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In the 1950s, the famous newsreel company,
Pathe, produced a major
historical documentary series for British television.
Made by the award-winning producer Peter Baylis
and narrated by an illustrious line-up of celebrated actors,
Time to Remember chronicled the social,
cultural and political forces
that shaped the first half of the 20th century.
In numerous programmes, Baylis covered the politicians' efforts to preserve peace
in the aftermath of the Great War.
The details of the diplomats' quest to maintain international security
leave a striking impression of an enthralling period.
-# There's a long, long, trail a winding
# Through the land of my dreams... #
MALE VOICEOVER: 'Things, friends, places, faces,
'years and moments half forgotten,
'laughs, fears, songs, tears, memories are made of this.'
CLOCK MECHANISMS CLICK AND WHIR
The prospect of the world once again
witnessing destruction and slaughter on the scale
of the Great War
shaped international diplomacy through the '20s and '30s.
Time to Remember, chronicled the doomed struggle of the politicians
to establish a peaceful world order via an organisation in which
all countries, no matter what size, would have a voice.
The desire to negotiate,
bargain and appease in the face of aggression and expansion would ultimately prove misguided.
These were two decades when statesmen and diplomats travelled to all corners of the world
in the vain pursuit of peace.
FILM: 'I remember a time of crowds cheering
'before London's Buckingham Palace and calling for the Royal Family.
'That's happened many times, I know, but this
'was a time with a difference, for this was a time at the end of a long,
'long trail - a trail of agony for much of mankind.
'The first hour of a peace for which the world had given up hope.
'The hour of 11am on the 11th of November, 1918.'
'With each fresh arrival of another war winner another little Armistice Day of excitement -
'for Allenby the victor of Jerusalem and the Middle East, for Admiral Jellicoe and General Smuts,
'for Earl Beatty, whose cruisers had taken the full blast of the German fleet at Jutland.'
Although the war had ended, there was still the task of agreeing war reparations.
These negotiations went on for several long months in France.
'In 1919, troops who had fought and won the war,
'relaxed and wandered through its great rooms
'and marvelled at the splendid gardens.
'The year in which cars
'trundled through the golden gates of Versailles
'bringing delegates to sign the peace treaty which marked the end
'of WWI. For months the nations had conferred in Paris
'at the peace conference.
'The French, the British the Americans, the Italians,
'the Belgians, the Portuguese the Romanians -
'small conquerors as well as great. Yet, needless to say,
'the weight of argument and decision rested with the most powerful.
'Behind guarded gates and guilded salons, they'd gone into closed session,
'and no ordinary mortal could get his face in, let alone a word.'
'Amid her ruins, Europe was reopening her shutters, putting out her stalls
'and quietly resuming business.
'Whatever peacemakers may decide, people continue to produce, buy, sell and live.
'And how about victorious Britain?
'A spruced up Eros was returning to his pre-war pedestal in Piccadilly Circus, a sure sign of peace.
'At Versailles, the fountains played as they did once for the Sun King.
'Now they played for those who had re-shaped a continent.
'Now it was time to pose for their portraits by Sir William Orpen.
'And dress up in their best for the ceremony of the signing of the treaty,
'for there in the Sun King's great hall of the mirrors,
'the victors and the vanquished were to put their signatures to what was called
'the Treaty of Versailles.
'And so they signed and the pattern of the future was set for millions,
'for this was it they said, the end of war and the rule of force.
'This was peace, real peace, once and for all.
'So the delegates left Paris,
'most of them with the feeling that they had done a sound job.
'But others left quietly by the back door without fuss,
'as though after reading the terms of the document
'that was to breathe new hatred into the world
'and make a second great war almost a certainty, the least said
'Yes, though many rejoiced, some had their reservations, like President Wilson for instance,
'ailing now and soon to die before witnessing the complete failure of his dreams of a peaceful world.'
With the Versailles Treaty in place, the war was officially over, and Britain was able to celebrate
with peace day on July the 19th, 1919.
Exactly one year after the end of the fighting,
there was another parade as Britain marked the anniversary with the first Armistice Day.
'In London, the great marched with the gun carriage, with the poor shattered body
'chosen at random - unrecognised maybe unrecognisable.
'In Whitehall, King George V, his sons and his ministers paid their respects in one more unveiling,
'this time of a memorial to one mighty host to be remembered -
'That's Lloyd George.
# Tinker? Tailor? Soldier for certain.
'But rich man, poor man, beggar man or thief?
'Poor broken warrior, whatever he was in life, in death he was the greatest of them all.'
As a result of the Versailles Treaty an inter-governmental organisation
was to be established to prevent further wars through collective security and disarmament.
'In the courtyard of London's St James's Palace,
'diplomats came and went as the nations decided the shape and form
'of a new international organisation, its title,
'the League of Nations.
'Among the top-hatted British, French, Italian and Japanese,
'no Americans were to be seen.
'In spite of President Wilson's dreams,
'the United States had decided to keep out of Europe's future affairs.
'A decision to prove in the long run, not only a pity
'but a disaster.'
By December 1920,
48 states had signed the covenant,
pledging to eliminate aggression between countries.
Disarmament was high on the agenda for all concerned.
British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald addressed the delegates.
The armed nations must be prepared to make their contribution in disarmament.
The disarmed nation wants justice and peace. Hmm.
And the germ is pure and simple...
it would be the most heartbreaking confession of failure that this conference couldn't doubt.
And then there were such treaties as the Locarno Pact.
Negotiated in Locarno, Switzerland, and then signed in London on Dec 1st, 1925,
this was a treaty to secure post-WWI territories and paved the way
for Germany's admission into the League in 1926.
Traditional opponents of Germany like France, that's Monsieur Briand,
kept their true thoughts to themselves but still they let her in.
And with Germany among its members, the League awaited its new headquarters.
'Over the mountains, the stalwart Alps, in the tranquil air of Switzerland,
'the leaders of the nations,
'Germany included, were meeting for further discourses within the League of Nations.
'The search for peace might be long yet there was no lack of searching.
'Indeed so strong was faith, that by the Lake of Geneva
'a permanent home was a-building.'
By the early 1930s, failings within the League were starting to emerge.
The Japanese had been original members
but after the invasion of Manchuria their position became untenable.
'Japan's forceful infiltration into Jehol coming so soon
'after her Manchurian annexation
'put before the League of Nations a test case.
'And who knew? Maybe if Japan was intimidated
'she might even walk out of the League for good,
'for Japan was riding high.
'All the same, at Geneva,
'Japan was duly censored for her actions.
'The Chinese delegate said...'
'Today, because of the loft and usurpation of power by her military chieftains,
'who are bent on defying the international instrument of peace, and, of course, of world opinion,
'Japan finds herself all alone.'
'And this was Japan's answer.'
Then in October 1933,
Hitler, as the newly elected Chancellor of Germany
withdrew from the disarmament conference,
removed his country from the League of Nations and started to re-arm.
Actions that contributed to numerous German nationals to abandoning their place of birth.
Albert Einstein sought exile in America.
-'..of securing and maintaining peace,
'but also with the important task of education and enlightenment.
'Without such freedom, there would have been no Shakespeare,
'no Goethe, no Newton, no Faraday,
'no Pasteur and no Lister.'
These withdrawals were setbacks the League could do little about
and matters got worse when Italy invaded Ethiopia,
starting the second Italo-Abyssinian war.
'The tramp of soldiers' feet again, oft times bare.
'For a year the drums had beat in Ethiopia,
'calling the tribesman to the defence of their country.
'The battle was now nearly over
'but though the end was near, morale was still high.
'March and train,
'march and counter march. The spears, bows and arrows, antiquated rifles, muskets and shotguns...
'these pathetic weapons against...
'..a conqueror who had taken the sword
'to become, as he had claimed, Islam's protector.
'But Il Duce's protection meant for Ethiopia
'the onslaught of tanks, guns and bombing planes.
'And against such force, spears and courage were not enough.'
In May 1936 the war ended, and Italy declared Ethiopia part of an Italian Empire.
Emperor Haile Selassie sought exile in Britain.
He then went to the League of Nations to speak for his country.
Selassie did not get the full support he requested and returned to the UK
where he remained in exile until Ethiopia was liberated during WWII.
But in the summer of 1936,
the world's nations came together under a veneer of friendliness.
'In Berlin an open Mercedes rolled through the streets,
'towards a stadium specially built
'for the Olympics Games, bearing to the scene Germany's VIP of all VIPs.
'Then the torch arrived from Greece
'and in the presence of Adolph Hitler the flame was lit -
'the games were on.
'Flags flying together, the nations' athletes
'marching shoulder to shoulder regardless of colour or creed,
'binding the ties in a common bond of sportsmanship.
'Yes, it was all very hail fellow, well met.
'But when the doves of peace flew upwards over the Fuhrer's head it was into a sky
'not as cloudless as it might have been for such an occasion.'
By 1937 despite a new home, the League of Nations was struggling to fulfil its aims
and there was a growing lack of belief in its effectiveness amongst its members.
'The League, the dream, the hope. In the last few years,
'peace in the form of collective security, which was the aim of the League,
'had suffered several unpleasant setbacks. And although delegates might try
'to put a good face on things, it could not be denied that Japan's walkout,
'Italy's conquest of Abyssinia and Europe's general re-armament trend were bad omens for the future.'
And then after several years of pressure, in March 1938, German troops
entered Austria, violating the Treaty of Versailles.
'In one brief, swoop Austria had been incorporated into the Reich.
'Well, just as Hitler said, all the Austrians are Germans.
'Well, sort of Germans anyway.
'And as the new Austrian Nazi government
'rubber-stamped the Anschluss, the world did its best
'to accept the situation with a good grace.
As a result of Germany's annexation of Austria, and mindful
of increasing tension in the Sudetenland, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
went to Berchtesgaden in Germany to seek assurances
from the Fuhrer.
But with nothing resolved, he had to return a week later, this time to Bad Godesberg.
'Welcome to the Rhineland Herr Chamberlain,
'Now, Herr Chamberlain,
'you must tell the Czechs it's the Sudetenland for Germany...
'The Sudetenland, or else,
On his return home, Chamberlain was keeping quiet about what exactly had been agreed.
'Now I have come back, it's to report
'to the British and French governments
'the result of my mission.
'And until I have done that,
'it would be difficult for me to say anything about it.
'I will only say this...
'I trust...that all concerned
'will continue their efforts
'to solve the Czechoslovak problem peacefully,
'because on that turns the peace of Europe in our time.
Chamberlain went to Germany a total of 3 times in the September of 1938
as he and other European leaders attempted to solve the Czechoslovakia crisis.
His final trip was to Hitler's Munich headquarters on September the 29th.
'From the north, the south and the west,
'four strong men converge on the German town of Munich to make it for one proud day
'the new centre of the world, Germany and Italy side by side.
'The past is forgotten, the world thinks only of the future
'as the first plane brings the Prime Minister of France, Monsieur Daladier.
FRENCH NATIONAL ANTHEM PLAYS
'With him is German Foreign Minister Herr Von Ribbentropp.
BRITISH NATIONAL ANTHEM PLAYS
'Down the bright straight road towards a new understanding in Europe.
'And so at Hitler's Munich headquarters,
'the agreement that has made the biggest headline since the Armistice.
'Let no man criticise the bargain
'that the statesmen of Britain and France have struck until he has added up
the price that might have been paid for any other settlement -
a price in death and destruction.
'That price will not be paid! There will be peace!
'So they signed what came to be called the Munich agreement
'and we were all so relieved that we failed to notice
'that he'd got even more than he'd asked for by just giving in at the last moment.
'Because he had known that once he took the screws off,
'we would all be so relieved.'
'This morning, I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler.
'And here is the paper
'which bears his name upon it as well as mine.
'Some of you perhaps have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you.
'"We regard the agreement signed last night,
'"and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, as symbolic of the desire
'"of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again."
'Three cheers for Chamberlain.
CHEERING 'Three cheers for Mr Chamberlain.
'And in Germany it was three cheers for our great leader
'who brings us the Sudetenland with peace -
'for Adolph Hitler the peace-loving wonder boy.
'And three cheers for Monsieur Daladier of France who also helped to keep the peace.
'And three cheers for Il Duce who had lent
'his good name to the proceedings just at the right moment.
'And three cheers for President Benes of Czechoslovakia,
'the man forced to sign away his country's security so that others
'might still sleep peacefully in their beds.'
But Munich turned out to be a false peace.
Six months later in March 1939,
Hitler's troops seized Czechoslovakia.
Chamberlain, to all outward appearances,
still hoped for peace.
'While I hope that we shall always be ready to discuss in a reasonable spirit...
'any grievances, or any injustices that may be alleged to exist...
'it is to reason that we are prepared to listen and not to force.'
Despite Chamberlain's hopes, it was with force
that Germany entered Poland six months later.
'But as the Panzers continued to roll eastwards into Poland,
'under their tank tracks and the hooves of Hitler's war horses,
'the last hopes of peace died.
-'I am speaking to you
'from the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street.
'This morning, the British Ambassador in Berlin
'handed the German Government a final note
'stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock,
'that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland,
'a state of war would exist between us.
'I have to tell you now
'that no such undertaking has been received...
'and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.'
AIR-RAID SIRENS BLARE
The League of Nations had failed in its attempt to prevent another war.
WWII would rage on for six long years.
Though by 1944, the axis of power was shifting away from the Nazis
and towards the Allied Forces.
In the summer of that year, one by one, occupied cities in Europe
Rome, June 4th.
'All roads lead to Rome.
'But there you would have thought that those now who entered Rome
'had never at any time been enemies.
'For the Romans, the Allied entry into the city
'had all the thrill of true liberation.'
And Paris, August 25th 1944.
FRENCH NATIONAL ANTHEM PLAYS
But the world's pursuit of peace continued.
In February 1945, Allied leaders met at the Crimea Conference.
'Together, British, Russian and American,
'they sit at the tables to confer. And only long afterwards,
'does the world realise what a victory that conference was for Marshal Stalin.'
Their aim had been to establish an agenda for governing post-war Germany
but only after the unconditional surrender of the Nazis.
'Never before have the big three been seen together.
'Churchill looking benign, Stalin enigmatic
'and the man who talked about his dog, Fala,
'very sick indeed.'
Just three months later, they got what they had fought for.
'The German delegation will now sign this, er, this paper,
'and they will sign in order of seniority
'and General Admiral Von Friedeburg will sign first.
MONTGOMERY CLEARS THROAT
'And Major Klein will sign last.'
Nazi Germany was defeated. On May the 8th,
1945, Britain celebrated.
'Victory in Europe Day was a big moment indeed.
'A moment to give thanks, to thank all those who had fought
'and those who had led along the road to victory.'
Beyond Europe, the war continued.
The last Allied summit conference was held at Potsdam, Berlin, in the summer of 1945.
Attended by President Truman, Stalin, Winston Churchill and then Clement Attlee.
Their discussions focused on war reparations, procedures for the peace settlements in Europe
and the ongoing war with Japan.
'Marshal Stalin has already agreed that Russia
'will join the war on Japan.
'So what's next on the agenda?
'About Oak Ridge? All right, tell him then.
'Not all the details though.
'Oak Ridge and a dozen other mighty plants spread over the North American continent,
'plants where thousands work in secrecy to make something
'out of Uranium 235. Well,
'they told him and no doubt it made him think.'
And then, less than a week later.
'A port on the coast of the Japanese mainland,
'its name Hiroshima.
'theory into practice.
'A thunderstruck emperor inspects what is left
'of a city after the dropping of one bomb and realises there can only be
Japan surrendered soon after, signalling the end of WWII.
When the League of Nations was first established,
America chose not to be involved.
But in the autumn of 1945, the world's only atomic superpower
became one of the founding members of the new, United Nations.
Its primary function was to maintain international peace and security.
'Now, there's a time for making plans and there's a time for action.
'And the time for action is here, now!
'If we had had this charter a few years ago
'and above all the will to use it, millions dead now would be alive.
'If we should falter in the future in our will to use it,
'Millions now living will surely die.'
'An end and a beginning. A beginning of what?
'A bright promising future
'or the fires of eternal damnation?'
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd.
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