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THE-DIRE NEED OF BRITAIN, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2432, 10 April 1915
THE-DIRE NEED OF BRITAIN
A GREAT APPEAL
MR. LLOYD GEORGE SPEAKS OUT
THE REAL PERIL
A STIRRING GALL TO LABOUR
Oil Sunday, February 28, at Bangor, Mr. Lloyd George,' Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered a speech which stirred all England. Frankly' and boldly he laid before the country the true position in relation to the war; the .real peril and the means to avert it. Below we reproduce. the full roport of the speech, taken from the columns of the London "Times":— ■
Mr. Lloyd George, who spoke for an hour and ten minutes, said:—
I have, promised for some time to address a meeting at Bangor. I have been unablo to do so because Ministers of the Crown have been working time and overtime, and I am sorry to say that we are not even able to make the best of the day of rest, the urgency is so great, the pressure is so severe. I had something to say to-day, otherwise I should not hare been hero, and I had something to say that required stating at once/ ; This, is the only day I had to spare. It is no fault of mine. It is-because .we are entirely absorbed ia the terriblo task which has been oast upon our shoulders. T happened to liav© met on Friday morning, before I decided to come down • here, ono of the most' eminent Scottish divines, a great un<l old friend of mine, Dr'. Whyte, of Edinburgh.. We were discussing what I have .got' to say to-day. I remarked to him, "I have only one day on whic'q to say it, and as that is Sunday afternoon I .am very nmcth afraid my constituents won't, listen.to me." He leplied, "If they won't have you, ccrno to Scotland, and we will give you J he best.Sunday afternoon meeting you ever had." But I thought I wouid try Wales first, r (Cheers.) He told me .that in the Shorter Catechism ■sou are .allowed to do works of charity and Necessity, and those who tell me that this is not-work of necessity do rot know the need, the dire, need, of their country at this hour. ■ At this moment there are-Welshmen in the trenches of 'France facing cannon .and death j the hammering of forges to-day is ringing down tho church bells from one end of Europe to the other. When I know these things are going on. now on Sunday as well as the week-days I am not the,.hypocrite, to say ( -'I will save my own soul by not talking about them on Sundays." (Cheers.)-- ■ ■ Do-We'Reallse? Do W understand "the necessity? Do we realise it? .-..Belgium; once cnmfoitably. well-tordo, :is and weeping, and her children are living on the bread of..charity..sent them fy neighbours far and near. And Franco—the German Army, like beast,., lias fajtened Its- claws dcep' v ,into •. her,.soil, and every effort,-to dragltheui out,"rends and tears the livitig flesh of that dutiful land,., ,_The..beast of .prey las not leapt to our shores—hot a hair of Britain's head has been touched !y. him. •Why ? t Because of the vigilant watciidflg,'ihatv.patrols''thq:,d^p_' for us; : pid that 'iny/ . "complaint " against the" "British Navy. *" It" does not enable.us. ..to realise, that. Britain at the present-moment-is waging the most serious war it has ever been engaged' in:" 'We'do not understand it. 'A few' weeks ago I visited France. .We had a conference of the Ministers of ■Finance of Russia, France, Great Briand Belgium." Paris is a changed city. Her gaiety, her vivacity is gone. .You can see in the faces of every man there, and cf every woman, that they know their country "is "in the gripi of grim tragedy. They are resolved to overcome it, confident that they ■ will overcome it, but only through a long agony.' • Duration of the War. No visitor to our shores would realise that we are engaged in exactly the fame conflict, and that on the stricken fields of the Continent, and along the broads and the narrows of tho seas that encircle our islands, is now being determined, not merely the fate of tho British; .Empire,, but the destiny of the human Ta'ce ; for generations to come. (Cheers.) We are conducting a war as if there was no war. I have never been doubtful about the result of the war—(cheers)—and I will give you my reasons by and by. Nor have I been doubtful. I am sorry to say, about the length of the war and its seriousness. _ .Tn all wars nations are apt to minimise their dangers and the duration. Men, after all, see the power of their own' country ; they cannot visualise the power of the eiierjy. I have teen accounted as a pessimist among my friends in thinking the war would not be over before Christmas. I have always been convinced that the result is inevitably a triumph for this country. I havonlso been convinced that that Tesult will not.be secured without a prolonged struggle. I. will tell you why. I shall do so not in order to indulgo in vain and idle surmises as to the duration of the war, but in order to bring home to my countrymen what they are confronted with, so as to ensure that they"' will leavo nothing which is at their command undone'in order, not merely to secure n triumph, s^CTire ■ fclio sppediesfc po.ssible moment. Itisin their power to do so. . It is also in their'.power, bv neglect, sloth, by heedlessness, to prolong their, country's agonv, and maybe to endanger at least tlie eoirmletencss of it® triumphs. This is what I have' come to talk to you about this afternoon, for it' it a work of urgent necessity in the cause of human freeWorn, and I mako no apology for discussing on a- Sunday the best means of ensuring human, liberty. (Chers.) Moral Strength of Our Cause. I will .give you first of all my reasons for coming to the conclusion that after this struggle victory must wait on our banners if we properly utilise our resources and opportunities'. Tlie natural ■resources of the Allied countries are overwhelmingly greater than those of their enemies. _ In the man capable of bearing arms, in the financial 'and economic resources of these countries, in their accessibility to the markets of the world through the command of the 6ea for tho purpose of obtaining material and munitions —all these are nreponderAtingly in favour of the Allied countries. But there is a greater reason than all these.' Beyond all is the moral strength of our cause, and that counts in a struggle which involves sacrifices, suffering, and privation, for all those engaged in it. A nation cannot endure to tho end that' has on its soul the crimes of .Belgium.;. ,(Loud cheers.) The Allied Powers hare at their • disposal morn ' than' twice the number of men which their, enemies can comand. You may ask me why aro not those overwhelming forces put into the field at once and this terriblo war brought to a triumphant conclusion at the earliest possible" moment,' Iti; tho-answer to that question' lies tho .cauee. of the war. Tb.«.
I reason why Germany declared war is in the answer to that question. Why flussla Wanted Peace. In the old days when a nation' 6 liberty was menaced by an aggressor a man took from the chimney corner his bow and arrow or his spear, or a sword which had been left to him by an ancestry of warriors, went to the gathering ground of his tribe, and the nation was fully equipped for war. That is not the case now. Now you fight with complicated, highly finished weapons, apart altogether from the huge artillery. Every rifle which a man handles is a complicated and ingenious pieco of mechanism, and it takes time. Tlie German arsenals were full of tho machinery of horror and destruction. The Russian arsenals were'not, and that is tho reason for the war.. Had Russia projected war she also would have filled her arsenals, but she desired above everything peace. (Hear, ■ hear.) Never was a nation so bent on preserving peace as Russia was. It is true Germany six or seven years ago had threatened to march her legions across the Vistula and trample down Russia in the mud, and Russia, fearing a repetition of the same threat, was putting herself in a position of defence. But she was not preparing for any aggression, and Germany said, "This won't do. We don't like people who .can fully defend themselves. We are fully prepared. Russia is not. This is the time to plant our dagger of tempered steel i in her heart before her breastplates are forged." That is why wo are at war. (Cheers.) Germany hurried her preparations, made ready for war. She made a quarrel with the same cool calculation as she had made a new gun. She hurled her warriors across the frontier; Why? Becauso she wanted ,to attack somebody, a- country that could not defend herself. Jt was the purest piece of brigandage in history.«; .(Cheers.) All the same there remains .the fact that Russia was taken at a'di.sadyantage, and,is, therefore, unable to 'utilise beyond a fraction the enormous-'resources which she possesses to protect'iier soil against the invader. France : was-,.-not expecting war, and 6he, therefore", was taken unawares. Great Britain Unprepared. . What'.about Britain? .Wo never con- | ajiiy'war of aggression'against a'riy'of our neighbours, and therefore we i never raised,?;in Army adequate to such ! sinister puqioses. During tho last 30 years the tn - o great political parties in the State .have been responsible for tho policy of this couutry at home and abroad; For about the same period we have each been governing this conntry. For . about fifteen years neither one part}', nor the other ever proposed to raise an Army in this country that would enable us to confront on land a great Continental Power. What does that mean?, We never meant to invade any Continental, , country. (Cheers.) That is the proof of it. If we had we. would have started our great armies years ago. We had a great Navy, purely for protection, purely for tho defence of our shores, and we had an Army which was just enough to deal with any small raid that happened to get through the meshes of our Navy, and perhaps to police the Empire. That was all, no more. But now we have to assist neighbours becoming the victims of a Power with millions of warriors at its. command, and we have to improvise a great Army, and gallantly have our men flocked to tho standard. • (Cheers.) We have raised the largest voluntary Army that has been enrolled in any country or any century—tlw largest voluntary Army, and it is going to be larger. (Cheers.) Under One Flag. I saw a very fine sample of that Army this morning at Llandudno. I attended a service there, and I think it was about the most thrilling religious service I have ever been privileged to attend. There were men there of every class, every position, every calling, every condition of life. Tho peasant had left his plough, the'workman had loft his lathe and his loom, the clerk had.left his" desk, the trader :m'd tho business man had left their countinghouses, the shepherd had loft- l.:s sunlit hills and tho_ miner the darkness of <ho earth, the rich proprietor had'left his palace,' and the man' earning lvs daily bread had quitted, liis humble cottage. There were men there of .diverse and varied faiths who worshipped at differshrines—men who were, in an ay against each other months ago in, bitter conflict, and I saw them march with one step under one flag to fight for the same cause, and I saw them worship tho' samo God. What has brought them together? The lovo of their native land, resentment for a cruel wrong inflicted upon tho weak and defenceless. More than that, what brought them together was that instinct which, comes to humanity, at critical times when the moment has arrived to cross rivers of blood in order to rescue humanity from the l grip of'some strangling despotism. (Cheers.) They have done nobly. That is what has brought them together, but we want more—(cheers)— and I have no doubt we will get more. If this country had produced an army which was equal in proportion to its- population to the number of men under arms in France and i.n Germany at tho present moment tliore would bo three millions and a half in tliis country and 1,200,000 in the colonies. (Cheers.) That is what I mean when I sav oiir resources aro quite adequate to the task. It is not our fight merely—it is the fight of humanity. (Cheers.) Tho Aljied countries between them could raise armies of over twenty millions of men. Our enemies can put in the field barely half that number. Importance of the Engineer. Much as I should like to talk about, tho need for mora men, that is not the point of my special appeal to-day We stand more in need of equipment than wo do of men. This is an engineers' war—(cheers)—and it will be won or lost owing to the efforts or shortcomings of'engineers. I have something to say for it involves sacrifices for nll'of-'us. Unless we are able to equip ol(r armies our predominance in men will J avail us nothing. We need men, but w&ajecd'arnis more than men. and delay in' producing them is full of peril for this country. You may say that I am saying things that ought to ba.V.oDt from .tho cneniy. • I am not a
bcliover in giving _ any information which is useful to liim. Y T ou may depond on it ho knows, but I do not believe in withholding from our own public information which they ought to possess, because unless you kil them you cannot invito their co-operation. The nation thatcannot bear the truth is not fit for war, and may our young men be volunteers, while the unllinchiug pride of those tliey have left behind them ill their deed of sacrifice ought to satisfy tho most apprehensive that we are not a timid race, who cannot face unpleasant facts I The last thing in the world John Bull wants is to bo mollycoddled. Tho people must be told exactly what tlie position is, and then we can ask thorn to help. We must appeal for tho co-operation of employers' workmen, and the general public; the three must act and endure together, or we delay and maybe imperil victory. We ought to requisition the aid of every man who can handle metal. It means that tho needs of the community in many respects will suffer acutely vexatious, and perhaps injurious, delay; but I feel sure that_ the public are prepared to put up with all this discomfort, loss, and privation if thereby their country marches triumphantly out of this great struggle. (Cheers.) We have every reason for confidence; wo have nono for complacency. Hope is the mainspring of efficiency; complacency is its mst.
We laugh at things in Germany that ought to terrify us. We say: "Look at the way they are making their bread—out of potatoes, ha ha," Aye, that potato bread spirit is something which is more to dread than to mock at. I fear that more than I do even von Hindeuburg's strategy, efficient as it may 'be. That is the spirit In which a country should meet a great emergency, and instead of mockine at it we ought to emulate it. I believe We are just as imbued with the spirit as Germany is, but we want it evoked. (Cheers.) The average Briton is too shy to be a hero until he is asked. The British temper is one of never wasting heroism oil needless display, .but there is plenty of it for.the need. There is nothing Britishers would not give up for the honour of their country, or for the cause of freedom. Indulgences, comforts, even the necessities of life, they would willingly surrender.' Why, there are two millions of'them at this hour who have willingly tendered their lives for their country. What more could they do? If the absorption_ of all our engineerinc; resources is demanded, no British citizen will grudge his share of inconvenience. Industrial Disputes,
But what about tliose more immediately concerned in that kind of work? Here I am approaching something which is very difficult to talk about—3 mean the employers and workmen. I must speak out quite plainly; nothing else is of the slightest use. For one reason or another we are not getting all the assistance we lave the right to expect from our workers. Disputes, industrial disputes, ai'e inevitable;.and wlien you have a good deal of stress and strain, men's nerves are not at their best. I think I can say 1 always preserve my temper in these days—l- hope : my wifewon't give me away (lsiugjhter) —>ind .1 have no doubt that the "spirit of unrest creeps into the relations between employer and workmen. Some'differences of opinion are quite inevitable, but we cannot afford them now; and, above all; we cannot resort to the usual method of settling them. I suppose I have settled more labour disputes than any man in this hall, and although those who only know me slightly may be surprised to hear me 6ay it, the tiling- that' you need most is patience. If I wero to give a motto to a man who is going to a conference between employers and workmen I would say: "Take your time; don't hurry. It will come round with pationco and tact and temper."' But you know wt Kfnnofc .afford thoso leisurely methods now. Time is victory—(cheers)— and ivhile employers and workmen on the Jlyde have been spending time in dis rating over a- fraction, and when : reek-end, 10 days, and a fortnight o: rork which is absolutely necessary fo) he defences of the country has heei et aside, I say here solemnly that it 1 ntolerable that the life of Britaii Itould be imperilled for the matter o ■. farthing hour. m
Who" is'Uo bfame? That .is not the [uestion; but—How is it to to topped? Employers will pay: "Are we Iways to give way?" Workmen say, 'Employers are making their fortunes iut of an emergency, of the country, /hy are not we to have a share of the •hinder?" (Hear, hear, and laughter.) Tiere is one gentleman' here who holds hat view. (Laughter.) I hope he, is lot an engineer. (Renewed laughter.) 'We work harder than, ever," say the workmen. All I can say is, if they do, they are entitled to their share. But that is not the point—who is right? Who is wrong? They are hotli right and they are both wrong. The whole point 'is that, these questions ought to be settled without throwing away the chances of humanity in its greatest struggle. (Cheers.) There is a good deal to be said for and there is a vast amount to be said against compulsory arbitration, but during the war the .Government ought to have power to settle all these differences, and the work should go on. The workman ought to get more.-_ Very well, Tet the Government find it out, and give it- to him. .If-he ought not, then lie ought not to throw up his tools, 'file country cannot afford it. It is disaster, and I do not believe the moment this comes home to workmen and emnloyers they will refuse to comply with the urgent demand of tho Government. There must be no delay.
There is another aspect of the question which' it is difficult and dangerous to tackle. There arc all sorts of regulations for restricting output. I will say nothinc about tile merit of this question.- There are reasons why they have been built' up. Hie conditions of employment' and payment are mostly to blame for those restrictions. The workmen had to fieht for them for their own protection, but'in a period of war there is a'suspension of ordinary law. Output is everything in this
This war is not going 'to be fought mainlv on tho battlefields of Belgium and Poland. It is cooing to be fought in the workshops of France and Great Britain; and it must be fought thero under .war conditions. There must be plenty of safeguards and the workman must rret his equivalent, but I do hope ho will help us to get as much out of those workshops as lie can, for the lrfc of tho nation depends on it. Our enemies realise that, and employers and workmen in Germany, aro straining their utmost. France.'fortunately, also realises it. and in that land of free_ institutions, with a Socialist Prime Minister, a Socialist Secretary of State for War, and a Socialist Minister of Marine, the employers and workmen aro subordinating "everything to the protection of their beautiful land. The Lure of the Oink. I have something more to sav about this, and it is unpleasant. I would wish that it were not I, but somebody else that should say it. Most of our workmen aro putting every ounce of strength into this urgent work for i,heir country, loyally and patriotically. But that, is not true of all. There are some, I am sorry to say, who shirk their duty in tin's great emergency. I hear of workinon in armaments works who refuse to work a full week's work for a nation's neod._ "What is the reason? They are a minority. Tho vast majority belong to a class we can depend upon. Tile others arc a minority. Hut, you must remember, a small minority of workmen cau throw a whole works out of gear. What is the reason? Sometimes il, is one tiling. sometimes ii is another, but lot us be oer«,
fcctlv candid. It is mostly the lure of tho drink. They refuse to work full time, and when they return their strength and efficiency are impaired by tho way in which they have spent their leisure. Drink is doing us more damage in the war than all the German submarines put together. What has Russia done? (Cheers.) Russia, knowing her deficiency, knowing how unprepared sho was, said, "I must pull myself together. lam not going to be trampled upon, unready as 1 am. I will use all my resources." What is the first thin" she does? She stops the drink. (Cheers.; I was talking to M. ilark, the Russian Minister of Finance, a. singularly able man, and 1 asked, "What has been the result?" He said, "The productivity of labour, the amount of work which is put out by tho workmen, has gone up between 30 and 50 per cent." (Cheers.) I said, "How do they stand it without their liquor?" and he replied, "Stand it? I have lost revenue over it up to £65,000,000 a year, and we certainly cannot afford it, but if I proposed to put it back there would be a revolution in Russia." That is what the Minister of Finance told me. He i.o!d me that it is entirely attributable to the act of the Tsar himself. It was a bold and courageous step—one ol tho most heroic things in the war. (Cheers.) One afternoon we had to postpone our conference in _ Paris, and the French Minister of Finance said, "I have got to go to the Chamber of Deputies, becauso I am proposing a Bill to abolish absintho." (Cheers.) Absinthe plays the same part in France that whisky plays in this country. It is really the worst form of drink used, not only among workmen, but among other classes as well. Its ravages are terrible. and they abolished it by a. majority of something like 10 to 1 that afternoon. (Cheers.) Moderate, But Fearless. That is how those great countries are facing their responsibilities. We do not propose anything so drastic as that— we are essentially moderate men. (Laughter.) But we are armed with full powers for the Defence of the Realm. We are approaching it, 1 do not mind telling you, for the moment, not from the point of view of people who have been considering this as a social problem—we are approaching it purely from the point of view of these works. We havo got great powers to deal with drink and we mean to use them. (Cheers.) We shall use them in a spirit of moderation, we shall use them discreetly, we shall use them wisely, but ■ we shall use them quite fearlessly—(cheers),—and I have no doubt that, as the country's needs demand it, the country will support our action and will allow no indulgence of that kind to interfere with its prospects in this terrible war which 'has been thrust upon us.
There are three things I want ,vou to bear in mind. The first is—and I want to get this into the minds of everyone—that. we are at war; - the second, that it is the greatest war that has ever been fought hy this.or by any other country; and the other that the destinies of your country and the future of'the human race for generations to-come depend upon .the outcome of this war. What aoes it mean were Germany to win? It means world I oower for t'he worst elements in Germany, not for Germany. The Germans are an intelligent race, they .are undoubtedly' a cultivated race, they are a Tace of men- who have-been responsible for great ideas in this world. But this would mean the dominance of the worst elements amongst them. If you think I am exaggerating just you read for the moment extracts from the articles in the newspapers which are in the ascendancy now in Germany about tho settlement which they expect'after this war. If Germany were triumphant in this war it would practically he the dictator of the international polioy of the world. Its spirit would be in the ascendant. Its dootrines would be in the. ascendant ;' hut' the sheer _ power of, its will it would bend the minds of men in its own fashion. Germanism in its later and worst form would be tho inspiriting' thought and philosophy of the hour.
France After 1870. Do you remember what happened to France after 1870? The German Armies left France, but all t'he same for years after that, and while France was building up her Army, she stood in cowering terror of this monster. Even after her great army was built France was oppressed with a constant anxiety as to what might happen. Germany dismissed her ministers. _ Had it not been for the intervention of Queen Victoria in 1874, the French Army would never have been allowed to be reconstructed, and France would simply have been the humble slave of Germany lo this hour. What a condition for a country! And now Franoe is fighting, not so much to recover her lost provinces; she is fighting to recover her self-respect and her national independence; she is fighting to shake off this nightmare that has been on her soul for over a generation—(cheers) —a France with Germany _ constantly meddling, bullying, and interfering. And that is what would happen if Russia were trampled upon, France broken, Britain disarmed. We should be left without any means to defend ourselves. We might 'have a Navy that would enable us, perhaps, to resent insult from Nicaragua—(laughter)—we might have just enough troops, perhaps, to confront the Mad Mullah—l mean the African specimen. (Loud laughter.) The Position of Amerloa. Where would the chivalrous country be to step in to protect us as we protected _France in 1874? America? If countries like Russia- and France, witli their huge armies, and the most powerful Navy in the world could not face this terrible' military'machine, if it breaks that combination, how can America step in? It would be. more than America, oan do to defend her own interests. cn her own continent if Germany is triumphant. They are more unready than wo were. Ah! but what manner of Germany would we be subordinate to? There has been a struggle going on in Germany for over 30 years between its best. and its worst elements. It is.like that great struggle which is depicted, I think, in one of AVagner's great operas _ between ■ the good and the evil spirit for the possession of the man's soul. That great struggle has been going on in Germany for 30 or 40 years. At each successive General Election-the better elements seemed to be getting the upper hand, and I do not mind saying I was one of those who believed they were going to win. I thought they were going to snatch the soul of Germany— it is worth saving, it is a great, powerful soul—l thought they were going to have it. So a dead military caste said, "We will have none of this," and they plunged Europe into seas of blood. Hope was again shattered. Those worst elements will emerge triumphant out of this war if Germany wins. The Chariot of Destruction. What does that mean? We shall bo vassals, not to the best Germany, not to the Germany of sweet songs and inspiring, noble thoughts—not to the Germany of scienco consecrated to the service of man, not to tho Germany of a virile philosophy that helped to break tho shackles of superstition in Europo —not to that Germany, but to a Germany that talked through tbe raucous voice of Krupp's artillery, a Germany that has harnessed science to the chariot of destruction and of death, the Germany of a philosophy of force, violence, and brutality, a Germany that would quench every spark of freedom cither in its own land or in any other country in rivers of blood. T make no apology on a day consccratcd to tho CtcatosL Siiu'ilicn fur coming hare lo
preach a holy war against that. (Great cheering.) A Task for Each. Concluding this speech, in Welsh, Mr. Lloyd George snidWar is a time of sacrifice and of service. Some can render one service, sorno another, some hero and some there. Some can render great assistance, othors but little. There is not one who cannot lielp in eoiue measure, whether it bo only by enduring cheerfully liis share of tho discomfort. lii the old Welsh legend there is a story of a man who was given a series of what appeared to bo impossible tasks to perform ere lie could reacb the desires of his heart. Amongst other things ho had to do was to recover every grain of seed that had been sown in a large field and bring it all in without one missing by sunset. He came to an ant-hill and won all the hearts and enlisted the sympathies of the industrious little people. They spread over the field, and before sundown the seed was all in except one, and as the sun was setting over tho western skies a lame ant hobbled along with that grain also. Some of us have youth and vigour and suppleness of limb; some of us are crippled with years or infirmities, and wo are at beat but little ants. But we can all limp along with some share of our country's burden, and thus help her in this terrible hour to win the desire of her heart. (Loud cheers.)
Mr. Lloyd George and his party returned after the meeting to Llandudno, where to-day he will inspect the Ist Brigade of the Welsh Army Corps.
THE-DIRE NEED OF BRITAIN, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2432, 10 April 1915
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