[British Library of Information]
I have taken occasion to speak to you tonight because we have reached
one of the climacterics of the war. In the first of these intense turning
points, a year ago, France fell prostrate under the German hammer and
we had to face the storm alone.
The second was when the Royal Air Force beat the Hun raiders out of
the daylight air raid and thus warded off the Nazi invasion of our islands
while we were still ill-armed and ill-prepared.
The third turning point was when the President and Congress of the
United States passed the lease and lend enactment, devoting nearly 2,000,000,000
sterling of the wealth of the New World to help us defend our liberties
and their own.
Those were the three climacterics.
The fourth is now upon us.
At 4 o'clock this morning Hitler attacked and invaded Russia. All his
usual formalities of perfidy were observed with scrupulous technique.
A non-aggression treaty had been solemnly signed and was in force between
the two countries. No complaint had been made by Germany of its non-fulfillment.
Under its cloak of false confidence the German armies drew up in immense
strength along a line which stretched from the White Sea to the Black
Sea and their air fleets and armoured divisions slowly and methodically
took up their stations.
Then, suddenly, without declaration of war, without even an ultimatum,
the German bombs rained down from the sky upon the Russian cities; the
German troops violated the Russian frontiers and an hour later the German
Ambassador, who till the night before was lavishing his assurances of
friendship, almost of alliance, upon the Russians, called upon the Russian
Foreign Minister to tell him that a state of war existed between Germany
Thus was repeated on a far larger scale the same kind of outrage against
every form of signed compact and international faith which we have witnessed
in Norway, in Denmark, in Holland, in Belgium and which Hitler's accomplice
and jackal, Mussolini, so faithfully imitated in the case of Greece.
All this was no surprise to me. In fact I gave clear and precise warnings
to Stalin of what was coming. I gave him warnings, as I have given warnings
to others before. I can only hope that these warnings did not fall unheeded.
All we know at present is that the Russian people are defending their
native soil and that their leaders have called upon them to resist to
Hitler is a monster of wickedness, insatiable in his lust for blood
and plunder. Not content with having all Europe under his heel or else
terrorized into various forms of abject submission, he must now carry
his work of butchery and desolation among the vast multitudes of Russia
and of Asia. The terrible military machine which we and the rest of
the civilized world so foolishly, so supinely, so insensately allowed
the Nazi gangsters to build up year by year from almost nothing-this
machine cannot stand idle, lest it rust or fall to pieces. It must be
in continual motion, grinding up human lives and trampling down the
homes and the rights of hundreds of millions of men.
Moreover, it must be fed not only with flesh but with oil. So now this
bloodthirsty guttersnipe must launch his mechanized armies upon new
fields of slaughter, pillage and devastation. Poor as are the Russian
peasants, workmen and soldiers, he must steal from them their daily
bread. He must devour their harvests. He must rob them of the oil which
drives their ploughs and thus produce a famine without example in human
And even the carnage and ruin which his victory, should he gain it-though
he's not gained it yet-will bring upon the Russian people, will itself
be only a stepping stone to the attempt to plunge four or five hundred
millions who live in China and the 350,000,000 who live in India into
that bottomless pit of human degradation over which the diabolic emblem
of the swastika flaunts itself.
It is not too much to say here this pleasant summer evening that the
lives and happiness of a thousand million additional human beings are
now menaced with brutal Nazi violence. That is enough to make us hold
But presently I shall show you something else that lies behind and
something that touches very nearly the life of Britain and of the United
The Nazi regime is indistinguishable from the worst features of Communism.
It is devoid of all theme and principle except appetite and racial domination.
It excels in all forms of human wickedness, in the efficiency of its
cruelty and ferocious aggression. Noone has been a more consistent opponent
of Communism than I have for the last twenty-five years. I will unsay
no words that I've spoken about it. But all this fades away before the
spectacle which is now unfolding.
The past, with its crimes, its follies and its tragedies, flashes away.
I see the Russian soldiers standing on the threshold of their native
land, guarding the fields which their fathers have tilled from time
immemorial. I see them guarding their homes; their mothers and wives
pray, ah yes, for there are times when all pray for the safety of their
loved ones, for the return of the breadwinner, of the champion, of their
I see the 10,000 villages of Russia, where the means of existence was
wrung so hardly from the soil, but where there are still primordial
human joys, where maidens laugh and children play I see advancing upon
all this, in hideous onslaught, the Nazi war machine, with its clanking,
heel-clicking, dandified Prussian officers, its crafty expert agents,
fresh from the cowing and tying down of a dozen countries. I see also
the dull, drilled, docile brutish masses of the Hun soldiery, plodding
on like a swarm of crawling locusts. I see the German bombers and fighters
in the sky, still smarting from many a British whipping, so delighted
to find what they believe is an easier and a safer prey. And behind
all this glare, behind all this storm, I see that small group of villainous
men who planned, organized and launched this cataract of horrors upon
And then my mind goes back across the years to the days when the Russian
armies were our Allies against the same deadly foe when they fought
with so much valor and constancy and helped to gain a victory, from
all share in which, alas, they were, through no fault of ours, utterly
I have lived through all this and you will pardon me if I express my
feelings and the stir of old memories. But now I have to declare the
decision of His Majesty's Government, and I feel sure it is a decision
in which the great Dominions will, in due course, concur. And that we
must speak of now, at once, without a day's delay. I have to make the
declaration, but can you doubt what our policy will be?
We have but one aim and one single irrevocable purpose. We are resolved
to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi regime. From this nothing
will turn us. Nothing. We will never parley; we will never negotiate
with Hitler or any of his gang. We shall fight him by land; we shall
fight him by sea; we shall fight him in the air, until, with God's help,
we have rid the earth of his shadow and liberated its people from his
Any man or State who fights against Nazism will have our aid. Any man
or State who marches with Hitler is our foe. This applies not only to
organized States but to all representatives of that vile race of Quislings
who make themselves the tools and agents of the Nazi regime against
their fellow-countrymen and against the lands of their births. These
Quislings, like the Nazi leaders themselves, if not disposed of by their
fellow-countrymen, which would save trouble, will be delivered by us
on the morrow of victory to the justice of the Allied tribunals. That
is our policy and that is our declaration.
It follows, therefore, that we shall give whatever help we can to Russia
and to the Russian people. We shall appeal to all our friends and Allies
in every part of the world to take the same course and pursue it as
we shall, faithfully and steadfastly to the end.
We have offered to the Government of Soviet Russia any technical or
economic assistance which is in our power and which is likely to be
of service to them. We shall bomb Germany by day as well as by night
in ever-increasing measure, casting upon them month by month a heavier
discharge of bombs and making the German people taste and gulp each
month a sharper dose of the miseries they have showered upon mankind.
It is noteworthy that only yesterday the Royal Air Force, striking
inland over France, cut down with very small loss to themselves twenty-eight
of the Hun fighting machines in the air above the French soil they have
invaded, defiled and profess to hold.
But this is only a beginning. From now henceforward the main expansion
of our air force proceeds with gathering speed. In another six months
the weight of the help we are receiving from the United States in war
materials of all kinds, especially in heavy bombers, will begin to tell.
This is no class war. It is a war in which the whole British Empire
and Commonwealth of Nations is engaged without distinction of race,
creed or party.
It is not for me to speak of the action of the United States, but this
I will say: If Hitler imagines that his attack on Soviet Russia will
cause the slightest division of aims or slackening of effort in the
great democracies, who are resolved upon his doom, he is woefully mistaken.
On the contrary, we shall be fortified and encouraged in our efforts
to rescue mankind from his tyranny. We shall be strengthened and not
weakened in our determination and in our resources.
This is no time to moralize upon the follies of countries and governments
which have allowed themselves to be struck down one by one when by united
action they could so easily have saved themselves and saved the world
from this catastrophe.
But, when I spoke a few minutes ago of Hitler's bloodlust and the hateful
appetites which have impelled or lured him on his Russian adventure,
I said there was one deeper motive behind his outrage. He wishes to
destroy the Russian power because he hopes that if he succeeds in this
he will be able to bring back the main strength of his army and air
force from the East and hurl it upon this island, which he knows he
must conquer or suffer the penalty of his crimes.
His invasion of Russia is no more than a prelude to an attempted invasion
of the British Isles. He hopes, no doubt, that all this may be accomplished
before the Winter comes and that he can overwhelm Great Britain before
the fleets and air power of the United States will intervene. He hopes
that he may once again repeat upon a greater scale than ever before
that process of destroying his enemies one by one, by which he has so
long thrived and prospered, and that then the scene will be clear for
the final act, without which all his conquests would be in vain, namely,
the subjugation of the Western Hemisphere to his will and to his system.
The Russian danger is therefore our danger and the danger of the United
States just as the cause of any Russian fighting for his hearth and
home is the cause of free men and free peoples in every quarter of the
Let us learn the lessons already taught by such cruel experience. Let
us redouble our exertions and strike with united strength while life
and power remain.