Image of of The Greatest Crusade, 1940

The Greatest Crusade

We, who are members of the British Commonwealth, hold in our hands the future of the world.

By fostering the spirit of liberty we are building self-reliant nations of free men. We are the Builders at grips with the Destroyers. We stand for healthy unhampered growth, fighting the disease of tyranny that stunts and kills.

Tyranny is the oldest disease of the human race. For thousands of years men have been tempted by visions of world conquest to sell their souls to a tyrant. Under a thin disguise of new catchwords, the Nazis have started the old futile game of building a slave empire.

The British Empire is exactly the opposite. There has been nothing like it in the world before; it is a Commonwealth, a family of free nations - linked together by loyalty to one King. It stands for progress; it is the hope of the future.

First, there are the self-governing members of the family - Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Eire. As the overseas Dominions grew, they were freely given more and more control over their own affairs. Today, they are independent nations with their own representatives in foreign countries. When Britain declared war against Germany, there was nothing to prevent them from standing out if they chose. Eire did, in fact, choose to stand out. The rest, of their own free will, decided that this war was their war.

Then there is India, a land of 380 million people. Already, she controls a large part of her own affairs. This vast country is rapidly progressing towards equal partnership in the Commonwealth. She will then become a self-governing democracy for the first time in her history.

Other communities, such as Southern Rhodesia, though not yet equal partners, already control their own affairs. In the Colonial Empire, with its 60 million people of many races and many languages, every stage of development is represented. The British way is to help those people to take an ever-increasing part in the management of their own affairs.

This is not the exploitation of possessions; it is the carrying out of a trust for peoples.

Within the British Commonwealth, men and women of every colour and religion are working out their own destiny. More than that, they have created a world-wide system of co-operation between men of different nations and different races. In this war they are fighting shoulder to shoulder of their own free will. When the war is over, the British Commonwealth will stand as a living example for the builders of a new and better order among the nations of the world.

To-day, the fanaticism of the Nazis is matched by a faith that is stronger and more enduring than their own, because it springs from the hearts of free men who are ready to dare all in the greatest Crusade the world has known.

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