech in his defense.

Honorable Judges:

Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro, 1950s

Never has a lawyer had to practice his profession under such difficult conditions; never has such a number of overwhelming irregularities been committed against an accused man. In this case, counsel and defendant are one and the same. As attorney he has not even been able to take a look at the indictment. As accused, for the past seventy-six days he has been locked away in solitary confinement, held totally and absolutely incommunicado, in violation of every human and legal right.

He who speaks to you hates vanity with all his being, nor are his temperament or frame of mind inclined towards courtroom poses or sensationalism of any kind. If I have had to assume my own defense before this Court it is for two reasons. First: because I have been denied legal aid almost entirely, and second: only one who has been so deeply wounded, who has seen his country so forsaken and its justice trampled so, can speak at a moment like this with words that spring from the blood of his heart and the truth of his very gut.…

From a shack in the mountains on Monday, July 27th, I listened to the dictator’s voice on the air while there were still 18 of our men in arms against the government. Those who have never experienced similar moments will never know that kind of bitterness and indignation. While the long-cherished hopes of freeing our people lay in ruins about us we heard those crushed hopes gloated over by a tyrant more vicious, more arrogant than ever. The endless stream of lies and slanders, poured forth in his crude, odious, repulsive language, may only be compared to the endless stream of clean young blood which had flowed since the previous night – with his knowledge, consent, complicity and approval – being spilled by the most inhuman gang of assassins it is possible to imagine. To have believed him for a single moment would have sufficed to fill a man of conscience with remorse and shame for the rest of his life. At that time I could not even hope to brand his miserable forehead with the mark of truth which condemns him for the rest of his days and for all time to come. Already a circle of more than a thousand men, armed with weapons more powerful than ours and with peremptory orders to bring in our bodies, was closing in around us. Now that the truth is coming out, now that speaking before you I am carrying out the mission I set for myself, I may die peacefully and content. So I shall not mince my words about those savage murderers.

I must pause to consider the facts for a moment. The government itself said the attack showed such precision and perfection that it must have been planned by military strategists. Nothing could have been farther from the truth! The plan was drawn up by a group of young men, none of whom had any military experience at all. I will reveal their names, omitting two who are neither dead nor in prison: Abel Santamaría, José Luis Tasende, Renato Guitart Rosell, Pedro Miret, Jesús Montané and myself. Half of them are dead, and in tribute to their memory I can say that although they were not military experts they had enough patriotism to have given, had we not been at such a great disadvantage, a good beating to that entire lot of generals together, those generals of the 10th of March who are neither soldiers nor patriots. Much more difficult than the planning of the attack was our organizing, training, mobilizing and arming men under this repressive regime with its millions of dollars spent on espionage, bribery and information services. Nevertheless, all this was carried out by those men and many others like them with incredible seriousness, discretion and discipline. Still more praiseworthy is the fact that they gave this task everything they had; ultimately, their very lives.

The final mobilization of men who came to this province from the most remote towns of the entire island was accomplished with admirable precision and in absolute secrecy. It is equally true that the attack was carried out with magnificent coordination. It began simultaneously at 5:15 a.m. in both Bayamo and Santiago de Cuba; and one by one, with an exactitude of minutes and seconds prepared in advance, the buildings surrounding the barracks fell to our forces. Nevertheless, in the interest of truth and even though it may detract from our merit, I am also going to reveal for the first time a fact that was fatal: due to a most unfortunate error, half of our forces, and the better armed half at that, went astray at the entrance to the city and were not on hand to help us at the decisive moment. Abel Santamaría, with 21 men, had occupied the Civilian Hospital; with him went a doctor and two of our women comrades to attend to the wounded. Raúl Castro, with ten men, occupied the Palace of Justice, and it was my responsibility to attack the barracks with the rest, 95 men. Preceded by an advance group of eight who had forced Gate Three, I arrived with the first group of 45 men. It was precisely here that the battle began, when my car ran into an outside patrol armed with machine guns. The reserve group which had almost all the heavy weapons (the light arms were with the advance group), turned up the wrong street and lost its way in an unfamiliar city. I must clarify the fact that I do not for a moment doubt the courage of those men; they experienced great anguish and desperation when they realized they were lost. Because of the type of action it was and because the contending forces were wearing identically colored uniforms, it was not easy for these men to re-establish contact with us. Many of them, captured later on, met death with true heroism.

Everyone had instructions, first of all, to be humane in the struggle. Never was a group of armed men more generous to the adversary. From the beginning we took numerous prisoners – nearly twenty – and there was one moment when three of our men – Ramiro Valdés, José Suárez and Jesús Montané – managed to enter a barrack and hold nearly fifty soldiers prisoners for a short time. Those soldiers testified before the Court, and without exception they all acknowledged that we treated them with absolute respect, that we didn’t even subject them to one scoffing remark. In line with this, I want to give my heartfelt thanks to the Prosecutor for one thing in the trial of my comrades: when he made his report he was fair enough to acknowledge as an incontestable fact that we maintained a high spirit of chivalry throughout the struggle.

Discipline among the soldiers was very poor. They finally defeated us because of their superior numbers – fifteen to one – and because of the protection afforded them by the defenses of the fortress. Our men were much better marksmen, as our enemies themselves conceded. There was a high degree of courage on both sides.

In analyzing the reasons for our tactical failure, apart from the regrettable error already mentioned, I believe we made a mistake by dividing the commando unit we had so carefully trained. Of our best trained men and boldest leaders, there were 27 in Bayamo, 21 at the Civilian Hospital and 10 at the Palace of Justice. If our forces had been distributed differently the outcome of the battle might have been different. The clash with the patrol (purely accidental, since the unit might have been at that point twenty seconds earlier or twenty seconds later) alerted the camp, and gave it time to mobilize. Otherwise it would have fallen into our hands without a shot fired, since we already controlled the guard post. On the other hand, except for the.22 caliber rifles, for which there were plenty of bullets, our side was very short of ammunition. Had we had hand grenades, the Army would not have been able to resist us for fifteen minutes.

When I became convinced that all efforts to take the barracks were now useless, I began to withdraw our men in groups of eight and ten. Our retreat was covered by six expert marksmen under the command of Pedro Miret and Fidel Labrador; heroically they held off the Army’s advance. Our losses in the battle had been insignificant; 95% of our casualties came from the Army’s inhumanity after the struggle. The group at the Civilian Hospital only had one casualty; the rest of that group was trapped when the troops blocked the only exit; but our youths did not lay down their arms until their very last bullet was gone. With them was Abel Santamaría, the most generous, beloved and intrepid of our young men, whose glorious resistance immortalizes him in Cuban history. We shall see the fate they met and how Batista sought to punish the heroism of our youth.

We planned to continue the struggle in the mountains in case the attack on the regiment failed. In Siboney I was able to gather a third of our forces; but many of these men were now discouraged. About twenty of them decided to surrender; later we shall see what became of them. The rest, 18 men, with what arms and ammunition were left, followed me into the mountains. The terrain was completely unknown to us. For a week we held the heights of the Gran Piedra range and the Army occupied the foothills. We could not come down; they didn’t risk coming up. It was not force of arms, but hunger and thirst that ultimately overcame our resistance. I had to divide the men into smaller groups. Some of them managed to slip through the Army lines; others were surrendered by Monsignor Pérez Serantes. Finally only two comrades remained with me – José Suárez and Oscar Alcalde. While the three of us were totally exhausted, a force led by Lieutenant Sarría surprised us in our sleep at dawn. This was Saturday, August 1st. By that time the slaughter of prisoners had ceased as a result of the people’s protest. This officer, a man of honor, saved us from being murdered on the spot with our hands tied behind us.

I need not deny here the stupid statements by Ugalde Carrillo and company, who tried to stain my name in an effort to mask their own cowardice, incompetence, and criminality. The facts are clear enough.

My purpose is not to bore the court with epic narratives. All that I have said is essential for a more precise understanding of what is yet to come.…

I stated that the second consideration on which we based our chances for success was one of social order. Why were we sure of the people’s support? When we speak of the people we are not talking about those who live in comfort, the conservative elements of the nation, who welcome any repressive regime, any dictatorship, any despotism, prostrating themselves before the masters of the moment until they grind their foreheads into the ground. When we speak of struggle and we mention the people we mean the vast unredeemed masses, those to whom everyone makes promises and who are deceived by all; we mean the people who yearn for a better, more dignified and more just nation; who are moved by ancestral aspirations to justice, for they have suffered injustice and mockery generation after generation; those who long for great and wise changes in all aspects of their life; people who, to attain those changes, are ready to give even the very last breath they have when they believe in something or in someone, especially when they believe in themselves. The first condition of sincerity and good faith in any endeavor is to do precisely what nobody else ever does, that is, to speak with absolute clarity, without fear. The demagogues and professional politicians who manage to perform the miracle of being right about everything and of pleasing everyone are, necessarily, deceiving everyone about everything. The revolutionaries must proclaim their ideas courageously, define their principles and express their intentions so that no one is deceived, neither friend nor foe.

In terms of struggle, when we talk about people we’re talking about the six hundred thousand Cubans without work, who want to earn their daily bread honestly without having to emigrate from their homeland in search of a livelihood; the five hundred thousand farm laborers who live in miserable shacks, who work four months of the year and starve the rest, sharing their misery with their children, who don’t have an inch of land to till and whose existence would move any heart not made of stone; the four hundred thousand industrial workers and laborers whose retirement funds have been embezzled, whose benefits are being taken away, whose homes are wretched quarters, whose salaries pass from the hands of the boss to those of the moneylender, whose future is a pay reduction and dismissal, whose life is endless work and whose only rest is the tomb; the one hundred thousand small farmers who live and die working land that is not theirs, looking at it with the sadness of Moses gazing at the promised land, to die without ever owning it, who like feudal serfs have to pay for the use of their parcel of land by giving up a portion of its produce, who cannot love it, improve it, beautify it nor plant a cedar or an orange tree on it because they never know when a sheriff will come with the rural guard to evict them from it; the thirty thousand teachers and professors who are so devoted, dedicated and so necessary to the better destiny of future generations and who are so badly treated and paid; the twenty thousand small business men weighed down by debts, ruined by the crisis and harangued by a plague of grafting and venal officials; the ten thousand young professional people: doctors, engineers, lawyers, veterinarians, school teachers, dentists, pharmacists, newspapermen, painters, sculptors, etc., who finish school with their degrees anxious to work and full of hope, only to find themselves at a dead end, all doors closed to them, and where no ears hear their clamor or supplication. These are the people, the ones who know misfortune and, therefore, are capable of fighting with limitless courage! To these people whose desperate roads through life have been paved with the bricks of betrayal and false promises, we were not going to say: ‘We will give you…’ but rather: ‘Here it is, now fight for it with everything you have, so that liberty and happiness may be yours!’

The five revolutionary laws that would have been proclaimed immediately after the capture of the Moncada Barracks and would have been broadcast to the nation by radio must be included in the indictment. It is possible that Colonel Chaviano may deliberately have destroyed these documents, but even if he has I remember them.

The first revolutionary law would have returned power to the people and proclaimed the 1940 Constitution the Supreme Law of the State until such time as the people should decide to modify or change it. And in order to effect its implementation and punish those who violated it – there being no electoral organization to carry this out – the revolutionary movement, as the circumstantial incarnation of this sovereignty, the only source of legitimate power, would have assumed all the faculties inherent therein, except that of modifying the Constitution itself: in other words, it would have assumed the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

This attitude could not be clearer nor more free of vacillation and sterile charlatanry. A government acclaimed by the mass of rebel people would be vested with every power, everything necessary in order to proceed with the effective implementation of popular will and real justice. From that moment, the Judicial Power – which since March 10th had placed itself against and outside the Constitution – would cease to exist and we would proceed to its immediate and total reform before it would once again assume the power granted it by the Supreme Law of the Republic. Without these previous measures, a return to legality by putting its custody back into the hands that have crippled the system so dishonorably would constitute a fraud, a deceit, one more betrayal.

The second revolutionary law would give non-mortgageable and non-transferable ownership of the land to all tenant and subtenant farmers, lessees, share croppers and squatters who hold parcels of five caballerías of land or less, and the State would indemnify the former owners on the basis of the rental which they would have received for these parcels over a period of ten years.

The third revolutionary law would have granted workers and employees the right to share 30% of the profits of all the large industrial, mercantile and mining enterprises, including the sugar mills. The strictly agricultural enterprises would be exempt in consideration of other agrarian laws which would be put into effect.

The fourth revolutionary law would have granted all sugar planters the right to share 55% of sugar production and a minimum quota of forty thousand arrobas for all small tenant farmers who have been established for three years or more.

The fifth revolutionary law would have ordered the confiscation of all holdings and ill-gotten gains of those who had committed frauds during previous regimes, as well as the holdings and ill-gotten gains of all their legates and heirs. To implement this, special courts with full powers would gain access to all records of all corporations registered or operating in this country, in order to investigate concealed funds of illegal origin, and to request that foreign governments extradite persons and attach holdings rightfully belonging to the Cuban people. Half of the property recovered would be used to subsidize retirement funds for workers and the other half would be used for hospitals, asylums and charitable organizations.

Furthermore, it was declared that the Cuban policy in the Americas would be one of close solidarity with the democratic peoples of this continent, and that all those politically persecuted by bloody tyrannies oppressing our sister nations would find generous asylum, brotherhood and bread in the land of Martí; not the persecution, hunger and treason they find today. Cuba should be the bulwark of liberty and not a shameful link in the chain of despotism.

These laws would have been proclaimed immediately. As soon as the upheaval ended and prior to a detailed and far reaching study, they would have been followed by another series of laws and fundamental measures, such as the Agrarian Reform, the Integral Educational Reform, nationalization of the electric power trust and the telephone trust, refund to the people of the illegal and repressive rates these companies have charged, and payment to the treasury of all taxes brazenly evaded in the past.

All these laws and others would be based on the exact compliance of two essential articles of our Constitution: one of them orders the outlawing of large estates, indicating the maximum area of land any one person or entity may own for each type of agricultural enterprise, by adopting measures which would tend to revert the land to the Cubans. The other categorically orders the State to use all means at its disposal to provide employment to all those who lack it and to ensure a decent livelihood to each manual or intellectual laborer. None of these laws can be called unconstitutional. The first popularly elected government would have to respect them, not only because of moral obligations to the nation, but because when people achieve something they have yearned for throughout generations, no force in the world is capable of taking it away again.

The problem of the land, the problem of industrialization, the problem of housing, the problem of unemployment, the problem of education and the problem of the people’s health: these are the six problems we would take immediate steps to solve, along with restoration of civil liberties and political democracy.

This exposition may seem cold and theoretical if one does not know the shocking and tragic conditions of the country with regard to these six problems, along with the most humiliating political oppression.

Eighty-five per cent of the small farmers in Cuba pay rent and live under constant threat of being evicted from the land they till. More than half of our most productive land is in the hands of foreigners. In Oriente, the largest province, the lands of the United Fruit Company and the West Indian Company link the northern and southern coasts. There are two hundred thousand peasant families who do not have a single acre of land to till to provide food for their starving children. On the other hand, nearly three hundred thousand caballerías of cultivable land owned by powerful interests remain uncultivated. If Cuba is above all an agricultural State, if its population is largely rural, if the city depends on these rural areas, if the people from our countryside won our war of independence, if our nation’s greatness and prosperity depend on a healthy and vigorous rural population that loves the land and knows how to work it, if this population depends on a State that protects and guides it, then how can the present state of affairs be allowed to continue?

Except for a few food, lumber and textile industries, Cuba continues to be primarily a producer of raw materials. We export sugar to import candy, we export hides to import shoes, we export iron to import plows.… Everyone agrees with the urgent need to industrialize the nation, that we need steel industries, paper and chemical industries, that we must improve our cattle and grain production, the technology and processing in our food industry in order to defend ourselves against the ruinous competition from Europe in cheese products, condensed milk, liquors and edible oils, and the United States in canned goods; that we need cargo ships; that tourism should be an enormous source of revenue. But the capitalists insist that the workers remain under the yoke. The State sits back with its arms crossed and industrialization can wait forever.

Just as serious or even worse is the housing problem. There are two hundred thousand huts and hovels in Cuba; four hundred thousand families in the countryside and in the cities live cramped in huts and tenements without even the minimum sanitary requirements; two million two hundred thousand of our urban population pay rents which absorb between one fifth and one third of their incomes; and two million eight hundred thousand of our rural and suburban population lack electricity. We have the same situation here: if the State proposes the lowering of rents, landlords threaten to freeze all construction; if the State does not interfere, construction goes on so long as landlords get high rents; otherwise they would not lay a single brick even though the rest of the population had to live totally exposed to the elements. The utilities monopoly is no better; they extend lines as far as it is profitable and beyond that point they don’t care if people have to live in darkness for the rest of their lives. The State sits back with its arms crossed and the people have neither homes nor electricity.

Our educational system is perfectly compatible with everything I’ve just mentioned. Where the peasant doesn’t own the land, what need is there for agricultural schools? Where there is no industry, what need is there for technical or vocational schools? Everything follows the same absurd logic; if we don’t have one thing we can’t have the other. In any small European country there are more than 200 technological and vocational schools; in Cuba only six such schools exist, and their graduates have no jobs for their skills. The little rural schoolhouses are attended by a mere half of the school age children – barefooted, half-naked and undernourished – and frequently the teacher must buy necessary school materials from his own salary. Is this the way to make a nation great?

Only death can liberate one from so much misery. In this respect, however, the State is most helpful – in providing early death for the people. Ninety per cent of the children in the countryside are consumed by parasites which filter through their bare feet from the ground they walk on. Society is moved to compassion when it hears of the kidnapping or murder of one child, but it is indifferent to the mass murder of so many thousands of children who die every year from lack of facilities, agonizing with pain. Their innocent eyes, death already shining in them, seem to look into some vague infinity as if entreating forgiveness for human selfishness, as if asking God to stay His wrath. And when the head of a family works only four months a year, with what can he purchase clothing and medicine for his children? They will grow up with rickets, with not a single good tooth in their mouths by the time they reach thirty; they will have heard ten million speeches and will finally die of misery and deception. Public hospitals, which are always full, accept only patients recommended by some powerful politician who, in return, demands the votes of the unfortunate one and his family so that Cuba may continue forever in the same or worse condition.

With this background, is it not understandable that from May to December over a million persons are jobless and that Cuba, with a population of five and a half million, has a greater number of unemployed than France or Italy with a population of forty million each?

When you try a defendant for robbery, Honorable Judges, do you ask him how long he has been unemployed? Do you ask him how many children he has, which days of the week he ate and which he didn’t, do you investigate his social context at all? You just send him to jail without further thought. But those who burn warehouses and stores to collect insurance do not go to jail, even though a few human beings may have gone up in flames. The insured have money to hire lawyers and bribe judges. You imprison the poor wretch who steals because he is hungry; but none of the hundreds who steal millions from the Government has ever spent a night in jail. You dine with them at the end of the year in some elegant club and they enjoy your respect. In Cuba, when a government official becomes a millionaire overnight and enters the fraternity of the rich, he could very well be greeted with the words of that opulent character out of Balzac – Taillefer – who in his toast to the young heir to an enormous fortune, said: ‘Gentlemen, let us drink to the power of gold! Mr. Valentine, a millionaire six times over, has just ascended the throne. He is king, can do everything, is above everyone, as all the rich are. Henceforth, equality before the law, established by the Constitution, will be a myth for him; for he will not be subject to laws: the laws will be subject to him. There are no courts nor are there sentences for millionaires.’

The nation’s future, the solutions to its problems, cannot continue to depend on the selfish interests of a dozen big businessmen nor on the cold calculations of profits that ten or twelve magnates draw up in their air-conditioned offices. The country cannot continue begging on its knees for miracles from a few golden calves, like the Biblical one destroyed by the prophet’s fury. Golden calves cannot perform miracles of any kind. The problems of the Republic can be solved only if we dedicate ourselves to fight for it with the same energy, honesty and patriotism our liberators had when they founded it. Statesmen like Carlos Saladrigas, whose statesmanship consists of preserving the status quo and mouthing phrases like ‘absolute freedom of enterprise,’ ‘guarantees to investment capital’ and ‘law of supply and demand,’ will not solve these problems. Those ministers can chat away in a Fifth Avenue mansion until not even the dust of the bones of those whose problems require immediate solution remains. In this present-day world, social problems are not solved by spontaneous generation.

A revolutionary government backed by the people and with the respect of the nation, after cleansing the different institutions of all venal and corrupt officials, would proceed immediately to the country’s industrialization, mobilizing all inactive capital, currently estimated at about 1.5 billion pesos, through the National Bank and the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank, and submitting this mammoth task to experts and men of absolute competence totally removed from all political machines for study, direction, planning and realization.

After settling the one hundred thousand small farmers as owners on the land which they previously rented, a revolutionary government would immediately proceed to settle the land problem. First, as set forth in the Constitution, it would establish the maximum amount of land to be held by each type of agricultural enterprise and would acquire the excess acreage by expropriation, recovery of swampland, planting of large nurseries, and reserving of zones for reforestation. Secondly, it would distribute the remaining land among peasant families with priority given to the larger ones, and would promote agricultural cooperatives for communal use of expensive equipment, freezing plants and unified professional technical management of farming and cattle raising. Finally, it would provide resources, equipment, protection and useful guidance to the peasants.

A revolutionary government would solve the housing problem by cutting all rents in half, by providing tax exemptions on homes inhabited by the owners; by tripling taxes on rented homes; by tearing down hovels and replacing them with modern apartment buildings; and by financing housing all over the island on a scale heretofore unheard of, with the criterion that, just as each rural family should possess its own tract of land, each city family should own its own house or apartment. There is plenty of building material and more than enough manpower to make a decent home for every Cuban. But if we continue to wait for the golden calf, a thousand years will have gone by and the problem will remain the same. On the other hand, today possibilities of taking electricity to the most isolated areas on the island are greater than ever. The use of nuclear energy in this field is now a reality and will greatly reduce the cost of producing electricity.

With these three projects and reforms, the problem of unemployment would automatically disappear and the task of improving public health and fighting against disease would become much less difficult.

Finally, a revolutionary government would undertake the integral reform of the educational system, bringing it into line with the projects just mentioned with the idea of educating those generations which will have the privilege of living in a happier land. Do not forget the words of the Apostle: ‘A grave mistake is being made in Latin America: in countries that live almost completely from the produce of the land, men are being educated exclusively for urban life and are not trained for farm life.’ ‘The happiest country is the one which has best educated its sons, both in the instruction of thought and the direction of their feelings.’ ‘An educated country will always be strong and free.’

The soul of education, however, is the teacher, and in Cuba the teaching profession is miserably underpaid. Despite this, no one is more dedicated than the Cuban teacher. Who among us has not learned his three Rs in the little public schoolhouse? It is time we stopped paying pittances to these young men and women who are entrusted with the sacred task of teaching our youth. No teacher should earn less than 200 pesos, no secondary teacher should make less than 350 pesos, if they are to devote themselves exclusively to their high calling without suffering want. What is more, all rural teachers should have free use of the various systems of transportation; and, at least once every five years, all teachers should enjoy a sabbatical leave of six months with pay so they may attend special refresher courses at home or abroad to keep abreast of the latest developments in their field. In this way, the curriculum and the teaching system can be easily improved. Where will the money be found for all this? When there is an end to the embezzlement of government funds, when public officials stop taking graft from the large companies that owe taxes to the State, when the enormous resources of the country are brought into full use, when we no longer buy tanks, bombers and guns for this country (which has no frontiers to defend and where these instruments of war, now being purchased, are used against the people), when there is more interest in educating the people than in killing them there will be more than enough money.

Cuba could easily provide for a population three times as great as it has now, so there is no excuse for the abject poverty of a single one of its present inhabitants. The markets should be overflowing with produce, pantries should be full, all hands should be working. This is not an inconceivable thought. What is inconceivable is that anyone should go to bed hungry while there is a single inch of unproductive land; that children should die for lack of medical attention; what is inconceivable is that 30% of our farm people cannot write their names and that 99% of them know nothing of Cuba’s history. What is inconceivable is that the majority of our rural people are now living in worse circumstances than the Indians Columbus discovered in the fairest land that human eyes had ever seen.

To those who would call me a dreamer, I quote the words of Martí: ‘A true man does not seek the path where advantage lies, but rather the path where duty lies, and this is the only practical man, whose dream of today will be the law of tomorrow, because he who has looked back on the essential course of history and has seen flaming and bleeding peoples seethe in the cauldron of the ages knows that, without a single exception, the future lies on the side of duty.’

…The right of rebellion against tyranny, Honorable Judges, has been recognized from the most ancient times to the present day by men of all creeds, ideas and doctrines.

It was so in the theocratic monarchies of remote antiquity. In China it was almost a constitutional principle that when a king governed rudely and despotically he should be deposed and replaced by a virtuous prince.

The philosophers of ancient India upheld the principle of active resistance to arbitrary authority. They justified revolution and very often put their theories into practice. One of their spiritual leaders used to say that ‘an opinion held by the majority is stronger than the king himself. A rope woven of many strands is strong enough to hold a lion.’

The city states of Greece and republican Rome not only admitted, but defended the meting-out of violent death to tyrants.

In the Middle Ages, John Salisbury in his Book of the Statesman says that when a prince does not govern according to law and degenerates into a tyrant, violent overthrow is legitimate and justifiable. He recommends for tyrants the dagger rather than poison.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, in the Summa Theologica, rejects the doctrine of tyrannicide, and yet upholds the thesis that tyrants should be overthrown by the people.

Martin Luther proclaimed that when a government degenerates into a tyranny that violates the laws, its subjects are released from their obligations to obey. His disciple, Philippe Melanchton, upholds the right of resistance when governments become despotic. Calvin, the outstanding thinker of the Reformation with regard to political ideas, postulates that people are entitled to take up arms to oppose any usurpation.

No less a man than Juan Mariana, a Spanish Jesuit during the reign of Philip II, asserts in his book, De Rege et Regis Institutione, that when a governor usurps power, or even if he were elected, when he governs in a tyrannical manner it is licit for a private citizen to exercise tyrannicide, either directly or through subterfuge with the least possible disturbance.

The French writer, François Hotman, maintained that between the government and its subjects there is a bond or contract, and that the people may rise in rebellion against the tyranny of government when the latter violates that pact.

About the same time, a booklet – which came to be widely read – appeared under the title Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, and it was signed with the pseudonym Stephanus Junius Brutus. It openly declared that resistance to governments is legitimate when rulers oppress the people and that it is the duty of Honorable Judges to lead the struggle.

The Scottish reformers John Knox and John Poynet upheld the same points of view. And, in the most important book of that movement, George Buchanan stated that if a government achieved power without taking into account the consent of the people, or if a government rules their destiny in an unjust or arbitrary fashion, then that government becomes a tyranny and can be divested of power or, in a final recourse, its leaders can be put to death.

John Althus, a German jurist of the early 17th century, stated in his Treatise on Politics that sovereignty as the supreme authority of the State is born from the voluntary concourse of all its members; that governmental authority stems from the people and that its unjust, illegal or tyrannical function exempts them from the duty of obedience and justifies resistance or rebellion.

Thus far, Honorable Judges, I have mentioned examples from antiquity, from the Middle Ages, and from the beginnings of our times. I selected these examples from writers of all creeds. What is more, you can see that the right to rebellion is at the very root of Cuba’s existence as a nation. By virtue of it you are today able to appear in the robes of Cuban Judges. Would it be that those garments really served the cause of justice!

It is well known that in England during the 17th century two kings, Charles I and James II, were dethroned for despotism. These actions coincided with the birth of liberal political philosophy and provided the ideological base for a new social class, which was then struggling to break the bonds of feudalism. Against divine right autocracies, this new philosophy upheld the principle of the social contract and of the consent of the governed, and constituted the foundation of the English Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1775 and the French Revolution of 1789. These great revolutionary events ushered in the liberation of the Spanish colonies in the New World – the final link in that chain being broken by Cuba. The new philosophy nurtured our own political ideas and helped us to evolve our Constitutions, from the Constitution of Guáimaro up to the Constitution of 1940. The latter was influenced by the socialist currents of our time; the principle of the social function of property and of man’s inalienable right to a decent living were built into it, although large vested interests have prevented fully enforcing those rights.

The right of insurrection against tyranny then underwent its final consecration and became a fundamental tenet of political liberty.

As far back as 1649, John Milton wrote that political power lies with the people, who can enthrone and dethrone kings and have the duty of overthrowing tyrants.

John Locke, in his essay on government, maintained that when the natural rights of man are violated, the people have the right and the duty to alter or abolish the government. ‘The only remedy against unauthorized force is opposition to it by force.’

Jean-Jaques Rousseau said with great eloquence in his Social Contract: ‘While a people sees itself forced to obey and obeys, it does well; but as soon as it can shake off the yoke and shakes it off, it does better, recovering its liberty through the use of the very right that has been taken away from it.’ ‘The strongest man is never strong enough to be master forever, unless he converts force into right and obedience into duty. Force is a physical power; I do not see what morality one may derive from its use. To yield to force is an act of necessity, not of will; at the very least, it is an act of prudence. In what sense should this be called a duty?’ ‘To renounce freedom is to renounce one’s status as a man, to renounce one’s human rights, including one’s duties. There is no possible compensation for renouncing everything. Total renunciation is incompatible with the nature of man and to take away all free will is to take away all morality of conduct. In short, it is vain and contradictory to stipulate on the one hand an absolute authority and on the other an unlimited obedience…’

Thomas Paine said that ‘one just man deserves more respect than a rogue with a crown.’

The people’s right to rebel has been opposed only by reactionaries like that clergyman of Virginia, Jonathan Boucher, who said: ‘The right to rebel is a censurable doctrine derived from Lucifer, the father of rebellions.’

The Declaration of Independence of the Congress of Philadelphia, on July 4th, 1776, consecrated this right in a beautiful paragraph which reads: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.’

The famous French Declaration of the Rights of Man willed this principle to the coming generations: ‘When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is for them the most sacred of rights and the most imperative of duties.’ ‘When a person seizes sovereignty, he should be condemned to death by free men.’

…I believe I have sufficiently justified my point of view. I have called forth more reasons than the Honorable Prosecutor called forth to ask that I be condemned to 26 years in prison. All these reasons support men who struggle for the freedom and happiness of the people. None support those who oppress the people, revile them, and rob them heartlessly. Therefore I have been able to call forth many reasons and he could not adduce even one. How can Batista’s presence in power be justified when he gained it against the will of the people and by violating the laws of the Republic through the use of treachery and force? How could anyone call legitimate a regime of blood, oppression and ignominy? How could anyone call revolutionary a regime which has gathered the most backward men, methods and ideas of public life around it? How can anyone consider legally valid the high treason of a Court whose duty was to defend the Constitution? With what right do the Courts send to prison citizens who have tried to redeem their country by giving their own blood, their own lives? All this is monstrous to the eyes of the nation and to the principles of true justice!

Still there is one argument more powerful than all the others. We are Cubans and to be Cuban implies a duty; not to fulfill that duty is a crime, is treason. We are proud of the history of our country; we learned it in school and have grown up hearing of freedom, justice and human rights. We were taught to venerate the glorious example of our heroes and martyrs. Céspedes, Agramonte, Maceo, Gómez and Martí were the first names engraved in our minds. We were taught that the Titan once said that liberty is not begged for but won with the blade of a machete. We were taught that for the guidance of Cuba’s free citizens, the Apostle wrote in his book The Golden Age: ‘The man who abides by unjust laws and permits any man to trample and mistreat the country in which he was born is not an honorable man.… In the world there must be a certain degree of honor just as there must be a certain amount of light. When there are many men without honor, there are always others who bear in themselves the honor of many men. These are the men who rebel with great force against those who steal the people’s freedom, that is to say, against those who steal honor itself. In those men thousands more are contained, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained.…’ We were taught that the 10th of October and the 24th of February are glorious anniversaries of national rejoicing because they mark days on which Cubans rebelled against the yoke of infamous tyranny. We were taught to cherish and defend the beloved flag of the lone star, and to sing every afternoon the verses of our National Anthem: ‘To live in chains is to live in disgrace and in opprobrium,’ and ‘to die for one’s homeland is to live forever!’ All this we learned and will never forget, even though today in our land there is murder and prison for the men who practice the ideas taught to them since the cradle. We were born in a free country that our parents bequeathed to us, and the Island will first sink into the sea before we shall consent to be the slaves of anyone.

It seemed that the Apostle would die during his Centennial. It seemed that his memory would be extinguished forever. So great was the affront! But he is alive; he has not died. His people are rebellious. His people are worthy. His people are faithful to his memory. There are Cubans who have fallen defending his doctrines. There are young men who in magnificent selflessness came to die beside his tomb, giving their blood and their lives so that he could keep on living in the heart of his nation. Cuba, what would have become of you had you let your Apostle die?

I come to the close of my defense plea but I will not end it as lawyers usually do, asking that the accused be freed. I cannot ask freedom for myself while my comrades are already suffering in the ignominious prison of the Isle of Pines. Send me there to join them and to share their fate. It is understandable that honest men should be dead or in prison in a Republic where the President is a criminal and a thief.

To you, Honorable Judges, my sincere gratitude for having allowed me to express myself free from contemptible restrictions. I hold no bitterness towards you, I recognize that in certain aspects you have been humane, and I know that the Chief Judge of this Court, a man of impeccable private life, cannot disguise his repugnance at the current state of affairs that compels him to dictate unjust decisions. Still, a more serious problem remains for the Court of Appeals: the indictments arising from the murders of seventy men, that is to say, the greatest massacre we have ever known. The guilty continue at liberty and with weapons in their hands – weapons which continually threaten the lives of all citizens. If all the weight of the law does not fall upon the guilty because of cowardice or because of domination of the courts, and if then all the judges do not resign, I pity your honor. And I regret the unprecedented shame that will fall upon the Judicial Power.

I know that imprisonment will be harder for me than it has ever been for anyone, filled with cowardly threats and hideous cruelty. But I do not fear prison, as I do not fear the fury of the miserable tyrant who took the lives of 70 of my comrades. Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.

Microsoft Encarta 2009

* * *

Batista granted Castro amnesty in 1955, and Castro went into exile in Mexico. In 1956 he returned to Cuba with a small group of guerrillas, calling themselves the 26th of July Movement. Their revolution eventually triumphed in 1959.

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) was an Alsatian theologian, organist, physician, writer, humanitarian, and philosopher.

Schweitzer obtained a doctorate at the University of Strasbourg in 1899, with a dissertation on the religious philosophy of Kant, and received his licentiate in theology in 1900. Meanwhile he continued with a distinguished musical career initiated at an early age with piano and organ lessons.

Having a stable career by working as a church curate, giving organ concerts, delivering lectures and writing books about theology, at the age of 30, in 1905, Schweitzer decided to take up a call from the Society of Evangelist Missions of Paris to become a physician and help them advance their cause and work. Amid a hail of protests from his friends, family and colleagues, he resigned his post and re-entered the university as a student towards the degree of Doctorate in Medicine, a subject in which he had little knowledge or previous aptitude. He planned to spread the Gospel by the example of his Christian labour of healing, rather than through the verbal process of preaching, and believed that this service should be acceptable within any branch of Christian teaching.

In 1913, having obtained the M.D. degree, he founded his hospital at Lambaréné in what is now Gabon. In the first nine months, he and his wife had about 2,000 patients to examine, some travelling many days and hundreds of kilometers to reach him. His wife, Helene Schweitzer, was an anaesthetist for surgical operations. But in 1917 he and his wife were sent to a French internment camp as prisoners of war. Released in 1918, Schweitzer spent the next six years in Europe, preaching in his old church, giving lectures and concerts, and taking medical courses.

Schweitzer returned to Lambaréné in 1924 and except for relatively short periods of time, spent the remainder of his life there. With the funds earned from his own royalties and personal appearance fees and with those donated from all parts of the world, he expanded the hospital to seventy buildings which by the early 1960’s could take care of over 500 patients in residence at any one time.

Albert Schweitzer, circa 1960 in Lambarene, Gabon
Albert Schweitzer, circa 1960 in Lambaréné, Gabon

At Lambaréné, Schweitzer was doctor and surgeon in the hospital, pastor of a congregation, administrator of a village, superintendent of buildings and grounds, writer of scholarly books, commentator on contemporary history, musician, host to countless visitors. The honors he received were numerous, including the Goethe Prize of Frankfurt and honorary doctorates from many universities emphasizing one or another of his achievements.

He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life”. With the $33,000 prize money, he started the leprosarium at Lambaréné.

After he died, he was buried at Lambaréné.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Schweitzer#Education
https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1952/schweitzer/biographical/

The Problem of Peace (1954)

Dr. Schweitzer delivered this Nobel Lecture on 4 November 1954 in the Auditorium of Oslo University, almost a year after having received the award. He read quietly from a manuscript and that the seriousness and simplicity of his speech moved the audience. This translation is based on the text in French, the language which Dr. Schweitzer used on this occasion.

His “The Problem of Peace” lecture is considered by Wikipedia to be one of the best speeches ever given.

For the subject of my lecture, a redoubtable honor imposed by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize, I have chosen the problem of peace as it is today. In so doing, I believe that I have acted in the spirit of the founder of this prize who devoted himself to the study of the problem as it existed in his own day and age, and who expected his Foundation to encourage consideration of ways to serve the cause of peace.

I shall begin with an account of the situation at the end of the two wars through which we have recently passed.

The statesmen who were responsible for shaping the world of today through the negotiations which followed each of these two wars found the cards stacked against them. Their aim was not so much to create situations which might give rise to widespread and prosperous development as it was to establish the results of victory on a permanent basis. Even if their judgment had been unerring, they could not have used it as a guide. They were obliged to regard themselves as the executors of the will of the conquering peoples. They could not aspire to establishing relations between peoples on a just and proper basis; all their efforts were taken up by the necessity of preventing the most unreasonable of the demands made by the victors from becoming reality; they had, moreover, to convince the conquering nations to compromise with each other whenever their respective views and interests conflicted.

The true source of what is untenable in our present situation – and the victors are beginning to suffer from it as well as the vanquished – lies in the fact that not enough thought was given to the realities of historical fact and, consequently, to what is just and beneficial.

The historical problem of Europe is conditioned by the fact that in past centuries, particularly in the so-called era of the great invasions, the peoples from the East penetrated farther and farther into the West and Southwest, taking possession of the land(1). So it came about that the later immigrants intermingled with the earlier already established immigrants.

A partial fusion of these peoples took place during this time, and new relatively homogeneous political societies were formed within the new frontiers. In western and central Europe, this evolution led to a situation which may be said to have crystallized and become definitive in its main features in the course of the nineteenth century.

In the East and Southeast, on the other hand, the evolution did not reach this stage; it stopped with the coexistence of nationalities which failed to merge. Each could lay some claim to rightful ownership of the land. One might claim territorial rights by virtue of longer possession or superiority of numbers, while another might point to its contribution in developing the land. The only practical solution would have been for the two groups to agree to live together in the same territory and in a single political society, in accordance with a compromise acceptable to both. It would have been necessary, however, for this state of affairs to have been reached before the second third of the nineteenth century. For, from then on, there was increasingly vigorous development of national consciousness which brought with it serious consequences. This development no longer allowed peoples to be guided by historical realities and by reason.

The First World War, then, had its origins in the conditions which prevailed in eastern and southeastern Europe. The new order created after both world wars bears in its turn the seeds of a future conflict.

Any new postwar structure is bound to contain the seeds of conflict unless it takes account of historical fact and is designed to provide a just and objective solution to problems in the light of that fact. Only such a solution can be really permanent.

Historical reality is trampled underfoot if, when two peoples have rival historical claims to the same country, the claims of only one are recognized. The titles which two nations hold to disputed parts of Europe never have more than a relative value since the peoples of both are, in effect, immigrants.

Similarly, we are guilty of contempt for history if, in establishing a new order, we fail to take economic realities into consideration when frontiers. Such is the case if we draw a boundary so as to deprive a port of its natural hinterland or raise a barrier between a region rich in raw materials and another particularly suited to exploiting them. By such measures do we create states which cannot survive economically.

The most flagrant violation of historical rights, and indeed of human rights, consists in depriving certain peoples of their right to the land on which they live, thus forcing them to move to other territories. At the end of the Second World War, the victorious powers decided to impose this fate on hundreds of thousands of people, and under the most harsh conditions(2); from this we can judge how little aware they were of any mission to work toward a reorganization which would be reasonably equitable and which would guarantee a propitious future.

Our situation ever since the Second World War has been characterized essentially by the fact that no peace treaty has yet been signed(3). It was only through agreements of a truce-like nature that the war came to an end; and it is indeed because of our inability to effect a reorganization, however elemental, that we are obliged to be content with these truces which, dictated by the needs of the moment, can have no foreseeable future.

This then is the present situation. How do we perceive the problem of peace now?

In quite a new light – different to the same extent that modern war is different from war in the past. War now employs weapons of death and destruction incomparably more effective than those of the past and is consequently a worse evil than ever before. Heretofore war could be regarded as an evil to which men must resign themselves because it served progress and was even necessary to it. One could argue that thanks to war the peoples with the strongest virtues survived; thus determining the course of history.

It could be claimed, for example, that the victory of Cyrus over the Babylonians created an empire in the Near East with a civilization higher than that which it supplanted, and that Alexander the Great’s victory in its turn opened the way, from the Nile to the Indus, for Greek civilization. The reverse, however, sometimes occurred when war led to the replacement of a superior civilization by an inferior one, as it did, for instance, in the seventh century and at the beginning of the eighth when the Arabs gained mastery over Persia, Asia Minor, Palestine, North Africa, and Spain, countries that had hitherto flourished under a Greco-Roman civilization.

It would seem then that, in the past, war could operate just as well in favor of progress as against it. It is with much less conviction that we can claim modern war to be an agent of progress. The evil that it embodies weighs more heavily on us than ever before.

It is pertinent to recall that the generation preceding 1914 approved the enormous stockpiling of armaments. The argument was that a military decision would be reached with rapidity and that very brief wars could be expected. This opinion was accepted without contradiction.

Because they anticipated the progressive humanization of the methods of war, people also believed that the evils resulting from future conflicts would be relatively slight. This supposition grew out of the obligations accepted by nations under the terms of the Geneva Convention of 1864, following the efforts of the Red Cross. Mutual guarantees were exchanged concerning care for the wounded, the humane treatment of prisoners of war, and the welfare of the civilian population. This convention did indeed achieve some significant results for which hundreds of thousands of combatants and civilians were to be thankful in the wars to come. But, compared to the miseries of war, which have grown beyond all proportion with the introduction of modern weapons of death and destruction, they are trivial indeed. Truly, it cannot be a question of humanizing war.

The concept of the brief war and that of the humanization of its methods, propounded as they were on the eve of war in 1914, led people to take the war less seriously than they should have. They regarded it as a storm which was to clear the political air and as an event which was to end the arms race that was ruining nations.

While some lightheartedly supported the war on account of the profits they expected to gain from it, others did so from a more noble motive: this war must be the war to end all wars. Many a brave man set out for battle in the belief that he was fighting for a day when war would no longer exist.

In this conflict, just as in that of 1939, these two concepts proved to be completely wrong. Slaughter and destruction continued year after year and were carried on in the most inhumane way. In contrast to the war of 1870(4), the duel was not between two isolated nations, but between two great groups of nations, so that a large share of mankind became embroiled, thus compounding the tragedy.

Since we now know what a terrible evil war is, we must spare no effort to prevent its recurrence. To this reason must also be added an ethical one: In the course of the last two wars, we have been guilty of acts of inhumanity which make one shudder, and in any future war we would certainly be guilty of even worse. This must not happen!

Let us dare to face the situation. Man has become superman. He is a superman because he not only has at his disposal innate physical forces, but also commands, thanks to scientific and technological advances, the latent forces of nature which he can now put to his own use. To kill at a distance, man used to rely solely on his own physical strength; he used it to bend the bow and to release the arrow. The superman has progressed to the stage where, thanks to a device designed for the purpose, he can use the energy released by the combustion of a given combination of chemical products. This enables him to employ a much more effective projectile and to propel it over far greater distances.

However, the superman suffers from a fatal flaw. He has failed to rise to the level of superhuman reason which should match that of his superhuman strength. He requires such reason to put this vast power to solely reasonable and useful ends and not to destructive and murderous ones. Because he lacks it, the conquests of science and technology become a mortal danger to him rather than a blessing.

In this context is it not significant that the first great scientific discovery, the harnessing of the force resulting from the combustion of gunpowder, was seen at first only as a means of killing at a distance?

The conquest of the air, thanks to the internal-combustion engine, marked a decisive advance for humanity. Yet men grasped at once the opportunity it offered to kill and destroy from the skies. This invention underlined a fact which had hitherto been steadfastly denied: the more the superman gains in strength, the poorer he becomes. To avoid exposing himself completely to the destruction unleashed from the skies, he is obliged to seek refuge underground like a hunted animal. At the same time he must resign himself to abetting the unprecedented destruction of cultural values.

A new stage was reached with the discovery and subsequent utilization of the vast forces liberated by the splitting of the atom. After a time, it was found that the destructive potential of a bomb armed with such was incalculable, and that even large-scale tests could unleash catastrophes threatening the very existence of the human race. Only now has the full horror of our position become obvious. No longer can we evade the question of the future of mankind.

But the essential fact which we should acknowledge in our conscience, and which we should have acknowledged a long time ago, is that we are becoming inhuman to the extent that we become supermen. We have learned to tolerate the facts of war: that men are killed en masse -some twenty million in the Second World War – that whole cities and their inhabitants are annihilated by the atomic bomb, that men are turned into living torches by incendiary bombs. We learn of these things from the radio or newspapers and we judge them according to whether they signify success for the group of peoples to which we belong, or for our enemies. When we do admit to ourselves that such acts are the results of inhuman conduct, our admission is accompanied by the thought that the very fact of war itself leaves us no option but to accept them. In resigning ourselves to our fate without a struggle, we are guilty of inhumanity.

What really matters is that we should all of us realize that we are guilty of inhumanity. The horror of this realization should shake us out of our lethargy so that we can direct our hopes and our intentions to the coming of an era in which war will have no place.

This hope and this will can have but one aim: to attain, through a change in spirit, that superior reason which will dissuade us from misusing the power at our disposal.

The first to have the courage to advance purely ethical arguments against war and to stress the necessity for reason governed by an ethical will was the great humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam in his Querela pacis(5) (The Complaint of Peace) which appeared in 1517. In this book he depicts Peace on stage seeking an audience.

Erasmus found few adherents to his way of thinking. To expect the affirmation of an ethical necessity to point the way to peace was considered a utopian ideal. Kant shared this opinion. In his essay on “Perpetual Peace”(6), which appeared in 1795, and in other publications in which he touches upon the problem of peace, he states his belief that peace will come only with the increasing authority of an international code of law, in accordance with which an international court of arbitration would settle disputes between nations. This authority, he maintains, should be based entirely on the increasing respect which in time, and for purely practical motives, men will hold for the law as such. Kant is unremitting in his insistence that the idea of a league of nations cannot be hoped for as the outcome of ethical argument, but only as the result of the perfecting of law. He believes that this process of perfecting will come of itself. In his opinion, “nature, that great artist” will lead men, very gradually, it is true, and over a very long period of time, through the march of history and the misery of wars, to agree on an international code of law which will guarantee perpetual peace.

A plan for a league of nations having powers of arbitration was first formulated with some precision by Sully, the friend and minister of Henry IV. It was given detailed treatment by the Abbé Castel de Saint-Pierre in three works, the most important of which bears the title Projet de paix perpétuelle entre les souverains chrétiens [Plan for Perpetual Peace between Christian Sovereigns]. Kant was aware of the views it developed, probably from an extract which Rousseau published in 1761(7).

Today we can judge the efficacy of international institutions by the experience we have had with the League of Nations in Geneva and with the United Nations. Such institutions can render important services by offering to mediate conflicts at their very inception, by taking the initiative in setting up international projects, and by other actions of a similar nature, depending on the circumstances. One of the League of Nations’ most important achievements was the creation in 1922 of an internationally valid passport(8) for the benefit of those who became stateless as a consequence of war. What a position those people would have been in if this travel document had not been devised through Nansen’s initiative! What would have been the fate of displaced persons after 1945 if the United Nations had not existed!

Nevertheless these two institutions have been unable to bring about peace. Their efforts were doomed to fail since they were obliged to undertake them in a world in which there was no prevailing spirit directed toward peace. And being only legal institutions, they were unable to create such a spirit. The ethical spirit alone has the power to generate it. Kant deceived himself in thinking that he could dispense with it in his search for peace. We must follow the road on which he turned his back.

What is more, we just cannot wait the extremely long time he deemed necessary for this movement toward peace to mature. War today means annihilation, a fact that Kant did not foresee. Decisive steps must be taken to ensure peace, and decisive results obtained without delay. Only through the spirit can all this be done.

Is the spirit capable of achieving what we in our distress must expect of it?

Let us not underestimate its power, the evidence of which can be seen throughout the history of mankind. The spirit created this humanitarianism which is the origin of all progress toward some form of higher existence. Inspired by humanitarianism we are true to ourselves and capable of creating. Inspired by a contrary spirit we are unfaithful to ourselves and fall prey to all manner of error.

The height to which the spirit can ascend was revealed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It led those peoples of Europe who possessed it out of the Middle Ages, putting an end to superstition, witch hunts, torture, and a multitude of other forms of cruelty or traditional folly. It replaced the old with the new in an evolutionary way that never ceases to astonish those who observe it. All that we have ever possessed of true civilization, and indeed all that we still possess, can be traced to a manifestation of this spirit.

Later, its power waned because the spirit failed to find support for its ethical character in a world preoccupied with scientific pursuits. It has been replaced by a spirit less sure of the course humanity should take and more content with lesser ideals. Today if we are to avoid our own downfall, we must commit ourselves to this spirit once again. It must bring forth a new miracle just as it did in the Middle Ages, an even greater miracle than the first.

The spirit is not dead; it lives in isolation. It has overcome the difficulty of having to exist in a world out of harmony with its ethical character. It has come to realize that it can find no home other than in the basic nature of man. The independence acquired through its acceptance of this realization is an additional asset.

It is convinced that compassion, in which ethics takes root, does not assume its true proportions until it embraces not only man but every living being. To the old ethics, which lacked this depth and force of conviction, has been added the ethics of reverence for life, and its validity is steadily gaining in recognition.

Once more we dare to appeal to the whole man, to his capacity to think and feel, exhorting him to know himself and to be true to himself. We reaffirm our trust in the profound qualities of his nature. And our living. experiences are proving us right.

In 1950, there appeared a book entitled Témoignages d’humanité(9) [Documents of Humanity], published by some professors from the University of Göttingen who had been brought together by the frightful mass expulsion of the eastern Germans in 1945. The refugees tell in simple words of the help they received in their distress from men belonging to the enemy nations, men who might well have been moved to hate them. Rarely have I been so gripped by a book as I was by this one. It is a wonderful tonic for anyone who has lost faith in humanity.

Whether peace comes or not depends on the direction in which the mentality of individuals develops and then, in turn, on that of their nations. This truth holds more meaning for us today than it did for the past. Erasmus, Sully, the Abbé Castel de Saint-Pierre, and the others who in their time were engrossed in the problem of peace dealt with princes and not with peoples. Their efforts tended to be concentrated on the establishment of a supranational authority vested with the power of arbitrating any difficulties which might arise between princes. Kant, in his essay on “Perpetual Peace”, was the first to foresee an age when peoples would govern themselves and when they, no less than the sovereigns, would be concerned with the problem of peace. He thought of this evolution as progress. In his opinion, peoples would be more inclined than princes to maintain peace because it is they who bear the miseries of war.

The time has come, certainly, when governments must look on themselves as the executors of the will of the people. But Kant’s reliance on the people’s innate love for peace has not been justified. Because the will of the people, being the will of the crowd, has not avoided the danger of instability and the risk of emotional distraction from the path of true reason, it has failed to demonstrate a vital sense of responsibility. Nationalism of the worst sort was displayed in the last two wars, and it may be regarded today as the greatest obstacle to mutual understanding between peoples.

Such nationalism can be repulsed only through the rebirth of a humanitarian ideal among men which will make their allegiance to their country a natural one inspired by genuine ideals.

Spurious nationalism is rampant in countries across the seas too, especially among those peoples who formerly lived under white domination and who have recently gained their independence. They are in danger of allowing nationalism to become their one and only ideal. Indeed, peace, which had prevailed until now in many areas, is today in jeopardy.

These peoples, too, can overcome their naive nationalism only by adopting a humanitarian ideal. But how is such a change to be brought about? Only when the spirit becomes a living force within us and leads us to a civilization based on the humanitarian ideal, will it act, through us, upon these peoples. All men, even the semicivilized and the primitive, are, as beings capable of compassion, able to develop a humanitarian spirit. It abides within them like tinder ready to be lit, waiting only for a spark.

The idea that the reign of peace must come one day has been given expression by a number of peoples who have attained a certain level of civilization. In Palestine it appeared for the first time in the words of the prophet Amos(10) in the eighth century B.C., and it continues to live in the Jewish and Christian religions as the belief in the Kingdom of God. It figures in the doctrine taught by the great Chinese thinkers: Confucius and Lao-tse in the sixth century B.C., Mi-tse in the fifth, and Meng-tse in the fourth(11). It reappears in Tolstoy(12) and in other contemporary European thinkers. People have labeled it a utopia. But the situation today is such that it must become reality in one way or another; otherwise mankind will perish.

I am well aware that what I have had to say on the problem of peace is not essentially new. It is my profound conviction that the solution lies in our rejecting war for an ethical reason; namely, that war makes us guilty of the crime of inhumanity. Erasmus of Rotterdam and several others after him have already proclaimed this as the truth around which we should rally.

The only originality I claim is that for me this truth goes hand in hand with the intellectual certainty that the human spirit is capable of creating in our time a new mentality, an ethical mentality. Inspired by this certainty, I too proclaim this truth in the hope that my testimony may help to prevent its rejection as an admirable sentiment but a practical impossibility. Many a truth has lain unnoticed for a long time, ignored simply because no one perceived its potential for becoming reality.

Only when an ideal of peace is born in the minds of the peoples will the institutions set up to maintain this peace effectively fulfill the function expected of them.

Even today, we live in an age characterized by the absence of peace; even today, nations can feel themselves threatened by other nations; even today, we must concede to each nation the right to stand ready to defend itself with the terrible weapons now at its disposal.

Such is the predicament in which we seek the first sign of the spirit in which we must place our trust. This sign can be none other than an effort on the part of peoples to atone as far as possible for the wrongs they inflicted upon each other during the last war. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners and deportees are waiting to return to their homes; others, unjustly condemned by a foreign power, await their acquittal; innumerable other injustices still await reparation.

In the name of all who toil in the cause of peace, I beg the peoples to take the first step along this new highway. Not one of them will lose a fraction of the power necessary for their own defense.

If we take this step to liquidate the injustices of the war which we have just experienced, we will instill a little confidence in all people. For any enterprise, confidence is the capital without which no effective work can be carried on. It creates in every sphere of activity conditions favoring fruitful growth. In such an atmosphere of confidence thus created we can begin to seek an equitable settlement of the problems caused by the two wars.

I believe that I have expressed the thoughts and hopes of millions of men who, in our part of the world, live in fear of war to come. May my words convey their intended meaning if they penetrate to the other part of the world – the other side of the trench – to those who live there in the same fear.

May the men who hold the destiny of peoples in their hands, studiously avoid anything that might cause the present situation to deteriorate and become even more dangerous. May they take to heart the words of the Apostle Paul: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men”.(13) These words are valid not only for individuals, but for nations as well. May these nations, in their efforts to maintain peace, do their utmost to give the spirit time to grow and to act.

The Problem of Peacehttp://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1952/schweitzer-lecture.html

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1951–1970, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

Notes

(1) The Huns moved into the Danube valley in the fourth century; the Visigoths moved westward into Italy and Spain early in the fifth century; the Vandals moved into France and Spain somewhat later in the century.

(2) harsh conditions: the major example: The Potsdam Conference (1945), attended by the principal World War 2 Allies, allowed the mass expulsion of the German population from Czechoslovakia and from the territories given over to Russian and Polish administration.

(3) no peace treaty has yet been signed: nor has a peace treaty with Germany been signed as of August 1971.

(4) the war of 1870: France versus Germany.

(5) Querela pacis: Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536), Querela pacis undique gentium ejectae profligataeque (Basel: Joh.Froben, 1517).

(6) Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Zum ewigen Frieden (1795). English translation entitled Perpetual Peace (New York: Columbia University Press, 1932); the introduction is by Nicholas Murray Butler, Nobel Peace co-laureate for 1931.

(7) Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully (1560-1641), in scattered passages of his memoirs, Oechonomies royales (1638), describes a “Grand Design” for world organization which he attributes to Henry IV. Abbé Castel de Saint-Pierre (1658–1743), Projet de paix perpétuelle (1712, 1717); Discours sur la polysynodie (1719). Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), Extrait du Projet de paix perpétuelle de M. l’Abbé de Saint-Pierre (Amsterdam, 1761). Two other such pieces by Rousseau, on Polysynodie and his Jugement sur la Paix perpétuelle, were written in 1756 but published for the first time in the posthumous editions of his works.

(8) internationally valid passport: the “Nansen Passport” (so called for Fridtjof Nansen, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1922) was an identification certificate, established in July 1922, for Armenian, Chaldean, Turkish, and Syrian refugees, which could be used as a passport.

(9) Témoignages d’humanité: “Documents of Humanity during the Mass Expulsions”, compiled by K.O. Kurth, translated by Helen Taubert and Margaret Brooke (Göttingen: Göttingen Research Committee, 1952).

(10) Amos 9:11-15.

(11) Confucius (551-479 B.C.); Lao-tse (600-517 B.C.); Mi-tse [also Mo Ti or Micius] (479-372 B.C.); Meng-tse [also Mencius] (371-289 B.C.).

(12) In the Works (London: Oxford University Press, 1935), Volume 20 is entitled The Kingdom of God and Peace Essays. See, for example, “Address to the Swedish Peace Congress in 1909”, pp. 583-591.

(13) Romans 12:18.

Nikita Khrushchev

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894–1971) led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964. Khrushchev was responsible for the partial de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, for backing the progress of the early Soviet space program, and for several relatively liberal reforms in areas of domestic policy. Khrushchev’s party colleagues removed him from power in 1964, replacing him with Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

Khrushchev was employed as a metalworker in his youth, and during the Russian Civil War was a political commissar. With the help of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Joseph Stalin’s purges, and approved thousands of arrests. In 1939, Stalin sent him to govern Ukraine, and he continued the purges there. During what was known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War (Eastern Front of World War 2), Khrushchev was again a commissar, serving as an intermediary between Stalin and his generals. Khrushchev was present at the bloody defense of Stalingrad, a fact he took great pride in throughout his life. After the war, he returned to Ukraine before being recalled to Moscow as one of Stalin’s close advisers.

In the power struggle triggered by Stalin’s death in 1953, Khrushchev, after several years, emerged victorious. His domestic policies, aimed at bettering the lives of ordinary citizens, were often ineffective, especially in the area of agriculture. Hoping eventually to rely on missiles for national defense, Khrushchev ordered major cuts in conventional forces. Despite the cuts, Khrushchev’s rule saw the tensest years of the Cold War, culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Some of Khrushchev’s policies were seen as erratic, particularly by his emerging rivals, who quietly rose in strength and deposed him in October 1964. He did not suffer the deadly fate of some previous losers of Soviet power struggles, but was pensioned off with an apartment in Moscow and a dacha in the countryside. His lengthy memoirs were smuggled to the West and published in part in 1970.

On the cult of personality (1956)

Khrushchev, 1956
Khrushchev, 1956

The 20th Congress of the Communist Party holds a unique place in Soviet history, due to Nikita Khrushchev’s historic report On the Cult of the Individual. The speech was prepared in strict secrecy (even many other communist countries did not know about it for a long time), and Khrushchev kept working on it during the Congress. He gave the speech on 25 February 1956 at a closed meeting, after the new party leadership was elected. The speech shocked delegates, all committed communists, and then wider Soviet society. It accused Joseph Stalin of creating a personality cult. It debunked the myth of Stalin as “the disciple of Lenin”: in fact, under the guise of fighting the “enemies of the people” Stalin had eliminated Lenin’s closest associates.

Khrushchev cited facts about Joseph Stalin’s criminal deeds, of which the people knew little or nothing. For the first time, he spoke not only about the murder of Sergei Kirov(1) and the execution of delegates to the 17th Party Congress, but also about the abuse of prisoners. Stalin, who had been venerated as next to God, was revealed as the instigator of mass repression. Despite the damning revelations, the speech’s overall assessment of Stalin was relatively mild.

By contrast, in preliminary discussion, Khrushchev had said: “Stalin destroyed the party. He was not a Marxist. He wiped out all that is sacred in a human being.” Later, fearing that the truth about Stalin could lead to criticism of the political system, Khrushchev reverted to saying that Stalin had been a staunch revolutionary.

The first steps towards a new era by Mikhail Gorbachev http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2007/apr/26/greatspeeches4

This speech is evaluated as:
– one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian;
– #23 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time.

Comrades, in the report of the Central Committee of the party at the 20th Congress, in a number of speeches by delegates to the Congress, as also formerly during the plenary CC/CPSU sessions, quite a lot has been said about the cult of the individual and about its harmful consequences…

Allow me first of all to remind you bow severely the classics of Marxism-Leninism denounced every manifestation of the cult of the individual. In a letter to the German political worker, Wilhelm Bloss, Marx stated: “From my antipathy to any cult of the individual, I never made public during the existence of the International the numerous addresses from various countries which recognized my merits and which annoyed me. I did not even reply to them, except sometimes to rebuke their authors. Engels and I first joined the secret society of Communists on the condition that everything making for superstitious worship of authority would be deleted from its statute…

The great modesty of the genius of the revolution, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, is known. Lenin had always stressed the role of the people as the creator of history, the directing and organizational role of the party as a living and creative organism, and also the role of the central committee.

Marxism does not negate the role of the leaders of the workers’ class in directing the revolutionary liberation movement.

While ascribing great importance to the role of the leaders and organizers of the masses, Lenin at the same time mercilessly stigmatized every manifestation of the cult of the individual, inexorably combated the foreign-to-Marxism views about a “hero” and a “crowd” and countered all efforts to oppose a “hero” to the masses and to the people.

Lenin taught that the party’s strength depends on its indissoluble unity with the masses, on the fact that behind the party follow the people – workers, peasants and intelligentsia. “Only lie will win and retain the power,” said Lenin, “who believes in the people, who submerges himself in the fountain of the living creativeness of the people.”…

During Lenin’s life the central committee of the party- was a real expression of collective leadership of the party and of the Nation. Being a militant Marxist-revolutionist, always unyielding in matters of principle, Lenin never imposed by force his views upon his coworkers. He tried to convince; he patiently explained his opinions to others. Lenin always diligently observed that the norms of party life were realized, that the party statute was enforced, that the party congresses and the plenary sessions of the central committee took place at the proper intervals.

In addition to the great accomplishments of V. I. Lenin for the victory of the working class and of the working peasants, for the victory of our party and for the application of the ideas of scientific communism to life, his acute mind expressed itself also in this that lie detected in Stalin in time those negative characteristics which resulted later in grave consequences. Fearing the future fate of the party and of the Soviet nation, V.I. Lenin made a completely correct characterization of Stalin, pointing out that it was necessary to consider the question of transferring Stalin from the position of Secretarv General because of the fact that Stalin is excessively rude, that he does not have a proper attitude toward his comrades, that lie is capricious, and abuses his power…

Vladimir Ilyich said: “Stalin is excessively rude, and this defect, which can be freely tolerated in our midst and in contacts among us Communists, becomes a defect which cannot be tolerated in one holding the position of the Secretary General. Because of this, I propose that the comrades consider the method by which Stalin would be removed from this position and by which another man would be selected for it, a man, who above all, would differ from Stalin in only one quality, namely, greater tolerance, greater loyalty, greater kindness, and more considerate attitude toward the comrades, a less capricious temper, etc.”.

As later events have proven, Lenin’s anxiety was justified; in the first period after Lenin’s death Stalin still paid attention to his (i.e., Lenin’s) advice, but, later be began to disregard the serious admonitions of Vladimir Ilyich.

When we analyze the practice of Stalin in regard to the direction of the party and of the country, when we pause to consider everything which Stalin perpetrated, we must be convinced that Lenin’s fears were justified. The negative characteristics of Stalin, which, in Lenin’s time, were on1v incipient, transformed themselves during the last years into a grave abuse o f power by Stalin, which caused untold harm to our party…

Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation, and patient cooperation with people, but by imposing his concepts and demanding absolute submission to his opinion. Whoever opposed this concept or tried to prove his viewpoint, and the correctness of his position-was doomed to removal from the leading collective and to subsequent moral and physical annihilation. This was especially true during the period following the 17th Party Congress, when many prominent party leaders and rank-and-file party workers, honest and dedicated to the cause of communism, fell victim to Stalin’s despotism…

Stalin originated the concept enemy of the people. This term automatically rendered it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven; this term made possible the usage of the most cruel repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent, against those who had bad reputations. This concept, enemy of the people, actually eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight or the making of one’s views known on this or that issue, even those of a practical character. In the main, and in actuality, the only proof of guilt used, against all norms of current legal science, was the confession of the accused himself, and, as subsequent probing proved, confessions were acquired through physical pressures against the accused…

Lenin used severe methods only in the most necessary cases, when the exploiting classes were still in existence and were vigorously opposing the revolution, when the struggle for survival was decidedly assuming the sharpest forms, even including a civil war.

Stalin, on the other hand, used extreme methods and mass repressions at a time when the revolution was already victorious, when the Soviet state was strengthened, when the exploiting classes were already liquidated, and Socialist relations were rooted solidly in all phases of national economy, when our party was politically consolidated and had strengthened itself both numerically and ideologically. It is clear that here Stalin showed in a whole series of cases his intolerance, his brutality, and his abuse of power. Instead of proving his political correctness and mobilizing the masses, he often chose the path of repression and physical annihilation, not only against actual enemies, but also against individuals who had not committed any crimes against the party and the Soviet Government. Here we see no wisdom but only a demonstration of the brutal force which had once so alarmed V.I. Lenin…

Considering the question of the cult of an individual we must first of all show everyone what harm this caused to the interests of our party…

In practice Stalin ignored the norms of party life and trampled on the Leninist principle of collective party leadership.

Stalin’s willfulness vis-a-vis the party and its central committee became fully evident after the 17th Party Congress, which took place in 1934…

It was determined that of the 139 members and candidates of the Party’s Central Committee who were elected at the 17th Congress, 98 persons, that is, 70 percent, were arrested and shot (mostly in 1937-38). [Indignation in the hall.]…

The same fate met not only the central committee members but also the majority of the delegates to the 17th Party Congress. Of 1,966 delegates with either voting or advisory rights, 1,108 persons were arrested on charges of anti-revolutionary crimes, i.e., decidedly more than a majority. This very fact shows how absurd, wild, and contrary to commonsense were the charges of counter-revolutionary crimes made out, as we now see, against a majority of participants at the 17th Party Congress. [Indignation in the hall.]…

What is the reason that mass repressions against activists increased more and more after the 17th Party Congress? It was because at that time Stalin had so elevated himself above the party and above the nation that he ceased to consider either the central committee or the party. While he still reckoned with the opinion of the collective before the 17th Congress, after the complete political liquidation of the Trotskyites, Zinovievites and Bukharinites, when as a result of that fight and Socialist victories the party achieved unity, Stalin ceased to an ever greater degree to consider the members of the party’s central committee and even the members of the Political Bureau. Stalin thought that now lie could decide all things alone and all he needed were statisticians; he treated all others in such a way that they could only listen to and praise him.

After the criminal murder of S.M. Kirov(1), mass repressions and brutal acts of violation of Socialist legality began. On the evening of 1 December 1934, on Stalin’s initiative (without the approval of the Political Bureau – which was passed 2 days later, casually) the Secretary of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee, Yenukidze, signed the following directive:

I. Investigative agencies are directed to speed up the cases of those accused of the preparation or execution of acts of terror.

II. Judicial organs are directed not to hold up the execution of death sentences pertaining to crimes of this category in order to consider the possibility of pardon, because the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee, U.S.S.R, does not consider as possible the receiving of petitions of this sort.

III. The organs of the Commissariat of Internal Affairs are directed to execute the death sentences against criminals of the above-mentioned category immediately after the passage of sentences.

This directive became the basis for mass acts of abuse against Socialist legality. During many of the fabricated court cases the accused were charged with “the preparation” of terroristic acts; this deprived them of any, possibility that their cases might be reexamined, even when they stated before the court that their confessions were secured by force, and when, in a convincing manner, they disproved the accusations against them…

Mass repressions grew tremendously from the end of 1936 after a telegram from Stalin and Zhdanov(2), dated from Sochi on 25 September 1936, was addressed to Kaganovich, Molotov, and other members of the Political Bureau. The content of the telegram was as follows: “We deem it absolutely necessary and urgent that Comrade Yezhov(4) be nominated to the post of People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs. Yagoda has definitely proved himself to be incapable of unmasking the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc. The OGPU(5) is 4 years behind in this matter. This is noted by all party workers and by the majority of the representatives of the NKVD.” Strictly speaking we should stress that Stalin did not meet with and therefore could not know the opinion of party workers…

The mass repressions at this time were made under the slogan of a fight against the Trotskyites. Did the Trotskyites at this time actually constitute such a danger to our party and to the Soviet state? We should recall that in 1927, on the eve of the 15th Party Congress, only some 4,000 votes were cast for the Trotskyite-Zinovievite opposition, while there were 724,000 for the party line. During the 10 years which passed between the 15th Party Congress and the February-March Central Committee Plenum, Trotskyism was completely disarmed; many former Trotskyites had changed their former views and worked in the various sectors building socialism. It is clear that in the situation of Socialist victory there was no basis for mass terror in the country…

The majority of the Central Committee members and candidates elected at the 17th Congress and arrested in 1937-38 were expelled from the party illegally through the brutal abuse of the party statute, because the question of their expulsion was never studied at the Central Committee Plenum.

Now when the cases of some of these so-called spies and saboteurs were examined it was found that all their cases were fabricated. Confessions of guilt of many- arrested and charged with enemy activity were gained with the help of cruel and inhuman tortures…

An example of vile provocation of odious falsification and of criminal violation of revolutionary legality is the case of the former candidate for the central committee political bureau, one of the most eminent workers of the party and of the Soviet Government, Comrade Eikhe(6), who was a party member since 1905. [Commotion in the hall.]

Comrade Eikhe was arrested on 29 April 1938, on the basis of slanderous materials, without the sanction of the prosecutor of the USSR, which was finally received 15 months after the arrest.

Investigation of Eikhe’s case was made in a manner which most brutally violated Soviet legality and was accompanied by willfulness and falsification.

Eikhe was forced under torture to sign ahead of time a protocol of his confession prepared by the investigative judges, in which he and several other eminent party workers were accused of anti-Soviet activity.

On 1 October 1939, Eikhe sent his declaration to Stalin in which be categorically denied his guilt and asked for an examination of his case. In the declaration he wrote:

“There is no more bitter misery than to sit In the jail of a government for which I have always fought.”…

On 2 February 1940, Eikhe was brought before the court. Here he did not confess any guilt and said as follows:

“In all the so-called confessions of mine there is not one letter written by me with the exception of my signatures under the protocols which were forced from me. I have made my confession under pressure from the investigative judge who from the time of my arrest tormented me. After that I began to write all this nonsense. The most important thing for me is to tell the court, the party and Stalin that I am not guilty. I have never been guilty of any conspiracy. I will die believing in the truth of party policy as I have believed in it during my whole life.”

On 4 February Eikhe was shot. [Indignation in the hall.] It has been definitely established now that Eikhe’s case was fabricated; he has been posthumously rehabilitated…

The way in which the former NKVD workers manufactured various fictitious “anti-Soviet centers” and “blocs” with the help of provocatory methods is seen from the confession of Comrade Rozenblum, party member since 1906, who was arrested in 1937 by the Leningrad NKVD.

During the examination in 1955 of the Kornarov case Rozenblum revealed the following fact: when Rozenblum was arrested in 1937 he was subjected to terrible torture during which be was ordered to confess false information concerning himself and other persons. Be was then brought to the office of Zakovsky(7), who offered him freedom on condition that be make before the court a false confession fabricated in 1937 by the NKVD concerning “sabotage, espionage and diversion in a terroristic center in Leningrad.” [Movement in the hall.]…

“You, yourself,” said Zakovskv, “will not need to invent anything. The NKVD will prepare for you a ready outline for every branch of the center; you will have to study it carefully and to remember well all questions and answers which the court might ask. Pus case will be ready in 4-5 months, or perhaps a half year. During all this time you will be preparing yourself so that you will not compromise the investigation and yourself. Your future will depend on how the trial goes and on its results. If you begin to lie and to testify falsely, blame yourself. If you manage to endure it, you will save your bead and we will feed and clothe you at the government’s cost until your death.”

This is the kind of vile things which were then practiced. [Movement in the hall.]

When we look at many of our novels, films, and historical scientific studies, the role of Stalin in the patriotic war appears to be entirely improbable. Stalin had foreseen everything. The Soviet Army, on the basis of a strategic plan prepared by Stalin long before, used the tactics of so-called active defense, i.e., tactics which, as we know, allowed the Germans to come up to Moscow and Stalingrad. Using such tactics, the Soviet Army, supposedly, thanks only to Stalin’s genius, turned to the offensive and subdued the enemy. The epic victory gained through the armed might of the land of the Soviets, through our heroic people, is ascribed in this type of novel, film, and scientific study as being completely due to the strategic genius of Stalin.

We have to analyze this matter carefully because it has a tremendous significance, not only from the historical but especially from the political, educational, and practical point of view…

During the war and after the war, Stalin put forward the thesis that the tragedy which our nation experienced in the first part of the war was the result of the unexpected attack of the Germans against the Soviet Union. But, comrades, this is completely untrue. As soon as Hitler came to power in Germany be assigned to himself the task of liquidating communism. The Fascists were saying this openly; they did not hide their plans. In order to attain this aggressive end, all sorts of pacts and blocs were created, such as the famous Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis. Many facts from the prewar period clearly showed that Hitler was going all out to begin a war against the Soviet state and that lie had concentrated large armed units, together with armored units, near the Soviet borders…

We must assert that information of this sort concerning the threat of German armed invasion of Soviet territory was coming in also from our own military and diplomatic sources; however, because the leadership was conditioned against such information, such data was dispatched with fear and assessed with reservation…

Despite these particularly grave warnings, the necessary steps were not taken to prepare the country properly for defense and to prevent it from being caught unaware.

Did we have time and the capabilities for such preparations? Yes; we had the time and capabilities. Our industry was already so developed that it was capable of supplying fully the Soviet Army with everything that it needed…

Had our industry been mobilized properly and in time to supply the army with the necessary materiel, our wartime losses would have been decidedly smaller. Such mobilization had not been, however, started in time. And already in the first days of the war it became evident that our Army was badly armed, that we did not have enough artillery, tanks, and planes to throw the enemy back…

Very grievous consequences, especially in reference to the beginning of the war, followed Stalin’s annihilation of many military commanders and political workers during 1937-41 because of his suspiciousness and through slanderous accusations. During these years repressions were instituted against certain parts of military cadres beginning literally at the company and battalion commander level and extending to the higher military centers; during this time the cadre of leaders who had gained military experience in Spain and In the Far East was almost completely liquidated…

After the conclusion of the patriotic war the Soviet nation stressed with pride the magnificent victories gained through great sacrifices and tremendous efforts. The country experienced a period of political enthusiasm. The party came out of the war even more united; in the fire of the war party cadres were tempered and hardened. Under such conditions nobody could have even thought of the possibility of some plot in the party.

And it was precisely at this time that the so-called Leningrad Affair(8) was born. As we have now proven, this case was fabricated. Those who innocently lost their lives included Comrades Voznesensky(9), Kuznetsov(10), Rodionov(11), Popkov(12), and others…

Facts prove that the Leningrad Affair is also the result of willfulness which Stalin exercised against party cadres…

We must state that after the war the situation became even more complicated. Stalin became even more capricious, irritable, and brutal; in particular his suspicion grew. His persecution mania reached unbelievable dimensions. Many workers were becoming enemies before his very eyes. After the war Stalin separated himself from the collective even more. Everything was decided by him alone without any consideration for anyone or anything.

This unbelievable suspicion was cleverly taken advantage of by the abject provocateur and vile enemy, Beriya, who had murdered thousands of Communists and loyal Soviet people. The elevation of Voznesensky and Kuznetsov alarmed Beriya. As we have now proven, it had been precisely Beriya who had suggested to Stalin the fabrication by him and by his confidants of materials in the form of declarations and anonymous letters, and in the form of various rumors and talks…

The question arises: Why is it that we see the truth of this affair only now, and why did we not do something earlier, during Stalin’s life, in order to prevent the loss of innocent lives? It was because Stalin personally supervised the Leningrad affair, and the majority of the Political Bureau members did not, at that time, know all of the circumstances in these matters, and could not therefore intervene…

The willfulness of Stalin showed itself not only in decisions concerning the internal life of the country but also in the international relations of the Soviet Union.

The July plenum of the Central Committee studied in detail the reasons for the development of conflict with Yugoslavia. It was a shameful role which Stalin played here. The “Yugoslav affair” contained no problems which could not have been solved through party discussions among comrades. There was no significant basis for the development of this “affair;” it was completely possible to have prevented the rupture of relations with that country.

I recall the first days when the conflict between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia began artificially to be blown up. Once, when I carne from Kiev to Moscow, I was invited to visit Stalin who, pointing to the copy of a letter lately sent to Tito, asked me, “Have you read this?”

Not waiting for my reply be answered, “I will shake my little finger and there will be no more Tito. He will fall.”…

But this did not happen to Tito. No matter how much or how little Stalin shook, not only his little finger but everything else that be could shake, Tito did not fall. Why? The reason was that, in this case of disagreement with the Yugoslav comrades, Tito had behind him a state and a people who had gone through a severe school of fighting for liberty and independence, a people which gave support to its leaders.

You see to what Stalin’s mania for greatness led. He bad completely lost consciousness of reality; he demonstrated his suspicion and haughtiness not only in relation to individuals in the USSR, but in relation to whole parties and nations…

Let us also recall the affair of the doctor plotters. [Animation in the ball.] Actually there was no affair outside of the declaration of the woman doctor Timasbuk, who was probably influenced or ordered by someone (after all, she was an unofficial collaborator of the organs of state security) to write Stalin a letter in which she declared that doctors were applying supposedly improper methods of medical treatment.

Such a letter was sufficient for Stalin to reach an immediate conclusion that there are doctor plotters in the Soviet Union. He issued orders to arrest a group of eminent Soviet medical specialists. He personally issued advice on the conduct of the investigation and the method of interrogation of the arrested persons. He said that the academician Vinogradov should be put in chains, another one should be beaten. Present at this Congress as a delegate is the former Minister of State Security Comrade Ignatiev. Stalin told him curtly, “If you do not obtain confessions from the doctors we will shorten you by a head.” [Tumult in the hall.]…

In organizing the various dirty and shameful cases, a very base role was played by the rabid enemy of our party, an agent of a foreign intelligence service-Beriya, who had stolen into Stalin’s confidence. In what way could this provocateur gain such a position in the part), and in the State, so as to become the First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union and a member of the Central Committee Political Bureau? It has now been established that this villain bad climbed up the government ladder over an untold number of corpses.

Were there any signs that Beriya was an enemy of the party? Yes; there were. Already in 1937, at a Central Committee plenum, former People’s Commissar of Health Protection Kaminsky said that Beriya worked for the Mussavat intelligence service. But the Central Committee plenum had barely concluded when Kaminsky was arrested and then shot. Had Stalin examined Kaminsky’s statement? No; because Stalin believed in Beriya and that was enough for him. And when Stalin believed in anyone or anything, then no one could say anything which was contrary to his opinion; anyone who would dare to express opposition would have met the same fate as Kaminsky…

Comrades, the cult of the individual acquired such monstrous size chiefly because Stalin himself, using all conceivable methods, supported the glorification of his own person. This is supported by numerous facts. One of the most characteristic examples of Stalin’s self -glorification and of his lack of even elementary modesty is the edition of his Short Biography, which was published in 1948.

This book is an expression of the most dissolute flattery, an example of making a man into a godhead, of transforming him into an infallible sage, “the greatest leader,” “sublime strategist of all times and nations.” Finally no other words could be found with which to lift Stalin up to the heavens.

We need not give here examples of the loathsome adulation filling this book. All we need to add is that they all were approved and edited by Stalin personally and some of them were added in his own handwriting to the draft text of the book…

Comrades, if we sharply criticize today the cult of the individual which was so widespread during Stalin’s life and if we speak about the many negative phenomena generated by this cult which is so alien to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism, various persons may ask: How could it be? Stalin headed the party and the country for 30 years and many victories were gained during his lifetime. Can we deny this? In my opinion, the question can be asked in this manner only by those who are blinded and hopelessly hypnotized by the cult of the individual, only by those who do not understand the essence of the revolution and of the Soviet State, only by those who do not understand, in a Leninist manner, the role of the party and of the nation in the development of the Soviet society…

Our historical victories were attained thanks to the organizational work of the party, to the many provincial organizations, and to the self-sacrificing work of our great nation. These victories are the result of the great drive and activity of the nation and of the party as a whole; they are not at all the fruit of the leadership of Stalin, as the situation was pictured during the period of the cult of the individual…

Let us consider the first Central Committee Plenum after the 19th Party Congress when Stalin, in his talk at the plenum, characterized Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov(13) and Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan(14) and suggested that these old workers of our party were guilty of some baseless charges. It is not excluded that had Stalin remained at the helm for another several months, Comrades Molotov and Mikoyan would probably have not delivered any speeches at this Congress.

Stalin evidently had plans to finish off the old members of the political bureau. He often stated that political bureau members should be replaced by new ones…

We can assume that this was also a design for the future annihilation of the old political bureau members and in this way a cover for all shameful acts of Stalin, acts which we are now considering.

Comrades, in order not to repeat errors of the past, the central committee has declared itself resolutely against the cult of the individual. We consider that Stalin was excessively extolled. However, in the past Stalin doubtless performed great services to the party, to the working class, and to the international workers’ movement…

We should in all seriousness consider the question of the cult of the individual. We cannot let this matter get out of the party, especially not to the press. It is for this reason that we are considering it here at a closed Congress session. We should know the limits; we should not give ammunition to the enemy; we should not wash our dirty linen before their eves. I think that the delegates to the Congress will understand and assess properly all these proposals. [Tumultuous applause.]

Comrades, we must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all; we must draw the proper conclusions concerning both ideological-theoretical and practical work.

It is necessary for this purpose:

First, in a Bolshevik manner to condemn and to eradicate the cult of the individual as alien to Marxism-Leninism and not consonant with the principles of party leadership and the norms of party life, and to fight inexorably all attempts at bringing back this practice in one form or another.

To return to and actually practice in all our ideological work, the most important theses of Marxist-Leninist science about the people as the creator of history and as the creator of all material and spiritual good of humanity, about the decisive role of the Marxist party in the revolutionary fight for the transformation of society-, about the victory of communism.

In this connection we will be forced to do much work in order to examine critically from the Marxist-Leninist viewpoint and to correct the widely spread erroneous views connected with the cult of the individual in the sphere of history, philosophy,, economy, and of other sciences, as well as in the literature and t be fine arts. It is especially necessary that in the immediate future we compile a serious textbook of the history of our party which will be edited in accordance with scientific Marxist objectivism, a textbook of the history of Soviet society, a book pertaining to the events of the civil war and the great patriotic war.

Secondly, to continue systematically and consistently the work done by the party’s central committee during the last years, a work characterized by minute observation in all party- organizations, from the bottom to the top, of the Leninist principles of party- leadership, characterized, above all, by the main principle of collective leadership, characterized by the observation of the norms of party life described in the statutes of our party, and, finally, characterized by- the wide practice of criticism and self-criticism.

Thirdly, to restore completely the Leninist principles of Soviet Socialist democracy., expressed in the constitution of the Soviet Union, to fight willfulness of individuals abusing their power. The evil caused by acts violating revolutionary Socialist legality which have accumulated during a long time as a result of the negative influence of the cult of the individual has to be completely corrected.

Comrades, the 20tb Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has manifested with a new strength the unshakable unity- of our party, its cohesiveness around the central committee, its resolute will to accomplish the great task of building communism. [Tumultuous applause.] And the fact that we present in all the ramifications the basic problems of overcoming the cult of the individual which is alien to Marxism-Leninism, as well as the problem of liquidating its burdensome consequences, is an evidence of the great moral and political strength of our party’. [Prolonged applause.]

We are absolutely certain that our party, armed with the historical resolutions of the 20th Congress, will lead the Soviet people along the Leninist path to new, successes, to new victories. [Tumultuous, prolonged applause.]

Long live the victorious banner of our party-Leninism. [Tumultuous, prolonged applause ending in ovation. All rise.]

Source: from the Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 84th Congress, 2nd Session (22 May 1956 – 11 June 1956), C11, Part 7 (4 June 1956), pp. 9389-9403
This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history
halsall@murray.fordham.edu
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1956khrushchev-secret1.html

Notes

(1) Sergei Mironovich Kirov[a], born Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov (1886–1934) was a close, personal friend to Joseph Stalin, holding the post of Leningrad communist party boss when he was assassinated. His death was used as a pretext to launch the Great Purge.

(2) Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov (1896–1948) was a Soviet Communist Party leader and cultural ideologist. After World War 2, Zhdanov was thought to be the successor-in-waiting to Joseph Stalin, but he died before Stalin. He has been described as the ‘propagandist-in-chief’ of the Soviet Union in the period 1945 to 1948.

(3) Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov[a] (1890–1986) was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. Molotov served as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (Premier) from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. He served as First Deputy Presmier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. Molotov was removed from all positions in 1961 after several years of obscurity.

(4) Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov (1895–1940) was a Soviet secret police official under Joseph Stalin, head of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (or interior ministry – NKVD) from 1936 to 1938, during the most active period of the Great Purge.

(5) OGPU: Joint State Political Directorate under the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR.

(6) Robert Indrikovich Eikhe, Latvian: Roberts Eihe, (1890–1940) was Latvian Bolshevik, a high functionary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, several times elected to its Central Committee and was a Politburo candidate (1934). In 1937 he was appointed Narkom (minister) of agriculture of the Soviet Union. In 1938, during the so-called “Latvian Operation”, he was arrested by the NKVD, accused of the creation of a “Latvian fascist organization”, and shot in 1940.

(7) Leonid Zakovsky, Latvian: Leonīds Zakovskis (1894–1938) was an ethnic Latvian NKVD Commissar 1st Class of State Security. After Kirov was assassinated, Zakovsky organised the rounding up and mass deportation of the so-called ‘Leningrad aristocrats’.

(8) Leningrad Affair: a series of criminal cases fabricated in the late 1940s–early 1950s by Joseph Stalin in order to accuse a number of prominent politicians and members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of treason and intention to create an anti-Soviet organisation based in Leningrad. Over two thousand people from the Leningrad city government and regional authorities were arrested. Also arrested were many industrial managers, scientists and university professors. A verdict was announced behind closed doors in which six main defendants, including the mayor of the city, were executed. Over 200 Leningrad officials were sentenced to prison terms from 10 to 25 years. Their families were stripped of rights to live and work in any major city, thus limiting their lives to Siberia. bout 2,000 of Leningrad’s public figures were removed from their positions and exiled from their city, thus losing their homes and other property. All of the accused were later rehabilitated during the Khrushchev Thaw, many of them posthumously.

(9) Nikolai Alekseevich Voznesensky (1903–1950) was the Soviet economic planner, with ideas on managing Soviet economic activity at odds with Joseph Stalin’s views. In a secret trial, he was found guilty of treason, sentenced to death and executed the same day. Voznesensky was rehabilitated in 1954.

(10) Alexey Alexandrovich Kuznetsov (1905–1950) was a Soviet statesman, CPSU (since 1925) functionary, Lieutenant General, member of CPSU Central Committee (1939-1949). The beginning of his fall came when Stalin demoted him and returned him to a minor post in Leningrad (a frequent sign that the subject was destined for a final fall). This may have been because Kuznetsov had been digging into Kirov’s death – suspicion of Stalin’s involvement in this murder has never been put to rest. Eventually Kuznetsov was arrested, tried and sentenced to death in a secret trial, then executed.

(11) Mikhail Ivanovich Rodionov (1907–1950) was a Soviet-Russian statesman who was from 1946 to 1949 the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Russian SFSR, literally meaning Premier or Prime Minister. He was executed.

(12) Pyotr Popkov: together with Alexey Kuznetsov and Nikolai Voznesensky in January 1949, organised a Leningrad Trade Fair to boost the post-war economy and support the survivors of the Siege of Leningrad with goods and services from other regions of the Soviet Union. The fair was attacked by official Soviet propaganda, and was falsely portrayed as a scheme to use the federal budget from Moscow for business development in Leningrad. As a result of the first prosecutionin the Leningrad Affair, on 30 September 1950, Popkov – together with others – was sentenced to death on false accusations of embezzlement of the Soviet State budget for “unapproved business in Leningrad”.

(13) Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov[a] (1890–1986) was a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. Molotov served as Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (Premier) from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. He served as First Deputy Premier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. Molotov was removed from all positions in 1961 after several years of obscurity.

(14) Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan (1895–1978) was a statesman during the mandates of Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev. He was the only Soviet politician who managed to remain at the highest levels of power within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, as that power oscillated between the Central Committee and the Politburo, from the latter days of Lenin’s rule, throughout the eras of Stalin and Khrushchev, until his peaceful retirement after the first months of Brezhnev’s rule.

* * *

After the 20th Congress, policies underwent considerable change. A new doctrine proclaimed the possibility of preventing a third world war, of ending the cold war, and of peaceful revolution. Democratisation of society, known as the thaw, enabled Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to publish One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Khrushchev’s achievements were remarkable. His 20th Congress speech and his reforms were the first blow struck at what had seemed an unshakable totalitarian system. Perestroika (restructuring) continued what the 20th Congress had started, seeking to give back to socialism the “human face” destroyed by Stalin. By laying the foundations of a social market economy and by instituting free speech and elections, perestroika implemented a new social-democratic project.

Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah (1909–1972) was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966. He was the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, having led the Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957. An influential advocate of pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity.

After twelve years abroad pursuing higher education, developing his political philosophy and organising with other diasporic pan-Africanists, Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast to begin his political career as an advocate of national independence. He formed the Convention People’s Party, which achieved rapid success through its unprecedented appeal to the common voter. He became Prime Minister in 1952 and retained this position when Ghana declared independence from Britain in 1957. In 1960, Ghanaians approved a new constitution and elected Nkrumah President.

In 2000, he was voted African Man of the Millennium by listeners to the BBC World Service, being described by the BBC as a “Hero of Independence”, and an “International symbol of freedom as the leader of the first black African country to shake off the chains of colonial rule.”

In September 2009, President John Atta Mills declared 21 September (the 100th anniversary of Kwame Nkrumah’s birth) to be Founders’ Day, a statutory holiday in Ghana to celebrate the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah. In April 2019, President Akufo-Addo approved the Public Holidays (Amendment) Act 2019 which changed 21 September from Founders’ Day to Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwame_Nkrumah#Political_developments_and_presidential_election

Independence Speech (1957)

Ghana was the first black African country to become independent.

The people of Ghana are celebrating the end of colonial rule and the dawn of their independence. Most workers are given the day off – tens of thousands gather in the capital, Accra, to greet the independent country’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

This morning the Legislative Assembly building, now the building of the Ghana parliament was packed with members dressed in their national costumes.

Kwame Nkrumah delivered the Independence Speech on 6 March 1957 to hundreds of participants including representatives from the British monarch.

At long last, the battle has ended! And thus, Ghana, your beloved country is free forever!

And yet again, I want to take the opportunity to thank the people of this country; the youth, the farmers, the women who have so nobly fought and won the battle.

Also, I want to thank the valiant ex-service men who have so cooperated with me in this mighty task of freeing our country from foreign rule and imperialism.

And, as I pointed out… from now on, today, we must change our attitudes and our minds. We must realise that from now on we are no longer a colonial but free and independent people.

But also, as I pointed out, that also entails hard work. That new Africa is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all the black man is capable of managing his own affairs.

We are going to demonstrate to the world, to the other nations, hat we are prepared to lay our foundation – our own African personality.

As I said to the Assembly a few minutes ago, I made a point that we are going t create our own Africa personality and identity. It is the only way we can show the world that we are ready for our own battles.

But today, may I call upon you all, that on this grief that at day let us all remember that nothing can be done unless it has the purport and support of God.

We have won the battle and again rededicate ourselves … OUR INDEPENDENCE IS MEANINGLESS UNLESS IT IS LINKED UP WITH THE TOTAL LIBERATION OF AFRICA.

Let us now, fellow Ghanaians, let us now ask for God’s blessing for only two seconds, and in your thousands and millions.

I want to ask you to pause for only one minute and give thanks to Almighty God for having led us through our difficulties, imprisonments, hardships and sufferings, to have brought us to our end of troubles today. One minute silence.

Ghana is free forever! And here I will ask the band to play the Ghana National Anthem.

Reshaping Ghana’s destiny, I am depending on the millions of the country, and the chiefs and the people, to help me to reshape the destiny of this country. We are prepared to pick it up and make it a nation that will be respected by every nation in the world.

We know were going to have difficult beginnings, but again, I am relying n your support…. I am relying upon your hard work.

Seeing you in this… It doesn’t matter how far my eyes go, I can see that you are here in your millions. And my last warning to you is that you are to stand firm behind us so that we can prove to the world that when the African is given a chance, he can show the world that he is somebody!

We have awakened. We will not sleep anymore. Today, from now on, there is a new African in the world!

Independence Speech – Kwame Nkrumah March 6, 1957, Accra, Ghanahttps://panafricanquotes.wordpress.com/speeches/independence-speech-kwame-nkrumah-march-6-1957-accra-ghana/

Harold Macmillan

Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton (1894–1986) was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963. Dubbed “Supermac”, he was known for his pragmatism, wit and unflappability.

Macmillan’s first government had seen the first phase of the sub-Saharan African independence movement, which accelerated under his second government.

He embarked on his “Wind of Change” tour of Africa, starting in Ghana on 6 January 1960. He made the famous ‘wind of change’ speech in Cape Town on 3 February 1960. It is considered a landmark in the process of decolonisation..

Macmillan felt that if the costs of holding onto a particular territory outweighed the benefits then it should be dispensed with. After securing a third term for the Conservatives in 1959 he appointed Iain Macleod as Colonial Secretary. Macleod greatly accelerated decolonisation and by the time he was moved to Conservative Party chairman and Leader of the Commons in 1961 he had made the decision to give independence to Nigeria, Tanganyika, Kenya, Nyasaland (as Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (as Zambia).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Macmillan

“Wind of change”/ “No going back” speech (1960)

The “Wind of Change” speech was made by the British Prime Minister whilst addressing the South African Parliament during his tour of African Commonwealth states. It was a watershed moment in the struggle for black nationalism in Africa and the independence movement across the continent. It also signalled a change in attitude towards the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

Macmillan acknowledged that black people in Africa were, quite rightly, claiming the right to rule themselves, and suggested that it was a responsibility of the British government to promote the creation of societies in which the rights of all individuals were upheld.

Macmillan went on to state that the greatest issue for the twentieth century would be whether newly independent countries in Africa became politically aligned with the west or with Communist states such as Russia and China. In effect, which side of the cold war Africa would support.

It was the first public statement of Britain’s acknowledgement of black nationalist movements in Africa, and that its colonies would have to be given independence under majority rule. (A fortnight later a new power sharing deal in Kenya was announced which gave Kenyan black nationalists an opportunity to experience government before independence was achieved.) It also indicated Britain’s growing concerns over the application of apartheid in South Africa. Macmillan urged South Africa to move towards racial equality, a goal he expressed for the whole Commonwealth.

The South African Prime Minister, Henrik Verwoerd, responded by saying “…to do justice to all, does not only mean being just to the black man of Africa, but also to be just to the white man of Africa”. He continued by saying that it was white men who brought civilisation to Africa, and that South Africa was bare [of people] when the first Europeans arrived. Verwoerd’s response was met with applause from the members of South Africa’s Parliament.

https://www.thoughtco.com/wind-of-change-speech-43748

This speech is evaluated as:
– one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian;
– #7 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time.

It follows an excerpt of the transcript.

It is, as I have said, a special privilege for me to be here in 1960 when you are celebrating what I might call the golden wedding of the Union.

At such a time it is natural and right that you should pause to take stock of your position, to look back at what you have achieved, to look forward to what lies ahead. In the fifty years of their nationhood the people of South Africa have built a strong economy founded upon a healthy agriculture and thriving and resilient industries.

No one could fail to be impressed with the immense material progress which has been achieved. That all this has been accomplished in so short a time is a striking testimony to the skill, energy and initiative of your people. We in Britain are proud of the contribution we have made to this remarkable achievement. Much of it has been financed by British capital.

Macmillan in South African Parliament
Macmillan before members of both Houses of Parliament

As I’ve travelled around the Union I have found everywhere, as I expected, a deep preoccupation with what is happening in the rest of the African continent. I understand and sympathize with your interests in these events and your anxiety about them.

Ever since the break-up of the Roman empire one of the constant facts of political life in Europe has been the emergence of independent nations. They have come into existence over the centuries in different forms, different kinds of government, but all have been inspired by a deep, keen feeling of nationalism, which has grown as the nations have grown.

In the twentieth century, and especially since the end of the war, the processes which gave birth to the nation states of Europe have been repeated all over the world. We have seen the awakening of national consciousness in peoples who have for centuries lived in dependence upon some other power. Fifteen years ago this movement spread through Asia. Many countries there, of different races and civilizations, pressed their claim to an independent national life.

Today the same thing is happening in Africa, and the most striking of all the impressions I have formed since I left London a month ago is of the strength of this African national consciousness. In different places it takes different forms, but it is happening everywhere.

The wind of change is blowing through this continent, and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it.

Well you understand this better than anyone, you are sprung from Europe, the home of nationalism, here in Africa you have yourselves created a free nation. A new nation. Indeed in the history of our times yours will be recorded as the first of the African nationalists. This tide of national consciousness which is now rising in Africa, is a fact, for which both you and we, and the other nations of the western world are ultimately responsible.

For its causes are to be found in the achievements of western civilization, in the pushing forwards of the frontiers of knowledge, the applying of science to the service of human needs, in the expanding of food production, in the speeding and multiplying of the means of communication, and perhaps above all and more than anything else in the spread of education.

As I have said, the growth of national consciousness in Africa is a political fact, and we must accept it as such. That means, I would judge, that we’ve got to come to terms with it. I sincerely believe that if we cannot do so we may imperil the precarious balance between the East and West on which the peace of the world depends.

The world today is divided into three main groups.

First there are what we call the Western Powers. You in South Africa and we in Britain belong to this group, together with our friends and allies in other parts of the Commonwealth. In the United States of America and in Europe we call it the Free World.

Secondly there are the Communists Russia and her satellites in Europe and China whose population will rise by the end of the next ten years to the staggering total of 800 million.

Thirdly, there are those parts of the world whose people are at present uncommitted either to Communism or to our Western ideas. In this context we think first of Asia and then of Africa.

As I see it the great issue in this second half of the twentieth century is whether the uncommitted peoples of Asia and Africa will swing to the East or to the West. Will they be drawn into the Communist camp? Or will the great experiments in self-government that are now being made in Asia and Africa, especially within the Commonwealth, prove so successful, and by their example so compelling, that the balance will come down in favor of freedom and order and justice?

The struggle is joined, and it is a struggle for the minds of men. What is now on trial is much more than our military strength or our diplomatic and administrative skill. It is our way of life. The uncommitted nations want to see before they choose.

Wind of Changehttp://www.emersonkent.com/speeches/wind_of_change.htm

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), often referred to by the initials JFK and Jack, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. He was also the first Roman Catholic president and the first president to be born in the 20th century. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his work as president dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba.

Domestically, Kennedy presided over the establishment of the Peace Corps and the continuation of the Apollo space program, and supported the Civil Rights Movement, but was only somewhat successful in passing his New Frontier domestic policies.

“Ask not what America will do for you” (1961)

John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural address on 20 January 1961, at the height of Cold War tensions. The speech set the tone for the foreign-policy activism of the youngest president elected in the United States. President Kennedy reached out to the world’s newly developing countries, which at the time were being courted by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the People’s Republic of China. Kennedy’s message foreshadowed such programs as the Alliance for Progress and the far more successful Peace Corps.

Kennedy was the first of six presidents to have served in the U.S. Navy, and one of the enduring legacies of Kennedy administration was the creation in 1961 of another special forces command, the Navy SEALs, which Kennedy enthusiastically supported.

Kennedy’s civil rights proposals led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy’s successor, took up the mantle and pushed the landmark Civil Rights Act through a bitterly divided Congress by invoking the slain president’s memory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy

This address is evaluated as:

– #2 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University;
– one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian;
– #6 in 35 Greatest Speeches in History, the website The Art of Manliness;
– one of Time Magazine Top 10 Greatest Speeches;
– one of 50 Incredible, Historical Speeches You Should Watch Online by the website OnlineUniversities.

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens:

John Kennedy_ Inauguration
John Kennedy delivering his inaugural address

We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom – symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning – signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe – the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. [applause and cheers]

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. [applause and cheers]

This much we pledge – and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do – for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom – and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside. [applause and cheers]

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required – not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. [applause and cheers]

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge: to convert our good words into good deeds, in a new alliance for progress, to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house. [applause and cheers]

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support – to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective, to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak, and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course – both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.

So let us begin anew – remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. [applause and cheers]

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. [applause]

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed, in all corners of the earth, the command of Isaiah – to “undo the heavy burdens, and [to] let the oppressed go free.”¹

And, if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor – not a new balance of power, but a new world of law – where the strong are just, and the weak secure, and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days; nor in the life of this Administration; nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin. [applause]

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need – not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,” a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort? [applause, saying “yes”]

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it. [applause and cheers] I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. [applause and cheers]

My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. [long applause and cheers]

John F. Kennedy Presidential Inaugural Address (with videotape excerpt and audio recording) – http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkinaugural.htm

Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEC1C4p0k3E

We choose to go to the Moon” (1962)

See: “We choose to go to the Moon” – John F. Kennedyhttps://tamdiepblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/we-choose-to-go-to-the-moon-john-f-kennedy/

Ich bin ein Berliner”

Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”) is a quotation from a 26 June 1963 speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin. He was underlining the support of the United States for West Germany 22 months after the Soviet-supported East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement between East and West. The message was aimed as much at the Soviets as it was at Berliners, and was a clear statement of U.S. policy in the wake of the construction of the Berlin Wall.

The speech is considered one of Kennedy’s best, both a notable moment of the Cold War and a high point of the New Frontier. It was a great morale boost for West Berliners, who lived in an exclave deep inside East Germany and feared a possible East German occupation. Speaking from a platform erected on the steps of Rathaus Schöneberg for an audience of 450,000, Kennedy used the phrase twice in his speech, ending with it, and pronouncing the sentence with his Boston accent, reading from his note “Ish bin ein Bearleener”, which he had written out in English phonetics.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_bin_ein_Berliner

This speech is evaluated as:
– #22 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University;
– #2 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time;
– one of 50 Incredible, Historical Speeches You Should Watch Online by the website OnlineUniversities.

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

I am proud to come to this city as the guest of your distinguished Mayor, who has symbolized throughout the world the fighting spirit of West Berlin. And I am proud [applause and cheers] – and I am proud to visit the Federal Republic with your distinguished Chancellor who for so many years has committed Germany to democracy and freedom and progress, and to come here in the company of my fellow American, General Clay(1), who [applause and cheers] – who has been in this city during its great moments of crisis and will come again if ever needed. [applause and cheers]

John Kennedy_I am a Berliner
John Kennedy: “Ich bin ein Berliner

Two thousand years ago – Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was “civis Romanus sum.”(2) Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner.” [applause and cheers]

(I… I appreciate… I appreciate my interpreter translating my German.) [applause and cheers]

There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world.

Let them come to Berlin. [applause and cheers]

There are some who say – There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future.

Let them come to Berlin. [applause and cheers]

And there are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists.

Let them come to Berlin. [applause and cheers]

And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress.

Lass’ sie nach Berlin kommen.

Let them come to Berlin.

Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in – to prevent them from leaving us. [applause and cheers] I want to say on behalf of my countrymen who live many miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, who are far distant from you, that they take the greatest pride, that they have been able to share with you, even from a distance, the story of the last 18 years. I know of no town, no city, that has been besieged for 18 years that still lives with the vitality and the force, and the hope, and the determination of the city of West Berlin. [applause and cheers]

While the wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system – for all the world to see – we take no satisfaction in it; for it is, as your Mayor has said, an offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together. [applause and cheers]

What is – What is true of this city is true of Germany: Real, lasting peace in Europe can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the elementary right of free men, and that is to make a free choice. In 18 years of peace and good faith, this generation of Germans has earned the right to be free, including the right to unite their families and their nation in lasting peace, with good will to all people. [applause]

You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.

Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we look – can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades. [applause and cheers]

All – All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin.

And, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner.” [long applause and cheers]

John F. Kennedy Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a ‘Berliner’) (with videotape excerpt and audio recording) – https://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkberliner.html

Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56V6r2dpYH8

Notes

(1) General Lucius D. Clay (1898–1978) was a senior officer of the United States Army who was known for his administration of occupied Germany after World War 2. He served as deputy military governor, Germany (1946) and military governor of the U.S. Zone, Germany (1947–1949). Clay orchestrated the Berlin Airlift (1948–1949) when the USSR blockaded West Berlin. During the Berlin Wall crisis in 1961, President John F. Kennedy asked him to be an adviser and to go to Berlin and report on the situation. Two years later Clay accompanied Kennedy on the latter’s trip to Berlin.

(2) “I am a citizen of Rome” or “I am a Roman citizen”.

Malcolm X

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (1925–1965), better known as Malcolm X, was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his controversial advocacy for the rights of blacks; some consider him a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans, while others accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Malcolm X speaking to a crowd in Harlem.jpg
Malcolm X speaking to a crowd in Harlem

His militant views that Western nations were inherently racist and that black people must join together to build their own society and value system had an important influence on black nationalist and black separatist movements of the 1950s and 1960s. His beliefs gained a broader audience through The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), published after his assassination.

The ballot or the bullet (1964)

In this speech, which was delivered on 3 April 1964 at Cory Methodist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, Malcolm advised African-Americans to judiciously exercise their right to vote, but he cautioned that if the government continued to prevent African-Americans from attaining full equality, it might be necessary for them to take up arms.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballot_or_the_Bullet

This speech is ranked #7 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University.

Mr. Moderator, Rev. Cleage, brothers and sisters and friends, and I see some enemies. [laughter, applause] In fact, I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we had an audience this large and didn’t realize that there were some enemies present.

This afternoon we want to talk about the ballot or the bullet. The ballot or the bullet explains itself. But before we get into it, since this is the year of the ballot or the bullet, I would like to clarify some things that refer to me personally, concerning my own personal position.

I’m still a Muslim. That is, my religion is still Islam. [applause] My religion is still Islam. I still credit Mr. Muhammad for what I know and what I am. He’s the one who opened my eyes. [applause] At present I am the minister of the newly founded Muslim Mosque Incorporated, which has its offices in the Theresa Hotel right in the heart of Harlem, that’s the black belt in New York City. And when we realize that Adam Clayton Powell, is a Christian minister, he has Abyssinian Baptist Church, but at the same time he’s more famous for his political struggling. And Dr. King is a Christian minister from Atlanta Georgia, or in Atlanta Georgia, but he’s become more famous for being involved in the civil rights struggle. There’s another in New York, Rev. Galamison, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him out here, he’s a Christian minister from Brooklyn, but has become famous for his fight against the segregated school system in Brooklyn. Rev. Cleage, right here, is a Christian minister, here in Detroit, he’s head of the Freedom Now Party. All of these are Christian ministers [applause] …all of these are Christian ministers but they don’t come to us as Christian ministers, they come to us as fighters in some other category.

I am a Muslim minister. The same as they are Christian ministers, I’m a Muslim minister. And I don’t believe in fighting today on any one front, but on all fronts. [applause] In fact, I’m a Black Nationalist freedom fighter. [applause] Islam is my religion but I believe my religion is my personal business. [applause] It governs my personal life, my personal morals. And my religious philosophy is personal between me and the God in whom I believe, just as the religious philosophy of these others is between them and the God in whom they believe. And this is best this way. Were we to come out here discussing religion, we’d have too many differences from the out start and we could never get together.

So today, though Islam is my religious philosophy, my political, economic and social philosophy is black nationalism. You and I – [applause] As I say, if we bring up religion, we’ll have differences, we’ll have arguments, and we’ll never be able to get together. But if we keep our religion at home, keep our religion in the closet, keep our religion between ourselves and our God, but when we come out here we have a fight that’s common to all of us against a enemy who is common to all of us. [applause]

The political philosophy of black nationalism only means that the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community. The time when white people can come in our community and get us to vote for them so that they can be our political leaders and tell us what to do and what not to do is long gone. [applause]

By the same token, the time when that same white man, knowing that your eyes are too far open, can send another Negro in the community, and get you and me to support him, so that he can use him to lead us astray, those days are long gone too. [applause]

The political philosophy of black nationalism only means that if you and I are going to live in a black community – and that’s where we’re going to live, ’cause as soon as you move into one of their….soon as you move out of the black community into their community, it’s mixed for a period of time, but they’re gone and you’re right there all by yourself again. [applause]

We must, we must understand the politics of our community and we must know what politics is supposed to produce. We must know what part politics play in our lives. And until we become politically mature, we will always be misled, led astray, or deceived or maneuvered into supporting someone politically who doesn’t have the good of our community at heart. So the political philosophy of black nationalism only means that we will have to carry on a program, a political program, of reeducation – to open our people’s eyes, make us become more politically conscious, politically mature. And then, we will – whenever we are ready to cast our ballot, that ballot will be cast for a man of the community, who has the good of the community at heart. [applause]

The economic philosophy of black nationalism only means that we should own and operate and control the economy of our community. You would never have found – you can’t open up a black store in a white community. White man won’t even patronize you. And he’s not wrong. He got sense enough to look out for himself. It’s you who don’t have sense enough to look out for yourself. [applause]

The white man, the white man is too intelligent to let someone else come and gain control of the economy of his community. But you will let anybody come in and control the economy of your community, control the housing, control the education, control the jobs, control the businesses, under the pretext that you want to integrate. Nah, you’re out of your mind. [applause]

The political … the economic philosophy of black nationalism only means that we have to become involved in a program of reeducation, to educate our people into the importance of knowing that when you spend your dollar out of the community in which you live, the community in which you spend your money becomes richer and richer, the community out of which you take your money becomes poorer and poorer. And because these Negroes, who have been misled, misguided, are breaking their necks to take their money and spend it with the Man, the Man is becoming richer and richer, and you’re becoming poorer and poorer. And then what happens? The community in which you live becomes a slum. It becomes a ghetto. The conditions become rundown. And then you have the audacity to complain about poor housing in a rundown community, while you’re running down yourselves when you take your dollar out. [applause]

And you and I are in a double trap because not only do we lose by taking our money someplace else and spending it, when we try and spend it in our own community we’re trapped because we haven’t had sense enough to set up stores and control the businesses of our community. The man who is controlling the stores in our community is a man who doesn’t look like we do. He’s a man who doesn’t even live in the community. So you and I, even when we try and spend our money on the block where we live or the area where we live, we’re spending it with a man who, when the sun goes down, takes that basket full of money in another part of the town. [applause]

So we’re trapped, trapped, double-trapped, triple-trapped. Any way we go, we find that we’re trapped. Any every kind of solution that someone comes up with is just another trap. But the political and economic philosophy of black nationalism…the economic philosophy of black nationalism shows our people the importance of setting up these little stores, and developing them and expanding them into larger operations. Woolworth didn’t start out big like they are today; they started out with a dime store, and expanded, and expanded, and expanded until today they are all over the country and all over the world and they getting some of everybody’s money.

Now this is what you and I – General Motors, the same way, it didn’t start out like it is. It started out just a little rat-race type operation. And it expanded and it expanded until today it’s where it is right now. And you and I have to make a start. And the best place to start is right in the community where we live. [applause]

So our people not only have to be reeducated to the importance of supporting black business, but the black man himself has to be made aware of the importance of going into business. And once you and I go into business, we own and operate at least the businesses in our community. What we will be doing is developing a situation, wherein, we will actually be able to create employment for the people in the community. And once you can create some employment in the community where you live, it will eliminate the necessity of you and me having to act ignorantly and disgracefully, boycotting and picketing some cracker someplace else trying to beg him for a job. [applause]

Anytime you have to rely upon your enemy for a job, you’re in bad shape. [applause] When you – and he is your enemy. You wouldn’t be in this country if some enemy hadn’t kidnapped you and brought you here. [applause] On the other hand, some of you think you came here on the Mayflower. [laughter]

So as you can see, brothers and sisters, today – this afternoon it is not our intention to discuss religion. We’re going to forget religion. If we bring up religion we’ll be in an argument. And the best way to keep away from arguments and differences, as I said earlier, put your religion at home, in the closet, keep it between you and your God. Because if it hasn’t done anything more for you than it has, you need to forget it anyway. [laughter, applause]

Whether you are a Christian or a Muslim or a nationalist, we all have the same problem. They don’t hang you because you’re a Baptist; they hang you ’cause you’re black. [applause] They don’t attack me because I’m a Muslim. They attack me ’cause I’m black. They attacked all of us for the same reason. All of us catch hell from the same enemy. We’re all in the same bag, in the same boat.

We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation and social degradation. All of ’em from the same enemy. The government has failed us. You can’t deny that. Any time you’re living in the 20th century, 1964, and you walking around here singing We Shall Overcome, the government has failed you. [applause] This is part of what’s wrong with you, you do too much singing. [laughter] Today it’s time to stop singing and start swinging. [laughter, applause]

You can’t sing up on freedom. But you can swing up on some freedom. [cheers] Cassius Clay can sing. But singing didn’t help him to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Swinging helped him. [applause]

So this government has failed us. The government itself has failed us. And the white liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us. And once we see that all of these other sources to which we’ve turned have failed, we stop turning to them and turn to ourselves. We need a self-help program, a do-it-yourself philosophy, a do-it-right-now philosophy, a it’s-already-too-late philosophy. This is what you and I need to get with. And the only time – the only way we’re going to solve our problem is with a self-help program. Before we can get a self-help program started, we have to have a self-help philosophy. Black nationalism is a self-help philosophy.

What’s so good about it – you can stay right in the church where you are and still take black nationalism as your philosophy. You can stay in any kind of civic organization that you belong to and still take black nationalism as your philosophy. You can be an atheist and still take black nationalism as your philosophy. This is a philosophy that eliminates the necessity for division and argument, ’cause if you’re black, you should be thinking black. And if you’re black and you not thinking black at this late date, well, I’m sorry for you. [applause]

Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude it changes your behavior pattern. And then you go on into some action. As long as you got a sit-down philosophy you’ll have a sit-down thought pattern. And as long as you think that old sit-down thought, you’ll be in some kind of sit-down action. They’ll have you sitting in everywhere. [laughter]

It’s not so good to refer to what you’re going to do as a sit-in. That right there castrates you. Right there it brings you down. What goes with it? What – think of the image of someone sitting. An old woman can sit. An old man can sit. A chump can sit, a coward can sit, anything can sit. Well, you and I been sitting long enough and it’s time for us today to start doing some standing and some fighting to back that up. [applause]

When we look at other parts of this Earth upon which we live, we find that black, brown, red and yellow people in Africa and Asia are getting their independence. They’re not getting it by singing, ‘We Shall Overcome.” No, they’re getting it through nationalism. It is nationalism that brought about the independence of the people in Asia. Every nation in Asia gained its independence through the philosophy of nationalism. Every nation on the African continent that has gotten its independence brought it about through the philosophy of nationalism. And it will take black nationalism to bring about the freedom of 22 million Afro-Americans, here in this country, where we have suffered colonialism for the past 400 years. [applause]

America is just as much a colonial power as England ever was. America is just as much a colonial power as France ever was. In fact, America is more so a colonial power than they, because she is a hypocritical colonial power behind it. [applause] What is 20th – what, what do you call second-class citizenship? Why, that’s colonization. Second-class citizenship is nothing but 20th slavery. How you gonna to tell me you’re a second-class citizen? They don’t have second-class citizenship in any other government on this Earth. They just have slaves and people who are free! Well, this country is a hypocrite! They try and make you think they set you free by calling you a second-class citizen. No, you’re nothing but a 20th century slave. [applause]

Just as it took nationalism to remove colonialism from Asia and Africa, it’ll take black nationalism today to remove colonialism from the backs and the minds of twenty-two million Afro-Americans here in this country. And 1964 looks like it might be the year of the ballot or the bullet. [applause]

Why does it look like it might be the year of the ballot or the bullet? Because Negroes have listened to the trickery and the lies and the false promises of the white man now for too long, and they’re fed up. They’ve become disenchanted. They’ve become disillusioned. They’ve become dissatisfied. And all of this has built up frustrations in the black community that makes the black community throughout America today more explosive than all of the atomic bombs the Russians can ever invent. Whenever you got a racial powder keg sitting in your lap, you’re in more trouble than if you had an atomic powder keg sitting in your lap. When a racial powder keg goes off, it doesn’t care who it knocks out the way. Understand this, it’s dangerous.

And in 1964, this seems to be the year. Because what can the white man use, now, to fool us? After he put down that March on Washington – and you see all through that now, he tricked you, had you marching down to Washington. Had you marching back and forth between the feet of a dead man named Lincoln and another dead man named George Washington, singing, “We Shall Overcome.” [applause]

He made a chump out of you. He made a fool out of you. He made you think you were going somewhere and you end up going nowhere but between Lincoln and Washington. [laughter]

So today our people are disillusioned. They’ve become disenchanted. They’ve become dissatisfied. And in their frustrations they want action. And in 1964 you’ll see this young black man, this new generation, asking for the ballot or the bullet. That old Uncle Tom action is outdated. The young generation don’t want to hear anything about “the odds are against us.” What do we care about odds? [applause]

When this country here was first being founded, there were thirteen colonies. The whites were colonized. They were fed up with this taxation without representation. So some of them stood up and said, “Liberty or death!” I went to a white school over here in Mason, Michigan. The white man made the mistake of letting me read his history books. [laughter] He made the mistake of teaching me that Patrick Henry was a patriot, and George Washington – wasn’t nothing non-violent about ol’ Pat, or George Washington. “Liberty or death” is was what brought about the freedom of whites in this country from the English. [applause]

They didn’t care about the odds. Why, they faced the wrath of the entire British Empire. And in those days, they used to say that the British Empire was so vast and so powerful that the sun would never set on it. This is how big it was, yet these thirteen little scrawny states, tired of taxation without representation, tired of being exploited and oppressed and degraded, told that big British Empire, “Liberty or death.” And here you have 22 million Afro-Americans, black people today, catching more hell than Patrick Henry ever saw. [applause]

And I’m here to tell you in case you don’t know it – that you got a new, you got a new generation of black people in this country who don’t care anything whatsoever about odds. They don’t want to hear you ol’ Uncle Tom, handkerchief-heads talking about the odds. No! [laughter, applause] This is a new generation. If they’re going to draft these young black men, and send them over to Korea or to South Vietnam to face 800 million Chinese… [laughter, applause] If you’re not afraid of those odds, you shouldn’t be afraid of these odds. [applause]

Why is America – why does this loom to be such an explosive political year? Because this is the year of politics. This is the year when all of the white politicians are going to come into the Negro community. You never see them until election time. You can’t find them until election time. [applause] They’re going to come in with false promises. And as they make these false promises they’re going to feed our frustrations, and this will only serve to make matters worse. I’m no politician. I’m not even a student of politics. I’m not a Republican, nor a Democrat, nor an American – and got sense enough to know it. [applause]

I’m one of the 22 million black victims of the Democrats. One of the 22 million black victims of the Republicans and one of the 22 million black victims of Americanism. [applause] And when I speak, I don’t speak as a Democrat or a Republican, nor an American. I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy – all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. [applause]

When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare. We haven’t benefited from America’s democracy. We’ve only suffered from America’s hypocrisy. And the generation that’s coming up now can see it. And are not afraid to say it. If you go to jail, so what? If you’re black, you were born in jail. [applause]

If you black you were born in jail, in the North as well as the South. Stop talking about the South. As long as you south of the Canadian border, you South. [laughter, applause] Don’t call Governor Wallace a Dixie governor, Romney is a Dixie Governor. [applause]

Twenty-two million black victims of Americanism are waking up and they are gaining a new political consciousness, becoming politically mature. And as they become – develop this political maturity, they’re able to see the recent trends in these political elections. They see that the whites are so evenly divided that every time they vote, the race is so close they have to go back and count the votes all over again. Which means that any block, any minority that has a block of votes that stick together is in a strategic position. Either way you go, that’s who gets it. You’re in a position to determine who’ll go to the White House and who’ll stay in the doghouse. [laughter]

You’re the one who has that power. You can keep Johnson in Washington D.C., or you can send him back to his Texas cotton patch. [applause] You’re the one who sent Kennedy to Washington. You’re the one who put the present Democratic administration in Washington, D.C. The whites were evenly divided. It was the fact that you threw 80 percent of your votes behind the Democrats that put the Democrats in the White House.

When you see this, you can see that the Negro vote is the key factor. And despite the fact that you are in a position to be the determining factor, what do you get out of it? The Democrats have been in Washington, D.C. only because of the Negro vote. They’ve been down there four years. And they’re – all other legislation they wanted to bring up they’ve brought it up, and gotten it out of the way, and now they bring up you. And now they bring up you! You put them first and they put you last. Because you’re a chump! [applause] A political chump.

In Washington, D.C., in the House of Representatives there are 257 who are Democrats. Only 177 are Republican. In the Senate there are 67 Democrats. Only 33 are Republicans. The party that you backed controls two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate and still they can’t keep their promise to you. ‘Cause you’re a chump. [applause]

Any time you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government, and that party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election-time, and you’re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that party, you’re not only a chump but you’re a traitor to your race. [applause]

What kind of alibi do come up with? They try and pass the buck to the Dixiecrats. Now, back during the days when you were blind, deaf and dumb, ignorant, politically immature, naturally you went along with that. But today, as your eyes come open, and you develop political maturity, you’re able to see and think for yourself, and you can see that a Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat – in disguise. [applause]

You look at the structure of the government that controls this country, is controlled by 16 senatorial committees and 20 congressional committees. Of the 16 senatorial committees that run the government, 10 of them are in the hands of southern segregationists. Of the 20 congressional committees that run the government, 12 of them are in the hands of southern segregationists. And they’re going to tell you and me that the South lost the war? [laughter, applause]

You, today, are in the hands of a government of segregationists. Racists, white supremacists, who belong to the Democratic party but disguise themselves as Dixiecrats. A Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat. Whoever runs the Democrats is also the father of the Dixiecrats. And the father of all of them is sitting in the White House. [applause] I say, and I’ll say it again, you got a president who’s nothing but a southern segregationist [applause] from the state of Texas. They’ll lynch in Texas as quick as they’ll lynch you in Mississippi. Only in Texas they lynch you with a Texas accent, in Mississippi they lynch you with a Mississippi accent. [cheers]

The first thing the cracker does when he comes in power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee. To show that he’s all right. And those Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee. [laughter, applause] They come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is all right [laughter]. ‘Cause he’s from the South and since he’s from the South he can deal with the South. Look at the logic that they’re using. What about Eastland? He’s from the South. Why not make him the president? If Johnson is a good man ’cause he’s from Texas, and being from Texas will enable him to deal with the South, Eastland can deal with the South better than Johnson! [laughter, applause]

Oh, I say you been misled. You been had. You been took. [laughter, applause] I was in Washington a couple of weeks ago while the senators were filibustering and I noticed in the back of the Senate a huge map, and on this map it showed the distribution of Negroes in America. And surprisingly, the same senators that were involved in the filibuster were from the states where there were the most Negroes. Why were they filibustering the civil rights legislation? Because the civil rights legislation is supposed to guarantee boarding rights to Negroes from those states. And those senators from those states know that if the Negroes in those states can vote, those senators are down the drain. [applause] The representatives of those states go down the drain.

And in the Constitution of this country it has a stipulation, wherein, whenever the rights, the voting rights of people in a certain district are violated, then the representative who’s from that particular district, according to the Constitution, is supposed to be expelled from the Congress. Now, if this particular aspect of the Constitution was enforced, why, you wouldn’t have a cracker in Washington, D.C. [applause]

But what would happen? When you expel the Dixiecrat, you’re expelling the Democrat. When you destroy the power of the Dixiecrat, you are destroying the power of the Democratic Party. So how in the world can the Democratic Party in the South actually side with you, in sincerity, when all of its power is based in the South?

These Northern Democrats are in cahoots with the southern Democrats. [applause] They’re playing a giant con game, a political con game. You know how it goes. One of ’em comes to you and make believe he’s for you. And he’s in cahoots with the other one that’s not for you. Why? Because neither one of ’em is for you. But they got to make you go with one of ’em or the other.

So this is a con game, and this is what they’ve been doing with you and me all of these years. First thing, Johnson got off the plane when he become president, he ask, “Where’s Dickey?” You know who Dickey is? Dickey is old southern cracker Richard Russell. Lookie here! Yes, Lyndon B. Johnson’s best friend is the one who is a head, who’s heading the forces that are filibustering civil rights legislation. You tell me how in the hell is he going to be Johnson’s best friend? [applause] How can Johnson be his friend and your friend too? No, that man is too tricky. Especially if his friend is still ol’ Dickey. [laughter, applause]

Whenever the Negroes keep the Democrats in power they’re keeping the Dixiecrats in power. This is true! A vote for a Democrat is nothing but a vote for a Dixiecrat. I know you don’t like me saying that. I’m not the kind of person who come here to say what you like. I’m going to tell you the truth whether you like it or not. [applause]

Up here in the North you have the same thing. The Democratic Party don’t – they don’t do it that way. They got a thing they call gerrymandering. They maneuver you out of power. Even though you can vote they fix it so you’re voting for nobody. They got you going and coming. In the South they’re outright political wolves, in the North they’re political foxes. A fox and a wolf are both canine, both belong to the dog family. [laughter, applause] Now, you take your choice. You going to choose a northern dog or a southern dog? Because either dog you choose, I guarantee you, you’ll still be in the doghouse.

This is why I say it’s the ballot or the bullet. It’s liberty or it’s death. It’s freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody. [applause] America today finds herself in a unique situation. Historically, revolutions are bloody, oh yes they are. They have never had a bloodless revolution. Or a non-violent revolution. That don’t happen even in Hollywood [laughter] You don’t have a revolution in which you love your enemy. And you don’t have a revolution in which you are begging the system of exploitation to integrate you into it. Revolutions overturn systems. Revolutions destroy systems.

A revolution is bloody, but America is in a unique position. She’s the only country in history, in the position actually to become involved in a bloodless revolution. The Russian Revolution was bloody, Chinese Revolution was bloody, French Revolution was bloody, Cuban Revolution was bloody. And there was nothing more bloody than the American Revolution. But today, this country can become involved in a revolution that won’t take bloodshed. All she’s got to do is give the black man in this country everything that’s due him, everything. [applause]

I hope that the white man can see this. ‘Cause if you don’t see it you’re finished. If you don’t see it you’re going to become involved in some action in which you don’t have a chance. We don’t care anything about your atomic bomb; it’s useless, because other countries have atomic bombs. When two or three different countries have atomic bombs, nobody can use them. So it means that the white man today is without a weapon. If you want some action you’ve got to come on down to Earth, and there’s more black people on Earth than there are white people. [applause]

I only got a couple more minutes. The white man can never win another war on the ground. His days of war – victory – his days of battleground victory are over. Can I prove it? Yes. Take all the action that’s going on this Earth right now that he’s involved in. Tell me where he’s winning – nowhere. Why, some rice farmers, some rice farmers! Some rice-eaters ran him out of Korea, yes they ran him out of Korea. Rice-eaters, with nothing but gym shoes and a rifle and a bowl of rice, took him and his tanks and his napalm and all that other action he’s supposed to have and ran him across the Yalu. Why? Because the day that he can win on the ground has passed.

Up in French Indochina, those little peasants, rice-growers, took on the might of the French army and ran all the Frenchmen, you remember Dien Bien Phu! The same thing happened in Algeria, in Africa. They didn’t have anything but a rifle. The French had all these highly mechanized instruments of warfare. But they put some guerilla action on. And a white man can’t fight a guerilla warfare. Guerilla action takes heart, take nerve, and he doesn’t have that. [cheers] He’s brave when he’s got tanks. He’s brave when he’s got planes. He’s brave when he’s got bombs. He’s brave when he’s got a whole lot of company along with him. But you take that little man from Africa and Asia; turn him loose in the woods with a blade. A blade. [cheers] That’s all he needs. All he needs is a blade. And when the sun comes down – goes down and it’s dark, it’s even-Stephen. [cheers]

So it’s the, it’s the ballot or the bullet. Today, our people can see that we’re faced with a government conspiracy. This government has failed us. The senators who are filibustering concerning your and my rights, that’s the government. Don’t say it’s southern senators, this is the government. This is a government filibuster. It’s not a segregationist filibuster, it’s a government filibuster. Any kind of activity that takes place on the floor of the Congress or the Senate, that’s the government. Any kind of dilly-dallying, that’s the government. Any kind of pussy-footing, that’s the government. Any kind of act that’s designed to delay or deprive you and me, right now, of getting full rights, that’s the government that’s responsible. And anytime you find the government involved in a conspiracy to violate the citizenship or the civil rights of a people in 1964, then you are wasting your time going to that government expecting redress. Instead you have to take that government to the world court and accuse it of genocide and all of the other crimes that it is guilty of today. [applause]

So those of us whose political and economic and social philosophy is black nationalism have become involved in the civil rights struggle. We have injected ourselves into the civil rights struggle. And we intend to expand it from the level of civil rights to the level of human rights. As long as you fight it on the level of civil rights, you’re under Uncle Sam’s jurisdiction. You’re going to his court expecting him to correct the problem. He created the problem. He’s the criminal! You don’t take your case to the criminal, you take your criminal to court. [applause]

When the government of South Africa began to trample upon the human rights of the people of South Africa they were taken to the U.N. When the government of Portugal began to trample upon the rights of our brothers and sisters in Angola, it was taken before the U.N. Why, even the white man took the Hungarian question to the U.N. And just this week, Chief Justice Goldberg was crying over three million Jews in Russia, about their human rights – charging Russia with violating the U.N. Charter because of its mistreatment of the human rights of Jews in Russia. Now you tell me how can the plight of everybody on this Earth reach the halls of the United Nations and you have twenty-two million Afro-Americans whose churches are being bombed, whose little girls are being murdered, whose leaders are being shot down in broad daylight? Now you tell me why the leaders of this struggle have never taken [recording impaired ] [their case to the U.N.?]

So our next move is to take the entire civil rights struggle – problem – into the United Nations and let the world see that Uncle Sam is guilty of violating the human rights of 22 million Afro-Americans right down to the year of 1964 and still has the audacity or the nerve to stand up and represent himself as the leader of the free world? [cheers] Not only is he a crook, he’s a hypocrite. Here he is standing up in front of other people, Uncle Sam, with the blood of your and mine mothers and fathers on his hands. With the blood dripping down his jaws like a bloody-jawed wolf. And still got the nerve to point his finger at other countries. In 1964 you can’t even get civil rights legislation and this man has got the nerve to stand up and talk about South Africa or talk about Nazi Germany or talk about Portugal. No, no more days like those! [applause]

So I say in my conclusion, the only way we’re going to solve it: we got to unite. We got to work together in unity and harmony. And black nationalism is the key. How we gonna overcome the tendency to be at each other’s throats that always exists in our neighborhood? And the reason this tendency exists – the strategy of the white man has always been divide and conquer. He keeps us divided in order to conquer us. He tells you, I’m for separation and you for integration, and keep us fighting with each other. No, I’m not for separation and you’re not for integration, what you and I are for is freedom. [applause] Only, you think that integration will get you freedom; I think that separation will get me freedom. We both got the same objective, we just got different ways of getting’ at it. [applause]

So I studied this man, Billy Graham, who preaches white nationalism. That’s what he preaches. [applause] I say, that’s what he preaches. The whole church structure in this country is white nationalism, you go inside a white church – that’s what they preaching, white nationalism. They got Jesus white, Mary white, God white, everybody white – that’s white nationalism. [cheers]

So what he does – the way he circumvents the jealousy and envy that he ordinarily would incur among the heads of the church – whenever you go into an area where the church already is, you going to run into trouble. Because they got that thing, what you call it, syndicated … they got a syndicate just like the racketeers have. I’m going to say what’s on my mind because the preachers already proved to you that they got a syndicate. [applause] And when you’re out in the rackets, whenever you’re getting in another man’s territory, you know, they gang up on you. And that’s the same way with you. You run into the same thing. So how Billy Graham gets around that, instead of going into somebody else’s territory, like he going to start a new church, he doesn’t try and start a church, he just goes in preaching Christ. And he says anybody who believe in him, you go wherever you find him.

So, this helps all the churches, and since it helps all the churches, they don’t fight him. Well, we going to do the same thing, only our gospel is black nationalism. His gospel is white nationalism, our gospel is black nationalism. And the gospel of black nationalism, as I told you, means you should control your own, the politics of your community, the economy of your community, and all of the society in which you live should be under your control. And once you…feel that this philosophy will solve your problem, go join any church where that’s preached. Don’t join any church where white nationalism is preached. Why, you can go to a Negro church and be exposed to white nationalism. ‘Cause when you are on – when you walk in a Negro church and see a white Jesus and a white Mary and some white angels, that Negro church is preaching white nationalism. [applause]

But, when you go to a church and you see the pastor of that church with a philosophy and a program that’s designed to bring black people together and elevate black people, join that church. Join that church. If you see where the NAACP is preaching and practicing that which is designed to make black nationalism materialize, join the NAACP. Join any kind of organization – civic, religious, fraternal, political or otherwise that’s based on lifting the black man up and making him master of his own community. [applause]

Malcolm X (1925-1965) “The Ballot or the Bullet”http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/blackspeech/mx.html
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Ballot_or_the_Bullet

Che Guevara

Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928–1967) was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.

As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout South America and was radicalized by the poverty, hunger and disease he witnessed. His burgeoning desire to help overturn what he saw as the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States prompted his involvement in Guatemala’s social reforms under President Jacobo Árbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow at the behest of the United Fruit Company solidified Guevara’s political ideology. Later in Mexico City, Guevara met Raúl and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and sailed to Cuba aboard the yacht Granma with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second in command and played a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.

Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, instituting agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helping spearhead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba’s armed forces, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism.

Additionally, Guevara was a prolific writer and diarist, composing a seminal manual on guerrilla warfare, along with a best-selling memoir about his youthful continental motorcycle journey. His experiences and studying of Marxism–Leninism led him to posit that the Third World’s underdevelopment and dependence was an intrinsic result of imperialism, neocolonialism and monopoly capitalism, with the only remedy being proletarian internationalism and world revolution.

Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. However, his critics note that he murdered political opponents, eliminated the free press, and put homosexuals in forced labor camps(1).

Time magazine named Guevara one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

“Homeland or death” (1964)

Patria o muerte! (Homeland or death!) These words (in Spanish) were pronounced by the Argentine, Che Guevara, as he represented the republic of Cuba at the United Nations in 1964.

It follows the English translation of the full text transcript of Che Guevara’s speech.

Mr. President,
Distinguished Delegates,

The delegation of Cuba to this assembly, first of all, is pleased to fulfill the agreeable duty of welcoming the addition of three new nations to the important number of those that discuss the problems of the world here. We therefore greet, in the persons of their presidents and prime ministers, the peoples of Zambia, Malawi, and Malta, and express the hope that from the outset these countries will be added to the group of Nonaligned countries that struggle against imperialism, colonialism, and neocolonialism.

Che Guevara_UN 1964
Che Guevara in the UN, 1964

We also wish to convey our congratulations to the president of this assembly, Alex Quaison-Sackey of Ghana, whose elevation to so high a post is of special significance since it reflects this new historic stage of resounding triumphs for the peoples of Africa, who up until recently were subject to the colonial system of imperialism. Today, in their immense majority these peoples have become sovereign states through the legitimate exercise of their self-determination. The final hour of colonialism has struck, and millions of inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and Latin America rise to meet a new life and demand their unrestricted right to self-determination and to the independent development of their nations.

We wish you, Mr. President, the greatest success in the tasks entrusted to you by the member states.

Cuba comes here to state its position on the most important points of controversy and will do so with the full sense of responsibility that the use of this rostrum implies, while at the same time fulfilling the unavoidable duty of speaking clearly and frankly. We would like to see this assembly shake itself out of complacency and move forward. We would like to see the committees begin their work and not stop at the first confrontation. Imperialism wants to turn this meeting into a pointless oratorical tournament, instead of solving the serious problems of the world. We must prevent it from doing so. This session of the assembly should not be remembered in the future solely by the number nineteen that identifies it. Our efforts are directed to that end.

We feel that we have the right and the obligation to do so, because our country is one of the most constant points of friction. It is one of the places where the principles upholding the right of small countries to sovereignty are put to the test day by day, minute by minute. At the same time our country is one of the trenches of freedom in the world, situated a few steps away from United States imperialism, showing by its actions, its daily example, that in the present conditions of humanity the peoples can liberate themselves and can keep themselves free.

Of course, there now exists a socialist camp that becomes stronger day by day and has more powerful weapons of struggle. But additional conditions are required for survival: the maintenance of internal unity, faith in one’s own destiny, and the irrevocable decision to fight to the death for the defense of one’s country and revolution. These conditions, distinguished delegates, exist in Cuba.

Of all the burning problems to be dealt with by this assembly, one of special significance for us, and one whose solution we feel must be found first, so as to leave no doubt in the minds of anyone, is that of peaceful coexistence among states with different economic and social systems. Much progress has been made in the world in this field. But imperialism, particularly U.S. imperialism, has attempted to make the world believe that peaceful coexistence is the exclusive right of the earth’s great powers. We say here what our president said in Cairo, and what later was expressed in the declaration of the Second Conference of Heads of State or Government of Nonaligned Countries: that peaceful coexistence cannot be limited to the powerful countries if we want to ensure world peace.

Peaceful coexistence must be exercised among all states, regardless of size, regardless of the previous historical relations that linked them, and regardless of the problems that may arise among some of them at a given moment.

At present, the type of peaceful coexistence to which we aspire is often violated. Merely because the Kingdom of Cambodia maintained a neutral attitude and did not bow to the machinations of United States imperialism, it has been subjected to all kinds of treacherous and brutal attacks from the Yankee bases in South Vietnam.

Laos, a divided country, has also been the object of imperialist aggression of every kind. Its people have been massacred from the air. The conventions concluded at Geneva have been violated, and part of its territory is in constant danger of cowardly attacks by imperialist forces.

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam knows all these histories of aggression as do few nations on earth. It has once again seen its frontier violated, has seen enemy bombers and fighter planes attack its installations and U.S. warships, violating territorial waters, attack its naval posts. At this time, the threat hangs over the Democratic Republic of Vietnam that the U.S. war makers may openly extend into its territory the war that for many years they have been waging against the people of South Vietnam. The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China have given serious warnings to the United States. We are faced with a case in which world peace is in danger and, moreover, the lives of millions of human beings in this part of Asia are constantly threatened and subjected to the whim of the U.S. invader.

Peaceful coexistence has also been brutally put to the test in Cyprus, due to pressures from the Turkish government and NATO, compelling the people and the government of Cyprus to make a heroic and firm stand in defense of their sovereignty.

In all these parts of the world, imperialism attempts to impose its version of what coexistence should be. It is the oppressed peoples in alliance with the socialist camp that must show them what true coexistence is, and it is the obligation of the United Nations to support them.

We must also state that it is not only in relations among sovereign states that the concept of peaceful coexistence needs to be precisely defined. As Marxists we have maintained that peace, coexistence among nations does not encompass coexistence between the exploiters and the exploited, between the oppressors and the oppressed. Furthermore, the right to full independence from all forms of colonial oppression is a fundamental principle of this organization. That is why we express our solidarity with the colonial peoples of so-called Portuguese Guinea, Angola, and Mozambique, who have been massacred for the crime of demanding their freedom. And we are prepared to help them to the extent of our ability in accordance with the Cairo declaration.

We express our solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico and their great leader, Pedro Albizu Campos, who, in another act of hypocrisy, has been set free at the age of seventy-two, almost unable to speak, paralyzed, after spending a lifetime in jail. Albizu Campos is a symbol of the as yet unfree but indomitable Latin America. Years and years of prison, almost unbearable pressures in jail, mental torture, solitude, total isolation from his people and his family, the insolence of the conqueror and its lackeys in the land of his birth–nothing broke his will. The delegation of Cuba, on behalf of its people, pays a tribute of admiration and gratitude to a patriot who confers honor upon our America.

The United States for many years has tried to convert Puerto Rico into a model of hybrid culture: the Spanish language with English inflections, the Spanish language with hinges on its backbone–the better to bow down before the Yankee soldier. Puerto Rican soldiers have been used as cannon fodder in imperialist wars, as in Korea, and have even been made to fire at their own brothers, as in the massacre perpetrated by the U.S. army a few months ago against the unarmed people of Panama–one of the most recent crimes carried out by Yankee imperialism. And yet, despite this assault on their will and their historical destiny, the people of Puerto Rico have preserved their culture, their Latin character, their national feelings, which in themselves give proof of the implacable desire for independence lying within the masses on that Latin American island.

We must also warn that the principle of peaceful coexistence does not encompass the right to mock the will of the peoples, as is happening in the case of so-called British Guiana. There the government of Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan has been the victim of every kind of pressure and maneuver, and independence has been delayed to gain time to find ways to flout the people’s will and guarantee the docility of a new government, placed in power by covert means, in order to grant a castrated freedom to this country of the Americas. Whatever roads Guiana may be compelled to follow to obtain independence, the moral and militant support of Cuba goes to its people.

Furthermore, we must point out that the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique have been fighting for a long time for self-government without obtaining it. This state of affairs must not continue.

Once again we speak out to put the world on guard against what is happening in South Africa. The brutal policy of apartheid is applied before the eyes of the nations of the world. The peoples of Africa are compelled to endure the fact that on the African continent the superiority of one race over another remains official policy, and that in the name of this racial superiority murder is committed with impunity. Can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?

I would like to refer specifically to the painful case of the Congo, unique in the history of the modern world, which shows how, with absolute impunity, with the most insolent cynicism, the rights of peoples can be flouted. The direct reason for all this is the enormous wealth of the Congo, which the imperialist countries want to keep under their control. In the speech he made during his first visit to the United Nations, Companero Fidel Castro observed that the whole problem of coexistence among peoples boils down to the wrongful appropriation of other peoples’ wealth. He made the following statement: “End the philosophy of plunder and the philosophy of war will be ended as well.”

But the philosophy of plunder has not only not been ended, it is stronger than ever. And that is why those who used the name of the United Nations to commit the murder of Lumumba are today, in the name of the defense of the white race, murdering thousands of Congolese. How can we forget the betrayal of the hope that Patrice Lumumba placed in the United Nations? How can we forget the machinations and maneuvers that followed in the wake of the occupation of that country by United Nations troops, under whose auspices the assassins of this great African patriot acted with impunity? How can we forget, distinguished delegates, that the one who flouted the authority of the UN in the Congo–and not exactly for patriotic reasons, but rather by virtue of conflicts between imperialists–was Moise Tshombe, who initiated the secession of Katanga with Belgian support? And how can one justify, how can one explain, that at the end of all the United Nations activities there, Tshombe, dislodged from Katanga, should return as lord and master of the Congo? Who can deny the sad role that the imperialists compelled the United Nations to play?

To sum up: dramatic mobilizations were carried out to avoid the secession of Katanga, but today Tshombe is in power, the wealth of the Congo is in imperialist hands–and the expenses have to be paid by the honorable nations. The merchants of war certainly do good business! That is why the government of Cuba supports the just stance of the Soviet Union in refusing to pay the expenses for this come.

And as if this were not enough, we now have flung in our faces these latest acts that have filled the world with indignation. Who are the perpetrators? Belgian paratroopers, carried by United States planes, who took off from British bases. We remember as if it were yesterday that we saw a small country in Europe, a civilized and industrious country, the Kingdom of Belgium, invaded by Hitler’s hordes. We were embittered by the knowledge that this small nation was massacred by German imperialism, and we felt affection for its people. But this other side of the imperialist coin was the one that many of us did not see. Perhaps the sons of Belgian patriots who died defending their country’s liberty are now murdering in cold blood thousands of Congolese in the name of the white race, just as they suffered under the German heel because their blood was not sufficiently Aryan.

Our free eyes open now on new horizons and can see what yesterday, in our condition as colonial slaves, we could not observe: that “Western Civilization” disguises behind its showy facade a picture of hyenas and jackals. That is the only name that can be applied to those who have gone to fulfill such “humanitarian” tasks in the Congo. A carnivorous animal that feeds on unarmed peoples. That is what imperialism does to men. That is what distinguishes the imperial “white man.”

All free men of the world must be prepared to avenge the crime of the Congo. Perhaps many of those soldiers, who were turned into subhumans by imperialist machinery, believe in good faith that they are defending the rights of a superior race. In this assembly, however, those peoples whose skins are darkened by a different sun, colored by different pigments, constitute the majority. And they fully and clearly understand that the difference between men does not lie in the color of their skin, but in the forms of ownership of the means of production, in the relations of production.

The Cuban delegation extends greetings to the peoples of Southern Rhodesia and South-West Africa, oppressed by white colonialist minorities; to the peoples of Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Swaziland, French Somaliland, the Arabs of Palestine, Aden and the Protectorates, Oman; and to all peoples in conflict with imperialism and colonialism. We reaffirm our support to them.

I express also the hope that there will be a just solution to the conflict facing our sister republic of Indonesia in its relations with Malaysia.

Mr. President: One of the fundamental themes of this conference is general and complete disarmament. We express our support for general and complete disarmament. Furthermore, we advocate the complete destruction of all thermonuclear devices and we support the holding of a conference of all the nations of the world to make this aspiration of all people a reality. In his statement before this assembly, our prime minister warned that arms races have always led to war. There are new nuclear powers in the world, and the possibilities of a confrontation are growing.

We believe that such a conference is necessary to obtain the total destruction of thermonuclear weapons and, as a first step, the total prohibition of tests. At the same time, we have to establish clearly the duty of all countries to respect the present borders of other states and to refrain from engaging in any aggression, even with conventional weapons.

In adding our voice to that of all the peoples of the world who ask for general and complete disarmament, the destruction of all nuclear arsenals, the complete halt to the building of new thermonuclear devices and of nuclear tests of any kind, we believe it necessary to also stress that the territorial integrity of nations must be respected and the armed hand of imperialism held back, for it is no less dangerous when it uses only conventional weapons. Those who murdered thousands of defenseless citizens of the Congo did not use the atomic bomb. They used conventional weapons. Conventional weapons have also been used by imperialism, causing so many deaths.

Even if the measures advocated here were to become effective and make it unnecessary to mention it, we must point out that we cannot adhere to any regional pact for denuclearization so long as the United States maintains aggressive bases on our own territory, in Puerto Rico, Panama, and in other Latin American states where it feels it has the right to place both conventional and nuclear weapons without any restrictions. We feel that we must be able to provide for our own defense in the light of the recent resolution of the Organization of American States against Cuba, on the basis of which an attack may be carried out invoking the Rio Treaty.

If the conference to which we have just referred were to achieve all these objectives–which, unfortunately, would be difficult–we believe it would be the most important one in the history of humanity. To ensure this it would be necessary for the People’s Republic of China to be represented, and that is why a conference of this type must be held. But it would be much simpler for the peoples of the world to recognize the undeniable truth of the existence of the People’s Republic of China, whose government is the sole representative of its people, and to give it the seat it deserves, which is, at present, usurped by the gang that controls the province of Taiwan, with United States support.

The problem of the representation of China in the United Nations cannot in any way be considered as a case of a new admission to the organization, but rather as the restoration of the legitimate rights of the People’s Republic of China.

We must repudiate energetically the “two Chinas” plot. The Chiang Kai-shek gang of Taiwan cannot remain in the United Nations. What we are dealing with, we repeat, is the expulsion of the usurper and the installation of the legitimate representative of the Chinese people.

We also warn against the United States government’s insistence on presenting the problem of the legitimate representation of China in the UN as an “important question,” in order to impose a requirement of a two-thirds majority of members present and voting. The admission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations is, in fact, an important question for the entire world, but not for the machinery of the United Nations, where it must constitute a mere question of procedure. In this way justice will be done. Almost as important as attaining justice, however, would be the demonstration, once and for all, that this august assembly has eyes to see, ears to hear, tongues to speak with, and sound criteria for making its decisions.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons among the member states of NATO, and especially the possession of these devices of mass destruction by the Federal Republic of Germany, would make the possibility of an agreement on disarmament even more remote, and linked to such an agreement is the problem of the peaceful reunification of Germany. So long as there is no clear understanding, the existence of two Germanys must be recognized: that of the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic. The German problem can be solved only with the direct participation in negotiations of the German Democratic Republic with full rights.

We shall only touch on the questions of economic development and international trade that are broadly represented in the agenda. In this very year of 1964 the Geneva conference was held at which a multitude of matters related to these aspects of international relations were dealt with. The warnings and forecasts of our delegation were fully confirmed, to the misfortune of the economically dependent countries.

We wish only to point out that insofar as Cuba is concerned, the United States of America has not implemented the explicit recommendations of that conference, and recently the U.S. government also prohibited the sale of medicines to Cuba. By doing so it divested itself, once and for all, of the mask of humanitarianism with which it attempted to disguise the aggressive nature of its blockade against the people of Cuba.

Furthermore, we state once more that the scars left by colonialism that impede the development of the peoples are expressed not only in political relations. The so-called deterioration of the terms of trade is nothing but the result of the unequal exchange between countries producing raw materials and industrial countries, which dominate markets and impose the illusory justice of equal exchange of values.

So long as the economically dependent peoples do not free themselves from the capitalist markets and, in a firm bloc with the socialist countries, impose new relations between the exploited and the exploiters, there will be no solid economic development. In certain cases there will be retrogression, in which the weak countries will fall under the political domination of the imperialists and colonialists.

Finally, distinguished delegates, it must be made clear that in the area of the Caribbean, maneuvers and preparations for aggression against Cuba are taking place, on the coasts of Nicaragua above all, in Costa Rica as well, in the Panama Canal Zone, on Vieques Island in Puerto Rico, in Florida, and possibly in other parts of United States territory and perhaps also in Honduras. In these places Cuban mercenaries are training, as well as mercenaries of other nationalities, with a purpose that cannot be the most peaceful one.

After a big scandal, the government of Costa Rica–it is said–has ordered the elimination of all training camps of Cuban exiles in that country. No one knows whether this position is sincere, or whether it is a simple alibi because the mercenaries training there were about to commit some misdeed. We hope that full cognizance will be taken of the real existence of bases for aggression, which we denounced long ago, and that the world will ponder the international responsibility of the government of a country that authorizes and facilitates the training of mercenaries to attack Cuba.

We should note that news of the training of mercenaries in different parts in the Caribbean and the participation of the U.S. government in such acts is presented as completely natural in the newspapers in the United States. We know of no Latin American voice that has officially protested this. This shows the cynicism with which the United States government moves its pawns.

The sharp foreign ministers of the GAS had eyes to see Cuban emblems and to find “irrefutable” proof in the weapons that the Yankees exhibited in Venezuela, but they do not see the preparations for aggression in the United States, just as they did not hear the voice of President Kennedy, who explicitly declared himself the aggressor against Cuba at Playa Giron. In some cases, it is a blindness provoked by the hatred against our revolution by the ruling classes of the Latin American countries. In others–and these are sadder and more deplorable–it is the product of the dazzling glitter of mammon.

As is well known, after the tremendous commotion of the so-called Caribbean crisis, the United States undertook certain commitments with the Soviet Union. These culminated in the withdrawal of certain types of weapons that the continued acts of aggression of the United States–such as the mercenary attack at Playa Giron and threats of invasion against our homeland–had compelled us to install in Cuba as an act of legitimate and essential defense.

The United States, furthermore, tried to get the UN to inspect our territory. But we emphatically refuse, since Cuba does not recognize the right of the United States, or of anyone else in the world, to determine the type of weapons Cuba may have within its borders.

In this connection, we would abide only by multilateral agreements, with equal obligations for all the parties concerned. As Fidel Castro has said: “So long as the concept of sovereignty exists as the prerogative of nations and of independent peoples, as a right of all peoples, we will not accept the exclusion of our people from that right. So long as the world is governed by these principles, so long as the world is governed by those concepts that have universal validity because they are universally accepted and recognized by the peoples, we will not accept the attempt to deprive us of any of those rights, and we will renounce none of those rights.”

The secretary-general of the United Nations, U Thant, understood our reasons. Nevertheless, the United States attempted to establish a new prerogative, an arbitrary and illegal one: that of violating the airspace of a small country. Thus, we see flying over our country U-2 aircraft and other types of spy planes that, with complete impunity, fly over our airspace. We have made all the necessary warnings for the violations of our airspace to cease, as well as for a halt to the provocations of the United States navy against our sentry posts in the zone of Guantanamo, the buzzing by aircraft of our ships or the ships of other nationalities in international waters, the pirate attacks against ships sailing under different flags, and the infiltration of spies, saboteurs, and weapons onto our island.

We want to build socialism. We have declared that we are supporters of those who strive for peace. We have declared ourselves to be within the group of Nonaligned countries, although we are Marxist-Leninists, because the Nonaligned countries, like ourselves, fight imperialism. We want peace. We want to build a better life for our people. That is why we avoid, insofar as possible, falling into the provocations manufactured by the Yankees. But we know the mentality of those who govern them. They want to make us pay a very high price for that peace. We reply that the price cannot go beyond the bounds of dignity.

And Cuba reaffirms once again the right to maintain on its territory the weapons it deems appropriate, and its refusal to recognize the right of any power on earth–no matter how powerful–to violate our soil, our territorial waters, or our airspace.

If in any assembly Cuba assumes obligations of a collective nature, it will fulfill them to the letter. So long as this does not happen, Cuba maintains all its rights, just as any other nation. In the face of the demands of imperialism, our prime minister laid out the five points necessary for the existence of a secure peace in the Caribbean. They are:

A halt to the economic blockade and all economic and trade pressures by the United States, in all parts of the world, against our country.

A halt to all subversive activities, launching and landing of weapons and explosives by air and sea, organization of mercenary invasions, infiltration of spies and saboteurs, acts all carried out from the territory of the United States and some accomplice countries.

A halt to pirate attacks carried out from existing bases in the United States and Puerto Rico.

A halt to all the violations of our airspace and our territorial waters by United States aircraft and warships.

Withdrawal from the Guantanamo naval base and return of the Cuban territory occupied by the United States.

None of these elementary demands has been met, and our forces are still being provoked from the naval base at Guantanamo. That base has become a nest of thieves and a launching pad for them into our territory.

We would tire this assembly were we to give a detailed account of the large number of provocations of all kinds. Suffice it to say that including the first days of December the number amounts to 1,323 in 1964 alone. The list covers minor provocations such as violation of the boundary line, launching of objects from the territory controlled by the United States, the commission of acts of sexual exhibitionism by U.S. personnel of both sexes, and verbal insults.

It includes others that are more serious, such as shooting off small caliber weapons, aiming weapons at our territory, and offenses against our national flag. Extremely serious provocations include those of crossing the boundary line and starting fires in installations on the Cuban side, as well as rifle fire. There have been seventy-eight rifle shots this year, with the sorrowful toll of one death: that of Ramon Lopez Pena, a soldier, killed by two shots fired from the United States post three and a half kilometers from the coast on the northern boundary. This extremely grave provocation took place at 7:07 p.m. on 19 July 1964, and the prime minister of our government publicly stated on July 26 that if the event were to recur he would give orders for our troops to repel the aggression.

At the same time orders were given for the withdrawal of the forward line of Cuban forces to positions farther away from the boundary line and construction of the necessary fortified positions.

One thousand three hundred and twenty-three provocations in 340 days amount to approximately four per day. Only a perfectly disciplined army with a morale such as ours could resist so many hostile acts without losing its self-control.

Forty-seven countries meeting at the Second Conference of Heads of State or Government of Nonaligned Countries in Cairo unanimously agreed:

Noting with concern that foreign military bases are in practice a means of bringing pressure on nations and retarding their emancipation and development, based on their own ideological, political, economic, and cultural ideas, the conference declares its unreserved support to the countries that are seeking to secure the elimination of foreign bases from their territory and calls upon all states maintaining troops and bases in other countries to remove them immediately.

The conference considers that the maintenance at Guantanamo (Cuba) of a military base of the United States of America, in defiance of the will of the government and people of Cuba and in defiance of the provisions embodied in the declaration of the Belgrade conference, constitutes a violation of Cuba’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Noting that the Cuban government expresses its readiness to settle its dispute over the base at Guantanamo with the United States of America on an equal footing, the conference urges the United States government to open negotiations with the Cuban government to evacuate their base.

The government of the United States has not responded to this request of the Cairo conference and is attempting to maintain indefinitely by force its occupation of a piece of our territory, from which it carries out acts of aggression such as those detailed earlier.

The Organization of American States–which the people also call the United States Ministry of Colonies–condemned us “energetically,” even though it had just excluded us from its midst, ordering its members to break off diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. The OAS authorized aggression against our country at any time and under any pretext, violating the most fundamental international laws, completely disregarding the United Nations. Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, and Mexico opposed that measure, and the government of the United States of Mexico refused to comply with the sanctions that had been approved. Since then we have had no relations with any Latin American countries except Mexico, and this fulfills one of the necessary conditions for direct aggression by imperialism.

We want to make clear once again that our concern for Latin America is based on the ties that unite us: the language we speak, the culture we maintain, and the common master we had. We have no other reason for desiring the liberation of Latin America from the U.S. colonial yoke. If any of the Latin American countries here decide to reestablish relations with Cuba, we would be willing to do so on the basis of equality, and without viewing that recognition of Cuba as a free country in the world to be a gift to our government. Because we won that recognition with our blood in the days of the liberation struggle. We acquired it with our blood in the defense of our shores against the Yankee invasion.

Although we reject any accusations against us of interference in the internal affairs of other countries, we cannot deny that we sympathize with those people who strive for their freedom. We must fulfill the obligation of our government and people to state clearly and categorically to the world that we morally support and stand in solidarity with peoples who struggle anywhere in the world to make a reality of the rights of full sovereignty proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.

It is the United States that intervenes. It has done so historically in Latin America. Since the end of the last century Cuba has experienced this truth; but it has been experienced, too, by Venezuela, Nicaragua, Central America in general, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. In recent years, apart from our people, Panama has experienced direct aggression, where the marines in the Canal Zone opened fire in cold blood against the defenseless people; the Dominican Republic, whose coast was violated by the Yankee fleet to avoid an outbreak of the just fury of the people after the death of Trujillo; and Colombia, whose capital was taken by assault as a result of a rebellion provoked by the assassination of Gaitan.

Covert interventions are carried out through military missions that participate in internal repression, organizing forces designed for that purpose in many countries, and also in coup d’état, which have been repeated so frequently on the Latin American continent during recent years. Concretely, United States forces intervened in the repression of the peoples of Venezuela, Colombia, and Guatemala, who fought with weapons for their freedom. In Venezuela, not only do U.S. forces advise the army and the police, but they also direct acts of genocide carried out from the air against the peasant population in vast insurgent areas. And the Yankee companies operating there exert pressures of every kind to increase direct interference. The imperialists are preparing to repress the peoples of the Americas and are establishing an International of Crime.

The United States intervenes in Latin America invoking the defense of free institutions. The time will come when this assembly will acquire greater maturity and demand of the United States government guarantees for the life of the Blacks and Latin Americans who live in that country, most of them U.S. citizens by origin or adoption.

Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of Blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the Black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men–how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom? We understand that today the assembly is not in a position to ask for explanations of these acts. It must be clearly established, however, that the government of the United States is not the champion of freedom, but rather the perpetuator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples of the world and against a large part of its own population.

To the ambiguous language with which some delegates have described the case of Cuba and the OAS, we reply with clear-cut words and we proclaim that the peoples of Latin America will make those servile, sell-out governments pay for their treason.

Cuba, distinguished delegates, a free and sovereign state with no chains binding it to anyone, with no foreign investments on its territory, with no proconsuls directing its policy, can speak with its head held high in this assembly and can demonstrate the justice of the phrase by which it has been baptized: “Free Territory of the Americas.”

Our example will bear fruit in the continent, as it is already doing to a certain extent in Guatemala, Colombia, and Venezuela.

There is no small enemy nor insignificant force, because no longer are there isolated peoples. As the Second Declaration of Havana states:

No nation in Latin America is weak–because each forms part of a family of 200 million brothers, who suffer the same miseries, who harbor the same sentiments, who have the same enemy, who dream about the same better future, and who count upon the solidarity of all honest men and women throughout the world…

This epic before us is going to be written by the hungry Indian masses, the peasants without land, the exploited workers. It is going to be written by the progressive masses, the honest and brilliant intellectuals, who so greatly abound in our suffering Latin American lands. Struggles of masses and ideas. An epic that will be carried forward by our peoples, mistreated and scorned by imperialism; our people, unreckoned with until today, who are now beginning to shake off their slumber. Imperialism considered us a weak and submissive flock; and now it begins to be terrified of that flock; a gigantic flock of 200 million Latin Americans in whom Yankee monopoly capitalism now sees its gravediggers…

But now from one end of the continent to the other they are signaling with clarity that the hour has come–the hour of their vindication. Now this anonymous mass, this America of color, somber, taciturn America, which all over the continent sings with the same sadness and disillusionment, now this mass is beginning to enter definitively into its own history, is beginning to write it with its own blood, is beginning to suffer and die for it.

Because now in the mountains and fields of America, on its flatlands and in its jungles, in the wilderness or in the traffic of cities, on the banks of its great oceans or rivers, this world is beginning to tremble. Anxious hands are stretched forth, ready to die for what is theirs, to win those rights that were laughed at by one and all for 500 years. Yes, now history will have to take the poor of America into account, the exploited and spurned of America, who have decided to begin writing their history for themselves for all time. Already they can be seen on the roads, on foot, day after day, in endless march of hundreds of kilometers to the governmental “eminences,” there to obtain their rights.

Already they can be seen armed with stones, sticks, machetes, in one direction and another, each day, occupying lands, sinking hooks into the land that belongs to them and defending it with their lives. They can be seen carrying signs, slogans, flags; letting them flap in the mountain or prairie winds. And the wave of anger, of demands for justice, of claims for rights trampled underfoot, which is beginning to sweep the lands of Latin America, will not stop. That wave will swell with every passing day. For that wave is composed of the greatest number, the majorities in every respect, those whose labor amasses the wealth and turns the wheels of history. Now they are awakening from the long, brutalizing sleep to which they had been subjected,

For this great mass of humanity has said, “Enough!” and has begun to march. And their march of giants will not be halted until they conquer true independence–for which they have vainly died more than once. Today, however, those who die will die like the Cubans at Playa Girón. They will die for their own true and never-to-be-surrendered independence.

All this, distinguished delegates, this new will of a whole continent, of Latin America, is made manifest in the cry proclaimed daily by our masses as the irrefutable expression of their decision to fight and to paralyze the armed hand of the invader. It is a cry that has the understanding and support of all the peoples of the world and especially of the socialist camp, headed by the Soviet Union.

That cry is: Patria o muerte! [Homeland or death]

Homeland or Deathhttp://www.emersonkent.com/speeches/homeland_or_death.htm

Notes

(1) 5 inconvenient truths about Che Guevarahttps://www.foxnews.com/politics/5-inconvenient-truths-about-che-guevara

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela (1918–2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

Mandela was born the son of a Tembu tribal chieftain at Qunu, near Umtata, in South Africa. He renounced his right to succeed his father and instead chose a political career. He attended college, became a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 and helped found its powerful Youth League.

Eventually South Africa’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

Nelson Mandela is named as
– one of 28 most influential people of the 20th century by BBC;
– one of 100 Persons of the Century by Time Magazine.

“An ideal for which I am prepared to die” (1964)

In 1962, Nelson Mandela was arrested by South African security police for his opposition to the white government and its apartheid (“separateness”) policies of racial, political, and economic discrimination against the nonwhite majority. In 1964, the government brought further charges including sabotage, high treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government. This is Mandela’s statement from the dock at the opening of his defense on 20 April 1964 in his trial.

This speech is evaluated as one of 14 great speeches of the 20th century by The Guardian.

I am the First Accused.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and practised as an attorney in Johannesburg for a number of years in partnership with Oliver Tambo. I am a convicted prisoner serving five years for leaving the country without a permit and for inciting people to go on strike at the end of May 1961.

At the outset, I want to say that the suggestion made by the State in its opening that the struggle in South Africa is under the influence of foreigners or communists is wholly incorrect. I have done whatever I did, both as an individual and as a leader of my people, because of my experience in South Africa and my own proudly felt African background, and not because of what any outsider might have said.

In my youth in the Transkei I listened to the elders of my tribe telling stories of the old days. Amongst the tales they related to me were those of wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland. The names of Dingane and Bambata, Hintsa and Makana, Squngthi and Dalasile, Moshoeshoe and Sekhukhuni, were praised as the glory of the entire African nation. I hoped then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my own humble contribution to their freedom struggle. This is what has motivated me in all that I have done in relation to the charges made against me in this case.

Having said this, I must deal immediately and at some length with the question of violence. Some of the things so far told to the Court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the Whites.

I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe, and that I played a prominent role in its affairs until I was arrested in August 1962.

In the statement which I am about to make I shall correct certain false impressions which have been created by State witnesses. Amongst other things, I will demonstrate that certain of the acts referred to in the evidence were not and could not have been committed by Umkhonto. I will also deal with the relationship between the African National Congress and Umkhonto, and with the part which I personally have played in the affairs of both organizations. I shall deal also with the part played by the Communist Party. In order to explain these matters properly, I will have to explain what Umkhonto set out to achieve; what methods it prescribed for the achievement of these objects, and why these methods were chosen. I will also have to explain how I became involved in the activities of these organizations.

I deny that Umkhonto was responsible for a number of acts which clearly fell outside the policy of the organization, and which have been charged in the indictment against us. I do not know what justification there was for these acts, but to demonstrate that they could not have been authorized by Umkhonto, I want to refer briefly to the roots and policy of the organization.

I have already mentioned that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto. I, and the others who started the organization, did so for two reasons. Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalize and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.

But the violence which we chose to adopt was not terrorism. We who formed Umkhonto were all members of the African National Congress, and had behind us the ANC tradition of non-violence and negotiation as a means of solving political disputes. We believe that South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it, and not to one group, be it black or white. We did not want an interracial war, and tried to avoid it to the last minute. If the Court is in doubt about this, it will be seen that the whole history of our organization bears out what I have said, and what I will subsequently say, when I describe the tactics which Umkhonto decided to adopt. I want, therefore, to say something about the African National Congress.

The African National Congress was formed in 1912 to defend the rights of the African people which had been seriously curtailed by the South Africa Act, and which were then being threatened by the Native Land Act. For thirty-seven years – that is until 1949 – it adhered strictly to a constitutional struggle. It put forward demands and resolutions; it sent delegations to the Government in the belief that African grievances could be settled through peaceful discussion and that Africans could advance gradually to full political rights. But White Governments remained unmoved, and the rights of Africans became less instead of becoming greater. In the words of my leader, Chief Lutuli, who became President of the ANC in 1952, and who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

“Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door? What have been the fruits of moderation? The past thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws restricting our rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all.”

Even after 1949, the ANC remained determined to avoid violence. At this time, however, there was a change from the strictly constitutional means of protest which had been employed in the past. The change was embodied in a decision which was taken to protest against apartheid legislation by peaceful, but unlawful, demonstrations against certain laws. Pursuant to this policy the ANC launched the Defiance Campaign, in which I was placed in charge of volunteers. This campaign was based on the principles of passive resistance. More than 8, 500 people defied apartheid laws and went to jail. Yet there was not a single instance of violence in the course of this campaign on the part of any defier. I and nineteen colleagues were convicted for the role which we played in organizing the campaign, but our sentences were suspended mainly because the Judge found that discipline and non-violence had been stressed throughout. This was the time when the volunteer section of the ANC was established, and when the word ‘Amadelakufa’ was first used: this was the time when the volunteers were asked to take a pledge to uphold certain principles. Evidence dealing with volunteers and their pledges has been introduced into this case, but completely out of context. The volunteers were not, and are not, the soldiers of a black army pledged to fight a civil war against the whites. They were, and are, dedicated workers who are prepared to lead campaigns initiated by the ANC to distribute leaflets, to organize strikes, or do whatever the particular campaign required. They are called volunteers because they volunteer to face the penalties of imprisonment and whipping which are now prescribed by the legislature for such acts.

During the Defiance Campaign, the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed. These Statutes provided harsher penalties for offences committed by way of protests against laws. Despite this, the protests continued and the ANC adhered to its policy of non-violence. In 1956, 156 leading members of the Congress Alliance, including myself, were arrested on a charge of high treason and charges under the Suppression of Communism Act. The non-violent policy of the ANC was put in issue by the State, but when the Court gave judgement some five years later, it found that the ANC did not have a policy of violence. We were acquitted on all counts, which included a count that the ANC sought to set up a communist state in place of the existing regime. The Government has always sought to label all its opponents as communists. This allegation has been repeated in the present case, but as I will show, the ANC is not, and never has been, a communist organization.

In 1960 there was the shooting at Sharpeville, which resulted in the proclamation of a state of emergency and the declaration of the ANC as an unlawful organization. My colleagues and I, after careful consideration, decided that we would not obey this decree. The African people were not part of the Government and did not make the laws by which they were governed. We believed in the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that ‘the will of the people shall be the basis of authority of the Government, ‘ and for us to accept the banning was equivalent to accepting the silencing of the Africans for all time. The ANC refused to dissolve, but instead went underground. We believed it was our duty to preserve this organization which had been built up with almost fifty years of unremitting toil. I have no doubt that no self-respecting White political organization would disband itself if declared illegal by a government in which it had no say.

In 1960 the Government held a referendum which led to the establishment of the Republic. Africans, who constituted approximately 70 per cent of the population of South Africa, were not entitled to vote, and were not even consulted about the proposed constitutional change. All of us were apprehensive of our future under the proposed White Republic, and a resolution was taken to hold an All-In African Conference to call for a National Convention, and to organize mass demonstrations on the eve of the unwanted Republic, if the Government failed to call the Convention. The conference was attended by Africans of various political persuasions. I was the Secretary of the conference and undertook to be responsible for organizing the national stay-at-home which was subsequently called to coincide with the declaration of the Republic. As all strikes by Africans are illegal, the person organizing such a strike must avoid arrest. I was chosen to be this person, and consequently I had to leave my home and family and my practice and go into hiding to avoid arrest.

The stay-at-home, in accordance with ANC policy, was to be a peaceful demonstration. Careful instructions were given to organizers and members to avoid any recourse to violence. The Government’s answer was to introduce new and harsher laws, to mobilize its armed forces, and to send Saracens, armed vehicles, and soldiers into the townships in a massive show of force designed to intimidate the people. This was an indication that the Government had decided to rule by force alone, and this decision was a milestone on the road to Umkhonto.

Some of this may appear irrelevant to this trial. In fact, I believe none of it is irrelevant because it will, I hope, enable the Court to appreciate the attitude eventually adopted by the various persons and bodies concerned in the National Liberation Movement. When I went to jail in 1962, the dominant idea was that loss of life should be avoided. I now know that this was still so in 1963.

I must return to June 1961. What were we, the leaders of our people, to do? Were we to give in to the show of force and the implied threat against future action, or were we to fight it and, if so, how?

We had no doubt that we had to continue the fight. Anything else would have been abject surrender. Our problem was not whether to fight, but was how to continue the fight. We of the ANC had always stood for a non-racial democracy, and we shrank from any action which might drive the races further apart than they already were. But the hard facts were that fifty years of non-violence had brought the African people nothing but more and more repressive legislation, and fewer and fewer rights. It may not be easy for this Court to understand, but it is a fact that for a long time the people had been talking of violence – of the day when they would fight the White man and win back their country – and we, the leaders of the ANC, had nevertheless always prevailed upon them to avoid violence and to pursue peaceful methods. When some of us discussed this in May and June of 1961, it could not be denied that our policy to achieve a non-racial State by non-violence had achieved nothing, and that our followers were beginning to lose confidence in this policy and were developing disturbing ideas of terrorism.

It must not be forgotten that by this time violence had, in fact, become a feature of the South African political scene. There had been violence in 1957 when the women of Zeerust were ordered to carry passes; there was violence in 1958 with the enforcement of cattle culling in Sekhukhuniland; there was violence in 1959 when the people of Cato Manor protested against pass raids; there was violence in 1960 when the Government attempted to impose Bantu Authorities in Pondoland. Thirty-nine Africans died in these disturbances. In 1961 there had been riots in Warmbaths, and all this time the Transkei had been a seething mass of unrest. Each disturbance pointed clearly to the inevitable growth among Africans of the belief that violence was the only way out – it showed that a Government which uses force to maintain its rule teaches the oppressed to use force to oppose it. Already small groups had arisen in the urban areas and were spontaneously making plans for violent forms of political struggle. There now arose a danger that these groups would adopt terrorism against Africans, as well as Whites, if not properly directed. Particularly disturbing was the type of violence engendered in places such as Zeerust, Sekhukhuniland, and Pondoland amongst Africans. It was increasingly taking the form, not of struggle against the Government – though this is what prompted it – but of civil strife amongst themselves, conducted in such a way that it could not hope to achieve anything other than a loss of life and bitterness.

At the beginning of June 1961, after a long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I, and some colleagues, came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic and wrong for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the Government met our peaceful demands with force.

This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe. We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because the Government had left us with no other choice. In the Manifesto of Umkhonto published on 16 December 1961, which is Exhibit AD, we said:

“The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom.”

This was our feeling in June of 1961 when we decided to press for a change in the policy of the National Liberation Movement. I can only say that I felt morally obliged to do what I did.

We who had taken this decision started to consult leaders of various organizations, including the ANC. I will not say whom we spoke to, or what they said, but I wish to deal with the role of the African National Congress in this phase of the struggle, and with the policy and objectives of Umkhonto we Sizwe.

As far as the ANC was concerned, it formed a clear view which can be summarized as follows:

It was a mass political organization with a political function to fulfil. Its members had joined on the express policy of non-violence.

Because of all this, it could not and would not undertake violence. This must be stressed. One cannot turn such a body into the small, closely knit organization required for sabotage. Nor would this be politically correct, because it would result in members ceasing to carry out this essential activity: political propaganda and organization. Nor was it permissible to change the whole nature of the organization.

On the other hand, in view of this situation I have described, the ANC was prepared to depart from its fifty-year-old policy of non-violence to this extent that it would no longer disapprove of properly controlled violence. Hence members who undertook such activity would not be subject to disciplinary action by the ANC.

I say ‘properly controlled violence’ because I made it clear that if I formed the organization I would at all times subject it to the political guidance of the ANC and would not undertake any different form of activity from that contemplated without the consent of the ANC. And I shall now tell the Court how that form of violence came to be determined.

As a result of this decision, Umkhonto was formed in November 1961. When we took this decision, and subsequently formulated our plans, the ANC heritage of non-violence and racial harmony was very much with us. We felt that the country was drifting towards a civil war in which Blacks and Whites would fight each other. We viewed the situation with alarm. Civil war could mean the destruction of what the ANC stood for; with civil war, racial peace would be more difficult than ever to achieve. We already have examples in South African history of the results of war. It has taken more than fifty years for the scars of the South African War to disappear. How much longer would it take to eradicate the scars of inter-racial civil war, which could not be fought without a great loss of life on both sides?

The avoidance of civil war had dominated our thinking for many years, but when we decided to adopt violence as part of our policy, we realized that we might one day have to face the prospect of such a war. This had to be taken into account in formulating our plans. We required a plan which was flexible and which permitted us to act in accordance with the needs of the times; above all, the plan had to be one which recognized civil war as the last resort, and left the decision on this question to the future. We did not want to be committed to civil war, but we wanted to be ready if it became inevitable.

Four forms of violence were possible. There is sabotage, there is guerrilla warfare, there is terrorism, and there is open revolution. We chose to adopt the first method and to exhaust it before taking any other decision.

In the light of our political background the choice was a logical one. Sabotage did not involve loss of life, and it offered the best hope for future race relations. Bitterness would be kept to a minimum and, if the policy bore fruit, democratic government could become a reality. This is what we felt at the time, and this is what we said in our Manifesto (Exhibit AD):

“We of Umkhonto we Sizwe have always sought to achieve liberation without bloodshed and civil clash. We hope, even at this late hour, that our first actions will awaken everyone to a realization of the disastrous situation to which the Nationalist policy is leading. We hope that we will bring the Government and its supporters to their senses before it is too late, so that both the Government and its policies can be changed before matters reach the desperate state of civil war.”

The initial plan was based on a careful analysis of the political and economic situation of our country. We believed that South Africa depended to a large extent on foreign capital and foreign trade. We felt that planned destruction of power plants, and interference with rail and telephone communications, would tend to scare away capital from the country, make it more difficult for goods from the industrial areas to reach the seaports on schedule, and would in the long run be a heavy drain on the economic life of the country, thus compelling the voters of the country to reconsider their position.

Attacks on the economic life-lines of the country were to be linked with sabotage on Government buildings and other symbols of apartheid. These attacks would serve as a source of inspiration to our people. In addition, they would provide an outlet for those people who were urging the adoption of violent methods and would enable us to give concrete proof to our followers that we had adopted a stronger line and were fighting back against Government violence.

In addition, if mass action were successfully organized, and mass reprisals taken, we felt that sympathy for our cause would be roused in other countries, and that greater pressure would be brought to bear on the South African Government.

This then was the plan. Umkhonto was to perform sabotage, and strict instructions were given to its members right from the start, that on no account were they to injure or kill people in planning or carrying out operations. These instructions have been referred to in the evidence of ‘Mr. X’ and ‘Mr. Z.’

The affairs of the Umkhonto were controlled and directed by a National High Command, which had powers of co-option and which could, and did, appoint Regional Commands. The High Command was the body which determined tactics and targets and was in charge of training and finance. Under the High Command there were Regional Commands which were responsible for the direction of the local sabotage groups. Within the framework of the policy laid down by the National High Command, the Regional Commands had authority to select the targets to be attacked. They had no authority to go beyond the prescribed framework and thus had no authority to embark upon acts which endangered life, or which did not fit into the overall plan of sabotage. For instance, Umkhonto members were forbidden ever to go armed into operation. Incidentally, the terms High Command and Regional Command were an importation from the Jewish national underground organization Irgun Zvai Leumi, which operated in Israel between 1944 and 1948.

Umkhonto had its first operation on 16 December 1961, when Government buildings in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban were attacked. The selection of targets is proof of the policy to which I have referred. Had we intended to attack life we would have selected targets where people congregated and not empty buildings and power stations. The sabotage which was committed before 16 December 1961 was the work of isolated groups and had no connection whatever with Umkhonto. In fact, some of these and a number of later acts were claimed by other organizations.

The Manifesto of Umkhonto was issued on the day that operations commenced. The response to our actions and Manifesto among the white population was characteristically violent. The Government threatened to take strong action, and called upon its supporters to stand firm and to ignore the demands of the Africans. The Whites failed to respond by suggesting change; they responded to our call by suggesting the laager.

In contrast, the response of the Africans was one of encouragement. Suddenly there was hope again. Things were happening. People in the townships became eager for political news. A great deal of enthusiasm was generated by the initial successes, and people began to speculate on how soon freedom would be obtained.

But we in Umkhonto weighed up the white response with anxiety. The lines were being drawn. The whites and blacks were moving into separate camps, and the prospects of avoiding a civil war were made less. The white newspapers carried reports that sabotage would be punished by death. If this was so, how could we continue to keep Africans away from terrorism?

Already scores of Africans had died as a result of racial friction. In 1920 when the famous leader, Masabala, was held in Port Elizabeth jail, twenty-four of a group of Africans who had gathered to demand his release were killed by the police and white civilians. In 1921 more than one hundred Africans died in the Bulhoek affair. In 1924 over two hundred Africans were killed when the Administrator of South-West Africa led a force against a group which had rebelled against the imposition of dog tax. On 1 May 1950, eighteen Africans died as a result of police shootings during the strike. On 21 March 1960, sixty-nine unarmed Africans died at Sharpeville.

How many more Sharpevilles would there be in the history of our country? And how many more Sharpevilles could the country stand without violence and terror becoming the order of the day? And what would happen to our people when that stage was reached? In the long run we felt certain we must succeed, but at what cost to ourselves and the rest of the country? And if this happened, how could black and white ever live together again in peace and harmony? These were the problems that faced us, and these were our decisions.

Experience convinced us that rebellion would offer the Government limitless opportunities for the indiscriminate slaughter of our people. But it was precisely because the soil of South Africa is already drenched with the blood of innocent Africans that we felt it our duty to make preparations as a long-term undertaking to use force in order to defend ourselves against force. If war were inevitable, we wanted the fight to be conducted on terms most favorable to our people. The fight which held out prospects best for us and the least risk of life to both sides was guerrilla warfare. We decided, therefore, in our preparations for the future, to make provision for the possibility of guerrilla warfare.

All whites undergo compulsory military training, but no such training was given to Africans. It was in our view essential to build up a nucleus of trained men who would be able to provide the leadership which would be required if guerrilla warfare started. We had to prepare for such a situation before it became too late to make proper preparations. It was also necessary to build up a nucleus of men trained in civil administration and other professions, so that Africans would be equipped to participate in the government of this country as soon as they were allowed to do so.

At this stage it was decided that I should attend the Conference of the Pan-African Freedom Movement for Central, East, and Southern Africa, which was to be held early in 1962 in Addis Ababa, and, because of our need for preparation, it was also decided that, after the conference, I would undertake a tour of the African States with a view to obtaining facilities for the training of soldiers, and that I would also solicit scholarships for the higher education of matriculated Africans. Training in both fields would be necessary, even if changes came about by peaceful means. Administrators would be necessary who would be willing and able to administer a non-racial State and so would men be necessary to control the army and police force of such a State.

It was on this note that I left South Africa to proceed to Addis Ababa as a delegate of the ANC. My tour was a success. Wherever I went I met sympathy for our cause and promises of help. All Africa was united against the stand of White South Africa, and even in London I was received with great sympathy by political leaders, such as Mr. Gaitskell and Mr. Grimond. In Africa I was promised support by such men as Julius Nyerere, now President of Tanganyika; Mr. Kawawa, then Prime Minister of Tanganyika; Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; General Abboud, President of the Sudan; Habib Bourguiba, President of Tunisia; Ben Bella, now President of Algeria; Modibo Keita, President of Mali; Leopold Senghor, President of Senegal; Sekou Toure, President of Guinea; President Tubman of Liberia; and Milton Obote, Prime Minister of Uganda. It was Ben Bella who invited me to visit Oujda, the Headquarters of the Algerian Army of National Liberation, the visit which is described in my diary, one of the Exhibits.

I started to make a study of the art of war and revolution and, whilst abroad, underwent a course in military training. If there was to be guerrilla warfare, I wanted to be able to stand and fight with my people and to share the hazards of war with them. Notes of lectures which I received in Algeria are contained in Exhibit 16, produced in evidence. Summaries of books on guerrilla warfare and military strategy have also been produced. I have already admitted that these documents are in my writing, and I acknowledge that I made these studies to equip myself for the role which I might have to play if the struggle drifted into guerrilla warfare. I approached this question as every African Nationalist should do. I was completely objective. The Court will see that I attempted to examine all types of authority on the subject – from the East and from the West, going back to the classic work of Clausewitz, and covering such a variety as Mao Tse Tung and Che Guevara on the one hand, and the writings on the Anglo-Boer War on the other. Of course, these notes are merely summaries of the books I read and do not contain my personal views.

I also made arrangements for our recruits to undergo military training. But here it was impossible to organize any scheme without the co-operation of the ANC offices in Africa. I consequently obtained the permission of the ANC in South Africa to do this. To this extent then there was a departure from the original decision of the ANC, but it applied outside South Africa only. The first batch of recruits actually arrived in Tanganyika when I was passing through that country on my way back to South Africa.

I returned to South Africa and reported to my colleagues on the results of my trip. On my return I found that there had been little alteration in the political scene save that the threat of a death penalty for sabotage had now become a fact. The attitude of my colleagues in Umkhonto was much the same as it had been before I left. They were feeling their way cautiously and felt that it would be a long time before the possibilities of sabotage were exhausted. In fact, the view was expressed by some that the training of recruits was premature. This is recorded by me in the document which is Exhibit R.14. After a full discussion, however, it was decided to go ahead with the plans for military training because of the fact that it would take many years to build up a sufficient nucleus of trained soldiers to start a guerrilla campaign, and whatever happened, the training would be of value.

I wish to turn now to certain general allegations made in this case by the State. But before doing so, I wish to revert to certain occurrences said by witnesses to have happened in Port Elizabeth and East London. I am referring to the bombing of private houses of pro-Government persons during September, October and November 1962. I do not know what justification there was for these acts, nor what provocation had been given. But if what I have said already is accepted, then it is clear that these acts had nothing to do with the carrying out of the policy of Umkhonto.

One of the chief allegations in the indictment is that the ANC was a party to a general conspiracy to commit sabotage. I have already explained why this is incorrect but how, externally, there was a departure from the original principle laid down by the ANC. There has, of course, been overlapping of functions internally as well, because there is a difference between a resolution adopted in the atmosphere of a committee room and the concrete difficulties that arise in the field of practical activity. At a later stage the position was further affected by bannings and house arrests, and by persons leaving the country to take up political work abroad. This led to individuals having to do work in different capacities. But though this may have blurred the distinction between Umkhonto and the ANC, it by no means abolished that distinction. Great care was taken to keep the activities of the two organizations in South Africa distinct. The ANC remained a mass political body of Africans only carrying on the type of political work they had conducted prior to 1961. Umkhonto remained a small organization recruiting its members from different races and organizations and trying to achieve its own particular object. The fact that members of Umkhonto were recruited from the ANC, and the fact that persons served both organizations, like Solomon Mbanjwa, did not, in our view, change the nature of the ANC or give it a policy of violence. This overlapping of officers, however, was more the exception than the rule. This is why persons such as ‘Mr. X’ and ‘Mr. Z, ‘ who were on the Regional Command of their respective areas, did not participate in any of the ANC committees or activities, and why people such as Mr. Bennett Mashiyana and Mr. Reginald Ndubi did not hear of sabotage at their ANC meetings.

Another of the allegations in the indictment is that Rivonia was the headquarters of Umkhonto. This is not true of the time when I was there. I was told, of course, and knew that certain of the activities of the Communist Party were carried on there. But this is no reason (as I shall presently explain) why I should not use the place.

I came there in the following manner:

As already indicated, early in April 1961 I went underground to organize the May general strike. My work entailed travelling throughout the country, living now in African townships, then in country villages and again in cities.

During the second half of the year I started visiting the Parktown home of Arthur Goldreich, where I used to meet my family privately. Although I had no direct political association with him, I had known Arthur Goldreich socially since 1958.

In October, Arthur Goldreich informed me that he was moving out of town and offered me a hiding place there. A few days thereafter, he arranged for Michael Harmel to take me to Rivonia. I naturally found Rivonia an ideal place for the man who lived the life of an outlaw. Up to that time I had been compelled to live indoors during the daytime and could only venture out under cover of darkness. But at Liliesleaf [farm, Rivonia, ] I could live differently and work far more efficiently.

For obvious reasons, I had to disguise myself and I assumed the fictitious name of David. In December, Arthur Goldreich and his family moved in. I stayed there until I went abroad on 11 January 1962. As already indicated, I returned in July 1962 and was arrested in Natal on 5 August.

Up to the time of my arrest, Liliesleaf farm was the headquarters of neither the African National Congress nor Umkhonto. With the exception of myself, none of the officials or members of these bodies lived there, no meetings of the governing bodies were ever held there, and no activities connected with them were either organized or directed from there. On numerous occasions during my stay at Liliesleaf farm I met both the Executive Committee of the ANC, as well as the NHC, but such meetings were held elsewhere and not on the farm.

Whilst staying at Liliesleaf farm, I frequently visited Arthur Goldreich in the main house and he also paid me visits in my room. We had numerous political discussions covering a variety of subjects. We discussed ideological and practical questions, the Congress Alliance, Umkhonto and its activities generally, and his experiences as a soldier in the Palmach, the military wing of the Haganah. Haganah was the political authority of the Jewish National Movement in Palestine.

Because of what I had got to know of Goldreich, I recommended on my return to South Africa that he should be recruited to Umkhonto. I do not know of my personal knowledge whether this was done.

Another of the allegations made by the State is that the aims and objects of the ANC and the Communist Party are the same. I wish to deal with this and with my own political position, because I must assume that the State may try to argue from certain Exhibits that I tried to introduce Marxism into the ANC. The allegation as to the ANC is false. This is an old allegation which was disproved at the Treason Trial and which has again reared its head. But since the allegation has been made again, I shall deal with it as well as with the relationship between the ANC and the Communist Party and Umkhonto and that party.

The ideological creed of the ANC is, and always has been, the creed of African Nationalism. It is not the concept of African Nationalism expressed in the cry, ‘Drive the White man into the sea.’ The African Nationalism for which the ANC stands is the concept of freedom and fulfilment for the African people in their own land. The most important political document ever adopted by the ANC is the ‘Freedom Charter.’ It is by no means a blueprint for a socialist state. It calls for redistribution, but not nationalization, of land; it provides for nationalization of mines, banks, and monopoly industry, because big monopolies are owned by one race only, and without such nationalization racial domination would be perpetuated despite the spread of political power. It would be a hollow gesture to repeal the Gold Law prohibitions against Africans when all gold mines are owned by European companies. In this respect the ANC’s policy corresponds with the old policy of the present Nationalist Party which, for many years, had as part of its programme the nationalization of the gold mines which, at that time, were controlled by foreign capital. Under the Freedom Charter, nationalization would take place in an economy based on private enterprise. The realization of the Freedom Charter would open up fresh fields for a prosperous African population of all classes, including the middle class. The ANC has never at any period of its history advocated a revolutionary change in the economic structure of the country, nor has it, to the best of my recollection, ever condemned capitalist society.

As far as the Communist Party is concerned, and if I understand its policy correctly, it stands for the establishment of a State based on the principles of Marxism. Although it is prepared to work for the Freedom Charter, as a short term solution to the problems created by white supremacy, it regards the Freedom Charter as the beginning, and not the end, of its program.

The ANC, unlike the Communist Party, admitted Africans only as members. Its chief goal was, and is, for the African people to win unity and full political rights. The Communist Party’s main aim, on the other hand, was to remove the capitalists and to replace them with a working-class government. The Communist Party sought to emphasize class distinctions whilst the ANC seeks to harmonize them. This is a vital distinction.

It is true that there has often been close co-operation between the ANC and the Communist Party. But co-operation is merely proof of a common goal – in this case the removal of white supremacy – and is not proof of a complete community of interests.

The history of the world is full of similar examples. Perhaps the most striking illustration is to be found in the co-operation between Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Soviet Union in the fight against Hitler. Nobody but Hitler would have dared to suggest that such co-operation turned Churchill or Roosevelt into communists or communist tools, or that Britain and America were working to bring about a communist world.

Another instance of such co-operation is to be found precisely in Umkhonto. Shortly after Umkhonto was constituted, I was informed by some of its members that the Communist Party would support Umkhonto, and this then occurred. At a later stage the support was made openly.

I believe that communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements. Thus communists have played an important role in the freedom struggles fought in countries such as Malaya, Algeria, and Indonesia, yet none of these States today are communist countries. Similarly in the underground resistance movements which sprung up in Europe during the last World War, communists played an important role. Even General Chiang Kai-Shek, today one of the bitterest enemies of communism, fought together with the communists against the ruling class in the struggle which led to his assumption of power in China in the 1930s.

This pattern of co-operation between communists and non-communists has been repeated in the National Liberation Movement of South Africa. Prior to the banning of the Communist Party, joint campaigns involving the Communist Party and the Congress movements were accepted practice. African communists could, and did, become members of the ANC, and some served on the National, Provincial, and local committees. Amongst those who served on the National Executive are Albert Nzula, a former Secretary of the Communist Party, Moses Kotane, another former Secretary, and J. B. Marks, a former member of the Central Committee.

I joined the ANC in 1944, and in my younger days I held the view that the policy of admitting communists to the ANC, and the close co-operation which existed at times on specific issues between the ANC and the Communist Party, would lead to a watering down of the concept of African Nationalism. At that stage I was a member of the African National Congress Youth League, and was one of a group which moved for the expulsion of communists from the ANC. This proposal was heavily defeated. Amongst those who voted against the proposal were some of the most conservative sections of African political opinion. They defended the policy on the ground that from its inception the ANC was formed and built up, not as a political party with one school of political thought, but as a Parliament of the African people, accommodating people of various political convictions, all united by the common goal of national liberation. I was eventually won over to this point of view and I have upheld it ever since.

It is perhaps difficult for white South Africans, with an ingrained prejudice against communism, to understand why experienced African politicians so readily accept communists as their friends. But to us the reason is obvious. Theoretical differences amongst those fighting against oppression is a luxury we cannot afford at this stage. What is more, for many decades communists were the only political group in South Africa who were prepared to treat Africans as human beings and their equals; who were prepared to eat with us; talk with us, live with us, and work with us. They were the only political group which was prepared to work with the Africans for the attainment of political rights and a stake in society. Because of this, there are many Africans who, today, tend to equate freedom with communism. They are supported in this belief by a legislature which brands all exponents of democratic government and African freedom as communists and bans many of them (who are not communists) under the Suppression of Communism Act. Although I have never been a member of the Communist Party, I myself have been named under that pernicious Act because of the role I played in the Defiance Campaign. I have also been banned and imprisoned under that Act.

It is not only in internal politics that we count communists as amongst those who support our cause. In the international field, communist countries have always come to our aid. In the United Nations and other Councils of the world the communist bloc has supported the Afro-Asian struggle against colonialism and often seems to be more sympathetic to our plight than some of the Western powers. Although there is a universal condemnation of apartheid, the communist bloc speaks out against it with a louder voice than most of the white world. In these circumstances, it would take a brash young politician, such as I was in 1949, to proclaim that the Communists are our enemies.

I turn now to my own position. I have denied that I am a communist, and I think that in the circumstances I am obliged to state exactly what my political beliefs are.

I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot. After all, I was born in Umtata, forty-six years ago. My guardian was my cousin, who was the acting paramount chief of Tembuland, and I am related both to the present paramount chief of Tembuland, Sabata Dalindyebo, and to Kaizer Matanzima, the Chief Minister of the Transkei.

Today I am attracted by the idea of a classless society, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist reading and, in part, from my admiration of the structure and organization of early African societies in this country. The land, then the main means of production, belonged to the tribe. There were no rich or poor and there was no exploitation.

It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent States. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact. We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists.

Indeed, for my own part, I believe that it is open to debate whether the Communist Party has any specific role to play at this particular stage of our political struggle. The basic task at the present moment is the removal of race discrimination and the attainment of democratic rights on the basis of the Freedom Charter. In so far as that Party furthers this task, I welcome its assistance. I realize that it is one of the means by which people of all races can be drawn into our struggle.

From my reading of Marxist literature and from conversations with Marxists, I have gained the impression that communists regard the parliamentary system of the West as undemocratic and reactionary. But, on the contrary, I am an admirer of such a system.

The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world.

I have great respect for British political institutions, and for the country’s system of justice. I regard the British Parliament as the most democratic institution in the world, and the independence and impartiality of its judiciary never fails to arouse my admiration.

The American Congress, that country’s doctrine of separation of powers, as well as the independence of its judiciary, arouses in me similar sentiments.

I have been influenced in my thinking by both West and East. All this has led me to feel that in my search for a political formula, I should be absolutely impartial and objective. I should tie myself to no particular system of society other than of socialism. I must leave myself free to borrow the best from the West and from the East…

There are certain Exhibits which suggest that we received financial support from abroad, and I wish to deal with this question.

Our political struggle has always been financed from internal sources – from funds raised by our own people and by our own supporters. Whenever we had a special campaign or an important political case – for example, the Treason Trial – we received financial assistance from sympathetic individuals and organizations in the Western countries. We had never felt it necessary to go beyond these sources.

But when in 1961 the Umkhonto was formed, and a new phase of struggle introduced, we realized that these events would make a heavy call on our slender resources, and that the scale of our activities would be hampered by the lack of funds. One of my instructions, as I went abroad in January 1962, was to raise funds from the African states.

I must add that, whilst abroad, I had discussions with leaders of political movements in Africa and discovered that almost every single one of them, in areas which had still not attained independence, had received all forms of assistance from the socialist countries, as well as from the West, including that of financial support. I also discovered that some well-known African states, all of them non-communists, and even anti-communists, had received similar assistance.

On my return to the Republic, I made a strong recommendation to the ANC that we should not confine ourselves to Africa and the Western countries, but that we should also send a mission to the socialist countries to raise the funds which we so urgently needed.

I have been told that after I was convicted such a mission was sent, but I am not prepared to name any countries to which it went, nor am I at liberty to disclose the names of the organizations and countries which gave us support or promised to do so.

As I understand the State case, and in particular the evidence of ‘Mr. X, ‘ the suggestion is that Umkhonto was the inspiration of the Communist Party which sought by playing upon imaginary grievances to enroll the African people into an army which ostensibly was to fight for African freedom, but in reality was fighting for a communist state. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the suggestion is preposterous. Umkhonto was formed by Africans to further their struggle for freedom in their own land. Communists and others supported the movement, and we only wish that more sections of the community would join us.

Our fight is against real, and not imaginary, hardships or, to use the language of the State Prosecutor, ‘so-called hardships.’ [Recorded from here] Basically, my Lord, we fight against two features which are the hallmarks of African life in South Africa and which are entrenched by legislation which we seek to have repealed. These features are poverty and lack of human dignity, and we do not need communists or so-called ‘agitators’ to teach us about these things.

South Africa is the richest country in Africa, and could be one of the richest countries in the world. But it is a land of extremes and remarkable contrasts. The whites enjoy what may well be the highest standard of living in the world, whilst Africans live in poverty and misery. Forty per cent of the Africans live in hopelessly overcrowded and, in some cases, drought-stricken Reserves, where soil erosion and the overworking of the soil makes it impossible for them to live properly off the land. Thirty per cent are laborers, labor tenants, and squatters on white farms and work and live under conditions similar to those of the serfs of the Middle Ages. The other 30 per cent live in towns where they have developed economic and social habits which bring them closer in many respects to white standards. Yet most Africans, even in this group, are impoverished by low incomes and high cost of living.

The highest-paid and the most prosperous section of urban African life is in Johannesburg. Yet their actual position is desperate. The latest figures were given on 25 March 1964 by Mr. Carr, Manager of the Johannesburg Non-European Affairs Department. The poverty datum line for the average African family in Johannesburg (according to Mr. Carr’s department) is R42.84 per month. He showed that the average monthly wage is R32.24 and that 46 per cent of all African families in Johannesburg do not earn enough to keep them going.

Poverty goes hand in hand with malnutrition and disease. The incidence of malnutrition and deficiency diseases is very high amongst Africans. Tuberculosis, pellagra, kwashiorkor, gastro-enteritis, and scurvy bring death and destruction of health. The incidence of infant mortality is one of the highest in the world. According to the Medical Officer of Health for Pretoria, tuberculosis kills forty people a day (almost all Africans), and in 1961 there were 58, 491 new cases reported. These diseases not only destroy the vital organs of the body, but they result in retarded mental conditions and lack of initiative, and reduce powers of concentration. The secondary results of such conditions affect the whole community and the standard of work performed by African laborers.

The complaint of Africans, however, is not only that they are poor and the whites are rich, but that the laws which are made by the whites are designed to preserve this situation. There are two ways to break out of poverty. The first is by formal education, and the second is by the worker acquiring a greater skill at his work and thus higher wages. As far as Africans are concerned, both these avenues of advancement are deliberately curtailed by legislation.

The present Government has always sought to hamper Africans in their search for education. One of their early acts, after coming into power, was to stop subsidies for African school feeding. Many African children who attended schools depended on this supplement to their diet. This was a cruel act.

There is compulsory education for all white children at virtually no cost to their parents, be they rich or poor. Similar facilities are not provided for the African children, though there are some who receive such assistance. African children, however, generally have to pay more for their schooling than whites. According to figures quoted by the South African Institute of Race Relations in its 1963 journal, approximately 40 per cent of African children in the age group between seven to fourteen do not attend school. For those who do attend school, the standards are vastly different from those afforded to white children. In 1960-61 the per capita Government spending on African students at State-aided schools was estimated at R12.46. In the same years, the per capita spending on white children in the Cape Province (which are the only figures available to me) was R144.57. Although there are no figures available to me, it can be stated, without doubt, that the white children on whom R144.57 per head was being spent all came from wealthier homes than African children on whom R12.46 per head was being spent.

The quality of education is also different. According to the Bantu Educational Journal, only 5, 660 African children in the whole of South Africa passed their Junior Certificate in 1962, and in that year only 362 passed matric. This is presumably consistent with the policy of Bantu education about which the present Prime Minister said, during the debate on the Bantu Education Bill in 1953:

“When I have control of Native education I will reform it so that Natives will be taught from childhood to realize that equality with Europeans is not for them… People who believe in equality are not desirable teachers for Natives. When my Department controls Native education it will know for what class of higher education a Native is fitted, and whether he will have a chance in life to use his knowledge.”

The other main obstacle to the economic advancement of the African is the industrial color-bar under which all the better jobs of industry are reserved for Whites only. Moreover, Africans who do obtain employment in the unskilled and semi-skilled occupations which are open to them are not allowed to form trade unions which have recognition under the Industrial Conciliation Act. This means that strikes of African workers are illegal, and that they are denied the right of collective bargaining which is permitted to the better-paid White workers. The discrimination in the policy of successive South African Governments towards African workers is demonstrated by the so-called ‘civilized labor policy’ under which sheltered, unskilled Government jobs are found for those white workers who cannot make the grade in industry, at wages which far exceed the earnings of the average African employee in industry.

The Government often answers its critics by saying that Africans in South Africa are economically better off than the inhabitants of the other countries in Africa. I do not know whether this statement is true and doubt whether any comparison can be made without having regard to the cost-of-living index in such countries. But even if it is true, as far as the African people are concerned it is irrelevant. Our complaint is not that we are poor by comparison with people in other countries, but that we are poor by comparison with the white people in our own country, and that we are prevented by legislation from altering this imbalance.

The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of white supremacy. White supremacy implies black inferiority. Legislation designed to preserve white supremacy entrenches this notion. Menial tasks in South Africa are invariably performed by Africans. When anything has to be carried or cleaned the white man will look around for an African to do it for him, whether the African is employed by him or not. Because of this sort of attitude, whites tend to regard Africans as a separate breed. They do not look upon them as people with families of their own; they do not realize that they have emotions – that they fall in love like white people do; that they want to be with their wives and children like white people want to be with theirs; that they want to earn enough money to support their families properly, to feed and clothe them and send them to school. And what ‘house-boy’ or ‘garden-boy’ or laborer can ever hope to do this?

Pass laws, which to the Africans are among the most hated bits of legislation in South Africa, render any African liable to police surveillance at any time. I doubt whether there is a single African male in South Africa who has not at some stage had a brush with the police over his pass. Hundreds and thousands of Africans are thrown into jail each year under pass laws. Even worse than this is the fact that pass laws keep husband and wife apart and lead to the breakdown of family life.

Poverty and the breakdown of family life have secondary effects. Children wander about the streets of the townships because they have no schools to go to, or no money to enable them to go to school, or no parents at home to see that they go to school, because both parents (if there be two) have to work to keep the family alive. This leads to a breakdown in moral standards, to an alarming rise in illegitimacy, and to growing violence which erupts not only politically, but everywhere. Life in the townships is dangerous. There is not a day that goes by without somebody being stabbed or assaulted. And violence is carried out of the townships in the white living areas. People are afraid to walk alone in the streets after dark. Housebreakings and robberies are increasing, despite the fact that the death sentence can now be imposed for such offences. Death sentences cannot cure the festering sore.

Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of doing, and not work which the Government declares them to be capable of. Africans want to be allowed to live where they obtain work, and not be endorsed out of an area because they were not born there. Africans want to be allowed to own land in places where they work, and not to be obliged to live in rented houses which they can never call their own. Africans want to be part of the general population, and not confined to living in their own ghettoes. African men want to have their wives and children to live with them where they work, and not be forced into an unnatural existence in men’s hostels. African women want to be with their menfolk and not be left permanently widowed in the Reserves. Africans want to be allowed out after eleven o’clock at night and not to be confined to their rooms like little children. Africans want to be allowed to travel in their own country and to seek work where they want to and not where the Labor Bureau tells them to. Africans want a just share in the whole of South Africa; they want security and a stake in society.

Above all, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy.

But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on color, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one color group by another. The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs it will not change that policy.

This then is what the ANC is fighting. Their struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

* * *

On 11 June 1964 at the conclusion of the trial, Mandela was found guilty on four charges of sabotage and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He began his sentence in the notorious Robben Island Prison, a maximum security prison on a small island off the coast near Cape Town.

A worldwide campaign to free Mandela began in the 1980s and resulted in his release on 11 February 1990, at age 71, after 27 years in prison.

In 1993, Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with South Africa’s President F.W. de Klerk for their peaceful efforts to bring a non-racial democracy to South Africa. Black South Africans voted for the first time in the 1994 election that brought Mandela the presidency of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela “I am prepared to die”http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/mandela.htm

Speech on release (1990)

On 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela, after more than a quarter century behind bars, walked through the gates of Victor Verster Prison. Afterwards, he addressed the nation before a huge rally in Cape Town. The speech was broadcast live around the world.

Nelson Mandela_on prison release
Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison

Following is a transcript of the address at Cape Town City Hall yesterday by Nelson Mandela, as recorded by The New York Times through the facilities of Cable News Network. Portions of the speech were delivered in Xhosa, one of the major languages spoken by black South Africans.

This speech is evaluated as one of 50 Incredible, Historical Speeches You Should Watch Online by the website OnlineUniversities.

Amandla! Amandla! i-Afrika, mayibuye! [Power! Power! Africa it is ours!]

My friends, comrades and fellow South Africans,

I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.

Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.

On this day of my release, I extend my sincere and warmest gratitude to the millions of my compatriots and those in every corner of the globe who have campaigned tirelessly for my release.

I extend special greetings to the people of Cape Town, the city to which, which has been my home for three decades. Your mass marches and other forms of struggle have served as a constant source of strength to all political prisoners.

I salute the African National Congress. It has fulfilled our every expectation in its role as leader of the great march to freedom.

I salute our president, Comrade Oliver Tambo, for leading the A.N.C. even under the most difficult circumstances.

I salute the rank-and-file members of the A.N.C. You have sacrificed life and limb in the pursuit of the noble cause of our struggle.

Leader’s Salutations

I salute combatants of Umkonto We Sizwe [Spear of the Nation], like Solomon Malhangu and Ashley Kriel, who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom of all South Africans.

I salute the South African Communist Party for its steady contribution to the struggle for democracy. You have survived 40 years of unrelenting persecution. The memory of great Communists like Moses Kotane, Yusuf Dacoo, Bram Fischer and Moses Madidha will be cherished for generations to come.

I salute General Secretary Joe Slovo, one of our finest patriots. We are heartened by the fact that the alliance between ourselves and the party remains as strong as it always was.

I salute the United Democratic Front, the National Education Crisis Committee, the South African Youth Congress, the Transvaal and Natal Indian Congresses. And Cosatu. And the many other formations of the mass democratic movement.

I also salute the Black Sash and the National Union of South African Students. We note with pride that you have acted as the conscience of white South Africans. Even during the darkest days in the history of our struggle, you held the flag of liberty high. The large-scale mass mobilization of the past few years is one of the key factors which led to the opening of the final chapter of our struggle.

I extend my greetings to the working class of our country. Your organized stance is the pride of our movement. You remain the most dependable force in the struggle to end exploitation and oppression.

Tributes to Campaigners

I pay tribute – I pay tribute to the many religious communities who carried the campaign for justice forward when the organizations of our people were silenced.

I greet the traditional leaders of our country. Many among you continue to walk in the footsteps of great heroes like Hintsa and Sekhukhuni.

I pay tribute to the endless heroes of youth. You, the young lions. You the young lions have energized our entire struggle.

I pay tribute to the mothers and wives and sisters of our nation. You are the rock-hard foundation of our struggle. Apartheid has inflicted more pain on you than on anyone else. On this occasion, we thank the world – we thank the world community for their great contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. Without your support our struggle would not have reached this advanced stage.

The sacrifice of the front-line states will be remembered by South Africans forever.

My salutations will be incomplete without expressing my deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife and family.

I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own.

Need for Armed Struggle

Before I go any further, I wish to make the point that I intend making only a few preliminary comments at this stage. I will make a more complete statement only after I have had the opportunity to consult with my comrades.

Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognize that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass actions in order to build peace and security. The mass campaigns of defiance and other actions of our organizations and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy.

The apartheid destruction on our subcontinent is incalculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed.

Our economy – our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife. Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the A.N.C., Umkonto We Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.

The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.

I am a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress. I am, therefore, in full agreement with all of its objectives, strategies and tactics.

Democratic Practice

The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take all these enormous tasks on his own. It is our task as leaders to place our views before our organization and to allow the democratic structures to decide on the way forward.

On the question of democratic practice, I feel duty bound to make the point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference. This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.

Today, I wish to report to you that my talks with the Government have been aimed at normalizing the political situation in the country. We have not as yet begun discussing the basic demands of the struggle.

I wish to stress that I myself had at no time entered into negotiations about the future of our country, except to insist on a meeting between the A.N.C. and the Government.

Mr. de Klerk has gone further than any other Nationalist president in taking real steps to normalize the situation. However, there are further steps as outlined in the Harare Declaration that have to be met before negotiations on the basic demands of our people can begin.

I reiterate our call for inter alia the immediate ending of the state of emergency and the freeing of all, and not only some, political prisoners.

A Decisive Moment

Only such a normalized situation which allows for free political activity can allow us to consult our people in order to obtain a mandate. The people need to be consulted on who will negotiate and on the content of such negotiations.

Negotiations cannot take place – negotiations cannot take up a place above the heads or behind the backs of our people. It is our belief that the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a nonracial basis.

Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the overwhelming demand of our people for a democratic nonracial and unitary South Africa. There must be an end to white monopoly on political power.

And a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to insure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratized.

It must be added that Mr. de Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the dangers of a public figure not honoring his undertakings. But as an organization, we base our policy and strategy on the harsh reality we are faced with, and this reality is that we are still suffering under the policies of the Nationalist Government.

Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment so that the process toward democracy is rapid and uninterrutped. We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts.

Universal Suffrage

To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive. The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts. It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured.

We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is the political home for you, too. We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime.

To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process toward the complete eradication of apartheid. Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.

Universal suffrage on a common voters roll in a united democratic and nonracial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.

In conclusion, I wish to go to my own words during my trial in 1964. They are as true today as they were then. I wrote:

I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

[The following portion was delivered in Xhosa. The translation was provided by Mbulelo Mzamane, a professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia.] My friends, I have no words of eloquence to offer today except to say that the remaining days of my life are in your hands. [He continued in English.] I hope you will disperse with discipline. And not a single one of you should do anything which will make other people to say that we can’t control our own people.

Transcript of Mandela’s Speech at Cape Town City Hall: ‘Africa It Is Ours!https://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/12/world/south-africa-s-new-era-transcript-mandela-s-speech-cape-town-city-hall-africa-it.html

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969), a position he assumed after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States (1961–1963).

Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963, completed the rest of Kennedy’s term and was elected President in his own right, winning by a large margin in the 1964 election. Johnson was greatly supported by the Democratic Party and as President, he was responsible for designing “The Great Society”(1) legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his “War on Poverty”(2). He was renowned for his domineering personality and the “Johnson treatment,” his coercion of powerful politicians in order to advance legislation.

Historians argue that his presidency marked the peak of modern liberalism in the United States after the New Deal era. Johnson is ranked favorably by some historians because of his domestic policies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_B._Johnson

“We shall overcome”/ “The American promise” (1965)

In the mid–1960’s the country was in the middle of race riots. On 15 March 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a speech in front of Congress. The speech was a week after a deadly race riot in Selma, Alabama, and President Johnson used the phrase “We shall overcome” which had been used by African-American civil rights leaders. In the speech, Johnson asked all Americans to unite in the cause of equal rights for all. He asked that the country not think in terms of black and white, north and south, but think of everyone as Americans.

This speech is evaluated as:
– #10 in top 100 American speeches of the 20th century compiled by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Texas A&M University;
– one of Time Magazine’s Top 10 Greatest Speeches.

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the Congress:

I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy. I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in that cause.

Lyndon Johnson_We shall overcome
Lyndon Johnson: “We shall overcome”

At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama. There, long-suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many were brutally assaulted. One good man, a man of God, was killed.

There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Selma. There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our democracy in what is happening here tonight. For the cries of pain and the hymns and protests of oppressed people have summoned into convocation all the majesty of this great government – the government of the greatest nation on earth. Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.

In our time we have come to live with the moments of great crisis. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues – issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression. But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, or our welfare or our security, but rather to the values, and the purposes, and the meaning of our beloved nation.

The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue.

And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. For with a country as with a person, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans – not as Democrats or Republicans. We are met here as Americans to solve that problem.

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: “All men are created equal, “ “government by consent of the governed, “ “give me liberty or give me death.” Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries, and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty, risking their lives.

Those words are a promise to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in a man’s possessions; it cannot be found in his power, or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom, he shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being. To apply any other test – to deny a man his hopes because of his color, or race, or his religion, or the place of his birth is not only to do injustice, it is to deny America and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom.

Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish, it must be rooted in democracy. The most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country, in large measure, is the history of the expansion of that right to all of our people. Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument.

Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.

There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.

Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes. Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this right. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists, and if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on the application. And if he manages to fill out an application, he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of State law. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write.

For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin. Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books – and I have helped to put three of them there – can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it. In such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution. We must now act in obedience to that oath.

Wednesday, I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote.

The broad principles of that bill will be in the hands of the Democratic and Republican leaders tomorrow. After they have reviewed it, it will come here formally as a bill. I am grateful for this opportunity to come here tonight at the invitation of the leadership to reason with my friends, to give them my views, and to visit with my former colleagues. I’ve had prepared a more comprehensive analysis of the legislation which I had intended to transmit to the clerk tomorrow, but which I will submit to the clerks tonight. But I want to really discuss with you now, briefly, the main proposals of this legislation.

This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections – Federal, State, and local – which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote. This bill will establish a simple, uniform standard which cannot be used, however ingenious the effort, to flout our Constitution. It will provide for citizens to be registered by officials of the United States Government, if the State officials refuse to register them. It will eliminate tedious, unnecessary lawsuits which delay the right to vote. Finally, this legislation will ensure that properly registered individuals are not prohibited from voting.

I will welcome the suggestions from all of the Members of Congress – I have no doubt that I will get some – on ways and means to strengthen this law and to make it effective. But experience has plainly shown that this is the only path to carry out the command of the Constitution.

To those who seek to avoid action by their National Government in their own communities, who want to and who seek to maintain purely local control over elections, the answer is simple: open your polling places to all your people.

Allow men and women to register and vote whatever the color of their skin.

Extend the rights of citizenship to every citizen of this land.

There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong – deadly wrong – to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States’ rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights. I have not the slightest doubt what will be your answer.

But the last time a President sent a civil rights bill to the Congress, it contained a provision to protect voting rights in Federal elections. That civil rights bill was passed after eight long months of debate. And when that bill came to my desk from the Congress for my signature, the heart of the voting provision had been eliminated. This time, on this issue, there must be no delay, or no hesitation, or no compromise with our purpose.

We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in. And we ought not, and we cannot, and we must not wait another eight months before we get a bill. We have already waited a hundred years and more, and the time for waiting is gone.

So I ask you to join me in working long hours – nights and weekends, if necessary – to pass this bill. And I don’t make that request lightly. For from the window where I sit with the problems of our country, I recognize that from outside this chamber is the outraged conscience of a nation, the grave concern of many nations, and the harsh judgment of history on our acts.

But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause too. Because it’s not just Negroes, but really it’s all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

And we shall overcome.

As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil, I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society. But a century has passed, more than a hundred years since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight.

It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great President of another party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation; but emancipation is a proclamation, and not a fact. A century has passed, more than a hundred years, since equality was promised. And yet the Negro is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise. And the promise is un-kept.

The time of justice has now come. I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come. And when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American. For Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated? How many white families have lived in stark poverty? How many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we’ve wasted our energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

And so I say to all of you here, and to all in the nation tonight, that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future.

This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all, all black and white, all North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They’re our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too – poverty, disease, and ignorance: we shall overcome.

Now let none of us in any section look with prideful righteousness on the troubles in another section, or the problems of our neighbors. There’s really no part of America where the promise of equality has been fully kept. In Buffalo as well as in Birmingham, in Philadelphia as well as Selma, Americans are struggling for the fruits of freedom. This is one nation. What happens in Selma or in Cincinnati is a matter of legitimate concern to every American. But let each of us look within our own hearts and our own communities, and let each of us put our shoulder to the wheel to root out injustice wherever it exists.

As we meet here in this peaceful, historic chamber tonight, men from the South, some of whom were at Iwo Jima, men from the North who have carried Old Glory to far corners of the world and brought it back without a stain on it, men from the East and from the West, are all fighting together without regard to religion, or color, or region, in Vietnam. Men from every region fought for us across the world twenty years ago.

And now in these common dangers and these common sacrifices, the South made its contribution of honor and gallantry no less than any other region in the Great Republic – and in some instances, a great many of them, more.

And I have not the slightest doubt that good men from everywhere in this country, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Golden Gate to the harbors along the Atlantic, will rally now together in this cause to vindicate the freedom of all Americans.

For all of us owe this duty; and I believe that all of us will respond to it. Your President makes that request of every American.

The real hero of this struggle is the American Negro. His actions and protests, his courage to risk safety and even to risk his life, have awakened the conscience of this nation. His demonstrations have been designed to call attention to injustice, designed to provoke change, designed to stir reform. He has called upon us to make good the promise of America. And who among us can say that we would have made the same progress were it not for his persistent bravery, and his faith in American democracy.

For at the real heart of battle for equality is a deep seated belief in the democratic process. Equality depends not on the force of arms or tear gas but depends upon the force of moral right; not on recourse to violence but on respect for law and order.

And there have been many pressures upon your President and there will be others as the days come and go. But I pledge you tonight that we intend to fight this battle where it should be fought – in the courts, and in the Congress, and in the hearts of men.

We must preserve the right of free speech and the right of free assembly. But the right of free speech does not carry with it, as has been said, the right to holler fire in a crowded theater. We must preserve the right to free assembly. But free assembly does not carry with it the right to block public thoroughfares to traffic.

We do have a right to protest, and a right to march under conditions that do not infringe the constitutional rights of our neighbors. And I intend to protect all those rights as long as I am permitted to serve in this office.

We will guard against violence, knowing it strikes from our hands the very weapons which we seek: progress, obedience to law, and belief in American values.

In Selma, as elsewhere, we seek and pray for peace. We seek order. We seek unity. But we will not accept the peace of stifled rights, or the order imposed by fear, or the unity that stifles protest. For peace cannot be purchased at the cost of liberty.

In Selma tonight – and we had a good day there – as in every city, we are working for a just and peaceful settlement And we must all remember that after this speech I am making tonight, after the police and the FBI and the Marshals have all gone, and after you have promptly passed this bill, the people of Selma and the other cities of the Nation must still live and work together. And when the attention of the nation has gone elsewhere, they must try to heal the wounds and to build a new community.

This cannot be easily done on a battleground of violence, as the history of the South itself shows. It is in recognition of this that men of both races have shown such an outstandingly impressive responsibility in recent days – last Tuesday, again today.

The bill that I am presenting to you will be known as a civil rights bill. But, in a larger sense, most of the program I am recommending is a civil rights program. Its object is to open the city of hope to all people of all races.

Because all Americans just must have the right to vote. And we are going to give them that right. All Americans must have the privileges of citizenship – regardless of race. And they are going to have those privileges of citizenship – regardless of race.

But I would like to caution you and remind you that to exercise these privileges takes much more than just legal right. It requires a trained mind and a healthy body. It requires a decent home, and the chance to find a job, and the opportunity to escape from the clutches of poverty.

Of course, people cannot contribute to the nation if they are never taught to read or write, if their bodies are stunted from hunger, if their sickness goes untended, if their life is spent in hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check. So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we’re also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates.

My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English, and I couldn’t speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast, hungry. And they knew, even in their youth, the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them. But they knew it was so, because I saw it in their eyes. I often walked home late in the afternoon, after the classes were finished, wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that it might help them against the hardships that lay ahead.

And somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child. I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students and to help people like them all over this country.

But now I do have that chance – and I’ll let you in on a secret – I mean to use it.

And I hope that you will use it with me.

This is the richest and the most powerful country which ever occupied this globe. The might of past empires is little compared to ours. But I do not want to be the President who built empires, or sought grandeur, or extended dominion.

I want to be the President who educated young children to the wonders of their world.

I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be tax-payers instead of tax-eaters.

I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election.

I want to be the President who helped to end hatred among his fellow men, and who promoted love among the people of all races and all regions and all parties.

I want to be the President who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth.

And so, at the request of your beloved Speaker, and the Senator from Montana, the majority leader, the Senator from Illinois, the minority leader, Mr. McCulloch, and other Members of both parties, I came here tonight – not as President Roosevelt came down one time, in person, to veto a bonus bill, not as President Truman came down one time to urge the passage of a railroad bill – but I came down here to ask you to share this task with me, and to share it with the people that we both work for. I want this to be the Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, which did all these things for all these people.

Beyond this great chamber, out yonder in fifty States, are the people that we serve. Who can tell what deep and unspoken hopes are in their hearts tonight as they sit there and listen. We all can guess, from our own lives, how difficult they often find their own pursuit of happiness, how many problems each little family has. They look most of all to themselves for their futures. But I think that they also look to each of us.

Above the pyramid on the great seal of the United States it says in Latin: “God has favored our undertaking.” God will not favor everything that we do. It is rather our duty to divine His will.

But I cannot help believing that He truly understands and that He really favors the undertaking that we begin here tonight.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Voting Legislation (with audio recording) – http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/lbjweshallovercome.htm

Notes

(1) The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States promoted by President Lyndon B. Johnson and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched during this period. The Great Society in scope and sweep resembled the New Deal domestic agenda of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but differed sharply in types of programs enacted.

(2) War on Poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on 8 January 1964. This legislation was proposed by Johnson in response to a national poverty rate of around nineteen percent. The speech led the United States Congress to pass the Economic Opportunity Act, which established the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to administer the local application of federal funds targeted against poverty.

Golda Meir

Golda Meir
Golda Meir

Golda Meir, earlier Golda Meyerson, born Golda Mabovich (1898–1978). was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on 17 March 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Israel’s first and the world’s third woman to hold such an office, she was described as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics years before the epithet became associated with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Former prime minister David Ben-Gurion used to call Meir “the best man in the government”; she was often portrayed as the “strong-willed, straight-talking, grey-bunned grandmother of the Jewish people.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golda_Meir

For the attainment of peace (1970)

Address to The Israeli Knesset, Tel Aviv, Israel: 26 May 1970

In the aftermath of Israel’s abortive invasion of Egypt in 1956, Meir, then foreign minister, rose to address the UN General Assembly. Her country had been criticised across the world for attacking Egypt, along with British and French forces. Meir skilfully argued that Israel’s actions had been defensive and in the interests of long term peace. “My delegation will bend every resource of heart and mind in the days that lie ahead.”

This speeched is ranked #18 in The Telegraph Top 25 political speeches of all time.

At this opening of our parliamentary session, I wish to survey the security and political conjuncture. In recent months, and in the past weeks especially, the security situation has worsened seriously on the southern front in particular, and the harmful effect of that is felt on the other fronts also.

The main feature of this escalation and tension is an advanced and dangerous stage of Soviet involvement in Egypt, at the beck and call of Egyptian aggression and infractions of the cease-fire. There is no precedent for this involvement in the history of Soviet penetration into the Middle East, and it is encouraging Egypt in its plan to renew the war of attrition and so move further along the path of its vaulting ambition to vanquish Israel.

To understand the background, we must recall Nasser’s declared decision, in the spring of 1969, to abrogate the cease-fire and ignore the cease-fire lines. It is typical of Egyptian policy all along its war- mongering way. It reflects a basic doctrine – that Israel is an exception in the family of nations: the rules that civilized countries accept do not apply to Israel; an international obligation towards Israel is to be undertaken only if there is no other option, no possible alternative, and it may be renounced at the first chance. Routed on the battlefield, you acquiesce in international proposals and arrangements that enable you to rescue your regime. But should it appear that your military strength has been restored enough to let you attack, you may treat your undertaking or your signature as though it had never been. That was the end of Egypt’s cease-fire undertaking of 9 June 1967, entered into at the instance of the Security Council. That was the end of Egypt’s earlier regional and international undertaking on matters concerning Egypt and Israel. It is behaviour that illuminates the intentions and credibility of Cairo in all that governs its attitude to peace with Israel.

Armistice Torn to Shreds

Egypt did not do otherwise in respect of its signature of the Armistice Agreement of 1949. In the eyes of its rulers, that was no more than a temporary device to save Egypt from total collapse after its abortive aggression and afford it a breathing-space to prepare for a new campaign. Within a few years, Egypt – characteristically disavowing its international pledges – had flouted the Security Council and jettisoned the principle of freedom of navigation. With Nasser’s accession to power, the Egyptians emptied the Armistice Agreement of its content altogether by despatching bands of murderers from the Gaza strip into Israel.

Nasser next started to subvert the regimes in those Arab States of which he did not approve and which would not bow to his authority. He opened up the region to Soviet penetration, he launched a plan to form a unified military command of the Arab States bordering Israel, and pressed forward with feverish preparations for a renewed assault upon us.

In 1956, his second armed threat to our existence was flung back. Once more, he evinced an interest in mediation and international settlement, for he needed them to engineer a withdrawal of Israel’s forces from Sinai and, after that, from Sharm e-Sheikh and the Gaza Strip. With his knowledge and concurrence, the United Nations’ Emergency Force was deployed to ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba and as a guarantee that the Strip would serve no longer as a base for death- dealing incursions into Israel.

For ten years, no plaint was heard from Cairo about the Emergency Force and its functions. But Nasser was engaged all that time – with Soviet help – in building up his army anew and in subversive and adventurous activity throughout the region, culminating in the bloody war that he fought, unsuccessfully, against the Yemenite people for five years on end.

Cease-Fire: Temporary Expedient

In 1967, convinced, it seems, that he had the strength to overcome Israel in battle, he disavowed his international commitments wholesale, expelled the Emergency Force, concentrated most of his troops in eastern Sinai, re-instated his blockade of the Straits of Tiran, and prepared for a war of annihilation against Israel – a war which, in his own words, would turn back the clock to before 1948.

Up to 5 June 1967, he was entirely deaf to universal appeal to refrain from plunging the Middle East into a third maelstrom of blood and suffering. Four days later, his army undone, he was not slow to answer the Security Council’s call for a cease-fire, and so, again, avert calamity for Egypt. The Council’s cease-fire Resolution was not limited in time or condition. Neither did Nasser attach any limitation of time or other term to his assent.

Proof of his real designs is abundant in his subsequent declarations and deeds. The Khartoum doctrine is unchanged: no peace, no recognition, no negotiation. Israel must withdraw to the borders of 4 June 1967 and thereafter surrender its sovereignty to the “Palestinian people”. Only with that twofold stipulation would the cease-fire be observed by Egypt. The logic is sound: if the stipulations are kept, Nasser’s aim is won, and there will be no further cause for him to pursue aggression.

Nasser will not admit the concept of peace in its literal, humane and Jewish sense. By our definition, and in international consciousness and morality, peace means good neighbourliness and co-operation between nations. According to his thinking, to invite Egypt to make peace with Israel is to invite Egypt to accept capitulation and indignity.

That is the fount of the vortex of blood, destruction and anguish in which the peoples of the Middle East have been drowning, decade after decade.

Quiet Must Be Reciprocal

On 17 March 1969, when Egyptian artillery began to bombard our soldiers in the Canal zone, I announced, in this House, that

The Arab States must realize that there can be quiet on the cease-fire line only if there is quiet on both sides of it, and not just on one. We want quiet, we want the cease-fire upheld. But this depends on the Arab States. The maintenance of quiet must be reciprocal.

Egypt did not hearken to my words. Its aggressiveness was redoubled. At the beginning of May, Nasser told his people that his forces had destroyed sixty per cent of the line of fortifications which Israel had built along the Canal, and would keep on until they had demolished what was left. In the ensuing years, not only have our entrenchments been reinforced, but we have hit hard at the Egyptian emplacements and foiled more than one attempt to raid across the Canal.

Toward ‘Rivers of Blood and Fire’

What Nasser describes as “a war of attrition” began in March 1969. On 30 March, he could say:

The time has passed when we required any soldier at the front who opened fire on the enemy to account for his action, because we wanted to avoid complications. Now the picture is different: if a soldier at the front sees the enemy and does not open fire, he must answer for it.

In December 1969, he confirmed his preparedness for war or, in his own phrase, “the advance of the Egyptian army through rivers of blood and fire”.

The Israel Defence Forces have punished this vainglorious aggression. I shall not retell the tale of their courage and resource: the digging in, the daring operations of the Air Force, the power of the armor. Aggression has been repelled, the enemy’s timetable upset and the pressure on our front-line eased by our striking at vital enemy military targets along the Canal and far behind it and confounding his plans for all-out war. True, to our great sorrow, we have suffered losses in killed and wounded, but our vigorous self-defence has thwarted Egypt’s scheming and stultified its endeavors to wear us down and shake our southern front.

British Out – Soviets in

Thus bankrupt, the Cairo regime had only the choice between accepting Israel’s constant call to return to reciprocal observance of the cease-fire, as a stepping-stone to peace, or leaning more heavily still on the Soviet Union to the point of asking it to become operationally involved, so that Egypt might carry on the war of attrition, notwithstanding the unpleasant repercussions of that involvement.

Egypt chose the second course.

In many of his speeches, Nasser claims the credit for ending British power and Egypt’s subjugation to it. But the same leader who promised his people full independence of any foreign Power has preferred to renew its dependence and subservience rather than make peace with Israel, rather than honour the cease-fire. In his plight, he elects to conceal from his people the truth that, in place of the British, the Soviets are invading the area. This is the pass to which blindness and hatred have brought the Egyptian revolution.

Soviet penetration did not start yesterday or the day before. Its beginning could be seen in the mid-fifties, in a strengthening of influence by the provision of economic aid and weaponry on the easiest terms.

In May 1967, the Soviet Union provocatively spawned baseless rumours of Israeli concentrations on the Syrian border. This was a major link in the chain of developments that led to the Six-Day War. When the fighting was over, Moscow displayed noreadiness to counsel the Arabs to close the chapter of violence and open one of regional cooperation –  although, to extricate Nasser, it had voted for the unconditional cease- fire Resolution.

In his speech of 1 May 1970, Nasser confessed that, only three days after Egypt had submitted to that Resolution, the Soviets agreed to re- arm his forces.

His words:

On 12 June – and now I can reveal it – I received a Note from Brezhnev, Kosygin and Podgorny, in which they promised to support the Arab nation and restore Egypt’s armed forces, without any payment, to their pre-war level.

Thus we were able to withstand and overcome our plight and rehabilitate our armed forces anew.

The Wherewithal for War

Within the past three years, the Soviet Union has supplied Egypt, Syria and Iraq with two thousand tanks and eight hundred fighter aircraft, besides other military equipment, to an overall value of some 3.5 billion dollars, two-thirds to Egypt alone. This armament was purveyed with practically no monetary requital. Thousands of Soviet specialists are engaged in training the Egyptian forces. Soviet advisers are guiding and instructing the Egyptian forces within units and bases even during combat.

It is hard to believe that Nasser would have dared to resume aggression in March 1969 on a large scale without Russian authorization. It is harder to believe that, in May-June 1969, he would have abrogated the cease-fire without it. Not only did the Soviet Union not use its capacity to move him to comply again with the cease-fire; it even encouraged him to step up his belligerency. A conspicuous example of this disinclination to make its contribution to the restoration of quiet is Moscow’s rejection of the American proposal, in mid-February 1970, for a joint appeal by the Four Powers to the parties in the region to respect the cease-fire.

It is widely assumed that the Soviet Union is not anxious for an all-out war, in which its protege, Egypt, would be worsted in battle again, but that, at the same time, it eschews a cease-fire as being a stage in progress towards peace. So it would prefer the contribution of something in-between: frontier clashes, indecisive engagements, ongoing tensions, which would allow it to exploit Egyptian dependence to the hilt, and so further its regional penetration and aims. And, by exerting military and political pressure on Israel, it seeks to satisfy Egypt’s needs in a manner that will not entail the danger of another Egyptian reverse or of a “needless” peace.

Not content with bolstering Nasser’s policy of aggression and war, the Soviet Union has embarked upon a campaign of antisemitic propaganda within its own borders and of venomous vilification of Israel through all its communication media and in international forums. The Soviets have gone so far in slander as to label us Nazis: without shame or compunction, they charge the Jews with taking part in pogroms organized by the Czarist regime, of collaborating with the Nazis. They represent Trotsky as a Zionist. They conduct “scientific” research which has “discovered” that there is no such thing as a Jewish people.

The purpose is twofold: to intimidate Soviet Jewry and to prepare the psychological ground for any and every mischief against Israel.

Soviet Involvement Deepens

The failure of the war of attrition, the insistence of Nasser’s pleas, have persuaded the Soviets to extend their involvement. At the moment when, in New York and Washington, their representatives were meeting representatives of the Western Powers to discuss a renewal of the Jarring mission and a peace settlement, Soviet ships were sailing to Egypt, laden with SA-3 ground-to-air missiles, and thousands of Soviet experts were arriving to install, man and operate the batteries. In December 1969, signs of the entrenched bases of ground-to-air missiles could be discerned in the Canal and other zones. We estimate that there are already about twenty such bases in the heart of Egypt.

In mid-April, Soviet involvement went one step further – and the gravest so far. Soviet pilots, from bases at their disposal on Egyptian soil, began to carry out operational missions over wide areas. With that defensive coverage of their rear, the Egyptians could mount their artillery bombardment in the Canal zone on a scale unparalleled since it was started in March 1969.

Speaking on 1 May on the intensification of the war against Israel, Nasser told his audience:

In the last fifteen days a change has taken place. As we can see, our forces are taking the initiative in operations.

And in the same speech:

All this is due to the aid which the Soviet Union has furnished, and it is clear that you have heard many rumours and are destined to hear many more.

On 20 May, Nasser admitted for the first time, in an interview for the German newspaper Die Welt, that Soviet pilots were flying jet planes of the Egyptian air force and might clash with ours.

Thus the Middle East is plumbing a new depth of unease. The Soviet Union has forged an explosive link in a chain of acts that is dragging the region into an escalation of deadly warfare and foredooms any hope of peace-making.

We have informed Governments of the ominous significance of this new phase in Soviet involvement. We have explained that a situation has developed which ought to perturb not only Israel, but every state in the free world. The lesson of Czechoslovakia must not be forgotten. If the free world – and particularly the United States, its leader – can pass on to the next item on its agenda without any effort to deter the Soviet Union from selfishly involving itself so largely in a quarrel with which it has no concern, then it is not Israel alone that is imperilled, but no small nation, no minor nation, can any longer dwell in safety within its frontiers.

The Government of Israel has made it plain, as part of its basic policy to defend the State’s being and sovereignty whatever betide, that the Israel Defence Forces will continue to hold the cease-fire line on the southern as on other fronts, and not permit it to be sapped or breached.

For that purpose, it is essential to stop the deployment of the ground-to- air missile pads which the Egyptians are trying to set up adjacent to the cease-fire line; the protection of our forces entrenched there to prevent the breaching of the front depends on that. No serious person will suspect Israel of wanting to provoke, or being interested in provoking, Soviet pilots integrated into the Egyptian apparatus of war, but neither will anyone in his senses expect us to allow the Egyptian army to carry through its aggressive plans without the Israel Defence Forces using all their strength and skill to defeat them, even if outside factors are helping to carry them through.

Arms Balance Must Be Restored

All this means that our search for the arms indispensable for our defence has become more urgent, more vital. When we asked to be allowed to buy more aircraft from the United States, we based ourselves on the reality that the balance of power had been shaken by the enormous arsenals flowing from the Soviet Union to Egypt free of charge. Since the President of the United States announced deferment of his decision on that critical point, it has, as I have said, become known that SA-3 batteries, with Soviet crews, have been set up in Egypt and Soviet pilots activated in operational flights. This adds a new and portentous dimension of imbalance, and the need to redress the equilibrium becomes more pressing and crucial.

We have emphasized to peace-loving Governments the necessity to bring their influence to bear and make their protests heard against a Soviet involvement which so dangerously aggravates tension in the Middle East. I have heard what the President of the United States said in his press conference on 8 May about the alarming situation, in the light of reports that Soviet pilots had been integrated into Egypt’s air force. He went on to say that the United States was watching the situation, and, if it became clear that the reports were true and the escalation continued, this would drastically shift the balance of power and make it necessary for the United States to re-appraise its decision as to the supply of jets to Israel. He also said that the United States had already made it perfectly plain that it was in the interests of peace in the Middle East that no change be permitted in the balance of forces, and that the United States would abide by that obligation.

On 24 March of this year, the Secretary of State, in the President’s name, declared that the United States would not allow the security of Israel to be jeopardised, and that, if steps were taken that might shake the present balance of power or if, in his view, international developments justified it, the President would not hesitate to reconsider the matter.

I do not have to tell you that I attach great importance to these statements. But, I must say, with the utmost gravity, that delay in granting our wish hardly rectifies the change for the worse in the balance of power that the new phase in Soviet involvement, with all its attendant perils, has entailed.

There is close and continuous contact between ourselves and the US authorities in the matter. Last week, the Foreign Minister had talks with the President and the Secretary of State: he was told that the urgent and detailed survey mentioned by the President four weeks ago is not yet complete, but was assured that the official United States declarations of 24 March and 8 May on the balance of power held entirely good.

In all our contacts, we have stressed how important the time factor is, for any lag in meeting our requirements can harm our interests and is likely to be interpreted by our enemies as encouraging their aggression and by the Soviet Union as condoning its intensified involvement. I find it inconceivable that the United States will not carry out its declared undertaking.

Other Fronts: Rampant Terrorism

Of late, there has been a rise in aggressive activity on the other fronts as well. Nasser is trying to step up the effectiveness of the eastern front, and Egypt’s military policy has undoubtedly affected the situation on the other fronts. This destructive consequence is visible not only in terrorist operations against Israel from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, but also in the strategy of neighbouring Governments and in domestic upheavals in Jordan and Lebanon.

The terrorist organization in Syria is a section of the Syrian army, acting under Government directives. In Jordan and Lebanon, terrorist domination has so expanded as to become a threat to the existence and authority of the Governments. In both countries, the Governments have vainly sought to reconcile opposites: their own authority and the presence and activity of the terrorist organizations. Such attempts could meet with no more than a semblance of success. More than once, the Governments seemed about to confront the organizations but each time recoiled from the encounter.

In Jordan as in Lebanon, the terrorists have taken heart from Nasser. Through his support, direct and indirect, they have strengthened their position. The authorities have compromised with them at Israel’s expense, allowing them no little latitude – against Israel. They have been accorded a recognized status, which guarantees them freedom of action. The entire world knows of “the Cairo Agreement” between the terrorists and the Lebanese Government, achieved through the mediation and under the auspices of Egypt: It allows them to pursue their activities openly, in areas allotted to them, in coordination with the Lebanese authorities and army, as well as elsewhere along the border.

Between the beginning of January and 20 May, there were eleven hundred enemy operations along the Jordanian front. The Fatah and other organizations dug themselves in along the length of the Israel- Lebanon frontier, and it has become a focus of murder and sabotage: terrorists were responsible for a hundred and forty inroads along that frontier.

After a series of such acts, among them Katyusha fire on inoffensive civilians in Kiryat Shmona and other places, terrorism reached a climax on 22 May in the calculated murder, from ambush, of schoolchildren, teachers and other passengers in a school-bus.

There is no viler example of the vicious mentality and lethal policy of the terrorist organizations and their instructors in the Arab capitals than the development along the Lebanese front. Until the Six-Day War, it had been the most tranquil of all the frontiers. Even afterwards, the tension which marked the cease-fire lines and borders with Egypt and Jordan was absent there, until the Fatah and their backers entrenched themselves and decided that the Lebanese border, too, must be set aflame. And there is another aim – common to Cairo and Damascus for a number of years – which has not been wanting in terrorist policy: to prejudice Lebanon’s independence and disturb the delicate equipoise between its two communities. By accepting the Cairo Agreement in November 1969, and allowing the establishment of terrorist bases in its territory, Lebanon has been progressively endangering its independence, as Jordan did before.

Endlessly provoked by terrorists from Lebanon, we retaliated a number of times against Fatah bases. The ever closer cooperation between Beirut and the terrorist organizations makes more and more evident the responsibility of the Lebanese Government. It cannot be shrugged off. We shall keep on demanding that Beirut use its power to halt aggression from its territory and do its bounden duty in restoring tranquillity.

Israel is interested in the stability of democracy in Lebanon, in its progress, integrity and peace. On 22 May, radio Beirut announced that “Lebanon has often stated that it is not prepared on any account to act as a policeman guarding Israel”. So long as Lebanon evades its answerability and allows the terrorists to indulge in aggression and murder, the Government of Israel will do its bounden duty and, by all necessary measures, defend the welfare of Israel’s citizens, its highways, towns and villages.

The Aspiration to Peace

We must view recent happenings against the whole background of our struggle, since the Six-Day War, to realize Israel’s highest aspiration, the aspiration to peace.

To our intense disappointment, we learnt on the morrow of the Six-Day War that the rulers of the Arab States and the Soviet Union were not prepared to put an end to the conflict. Witness authoritative fulminations by the Arab Governments, the resolutions of Khartoum, the Soviet Union’s identification with that policy, its assiduous efforts to rehabilitate the Arab armies with lavish and unstinted aid. We learnt that our struggle for peace would be prolonged, full of pain and sacrifice. We decided – and the nation was with us, to a man – resolutely to defend the cease-fire lines against all aggression and simultaneously press on with our strivings to attain peace.

It is our way not to glorify ourselves but to render a sober and restrained account of our policy, not hiding the hard truth from the people, even if it be grievous. The people and the world know that there is no word of truth in Egypt’s fabrication of resounding victories. The main efforts of the Egyptian army have been repelled by the Israel Defence Forces. All claims of success in breaking our line are false. Most attempted sorties by Egyptian planes into our air-space have been undone, and the Egyptians are paying a heavy price for every venture to clash with our Air Force. We control the area all along the Canal cease-fire line more firmly and strongly than ever.

Soviet involvement has not deterred, and will not deter, Israel from exercising its recognized right to defend the cease-fire lines until secure boundaries are agreed upon within the compass of the peace we so much desire.

Had its aggression gained the political objectives set, Egypt could by now have celebrated victory. But Nasser and the Soviets have not realized those aims.

Three years after the Six-Day War, we can affirm that two fundamental principles have become a permanent part of the international consciousness: Israel’s right to stand fast on the cease-fire lines, not budging until the conclusion of peace that will fix secure and recognized boundaries; and its right to self-defence and to acquire the equipment essential to defence and deterrence.

I have, on several occasions, explained the differences in appraisal and approach between ourselves and friendly States and Powers. I have no intention of claiming that they have entirely disappeared. Nevertheless, we cannot allow them to overshadow the recognition of those twin principles, any more than we may overlook the systematic plotting of our enemies to weaken that international consciousness and isolate Israel.

The Economic Front

Another front that will test our power to hold out is the economic. How we hold out militarily and politically is contingent on the degree of our success in surmounting economic troubles.

Our victories in three wars, our robust military stance in the interim periods of what, by comparison, has been tranquillity, as well as through these present difficult days, could never have been won without a solidly-based economy, a high educational standard of soldier and civilian, a high technological level of worker in every branch. We owe it to an unprecedentedly rapid economic development and expansion that the national income of tiny Israel almost equals that of Egypt, with a population tenfold ours and more. We must, by all necessary measures, maintain that advantage.

The central problem of the moment arises from an unfavourable balance of payments and the resultant shortage of foreign currency. The deficit in our balance of payments may be attributed, primarily, to the vastly greater defence imports: if those has stayed at their pre-Six-Day- War level, we would by now be nearing economic independence.

Until 1968, capital imports, which pay for any excess of imports over exports, had sufficed not only to cover the deficit but also to amass considerable reserves of foreign currency. Since then, they are no longer enough. There is a risk of a drop in foreign currency reserves which might prevent our sustaining the level of imports imperative for the smooth working of the economy under conditions of full employment and meeting at the same time our defence requirements.

We must, therefore, in the national interest, make every endeavour and be prepared for every sacrifice demanded for the solving of this problem. Which means that we must also restrict the growth of imports, especially of imports destined for private and public consumption and not for security. The standard of living has risen in the last three years by more than twenty-five per cent: in this period of emergency, our efforts to economize must be mirrored in pegging a standard of living that may have climbed too steeply.

One of the “unavoidables” is to cut down the State Budget and saddle the public with taxes, charges and compulsory loans on no small scale. This action was taken only in the last few weeks, and we hope that it will have the desired and sufficient effect. If it does not, if we find that imports have not been curbed enough or exports have not risen enough, that consumption keeps expanding and the deficit swelling, we will not shrink from further action.

Let me add that this implies no change in our determination, even in an emergency that tightens all belts, not to neglect the advancement of the lower-income strata; this year, too, we have adopted a number of significant measures to better their lot, and we shall continue to do so.

The policy is no easy one for those who have to discharge it, nor is it a light burden that it places on the public’s shoulders. The understanding and maturity with which the man-in-the-street has accepted these stern dispositions are most commendable: only a negligible minority has tried to circumvent them.

Our economic targets are far from simple of attainment. The ongoing development of the economy, the absorption of newcomers and enormous defence expenditure present a challenge greater than we could face alone. We are deeply grateful, therefore, for the staunch cooperation of world Jewry and the assistance of friendly nations. I believe that we can continue to rely on that help, but, for moral and practical reasons alike, we cannot make demands on others if we do not first do our own share. So we must adjust our way of life, in everything that concerns wages, incomes, consumption, savings, productivity, personal effort and outlay, each of us playing his full part, to what the overriding national purpose dictates.

Pursuit of an Elusive Peace

The aspiration to peace is not only the central plank in our platform, it is the cornerstone of our pioneering life and labour. Ever since renewal of independence, we have based all our undertakings of settlement and creativity on the fundamental credo that we did not come to dispossess the Arabs of the Land but to work together with them in peace and prosperity, for the good of all.

It is worth remembering, in Israel and beyond, that at the solemn proclamation of statehood, under savage onslaught still, we called upon the Arabs dwelling in Israel

To keep the peace and to play their part in building the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its institutions, provisional and permanent.

We extended “the hand of peace and good neighbourliness to all the States around us and to their peoples”, and we appealed to them “to cooperate in mutual helpfulness with the independent Jewish nation in its Land and in a concerted effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East”.

On 23 July 1952, when King Farouk was deposed and the young officers, led by General Naguib, seized power in Egypt, hope sprang up in Israel that a new leaf had been turned in the neighbourly relations between Egypt and ourselves, that we were entering an age of peace and cooperation. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, addressing the Knesset on 18 August 1952, said:

The State of Israel would like to see a free, independent and progressive Egypt, and we bear Egypt no grudge for what it did to our forefathers in Pharoah’s days, or even for what it did to us four years ago. Our goodwill towards Egypt – despite the Farouk Government’s foolish behaviour towards us – has been demonstrated throughout the months of Egypt’s involvement in a difficult conflict with a world Power. And it never occurred to us to exploit those difficulties and to attack Egypt or take revenge, as Egypt did to us upon the establishment of the State. And insofar as Egypt’s present rulers are trying to uproot internal corruption and move their country forward to cultural and social progress, we extend to them our sincerest wishes for the success of their venture.

The answer came soon. Asked about Ben-Gurion’s call for peace, Egypt’s Prime Minister evaded the question, claiming that he knew no more than what he had read in the newspapers. Azzam, Secretary- General of the Arab League, said: “Ben-Gurion gave free flight to his imagination, which saw the invisible” [Al-Misri, 20 August 1952]. On 23 August 1952, Al-Ahram explained that Israel had been forced to seek peace by a tottering economy, and proceeded:

In the past, on a number of occasions, Israel tried, at sessions of the Conciliation Commission, to sit with the Arabs around the table, so as to settle existing problems. The Arabs refused, because they did not recognize the existence of the Jews, which is based on extortion.

We have never wearied of offering our neighbours an end to the bloody conflict and the opening of a chapter of peace and cooperation. All our calls have gone unheeded. Our proposals have been rejected in mockery and hatred. The policy of warring against us has persisted, with brief pauses, and thrice in a single generation forced hostilities upon us.

On 1 March 1957, in the name of the Government of Israel, I announced in the United Nations the withdrawal of our forces from the territories occupied in the Sinai Campaign. I concluded with these words:

Can we, from now on – all of us – turn over a new leaf, and, instead of fighting with each other, can we all, united, fight poverty and disease and illiteracy? Is it possible for us to put all our efforts and all our energy into one single purpose, the betterment and progress and development of all our lands and all our peoples? I can here pledge the Government and the people of Israel to do their part in this united effort. There is no limit to what we are prepared to contribute so that all of us, together, can live to see a day of happiness for our peoples and see again a great contribution from our region to peace and happiness for all humanity.

Ten years went by, of fedayun activity, and once again we were confronted with the hazard of a surprise attack by Egypt, which had assembled powerful columns in eastern Sinai. The Six-Day War was fought, but, when its battles ended, we did not behave as men drunk with victory, we did not call for vengeance, we did not demand the humiliation of the conquered. We knew that our real celebration would be on the day that peace comes. Instantly, we turned to our neighbours, saying:

Our region is now at a crossroads: let us sit down together, not as victors and conquered, but as equals; let us negotiate, let us determine secure and agreed boundaries, let us write a new page of peace, goodneighbourliness and cooperation for the profit of all the nations of the Middle East.

The call was sounded over and again in Government statements, in declarations by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Minister of Defence and other Ministers – in the Knesset and in the United Nations, through all communication media. It was borne by emissaries, statesmen, authors, journalists, educators and by every means – public or covert – which seemed likely to bring it to our neighbours’ ears.

The Knesset will not expect me to review the manifold efforts and attempts to establish any kind of contact with statesmen and competent authorities in the Arab countries. The people with whom we have tried, and shall again try, to open a dialogue do not want publicity. In this sensitive field, a hint of publication can be enough to extinguish a spark of hope. Imagination and a broad outlook are required, but imagination must not be allowed to become blindness. Patience and close attention are needed if seeds that have yet to germinate are to yield fruit in the course of time and not be sterilized by the glare of publicity.

At all events, the Government of Israel will neglect no opportunity to develop and foster soundings and contacts that may be of value in blazing a trail, always with scrupulous regard for the secrecy of the contacts, if our interlocutors so prefer.

But what have been the reactions of Arab leaders, so far, to our public proposals for peace? Here are some outstanding examples:

  • On 26 July 1967, Hussein declared: “The battle which began on 5 June is only one battle in what will become a long war.”
  • On 1 November 1967, the Prime Minister of Israel, the late Levi Eshkol, enumerated five principles of peace, and Nasser’s reply on 23 November was: “The Arabs hold steadfastly to the Khartoum decision – no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel.”
  • From November 1967 until July 1968, Israel sent forth its calls for peace again and again, and on 16 July the Egyptian Foreign Minister replied:

With regard to Arab policy, I have always reiterated what was agreed upon at Khartoum, that we are not prepared to recognize Israel, to negotiate with it or to sign a peace with it.

  • On 8 November 1968, Foreign Minister Abba Eban presented to the General Assembly of the United Nations a detailed peace programme in nine clauses:
  • The establishment of a just and lasting peace;
  • The determination of secure and recognized borders;
  • Security agreements, including non-aggression pacts;
  • Borders open to travel and trade;
  • Freedom of navigation in international waterways;
  • A solution to the refugee problem through a conference of representatives of the countries of the Middle East, the countries contributing to refugee upkeep, and the United Nations Specialized Agencies to draw up a five-year plan; the conference could be convened even before general peace negotiations began;
  • The Holy Places of Christianity and Islam in Jerusalem to be placed under the responsibility of the respective faiths, with the aim of formulating agreements which will give force to their universal character;
  • Mutual recognition of sovereignty;
  • Regional cooperation in development projects for the good of the whole region.

The Arab leaders disregarded the programme and did not even favour it with reply or comment.

  • On 17 March 1969 – the day on which I assumed my present office – I re-emphasized the principles of peace, saying:

We are prepared to discuss peace with our neighbours any day and on all matters.

Nasser’s reply, three days later, was:

There is no voice transcending the sounds of war, and there must not be such a voice – nor is there any call holier than the call to war.

  • In the Knesset – on 5 May 1969, on 8 May and on 30 June – I re-enunciated our readiness

To enter immediately into negotiations, without prior conditions, with every one of our neighbours, to reach a peace settlement.

The retort of the Arab States was swift. The commentators of Damascus, Amman and Cairo stigmatized peace as “surrender” and heaped scorn on Israel’s proposals. Take, for example, this from Al- Destour, a leading Jordanian newspaper, of 15 June 1969:

Mrs. Meir is prepared to go to Cairo to hold discussions with President Abdul Nasser but, to her sorrow, has not been invited. She believes that one fine day a world without guns will emerge in the Middle East. Golda Meir is behaving like a grandmother telling bedtime stories to her grandchildren.

And that was the moment for Nasser to announce abrogation of the cease-fire agreements and non-recognition of the cease-fire lines.

  • On 19 September 1969, the Foreign Minister of Israel appealed in the United Nations to the Arab States

To declare their intention to establish a lasting peace, to eliminate the twenty-one-year-old conflict, to hold negotiations for detailed agreement on all the problems with which we are faced.

He referred to Israel’s affirmation to Ambassador Jarring on 2 April:

Israel accepts the Security Council Resolution (242) calling for the promotion of agreement for the establishment of a just and lasting peace, reached through negotiation and agreement between the Governments concerned. Implementation of the agreement will commence when accord has been reached on all its provisions.

  • On 24 September 1969, during my visit to the United States, I was happy to hear that a statement had been made on behalf of the Egyptian Foreign Minister, then in New York, that Egypt was prepared to enter into Rhodes-style peace talks with Israel. I responded forthwith that Israel was willing and, as previously recorded, was prepared to discuss the establishment of a true peace with Egypt at any time and without prior conditions.

Within a few hours, an authoritative dementi came from Cairo. Any Egyptian readiness to enter into Rhodes-style talks was officially denied. The spokesman of the Egyptian Government termed the statement to that effect an “imperialist lie.”

  • On 18 December 1969, the Knesset approved the present Government’s basic principles. I quote the following passages:

The Government will steadfastly strive to achieve a durable peace with Israel’s neighbours, founded on peace treaties achieved by direct negotiations between the parties. Agreed, secure and recognized borders will be laid down in the treaties. The treaties will assure cooperation and mutual aid, the solution of any problem that may be a stumbling-block on the path to peace, and the avoidance of all aggression, direct and indirect. Israel will continue to be willing to negotiate – without prior conditions from either side – with any of the neighbouring States for the conclusion of such a treaty … The Government will be alert for any expression of willingness amongst the Arab nations for peace with Israel and will welcome and respond to any readiness for peace from the Arab States. Israel will persevere in manifesting its peaceful intentions and in explaining the clear advantages to all the peoples of the area of peaceful co-existence, without aggression or subversion, without territorial expansion or intervention in the freedom and internal regimes of the States in the area.

  • In my address to the Knesset on 26 December 1969, in the Foreign Minister’s address to the Knesset on 7 April 1970, and in a series of local press interviews on the eve of Passover and on the eve of Independence Day, that resolve was reaffirmed:

Day or night, if any sign whatever were to be seen, we would have responded to it.

  • Ambassador Jarring came and asked what Israel’s response would be if he were to invite the Foreign Ministers to Cyprus or Geneva – and there was no hesitation on our part. He asked about Rhodes, and we said – let it be Rhodes.
  • In an interview published in Ma’ariv on 20 April I said:

We have no direct contacts with Egypt, but there are friends who travel around the world, to this place or that, statesmen who hate neither Israel nor Egypt. They tried to find a bridge, but could not.

On the contrary, there have been echoes of Nasser’s speech of 1 May 1970, making even the resumption of the cease-fire conditional on our total withdrawal and the return of the Palestinians to Israel.

Stop the Killing!

These are but a few of our recurring solicitations for peace. We have not retracted one of them: we have not wearied of reiterating, day in, day out, our preparedness for peace: we have not abandoned hopes of finding a way into the hearts of our neighbours, though they yet dismiss our appeals with open animosity.

Today again, as the guns thunder, I address myself to our neighbours: Stop the killing, end the fire and bloodshed which bring tribulation and torment to all the peoples of the region! End rejection of the cease-fire, end bombardment and raids, end terror and sabotage!

Even Russian pilots will not contrive to destroy the cease-fire lines, and certainly they will not bring peace. The only way to permanent peace and the establishment of secure and recognized boundaries is through negotiations between the Arab States and ourselves, as all sovereign States treat one another, as is the manner of States which recognize each other’s right to existence and equality, as is the manner of free peoples, not protectorates enslaved to foreign Powers or in thrall to the dark instincts of war, destruction and ruin.

To attain peace, I am ready to go at any hour to any place, to meet any authorized leader of any Arab State – to conduct negotiations with mutual respect, in parity and without pre-conditions, and with a clear recognition that the problems under controversy can be solved. For there is room to fulfill the national aspirations of all the Arab States and of Israel as well in the Middle East, and progress, development and cooperation can be hastened among all its nations, in place of barren bloodshed and war without end.

If peace does not yet reign, it is from no lack of willingness on our part: it is the inevitable outcome of the refusal of the Arab leadership to make peace with us. That refusal is still a projection of reluctance to be reconciled to the living presence of Israel within secure and recognized boundaries, still a product of the hope, which flickers on in their hearts, that they will accomplish its destruction. And this has been the state of things since 1948, long before the issue of the territories arose in the aftermath of the Six-Day War.

Moreover, if peace does not yet reign, it is equally not because of any lack of “flexibility” on our part, or because of the so-called “rigidity” of our position.

That position is: cease-fire, agreement and peace. The Arab Governments preach and practise no cease-fire, no negotiation, no agreement and no peace. Which of the two attitudes is stubborn and unyielding? The Arab Governments’ or ours?

The November 1967 UN Resolution

There are some, the Arabs included, who claim that we have not accepted the United Nations Resolution of 22 November 1967, and that the Arabs have. In truth, the Arabs only accepted it in a distorted and mutilated interpretation of their own, as meaning an instant and absolute withdrawal of our forces, with no commitment to peace. They were ready to agree to an absolute Israeli withdrawal, but the Resolution stipulates nothing of the kind. According to its text and the exegesis of its compilers, the Resolution is not self-implementing. The operative clause calls for the appointment of an envoy, acting on behalf of the Secretary-General, whose task would be to “establish and maintain contact with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this Resolution.” On 1 May 1968, Israel’s Ambassador at the United Nations announced as follows:

In declarations and statements made publicly and to Ambassador Jarring, the Government of Israel has indicated its acceptance of the Security Council’s Resolution for the promotion of an agreement to establish a just and durable peace. I am authorised to reaffirm that we are willing to seek an agreement with each Arab State, on all the matters included in that Resolution. More recently, we accepted Ambassador Jarring’s proposal to arrange meetings between Israel and each of its neighbours, under his auspices, and in fulfillment of his mandate under the guide-lines of the Resolution to advance a peace agreement. No Arab State has yet accepted that proposal.

This announcement of our Ambassador was reported to the House by the Foreign Minister on 29 May 1968 and to the General Assembly in September 1969. It opened the way for Ambassador Jarring to invite the parties to discuss any topic which any of them saw fit to raise, including issues mentioned in the Resolution. The Arabs and those others who assert that we are preventing progress towards peace in terms of the Resolution have no factual basis for so asserting. They seek merely to throw dust in the world’s eyes, to cover up their guilt and deceive the world into thinking that we are the ones who are retarding peace.

Talks Without Pre-Conditions

It is also argued that, by creating facts on the ground, we are laying down irrevocable conditions which render negotiations superfluous or make it more difficult to enter into them. This contention, too, is wholly mistaken and unfounded. The refusal of the Arab States to enter into negotiations with us is simply an extension of their long-drawn-out intransigence. It goes back to before the Six-Day War, before there were any settlements in the administered territories.

After that fighting, we said – and we left no room for doubt – that we were willing to enter into negotiations with our neighbours with no pre- conditions on either side. This willingness does not signify that we have no opinions, thoughts or demands, or that we shall not exercise our right to articulate them in the discussions, as our neighbours are entitled to no less.

Nasser and Hussein, for example, in their official replies to Dr. Jarring, said that they saw the partition borders of 1947 as constituting definitive frontiers. I do not have to explain our attitude to that answer, but we do not insist that, in negotiating with us, the Arab States forfeit their equal right to make any proposal that they think fit, just as they cannot annul from the outset our right to express, in the discussions, any ideas or proposals which we may form. And there assuredly is no moral or political ground for demanding that we refrain from any constructive act in the territories, even though the Arab Governments reject the call for peace and make ready for war.

There is yet another argument touching on our insistence on direct negotiations: it is as devoid as are the others of any least foundation in the annals of international relations or of those between our neighbours and ourselves. For we did sit down face-to-face with the representatives of the Arab States at the time of the negotiations in Rhodes, and no one dare profess that Arab honour was thereby affronted.

There is no precedent of a conflict between nations being brought to finality without direct negotiations. In the conflict between the Arabs and Israel, the issue of direct negotiations goes to the very crux of the matter. For the objective is to achieve peace and co-existence, and how will our neighbours ever be able to live with us in peace if they refuse to speak with us at all?

From the start of the conversations with Ambassador Jarring, we agreed that the face-to-face discussions should take place under the auspices of the Secretary-General’s envoy. During 1968, Dr. Jarring sought to bring the parties together under his chairmanship in a neutral place. In March 1968, he proposed that we meet Egypt and Jordan in Nicosia. We agreed, but the Arabs did not. In the same year, and again in September 1969, we expressed our consent to his proposal that the meetings be held in the manner of the Rhodes talks, which comprised both face-to-face and indirect talks; a number of times it seemed that the Arabs and the Soviets would also fall in with that proposal, but, in the end, they went back on it.

Only those who deny the right of another State to exist, or who want to avoid recognizing the fact of its sovereignty, can develop the refusal to talk to it into an inculcated philosophy of life which the pupil swears to adhere to as to a political, national principle. The refusal to talk to us directly is damning evidence that the unwillingness of the Arab leaders to be reconciled with the very being of Israel is the basic reason why peace is still to seek.

I am convinced that it is unreal and utopian to think that using the word “withdrawal” will pave the way to peace. True, those among us who do believe that the magic of that word is likely to bring us nearer to peace only mean withdrawal after peace is achieved and then only to secure and agreed boundaries demarcated in a peace treaty. On the other hand, when Arab and Soviet leaders talk of “withdrawal”, they mean complete and outright retreat from all the administered territories, and from Jerusalem, without the making of a genuine peace and without any agreement on new permanent borders, but with an addendum calling for Israel’s consent to the return of all the refugees.

Israel’s policy is clear, and we shall continue to clarify it at every suitable opportunity, as we have done in the United Nations and elsewhere. No person dedicated to truth could misinterpret our policy: when we speak of secure and recognized boundaries, we do not mean that, after peace is made, the Israel Defence Forces should be deployed beyond the boundaries agreed upon in negotiations with our neighbours. No one could be misled – Israel desires secure and recognized boundaries with its neighbours.

Israel’s Defence Forces have never crossed its borders in search of conquest, but only when the safeguarding of the existence and bounds of our State demanded it. Nasser’s claim that Israel wishes to maintain the cease-fire only so as to freeze the cease-fire lines is preposterous. The cease-fire is necessary not to perpetuate the lines, but to prevent death and destruction, to make progress easier towards a peace resting upon secure and recognized boundaries. It is necessary as a step upwards on the ladder to peace. Incessant gunfire is a step downward on the ladder to war.

The question is crystal-clear, and there is no point in clouding it with semantics – or in trying to escape from reality. There is not a single article in Israel’s policy which prevents the making of peace. Nothing is lacking for the making of peace but the Arab persistence in denying Israel’s very right to exist. Arab refusal to acquiesce in our existence in the Middle East, alongside the Arab States, abides. The only way to peace is through a change in that recalcitrance.

When it changes, there will no longer be any obstacle to peace negotiations. Otherwise, no formulae, sophistry or definitions will avail. Those in the world who seek peace would do well to heed this basic fact and help to bring about a change in the obdurate Arab approach, which is the real impediment to peace. Any display of “understanding” and forgiveness, however unwitting, is bound to harden the Arabs in their obstinacy and hearten them in their gainsaying of Israel’s right to exist, and will, besides, be exploited by Arab leaders to justify ideologically the continuance of the war against Israel.

Nothing unites our people more than the desire for peace. There is no stronger urge in Israel, and on joyful occasions and in hours of mourning alike it is expressed. Nothing can wrench out of our hearts or out of our policy this wish for peace, this hope of peace – not even our indignation over the killing of our loved ones, not even the enmity of the rulers of the Arab world.

The victories that we have won have never intoxicated us, or filled us with such complacency as to relinquish the wish and call for peace – a peace that means good neighbourly relations, cooperation and an end to slaughter. Peace and co-existence with the Arab peoples have been, and are, among the fundamentals of Jewish renaissance. Generations of the Zionist movement were brought up on them. The desire for peace has charted the policy of all Israel’s Governments, of whatever membership. No Government of Israel in power, however constituted, has ever blocked the way to peace.

With all my heart, I am convinced that in Israel, in the future as in the past, there could be no Government which would not bespeak the people’s cardinal and steadfast aspiration to bring about a true and enduring peace.

For the Attainment of Peace – May 26, 1970https://awpc.cattcenter.iastate.edu/2017/03/21/for-the-attainment-of-peace-may-26–1970/

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920–1975) was a Bengali nationalist politician and the founder of Bangladesh. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He is popularly referred to as Sheikh Mujib, and with the honorary title of Bangabandhu (“Friend of Bengal”). His eldest daughter Sheikh Hasina Wajed is the present leader of the Awami League and the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

A student political leader, Mujib rose in East Pakistani politics and within the ranks of the Awami League as a charismatic and forceful orator. An advocate of socialism, Mujib became popular for his leadership against the ethnic and institutional discrimination of Bengalis. He demanded increased provincial autonomy, and became a fierce opponent of the military rule of Ayub Khan. At the heightening of sectional tensions, Mujib outlined a 6-point autonomy plan, which was seen as separatism in West Pakistan. He was tried in 1968 for allegedly conspiring with the Indian government but was not found guilty. Despite leading his party to a major victory in the 1970 elections, Mujib was not invited to form the government.

After talks broke down with President Yahya Khan and West Pakistani politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Sheikh Mujib on 26 March 1971 announced the declaration of independence of East Pakistan and announced the establishment of the sovereign People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Subsequently he was arrested and tried by a military court. During his nine-month detention, guerrilla war erupted between government forces and Bengali nationalists aided by India. An all-out war between the Pakistan Army and Bangladesh-India Joint Forces led to the establishment of Bangladesh, and after his release Mujib assumed office as a provisional president, and later prime minister. Even as a constitution was adopted, proclaiming socialism and a secular democracy, Mujib struggled to address the challenges of intense poverty and unemployment, coupled with rampant corruption. In the aftermath of the 1974 famine and amidst rising political agitation, he banned other political parties and most of the newspapers but four Government owned. He established a one party state.

After only seven months, Mujib was assassinated along with most of his family by a group of army officers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh_Mujibur_Rahman

“This time the struggle is for our freedom” (1971)

“This time the struggle is for our freedom” is a speech given by Bengali nationalist leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7 March 1971 at the historic Ramna Race Course Maidan in Dhaka to a gathering of over two million people from all walks of life. It was given at a time of simmering tensions between the increasingly secessionist Bengali populace of East Pakistan and the powerful political and military establishment of West Pakistan. The speech is regarded by many in Bangladesh as the de facto declaration of independence (although a formal declaration came on 26 March 1971) of the country as it fiercely inspired the Bengali people to get prepared for the looming deadly and bloody confrontation with West Pakistan 18 days later.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_time_the_struggle_is_for_our_freedom

I have come before you today with a heavy heart.

All of you know how hard we have tried. But it is a matter of sadness that the streets of Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rangpur and Rajshahi are today being spattered with the blood of my brothers, and the cry we hear from the Bengali people is a cry for freedom, a cry for survival, a cry for our rights.

You are the ones who brought about an Awami League victory so you could see a constitutional government restored. The hope was that the elected representatives of the people, sitting in the National Assembly, would formulate a constitution that would assure that people of their economic, political and cultural emancipation.

But now, with great sadness in my heart, I look back on the past 23 years of our history and see nothing but a history of shedding the blood of the Bengali people. Ours has been a history of continual lamentation, repeated bloodshed and innocent tears.

We gave blood in 1952, we won a mandate in 1954. But we were still not allowed to take up the reins of this country. In 1958, Ayub Khan clamped Martial Law on our people and enslaved us for the next 10 years. In 1966, during the Six-Point Movement of the masses, many were the young men and women whose lives were stilled by government bullets.

After the downfall of Ayub, Mr. Yahya Khan took over with the promise that he would restore constitutional rule, that he would restore democracy and return power to the people.

We agreed. But you all know of the events that took place after that I ask you, are we the ones to blame?

As you know, I have been in contract with President Yahya Khan. As leader of the majority party in the National Assembly, I asked him to set February 15 as the day for its opening session. He did not accede to the request I made as leader of the majority party. Instead, he went along with the delay requested by the minority leader Mr Bhutto and announced that the Assembly would be convened on the 3rd of March.

We accepted that, and agreed to join the deliberations. I even went to the extent of saying that we, despite our majority, would still listen to any sound ideas from the minority, even if it were a lone voice. I committed myself to support anything that would bolster the restoration of a constitutional government.

When Mr Bhutto came to Dhaka, we met. We talked. He left, saying that the doors to negotiation were still open. Moulana Noorani and Moulana Mufti were among those West Pakistan parliamentarians who visited Dhaka and talked with me about an agreement on a constitutional framework.

I made it clear that could not agree to any deviation from the Six Points. That right rested with the people. Come, I said, let us sit down and resolve matters.

But Bhutto’s retort was that he would not allow himself to become hostage on two fronts. He predicted that if any West Pakistani members of Parliament were to come to Dhaka, the Assembly would be turned into a slaughterhouse. He added that if anyone were to participate in such a session, a countrywide agitation would be launched from Peshawar to Karachi and that every business would be shut down in protest.

I assured him that the Assembly would be convened and despite the dire threats, West Pakistani leaders did come down to Dhaka.

But suddenly, on March 1, the session was cancelled.

There was an immediate outcry against this move by the people. I called for a hartal as a peaceful form of protest and the masses redial took to the streets in response.

And what did we get as a response?

He turned his guns on my helpless people, a people with no arms to defend themselves. These were the same arms that had been purchased with our own money to protect us from external enemies. But it is my own people who are being fired upon today.

In the past, too, each time we, the numerically larger segment of Pakistan’s population-tried to assert our rights and control our destiny, they conspired against us and pounced upon us.

I have asked them this before: How can you make your own brothers the target of your bullets?

Now Yahya Khan says that I had agreed to a Round Table Conference on the 10th. Let me point out that is not true.

I had said, Mr Yahya Khan, you are the President of this country. Come to Dhaka, come and see how our poor Bengali people have been mown down by your bullets, how the laps of our mothers and sisters have been robbed and left empty and bereft, how my helpless people have been slaughtered. Come, I said, come and see for yourself and then be the judge and decide. That is what I told him.

Earlier, I had told him there would be no Round Table Conference. What Round Table Conference, whose Round Table Conference? You expect me to sit at a Round Table Conference with the very same people who have emptied the laps of my mothers and my sisters?

On the 3rd, at the Paltan, I called for a non-cooperation movement and the shutdown of offices, courts and revenue collection. You gave me full support.

Then suddenly, without consulting me or even informing us, he met with one individual for five hours and then made a speech in which he placed all the blame on me, laid all the fault at the door of the Bengali people!

The deadlock was created by Bhutto, yet the Bengalis are the ones facing the bullets! We face their guns, yet its our fault. We are the ones being bitten by their bullets – and it’s still our fault!

So, the struggle this time is our struggle for emancipation! This time the struggle is for our freedom!

Brothers, they have now called the Assembly to commence on March 25, with the streets not yet dry of the blood of my brothers. You have called the Assembly, but you must first agree to meet my demands. Martial Law must be withdrawn; the soldiers must return to their barracks; the murderers of my people must be redressed. And power must be handed over to the elected representatives of the people.

Only then will we consider if we can take part in the National Assembly or not.

Before these demands are met, there can be no question of our participating in this session of the Assembly. That is one right not given to me as part of my mandate from the masses.

As I told them earlier, Mujibur Rahman refuses to walk to the Assembly trading upon the fresh stains of his brothers’ blood!

Do you, my brothers, have complete faith in me?

Let me tell you that the Prime Ministership is not what I seek. What I want is justice, the rights of the people of this land. They tempted me with the Prime Ministership but they failed to buy me over. Nor did the succeed in hanging me on the gallows, for you rescued me with your blood from the so-called conspiracy case.

That day, right here at this racecourse, I had pledge to you that I would pay for this blood debt with my own blood. Do you remember? I am ready today to fulfill that promise!

I now declare the closure of all the courts, offices, and educational institutions for an indefinite period of time. No one will report to their offices – that is my instruction to you.

So that the poor are not inconvenienced, rickshaws, trains and other transport will ply normally – except for serving any needs of the armed forces. If the army does not respect this, I shall not be responsible for the consequences.

The Secretariat, Supreme Court, High Court, Judge’s Courts, and government and semi-government offices shall remain shut. Banks may open only for two hours daily, for business transactions. But no money shall be transmitted from East to West Pakistan. The Bengali people must stay calm during these times. Telegraph and telephone communications will be confined within Bangladesh.

The people of this land are facing elimination, so be on guard. If need be, we will bring everything to a total standstill.

Collect your salaries on time. If the salaries are held up, if a single bullet is fired upon us henceforth, if the murder of my people does not cease, I call upon you to turn every home into a fortress against their onslaught. Use whatever you can put your hands on to confront this enemy. Every last road must be blocked.

We will deprive them of food, we will deprive them of water. Even if I am not around to give you the orders, and if my associates are also not to be found, I ask you to continue your movement unabated.

I say to them again, you are my brothers, return now to the barracks where you belong and no one will bear any hostility toward you. Only do not attempt to aim any more bullets at our hearts: It will not do any good!

And the seventy million people of this land will not be cowed down by you or accept suppression any more. The Bengali people have learned how to die for a cause and you will not be able to bring them under your yoke of suppression!

To assist the families of the martyred and the injured, the Awami League has set up committees that will do all they can. Please donate whatever you can. Also, employers must give full pay to the workers who participated in the seven days of hartal or were not able to work because of curfews.

To all government employees, I say that my directives must be followed. I had better not see any of you attending your offices. From today, until this land has been freed, no taxes will be paid to the government any more. As of now, they stop. Leave everything to me. I know how to organize movement.

But be very careful. Keep in mind that the enemy has infiltrated our ranks to engage in the work of provocateurs. Whether Bengali or non-Bengali, Hindu or Muslim, all are our brothers and it is our responsibility to ensure their safety.

I also ask you to stop listening to radio, television and the press if these media do not report news of our movement.

To them, I say: You are our brothers. I beseech your to not turn this country into a living hell. Will you not have to show your faces and confront your conscience some day?

If we can peaceably settle our differences there is still hope that we can co-exist as brothers. Otherwise there is no hope. If you choose the other path, we may never come face one another again.

For now, I have just one thing to ask of you: Give up any thoughts of enslaving this country under military rule again!”

I ask my people to immediately set up committees under the leadership of the Awami League to carry on our struggle in every neighborhood, village, union and subdivision of this land.

You must prepare yourselves now with what little you have for the struggle ahead.

Since we have given blood, we will give more of it. But, Insha’Allah, we will free the people of this land!

The struggle this time is for emancipation! The struggle this time is for independence!

Be ready. We cannot afford to lose our momentum. Keep the movement and the struggle alive because if we fall back the will come down hard upon us.

Be disciplined. No nation’s movement can be victorious without discipline.

Joy Bangla! (Victory to Bengal!)

7 March Speech of Bangabandhuhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_time_the_struggle_is_for_our_freedom

Salvador Allende Gossens

Salvador Allen
Salvador Allende

Salvador Allende Gossens (1908–1973) was a Chilean democratic socialist politician and physician, President of Chile from 1970 until 1973, and head of the Popular Unity political coalition government; he was the first ever Marxist to be elected president in a country with liberal democracy.

Allende’s involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. As a member of the Socialist Party, he was a senator, deputy and cabinet minister. He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 elections. In 1970, he won the presidency in a close three-way race, formally elected by Congress as no candidate had gained a majority.

Upon assuming the presidency in 1970, Allende began to carry out his platform of implementing a socialist programme called La vía chilena al socialismo (“the Chilean Path to Socialism”). This included nationalization of large-scale industries (notably copper mining and banking), and government administration of the health care system, educational system, a programme of free milk for children in the schools and shanty towns of Chile, and an expansion of the land seizure and redistribution already begun under his predecessor Eduardo Frei Montalva. Allende also intended to improve the socio-economic welfare of Chile’s poorest citizens; a key element was to provide employment, either in the new nationalized enterprises or on public work projects.

Particularly in rural areas, the Allende Government launched a campaign against illiteracy, while adult education programs expanded, together with educational opportunities for workers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende

Last speech (1973)

When Allende took office, Chile was enduring a severe economic crisis. Unemployment was high and an estimated half of the country’s children under the age of 15 were suffering from malnutrition. Allende immediately implemented his socialist agenda, increasing wages and freezing prices while taking steps to reform the education system, health care and government administration.

In addition to nationalizing many large-scale industries, Allende expropriated American-owned copper industries without compensation. This solidified opposition from U.S. President Richard Nixon’s administration, which increased support to Allende’s political opponents and led efforts to cut off international lines of credit to Chile.

Poor economic planning and a growing dysfunctional relationship between Allende and Congress deepened the country’s economic difficulty. The president’s inability to control his own radical left wing brought further hostility from the middle class, though he remained popular among workers and peasants.

Amidst strikes by the far-right Patria y Libertad and opposition under the Nixon administration, as well as by militant leftist opposition, demonstrations were held for and against Allende’s presidency. On 11 September 1973 the military led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, citing a call by the Chilean Congress to end his presidency, illegally staged a coup against Allende.

During the coup Allende was offered safe exile but chose to remain in the presidential offices, which were attacked with rocket fire and besieged by army troops.

Allende’s last speech was delivered at 9:10 am on 11 September 1973, in the midst on an ultimately successful US-sponsored coup d’état.

My friends,

Surely this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes.

My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. May they be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, titular commanders in chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself Commander of the Navy, and Mr. Mendoza, the despicable general who only yesterday pledged his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has appointed himself Chief of the Carabineros [paramilitary police].

Given these facts, the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign! Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seeds which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever.

They have force and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

Workers of my country: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you always had, the confidence that you deposited in a man who was only an interpreter of great yearnings for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the Constitution and the law and did just that. At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the Armed Forces broke their tradition, the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same social sector who today are hoping, with foreign assistance, to re-conquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.

I address you, above all, the modest woman of our land, the campesina who believed in us, the mother who knew our concern for children. I address professionals of Chile, patriotic professionals who continued working against the sedition that was supported by professional associations, classist associations that also defended the advantages of capitalist society. I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours – in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to act. They were committed. History will judge them.

Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to his country.

The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.

Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again and free men will walk through them to construct a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.

* * *

When the siege ended, Allende was found dead of bullet wounds. The coup ushered in 16 years of military rule.

There were conflicting reports regarding whether Allende committed suicide or was killed by soldiers storming the palace after it was attacked by the Chilean Air Force. The CIA later acknowledged its support of the political opposition and advance knowledge of the coup, though it continues to deny any direct involvement in the event itself. In 2011, Allende’s body was exhumed, and a scientific autopsy confirmed he had died by suicide.

Salvador Allende’s Last Speechhttp://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende%27s_Last_Speech

Yasser Arafat

Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (1929–2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat, was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and leader of the Fatah political party, which he founded in 1959. Arafat spent much of his life fighting against Israel in the name of Palestinian self-determination. Originally opposed to Israel’s existence, he modified his position in 1988 when he accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242. Arafat and his movement operated from several Arab countries. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Fatah faced off with Jordan in a brief civil war. Forced out of Jordan and into Lebanon, Arafat and Fatah were major targets of Israel’s 1978 and 1982 invasions of that country.

Arafat remains a highly controversial figure whose legacy has been widely disputed. He was “revered by many Arabs,” and the majority of the Palestinian people, regardless of political ideology or faction, viewed him as a freedom fighter who symbolized their national aspirations. However he was “reviled by many Israelis” who viewed him as a terrorist.(1) Israel has also accused him of mass corruption, secretly amassing a personal wealth estimated to be USD $1.3 billion in 2002 despite the degrading economic conditions of the Palestinians.

Later in his career, Arafat engaged in a series of negotiations with the government of Israel to end the decades-long conflict between it and the PLO. These included the Madrid Conference of 1991, the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2000 Camp David Summit. His political rivals, including Islamists and several PLO leftists, often denounced him for being corrupt or too submissive in his concessions to the Israeli government. In 1994, Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, for the negotiations at Oslo. During this time, Hamas and other militant organizations rose to power and shook the foundations of the authority that Fatah under Arafat had established in the Palestinian territories.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasser_Arafat

“An olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun” (1974)

On 13 November 1974, Arafat became the first representative of a nongovernmental faction to address the full session of the U.N. General Assembly.

The speech proved to be a major step toward peace in the Middle East and was greeted with an increase of international support for the Palestinian cause.

Arafat’s speech was an important milestone in the legitimization of the PLO and in bringing the Palestinian cause to world attention. It began a dynamic that ultimately caused the PLO, at least officially to change its methods and its goals. However, the idea that terror attacks against civilians are a legitimate means of attaining political goals became enshrined in UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 and the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved since.

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2060.html

In the name of the people of Palestine and the leader of its national struggle, the Palestine Liberation Organization, I take this opportunity to extend to you, Mr. President, my warmest congratulations on your election to the presidency of the twenty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly. We have, of course, long known you to be a sincere and devoted defender of the cause of freedom, justice and peace. We have known you also to be in the vanguard of the freedom fighters in their heroic Algerian war of national liberation. Today Algeria has attained a distinguished position in the world community and has assumed its responsibilities both in the national and in the international fields, thus earning the support and esteem of all the countries of the world.

Yasser Arafat before UN 1974
Yasser Arafat before UN General Assembly, 1974

I also avail myself of this opportunity to extend my sincerest appreciation to Mr. Kurt Waldheim, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for the great efforts he has made and is still making to enable us to assume our responsibilities in the smoothest possible way.

In the name of the people of Palestine I take this opportunity to congratulate three States that have recently been admitted to membership in the United Nations after obtaining their national independence: Guinea-Bissau, Bangladesh and Grenada. I extend our best wishes to the leaders of those Member States and wish them progress and success.

Mr. President, I thank you for having invited the PLO to participate in this plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am grateful to all those representatives of States of the United Nations who contributed to the decision to introduce the question of Palestine as a separate item on the agenda of this Assembly. That decision made possible the Assembly’s resolution inviting us to address it on the question of Palestine.

This is a very important occasion. The question of Palestine is being re-examined by the United Nations, and we consider that step to be a victory for the world Organization as much as a victory for the cause of our people. It indicates anew that the United Nations of today is not the United Nations of the past, just as today’s world is not yesterday’s world. Today’s United Nations represents 138 nations, a number that more clearly reflects the will of the international community. Thus today’s United Nations is more nearly capable of implementing the principles embodied in its Charter and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as being more truly empowered to support causes of peace and justice.

Our peoples are now beginning to feel that change. Along with them, the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America also feel the change. As a result, the United Nations acquires greater esteem both in our people’s view and in the view of other peoples. Our hope is thereby strengthened that the United Nations can contribute actively to the pursuit and triumph of the causes of peace, justice, freedom and independence. Our resolve to build a new world is fortified — a world free of colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism and racism in each of its instances, including zionism.

Our world aspires to peace, justice, equality and freedom. It wishes that oppressed nations, bent under the weight of imperialism, might gain their freedom and their right to self-determination. It hopes to place the relations between nations on a basis of equality, peaceful coexistence, mutual respect for each other’s internal affairs, secure national sovereignty, independence and territorial unity on the basis of justice and mutual benefit. This world resolves that the economic ties binding it together should be grounded in justice, parity and mutual interest. It aspires finally to direct its human resources against the scourge of poverty, famine, disease and natural calamity, toward the development of productive scientific and technical capabilities to enhance human wealth — all this in the hope of reducing the disparity between the developing and the developed countries. But all such aspirations cannot be realized in a world that is at present ruled over by tension, injustice, oppression, racial discrimination and exploitation, a world also threatened with unending economic disasters, war and crisis.

Great numbers of peoples, including those of Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Palestine, among many others, are still victims of oppression and violence. Their areas of the world are gripped by armed struggles provoked by imperialism and racial discrimination, both merely forms of aggression and terror. Those are instances of oppressed peoples compelled by intolerable circumstances into confrontation with such oppression. But wherever that confrontation occurs it is legitimate and just.

It is imperative that the international community should support these peoples in their struggles, in the furtherance of their rightful causes and the attainment of their right to self-determination.

In Indo-China, the peoples are still exposed to aggression. They remain subjected to conspiracies preventing them from attaining peace and realizing their goals. Although peoples everywhere have welcomed the agreements on peace reached in Laos and South Viet Nam, no one can say that genuine peace has been achieved, nor that those forces responsible in the first place for aggression have now desisted from their attacks on Viet Nam. The same can be said of the present military aggression against the people of Cambodia. It is therefore incumbent on the international community to support these oppressed peoples, and also to condemn the oppressors for their designs against peace. Moreover, despite the positive stand taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with regard to a peaceful, just solution of the Korean question, there is as yet no settlement of that question.

A few months ago the problem of Cyprus erupted violently before us. All peoples everywhere shared in the suffering of the Cypriots. We ask that the United Nations continue its efforts to reach a just solution in Cyprus, thereby sparing the Cypriots further war and ensuring peace and independence for them instead. Undoubtedly, however, consideration of the question of Cyprus belongs within that of Middle Eastern problems as well as of Mediterranean problems.

In their efforts to replace an outmoded but still dominant world economic system with a new, more logically rational one, the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America must nevertheless face implacable attacks on these efforts. These countries have expressed their views at the sixth special session of the General Assembly on raw materials and development. Thus the plundering, the exploitation, the siphoning-off of the wealth of impoverished peoples must be terminated forthwith. There must be no deterring of these peoples’ efforts to develop and control their wealth. Furthermore, there is a grave necessity for arriving at fair prices for raw materials from these countries.

In addition, these countries continue to be hampered in the attainment of their primary objectives formulated at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea at Caracas, at the World Population Conference at Bucharest and at the World Food Conference in Rome.

The United Nations should therefore bend every effort to achieve a radical alteration of the world economic system, making it possible for developing countries to develop. The United Nations must shoulder the responsibility for fighting inflation, now borne most heavily by the developing countries, especially the oil-producing countries. The United Nations must firmly condemn any threats made against these countries simply because they demand their just rights.

The worldwide armaments race shows no sign of abating. As a consequence, the entire world is threatened with the dispersion of its wealth and the utter waste of its energies. Armed violence is made more likely everywhere. We expect the United Nations to devote itself single-mindedly to curbing the unlimited acquisition of arms; to preventing even the possibility of nuclear destruction; to reducing the vast sums spent on military technology; to converting expenditure on war into projects for development, for increasing production, and for benefiting common humanity. And still, the highest tension exists in our part of the world. There the Zionist entity clings tenaciously to occupied Arab territory; zionism persists, in its aggressions against us and our territory. New military preparations are feverishly being made. These anticipate another, fifth war of aggression to be launched against us. Such signs bear the closest possible watching, since there is a grave likelihood that this war would forebode nuclear destruction and cataclysmic annihilation.

The world is in need of tremendous efforts if its aspirations to peace, freedom justice, equality and development are to be realized if its struggle is to be victorious over colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism and racism in all its forms, including zionism. Only by such efforts can actual form be given to the aspirations of all peoples, including the aspirations of peoples whose States oppose such efforts. It is this road that leads to the fulfillment of those principles emphasized by the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Were the status quo simply to be maintained, however, the world would instead be exposed to prolonged armed conflict, in addition to economic. human and natural calamity.

Mr. President,

Despite abiding world crises, despite even the gloomy powers of backwardness and disastrous wrong, we live in a time of glorious change. An old world order is crumbling before our eyes, as imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism and racism, the chief form of which is zionism, ineluctably perish. We are privileged to be able to witness a great wave of history bearing peoples forward into a new world that they have created. In that world just causes will triumph. Of that we are confident.

The question of Palestine belongs in this perspective of emergence and struggle. Palestine is crucial amongst those just causes fought for unstintingly by masses laboring under imperialism and aggression. It cannot be, and is not, lost on me today, as I stand here before the General Assembly, that if I have been given the opportunity to address the General Assembly, so too must the opportunity be given to all liberation movements fighting against racism and imperialism. In their names, in the name of every human being struggling for freedom and self-determination, I call upon the General Assembly urgently to give their just causes the same full attention the General Assembly has so rightly given to our cause. Such recognitions once made, there will be a secure foundation thereafter for the preservation of universal peace. For only with such peace will a new world order endure in which peoples can live free of oppression fear, terror and the suppression of their rights. As I said earlier, this is the true perspective in which to set the question of Palestine. I shall now do so for the General Assembly, keeping firmly in mind both the perspective and the goal of a coming world order.

Even as today we address the General Assembly from what is before all else an international rostrum, we are also expressing our faith in political and diplomatic struggle as complements, as enhancements of our armed struggle. Furthermore, we express our appreciation of the role the United Nations is capable of playing in settling problems of international scope. But this capability, I said a moment ago, became real only once the United Nations had accommodated itself to the living actuality of aspiring peoples, towards which an Organization of so truly international a dimension owes unique obligations.

In addressing the General Assembly today, our people proclaims its faith in the future, unencumbered either by past tragedies or present limitations. If, as we discuss the present, we enlist the past in our service, we do so only to light up our journey into the future alongside other movements of national liberation. If we return now to the historical roots of our cause we do so because present at this very moment in our midst are those who, while they occupy our homes, as their cattle graze in our pastures, and as their hands pluck the fruit of our trees, claim at the same time that we are disembodied spirits, fictions without presence, without traditions or future. We speak of our roots also because until recently some people have regarded — and continued to regard — our problem as merely a problem of refugees. They have portrayed the Middle East question as little more than a border dispute between the Arab States and the Zionist entity. They have imagined that our people claims rights not rightfully its own and fights neither with logic nor valid motive, with a simple wish only to disturb the peace and to terrorize wantonly. For there are amongst you — and here I refer to the United States of America and others like it — those who supply our enemy freely with planes and bombs and with every variety of murderous weapon. They take hostile positions against us, deliberately distorting the true essence of the problem. All this is done not only at our expense, but at the expense of the American people, and of the friendship we continue to hope can be cemented between us and this great people, whose history of struggle for the sake of freedom we honor and salute.

I cannot now forgo this opportunity to appeal from this rostrum directly to the American people, asking it to give its support to our heroic and fighting people. I ask it whole-heartedly to endorse right and justice, to recall George Washington to mind, heroic Washington whose purpose was his nation’s freedom and independence, Abraham Lincoln, champion of the destitute and the wretched, and also Woodrow Wilson, whose doctrine of Fourteen Points remains subscribed to and venerated by our people. I ask the American people whether the demonstrations of hostility and enmity taking place outside this great hall reflect the true intent of America’s will. What crime, I ask you plainly, has our people committed against the American people? Why do you fight us so? Does such unwarranted belligerence really serve your interests? Does it serve the interests of the American masses? No, definitely not. I can only hope that the American people will remember that their friendship with the whole Arab nation is too great, too abiding and too rewarding for any such demonstrations to harm it.

In any event, as our discussion of the question of Palestine focuses upon historical roots, we do so because we believe that any question now exercising the world’s concern must be viewed radically, in the true root sense of that word. If a real solution is ever to be grasped. We propose this radical approach as an antidote to an approach to international issues that obscures historical origins behind ignorance, denial, and a slavish obeisance to the present.

Mr. President,

The roots of the Palestinian question reach back into the closing years of the nineteenth century, in other words, to that period we call the era of colonialism and settlement as we know it today. This is precisely the period during which zionism as a scheme was born; its aim was the conquest of Palestine by European immigrants, just as settlers colonized, and indeed raided, most of Africa. This is the period during which, pouring forth out of the west, colonialism spread into the furthest reaches of Africa, Asia and Latin America, building colonies, everywhere cruelly exploiting, oppressing, plundering the peoples of those three continents. This period persists into the present. Marked evidence of its totally reprehensible presence can be readily perceived in the racism practiced both in South Africa and in Palestine.

Just as colonialism and its demagogues dignified their conquests, their plunder and limitless attacks upon the natives of Africa with appeals to a “civilizing and modernizing” mission, so too did waves of Zionist immigrants disguise their purposes as they conquered Palestine. Just as colonialism as a system and colonialists as its instrument used religion, color, race and language to justify the African’s exploitation and his cruel subjugation by terror and discrimination, so too were these methods employed as Palestine was usurped and its people hounded from their national homeland.

Just as colonialism heedlessly used the wretched, the poor, the exploited as mere inert matter with which to build and to carry out settler colonialism, so too were destitute, oppressed European Jews employed on behalf of world imperialism and of the Zionist leaders. European Jews were transformed into the instruments of aggression — they became the elements of settler colonialism intimately allied to racial discrimination.

Zionist theology was utilized against our Palestinian people: the purpose was not only the establishment of Western-style settler colonialism but also the severing of Jews from their various homelands and subsequently their estrangement from their nations. Zionism is an ideology that is imperialist, colonialist, racist; it is profoundly reactionary and discriminatory; it is united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets and is, when all is said and done, another side of the same