The War Illustrated No 39 Vol 2 May 31st 1940

May 51st, 1940 The War Illustrated 591 HISTORIC WORDS Extracted from Authoritative War Speeches and Statements (Continued from page 564) Thursday, May 16 M .REYNA LID, French Premier, in a speech in the Chamber of Deputies: The German Army has unleashed all its forces of destruction against the piyot of our front. They came, all these tanks and aero­ planes, methodically accumulated for so many years, thanks to the indisputable privation of the Germans for the obsession of their leader— war to downbeat France and dominate first Europe and then the world. .Hitler wants to win the war in two months. If he fails, he is doomed and he knows it. That Tuesday, May 14,1940 General Wink elm an, Commander- in-Chief of the Dutch Forces, in a broad­cast statement: Netherlanders— I want to' give you person­ally an explanation of the very serious decision which you have just overheard the wireless. We have had to lay down our arms because we must. We had decided to defend our Father­land to the very limit. Today we have reached that limit. Our soldiers have fought with the courage which will always be beyond compare. In face of the technical methods of the enemy this was not enough. In thousands they have fallen in defence of the liberty of the Netherlands. Our air forces were so reduced that they could no longer support the army. We could not fight against the German superiority in the air. Rotterdam has undergone the sad experience of total war. Utrecht and other cities were threatened in the same way. Practically unsup­ported, except by our own force, we could not see our way to goon fighting. These facts have led tome this very serious decision. We have given up fighting. I realize how much of a shock this news must be to the civilian population. But I represent the Government. I know all that has happened and I have not only the right, but also the duty, to take a indecision the interests of the country. The war was completely one-sided. To have gone on would only have meant that still more innocent victims would have fallen. I cannot tell you how deeply I feel the responsibility for taking this decision. It was impossible to goon. We must put our confidence in the in­destructible powers which always distinguish our people. Our new lot must be carried with courage and determination. We must have confidence in the future. We must show this in our behaviour. We must set ourselves to reconstruct our damaged Country. liveLong her Majesty the Queen live!Long the Fatherland! Wednesday, May 15 QUEEN WILHELMINA, in a broadcast to the peoples of Great Britain and the British Empire: I and my people have always hoped that it would be possible to limit the extent of the European conflict, and that a reasonable basis for a lasting peace could be established in the near future. Today it appears that all our fervent prayers in favour of common under­standing between nations have proved futile. Today we have to admit that no happiness can be expected in this world if those who are solely responsible for the present situation are not definitely checked in their course of unscrupulous destruction and utter disregard of law and the most elementary principles, of morality. After a heroic struggle my nation, that has attempted everything to maintain peace, is being overpowered *by sheer superiority of force. But morally we can never be con­quered. Our spirit will remain unbroken because our conscience is clear. Notwithstanding the great distress that my .people are suffering at the present moment, and the oppression under which they wilK^ve until the country will be free again, I am con­vinced that they will never give up their faith in the cause of freedom and justice. I pray God that our allied because blessed, and that the dawn of the day when freedom will be restored to the Netherlands and to all other victims of German aggression be near. is why, after long hesitation, after affirming that he would let the war mature slowly, he has taken a chance. We are perfectly aware of the danger. We know that the days, weeks, the months to come will forge future centuries. This peril we face unitedly. We must not be content with vain hopes or words. Our soldiers are fighting, French blood is flowing. The times in which we are about to live may perhaps have nothing in common with those through which we have just passed. We shall be called upon to take measures which yesterday might have appeared revolutionary. We may perhaps have to change methods—and men. For any weakness, punishment will come —death. We must immediately forge new hearts for ourselves. We are full of hope, our lives count for nothing. One thing alone counts —the preservation of France. 4 CONQUER WE MUST—CONQUER WE SHALL ’Mr. Winston Churchill’s first broadcast as head o f the Government was made on May 19,1940, at the end o f his first week o f office, and up to then the most momentous week o f the War. We reprint here important passages from this inspiring speech. I speak to you for the first time as Prime Minister in a solemn hour in the life of our country, of our Empire, of our Allies, and, above all, of the cause of freedom. A tremendous battle is raging in France and Flanders. The Germans, by a remarkable combination of air bombing and heavily armoured tanks, have broken through the French defences north of the Maginot Line, and strong columns ‘of their armoured vehicles are ravaging the open country which for the first day or two was without defenders. They have penetrated deeply and spread alarm and confusion in their track. Behind •them are now pouring infantry in lorries, and behind them again large masses are moving forward. ...We must not allow ourselves to be intimi­dated by the presence of these armoured vehicles in unexpected places behind our lines. If they are behind our front the French are also at many points fighting actively behind theirs. It would be foolish, however, to disguise the gravity of the hour. It would be still more foolish to lose heart and courage or to suppose that well-trained, well-equipped armies number­ing three to four millions of men could be over­come within the space of a few weeks or even months by a scoop or raid by mechanized vehicles however formidable. Fob myself I have invincible confidence in the French Army and its leaders. Only avery small part of that splendid Army has yet been heavily engaged, and only avery small part of France has yet been invaded. The Armies must castaway the idea of resisting attack behind concrete lines or natural obstacles, and must realize that mastery can only be regained' by furious, unrelenting assault. And this spirit must not only animate the High Command, bub must inspire, every fighting man. In the air, often at serious odds, even at odds* hitherto thought overwhelming, we have been clawing down three or four to one of our enemies, and the relative balance of the British and German air forces is now considerably more favourable to us than-at the beginning of the battle. In cutting down the German bombers we are fighting our own battle, as well as that of France. ...We must expect that as soon as stability has been reached on the Western Front the bulk of that hideous apparatus of aggression which dashed Holland into ruins and slavery in a few days will be turned upon us. I am sure I speak for all when I say that we are ready to face it, to endure it and to retaliate against it to any extent that the unwritten laws of war permit. There will be many men and women in this island who, when the ordeal comes upon them,as come it will, will feel comfort and even a pride, that they are sharing the perils of our lads at the front—soldiers, sailors and airmen, God bless them—and are drawing away from them apart, at least, of the onslaught they have to bear. Is not this the appointed time for all to make the utmost exertion in their power ?If the battle is to be won we must provide our men with the ever-increasing quantities of the weapons and ammunition they need. We must have, and have quickly, more aeroplanes, more tanks, more shells, more guns—there is an imperious need for these vital munitions. They increase our strength against the power­fully armed enemy they replace the wastage of the obstinate struggle and the knowledge that wastage will speedily be replaced enables us to draw more readily on our reserves and throw them in now when everything means so much. Our task is not only to win the battle but to win the war. After this battle in France abates its force, there will come a battle for our island, for all that Britain is and all that Britain means. That will bethe struggle. In that supreme emergency we shall not hesitate to take every step, even the most drastic, to call forth"from our people the last ounce and the last inch of effort of which they are capable. The interests of property and the hours of labour are nothing compared to the struggle for life and honour and freedom, to which we have vowed ourselves. .,.If this is one of the most awe-striking periods in the long history of France and Britain it is also, beyond doubt, the most sublime. The British and French people have advanced to rescue not only Europe but mankind from the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny that has ever darkened and stained the pages of history. Behind them, behind us, behind the Armies and Fleets of Britain and France, gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races —the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians— upon all of whom the nightlong of barbarism will descend unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must, as conquer we shall. Today is Trinity Sunday. Centuries ago words were written to abe call and a spur to the faithful servants of truth and justice :“Arm yourselves and be yemen of valour and be in readiness for the conflict, for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altars. As the Will of God is in Heaven even so let Him do.”
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