Wednesday 20th 1939
Admiral Lord Chatfield in a broadcast:
Whatever she may say Germany needs a short war, and so her hope is to break the British Navy’s grip on her supplies and to endeavour to defeat us rapidly where we are inded most vulnerable, yet where we are strongest – namely on the sea.
Now that the Royal Navy has broken the back of her submarine attack Germany has started to use a new type of mine, not laid according to international law in defined places, but strewed promiscuously over the sea routes to terrify the merchant seamen of the world from approaching our shores. Her latest effort is to machine-gun and bomb our fishing vessels and their crews employed on their ordinary daily work.
There is a third sea weapon she is using the surface warship and the armed raider. To find a needle in a bundle of hay is an easy task compared to finding a single raider free to roam the seven seas – those vast ocean speces in which British trade moves. It would be hard enough if you had perpetual daylight, permanently clear weather and a vast number of warships to hunt each quarry. While we therefore are justly proud of what the Navy has done to bring honour on this country and itself, let us remember that the dispositions of our hunting forces were mainly the difficult and anxious responsibilitiy of the Admiralty from the First Lord downwards. Naval warfare is full of disappointments, but luck is bound to turn up if it is skilfully worked for…..
Friday 22nd December
Dr Goebbels, Riech Master of Propaganda, in a speech at a political Christmas Party
This is a ‘war Christmas’ celebrated by a determined people. There is hardly anybody in Germany who is not suffering from difficulties and hardships, and there is certainly nobody who does not want to suffer.
Germany’s very existence is at stake. Utterances from London and Paris provide clearer and clearer evidence of this fact. If, during the first week of the war, the Allied politicians tried to persuade the world that they were waging a war against Hilterism without wanting to injure the German people, nobody is trying to conceal today that it is their goal to strike and to split her up, thereby bringing her back to her former political and economic impotence. Either we resign as a great Power or we win this war.
It is of little significance for our national future who in particular among our enemies wanted this war or whether the British and French peoples are waging it joyfully and willingly. The great fact is that we are waging war. It would be wrong to assume that the warmongers in Paris would be more inclined to spare us than those in London. Both of them are just as brutal and cynical in their openly proclaimed war aims. This means that the whole plutocratic world has risen against the German people and its social community and wants to smash and destroy it…..
We celebrate this Christmas with that profound faith which is always the prerequisite of victory. There is among us no lack of that optimism essential to living and fighting. In this hour, we are not moved by grief and mourning, but by pride and confidence. Our people are united as one great family and they are determined to bear the hurden of fighting and working. We promise those at the front to see that the home front does its duty.
Wherever burden and sacrifices can be mitigated, we have done so and shall continue to do so. But wherever they are inevitable we will bear them together in order to make them lighter. Although peace is the real meaning of Christmas we shall talk of peace only after victory.
Sunday 24th December
His Holiness The Pope, in an address to the College of Cardinals:
All nations, great and small, strong and weak, have a right to life, and independence. When this equality of rights have been destroyed or damaged or imperilled the juridical order calls for reparation based on justice.
The nations must be freed from the burden of armament races, and from the danger that material forces may become not the defender, but the tyrannical violator of right….Peace must be founded upon disarmament…
Lessons must be drawn from past experience. This applies also to the creation or reconstitution of international institutions. And since it is difficult, if not impossible, to foresee and safeguard everything at the moment of peace negotiations, the constitution of juridical institutions which may serve to ensure the loyal and faithful application of the agreements and, where the need is recognised, to revise and correct them, is of decisive importance for the honourable acceptance of a peace treaty and for the avoidance of arbitrary and unilateral infringements and interpretations of the terms of the treaties. In particular, attention must be paid to the true needs and just demands of the nations and peoples, and of the ethical minorities….
Rulers of the peoples and the peoples themselves must become imbued with that spirit of moral justice which alone can breathe life into the dead letter of international instruments.
Tuesday, 26th December
Mr G A Gripenberg, Finnish Minister in London, in a broadcast:
Although the English people and the Finns are very much alike in both ideals and culture, many Englishmen know very little about my country. We are a long way away and rather off the beaten track. I should like to tell you, therefore, that we are quite ordinary people, and our cities are quite ordinary cities. We have large modern buildings, universities, theatres, cinemas, and all the wonderful amenities of modern civilised life.
In the years since we gained our complete independence we have built up a State where there is no unemployment, where every man and woman has the right and privilege to take part in the shaping of the destinies of the State, where the youth of all classes can proceed to the highest education and where, thanks to a far-reaching social legislation, the poorer classes are in every respect assisted and supported as far as our economic means will permit.
We have built a State with one hundred and fifty thousand new independent landowners, with new schools, new hospitals, and new welfare organisations, a State where every man, no matter what his origin, can reach the highest office, a state in which every man has the right to think and to speak freely, to worship as he pleases, and to follow whatever vocation or occupation he prefers. You will understand, therefore, why we are now standing and fighting to resist the Russian attempt to destroy us. All things which we, and indeed you, love and cherish are now at stake; our heritage from past generations our freedom, the very lives of our women and children.