Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/323

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Great Speeches of the War

world, and from that in the New Year to something like half a million of men, and from that again, when the early summer begins in 1915 to the full figure of 25 Army Corps, fighting in the line together. The vast population of these islands and the Empire is pressing forward to serve. The wealth of the whole of Britain and her Colonies is available. The Navy opens the sea routes to you, and every commodity needed for the preparation of war material or for the equipment of fighting men can be drawn from the uttermost ends of the earth. Why should we hesitate? Here is a sure and certain power of ending this war in the way we mean it to end. [Cheers.] There is little doubt that an army so formed will, in quality and in character, in native energy, and in the comprehension which each individual in it has of the cause for which he is fighting, exceed in merit any army in the world. And it has only to have a chance with even numbers, or anything approaching even numbers—[cheers]—to demonstrate the superiority of free-thinking, active citizens over the docile sheep who serve the ferocious ambitions of despotic Kings. [Cheers.] Our enemies are, at the point which we have now reached, fully extended. On every front of the enormous field of conflict the pressure upon them is such that all their resources are deployed. With every addition to the growing weight of the Russian attack—[cheers]—with every addition to the forces at the disposal of Sir John French, the balance must set down increasingly against them. You have only to create steadily, week after week, and month after month, the great military instruments of which I have been speaking, to throw into the scales a weight which must be decisive.

There will be no corresponding reserve of manhood upon which Germany can draw; there will be no corresponding force of soldiers and of equipment and of war material which can be brought into line to face the forces which we in this island and in this Empire can undoubtedly create and which will turn the scale and eventually decide the issue. Of course, if victory comes sooner, so much the better. [Cheers.] But let us not count on fortune and good luck. Let us assume at every point that things will go much less well than we hope and wish. Let us make arrangements which will override that. [Cheers.] We have it in our power to make such arrangements, and it is only common prudence, aye, and common humanity to take the steps which at any rate will fix some certain term to this devastating struggle throughout