- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 3 Dec 1941, p. 169-184
- Masaryk, Jan, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The speaker now as an emigrant, a refugee, of his country. The latest murders in Czechoslovakia. The hostages in France. Speaking as a citizen of Europe. A war that is everybody's. The hate that Hitler has managed to generate. The last 12-15 months that the speaker spent in Britain. Seeing the people of Great Britain at their best, just after Dunkirk. The speaker's conviction that we must make this the last war. Learning to hitch the mechanical forces of the world to the chariot of humanitarianism. What Hitler's New Order means. The new world that has already been born. The speaker's personal losses. Helping to shape the new world. How to win the peace as well as the war. Trade Unions in Great Britain. The terrible mess that will face us once the war is won. Putting Germany in quarantine. Evidence that Germany has been preparing its youth for this war from the time of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The importance of the re-education of German youth. The term "collective individualism" and what it means. Some words concerning Russia. Giving up everything to make our ideology win.
- Date of Original
- 3 Dec 1941
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
THE REAL NEW ORDER
AN ADDRESS BY JAN MASARYK
Chairman: The President, Mr. C. R. Sanderson.
Wednesday, December 3, 1941
MR. C. R. SANDERSON: Gentlemen, our speaker today, Mr. Jan Masaryk, holds a name which is famous and which is honoured the world over. (Applause.) That name is associated for all time with Czechoslovakia and with the building of an enlightened Republic, the creation of an enlightened Democracy among a people who had been tyrannically suppressed for centuries. His father was the first President of that Republic, and our speaker, Mr. Jan Masaryk, was his father's right hand man in many of his affairs. Subsequently, he was for fourteen years the Czechoslovak Minister to Great Britain. Now he is the Foreign Minister to the Free Czechoslovak Government in London, England.
Gentlemen, the fate of the Czechoslovak Republic is a measure of what happens to a peaceful and a libertyloving people, if they happen to get in the way of the ambitions of a tyrannical dictator. But, correspondingly, Czechoslovakia must be one of the keystones in any doorway through which the world is going to move once again to peace, to order, to freedom. (Applause.) It is therefore a great privilege for The Empire Club that Mr. Jan Masaryk should come and talk to us about "The Real New Order". Mr. Jan Masaryk. (Applause.)
MR. JAN MASARYK: Gentlemen, may I first thank you for allowing me to come to you today and say a few incoherent words, and may I thank your great City of Toronto for its very kind reception, which I don't deserve, but which I enjoy very much indeed. I want also to take this opportunity to thank once more the Government of Canada for the very kind reception they gave me when I arrived. His Excellency, the Governor General, extended hospitality to me, and your Prime Minister, on a very sad day (he was leaving for the funeral of his fellow-statesman, Mr. Lapointe), spared the time to allow me to lunch with him and his colleagues in Ottawa.
Now, it looks as if all this were being done f or me. I don't take it as such. I am taking the honours bestowed upon me from 1938 until the end of the war not for myself but on behalf of my oppressed nation, who really deserves them. Then, I would like to get a little pension from my Government as the final honour bestowed on me. Whatever is done for me, I feel, is done not only for my people at home, but also, more than that, for all the innocent people abroad who are the real victims of this terrible war.
It is only natural that Czechoslovakia, not too big but a sweet country, is foremost in my heart. But I never make speeches on Czechoslovakia first. I think it is exceptionally bad taste. Everybody's country must come first. To you men, naturally, Canada comes first. You are not making capital of it. It is like a person's religion. Naturally, a person's country comes first. When I meet people who talk about some other country first--I am not mentioning any names but you know what I am trying to say--it is a rather poor sort of statemanship. Naturally Czechoslovakia comes first but that is my own business.
It is difficult for me to speak about my country today. I have become an emigrant, a refugee, if you want it. It is not a very pleasant state to be in, but I feel myself a citizen of Europe and of the world. When I speak of my country, I at once think of our neighbours, of our friends over there, who are in exactly the same fix, as the Americans say, as we are. When I think of the latest murders in Czechoslovakia- they were not provoked, they were just wanton nonsense-I think of the hostages in France. When I think of the hostages in France, I at once think of the newly-established ghettoes. Let us stop and think, Men, what is going on. Are we going back to hostages and ghettoes in the year of our Lord 1941? Why, it is an idea too horrible to contemplate When I think of the ghettoes, I think of the valiant people of Yugoslavia, killed by the tens of thousands by the same common enemy. When I think of Yugoslavia, I think of Rotterdam, a great city where within one hour thirty thousand innocent people were killed. For what? Just to satisfy one man's insatiable thirst for blood and wanton aggression. Therefore, as I say, I am not speaking to you as a Czechoslovak Minister. I don't think very much of titles and position-it is rather all nonsense. I am speaking to you as a citizen of Europe.
My little country, after twenty years! I think, as countries go, we made good. We were interrupted. My father said before he died, "We need another twenty years". Well, we were not given those twenty years. Anyway, today, when we speak of the war, when we speak of the New Order, we cannot stop at any frontiers. This is everybody's war. It is your war as much as mine. It is a war of all decent people all over the world against the indecent ones, and I am happy and I am grateful to God that there are infinitely more decent people in this world than there are indecent ones. (Applause.)
I have said more than once that Hitler has managed to generate more hate than any son of a deluded mother ever did in the history of humanity. I think I am not far off the mark when I say there are about two billion people who hate Hitler in different degrees. I never hated until I was away over fifty. It never occurred to me to hate. Some people bored me--when I saw them coming I went the other way. Others I liked; some I loved. But I have learned to hate actively, and that is a sin which Hitler committed to my soul, as he has committed it to untold millions of free souls to whom hate was not a word in their vocabulary. (Applause.) And for no other reason, Hitler is doomed, just because so many people righteously hate him.
This is truly a gigantic struggle. It is infinitely bigger than can possibly meet the naked eye. You people in one way are fortunate-you are far away from it. I wonder how far! It is perfectly natural that it hasn't been brought to you as vividly and as terribly as it has to us over there. It was my proud privilege-and I mean exactly what I say, it was a privilege which I wouldn't give up for anything in the world--to have spent the last twelve or fifteen months in Great Britain. I left the United States just in time for the Blitz. It was arranged almost to coincide with my arrival and I saw what was happening. I saw the people of Great Britain at their best. I saw them immediately after Dunkirk, where, as you men of affairs know, Great Britain was shockingly unprepared. I arrived in America immediately after and I said to my American friends, including the great President, "The great British people are going to take a stand. They are not going to give in". You know there was a rather dangerous wave of defeatism at the time across the frontier, but I was so absolutely positive that Great Britain would be at her best. She is always at her best when she is in a tight corner. When everything is smooth, perhaps she doesn't take herself as seriously as she should. But once she is at her best, it is a sight to behold.
And I saw there the casualties--women, children, hospital patients, priests, clergymen, schoolmasters, a few soldiers--and I said to myself then, "Well, this is all wrong. This can't go on. It is not the soldiers who are paying the price although they want to. We have all become soldiers, even little children; little children in arms have become soldiers, which seems to me to be grossly unfair".
We in Czechoslovakia didn't draft people until they were nineteen. How is it possible in our Christian civilization to draft children of a few weeks into an army to be killed?
Therefore, I say this to you, and this is really perhaps the most important thing that I want to say to you today. I am firmly of the opinion that we have got to make this the last war. It has got to be the last World War. We have over-mechanized ourselves to such an extent that, when this war is over-and mind you, first we have got to win it and we have got to win it by force of arms; there is no other way out--(applause)--when I say that, I say it also in the interests of Germany, for I used to have a great many friends in Germany-Germany must learn, once for all, that this sort of business doesn't pay, and, God willing, we are going to show it to them.
Now, I contend that this certainly should be the last war. We have had this terrific mechanization. Last year I flew from here, from Newfoundland, with your great Ace from the last war, Billy Bishop, and we flew in something like eleven and a half hours, which was rather hair-raising, but a friend of mine came over the other day in one of those blessed bombers-and when I say "blessed" -they are at the moment-in just over seven hours.
Well, if we are going to progress in mechanics as we have done in the last fifty years-and I still remember the first electric car in Prague fifty years ago-if we are going again to use these inventions, these fruits of study, of research, of human genius, to produce wholesale murder, we are not worthy of being called civilized peoples, any of us. We must realize that, only if we hitch the mechanical forces of the world to the chariot of humanitarianism in order to replace hate by love and subterfuge by decency; only if we manage to harness these terrific forces which Providence showed us how to use--and certainly we were not meant to use them as we are using them today--only then can this world be a very fit place for human beings to live in.
When I think of today and all the destruction. I submit that all of us, the soldiers included, the generals and the strategists, all together must form a General Staff to eliminate war, general war, as a political weapon. It doesn't mean we are Pacifists. I don't like to fight, but, if anybody takes it up, certainly I am not going to put my hands in my pockets. I think we must produce an intelligent General Staff which will see to it that the minute somebody starts what Hitler started a little while ago, he will be pounced upon at once and be told to go away and stand in the corner-"You are a very, very bad boy, indeed". Instead of that, we waited far too long and today we are all paying the price. A terrible price, indeed. There isn't any country being excepted. There is no one country in the world that is not going to pay in full for what is happening today. We have all sinned. Perhaps my country is being punished a little more than she deserved, but let us think, let us look into our consciences, all of us, and see where we have made mistakes,--sometimes, perhaps, rather well meant mistakes,-for which the price now being paid is so great. Therefore, I repeat to you, it is my considered opinion that we must make this the last war of this description.
Another thing I want to say is this. We all think of a New Order. Now, you know very well what Hitler's New Order is. I told you in the beginning of my unprepared speech, it means ghettoes, it means hostages, it means theft, it means blood baths of innocents. I cannot sleep when I think of them,--of people at this very moment being taken away from Prague into Poland, in locked cattle carriages, in 20 below zero weather, with no sanitation, no food, no clothes, and the Germans calculating that, when they get to their destination, half of them will be dead. Well, they succeed very well indeed in achieving that rotten end. That is what Hitler would call a New Order. It means slavery, Gentlemen. Hitler, in one of his weak moments, said, "Yes, certainly, there are slave nations and there are master nations, and we are certainly going to put the slave nations where they belong". It so happens that I am a member of a slave nation, and that rat called Goebbels is a member of the ruling nation--also part of the New Order.
It means that education would be stopped. I must say a word in your University town. You see they closed my University, these awful people, a University which existed from 1342 until 1939, which in that year had seven thousand Czech students. It was closed by order of the so-called Protector. Books are being taken away from our children. Czech laboratories are closed. And when I say "Czech", I speak of all my colleagues in suffering in all the occupied countries-you can supplant it by any name you choose. All over the place these things are happening, driven, in my estimation, by a brilliant man who is the great evil genius, and who has managed to prepare a formidable mechanized machine of destruction. That is what is going on under the title of a New Order.
Now, I coined a word for it a few days ago. Standing on my feet I sometimes get an inspiration, and I said that Hitler has tried to accomplish a mechanized Stone Age. In the old days the Stone Age was very crude, but it was then the order of the day. Nowadays he is pushing us two thousand years back, ten thousand years back, with the help of the great inventions, of the great intelligence, and of the great research work of two thousand years of what we call Christian or Western Civilization. Well, if that is to be the New Order, I certainly don't want to live even one day under it. I would infinitely rather die in Canada today a free man than live a hundred years under Hitler as a slave, and I know we all feel the same way. (Applause.)
Another thought. I am of the humble opinion that a new world has already been born. We didn't notice it. It came upon us gradually. It has been prepared maybe for a couple of centuries, but in all this rush and all this speed and all this development we didn't realize that this new world was already upon us, and I submit, in all respect, that the new world has already been born in the bombed houses of London and Coventry and Plymouth, in the bombed city of Rotterdam, in the ghettoes of Warsaw, in the closed University of Prague, in the blood-stained steppes of Russia. A new world has been born. It is going to be rather a cruel world, Gentlemen, to start with. It is not going to be easy, and some of us older people can be very grateful that we had the opportunity--I did, at least--of half a century of well ordered and fairly pleasant life. I have had hard work and a lot of sadness, too, but on the whole, it was very satisfying. It is going to be a cruel new world, but it is up to us who call ourselves gentlemen to make this new world into something worth living in. If we don't do it, Gentlemen, somebody else will make it into something else, and, believe me, it will be infinitely more unpleasant.
You see. it is easy for me to speak. That awful man, Schicklegruber, has seen to it that the little property I had in Czechoslovakia was confiscated, so I suddenly found myself with very few pounds (which I invested in the British War Loan), and now I am perfectly satisfied to realize on how little a man can live and feel perfectly happy. I had big houses, and horses, and dogs, and all the things some people have with a lot of money. Well, I have one little dog now. (Applause.) And I do my own cooking. I am not a first class cook, but I have had Cabinet Ministers in Great Britain in my flat for a meal. In other words, one can see, if you have a clear idea in your head, if you have faith, and if, beside hating one side of this universe, you love the other side, passionately, that the material comforts are really not everything. I myself thought they were until I was hit over the head when I least expected it.
Therefore, I repeat, this is a new world. It is a new world which we must help to shape, and I say in all seriousness that, unless the English-speaking people of this world take the leadership, I am afraid we cannot win the peace. We are going to win the war. There is no question about it. I said only this morning to some gentlemen who came to see me: "Hitler cannot win this war, but we haven't won it yet, and we have got to do much better than we have been doing hitherto, if we want to win it".
And take it from one who has seen with his own eyes: Great Britain with less than two divisions, and Hitler a few miles away. I know that the next year will be tremendously important and difficult and often disappointing. We want production and more production, and I am glad to say that, since I was here a little over a year ago, I can see the stride your great Dominion has made in that year. I think, maybe, you can still do better. But that is not my business, it is yours.
Anyway, this is the situation. We must shape this new world. Now, in that connection, the English-speaking countries must take the leadership and have a plan. I am not speaking for Czechoslovakia, Gentlemen. And I am not speaking for Belgium. I am speaking for Canada, for every country that is proud of its civilization. Unless this is done, the leadership may get into hands in which we don't wish to have it. Somehow or other, when I leave shortly to go back to England, I think I will leave fairly confident that the great North American Continent -one part of it, quite; the other, almost-has seen the writing on the wall which says: "It is our business as much as the other fellow's". And I am an optimist in the long run.
But what after? And I presume you want me to say a few words about it. First, however, there is just one more remark I want to make about Great Britain. It has to do with Trade Unions. A great friend of mine is sitting at this table, one of the Trade Union boys who came over for the Labour Conference. We were rather proud of our Labour Unions. We got on with them very well. In Great Britain the Trade Unions have agreed to compulsory arbitration for the duration of the war. (Applause.) They did it with chins lifted up, without giving anything away, without at all being ashamed, and without setting out the rights of the workmen. I think it was a magnificent thing to do, and, if it were done in other places, we wouldn't have some of these utterly, absolutely, unspeakably futile strikes that interfere with the gear of this war.
When this war is won, a terrible mess will face us all. I want to say a word about Germany. I am not, I never was, anti-German. I was always violently anti-Prussian. During the last war I was attached as an Austrian Officer to a Prussian Army Corps, so I know exactly how lamentable the lack of humour of a Prussian Guard Officer can be. You can't tell me anything about the Prussians. I know them. I was always anti-Prussian. I was not anti-German, and I think the Germans have contributed greatly, and will again, God willing, one of these days, to the general uplifting of culture, intelligence, philosophy, religion, and .all that on the other side of the Atlantic. But somehow or other it seems to me that Germany suffers from periodical moral blackouts. This is not the first one, as you will see if you read history. If you read the history of the German people down to the time of that bully called Bismarck, the history of the times of Frederick the Great and of the last Wilhelm, you will see the super-vulgarized efforts of all these people passing into the hands of the lowest type of gangsterism which has ever disturbed the equilibrium of the world. So, I submit, as an ex-friend of Germany, and, I hope, as a future friend of Germany--I am not a friend of Germany at this moment, I am at war with Germany, I am at war with Nazi Germany--until we find out who is who in Germany, it is rather dangerous to say there are a great many nice ones and some less nice ones--I am sure there are some nice ones but I don't happen to know them now. Therefore, when the war is over, Germany (I think I can use the comparison I used in a small committee the other day) must get into quarantine. When one wants to bring a dog into England, it takes six months before he is let out if he is very well bred and his master even better bred than the dog. There are no exceptions. My little dog had to wait for six months. I think I am not exaggerating when I prescribe the same procedure as far as Germany is concerned, because Germany is not a healthy animal and certainly not a little dog. Germany is suffering from an extremely dangerous plague called Naziism, which is a very virulent bug, and we certainly don't want to get it.
Now, when the war is over, I submit to you that Germany must come into quarantine for a period of time. How long, I know not; let us leave it to the doctors who will be in charge, but certainly don't let us get sentimental the day after the war is over and say they are very nice people, we will go and play bridge and cricket with them. (Applause.)
And there is another point which I want to stress as strongly as I know how. I can prove to you conclusively that the German youth have been prepared for this war, vaguely, for centuries, but definitely from the day the Treaty of Versailles was signed. It was not a first class Treaty. I know all about it. I know all its weaknesses, naturally, but compared with the Treaty of Munich it is a classic written by Homer. But still, ever since the end of the last war, the poisoning of the mind of the German child has been in progress.
I had a remarkable collection of German textbooks which,--unfortunately, I left in Prague in 1938 when I visited my beloved city for the last time, but I could prove to you conclusively, through the Faculty of the University, that that business has been going on, this business of bringing out and arousing the Prussian spirit--"We haven't been beaten"--the attempt to cover up truth with as much colourful but untrue covering as was possible. This is my point, Gentlemen: I think the re-education of the German youth, and, in the same connection, perhaps, the re-education of the youth of other countries who have suffered a little bit from this same bug, will be one of the most important, most glorious, and most sacred undertakings that the people who will be making peace must take upon themselves. We must give the German youth the opportunity to find out what truth is, according to honest, concerted, considered opinion of people. I believe that, if we men in this room will give time to it, we can come as near to what we consider political, historical, and national truth as any other body of men in the world, and I infinitely prefer the considered opinion of many, even if it takes a long time to arrive at a conclusion, than the decision of one man who thinks for us all. Imagine that horror in Germany! One fellow does all the thinking in the country of Goethe, of Schumann, of Heinrich Heine. They allow one fellow who used to be an interior decorator or something-not that that is something to be ashamed of--I myself was a clay labourer once and I am not saying that with my tongue in my cheek--he does all the thinking. Everything he does is perfect, he doesn't make any mistakes, and the German youth are taught to follow him, and told that, if they follow him, they will not make any mistakes. To my mind it is a horrible idea. We must erase that once for all. We must make Europe--and when I say Europe, it is the world--safe for free thinking.
I coined a phrase the other day--"collective individualism". All of its in this room think for ourselves. Sometimes we think very differently from our neighbour. It happens that my Consul General is sitting next to me. We agree, but very often we have great differences of opinion. Nevertheless, if the fundamentals, the great ideas, have been built up, the difference of opinion is only healthy. That is why I say "collective individualism" have a soldier who not only listens to his General but also does a little of his own thinking, who thinks for his next fellow, and who is inventive. Apropos of that, I think that this war will prove that a soldier of a free country, a British Empire soldier, given the same equipment that that Nazified robber has, is infinitely superior. At this moment, your wonderful troops in Libya are being put,--I think I am not exaggerating,--for the first time, to that test of being equipped, and I am confident of the result. I am very proud to say there is a little group of Czech soldiers in Tobruk at the moment, fighting. (Applause.) (That is digressing from my theme.)
The re-education of Europe, if you want, of the youth of Germany, prima facie, seems to me a necessity, because it is so nice to be allowed to hear the truth, it is so nice to be criticized, it is so nice to laugh at oneself. You know, I have seen the youth of Germany, with my bewildered and horrified eyes, losing their freedom and becoming robbers. I have seen the gleam of individual joy, the most sacred joy that Providence has given, the freedom of our individual souls, disappearing.
When the war is over and the culprits are punished--and, believe me, punished they are going to be--(applause)--then let us give everybody a chance to be free, to think freely, and to behave as it behooves human being to behave.
Now, I have said to you, I am convinced this war is going to be won. Let me say just one word about Russia. It so happens that I am not a Communist. I had to work for my living all my life, and, when I bought something with the money I earned by very hard work, it was my little thing and I wasn't going to give it away, only as I chose. To my mind, we, all of us in this room, and in your country, and in my country, owe a very great debt to Russia. Russia stepped in, or was stepped in--I leave it to you to decide--at an extremely crucial moment in the history of the world, and she offered millions of the flower of her youth in order to fight our common foe. Therefore, I am very pro-Russian, and, as far as different "isms" are concerned, I am far too busy to be thinking about "isms" just now. I think it is not very dignified. That is how I look on the Russian situation. That is the only thing I want to say about Russia, and I see my time is almost up.
Now, I stop where I started. This is the greatest struggle in the history of the human race between two ideologies. We must give up everything to make our ideology win. It is a glorious civilization, this civilization of ours. My little country perhaps will come with a small bill--not any bigger than that--when the war is over. We will want certain prerogatives for ourselves, but definitely not more than anybody else. Everybody in the whole world should have a minimum, and we will be satisfied with that, and I hope we will try to earn it.
When you feel the war is far away, when it doesn't really come home to roost as it did to my house and to my family, and all that, just think of the innocent people abroad. I once read "Innocents Abroad". It is a very sombre type of that rather delightful story. The innocents abroad--the hostages, the women, the children, the Jews in concentration camps, the lack of liberty, the lack of freedom, the suppression of wonderful cultures. Think of that, and I know that, if you do, just for two minutes every day, you will walk a little faster, just like our people, thinking of that, are walking a little slower, especially in our factories. We have a very well organized system of walking slowly, and I figured out the other day that, in the Skoda works alone, there are 1,860,000 minutes wasted every day. That is rather nice. And so I am confident that the people on the other side, who, for the moment, are under the vulgar, goose-stepping, rotten Prussian heel of Hitler, are going to help us by walking slowly. Let us all, as free people who should appreciate what is happening to us every day, free, in a free town, in a free country, on a free continent, let us walk a little faster, a lot faster, because the shorter the war, the shorter the mess afterwards.
And, in thanking you again for letting me come, and in thanking your great Dominion for the help they are giving to some of our refugees,-they are, I trust, worthy of it,- I thank you for the interest you have taken in my incoherent remarks. Hitler is going to lose the war. We are going to win it. Let us get on with the job. God bless you! (Applause-prolonged, the audience standing.)
MR. C. R. SANDERSON: Mr. Masaryk, there is only one fitting word that can be used in response to your statesmanlike address, and that word is "Gratitude". I happen to be the person through whom the feelings of this audience, and the audience on the air, are being expressed, and we do, Sir, extend you our gratitude for the thoughts you have given us and for the inspiration that you have brought. When one thinks that your father, the founder of the Czechoslovak Republic, is dead, and that the state that he created is now overrun by foreign tyrants, and when one looks at the map of Europe today, one can imagine that you might be justified in feeling that all was lost. Yet, Sir, you have convinced us today that, though that State is overrun at the moment, its ideals are still as strongly established as ever. (Applause.) The faith of its people in the future remains firm, and, despite present trials, and despite future trials, yes, and despite the fact that, not only have we to win the war, but, as you say, Sir, we have also to win the peace, we share your confidence and the confidence of your people that those ideals and that faith will win through.
We are very grateful to you. You have given us something to take away with us and ponder over. You have given us something to remember.
And may I tell this audience that, at this head table, we have gathered together an outstanding group of Czechoslovakian people. We have the Czechoslovakian Consul-General. We have the Czech delegates to the International Labour Conference. We have the local President and the National Secretary of the Czechoslovak National Alliance in Canada. And we have also as our guest Flight-Lieutenant Gellner, who is a Czechoslovakian, but who is serving at present with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Gentlemen, I hold in my hand a private and confidential telegram, informing Flight-Lieutenant Gellner that he has just been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. (Applause.) In your name I assure him that he has our admiration and our congratulations. We are delighted to have these gentlemen present to share with us Mr. Jan Masaryk's magnificent address. (Applause.)