Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/309

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Great Speeches of the War

due time the terms of peace will be put forward by our Allies in concert with us—in accordance with the alliance that exists between us—and published to the world. One essential condition must be the restoration to Belgium of her independence, national life, and free possession of her territory—[cheers]—and reparation to her as far as reparation is possible for the cruel wrong done to her. [Cheers.] That is part of the great issue for which we, with our Allies, are contending, and the great part of the issue is this: We wish the nations of Europe to be free to live their independent lives, working out their own form of government for themselves, and their own national development, whether they be great nations or small states, in full liberty. This is our ideal. The German ideal—we have had it poured out by German professors and publicists since the war began—is that of the Germans as a superior people, to whom all things are lawful in the securing of their own power, against whom resistance of any sort is unlawful—a people establishing a domination over the nations of the Continent, imposing a peace which is not to be liberty for every nation but subservience to Germany. I would rather perish or leave the Continent altogether than live in it under such conditions. [Cheers.]

After this war we and the other nations of Europe must be free to live, not menaced continually by talk of "supreme war lords," and "shining armour," and the sword continually "rattled in the scabbard," and Heaven continually invoked as the accomplice of Germany, and not having our policy dictated and our national destinies and activities controlled by the military caste of Prussia. [Cheers.] We claim for ourselves and our Allies claim for themselves, and together we will secure for Europe, the right of independent sovereignty for the different nations, the right to pursue a national existence, not in the shadow of Prussian hegemony and supremacy, but in the light of equal liberty. [Cheers.]

All honour for ever be given from us whom age and circumstances have kept at home to those who have voluntarily come forward to risk their lives, and give their lives on the field of battle on land or on sea. They have their reward in enduring fame and honour. And all honour be given from us to the brave armies and navies of our Allies, who have exhibited such splendid courage and noble patriotism. The admiration they have aroused, and their comradeship in arms, will be an ennobling and enduring memory between us, cement-