Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
Since this House of Commons adjourned on Friday last, hon. members will have read accounts of the speech delivered by Herr Hitler to the reichstag on that day. The speech was accompanied by newspaper reports that many parts of Europe were threatened with famine. Some semi-official statements, presumably inspired, were also issued from German sources concerning the future of Canada. In the circumstances a word in Canada's parliament concerning Hitler's latest utterance may not be out of place.
Hitler's speech abounds with the historical falsehoods which have characterized his utterances since the outbreak of war. His words and his works are both known. His words have been a succession of promises made and of promises broken. His works have been cruelty, rapine, bloodshed and violence.
His speech was characterized by Hitler as an appeal to reason and common sense. It purported to be concerned with peace. In reality it was mostly, if not entirely, a threat of dire calamity to millions of innocent beings, and exhibited a reliance upon force and violence greater than that which Hitler has displayed in any of his previous utterances. There was not so much as a suggestion of conditions or terms upon which peace could be discussed. The speech contained, however, most specific references to "unending suffering and misery" for millions, and to "complete annihilation" of either the British or the German people-Hitler's own people-and the prediction that unless the dictator's will prevailed, a great empire would be destroyed. All this was from one who in the same address professed a deep disgust for the type of unscrupulous politician who wrecks entire nations and states.
The speech calls for no words in reply. It answers itself. The one comment that obviously may fittingly be made upon it is that so far as the future of the war is concerned, deception has run its course. Resolute action alone will decide how suffering and misery are to be ended, whether it is tyranny or freedom that is to be annihilated, whether civilization is to be destroyed or to survive.
As to the threatened disaster to the peoples of Europe, none will regret a calamity to the innocent victims of persecution and aggression more than the people of Canada who have built this nation upon the foundation of tolerance, good will, peace and racial generosity. But if such a calamity does occur none will identify more clearly its creators and originators. The men who will have brought famine to Europe will be the same men who have brought fire and slaughter to Poland, to Norway, to Holland, to Belgium and to France. Against all of Hitler's prophecies there stands another prophecy that throughout the ages has never failed to come to pass. Sooner or later sure retribution will overtake the tyrant who defies the law of God and man. Until that retribution comes to undo the wrong done by the guilty, the peoples of the British commonwealth will continue to face every ordeal with fearless eyes and unflinching courage.
With reference to the destiny of Canada all I wish to say is that the destiny of Canada will be determined not by Hitler, not by Mussolini nor by any combination of aggressors, but by the free will of the people of Canada in accordance with their tried and traditional loyalty.
Hitler has spoken of peace and of a new social order. He has done so, however, in accents of war. He has chosen to talk about negotiations in the language of domination. Let me say that the mind that is capable of conceiving thoughts of wholesale destruction and complete annihilation is not a mind that is capable of envisaging either concepts of justice or the blessings of peace. Least of all is it able to build "a new social order and the finest possible standard of culture", as Hitler claims has been his intention. The peace that will finally come to the world will be the peace that the free men of the world desire and understand, a peace that their sacrifices have won. It will not be a German peace. It will not be that false nazi peace where men move amid the hushed suspense of fear in the presence of the spy, the gangster and the Gestapo. Above all, it will never be a peace based on a conception of the subordination of individual personality to the control of the materialistic and warlike state. It will
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be a peace which will reestablish liberty and affirm the rights of men. It will be a peace under which men and women can speak the truth in their hearts and live their lives without fear; a peace in which labour will have dignity, religion will have freedom, and little children will have security.
The nations of the British commonwealth no doubt have had many failings, but they have loved and honoured justice and mercy. To-day they do not fight for power, they do not fight for the preservation of any form of government; they fight the battle of mankind. The battleground has moved to the very home of freedom itself. There and now the great qualities of the people of the British isles shine more brightly than ever. The invasion of those islands will be the invasion of the sanctuaries of all free men. Their invader is our invader. Canadians are prouder than ever to share with the men and women of Britain the rigours of the conflict, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the defence of political freedom, social justice and human liberty.
Subtopic: STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO HITLER'S REICHSTAG SPEECH OF JULY 19