Official Statements of War Aims and Peace Proposals, December 1916 to November 1918

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

ADDRESS OF PRIME MINISTER LLOYD-GEORGE IN LONDON IN REPLY TO CHANCELLOR MICHAELIS
July 21, 1917

. . . . . . . . . . .

Three years--even of agony--are not long in the life of a nation, and the deliverance of Belgium is assuredly coming, and when it comes that deliverance must be complete. France owes it, Britain owes it, Europe owes it, the civilization of the world owes it to Belgium that her deliverance shall be complete.

What have we got in the way? There is a new Chancellor. The Junker has thrown the old Chancellor into the waste-paper basket with his scrap of paper and they are lying there side by side. You will not have to wait long before Junkerdom will follow. What hope is there in his speech of peace--I mean an honorable peace, which is the only possible peace? It is a dexterous speech. A facing-all-ways speech. There are phrases for those who earnestly desire peace--many. But there are phrases which the military powers of Germany will understand--phrases about making the frontiers of Germany secure. That is the phrase which annexed Alsace-Lorraine; that is the phrase which has drenched Europe with blood from 1914: that is the phrase which, if they dare, will annex Belgium; and that is the phrase which will once more precipitate Europe into a welter of blood within a generation unless that phrase is wiped out of the statemanship of Europe.

There are phrases for men of democratic mind in that speech-- many. He was calling men from the Reichstag to cooperate with the Government; they were even to get office, men of all parties and men of democratic sentiment. But there were phrases to satisfy the Junkers--to other men nothing. There was to be no parting with imperialistic rights. Ah! They will call men from the Reichstag to office, but they will not be Ministers, but clerks. It is the speech of a man waiting on the military situation, and let the Allies--Russia, Britain, France, Italy, all of them--bear that in mind. It is a speech that can be made better by improving the military situation. If the Germans win in the West, if they destroy the Russian army in the East, if their friends the Turks drive Britain out of Mesopotamia, if the U-boats sink more merchant ships, then that speech, believe me,

____________________
1

Text in The Times, London, July 23, 1917, p. 4.

-117-

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