Milestones of Our Journey


By WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister of Great Britain

Delivered at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon in London, November 9, 1943

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 103-105.

MY Lord Mayor, Your Grace, ladies and gentlemen. I thank you whole-heartedly for your kindness, for the warmth of your welcome and for the all too complimentary terms in which you, my Lord Mayor, have commended His Majesty's Government, expressing the good-will of the city of London.

This is the fourth of your annual festivals which I have attended since the war began, and I confess that it seems to me they have all been milestones of our journey.

In November, 1940, when we were quite alone in the midst of the blitz, I took occasion to repeat to all the nations that were overrun by the Germans our honest pledge and guarantee that we would never abandon the struggle until every one of them had been liberated from the Nazi yoke. I see no reason to modify that statement today.

Recalls Warning to Japan

When I came here in 1941 I gave a solemn warning to the Japanese Government that if they went to war with the United States we should immediately declare war on them. Well, there's nothing wrong with that.

Last year, in 1942, I thought it right to say that I did not consider it any part of my duty to liquidate the British Empire. I do not conceal from you that I hold the same opinion today.

My Lord Mayor, since we were last gathered here we and our allies have had a year of almost unbroken victory in every theatre and on every front. British, Dominion and United States armies have cleared Africa of the enemy. Together the British and United States forces have conquered Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and one-third of Italy.

We have broken the back of the U-boat war, which at one time seemed our greatest peril. We have inflicted shattering damage, and we are inflicting shattering damage, upon the German cities which are the centers of munitions production. And this has caused an injury to the German war effort and to German morale, which, combined with other blows, may well be the precursor of decisive events in the European struggle.

In all these operations, on land, on sea and in the air, Great Britain has had the honor to bear the largest part and to pay the heaviest price. In the Pacific, where the main forces of the United States have been deployed and where Australians and New Zealanders are fighting together under the inspiring leadership of General MacArthur, many brilliant actions have been recorded and the strength of Japan has been steadily and remorselessly worn down.

Acclaims Soviet Successes

But I gladly admit, and indeed proclaim, that the outstanding event of this famous year has been the victorious advance of the Russian Armies from the Volga westward across the Dnieper, thus liberating, as Marshal Stalin has told us, two-thirds of the occupied Russian soil from the foul invader.

In this process the Russian Soviet armies have inflicted deep and dire injury upon the whole life structure of the German military power. That monstrous juggernaut engine of German might and tyranny has been beaten and broken, outfought and out-maneuvered by Russian valor, generalship and science. And it has been beaten to an extent which may well prove mortal.

We and our American allies have done and are doing our best to bring our forces across the seas and oceans into action against the enemy. And I rate the Anglo-American air attack on Germany as one of the prime forces of the impending ruin of the Hitlerite regime.

But it must never be forgotten that there was nothing in the whole world, nor could there have been created for several years, any military organism which could either have given the blows which Russia has given or survive the losses which Russia has borne.

Here from this city of London at our time-honored gathering we salute the Soviet armies and Marshal Stalin.

My Lord Mayor, we have all been cheered by the results of the Moscow conference to which you referred in your speech, and we look forward to welcoming back in the next week or so our Foreign Secretary from his most successful mission.

He Sees Russia Assured

There is no doubt that the full and frank discussions between the three Foreign Ministers, Mr. Molotov, Mr. Eden and that gallant old eagle, Mr. Hull, who flew far on a strong wing, has had the effect of making our Russian friends feel, as they have never felt before, that it is the heartfelt wish of the British and American nations to fight the war out with them in loyal alliance, and afterward to work with them on the basis of mutual respect and faithfulcomradeship in the resettlement and rebuilding of this distracted, tormented world.

I have not abandoned the hope that sometime, however, it may be possible for the heads of the three governments to meet together, because all my experience in this war shows that friendly and trustful personal contacts between the responsible leaders are the best foundations for all plans, whether for war or for peace.

In our grand alliance of thirty-three states or governments constituting the United Nations, we try all we can by correspondence and consultation to preserve harmony and intimacy and to secure concerted action. As you may well imagine, it is not possible to consult with every member about the details of all military movements or plans. These must be confined to as few circles or persons as possible.

The high aims we set before ourselves were first outlined in the Atlantic Charter. And now we have published in Moscow the all important four-power agreement which looks to the future foundations of world peace after these storms are over.

Voices Hope for France

There are many nations in our thoughts today. We hope that France will rise again to her true greatness and will play a worthy part in shaping the progress of Europe and the world.

I rejoice with every increase of unity and consolidation that I notice in the French National Committee at Algiers. And I also rejoice at the growing power of the French armies, which are being re-created and rearmed in North Africa and which will presently take their share in the liberation of the soil of France irom the most hateful form of human bondage.

The French National Committee are not the owners but the trustees of the title deeds of France. These must be "restored to the French nation when freedom is achieved, for it is only upon the will of the people, freely expressed in conditions of reasonable tranquillity, that in France, as in other enslaved countries, any permanent structure can be raised.

My Lord Mayor, a great many people speak as if the end of the war in Europe were near. I hope indeed they may prove right for certainly every month that this devastating struggle continues carries human society into deeper depths and adds to the toil, the length and the burden of recovery. We should, however, be foolish and blameworthy if we allowed our plans of action to be based upon the prospects of an early collapse in Germany. There is danger in anything which diverts the thoughts and efforts of any of the Allied nations from the supreme task which lies before them—namely that of beating down into dust and ruins the deadly foes and tyrants who so nearly subjugated the entire world to their domination.

Says Hitler Has 400 Divisions

I am myself proceeding on the assumption that the campaign of 1944 in Europe will be the most severe and to the Western Allies the most costly in life of any we have yet fought. And we must all brace ourselves for that task and strain every nerve for its successful accomplishment.

This is no time for relaxation or soft thoughts on the joys of peace and victory.

Hitler still has 400 divisions under his command or control; he has a police force, a party police force which gives him a grip upon the agonized hut regimented people of Germany, incomparably stronger than anything which was at the disposal of the late Kaiser. Under this odious Nazi system the children still betray to their teachers and thus to the police any incautious remarks that their fathers and mothers may have used in their presence.

For Herr Hitler and his guilty confederates know that their lives are at stake and that they at any rate run no extra risk in making other people fight on to the bitter end. The German troops, wherever we meet them, have been found fighting with their veteran skill. The hazards of great battles lie before us.

We cannot, moreover, exclude the possibility of new forms of attack upon this island. We have been vigilantly watching for. many months past every sign of preparation for such attacks. Whatever happens, they will not be of a nature to affect the final course of the war.

Warns Against Relaxation

But should they come, they will certainly call for the utmost efficiency and devotion in our fire watchers and Home Guards and also for a further display of the firmness and fortitude for which the British nation has won renown.

This is no time to relax any of our precautions or discourage our splendid auxiliary services. This is no time to divide the unity of the nation by raising fierce party political issues. It is no time for persons who have practical war work to do to dream easy dreams of brave new worlds.

We must keep our sense of proportion even when discussing the incidents of procedure in some of our juvenile courts. We must not, My Lord Mayor, lose for a moment the sense and consciousness of urgency and crisis which must continue to drive us, even though we are in the fifth year of the war, forward with unrelenting vigor and unwearying effort through every living minute that is granted to us.

I am the head of a national coalition of all the three British parties whose leaders are represented here today at your board. This Government came together with the sole policy of making war until victory was won.

We cannot today exclude from our minds, nor need we do so, the conviction that victory will certainly be won, and that not only Germany but Japan, with whom the British Commonwealth and Empire have an inexpiable quarrel, will be forced into unconditional surrender. We have no need to exclude that from our minds. But that does not mean that our war task is done. Another tremendous and practical duty is involved in what is called winning the war.

Cites Post-War Planning

Just as in time of peace, plans for war and measures for defense ought to be at readiness in every prudent state for a sudden emergency, so in time of war we must make sure that confusion and chaos do not follow the victories of the armies or stultify the surrender, unexpectedly early, by the enemy.

I regard it as a definite part of the duty and responsibility of this national government to have its plans perfected in a vast and practical scheme to make sure that in the years immediately following the war, food, work and homes are found for all.

No airy visions, no party doctrines, or party prejudices, no political appetites or vested interests must stand in the way of the simple duty of providing before the end of the war for food, work and homes. They must be prepared now, during the war. These plans must be prepared, and they must come into action just like, when war breaks out, general mobilization is declared. They must come into action as soon as the victory is won.

On this far-reaching work, His Majesty's Government are now concentrating all energies that can be spared from the actual struggle with the enemy. The policy of waging war till victory would be incomplete and, indeed, spoiled if it were not accompanied by a policy of food, work and homes in the period following the victory for the men and the women who fought and won.

My Lord Mayor, I regard this hour as at once more hopeful and more stern than any through which we have passed. It is a reasonable assumption that unless we make some grave mistake in strategy the year 1944 will see the climax of the European war.

Foresees Costly Battles

Unless some happy events occur, on which we have no right to count, unless the hand of Providence is stretched forth by some crowning mercy, 1944 will see the greatest sacrifice of life by the British and American armies. Battles far larger and more costly than Waterloo or Gettysburg will be fought. Sorrow will come to many homes in the United Kingdom and throughout the great republic of the United States; British and American manhood, striving in generous emulation, true brothers in arms, will attack and grapple with the deadly foe.

This year, 1944, is also election year in the United States. It is a strange coincidence, but I am sure I speak for all those on both sides of the Atlantic who mean the same thing, and they are numbered by scores of millions, when I say that our supreme duty—all of us, British and American alike—is to preserve that good-will which now exists throughout the English-speaking world and thus aid our armies in their grim and heavy task.

Even if things are said in one country or the other which are provocative, which are clumsy, which are indiscreet or even malicious and untrue, there should be no angry rejoinder. If facts have to be stated, let them be stated without heat or bitterness.

We have to give our men in the field the best chance. That is the thought which must dominate all speech and action. Not only the fortunes of this fearful war, but all the happiness of future generations, depend upon the fraternal association of Great Britain and the United States within, and without prejudice to the larger world structure that will be erected to secure the peace and freedom of mankind.

Russia's War Achievements

THE TASK OF RESTORATION AND ORGANIZATION AHEAD By JOSEPH STALIN, Premier of U.S.S.R. Delivered before a meeting of Moscow workers on the eve of the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Socialist revolution.

COMRADES, today the People's Soviet Union is celebrating its twenty-sixth anniversary of the great Socialist revolution, celebrating for the third time under war conditions.

In the first year our troops had to retreat. It took the entire effort of the army and nation to stop the enemy and impose fierce blows against him. In October, 1942, the position improved.

Soon after October of last year our troops went over to the offensive and inflicted against the Germans new and heavy blows, first at Stalingrad and the middle bend of the Don and then at the beginning of 1943 at the approaches to Leningrad and the area of Lgov and beyond.

After this the Red Army never let the initiative go from her hands. In the summer of this year the Red Army blows increased in power all the time. Steadily every month the strength of the Red Army grew. The Germans suffered one defeat after another and however much they tried they could not achieve any serious success.

In the present year the Red Army, between the twentyfifth and twenty-sixth anniversary of the revolution, experienced a state of alert. In the summer the offensive was iully implemented and the enemy was compelled to leave territory he had occupied. The Germans had only one recourse, fleeing and abandoning huge quantities of equipment, wounded and stores on the field of battle.

The success of the second campaign this year—the summer campaign—-was only a continuation and implementation of the winter offensive that preceded it. This explodes, once and for all, the theory and superstition that the Red Army is unable to carry out an offensive in the summer. The Red Army^ proved it can launch successful summer and winter offensives, and in the central areas of the front the enemy was thrown back for 600 kilometers and 1,300 kilometers in the south.

Vast Territory Liberated

Our troops liberated almost two-thirds of the territory previously occupied by the enemy. Enemy troops were thrown back from Vladikavkaz to Kherson, from Stalingrad to Kiev, from Voronezh to Gomel, from Viazma and Rhzev to the approaches to Orsha and Vitebsk.

The enemy constructed important defense lines, especially along rivers. During the last half year the Red Army destroyed many of these defense points and forced four very important water barriers.

These water barriers were the northern Donets, the Desna, the Sozh and the Dnieper.

The enemy also made important defense bases west of Rostov and near Melitopol on the Molochnaya River which were destroyed by the Red Army. Now the Red Army is successfully routing the enemy in the Dnieper bend.

During the first year it was considered that the Red Army could not prevail for long against the excellent cadres of the German Fascist troops.

The German Fascist cadres fighting on the Eastern Front lost more than 4,000,000,000 officers and men during the last year. Of these four million 1800,000 were killed. Additionally more than 14,000 aircraft, more than 25,000 tanks and not less than 40,000 guns were destroyed.

In this way the best German cadres have been destroyed and they cannot get indispensable reserves. Red Army cadres, on the contrary, are growing and will continue to grow. Indispensable reserves are at hand and it is the task of military authorities to recognize promising candidates and bring them forward to responsible positions.

Instead of 240 divisions standing on our front last year, of which 179 divisions were German and the other vassal States, there now stand 257. The Germans had a complement of deteriorated quality troops at the front to keep up their effective numbers. However, the defeat of German