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MR LLOYD GEORGE'S APPEAL, Issue 15680, 19 December 1914
MR LLOYD GEORGE'S APPEAL
■ ■ • • TO THE YOUNG MEN OF BRITAIN. GERMANY'S PREMEDITATED TREACHERY. "PELL ON A HEDGEHOG, NOT A RABBIT." At the City Temple on November 10, before a great gathering of Free Church representatives, the Chancellor of the Ex►iequex, who received a great ovation, Said:—lt is a great wrench for most .of ns, who hafa during the whole of our Uvea been fighting againbl militarism, to be driven by irresist-ple force of conscience to sepport a war. I should say that all of us belong to that secton of the population of this country whose tradition has for generations been one of consistent inveteiate resistance to the idea of war as a means of settling disputes between nations. I think this is the second meeting I have ever addressed in my life in support of a war. I have addressed icores and hundreds against war and preparations for war. I recollect a meeting which I addressed with my friend Dr Clifford in opposition to a war; but it was not aa peaceable a meeting as this — [laughter); by no means as unanimous. It waa a meeting convened to support sractly tho same principle—the principle of opposition to tho ideal that great and powerful Empires ought to have the right to use their might to crush small nationalities. We might have been right, we might have been wrong, but the principle which has drawn me to resist even our own country ia the one that has brought me here to'nijht to support my country. This is a terrible war. It k a horrible war. All wars are horrible. Within the last frw days it ha* been my piivilage to meet one o"f the greatest generals in the French army, and to talk to him of his experiences in the var, and what he had witnessed of the carnage, the wear, the terror, and he said to mo: "The man who is responsible for this war has the soul of a devil." That came from the heart of one of the greatest strategists in the French army, which has been fighting for three months. —No Designs on Germany.— "The man who is responsible." Who is responsible? "Not Great Britain. Biitain armed for defence. (Cheers ) meditated a war of aggression against anybody, do you think we should have to improvise an army after the war began? We were not equipped for a war of aggression, not even against a military Power of the third rank. We were prepared for defence against all the military Powers of the world put together. We j had no army for Continental warfare. I could tell you more than that. We have raised altogether hendreds of thousands of men who have volunteered—(cheers) — don't forget this—for the honor of our native land. It is the greatest yoluntary army that the world has ever raised, and in a few months wo shall double it. But • this is what I want to impress upon everyone: Had this been an aggressive war" we could not have raised one-tenth of that number. When this war broke out' we wero on better terms with Germany than wo had been for 15 years. There was not a man in the Cabinet who
thought thai war with Germany was a possibility under present condition?. Our relations*had improved. There was not a diplomatic clcrad over the German Ocean. We harbored no designs against Ocrmanv. We mediated no quarrel with Germany. As the Lord liveth. we had entered into no conspiracy against Germany. (Cheers.) We were not en wine her territory; fro sought not a yard of her colonies We are :<i this war from motives of pan rivalry to defend the weak. Britain is >• responsible for this war, and thank G~d for that! Who is responsible' Not The Government of France was essentially a Pac'ficist Government. The French people abhorred the idea of war, and the Government shared to the full their horror. Not France. No* Bufifia. Why, it i 3 an essential part of the German case that Russia would not be ready for war for three rears. That is their bonst; that is - wire- th-y attacked her. Then Bussia could not" have provoked the war. Read and read again the despatches of dot Ambassador at Vienna. The quarrel ostensibly was between A"stria and Russia. Sir Edward Grey labored anxiously for peace. No man could have wrTked harder than he did for peace, and if there is bloodshed there is not a stain of blood upon Sir Edward Grey's hand. He suggested a European Conference to discuss these matters. —"The Vulture Over Belgium."— Gennanv said: "Don't yon think it ■would be'better for Austria and Bussia to talk the matter over amongst themselves. We aTe only suggesting the best way of settling this dispute." Sir Edward Grey said "Yes; that seems a very sensible idea." Bussia and Austria met. They were actually discussing matters amongst themselves and getting on admirably, so admirably that Germany got alarmed. She declared war on Russia, and although the dispute was ostensibly between Bussia and Austria, it was only six days afterwards that war was declared between Russia and Austria, and that was because Germany had . lroaly started, not Russia. Belgium or ckmn? Did the poor victim of th» bird of prey, did it really commence hostilities? Now, look hack and see what happened. You can see Austria hovering like a hawk over the Balkan fields, and if you are countrybred you know what that means. You know it won't be long before it swoops down and some poor helpless creature ■will be quivering in its talons. —The German VuUuto.— The vulture had been hanging over Belgium, for some time. We know that now. We made a mistake. It soared so high that even the most discerning falcon might have made a mistake—thought it •was pouncing on a rabbit, and fell on a hedgehog—(loud laughter and cheers) — bleeding and sore ever since. (Cheers.) We know now what it would have been malevolent to suspect before—that the counsellors of Germany, whilst professing peace, whilst pretending good-will, in cold blood, with malice aforethought, had intended, planned, organised wholesale the murder of peaceable neighbors, had even arranged the date to suit themselves—(laughter)—a date when, they thought, their neighbors would 'be quite unprepared to defend their Uvea and their homos. If this wanton deed of premeditated treachery against humanity is to pass unchallenged by the nations of the world, then let us admit that civilisation is a failure, that the sceptre of right ie broken, and that forces—brute force—is once more enthroned amongst the nations. —Britain's Justification. — It may he said it is not enough to Erove that Germany is in the wrong. We ave to justify Great Britain in embarking on a gigantic war which will tax to the utmost her resources—material, money, men—and leave her impoverished at the end of the struggle. Now, let us consider this. We all know the consequences would be tremendous. For the moment the consequences are incalculable. So much so, we had no right to have gone Into this war without the most overwhelming reasons. The sacrifice of human life is appalling. The suffering it is impossible to estimate. The waste is so prodigious that, after three months, it has not ceased to shock. The wealth harvested in vein of peace by hard and anxious toil is thrown into the flames of war to intensify their consuming fury. Whoever says that we ought not to have enteted into this war without the most overpowering reasons I am entirely with him. Now, there are men who maintain that r*ff is not justifiable under any conditio*: There are men who maintain that position, even if your house is attacked, if your country is invaded and threatened with oppression, if you had a second William the Conqueror landing in this island —not a very likely contingency —one or two accidents that have hap- I pened to-day have made that prospect a little more remote. (Cheers.) But sup- I posing yon had a William the Conqueror j faTiHing again, who destroyed the State, imposed his own language, his own laws, his own rule,, upon this country,, ravaged i . and destroyed it as another William the Conqueror ha* dona ia BeMmnv. ihexe andU
men who carry that doctrine so far as tc say that even under those conditions you ought never to use a weapon to defend four self or your home, or your country, have great respect for them, but I am afraid that I shall never be able to attain in this world quite that altitude ol idealism. —Right to Strike for Justice.— May I just say one or two words about that ? It was not the creed, aa your chairman reminded us, of the Puritan Fathers. I maintain it is not the principle of the Christian faith. That faith deprecate* revenge, it deprecates retaliation, but I never read a saying of the Master's which would condemn a man for striking a blow for right, justice, or tho protection of the weak. To carry those principles too fai is just the way to destroy the possibility of their ever becoming realised. To precipitate ideals is to retard their advent. We are all looking forward to the time when swords shall be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks, and nation cannot rise up against nation, and there will be no more war. —Unready for Universal Peace. — But as long as there are nations and empires that beat ploughshares into swords, and pruning hooks into spears in order to prey upon nations of ploughers and pruners living alongside them, to disarm would then be to delay a period that we are all praying for. The surest method of establishing a reign of peace on earth is by making the way of the transgressor of the peace of nations too hard for the rulers of men to troad it. That is what wb are engaged in doing now. Most men, every real man, would defend his own home, his own life and liberty, and the lives, the liberty, and the honor of those who have been committed to his care. But supposing that man was a poor little neighbor, a neighbor whom he had sworn to protect, whoso home was broken into bv a hulking bully who robbed him of his goods, attacked him, his wife, his children, burning and murdering and maiming. I ask you what manner of man would he be who looked on calmly without rushing in to help with any weapon at his command? He would be a piece of heartless poltroonery. —An Insulting Demand.— Britain has not been guilty of that. Why was Belgium so maltreated? What was her offence? She had refused to_ allow Geimany to march through her territories to attack a good neighbor of Belgium. Fiance and Belgium are very good hcighl)or»; they are khsnien in race and religion, and to a hvrge extent in language, and France was fully shielded and protected on every frontier, except that which faces Belgium. Germany's demand was a demand put forward." in defiance of j treaty obligations with Belgium, to ga ; :i facilities to drive a datger into the heart of a, good n.'ishbor, France, through her unprotected side. —An Infamous Proposal.— A meaner, shabbier, more cowardly request was never addressed to anyone. Belj gium was to be nominally neutral, but BclI gian roads, Belgian rivers and railways were to take sides, and in modern warfare railways are more formidable weapons than rivers. That is Germany's proposal to BelI gium. Can you conceive a more degrading suggestion, 6r a more insulting one, being addressed to rany nation? Had Belgium assented to it, I aek any German, either in this or any other land, whether Belgium, if she had acceded to that request, would not have covered herself with eternal shame? Belgium has refused to bring that dishonor upon her name. She has preferred to face) the prospect of national annihilation, and every decent main or woman throughout the civilised world will applaud the nobility of her action. —Agony of a Brave People.— Wa know what she is enduring at this present moment; it is too pitiful a etory to relate. We are witnessing the agony of a brave little people suffering for the ri^ht —their cities and their villages destroyed, their population scattered. A Belgian statesman told me that there were three time 6 as many old people, woman and children destroyed in Belgium as there were soldiers in her gallant army. (Cries of "Shame.") They have paid ransom to Geimany ; thay have given their goods to Germany—that has net saved them. You will remember that when' Alaric the Goth went to Rome and waa about to take it, a deputation of the besieged citizens visited him. He put his demands very high, and they said to him : "If such, U King, are vnur demands, what do you intend to leave us?" The haughty barbarian replied: ''Your lives." lie was a better man than his successor. Three times as many helpless people have been slaughtered by this great cultured empire. They
have robbed them of their food j to maintain their army. They are j now begging to America and saying " You feed tb?m." It was not America ' who devastated their land. There arc J multitudes dying of hunger there under ; the banner of this great, proud empire. I ] wish this were all. I cannot repeat all thy authenticated stories that are told of German rule in Belgium. I wish they were not true, for the~'aonor of civilisation, for the honor of humanity. Cromwell once said: " There is some contentment in tha hand by which a man falls. It is somo satiifaction, if a commonwealth must fait, that- it parish by men, and not by tha hand of differing little from beasts." That is Cromwell's judgment on the devastation of Belgium and all this savagery perpetrated on a harmless little : country by their big neighbor, who had solemnly passed her word to protect them. | There must bo a revised version of one > pateago of the scripture for Belgium: < "Who is thy neighbor? Thy neighbor is : he who falls on thee like a tldel, strips ; thee and wounds thee, and leaves theo half doad." If Britain, after passing her word, had left that little country bleeding on tho roadside without attempting to rescue her, tho infamy of Germany would | bo shared by the British Empire. —Settling with the Turk.— j But we have been assailed by another . national exponent, of the higher culture — ; Turkey. I "notice the same characteristics, f There is the same contempt for the elements, for the decencies of international wav —harmless towns, defenceless towns, bombarded without any motive. We did our best to avoid a quarrel. No one coulr! have shown more patience in the face of insults and injuries that I could , detail to you bv tho hour. This Great Britain diet in tho face of ; the treatment which was accorded to us by this miserable, wretched, contemptible eni- . pire on tho Bosphorus. It filled us with disdain and scorn that wo ehould havo to endure even foi a day tho insult of the Turk. Ah! but the quarrel has been taken out of our hands. We were in the hands of fate, and the hour has struck on the j great clock of destiny for settling accounts j with tho Turk. I am not thinking of him j as an enemy of Christendom. There is,-no more futile method of settling the conflicts of creed than a war. We are not righting Mohammedanism but the Turk. As a very distinguished Mohammedan gentleman, who is very loyal to the British Empire, said ! to me"the"other day—after all the British Empire is the preatest Mohammedan empire in tho world—"The- Ottoman empire is just a second-rate Mohammedan Power, j although it gives itself tho air 3 of the leadership of the whole Mohammedan world." Tho Turk is tho greatest enemy of his own faith, because he has discredited it by misgovernment. —Turks of East and West. — What have the Turks contributed eitl*er to culture to art, or to any aspect of human progress that you can think of? ' They are a human cancer—a creeping agony in the flesh of tho lands which they misgoverned, and rotting every fibre of life. They have ruled over most, of the countries which were the cradle of 1 civilisation. Those lands were once tho most fruitful and most abundant in the world. They were the granaries of the East and West alike. In turn they have been governed by Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, and Greeks, and Romans. All were tyrants, but they left those lands prosperous, abundant, luxuriant. What about tha Turk! He come* to these plenteous lands, and the tread of his blood-stained sandal scorches and withers tho life and fertility of whole territories—every blade shrivelled up within thousands of square miles. Ah! tho sight of this JSorjon has turned bounteous plains and
valleys Into stony deserts, and the people he subjugated to his rulo have for centuries been the victims of his indolence, incompetence, and lost. And now that the great day of reckoning has come upon the nation I am glad. I am glad the Tnrk is to be called to a final account for his long record of infamy against humanity in this gigantic battle between right and wrong. It is meet that the Turks should march iiito action shoulder to shoulder with the devastators of Belgium. They have made themselves fit comrades—the ravagers of Armenia and the desolators of Flanders; tho Turk of the East and the Turk of the West-y (laughter and cheers) —both ruthless military Empires, with only one god, and that is violence. Their downfall will bring gladness, security, and peace to a world which for generations has been oppressed and darkened by their grim presence. —World's Costliest War.— All this great war involves tremendous exertions, immense sacrifices, sacrifices of wealth, with all that that means. You cannot have a war like this without an enormous drain upon the resources of this country, and this war is expensive beyond any war that has ever been seen in this world. I shall have to present the bill either this week or next week. lam sure, although you will be appalled, you will not quail. As Lord Kitchener has said, above all we need men, and the more men who come forward quickly the sooner the war will be over. Apart from the fact that you can put more men into tho field, the mere knowledge that Great Britain has. say, two millions of men who could, after a few months' training, be put into the field, would in itself be an element at the right moment in bringing about peace. Those men who are declining to place their services at the disposal of their country are prolonging their country's agony. The more men who come in the more it ensures victory and the more it hastens peace. There are far too many men who aro prepared to vote for war, to uphold the national honor of this countrv, but are content to send others and tho children of others to face the perils of that war. There are honest pacificists who disapprove of all wars, and who are prepared to endue the contumely, the scorn, the anger, and the fury of their neighbors for their opinions. Those I respect. But those who approve of the war, and think it is the duty of others to make all the necessary sacrifices to bring it to a triumphant end, those men I must crave leave to despise. " Yes. let others give up tho sons of whom they are proud and fond." i Why should they surrender the children I of their hearts to peril for their country's ■sake? The parents who present such" a , standard of duty to their children, and j teach them at the start of life a lesson of duty shirked, are traitors to the most 1 sacred of trusts, traitors to their country —yea, traitors to their children. As for the young and vigorous, I have a word to say to them. A few of them are asking why should they be called upon to pledge their lives upon the altar of their coun- | Are there not plenty of young men | available who aro eager to do so, without ! dragging their precious lives into the zone jof danger'/ Yes, there arc, thank God. It is only the minority of the people who ! are cowards. All the same, unless the j men and women of this country are preI pared to tender all they pessess and all j thoy can command'to help their land in j this most fateful hour of its destiny, then
Britain is indeed doomed, for she will stand alone in the world—alone, as the only land whose children are not prepared to sacrifice themselves for her honor. I should despair of my country if I thought that were true. Frenchmen are willingly, gladly, ardently rushing forward to give all they own to the land whose glory is dearer to them than life. Let us be fair. The Germans are doing it, and if Germany with such a case, if her sons can do it, cannot Britain, fighting one of the most chivalrous battles tho world has ever seen, can she not rely upon her children to rally to her honored flag? That is tho appeal I am making to the young men of tho Nonconformist Churches. —New Call for Men.— I hope that within the next few days I there will be a call for another large conj tingent of men. I should like to see each county called upon for its quota—(hear, hear) —that, every town, every city, every area should know what is expected of her. All our right 3 have been won, and our i:bertie3, by men who counted their lives as nothing so Ion" as their country and their faith were free. In those days when we were winning the battles of religious persecution in this country there were shirkers. Their cowardice did not save them from the tomb. It is appointed that men I should once die, and after that the Judgment. Brave men have died, but they need not fear judgment. I think we are too ready to scoff at creeds that promise the glories of their ) aradisc to those who die for th° cause or for the country they are devoted to. It 16 but a crude expression of truth which is the foundation of their preat faith that sacrifice is ever the surest road to redemption. —Germany's Great Error.— I havo but one final word to say. It is this: What are we fighting for? I will tell you one thing wo are fichting for above all. I am not deprecating limited preparations when I attack militarism. Until there is a more complete understanding amongst the nations every country rmicit be prepared to defend its own rights and interest.-; and liberties. I have been responsible for rinding larger sums of money for the defence of this country than any of my predecessors, and handeomely have I been abused for it. I have no doubt that I thou?ht from time to time economy was unite compatible ivith efficiency. I am not deprecating for the moment* a country preparing itself years in advance for the defence of its rights ; but there is .1 sort of militarism—that of which Germany is the centre—which maintains that in fanguinary disputes bet«ve§h nations prepar-t : on for war is the only thing that counts, and that the rights "and wrongs of the dispute are a mnt'er of insignificance. That is the hnsis upon which she calculated when she invaded B lg"um. She was wrone- She thought th? military efficiency of the plan was everything, and thnt the ritrhteoufness of it? details was nothing. It is essential, in the interests of the moral eood government of tho world for the fi't.-re, thot slnnd-r upon dost'nv should be nail'd for f.ll to thf> counter. TV fundanien'al error of the German calculation is becoming more ar.d mora manifest wtt da v. They are beginninT to Teniae that iustice is the greatest of nil military asset*. —" Golden Morrow at Hand."— The wrongful invasion of Belg'um—they admit it was wrong—the trampling upon the rights of a email nationality, has become a military weakness to them. That ie manifest now. It is becnnv'ng more manifest day by day. In a long struggle it is the heart that tells, and injustice weakens the heart of nations. They cannot endure, and this war ifl demonstrating that the justice of a nation's cause is in itself a military equipment of the first magnitude and importance. Sometimes when I read the reports 1 feel perplexed and baffled. I see accounts of advances hero and retirements there, of victories in this spot and mishaps in another; but through it all I think I can see the hand of justice more sure, gradual, slow but certain, grippine the victory, "'"jvn'cnman, what of the night?" It is st;ll darkana the cries of ra<?e and anguish still rend the air; but the golden mnrmw is at. hand, and the valiant vouth of Britain will return from the stricken fi'-lds of Europe, where the ; r heroism has proclaimed to the wirld that justice is the best sustenance for valor, r.nd that their valor has won a lasting triumph for justice. (Loud cheers,)
MR LLOYD GEORGE'S APPEAL, Issue 15680, 19 December 1914
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