AN ADDRESS BY
THE HONOURABLE C. P. BEAUBIEN, B.A., LL.L., K.C.
Chairman: The President, Dr. F. A. Gaby.
Thursday, October 5, 1939
THE PRESIDENT: We are indeed highly honoured today in having one of our distinguished and gifted French-Canadians as our guest-speaker. Senator Beaubien is well known through his public service, and especially for his representations of Canada overseas. He has been entrusted with special missions to France on four occasions--in 1919, 1920, 1922 and 1923. In 1921, Senator Beaubien negotiated for the Canadian Government the Franco-Canadian Trade Treaty. He has also been honoured as a Canadian delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations, in September 1931; and he represented the Canadian Government at the Pan-American Postal Conferences, held in Madrid in the same year. Senator Beaubien was President of the Canadian section of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1932, 1933 and 1934, and he attended, as a delegate, the Conference of the Union at Geneva in 1919--at Vienna in 1922--at Washington in 1925-at Paris in 1927 and at Berlin in 1928. He was joint Chairman of the National Committee of the Jacques Cartier Centenary in 1934, and at the request of France, attended the celebration held the same year, in France. For his services rendered on his many missions to France he was made Commander of the Legion of Honour by that country.
I have much pleasure in introducing Senator C. P. Beaubien, whose subject will be "Hitlerism". (Applause) THE HONOURABLE C. P. BEAUBIEN, B.A., LL.L., K.C.: Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen: I want to say to my good friend, Dr. Gaby, how thankful I am to him for all the nice things he has said about me. There is one thing that I cannot forget: it is true that my span of life is getting rapidly longer, and as I look back to all these mile-stones that my good friend has brought back to my memory I find it a matter of sober reflection. I thank him for this and I hope that you will extend to me the full measure of your sympathy. I say sympathy, because you see, I have just returned from France, where I have been speaking French for several months, and now that I have to handle your own language, I find that I have to hang my tongue on quite a new swivel. In this difficulty, I know I shall have the advantage of your kindness on my side.
As I look around this table and over this audience I know how I am honoured by men with a long and glorious career, men who are gifted with the glory of words, men who have great deeds to their credit, and men of business who appreciate language only to the extent that it determines action.
I am mindful of a story that was told to me years ago by an excellent friend, a very brilliant lawyer of Montreal. He said, "Senator, you know, the first time I spoke in public, I went to my old home and I was met there by an old uncle of mine. He accompanied me to the hosting and told me, 'My little boy, don't forget that I have little patience, and the longer your speech shall be, the shorter shall be my patience'." Besides, there is the old precept, as you know which says, "What orators lack in depth they make up in space."
Now, bearing that in mind and having you for my audience, I shall endeavour, in as short a time as possible, to put the burden of my message before you.
Fate has pitted us against Hitlerism; and I thought it would be useful for us to ascertain what kind of fighting machine Hitler has forged from within and also bolstered from without, in order to better see what are its strong points and its weak spots.
Lord Baldwin has said of Hitler that he has a brilliant but erratic mind. That is not quite sufficient for me. Besides, Hitler is a fanatical type of a totally new specie.
Since the dawn of history, as you know, autocrats have always endeavoured to gather about their rule the great forces of their nations. To the masses the Roman Emperors gave bread and circuses. Napoleon thought it wise to tell the French people that they would have the free exercise of their religion and that he would respect the sacredness of property. Hitler has been totally different. He has disregarded all these precautions. Hitler has revealed himself a nihilist of the old Czarist type. He has, levelled to the ground all the stabilizing elements of the Reich. Hitler has risen to power in fighting and dominating all great moral forces and material interests hitherto existing in Germany.
I need not refer to his horrible treatment of the Jews, or to the persecution of the Catholic Church, or, which is far worse, to his attacks on the Lutheran faith, to which the immense majority of the Germans belong. For years, all tenets of Christianity have been flouted and ridiculed by him, and even an attempt made to replace them by the superstition of an old Saxon idolatry. What has been the result? Capital has been pressed into the service of the state and, in great part, consumed. Liberty has been suppressed, not only in the individual, but even in the great and powerful masses of labour unions. The proletariat is powerless. It has not even the force to speak. Workmen are obliged to accept the domicile, work and wages meted out to them.
Parental authority has disappeared. Children are thrown in the same crucible where everything is seared out of their soul, except veneration, loyalty and obedience to Hitler, and the ambition to develop physically and to become good soldiers. The people of learning have gone. Professors have been ousted by storm troopers. The lights are going out in the German universities.
Hitler's colossal figure towers over the Reich and before him have been brought pastors and priests, gagged and helpless. Capitalists have been forced to pour their wealth at his feet. The great proletariat has gone by, fettered and tied. Parents have brought their children to him. The men of culture, those yet left, have gone by with bowed heads and broken hearts. All of them have moved out to the formations assigned to them. They are mere automats, stripped of all initiative and vision.
Why? The question that has come to my mind has often been, why has Hitler exacted that terrible sacrifice from his people? That question for a long time I couldn't answer. Quite recently, a beautiful article in L'Illustration gave the answer-I see no other: Because Hitler wanted the German nation to be a huge mass in complete instability, which he could, at will, hurl against any foe, unattached by any influences, moral, material or even natural.
How has he accomplished this feat? How could he absolutely impose his domination over the Reich? He made wonderful use of his oratorical powers in perfect consonance with German humiliation, sufferings and aspirations. He boldly promised at first to pull Germany out of the sloth of the depression. He told the young men and the young girls that he would create living conditions such that they could marry, and immediately youth followed him, and so did an innumerable number of interested families. He spent the wealth of his country for work and wages and created artificial prosperity by which he deluded and enticed labour and capital. He appealed to Germanic pride to throw off what he called the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles. He told them to rise to the vision of the old Bismarckian Empire.
Well, the wise, the enlightened people were advised to remain with Hitler in order to moderate or to direct his course. They have been swept aside into subservience. How has Hitler bolstered his rule from without? If the people of brains and judgment stayed with Hitler to avoid a revolution, what is the responsibility of the nations outside of Germany? How did Hitler bolster his rule from without Germany? By following to the letter the tactics, written in Mein Kampf, years and years ago. Will you allow me to quote very shortly from that gospel of Hitler. It reads like this:
"The shrewd victor will, when possible, present his demands to the conquered piece-meal. He can be sure that a people without character--and such will be any people that voluntarily submits--will see no sufficient reason for going to war over any one of his separate encroachments. The more extortions of this kind are docilely accepted, the more unjustified will it seem to people finally to go to war over a new act of oppression, ostensibly isolated, but recurring; especially since they all in all have already put up with so much more and greater abuses in patient silence."
Hitler's prevision was exact. The nations of Europe receded step by step before the Nazi demands and menaces. They endeavoured to prevent a world cataclysm; unfortunately, they hastened it. Now, Hitler has a colossal fighting machine, of which nobody doubts that he has sole command, unattached in any way by any moral reason or material interest. It is a great advantage for one who intends to wage a war of conquest without a shadow of justification. But if Hitler has a powerful machine, it isn't altogether without its weaknesses. Shall we rapidly see what they are?
Mr. Louis Marlio, a very remarkable French economist, and a member of the French Institute, which is very highly regarded, as you know, in France, published an article in which he said: "In building up his war machine, Hitler has ruined the Reich. It is left without gold and without credit. Germany had an unfavourable balance at the end of last year of 450 million marks. Germany pays its creditors in cash to the extent of 60 percent only, and 40 percent in acknowledgments, the use of which is restricted to the payment of future taxes.
Germany's working classes are having to accept beggarly wages. A stenographer gets less than $4.50 a week, a chauffeur or a miner gets less than $6.00 a week, and a skilled artisan less than $9.00 a week. All these wages are subject to regular taxation and, of course, to innumerable contributions that have nothing voluntary but the title.
The workmen are obliged to work sixty hours a week and more. They are tired. The equipment of the railways has suffered from wear and tear, and so has the equipment of all the industrial concerns."
Liberty has been totally banished from the Reich. You read in the press recently that two people were arrested for listening to a forbidden broadcast. Germany is completely severed from the rest of the world.
Surely, in this pent-up mass there must be an explosive force that is growing and therefore, there must be a growing compressive power which in turn must be taken away from the striking forces of the armies. How many divisions will be required to keep subdued the Czechs and the Poles? Besides, let us not forget that an autocrat is tied very closely to success.
May I remind you that at the gates of Vienna, Napoleon refused a slight concession in the articles of capitulation, and he said to Metternich : "Your Emperor is king by the Grace of God and, with any concession, he still will remain king. I am but a soldier of fortune, and I cannot recede a step." Hitler is fighting with one hand on the throat of his people, keeping them down, gasping for liberty. The chains of Versailles, which he boasted he would break, have become fetters for every man, woman and child in the Reich.
Hitler is fighting now, as you know, with the opprobrium of all civilized nations weighing on his soul, with his army insufficiently trained, with his officers deficient. Hitler overestimates the power that he wields. Surely he underestimates his opponents.
This I would like to show you by a quotation from an independent authority. My friend to the right but a moment ago spoke to me of Hermann Rauschning. Rauschning was an officer, who was wounded during the last war, a friend and supporter of Hitler. Rauschning became President of the Senate of Dantzig in 1935. When the Nazi rule wanted to impose upon him the obligation of persecuting the different religions he sold his property and went out. In the last number of Foreign Affairs (no better review on international matters, I think, can be found in the world) in an article which I strongly recommend any man interested in the subject to read, Rauschning gives Hitler's impression of the power of Great Britain and of France and of the United States. Listen to this:
"In Nazi eyes England is a paper power, whose strategic position is in full disintegration. France is a dying nation, biologically unable any longer to play the part of a world power, much less a 'world people'. The United States is no longer a young nation. It is moreover a hodgepodge of peoples and so can never attain a stable political form. It is not ambitious, hence, by definition, not a 'world people'. The proper sort of touch from the outside at the right moment would send it reeling into revolution."
My Friends, England is a paper Power--yes, a paper Power! The signature of England at the bottom of a draft has been so trustworthy that for generations in the past--(Applause) that for generations in the past and still after the war she has been and still remains the banker of the world.
Germany, in 1921 and 1922, systematically forced the sale of her marks throughout the world, and then brazenly repudiated them. In 1923 I went to the Ruhr to ascertain whether it was true (it was denied even in Germany) that thousands of Germans worked under French Officers. I accepted the invitation of M. Poincare to accompany Yves M. Trocquer, the Minister of Public Works, and I went about and saw the mines in the Ruhr. I was accompanied by four people, one of whom was the chauffeur. The others were officers, and I went through and saw thousands of Germans working under two French officers. But that is not the point. When I was in Dusseldorf, I paid 3 million marks for one stamp. I paid over 3 million marks for a newspaper, and listen to this: I paid 33 billion (not million) marks for a luncheon for five. I have the receipt. I have kept it. I bought paper of untold wealth--millions and millions, and brought them home. My brother, who is a broker in Montreal, has papered part of his office with German currency of the time.
Great Britain a paper Power? Yes, Oh, yes, it is true, by her innumerable treaties throughout the world England no doubt wields great influence, but not one of those treaties has Great Britain torn up like a scrap of paper-not one! (Applause) Great Britain a paper Power? Oh, she has tremendous authority and her last White Paper will stand forever as final judgment, condemning Hitler as a prevaricator of truth, as a repudiator of his solemn word, and as a bloody assassin of a peaceful, proud and valorous nation.
Great Britain disintegrating? Hitler has forgotten Jutland and Zeebrugge, but his memory is daily being refreshed.
France a dying country? That France could have survived after the last war and her awful bloodletting, and the destruction of her wealth, even to the very earth of her fields, is a miracle that Hitler could have seen re-enacted in many glorious pages of history, written not only with French blood, but often with German blood as well.
Hitler, who loves to revert to the Aryan birth of his race, should remember that 1500 years ago the first Hun invader of Europe was smashed in the north of France, and that he died shortly afterwards. Attila, like Hitler, was a ruthless tyrant, but unlike him, he was generous and kept his word.
Be that as it may, the German armies are on the march. What is their ultimate objective?
But a few weeks ago, in Paris, General Delattre de Tassigny, Chief of Staff of the French Superior Council of War stated to me that Hitler had taken up the old Bismarckian policy of the conquest of Great Britain and the partition of the British Empire.
I looked up a recent book on history, written by, without any doubt, the greatest historian living in France, Mr. Gabriel Hanotaux, a member of the French Academy. In his memoirs, published but a few months ago, he gives a recital of events which he had known personally. He said that Bismarck, in 1883, when Great Britain and France were at loggerheads over Egypt, pressed on Baron de Courcelles, the French Ambassador at Berlin, the project of the invasion of Great Britain, jointly by France and Germany, each nation furnishing one million men. De Freycinet, who was the Prime Minister of France at the time, steadfastly refused the advances and suggestions made by Bismarck, and he held fast to the rule and policy established firmly by his great predecessor, Gambetta, of close co-operation with Great Britain. That co-operation, adhered to by government after government in France has helped to consolidate the "Entente cordiale", created by the genius of Edward the VII, which in the last war saved Europe from Hun domination.
Hitler appealed to his people to rise to the vision of the Bismarckian Empire, but with his appetite whetted by his successes at home and abroad he widened that vision and soon called for "Lebensraum". An awful word, isn't it? "Lebensraum" means the space to live. What, in the Nazi mind, does a space to live mean? Again, I want to appeal to a man well-informed and, I believe, impartial so that we will ascertain what the objective of Hitler is. May I again quote Mr. Rauschning? Listen to this:
" 'Lebensraum',--the space required by a nation for living, is not, in Nazi terminology, the mere space sufficient for subsistence under a system of free exchange of goods. It means a domain sufficiently comprehensive to provide Germany with 'absolute' freedom of action. The limits of that domain expand automatically as the requirements of modern warfare expand. What would have been adequate in the year 1880 to make Germany self-sufficient and sovereign had become wholly inadequate by the end of the World War. To become truly 'sovereign' under postwar conditions Germany must now expand the domain under her control eastward as far as the Caucasus and including the Ukraine, and westward as far as the open sea. She must have the oil of the Caucasus, the minerals of the Ukraine, and the grain of Hungary and Roumania; also she must have the steel of northern France, control of the shore line of Belgium, Holland and northern France, and the colonial domains at present belonging to those countries. In this policy the law of the minimum controls; for the soundness of the policy varies with that factor, not with the maximum.
"Such are the ideas of National Socialism. The fundamental thing which emerges is the impossibility that olive branches and concessions in this or that particular could ever serve any purpose. Either it is 'full sovereignty' for Germany, or it is nothing. "Hitler's foreign policy therefore allowed him no freedom of choice. His particular aims all stood in a fixed and necessary relation to his comprehensive aim: 'Full sovereignty' for Germany as a 'world people'. Germany will be satisfied only when she controls a completely self-sufficient territory. In the perspective of that policy, all projects for a return to a purely economic organization of the world necessarily remained uninteresting. The dependence of parts of the world on the whole, and the interdependence of all the parts, are the very things which must be rectified, abolished, and this not on doctrinaire grounds but because of the plain requirements of practical politics. Thus there were but two alternatives: Germany's complete surrender, her renunciation of all hope of becoming a 'world people', or an uncompromising struggle to attain the complete goal. The goal can be attained only by German control over all Europe."
That is the creed preached in Germany by Hitler and a National Socialistic Party.
Well, it is hardly a pleasant perspective, but such as it is we have to face it.
Just a word in conclusion. What are we going to do? It is unwillingly that the Allies have been thrown into the war, but it is as free men that we determined to climb back from the dark abyss to the shining summit of victory and, beyond, to peace and happiness. It is as free men that we are going to fight against a nation enslaved, but it is also in unison of purpose and action that we shall fight. Let us all do our bit and not be tempted to criticize those in authority, and even our neighbour. Example is very much more effective than criticism, and, unless I am far from the mark, notwithstanding anything said to the contrary, there will be no dearth of young men of French and British descent who will be tied very closely to their Mother Country by the thin red line that marks their veins but springs from their hearts. There will be no dearth of men who will enter the struggle for the dignity of man, for the freedom of nations, for Christian liberty and fraternity. (Applause) There will be no dearth of men who will enter the crusade as Cardinal Verdier of Paris said so eloquently, for our civilization against the rising front of modern barbarism. And, as we go to the battle field, shoulder to shoulder, with our mother countries, let us repeat, Oh, let us repeat the wonderful verses that I have now before my eyes, given to us by Henry Van Dyke
"Give us a name to stir the blood
With a warmer glow and a swifter flood,
A name like the sound of trumpet clear,
And silver-sweet, and iron-strong,
That calls three million men to meet
The foes who threaten that name with wrong,
A name that rings like a battle song,
I give you France!"
Let us recite again the wonderful peroration of Lord Snowden's mighty oration in the British Parliament during the last war:
"All our past proclaims the future: Shakespeare's voice and Nelson's hand, Milton's faith and Wordsworth's trust In this, our chosen and chainless land, Bear us witness,
Come the world against her, England yet shall stand."
THE PRESIDENT: The Right Honourable Arthur Meighen has kindly consented on your behalf to extend our thanks and appreciation to Senator Beaubien.
RT. HONOURABLE ARTHUR MEIGHEN: Mr. President, Distinguished Guests and Gentlemen: At this very tense and momentous juncture in the affairs of this troubled world, we have listened to an extraordinary exposition of the cause for which we stand from a very distinguished French-Canadian. It is 'a very sincere matter of gratification to me to find Senator Beaubien in our midst. Many years have rolled on since he and I first became associated in Canadian affairs, and while the President read a very lengthy and interesting catalogue of his accomplishments, his honours and his distinctions, and the services that he has rendered in exalted stations for his Dominion, I believe I could list some more, were I so disposed, but I say something about him of infinitely more consequence than anything that could be embraced in that literary title. I know him well enough to assure you that on all occasions in dark days as in sunshine, Senator Beaubien is a British citizen all the time, and a hundred percent British. (Applause) He knows the value of, he appraises the liberties that we enjoy as such citizens, and he also is ready to acknowledge and ready to satisfy the obligations which that citizenship implies.
We have heard Senator Beaubien outline the forces, the philosophy and picture, but briefly, the perils that we confront. He gave us at the end a definition of "lebensraum", the objective of Hitlerism at this hour. I give you a far briefer one, but it is true to the letter. "Lebensraum" is the right to live, means one thing and one thing only, it means a world in which Germans may live and others may not live.
I cannot sit down without saying one thing which I think of immediate consequence. We have in our country quite a varied population outside of our British and our French who appreciate the situation well. We have many from other lands and many who speak and speak almost only the German tongue. They are mostly in our western country. These are hearing almost daily, over short wave radio, expositions in their language, directed right from Germany, and those of us who have listened to the skilful artists of that land know how plausibly they can appeal to people in other countries. We haven't suffered these six years of gangsterism and perfidy without learning something as well. We cannot expect the natural attitude of that section of our population to be like our own. It is much easier to anticipate and prevent trouble than to deal with it if it comes. I think we should in this country see to it that radio expositions of the truth, formidably supported, go out in the German tongue, reaching not only the extremities of our own land, but of the country to the south as well. These people know something of Canada and what our life means. They are not entirely obstinate and closed to conviction.
I am here to thank Senator Beaubien. I have been grateful to him many a time in years gone. by. I express the feeling uppermost in your minds when I say I welcome him to Toronto. You have heard things about Toronto in the Province of Quebec. Well, we never pay much attention in this city to satire and to fun. We rather enjoy it, but I can say this, having lived here thirteen years, there is no place in the Dominion where the French-Canadian is more welcome than right in the City of Toronto. This last winter some of the younger men from your province have come here, sought and obtained work, in order to learn our language and learn something about us. There is not one of them but will tell you he has been made abundantly welcome. We rejoice in the symptoms, the signs, the proofs of a brotherly feeling of confederation that abounds in the Province of Quebec, and there will be no place in the Dominion which will rise to such an altitude of delight as will the City of Toronto if in the near future Quebec vindicates itself again. (Applause)
In the name of Ontario, I thank you, Senator Beaubien. Come back, send your people. It does us good to hear from our brothers of the Province of Quebec. (Applause)
THE PRESIDENT: Gentlemen, I hope you will excuse me if I break in with a few remarks on the excellent speeches of both Senator Beaubien and Mr. Meighen, in his thanks to him. I would like at this time to extend on your behalf your appreciation of the distinguished guests at our head table, who are present today, and especially to Sir William Mulock who has come from his summer home to be present with us on this occasion.
Gentlemen, the meeting is adjourned.