The Blitzkrieg In Flanders
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The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 15 Aug 1940, p. 33-49
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Clark, Gregory, Speaker
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Speeches
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Anecdote and impression from the speaker's recent trip to France. Rousing Canada to the full reality of this war. The danger that all free men now face. Our enemy today the enemy of our ideals, of our minds, of our everyday thoughts, of our freedom. What we lose, if we lose. What else Canada must do in the war effort. Preserving what is British by preserving Britain. Witnessing the bombing of a country that thought it was prepared. Witnessing what happened to the Maginot Line last Spring. The speaker's arrival in France two days after Holland and Belgium had been invaded. The power of the German armoured divisions. Our failure to produce the materials of war. Still time to make our choice regarding war production. The speaker's accompaniment to the great retreat from Brussels to Boulogne, in some detail. The beginning of the blitzkrieg. The merciless bombing of civilian hordes, and how skilfully the bombing was done to force the great throngs on the highways and the secondary roads that the British and French army would have to use. The journey through Lille, Arras, Amiens and mass confusion. The evacuations of Boulogne, Calais, and then Dunkerque. Thirty war correspondents leaving Boulogne on a mine layer, a little ship smaller than a Niagara boat with over 2,000 Air Force men on it. The strategy and tactics of the enemy. Physical confusion as a weapon of the Germans in the blitzkrieg of France. An analogy in the business world. Some last words on democracy and humanity.
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15 Aug 1940
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English
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The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
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Full Text
THE BLITZKRIEG IN FLANDERS
AN ADDRESS BY GREGORY CLARK.
Thursday, August 15, 1940

A Joint Meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Club was held in the Royal York Hotel, Toronto, on Thursday, August 15, 1940. Mr. A. R. Courtice, President of the Canadian Club, presided.

MR. A. R. COURTICE: Gentlemen: Gregory Clark has become a household name in his native city of Toronto. He has been associated with the Toronto Daily Star since 1912, except for the years 1916-18 when he was on active service overseas. He distinguished himself there, at Vimy Ridge, with the Fourth Canadian Mounted Rifles and was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery.

Gregory Clark has demonstrated over and over again his great love for humanity and he believes, in those words of Abraham Lincoln, that "God must have loved the common men because he made so many of them."

It is also a tribute to him that he loves dogs and fishing. In fact he is such a fish fancier that the number of his motor license used to bear the insignia of H20 which also reflects his keen sense of humour.

In his work for the Star, Mr. Clark has travelled extensively. As you know he has recently returned from a great trip overseas and through the many privileges ex tended to him by the military authorities he is in the position today to tell us of his actual experiences on the battle-grounds in France, culminating in that thrilling story of the evacuation from Dunkerque to Dover. In his brilliant writings and broadcasts of these experiences Mr. Clark has done a great job, not only for his newspaper, but for his city and his country.

Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you Mr. Gregory Clark. (Applause.)

MR. GREGORY CLARK: Mr. Chairman, Fellow Guests and Gentlemen: This is no time of year to engage in heated controversy, so I shall confine my remarks to anecdote and impression in the hope that these incidents will in some measure fill in and lend a little colour of life and humanity to your impressions of the war.

I sometimes think these days that it is far harder to be British outside the Isles than in them. We British who are thousands of miles from the actuality of war-we Canadians, Australians and the rest of us-are labouring under a very heavy disadvantage.

You know, compulsion is a great thing. You say to yourself, "I must get my teeth attended to. I bet my, teeth are responsible for much of the way I have been feeling of late", but you put it off. Then one fine day you get a terrible, ripping toothache or you bite an apple and one of your front teeth falls out, so you go at last to the dentist.

Compulsion--and once started, you stick. The whole job is clone. It takes weeks. It ruins your whole programme. It costs you hundreds of dollars, but there is nothing much short of the birth of a son that makes a man so consciously proud and satisfied with himself as finishing with the dentist.

As far as the war is concerned, we in Canada are in the position of the man who feels he ought to have his teeth attended to. There is no compulsion. The fact that we have compulsory laws and war measures is no more to the point than that we have the laws of nature and medical science. Over in England they have the toothache. The compulsion is there. It matters not what laws have been passed nor by what compulsory mandate the government may take the life of a man or woman in hand. They have that larger compulsion-the war at their door. I do not know by what means Canada will be brought abreast of Britain in this struggle. Exhortation alone will not do. There is not one of us, however self-centred and self-concerned, who does not realize what we are likely to lose if we lose the war. I imagine there are some of us who think privately, very privately, that whatever happens life will go along much the same, but those who think so are the super-Britons-those so imbedded in the sense of security which six centuries of British dominance of its own life and affairs have inspired, that they are like the porcupine. A porcupine simply curls up and distends its quills. But there are two animals who know a trick. They are the lynx and the wolverine. These two eat porcupines quite regularly. They just insert their taloned paws under the snow beneath the porcupine and rip up where there are no quills.

But this is sheer exhortation. It will not be by process of reason or by emotional appeal that Canada will be roused to the full reality of this war. I dare not predict by what other means we shall be roused. All I can vouch for is this fact--that so long as we are free men we are in danger. So long as we think as we like, speak as we like, so long as each of us cherishes that little dominion of ourselves in which we are monarch, we are in deadly danger. For the kind of world power which is now our enemy is not the enemy of our possessions, our markets, our wealth or our prestige. Those are the tawdry things that nations used to make war for. Our enemy today is the enemy of our ideals, of our minds, of our everyday thoughts, of our freedom. We can lose our wealth and still be men. What our enemy today wishes to take from us is intangible, it is that which six centuries of British men have lived and died to bequeath to us. If we lose it, we are far less than men. We are wastrels.

I say I do not know by what means Canada shall be roused, for, of course, roused she must be. Sending men away to foreign lands is not enough. Giving up our sons and brothers is not enough. Britain sent an army of a third of a million men into the foreign soil of France, but, because that was not enough, because those men were not armed and equipped to withstand the arms and equipment of the enemy, that third of a million men had to be rescued, not ignominiously, but miraculously, from France and now stand at bay on their own soil where they have at least the satisfaction of knowing that their nation is now roused to the pitch of supplying them with fighting material that will enable them to stand.

It is improbable that Canada will one day soon be having her cities and factories bombed, but if we are to preserve what is British we must preserve Britain. If the preservation of Britain required that we should have to have our Canadian cities bombed in order to act as we should in this crisis, how many of us here would wish that our fair cities be bombed? Or would we prefer to wait our turn and take the bombing when it comes?

I witnessed the bombing of one country that thought it was prepared, that assumed it was prepared. Only last spring I stood right here before some of you, fresh from France, and I told you about the Maginot Line. I told you no human power could penetrate it. I was right but there was a human power that went around it.

After telling you of the might of the French Army and of the readiness of the British Army and of the Maginot Line, I went back again to France and arrived two days after Holland and Belgium had been invaded. I was exactly in time to see that Might brushed away as though it were dust. Of the secret of that power that so brushed aside the calculated power of two great nations, nobody can speak with any great authority until the conclave of dispassionate historians have sorted the facts.

We do know the British had one armoured division, the French had four and the Germans had eleven. We do know that the Germans employed the armoured divisions in a method that was radical and new and wholly unexpected, and it is also probable that we have exaggerated in our minds the amount of treachery that helped bring about the success of that overwhelming strength of armoured divisions, because eleven divisions of tanks require little treachery to smash through five. No, it seems to me this interminable talk of treachery and fifth column is a very handy excuse for our failure in producing the materials of war.

We can still take our choice. We can still talk of treachery and fifth columns and politics, this and that-or we can produce-and believe me, production is not a matter for government alone. Production in war comes out of the very spirit and essence of a people. War production is, you might say, the spirit and essence of the people made manifest.

I arrived in France in the nick of time to accompany the great retreat from Brussels to Boulogne. I had been over in. the winter to see the whole set-up. I had spent two weeks in civilian clothes at British General Headquarters and had got to know the thirty odd war correspondents who wore the uniform-ace newspapermen from Britain, America, Australia, Africa and a few from France itself. I met such great names as Sir Philip Gibbs, Ward Price, Sir Andre Maurois. They had been out at General Headquarters, living in dowdy little hotels in Arras ever since October, most of them. Long weary months they were. Months of no news. Do you remember them--those intolerable newsless months, full of small patrol encounters in the snow near Metz, isolated one-plane raids over Scottish ports?

Well, news came. With incomparable suddenness and fury, news came and I came with it in uniform. I arrived at half-past three in the afternoon at Calais, caught the half-past five for Arras, sat in a fine pullman coach and watched out the window to see the trainloads of refugees streaming past at every siding from Holland and Belgium. It was a lovely May afternoon. Paris had been all excited over the breaking of this boil of war.

It was nine o'clock in the evening when we drew into Arras station. It was almost deserted. Three days later it was so crowded, hour by hour, day and night, that you could not enter it. A week later it was in ashes, but there in the gloaming I got out and had a French porter carry my war bag across the station square to my hotel, the Commerce, where in the winter I had been a resident along with all the other correspondents.

The Commerce was deserted of correspondents and even of soldiers. Its sole guests were a rather well-to-do motoring lot of Belgians, the first of the refugees. Madamoiselle Odette, the manageress of the hotel, told me all my colleagues were up at Lille, nearer the blitzkrieg on Belgium.

In the hotel annex were the offices of P.R. 3, which is the military title of the department of General Headquarters which has to do with war correspondents. There I found one officer who advised me I could go by car the following day. He said the Commerce was full but I could go down the street half a block to the Hotel de L'Univers, where several of the Headquarters Officers were staying.

I put my equipment in the hotel and hunted for a working party to carry my huge war bag. I couldn't find a working party. All of the younger troops attached to these particular offices were down at the cinema to see a movie. The war was two or three days away up in Belgium and Holland. That gives an idea of the remoteness of war, as felt in Arras that night.

Finally, the only remaining officer of my group said, "I think we will try to fit you up at this hotel. You can't carry this stuff down." We consulted Mademoiselle Odette and she said that she had one room, that of an officer who hadn't come back. I got the stuff upstairs and I went back to the night offices of P.R. 3 in Arras. It was a pleasant May night. An aeroplane crossed low-about five hundred feet. I said, with some twenty-year-old anxiety, "That is a Hun." "O, no, that is not a Hun. If it were a Hun they would be firing at it." I said, "Well, it is funny how memory gets distorted in twenty years. I would have sworn that was a Hun." The plane crossed over again, he swung out and crossed again, and I said, "That is a Hun." He swung out and crossed a third time and completed that run. He dropped six bombs and missed the General Headquarters of the British Army by one house, so accurately did he bomb.

That was the first bombing our people experienced. From then on we had no rest and inside of ten minutes Arras was in flames. In half an hour by the bright light the bombers came and were bombing the edges of the town, various army parks. That was the beginning of the blitzkrieg, as I know it.

I had the curious fortune of arriving within half an hour of the beginning. The following morning, very early, arrangements were made to join my colleagues in the line. A bomb had hit the side of the hotel that I was about to go down to if I had been able to find a working party to carry my kit. I was very happy that a working party had not been found and when I went to Lille I was able to tell the correspondents that all the kits in the hotel were damaged.

These men, you understand, had been in France from October, waiting through a weary winter and spring for the news to break. They looked with some disfavour on

a man who came from a far country to get there half an hour before it started.

We were put in our cars, two to a car, with a conducting officer who was a regular army officer, and scattered in various directions over the area of Brussels, where the main attack was taking place. Some were within a mile or so of Louvain, where the guards were making a magnificent but hopeless stand against the German mechanized units.

Of my experiences I don't wish to talk today, because I have spoken and written fully of them. The merciless bombing of civilian hordes--it is estimated there were four million Dutch, Belgian and Northern Frenchmen, old men chiefly, women and children--in that retreat. And how skilfully the bombing was done to force the great throngs on the highways and the secondary roads that the British and French army would have to use. That, I don't wish to speak of. Its inhumanity can never be described adequately. Some day, perhaps, commissions will take down and make truthful sworn records of all the monstrous, random attacks on these cities.

In general it is possible for me to say the Germans never waste a bomb. To think that they go about dropping bombs at random is the greatest mistake you could possibly conceive. They waste not a bomb, they attempt in every attack to make the bomb do damage. They do not always succeed, as we know. What they are getting now in the way of opposition and resistance is far different from the early days in France when in confusion indescribable, they did pretty much as they wished.

We went out two days, in various directions. We struggled against this tide of refugees. We had to go around cities, around towns. We had to take country roads, little twisted and hopeless-looking country roads, in order to pass at all. The main highways were as densely packed as the floor of this room, all moving at the dreadful, slow pace set by the weakest, the smallest, the oldest and the feeblest. A dreadful sight!

At the end of the second day we had to return to Lille--our headquarters, to hear a statement by the colonel commanding the unit. Every day at five o'clock he gave a statement of the situation. On the second day of our return to Lille, about the fourth or fifth day of the attack on Flanders, we arrived at the hotel and found Major McCormack, the second-in-command of the press organization, standing on the hotel steps, very white of face, saying, "There will be no conference. Pay your hotel hills, get your bags and get in the cars. Your conducting officers are instructed to take you to Arras."

That was our first intimation that something was dreadfully wrong, that this confusion which had been obvious in the highways and the roads had somehow got into the very texture of this army and these forces of which we were an observing part.

We got back to Arras at about half-past eight or nine o'clock at night and I had my driver leave the highway, go up north via Lens so I could have a look at the Vimy Memorial, the unveiling of which I had witnessed. I didn't bid it "Good-bye", but I gave it a long look, for at its foot are eight thousand of my comrades. I heard later that it had been destroyed. In the evacuation I talked with many men who had seen it damaged. I may say it was I who made a request to James Spence at Canada House, asking for an air photograph. I said, "It is the simplest thing in the world for a bomber returning to dive down to a sufficiently low height and by a telephoto lens prove or disprove this monstrous accusation which, if true, will do what it must do to Canadian people, but if it proves later not to be true, will only disconcert the Canadian people and cause distrust. I would like to know if it is destroyed or if it is not destroyed."

However, there it stood in beauty and pathos, with the two pylons facing the east from which once again came those great hordes, and near the foot of which are eight thousand of my comrades, though it commemorates sixty thousand of them.

In Arras that night, we sat up a long tune. Some of us went to bed, perhaps a little exhausted and with a little premonition of what was to follow. Very early in the morning we were all aroused and told to get into our cars because we were going back to Amiens. We waited, ant through the constant change and counterchange of plans it was noon before we finally left Arras for Amiens. As we left Arras, by roads that a day before we had travelled in motor cars with the greatest freedom, we found barricades already up. We tried to go via Doullens but the guards said that route was not available for us. German parachutists were reported to have landed between us and Amiens. That gives an idea of how quickly, how disconcertingly the news came to us in the midst of that retreat, overlaid on every side by this immense tide, this frantic and ever more frenzied tide of refugees, each clay more hungry, each day more exhausted and sleepless, each day less manageable.

In the midst of that overwhelming confusion, were the troops, the mechanized equipment and vehicles, all trying to work and get into the position that they had been ordered to take.

We had left Arras at noon and we didn't get into Amiens until dusk. Amiens is a beautiful city-most of you remember it. It was now so crowded that there was not a place to sit down to eat. One or two of us, being old soldiers, remembered an old restaurant called the Coq d'Or. We found that it was functioning and we rushed to the hotel where we were told to deposit our bags and got together a party. But by the time we got back to the Coq d'Or, we met the proprietress coming out with some of the teapots and silver in her hands. Within a matter of an hour or an hour and a half, so quick did the destruction come, they too had joined the- ever-increasing tide of refugees.

Amiens was under bombing all the time. They bombed the station, the aerodromes and the mechanized parks and_ military areas. Then also, there was the bombing of the civilians, wherever they took rest when they could go no further. You never saw parks so crowded. They were packed so you could see no turf. Then of course the Germans would bomb them. They would bomb them so they would move beyond the town where the roads were not sufficiently congested and where our army traffic actually was able to move. But most of the bombing on Amiens and Arras was on points of military importance, particularly the station at Amiens. It was filled with old men and women, and when the bombs did strike, the deaths could be counted in hundreds.

How easy it was now for the fifth column. I am perfectly convinced that in the hordes of refugees there were any number of German soldiers, German Intelligence men and advance men, trained for months to join these hordes and function in the interests of disorder.

The only actual death in our group of thirty was one of the drivers who was killed from a pistol shot from the crowd-a pistol shot that was completely untraceable but came from a fifth columnist. Of our party, one, Major Roger Machell, was almost fatally wounded in a bombing attack at Boulogne. One of our censors was wounded or captured. We carried our field censors with us and they censored the press copy as we wrote it, and it was put on such means of communication as were available. One of our conducting officers was later killed and two were wounded; but by a curious and possibly unjust circumstance, no newspaperman was either killed or wounded.

We got to bed in Amiens and by this time we knew that we were being of no service, either to our public, to our papers or to the Army. When we got to bed about eleven o'clock we were extremely exhausted and we had not been fed because I assure you it is difficult to eat when past you goes this endless throng of women and children, so obviously starving and hungry. You couldn't swallow a mouthful if you had to. It is a psychic confusion you get into in such times that only those who have suffered flood and disaster can understand. I was awakened about four o'clock in the morning by the captain who said to us, "Get up at once. They are on both sides of the town." We asked "What about our kits?", and he said, "Leave them in the court-yard of the hotel." I came down to the courtyard with my haversack and such stuff as I could carry. Newspaper correspondents are famous for the size of their kits.

William Stoneman, of the Chicago News, whom I regard as a great newspaperman and a charming person, looked at his kit, and said, "I have a hunch I may not see you again", so he wrote a note, "Bitte in Sicherheit zu halten." "Please hold safely" and signed it "Wilhelm Steinman, Chicago Daily News." The joke was on William. In less than twenty-four hours his kit was in the hands of the Germans and doubtless they opened it and kept it safely.

We were taken to an adjoining hotel where the conducting officers were staying. Our cars were there, engines running, but we spent two hours waiting for orders. By this time they were bombing the station at the foot of the street. Finally orders came to move and as our convoy of cars worked its way past the foot of the street where our hotel had been we saw the street in flames. I don't know whether the Germans are wearing my shoes or whether the fire got them.

As you know, there were three evacuations. There was the evacuation of Boulogne; and when it fell, Calais was held for a clay or so; and then Dunkerque, from which the main body of the army was evacuated.

We arrived at Boulogne about four o'clock on Saturdav afternoon. Our cars were taken from us to be used for more important work. There we sat Sunday and Monday and Tuesday, until noon, under bomb fire, in the midst of this tremendous tide of refugees, and we had a chance to try to conceive what was happening, and why, to these two mighty armies that we had lived among, some of us, for eight and a half months. I could tell you our views-they wouldn't be of much interest now. They are one with Ninevah and Tyre. So is Boulogne. What the Germans had left when we got out, our Navy and Air Force went back and finished.

The Hotel Maurice, where we stayed, was a three-storey hotel, around a little court-yard with a glass roof. It was filled with refugees. We took the top floor. It was built of wall paper and laths. Edward Angley and I shared a room. I am addicted to one-half of my pyjamas, which half you will understand when I say I am addicted also to nightshirts. A bomber came very near and dropped a bomb at the farther end of the street. Angley leaped out of bed and said, "Let us get out of here." I said, "Get back to bed. Lightning never strikes twice in the same place." "Very well", he said, "I'll take your word for it, you know more about it than I do." I said, "We must get some sleep. tomorrow or the next day we may be in the water. We don't know where we will be. We must get rest." In addition to my other defects, I snore. Angley lay raised on his elbow, cheek in hand, hating me, when a second bomber dropped a load on the far corner of the block our hotel was in. The women and children streamed out of the rooms of the hotel and we heard the thud of their feet and their screams and sobs along the halls down to the basement. This time we were lifted bodily a foot or two off our beds by the concussion that seemed to bulge out the walls of the edifice. We leaped out and I said, "Let's get out of here." Angley said, "Okay, you know more about it than I do, I'll take your word for it!"

We went downstairs and stood in an archway where there were a few people who couldn't stand the congestion and heat and stuffiness of the basement caves and dug outs. I had my dressing-gown and slippers. Mine was a kind of towelling bath-robe that I had bought in France when I lost my kit. We were trying to cheer the people up as we stood there. Across from us was a Belgian baby that had the tremors that affect small infants during bombings. The mother was past weeping and was making the strange sounds that a child makes when it has given up crying. Presently a French military nurse, in her blue uniform--a large, imposing-looking woman-hearing the good humour of Angley and myself and sizing up my beautiful gown, came over and said very politely, "May I borrow your dressing-gown to wrap this little baby in?" Amid Angley's laughter that could be heard half-way to London, he said, "You cannot have this gentleman's dressing-gown, but you can have mine."

Dunkerque was by no means the only port of evacuation. From both Boulogne and Calais there were evacuations on a very considerable scale. While the main body of the Army had retreated on Dunkerque, many units especially mechanized and armoured had come southward in the hope of joining the French. Thousands of Air Force personnel, ground crews and mechanics had been forced back on Boulogne in the abandonment of their aerodromes.

When it was finally decided to be rid of the thirty war correspondents, we left Boulogne at high noon, on a mine layer-a little ship smaller that a Niagara boat with over two thousand Air Force men on it.

Due to the strategy and the tactics of the enemy-using the unexpected and the new to the fullest degree, smashing holes with tanks and then driving fast units of tanks through the crowded and confused back areas, attacking all artillery resistance with Stuka dive bombers while tanks raided the infantry positions and movements that the artillery was trying to cover, disdaining many of the oldest laws of war in favour of methods both daring and hazardous-there was never an hour in all that retreat when anybody could say where any section of the situation had clarified or solidified. We who were in the retreat were ravenous for news of the retreat when we got back to England.

Physical confusion is a weapon by which the Germans set great store. I do not suggest that confusion was as general as we experienced, but it is sheer nonsense to suggest the confusion inspired and developed and exploited by the Germans in every possible direction was not the major factor in the success of the blitzkrieg in France.

Most of you here are business men. You have all suffered blitzkriegs in business. You have your business world well organized and well fortified in all directions. Then, without warning, someone strikes with a new method, a new system, a new product, a new way of producing or marketing. You know how ruthless those opponents are and how great is their advantage in surprise.

There is often dire confusion and sometimes ruin in sections of the business world where something new is launched with brains and cold determination. But there is this to be said for such a simile. They always have to have the goods. If they haven't the goods, the cleverest strategy in the world does no more than upset business for a time.

It is hard to believe that the Germans have the goods, not merely for the world at large but for the progress of mankind. Their ideas are not new, but old-old and discarded ages ago. They are trying to get the world to go back beyond the horse and buggy, back beyond the ox cart, right back to the time when mankind plodded on its weary feet, a world of slaves and pilgrims, while the overlords sang wassail in the castles on the hills.

Oh, it is noble to walk, noble and holy to divest yourself of all the soft, flabby vices and stand forth muscular and strong. But old age is flabby, and childhood is soft, and these we have seen butchered and driven mad. As for muscles and strength, no man was ever as strong as a gorilla; and the ideals of the gorilla seem to have got by some scandal of miscegenation into the German nation.

One of the strangest things I heard during the retreat was from a French infantry officer that I shared the road with for a few miles. On his sector a German bomber had been shot down and of the crew, two, an officer and a noncommissioned officer, were uninjured and brought before him as prisoners of war. He was sitting at a table in the cottage that was his headquarters. The two Germans were marched in by a guard. The officer asked them their names and rank. That is all a soldier is supposed to give when captured. It is usually the prelude to some crafty conversation by which the victor hopes to acquire information. No sooner had the prisoners answered the questions than they launched immediately into a tirade. To the complete astonishment of the officer, the two took turn about and, with fury and eloquence, heaped scorn and contempt on the French. They were a putrescent race whom the Germans had come to cleanse and destroy-pure Hitler, streaming out of these two youngsters in jeopardy.

The outraged French officer fingered the pistol at his belt and ordered them to be silent. They raved on. He shouted at them to be silent. They stood stiff and recited their piece breathlessly, in a sort of frenzy. "What did you do?" I asked. "I ordered the guard to throw them out," said the Frenchman, bleakly. "You must have felt like shooting them," I submitted. "I was tempted," agreed the French officer. You see, democratic people always feel humanity mastering them and that is why we must win. I think it is why, in Matthew Halton's phrase, "in the logic of history," we shall win. (Applause-prolonged.)

THE HONOURABLE G. HOWARD FERGUSON (President of the Empire Club): It is my privilege, representing the Empire Club, one of the joint hosts at this function, to say how delighted we are at the great success we have had today at this luncheon. I am quite sure that every one who has been here feels amply repaid and feels thrilled and impressed by the splendid recital we have just heard from our good friend, Gregory Clark. I think he has brought home to us in a very forceful, realistic and simple way the awful menace that overhangs the world and overhangs this country, in particular, as a part of the British Empire. He has done much, I think, to arouse public sentiment to action in Canada because, after all, it doesn't do to leave activity entirely to groups, to governments, to organizations. There should be effort on the part of every individual, because the threat with which we are faced today is not only the destruction, the annihilation of the ideals by which we govern ourselves but it is an attempt to destroy our personal freedom and liberty, our individual rights, and to make us part of a great mass-moving machine with the most bestial sentiments and activities that one can conceive of.

One cannot, as Mr. Clark has said, find words to describe the awful tragedy that is daily transpiring with abandoned and horrible vigour to annihilate the individual who resists their attempt to make the world subject to them.

In Canada we are a liberty-loving people. We are accustomed to making up our own minds, exercising our own judgments, and we are entitled to enjoy the reward of our individual effort. These are the most precious things that humanity has inherited and these are the things that are worth fighting to defend and preserve.

The more doctrine, such as we have heard today, is preached, the more realistic and illuminating tales we hear, I am sure, the greater will be the determination of the Canadian people to see to it that we put forth our utmost effort and do our full share in the resistance against the forces of evil. If we fail, the world is chaos. If we fail, life presents no enticing or inviting picture to us or to others who may become subject to the oppression and tyranny of the victor.

It is a good thing to have Gregory Clark back. He said that people were shot all about him but that no newspaper fellow was hit. Whether that is due to Providence or due to the facility with which the newspaperman artfully dodges everything he wishes to avoid, I am not quite sure. At any rate, we are glad they didn't hit Greg. In spite of the atmosphere in which he has been forced to live, he has grown up to be not only a journalist but a real institution in Canada. People read with interest everything he says. I see people stop and look at him on the street. He is a real, moving, force that everybody admires, and today I am quite sure you would like me to say on behalf of all of you, that we are indeed deeply grateful to him for coming and giving us such an interesting and impressive talk about his experiences across the water. (Applause.)

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The Blitzkrieg In Flanders


Anecdote and impression from the speaker's recent trip to France. Rousing Canada to the full reality of this war. The danger that all free men now face. Our enemy today the enemy of our ideals, of our minds, of our everyday thoughts, of our freedom. What we lose, if we lose. What else Canada must do in the war effort. Preserving what is British by preserving Britain. Witnessing the bombing of a country that thought it was prepared. Witnessing what happened to the Maginot Line last Spring. The speaker's arrival in France two days after Holland and Belgium had been invaded. The power of the German armoured divisions. Our failure to produce the materials of war. Still time to make our choice regarding war production. The speaker's accompaniment to the great retreat from Brussels to Boulogne, in some detail. The beginning of the blitzkrieg. The merciless bombing of civilian hordes, and how skilfully the bombing was done to force the great throngs on the highways and the secondary roads that the British and French army would have to use. The journey through Lille, Arras, Amiens and mass confusion. The evacuations of Boulogne, Calais, and then Dunkerque. Thirty war correspondents leaving Boulogne on a mine layer, a little ship smaller than a Niagara boat with over 2,000 Air Force men on it. The strategy and tactics of the enemy. Physical confusion as a weapon of the Germans in the blitzkrieg of France. An analogy in the business world. Some last words on democracy and humanity.