- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 7 Feb 1952, p. 229-240
- Woodside, Wilson, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Recalling when the tide turned in Europe in 1948. The tide turning in Asia in 1950 and 1951; events that caused that turning. Providing some counter-weight to Russia. American armed strength; ready for what? The Soviet line; what the Soviets want. A shifting balance as Western rearmament is achieved. The need for a clear policy with regard to how this shift in the balance of power is used; for clear political aims to justify the great effort in rearmament. A discussion concerning ways of using our military power. What our policy towards the Soviets should be. Pressing the Soviets back out of Europe by agreement after agreement. The lack of certainty that this can be done without war. The danger that pressure may unleash war. Recognizing that danger in the talks over how to get the war over in Korea. An object lesson from Korea. A basic principle in dealing with the Community enemy, with illustration. The need to use different kinds of pressure to get the Soviets to take the Red Army back home. Suggestions as to what those pressures could be. Making Stalin willing to conclude an Austrian Treaty and what that would mean in terms of the Soviets maintaining troops in Hungary and Romania. Pressing for the conclusion of a German Peace Treaty. A consideration of the effects on the Satellite countries. Continuing and stepping up broadcasts to the Czechs and Slovaks from Radio Free Europe in Munich. Encouraging and helping Czechoslovak refugees to organize for the liberation of their country. The possibility of duplicating this in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland. The situation of Albania. The risk of committing ourselves to the overthrow of the Soviet Regime; to the break-up of the Soviet-Russian Empire. The risk of all-out war. The needed policy of the use of an implied threat of support for the Soviet minorities through broadcasts which go out daily over various stations. What a Soviet retreat from Eastern Europe would mean to the Soviet regime. The three aspects of the speaker's general idea, in summary. The events in Germany and Japan crying out to us that we can make a large part of the peoples of Russia our allies. Preventing a third World War.
- Date of Original
- 7 Feb 1952
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
- "WINNING WITHOUT WAR"
An Address by WILSON WOODSIDE
Associate Editor, Saturday Night
Thursday, February 7th, 1952
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. D. H. Gibson.
MR. GIBSON: We assemble here today with bowed heads.
In the passing of His Majesty, King George VI, a King of unblemished character, selfless in his devotion to duty, in the brief span of fifteen years has served his people with a splendour of human heroism never excelled.
It was a rain-swept day in December 1936 that King George and his noble Scottish-born Queen ascended the Throne. It would seem that day of severe wind and fierce rains was a portent of the years of storm which beat on his Throne. Nine times was his Palace bombed in the titanic struggle of 1939 to 1945. The magnitude of these forces beating upon his Throne and his Kingdom, history will record. We ourselves do not need to wait for history to tell the story of His Majesty's high devotion, of unending sacrifice, he carved into those fifteen years.
His acceptance of the task of Kingship, his devotion to his family, and above all else, the King's strength of mind and will all through those fifteen years heightened the lustre of the British Throne, until he became for all his subjects our beloved Sovereign. We who have lived through these years with him and gained courage through the inspiration of his life, feel the call of new devotion and, if need be, greater sacrifice, in order that this symbol of the Commonwealth of Nations, the British Crown, shall become imperishable, in the midst of a world with destruction, fear and confusion abounding.
Our late Majesty, King George VI, never planned to be King nor did he seek the Sceptre or the Throne. Yet the zeal of his rife and earnest solicitude for his people will shine through the ages to come.
He rose to heights never excelled in British history. Truly, his name liveth for evermore.
HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II, so recently in our midst, it can be said we witnessed in all her acts the true principles governing a life already dedicated to every high and noble purpose. We listen again to her broadcast from South Africa on her twenty-first birthday when with intense earnestness of purpose, we hear her words--"I declare before you all, that my whole life shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Imperial family, to which we all belong".
In earlier times in British history, the perils were great to them, but to come to the Kingdom in such a time as this calls for the guidance of the God of all grace. Days of heavy strain are imposed by events which call for fortitude and noblest courage by every British subject, and most of all for our beloved Queen Elizabeth II. We thank God for her Consort in this hour--a truly great young man, husband and father.
We seem at times to be moving into what in some year may be termed the "inevitable hour". Issues hang in the balance as regards the form of life we treasure. Our Queen Elizabeth II, with fragrant memories of her presence, with shining integrity of character, strong intellect and with all her personality, inspires devotion of the highest form from all her subjects. How conscious we are that duty will never be obscured, as she ascends the Throne.
At times from 1939 to 1945 some feared the world, as we knew it, was slipping away. As in those anxious days, we took our stand, with undimmed eyes seeing from afar the unfurled flag above Buckingham Palace, believing Divine Providence would accept our sacrifice and toil for humanity's freedom.
We in this hour remembering our lineage--they who in their day journeyed long and upward amid trials and sacrifice. With great purpose we commit ourselves to stand as one people, devoted to the uttermost to one common purpose of upholding throughout her reign--we hope and pray a long reign--our beloved Queen Elizabeth II.
Coming to our distinguished Speaker and Guest, Mr. Willson Woodside, it is enough to say that this will be his eighth occasion on which he has addressed the Empire Club. He is so widely known beyond our city, that if he goes to the Coast and down to the East, he is among the inner circle of those whose voice and opinion is held in very high esteem. It is a great pleasure to have with us, our friend, Mr. Willson Woodside.
MR. WOODSIDE: Mr. President, Distinguished Guests, and Gentlemen: I found it very difficult to prepare this speech. There was the sad event of yesterday which weighed heavily on us all. But there was also a certain diffidence about coming once again to the Empire Club, for I would think the 11th or 12th time.
For some reason, I always feel I have to prepare a special speech for the Empire Club. And I find myself this winter without quite the sense of urgency it has been my lot to express to you so many times, ever since 1934, when I first spoke to the Club on the rise of Hitler.
I may be completely wrong in it. There is a most difficult and puzzling situation in the Orient, in East Asia, and a great danger still hangs over Europe and all the world. However, rightly or wrongly, I have the feeling that the tide turned in Europe in 1948, with the defection of Tito, our stand in Berlin, and the organization of the Atlantic Pact.
The tide turned in Asia, I believe, in 1950 and 1951, with our stand in Korea and with the recovery of Japan to provide some of the missing counter-weight to Russia. When the American rearmament--there has been rearmament of course in all the Western countries but we must admit that American re-armament has been by far the major factorbrought on by Korea, and the appointment of General Eisenhower began to put some steam in the boiler, an entirely different situation was created for the Soviets. They now face a Grand Coalition, already formed and organized, and building and distributing arms among its members. They face, as neither the Kaiser nor Hitler did, a line-up which includes the greatest industrial and maritime power on earth, and potentially the greatest military power, the United States.
I just don't believe it is in the Soviet plans to issue a flat challenge of war to such a combination. We have seen their game--in surely one of the most costly lessons in history--a game which I described step by step from 1943 on, in the most unpopular speeches I ever made.
It is a cautious game: Stalin's caution is not the least important factor in contemporary history. He may well believe in his method, since it has increased the number of those blessed by his rule from 175 millions to over 800 millions, within a few years. 1951, let it be marked, was the first year since the war in which Stalin failed to extend his rule over new millions--or indeed push the frontiers of the Soviet Empire forward by a single inch.
This is no good reason for relaxing our efforts, since we all know perfectly well that it was only by great effort and the shedding of much blood that we have halted Stalin. But there is reason for satisfaction, for encouragement; the great power of the West is being converted into actual military power, and a great political reorganization of the West is being carried through at the same time.
General Eisenhower now has ready, at the end of his first year about 25 divisions.
According to the present time-table about 60 divisions are to be ready by 1954, including 44 in the new European Army.
Ready for what? That is what I have come here to talk about. When you set a "deadline" like this--1954--the idea it conveys is that something is going to happen then. The Soviets are saying, in press and propaganda, that this is the "deadline" for our attack on them. Obviously, if they believed that, they would attack us before 1954--they would attack now, when according to the Alsops in last Sunday's Herald-Tribune, the Soviets are out-producing us 7 to 1 in jet aircraft; now, when the new U.S. tanks are full of "bugs", and production is limping, now before the European army is organized and German power restored.
But do the Soviets, for all their innate Russian suspicion, which we should not underestimate, really believe this? They have another line, which they have been pounding hard in recent days.
They have given great publicity to ex-President Hoover's speech of a week or so ago, calling for the bringing home of American troops from Europe and Asia and the cutting of military expenses.
According to the Soviet press, Hoover is still a "war monger" but his speech, they say, shows that a large part of the American people is demanding a change of policy.
It looks as if the Soviets are dreaming dreams of a Taft victory, with perhaps Hoover as Secretary of State, ready to make a "deal", leaving America a "fortress" of the Western Hemisphere, and leaving the Soviets a free hand in Europe, Asia and Africa. That is what the Soviets would like, that sort of a deal! Nothing better!
But of course it won't come to that. Mr. Hoover--and I respect him personally--I remember very well hearing his speech in this hotel--Mr. Hoover is only saying again, not only what he said a year ago, but what he said in 1940 and in 1917. Mr. Hoover remains one of the relatively few Americans who is consistent isolationist--one of the few Americans who have never changed their views. The change in world outlook which has come over most of Mr. Hoover's compatriots in the last ten years and which has produced such things as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan--one of the most enlightened strokes of policy in history--and the Atlantic Pact--this change is one of the most astounding in our changing times. It continually astonishes me. Even Mr. Taft sometimes seems to have moved a little. Kefauver, who I think could beat him, is the Senate Leader of the Atlantic Union movement, of which I am strongly in favor. And Eisenhower, who I believe could beat anybody, is trying to federate Europe.
That is how far the Americans have moved.
No, 1954 won't be the deadline for the U.S. to pull out of Europe, or for the Atlantic Coalition to attack the Soviet Union. It is just the deadline for being ready.
But once we are ready, what do we do? Is it suggested that we just sit on our bayonets, and sleep with our atom bombs under the pillow for years?
That is impossible, that a people as impatient as the people of this Continent should allow these costly armaments to rust away and face the possibility of making the whole effort over again some years hence. No, indeed not! Besides, nothing stands still. The world balance is changing right now, it has been changing for the last year or two, just because we are holding in Asia, rearming mightily in America, and building the Eisenhower Army in Europe. The balance will continue to shift as Western rearmament is achieved.
But have we a policy to utilize this shift in the balance of power, to secure our political aims? Have we clear political aims to justify our great effort in rearmament? What do we want besides making ourselves "safe" for the moment? We will have to be a lot clearer about our political aims than we were in 1943-45, when we signally failed to use our great military strength to achieve desirable political ends.
As to one way of using our military power-by making a "preventive war", is there really any possibility that the United States would, or could, lead us into this, come 1954 or '55, as some fear? The U.S. constitution effectively prevents the military from launching such surprise onslaught. National garrulity would make it impossible to strike in secrecy; and the United States would risk finding itself the next day without allies.
I think that the Senate Investigation into the MacArthur Affair should have disposed of the fellow-travellers' legend that the Americans are hysterical, about to run amok on a world scale, and drag us all down to ruin. All of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff opposed widening the war in the East, in those investigations, and the fact is--contrary to the propaganda--that the United States Government has shown great consideration for the desire and wishes of its Allies in the United Nations' Campaign in Korea.
Preventive or undeclared war is something that a secretive dictatorship can launch--as the Soviets fell on Finland in 1939; a talkative democracy cannot do it. Well, what should our policy toward the Soviets be?
I think it should be to press them back out of Europe, by agreement after agreement.
As our military power, political unity and prosperity grow, the balance shifts steadily in Europe. We should make use of this to press an active but not aggressive political policy. Let us see what is needed to end the tension of the cold war.
Surely it will not be possible to live in any comfort alongside the Soviet Union--in Stalin's lingo, to "coexist" with it--until the Red Army has been withdrawn from Eastern Europe, behind its own border, and until China has been pried away from the domination of the Kremlin, or her position in Asia balanced by some non-Communist power, Japanese if not Indian.
There is no certainty that this can be done without war. It certainly can't be done without pressure; and there is always the danger that pressure may unleash war.
That danger was faced and recognized in the talk about how to get the war over in Korea. There is a great object lesson for us in Korea, in the use of pressure--cruder forms of it than I am proposing for Europe, it is true. It was only when our ground power became really impressive--after General Ridgway took over--and it was only when the MacArthur controversy stirred up a lot of talk of bombing Manchuria to get the war over with, that Moscow and Peking suddenly became willing to talk truce.
Then they stalled on the talks, building up their own power, taking every advantage of the time-gained, until the Americans, casting about in extreme exasperation and puzzlement for some way of ending the Korean affair, began to talk up very widely the threat of bombing the mainland cities and ports of China and imposing a naval blockade. Suddenly the enemy has become anxious to push on with the truce talks.
This illustrates a basic principle in dealing with the Communist enemy. We won't get anywhere at all without convincing, unpleasant pressure. The situation in Europe is different, of course, where a shooting war is not going on. Different kinds of pressure must be used to get the Soviets to take the Red Army back home.
The first of these pressures is the basic one of the change in balance of power, as we build up the European Army and the Atlantic Treaty forces, and as Germany more fully recovers her strength. (The real postwar struggle has been for the control of Germany, Japan and China, and we have won two out of three, and the Soviets have suffered a great defeat in securing control of Germany and Japan.)
As the balance of power shifts, we begin to insist on an Austrian Treaty. There are only a few paragraphs to finish in it. The Soviets have carefully put themselves into a position where they could conclude such a treaty without apparent loss of face. We could help them to the decision by working on the Soviet troops in Austria.
If we could only for a moment stop thinking of these troops as the symbol of Soviet strength, ready to pounce on Western Europe, and see them as the weakest element in the whole Soviet system, the element that is exposed to the outside influences so carefully screened from the people at home! These troops are hostages given by Stalin to his imperialist policy. There have been many thousands of desertions from these troops in spite of the puny propaganda effort we have directed at them and the difficulties they face in coming over to us.
We could greatly intensify our own effort and also support the propaganda of Russian emigre groups, ex-Red Army groups, and Soviet minority elements struggling in Europe to develop a political underground against Stalin. We could promise a safe refuge, a job and if desired, emigration overseas for all who leave the Red Army in Austria and Germany. We could pose Stalin the choice of leaving his occupation troops on the spot long enough to become thoroughly "contaminated", or changing them more and more often, and so exposing young and impressionable troops to the influence of Western Europe and the outside world, and having these ideas carried back into the U.S.S.R.
I think we could make Stalin willing to conclude an Austrian Treaty.
The conclusion of an Austrian Treaty will mean that the Soviets no longer have the right to maintain troops in Hungary and Romania. They signed treaties with us to this effect, during and after the war. As our strength grows, we will be in a better position to press them to keep these agreements.
Then we start to press for the conclusion of a German Peace Treaty. If our military strength is growing, our plans, for political unity going ahead, and Western Europe is pulling harder and harder on Eastern Europe--Western Germany pulling on Eastern Germany--and if we work on the Red Army of Occupation in Germany, I think the time would come when the Soviets will be ready to conclude a German Treaty acceptable to us.
Once they accept this, they are committed by Potsdam to withdrawing their army from Poland. So we start insisting on that. The day would come when the Soviets would accede to that.
Now consider the effect on the Satellites. Our power is already building up in Germany. There is a far different pressure on Czechoslovakia today than when the Communist coup was carried out in 1948. As Soviet power on the East is balanced and then over-balanced by our power on the West, the political balance will shift inside Czechoslovakia. The Communists will become more cautious and run to cover, while the democrats will become bolder, until the day of the Czechoslovakian turnover comes.
I am assuming here that we will continue, and will step up our broadcasts to the Czechs and Slovaks from Radio Free Europe in Munich--where the Czech Service is directed by my good friend Ferdinand Peroutka--and that we will encourage and help Czechoslovak refugees to organize for the liberation of their country.
This sort of thing could be duplicated, I believe, in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, in their turn.
And Albania! It is easy to forget tiny Albania. What consequence could it be in the war between two worlds? But a book which I came across only by accident a few months ago, had in it the most plausible argument I have seen in a long time. Albania is isolated from the Soviet border; Albania is made to order for a Western effort to roll back Soviet power. I think it invited a specially bold liberation campaign, and that if we cannot liberate Albania, we cannot liberate Central and Eastern Europe.
Once the Red Army is home and the Soviets are back behind their 1945 border, we have a new decision to make. Do we try to make a settlement with the Soviets, undertaking not to molest them within their borders if they give up supporting Communist activity outside their borders? and such an agreement, of course, would not be worth a rap unless we had the power and the will to make them keep it.
Or do we accept that there cannot be any real settlement, any real security, so long as their border is sealed to all passage of information, trade or persons, so long as a brutal dictatorial regime is left in control of a vast empire covering one-sixth of the earth?
Do we have to commit ourselves to the overthrow of the Soviet regime? Do we have to commit ourselves to the breakup of the Soviet-Russian Empire? Either or both of these aims carries a far greater risk of all-out war than anything dealt with so far.
To declare the first--the overthrow of the Soviet regime--might encourage anti-Communists in the U.S.S.R. and all over the world, but it would certainly rouse the instincts of self-preservation of the Soviet regime as nothing else would.
To declare the second--the break-up of the Soviet-Russian Empire--would hearten all the minorities of the U.S.S.R. and give us political allies among the Ukrainians, Baltics, White Russians, the Georgians (who had their own republic and were represented in the League of Nations after the First World War), the Azerbaijani, the Uzbeks and the Turkomen. But it might line up the Great Russians, over half the U.S.S.R. population, in defence of the integrity of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire, their country by whatever name.
This is a very grave decision which we will have to make some day. But no matter what we decide to do, it would be foolhardy to declare it now. Nothing could be better calculated to urge the Soviets to attack us now than to declare that we are out to destroy them.
As I see the policy we need, it is to use an implied threat of support for the Soviet minorities through our broadcasts which go out daily over the B.B.C., the Voice of America, and the Voice of Canada to the Baltic peoples, the Georgians, the Russians themselves, the Ukrainians, as part of our pressure on the Kremlin to pull out of Europe. If we can win this much without war, I think we will have won the decisive contest--if at the same time we have checked Communist China.
For a Soviet retreat from East Europe, however they presented it in their propaganda at home and abroad, would mean a great loss of prestige to the regime. It would be bound to encourage the Baltic peoples, White Russians and Ukrainians if the neighboring Poles, Czechs, Hungarians and Romanians were to be freed. There would be increased nationalist agitation, which would bring increased suppression. Trouble might spread through all the minorities and who knows what might happen? I know that some people think all this could take a very long time--but surely this is the age when everything happens in faster and faster tempo--For example, only look at the so-called "unchanging East". Look at what is happening, at what is driving ahead in India and China.
My general idea is that (1) we must have a settlement with Russia that we can live with; (2), that we will have to develop shrewd and strong pressures to get such a settlement; and (3) that while we must maintain as our policy the freedom and self-determination of all peoples, we must be careful not to throw the Great Russian people into Stalin's arms by an all-out commitment to the minorities to break up the present Russian Empire.
It may break up of itself, if the power at the centre is weakened. It may be that there will be sufficient political genius and conciliation among the peoples of Russia to produce a federation. In any case, we may be sure that we can't build the kind of Russia the Russians and the others would like. We can help, however, and a good way to begin would be to stop speaking of "The Russians" as our enemies.
If the events in Germany and Japan mean anything to us, they ought to cry out that we can make a large part of the peoples of Russia our allies, and if we can do that and force Stalin to believe it, there won't be a World War III.
THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Dr. C. C. Goldring.