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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874 - 1965) The world crisis - The aftermath (1929)

To all who hope

CHAPTER III

The Formation of the New Government.

DEMOBILIZATION

All the world over, nursing their scars

Sit the old fighting men, broke in the wars ;

All the world over, surly and grim

Mocking the lilt of the conqueror’s hymn.’

Rudyard Kipling.

In those days the Russian revolution had not been exposed as a mere organization of tyranny, perverse and infinitely cruel. The events which had taken place in Russia, the doctrines and watchwords which poured out from Moscow, seemed to millions of people in every land to offer prospects of moving forward into a bright new world of Brotherhood, Equality and Science. Everywhere the subversive elements were active ; and everywhere they found a response.

Here in Britain we know our own people well. Millions of men and women have been accustomed for generations to take an active part in politics, and have felt that in their sphere and station they were constantly deciding and guiding the policy of their country. The political parties with all their organizations, associations, leagues and clubs afforded effective vehicles of popular expression.

Simultaneously with this came the news of serious riots in Glasgow and Belfast. Both these riots were fomented by the Communists. The Army was called upon to aid the civil power. Two Brigades were moved into Glasgow. These were only second-line troops consisting of the least efficient soldiers or young recruits. They had not, like those at the front, been tempered in war nor had they tasted victory. However, officers and men discharged their duty faultlessly. Order was restored.

Meanwhile the demobilization of the armies proceeded on the greatest scale. For a period of nearly six months we maintained an average rate of 10,000 men a day discharged to civil life. This immense body, equal to a whole peace-time Division, was collected daily from all the theatres of war, disembarked, de-trained, disarmed, de-kitted, demobilized, paid off and discharged between sunrise and sunset. I regard this as an enormous feat of British organizing capacity.

In fact the blockade of Germany was extended to the Baltic ports and was thus made more severe than before. The food situation in Germany became grave, and painful stories circulated of the hardship of mothers and children. During these months very few people in Germany, except profiteers and farmers, had enough to eat.

But Lord Plumer, who commanded the British Army of Occupation in Germany, sent a telegram to the War Office, forwarded to the Supreme Council, urging that food should be supplied to the suffering population in order to prevent the spread of disorder as well as on humanitarian grounds.

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