Wednesday, December 31, 2014

75 years ago: Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King calls World War II a "crusade" to "save our Christian civilization"

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. Psalms 33:12

The following article provides an excellent example of the extent to which Canada has changed--not for the better--in the last 75 years. William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) was leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 1919-1948 and Prime Minister of Canada from 1921-1926; 1926-1930; and 1935-1948. He was the longest-serving Prime Minister in the British Empire.

On Friday, October 27, 1939, Mr. King delivered a speech that was broadcast across the nation by the radio network (there was then no television broadcasting in Canada) of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I've used ellipses (...) to indicate passages from the full text of Mr. King's speech that I've omitted from this post in the interests of space and relevance. The full text of the article and speech were published in the Toronto Daily Star, October 28, 1939, pp. 1, 5 (bold in original):

Present Conflict For Freedom of Mind and Soul As Well As Nation
"Most Precious Influence and Possession of My Life," He Says In Broadcast

Ottawa, Oct. 28--Canada is engaged in a war which is a crusade to save Christian civilization and the liberty of mankind, Prime Minister Mackenzie King declared in a radio address last night.

The present struggle, he asserted, is for the preservation not alone of national and personal freedom but of freedom also of the mind and of the soul.

Stating he had always had a positive hatred of war, Premier King said no other course but the overthrow by arms of Nazi Germany would prevent Naziism extending its tyrannical power over all nations and descent of the whole world into a new and terrible age of barbarism.

When he took office four years ago, the prime minister stated, it was with the hope of using all the power and influence of his position to promote peace and foster international and domestic good-will. But now he stood prepared to shoulder the responsibility of leading the Dominion in war because only the destruction of Naziism could stop force, terror, violence and gangster methods supplanting the rule of law over the face of the earth.

Mr. King said he doubted if, two years ago, the Canadian people could have been persuaded to participate in another European war. But now he felt the views he expressed represented the minds of Canada itself. Like Britain and France, Canada was determined first to exhaust every possibility of peaceful negotiations of international differences. But Canadians had beheld every structure of peace destroyed and had seen forces loosed upon the world which, if not subdued and conquered overseas "sooner or later would be at our very doors."

Speaking On Tuesday

Mr. King's address over a national network of radio stations, was the first of two broadcasts on Canada's position in the present conflict. Last night he spoke on "Canada's War Aims." Next Tuesday night he will discuss "Canada's War Effort."

The Nazi doctrine of force, the prime minister declared, was the very antithesis of Christianity. In a voice charged with emotion he told his listeners that the most precious influence and possession of his was the Christian training of his childhood days. He believed no one in Canada had been more anxious to prevent Canada being drawn into the maelstrom of European conflict. But he would not buy peace at the price of having the young people of Canada deprived of the precious heritage of childhood's Christian influences or future generations enslaved by the false doctrines which would rob them of it.

The young men enlisting in the Canadian forces today are the first and foremost defenders of the faith, he said.

Mr. King traced the development of Nazi power first in Germany then outside that country, until its aggression reached the point where it must be resisted by force unless all other nations are willing to risk the sacrifice of their very existence. Hitler, he asserted, aimed at nothing less than world domination. For that purpose the whole of Germany had been organized into a vast military machine. German rearmament had been on a scale and of a nature not needed for defence. The extent to which submarines had been used since the outbreak of war demonstrated they had never been intended only for resistance against possible invaders of Reich territory.

Persecutes All Others

Mr. King said he hated dictatorship as much as he hated war for it was necessarily based on force and had the effect of undermining the free institutions of other lands. The Nazi party, in order to gain a monopoly of power within Germany, had not only persecuted and suppressed Communists but Socialists, Liberals, and even Conservative Nationalists. Naziism and Hitlerism in its lust for power, he charged, had produced the present war.

It was not until it became evident that war was the one and only means left of checking unlimited aggression that Britain and France had taken up arms, the prime minister stated.

The text of Mr. King's address follows:

Fellow Canadians:

On Sunday, Sept. 3, his majesty the King appealed to his peoples, at home and across the seas, to make their own the cause of freedom, which on that day, Britain had taken up.

Speaking over a world-wide network the same afternoon, I was able to say that Canada had already answered that call. On the Friday previous, Sept. 1, the Canadian parliament had been summoned to meet on Sept. 7. At the time of making the announcement, I stated that in the event of the United Kingdom becoming engaged in war in the effort to resist aggression, our government would immediately seek the authority of parliament for effective co-operation by Canada at the side of Britain.

Authority Secured

On Thursday, Sept, 7, parliament met. On Saturday, the 9th, by an all but unanimous adoption of the address the necessary authority was secured. On the following day, Sept. 10, a state of war between Canada and Germany was proclaimed by the King...

...In the broadcast of Sept. 3, I stated that the fate of a single city, the preservation of the independence of a particular nation, were the occasion, not the real cause of the present conflict. I added that the forces of evil had been loosed in the world in a struggle between the pagan conception of a social order which ignores the individual and is based upon the doctrine of might, and a civilization founded upon the Christian conception of the brotherhood of man, with its regard for the sanctity of contractual relations, and the sacredness of human personality.

The Pagan Conception

To understand the struggle, we must first understand how the pagan conception came to dominate Germany.

For years past, we have witnessed within Germany the growth in power of a single political party which has secured not merely the control of government, but for the time being at least, an all but complete domination over the minds and will of the German people. This the party has been able to do by a skilfully worked out system of terrorization. Individuals who have cared to express opinions contrary to the government in power have been threatened; many have actually suffered imprisonment or death.

The party has succeeded in identifying itself with the state. It has taken the position that whatever is contrary to the policy of the party is opposed to the interests of Germany. It has increased its power by propaganda specially designed to poison at their source the springs of information and opinion. By these and other methods, the party has sought to instill in the minds of all, and particularly of the young, doctrines entirely opposed to these on which human relations are based in free countries, or on which they were based in the Germany of other times.

We teach our children to believe in the power of truth and right and justice; in the value of a man's word in obedience to laws framed by free representative assemblies; in the sanctity of contract, whether between individuals or between nations. We ourselves have come to see that these concepts are the essentials of peace and freedom; that it is only in this way that human liberties can be preserved.

The Doctrine of Force

Under the regime which has held power in Germany for nearly seven years, the youth of that country have been increasingly taught not to place their trust in the pledged word, the written contract, and the power of representative assemblies and courts to defend the right and secure freedom, but to look to force as the one instrument in national and international relations on which to place reliance. Of the merits of any alternative to force, there has been no opportunity for discussion or debate. Opposition had been silenced by threats, by the concentration camps or by death. Parliament, in Germany, has ceased to exist, except when it is called to register the will of the dictator.

The political party in Germany that has thus identified itself with the state is the Nazi party. Its head is Herr Hitler. It is Naziism and Hitlerism, as thus understood, which has produced the present war, and which threatens, if it is not overthrown, to extend its tyrannical power to all nations...

...Took Lessons in Contempt...

...The first use made of force by Hitler was in the internal affairs of Germany. In order to give to the Nazi party a monopoly of power in the state, not only the Communists, but Socialists, Liberals, Catholics, and even Conservative Nationalists were persecuted and their political parties suppressed.

Labor unions and co-operatives were destroyed, religious bodies were terrorized, religion itself was made subservient to the pagan gospel of racial superiority. The treatment of the Jews became steadily more brutal...

...Nazi Racial Doctrine...

...It must never be forgotten that behind all we have seen and felt of Nazi methods and aims of recent years, lies the Nazi doctrine of racial superiority. It appears to me as the pagan parallel of the doctrine of the divine right of kings. In the gospel of Hitler, the German people, the so-called Nordic race, are the chosen people. They alone have the right to rule. All other peoples are to be subordinated to the sons of Wotan. They are to dominate the world...

...The Mind of Canada...

If I were called upon to sacrifice out of my life all save one of the influences of the past, or of my present possessions, the one thing I would wish to retain is the influence of the Christian training of my childhood days. That has been a sheet anchor through life. Without it, life for me would lose its warmth, its beauty, its color, its sustaining power in times of adversity, the inspiration of its best endeavors. It would be a dreary, mechanical experience at best.

Knowing how true this is, I do not wish to see the young people of our Dominion deprived of so precious a heritage, or future generations enslaved by the false doctrines which would rob them of it. That early Christian influence is what, above all else, were it in my power to do so, I would wish to bequeath to all who have the battle of life to face.

Calls for Sacrifice

The Nazi doctrine of force is the very antithesis of what one finds in the Christian gospel. If it prevails, there will be, as I see it, an end to our Christian civilization. It will prevail unless men are prepared to sacrifice their lives in opposing it.

That is why the present war is for the Allies a crusade. The time has come when to save our Christian civilization, we must be prepared to lay down our lives for its preservation. The young men who are enlisting in our forces today to serve on land, on the sea and in the air, are, first and foremost, defenders of the faith. Like others who have gone forth to battle in the past, they are placing their lives at the service of king and country, but theirs is an even greater mission. It is the preservation, for our own and future generations, of freedom begotten of persecutions, martyrdoms, and centuries of struggle. It is the preservation not alone of national and of personal freedom, but of freedom also of the mind and of the soul.
At the time of this speech, newspapers regularly printed the full texts of major political speeches, as well as sermons from prominent churches, and--on the front page--batter-by-batter accounts of World Series games. As hard as it may be to believe, the above text is from a speech by a Prime Minister of Canada, and leader of the Liberal Party. See my previous post regarding Mr. King's speech in London on September 4, 1941.

If Mackenzie King came back today, he wouldn't recognize the country or his party. If he were somehow to get nominated as a Liberal candidate and expressed the same views as in 1939, his nomination would immediately be voided, especially with Baby Justin Trudeau as Liberal leader. Instead of being a candidate for the House of Commons, Mr. King in the 21st century would be considered a good candidate for institutionalization--either in a mental institution as a mentally ill religious nut, or in prison as an intolerant far-right Christian extremist promoting hatred of non-Christians and violating the principles of Trudeaupia's Canada's multicultural society.

As for "representing the mind of Canada," Mackenzie King was not exaggerating; five months later, on March 26, 1940, the federal election resulted in the Liberals under Prime Minister King winning 179 of 245 seats in the House of Commons--the second straight majority governent for Mr. King and the Liberals, and the largest majority in Canadian history to that time. Mr. King led the Liberals to a third straight majority government in the 1945 federal election.

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