The Great War, I was there - Part 1

BRITAIN’S GREAT WAR LEADER I H E Empire was fortunate in finding in the Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George a war leader of immense strength and dauntless spirit. It was due to him that the British armies in the field were the best equipped, the best rationed, and, in the end, commanded the best supply of munitions. The dramatic words which follow are from his classic 'War Memoirs,’ here printed by permission of the author and his publishers, Messrs. Ivor Nicholson &Watson LLOYD GEORGE TODAY Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer in 191-1, averted the financial crisis which followed the threat of war. He became Minister of Munitions in 1915 when the annual output of shells was twenty-three millions. By the end of 1917 it had risen to the vast total of one hundred and seventy-two millions. 6 com !The deep notes of Big Ben rang out into the night the first strokes in Britain’s most fateful hour since she arose out of the deep. A shuddering silence fell upon the Cabinet room. Every face was suddenly contracted in a painful intensity. “Doom !”“Doom !”“Doom !”to the last stroke. The big clock echoed in our ears like the hammer of destiny. What destiny ?Who could tell ?We had challenged the most powerful military empire the world has yet brought forth. France was too weak alone to challenge its might and Russia was ill-organized, ill-equipped, corrupt. We knew what brunt Britain would have to bear. Could she stand it ?There was no doubt or hesitation in any breast. But let it be admitted without shame that a thrill of horror quickened every pulse. Did we know that before peace would be restored to Europe we should have to wade through four years of the most concentrated slaughter, mutila­tion, suffering, devastation, and savagery which mankind has ever witnessed? That twelve millions of the gallant youth of the nations would be slain, that another twenty millions would be mutilated ?That Europe would be crushed under the weight of a colossal war debt ?That only one empire would stand the shock? That the three other glittering empires of the world would have been flung to the dust, and shat­tered beyond repair ?That revolution, famine, and anarchy would sweep over half Europe, and that their menace would scorch the rest of this hapless continent ?Has the full tale yet been told ?Who can tell ?But had we foreseen it all on the 4th of August we could have done 110 other ...Soon after we dispersed. There was nothing more to say that night. Tomorrow would bring us novel tasks and new bearings. As I left I felt alike man standing 011 a planet that had been suddenly wrenched from its orbit by a demoniac hand and that was spinning wildly into the unknown. MAKING A WAR-TIME SPEECH Lloyd George became Prime Minister in January, 1916, and during the succeeding two years of the war he gained the. p Empire’s implicit confidence. Mere he is making one of his fighting speeches at Thame, in Oxfordshire.
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