- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 27 Jan 1921, p. 14-30
- Percy, Major-General Sir Jocelyn, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The speaker, sent to Russia by the War Office in 1907, just after the Russia-Japanese war to view the battle fields and gauge the value of the Russians. The speaker's expectations and actual findings. Karensky's revolution in Russia, and the consequences for the people. How the revolution was started, who started it, and why. The second revolution, the same that is going on at present under Kolchack. Matters and events in South Russia of which the speaker was an eye-witness. The speaker sent in December, 1919 by the War Office to go out to Russia as Chief-of Staff of General Holman, who was commanding out there. Events and observations from that time. The future of Russia very hard to foretell. The speaker's own view of what will happen in Russia. The need for a guiding hand. Bolshevism elsewhere. The speaker's view of Bolshevism as a sort of horrible disease that often gets lodgment in one's mind without one's knowing it. Conditions under which Bolshevism is welcomed by the people. Encouraging friendships that will keep the British Empire together.
- Date of Original
- 27 Jan 1921
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
- THE SITUATION IN RUSSIA
AN ADDRESS BY MAJOR-GENERAL SIR JOCELYN
PERCY, K.B.E., C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
January 27, 1921
PRES. MITCHELL: Gentlemen, We have with us a very eminent British General, the most distinguished of what I may call the younger generals; in fact, though I ought not to say this, he is of my own age. (Laughter) I knew General Percy very well indeed in the days when, in 1916 and 1917, we were fighting in France, and although I never had the pleasure and the honour of working on the same staff, or working under him, I worked alongside of him, and I know what kind of man he is, not only as a man but as a General; and he was such a good man and such a good General that he was selected by Lord Plumer to be his Chief of Staff, following Sir Chas. Harrington in the second army, which took part in the final offensive in parts of Germany, and occupied the Rhine. (Applause) Those of you of the Canadian corps-and I see many buttons here-will probably remember General Percy as the tall gentleman who stood beside Lord Plumer on a bright day at dawn when the Canadians crossed into Germany for the first time, so he is not really a stranger to you. After the Armistice and in the year 1919 General Percy was selected by the War Office to go to South Russia to take charge of the British Mission, to work with Generals Denekin and Wrangel, and in that capacity he had an extraordinarily good opportunity to see the conditions in Russia, and particularly in South Russia. It is on this subject that he is going to speak to us today. I am sure you will all agree with me how very glad and proud we are that General Percy is coming to Canada to be a Canadian and to be one of us. (Applause) He has brought with him his wife and two children, who are going to be real good Canadians. (Hear, hear) General Percy is going out to British Columbia to engage in the apple business, and you may expect before long to hear of his product on this side and on the other side of the water. It is a very great pleasure to introduce him to you.
SIR JOCELYN PERCY
My Lord, and Gentlemen,--I do not set up to be a speaker at all; I have simply been a soldier all my life, and General Mitchell told me that you were a very patient people and that if I would just say in simple language what I could about Russia you would forgive any mistakes and bad oratory that I would make. (Applause) Well, I cannot tell you how proud and pleased I am with the wonderful reception you have given me here today, and with all the friends and people I have met in Toronto; and I feel it a great honour to be asked to speak before the Empire Club. I also consider it a great honour and privilege to have met Colonel Denison, who, I hear, was one of the founders of this magnificent Club. (Applause) I had not very much chance of seeing the Canadians in France, because they never came very much my way, but I made very great friends with many Canadians, I hope life friends, but I had not the honour of serving with them in the defence of the Rhine. I was once there on the occasion of the march over the bridge at dawn, and I saw what magnificent men they were, and knew well what a magnificent part they played in the war, and I feel very proud indeed to come out here to belong to Canada and be a Canadian myself. (Applause)
Now, as regards Russia, we very seldom hear much about the part that Russia played. I was sent out by the War Office in 1907, just after the Russia-Japanese war, and was in Archangel three months studying the battlefields, and I was able then pretty well to gauge the value of the Russians. They were hopelessly bad in every attempt, and got throroughly beaten by the Japanese; so when this great war started I did not think that the Russians could possibly be of any use, or pull any weight in it. I did not think they would have had time after the Japanese War to put their homes in order, but they came to the scratch in a most marvellous manner. They were an enormous nation and had an enormous army, but they were ill-equipped, many of the soldiers having no arms at all, so that many of them were put into the battle with sticks. Those of you who know what the Germans are will judge that such men were not of much use. However, those men went in, and no doubt before the revolution they pulled their weight, and in an extraordinary manner helped to retain a lot of German divisions in the east which might otherwise have come to the western front.
Then we had what is known as Karensky's revolution, which was bound to come some day in Russia. That country is divided into two distinct classes, one very rich and the other very poor-the rich highly educated, the poor with no education at all. The consequence was that the poor, the moujiks as they call them, the people of the country, were very much downtrodden, and they had what one would call a rough life. Their one idea was to get as much vodka as possible to drink, and they had no pleasure, no happiness in life; so there was bound to be a revolution sometime. However, they chose an unfortunate moment to start the revolution-in the middle of a war-if they wanted to help the Allies. Of course you know that that revolution was started by the Germans. It was part of their game to try and break up Russia arid thus release their divisions and armies from the eastern and put them on the western front. This Karensky revolution was well engineered, but it did not pull off as they expected it to do. Then we had the second revolution, which is the exact one that is going on at present under Kolchack. Under the Kolchack revolution there was no law and no order anywhere. The consequence was that the whole army broke up, and they were fighting against each other and against anybody they came across, and they were all out for loot -every man out for himself and doing what he could for himself. The consequence was that those German divisions and armies were released and did come to the western front, and they massed against us, and in March, 1918, was the big battle. That second revolution, again, was backed up by Germany, and they achieved their objects in breaking up Russia for their own benefit and general betterment.
Some very gallant fellows came out of that second revolution, and among others we have General Alexiev, General Kornilof, General Denekin and General Wrangel -those four working in south Russia. We had Admiral Kolchack working in east Russia, and General Judenitch working from the Baltic. With them were enormous numbers of volunteers, and there came out a lot of Russian officers of the old army and a lot of educated people that were all determined to play the game and stick to the Allies, whether there was a revolution or not, because they had promised to work for them. To make a long story short, all those various commanders with their armies finally failed to break down the Bolshevists, and my own impression is that the reason was that there was no cohesion, no concerted movement, no organization in the north, east and south, and as a consequence of never working together, they failed.
I propose to speak of matters in South Russia of which I was an eye-witness. A great number of the people of other countries had missions to those different peoples, but we in England decided to put our money on the southern lot. The Mission went out there soon after the Armistice was declared-General Brooks first of all, a military man. It eventually was taken over by General Holman in July, 1919, and the Mission was greatly increased, growing eventually to 500 British Officers and 2,000 men. Their job was furnishing organization and equipment, clothing, etc., to the army forces of South Russia, as they were called, and also training the men in the various branches-artillery, machine-guns, etc. That was their job
The little extraordinary affairs of South Russia started this way. General Alexiev, General Kornilof and General Denekin came out of the revolution. They were in the Bolshevists' hands, but they got out somehow or other, and after a few efforts they formed a sort of league in South Russia. They originally numbered about sixty or seventy; they had no uniform or arms, nothing whatever. However, they got together, without any arms at all, rushed some Bolshevists and took their arms and things off them and equipped themselves. With that small number and small organization they took a broken corps and got some arms off them. Finally they got arms from peasants who wanted to stick to the Allies, and finally this army grew like a snowball, and in September, 1919, it had grown from sixty to 250,000. They had lost, in killed, very nearly as many, and those thus lost were the best, because all the people who came out were educated people and old-time officers, and they formed themselves into battalions, companies, etc. So when a battalion went into action and lost, say 500 men, they lost 500 officers, or intelligent people. Mixed up with those were the Cossacks, that particular class of people in Southern Russia living about the Don River and valley, hence they are called Don Cossacks, Astrakans, etc They are all farmers, mounted men who live on the horse. They are wonderfully fine riders, and I think good fighters so long as things are going fairly well; but there is not much discipline-that is the trouble with them.
Well, by October or November, 1919, with our help and the arms and ammunition, etc., we had given them, Denekin had advanced on a very wide front. He had done a wonderful thing, having cleared the whole of the Southern part of Russia, an enormous amount of country, with the Volga on his right, and he had got within 200 miles of Moscow. They had started with only a few men; he had raised that large volunteer army, and it was hoped he would have got on and taken Moscow, which would have been a big thing.
I must tell you that the Bolshevists are known there as the Red Guards, but the volunteer army, that is, the DenekinAlexiev lot, are known as the White Guards. General Alexiev died from exposure during this severe fighting, and General Kornilof himself was killed, so that Denekin assumed command of the army. Those Cossacks are not capable of any discipline, and Denekin, I am sorry to say, is not a strict enough man to put confidence into his army. When his army advanced he was welcomed by the peasants everywhere in the most enthusiastic manner, but after a bit those Cossacks got loose and did an enormous amount of looting. The consequence was that the peasants got rather sick of this, and fought with Denekin's army, which had really showed that the Cossacks were not better than the Bolshevists themselves. The peasants found that their life was no happier under that army than it was under the Bolshevist regime. So a lot of those people, really brigands, rose up behind Denekin, and other bands of serious people who meant business got together. They were not Bolshevists; they did not want the Bolshevists at all, and hated the sight of them, but they also hated Denekin's army, who, they said, were looters as bad as the Bolshevists. These Green Guards became a very formidable people. I know that at the post where I was you could not go outside of the town without being shot at; so what with those Bolshevists, the Red Guards in front, and the Green Guards, those brigands, behind us, the army was having a very bad time. Communications were cut behind; provisions were stolen; our train was derailed once in our journey every day; and it was very uncomfortable. It used to take us about fifteen hours to get eighteen miles. The engine went over the rails, and we unhitched it and got another and went on.
About November, 1919, the Bolshevists attacked pretty severely along the front, and Denekin's army began to retire. The troops in front got fearful for the lines of communication. They were not getting up their stores of supplies and things because of those Green Guards; so they got their wounded up and the retreat began, and once the retreat began they came along at a pretty handy rate. The retreat was due to the Green Guards behind, to the Cossacks deserting, to the Bolshevic propaganda, and to the desertion of Denekin's own troops.
The reason of the desertion was this; the Bolshevists are Jews, and the Bolshevists' leaders are all Jews, and most of them German Jews, out for their own ends. They have German names, but change them to Russian names. Their propaganda was this: when the Bolshevists came into a village, if the men were not in the village their wives and children had their throats cut. I saw that with my own eyes. If a man deserted and got back to his village, he was forced by the Bolshevists to fight for them; if he did not fight he was shot; so you can imagine it was not a very pleasant country to live in. In that country at the present moment there is absolutely a reign of terror, far worse than ever it was in the Czar's time. There is no light, there is no air, and it is every man for himself, and indeed they go to bed at night and know they are going to wake up in the morning under the same conditions. In addition to the propaganda and cruelty they carried on, the Bolshevists had a torture chamber. They used to lead out a certain number of victims and torture them just to let the others know what they might get if they did not obey the Bolshevist orders. One kind of torture was that they would put people in a gallery, like this hall, without rifles, and put fellows with rifles on top; they would say co the victims, "Now, you see what is going to happen; we are busy now; you can run about till 5 o'clock; go and run about, and come back and be shot." In addition to this, they are most appalling liars. It is impossible to believe them in anything, because a Bolshevist will promise anything. He is the greatest liar in this world; no greater.
About December, 1919, I was sent by the War Office to go out to Russia as Chief-of-Staff of General Holman, who was commanding out there. I went through Constantinople and the Black Sea. I touched Odessa and Crimea and fetched up at a place called Novorossisk on the Black Sea. The weather conditions out there for fighting are something appalling. It is very cold and the thermometer below zero with lots of snow on the ground. I never in my life came across anything like the wind at this particular place. When you went out if you did not hold on to the door the wind would knock you absolutely over; that is a fact It was most extraordinarily cold. I have seen the ships in the harbour with four feet of ice on the side, from the waves hitting up on the side of the ship and freezing on it. That place, Novorossisk, was packed with refugees, women and children who had walked from several other parts of Russia, and they were not fed. We had them in our house, and the soldiers of Novorossisk and most of our soldiers were sleeping in trenches and places in the perishing cold in order to make room for those women and children. (Applause)
The train coming down country bearing refugees from the north during this retreat were simply packed with people. I have seen twenty or thirty trains standing in stations, with no engines to take them out, amidst extraordinary cold and conditions perfectly dreadful. The hospitals did all they could for them; we had not doctors, or stuff to give them, and the hospitals were indescribably full of disease. Nearly everybody had typhus. In the hospital I have seen dead men lying about, and the living ones lying on top of them simply to keep themselves from the cold outside. I have known Russian officers go outside and shoot their brains out rather than live under those conditions On one occasion I saw a train coming into Novorossisk with refugees, and I saw 120 corpses picked out of that train-people who were starved or killed with typhus from the cold.
The Russians themselves were all doing their best to stick to their job, to stick to the Allies, and the troops were getting practically no pay, for the money they got was worth nothing. Normally there are ten roubles to the English pound; when I left Russia it was 136,000 to one pound; so you can imagine what the money was worth out there. The little pay the soldiers got was of no use whatever to them, so the men were simply working for their board rations and fighting for no pay whatever. The consequence was that they had been through so much, had suffered so much, that a lot of those people seemed to be absolutely dazed; they seemed to be in a dream, many of them, and it was jolly hard to get anything out of them. In going out there I had taken on the staff work, and I found I had to do a lot of it myself. You had to take a fellow by the neck and shake him till you got your work done. Comparing Russian conditions with those we had in France, of course the fighting in France was terrific, but we were looked after in other ways.
Well, those armies of Denekin's were retreating-one at Odessa, another along on the Crimea, and another lot at Novorossisk. Odessa fell first, I think, owing to the commander there being what we commonly call a "rotter"; he seemed to be of no use, and Odessa was taken by the Bolshevists. We got a lot of refugees off. It was very difficult, because we could not get our ships nor our icebreakers, and so on The members of the Mission were not allowed to fight at all; there were very strong orders from the British Government that we were simply to assist and not to fight. However, at Odessa I think a few British Officers we had there, with -some of the cadets, youngsters, Russians, managed to hold the corners of the streets, and they got the women and children out, most of them, assisted by the navy; but I am sorry to say there were many hundreds who had their throats cut by the Bolshevists when they got in.
The next army was retreating on the Crimea, but the Crimea never fell at all. That was held on by a magnificent fellow called General Slaschchoff, a most extraordinarily fine character. He only had about 2,000 or 3,000 men with him, and the neck of the Crimea is seven miles wide, but he kept off thirteen Bolshevist attacks, five of which were serious, two of which got bang into the Crimea, but he routed them and held on to the Crimea until the very last. He is a wonderfully fine fellow, a fine disciplinarian, and loved by all his men. (Applause) I may tell you he had the assistance of about thirty British Officers I sent over to give him a hand, and they, I am glad to say, did fight, though they are not supposed to. He was a very cheerful fellow, and a most amusing person. He always dressed in white, for some reason, and he used to walk anywhere in the front line amongst his men in this white coat. I remember going out on a moonlight night, and walking along with him, till we came in sight of a line, and I said, "What about this?" He replied, "Oh, this is all right." But we had not been through it when the Bolshevists let us have it; so the white coat is not a good thing to carry about. He was a good disciplinarian, and his troops were well dressed, but he said, "My soldiers have a nasty way some times of selling their coats. Of course they are badly paid, I know that; do the British soldiers sell their coats?" I said, "I have known it sometimes" He said, "These fellows always do it, and if you hang them it is a poor thing to hang good soldiers; they are good soldiers, really, I have not known much better. Of course they sell those things to the Jews, the bad Jews about here, so my order now is that if a soldier sells his coat I don't bother him about it, but I find the Jew who has bought it and hang him." (Laughter) Thus you get rid of a bad Jew and save a good soldier.
Talking about British troops, I don't know if any of you know that gas-bag story. In the old days along the line we were all supposed to carry a gas-bag. In the early days you saw a nasty wet thing like a rat-trap, and everybody was supposed to wear those, and there were very strict orders that every man in the front line had to have his gas bag on. One of the Generals-I won't mention his name was going down the line to inspect. When he got half way down he suddenly discovered he had not had a gas-bag on himself, so he met one of the men coming back, "Well, you don't want the gas-bag; give me yours." So he handed it to him, and the General went along down the trenches, and on looking around he finally saw a fellow without a gas-bag, so he went up to him and said, "Now, this is too bad; you know the strict orders, and everybody has a gas-bag except you." Of course the poor man was shivering like the devil; then the general said, "All right, I will give you my gas-bag," so he took the gas-bag off, asked the man if he knew how to put it on, and the soldier said he did, so the General said, "Let us see how you do it." The man opened the gas-bag, and pulled it on, and instead of being a gas-bag it was an old pair of socks. (Great laughter)
Well, at Novorossisk during January and February last year we managed to evacuate in various store-ships and in other ways, about 12,000 women and children, and thus saved them from having their throats cut by the Bolshevists. They were landed finally in Cyprus, and on one of the great islands. We also got about 6,000 wounded in Constantinople and thereabouts. It was very difficult to get those people off; they are very fond of Russia, and we had to go down on our knees to get them away; they would rather go by the last ship, they said, and it was very hard to get them on board. Some of these people got nasty treatment from the Green Guards, and I asked the Captain of the Benbow if he could not put a few shots down there, so he let off a few guns. That day we happened to be loading a ship which would take about 2,000 refugees, and they all had tickets to go on board, but we had only got about twenty on board by mid-day; the others wanted to stay till the last ship. By the afternoon, however, they began to pour down, so we came to the conclusion that this was because of the shooting that had been going on down on the quays. It was quite true, for when we wanted to load the next ship I asked the men if they wanted to go down again and let off a few shots, and those fellows went off in no time.
About the end of March the finale came, and those Bolshevists closed in around, with a tremendous break in Denekin's army. The men deserted their officers, and there was a lot of ill feeling; each lot was letting each other know, and they came swarming down the coast. I had a certain lot of defences down there, made in the water, to try and get people off in decent order, but they would not obey their officers, and they came streaming down, And we had over 100,000 people there standing around the quay. As soon as they got near us they would take our word for anything. It was pathetic to see the blind faith those fellows had in a British officer; they would do any mortal thing for us. (Applause) We had a big party standing around the quays, but there was little or no hustling, though the Bolshevists were practically all around our landing, and were shooting, yet those fellows were standing back because they said, "We know if the British officers can get us on the ship they will do so; if not, it is our bad luck. "We got off about 60,000 of those fellows. Luckily we had got the women and children away before. We took them to the Crimea. Our officers were perfectly magnificent. We had several destroyers, a couple of cruisers, and a battleship and those fellows worked all day and night and simply filled up those battleships and smaller craft with those refugees and other people, and as I say, we saved about 60,000. (Applause) Many, I am sorry to say, were killed, and the others disappeared into South Russia. About a fortnight or so afterwards we put some officers ashore, and they somehow gathered more refugees and we managed to get off another 10,000 on the coast of the Black Sea.
Then we got to the Crimea. We put every one in. the Crimea, which was still held. General Denekin was there for some days, and then he was taken off home; he and the Chief of his Staff went off to Constantinople, and in the Russian Embassy there his Chief of Staff was shot through the heart, I don't know whether it was by a Bolshevik or by whom.
After Denekin was Kornilof, his son, a boy of fourteen, and a girl of twenty. This girl worked in the hospitals right away through the war. From the age of fifteen she was managing a lot of hospitals herself in her own father's regiment, which they called the Kornilof regiment; she was fifteen when she started and twentyone when she finished. When his Chief of Staff was shot in Constantinople this lad was so devoted to General Denekin that he sat outside the General's door with a revolver, and no one could persuade him to leave the door, until the little lad dropped dead. (Applause)
General Wrangel took command in the Crimea, and he was a very different type of man from the others. He is a man with great organizing power, and above all-what the Russian wants-a great disciplinarian. If he issued an order he saw it was obeyed. Our first task was to try and get the whole Crimea organized. It was nothing but chaos when we got there. There were reactionary parties who wanted the Czar back; there were Bolshevist parties, and German parties. The place was absolutely upside down. So we turned to Wrangel and his men, got the others put into disgrace, got the troops all reorganized, and we got on pretty well. We reduced the Mission to about 170 officers and 500 men, and everything began to work very well indeed. The only discouragement about it was that the whole situation was bound to became very bad before long. I wired to the government that Denekin would have to go forward and get supplies or he would have to be supplied from behind. He was not supplied from behind, so finally, about the beginning of June, he made an advance. It was a very fine piece of work indeed. He advanced from the north of the Crimea, and at the same time he took a force of 8,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, embarked them in twenty-four ships, and landed them right in the Sea of Azov, behind the Bolshevists. The whole thing was extremely well managed; I never saw a better piece of work than that was.
In that advance he got a lot of food and stuff and spare grain that he should have exported, but there was nothing to give those peasants for the grain. The grain had all been stuck on railways and sidings for export. It belonged to the peasants, but had been taken away by the Bolshevists, and they didn't get a bawbee for it. The advance did very well, and they got a lot of prisoners and guns.
Then I got a wire that the mission was to be withdrawn, and in the end of June we just cut our cables with the Russians and for no rhyme or reason at all left them standing there. Of course when we left there was no more help for them. I believe some one did go out there and take them over, but nothing came of it. However, the finale came in November, when the whole Bolshevist army massed about 30,000 to 40,000 against Wrangel's 4,000 or 5,000, and attacked them. They held out for several days, but finally were pushed back and the Bolshevists trooped into the Crimea. We had, however, arranged the organization for embarkation of the troops and everything else, and they were able to get a lot of refugees, a lot of children and women, and the great majority of the troops off safely. I believe 150,000, were taken to Constantinople, but nobody would help them; none of the Allies wanted them, so they stopped on board those ships without food and water for many days, and I believe a lot of them threw themselves overboard and drowned themselves. The British Tommies, however, had a pretty big force of troops in Constantinople, and they gave up half their rations to feed those people. (Applause) What has become of them all since I cannot tell; the last I heard of Wrangel was that he was going down to Russia; what has happened to his people I don't know. All those fellows who fought with him, and are now God knows where, are fellows who stuck to the Allies all the way through, and all these women and children are the families of those who fought for the Allied cause, and died for doing so. The Russians have probably more faults than other people, but who has not faults? We have got them ourselves; but from what I have told you you will think these Russians came out with a certain amount of honour.
The future of Russia is very hard to foretell. Of course Bolshevism is quite impossible. That sort of government cannot go on; it cannot be permanent; it is bound to break down some day. My own view is that they will go on for years with revolution after revolution; the country is so vast that revolutions will turn up everywhere. What they need is a guiding hand. They have lost so many intelligent people that they have not enough to go around. Many and many a time they said, "We want the British to take us over, and get done with it," but it could not be done. What I was frightened of was that those people, being so apt to be weary of revolution and wanting peace at any price, might choose the Germans to rule them, and if the Germans got that country it would be an awful thing; for the country is full of wealth, and if they got it they would pay for their own country and we should be as we were before the war. I don't feel, personally, that Bolshevism is absolutely scotched; I do not feel that we have really beaten the Germans. They started this infernal movement, and they fathered it, and I believe they are going to get the benefit out of it in the end if we don't look out.
I am also afraid that Russia is not the only country where there is Bolshevism I think it exists elsewhere under other names. I am perfectly certain that at home we have other things just as bad as Bolshevism. There are many things we know that are wrong with the Old British Empire, but I always believe that, given time and the right methods, matters will absolutely right themselves in the end. (Applause) Bolsheviks dislike right methods; they simply play with revolution for their own ends, and to gain power, and to line their pockets. Of that I am perfectly convinced by what I saw in Russia. I do not think it is by revolution that matters are to come right, and the Bolshevist knows that as well as I do--he does not want things to come right. But the Bolshevists have brains and very unscrupulous methods, and they persuade the working man that Bolshevism is going to be all right, that it is going to lead to a sort of paradise; but from what I have seen in Russia I think it is much more likely to lead him to hell.
I look upon Bolshevism as a sort of horrible disease that often gets lodgment in your mind without your knowing it. Those fellows speak so well that you can't but believe them sometimes, and there seems to be only one way out of that treat it like typhus or cholera, or any other disease we inoculate against. (Applause) What I mean by inoculation in this case is education. We must not confine ourselves to knowing about each little tiny place in the country in which we happen to live. We have got a great Empire and good old British army, and we need to learn everything about them ourselves, to find out all their good points-never mind the bad ones, you will get plenty of people to show you those-but study, and learn, and then when a Bolshevist comes along you can meet him on his own ground, know what he is talking about, and be immune when he presents his horrible propaganda. This Bolshevism has sunk into Russia because the people there, the peasants, are ignorant; they know nothing about the outside world; they simply know their own surroundings and conditions, and if anybody comes along with a nice voice and pleasant manner, they believe everything he says. There is no more friendly soil for the Bolshevik propaganda than the man who doesn't know much more than his ordinary surroundings.
To me the late war was an education; I met a host of excellent friends, people from all over the British Empire, and more particularly from Canada, hence the reason why you see me here at this moment. (Applause) I have no doubt that most of you have been over on the other side and have also made heaps of good friends. (Applause) What I say to you is, keep up your friendship; it is worth everything; these good friendships weld our British Empire together; they are the making of the British Empire, which must keep together, whether there are Bolshevists or whether there are not. There are many reasons why the British Empire should keep together, but there are two outstanding ones, to my mind. One reason is the prestige of the British Empire; the whole world knows the motto, that we have always had, "Play the Game." (Loud applause) Now, there is no more magnificent example of playing the game than the late war furnished, and I don't think we ought ever to go back on that. The second reason is, our duty, the enormous duty we have that we and our children and our children's children owe to those magnificent fellows who went out to France and gave their lives for us and for the British Empire. (Applause) I don't think, Gentlemen, we can break faith with them. (Loud and continued applause)
A hearty vote of thanks to Sir Jocelyn Percy was moved by Col. George T. Denison, seconded by MajorGeneral Williams and enthusiastically approved by the large audience.