Ministerial Changes.

Part of War Situation. – in the House of Commons on 24th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

I do not claim that I can rise to the level of pacifism which the late George Lansbury reached, but all my training and all my feeling tell me that war is of the devil. I will bring my remarks to a conclusion by giving another quotation from the Prime Minister. In times of peace, the Prime Minister agrees to the full with the sentiments I have tried to express. The trouble with mankind is this. All people want peace, as I have said, but on their own terms; they are very peaceful when peace prevails between nations. If mankind spent one-millionth part of the energy, finance and wealth in trying to arrange peace that it squanders on warlike preparations, I would be a satisfied man. I do not know how this war will end. Nobody can tell. People talk of victory. In every country, people talk of victory. Hitler does, Mussolini does, Roosevelt does, the Japanese do, and so do we. We cannot all gain a victory over one another. Perhaps the House will forgive me saying, as an ordinary person, that I am afraid the forces in this war are too scattered and too evenly matched to bring victory to either side in the traditional sense. All I want is that my country should come out decently from this terrrible holocaust in which we find ourselves. This is the quotation from the Prime Minister I wish to read to the House: The idea of war will become loathsome to humanity. The military leader will cease to be a figure of romance and fame. Youth will no longer be attracted to such careers. Poets will not sing nor sculptors chisel the deeds of conquerors. The budding Napoleons will go out of business and the civilisation of the world will stand on a surer basis. We need not waste our tears on the mass effects in war. Let us return to those of peace. When I have been abroad with some of my colleagues I have been proud to be a Britisher and to proclaim the contribution this country has made to the arts and sciences, and I have been glad to think that men in foreign parts pay tribute to us for a genius like Shakespeare and for our achievements in all sorts of realms. I am going to make an appeal. I make this appeal to the British people with their great historical background, with their genius in diplomatic and international affairs, that they will take the lead, try to pacify mankind, get rid of this hatred which has been engendered between nations, and bring the world once again to the peace that all men desire.