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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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face to face with the thought that in the last resort it would
have been I, and I alone, who would have to say that yes or
no which would decide the fate of millions of my countrymen,
of their wives, of their families—a man who had been through
that could not readily forget. For that reason alone, I am not
yet in a mood to try to see what I can do by way of retort.
When a man gets to my age and fills my position, I think he
tends to feel that criticism, even abuse, matters little to him
if his conscience approves of his actions. Looking back on
the events, I feel convinced that by my action—I seek no
credit for ray action; I think it is only what anyone in my
position would have felt it his duty to do—I say, by my
action I did avert war. I feel perfectly sure that I was right in
doing so.
" War to-day—this has been said before, and I say it again
—is a different thing not only in degree, but in kind from what
it used to be. We no longer think of war as it was in the days
of Marlborough or the days of Napoleon or even in the days
of 1914. When war starts to-day, in the very first hour, before
any professional soldier, sailor or airman has been touched, it
will strike the workman, the clerk, the man-in-the-street or in
the 'bus, and his wife and children in their homes. As I
listened, I could not help being moved, as I am sure everybody
was who heard the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton)
when he began to paint the picture which he himself had seen
and realised what it would mean in war—people burrowing
underground, trying to escape from poison gas, knowing that
at any hour of the day or night death or mutilation was ready
to come upon them. Remembering that the dread of what
might happen to them or to those dear to them might remain
with fathers and mothers for year after year—when you think
of these things you cannot ask people to accept a prospect of
that kind; you cannot force them into a position that they
have got to accept it; unless you feel yourself, and can make
them feel, that the cause for which they are going to fight is a
vital cause—a cause that transcends all the human values, a
cause to which you can point, if some day you win the victory,
and say, * That cause is safe/
" Since I first went to Berchtesgaden more than 20,000
letters and telegrams have come to No. 10, Downing Street-