The Great Dictator, by Charles Chaplin

There have been a few truly great speeches recorded throughout human history. Here is one by Charles Chaplin in his 1940 movie “The Great Dictator”. The message remains apropos.


I’m sorry. I don’t want to be an emperor, that’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I would like to help everyone if possible. Jew, gentile, black man or white. We all want to help one another, human being are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the good Earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind, we think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity, more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without this qualities life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together, the very nature of this inventions cries out to the goodness in Men, cries out for the universal brotherhood and the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world. Millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us in but the passing of greed. The bitterness of men will fear the way of human progress. The hate of Men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers, don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and slave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to this unnatural men, machine men with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are MEN. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate. Only the unloved hate. The unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers, don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Lucas it is written “The Kingdom of God is within Men”, not in one men or a group of men, but in all men, in you, you the People have the power! The power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the People have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power, let us all unite! Lets us fight for a new world. A decent world that will give men the chance to work, that will give you the future and old age a security. By the promess of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie, they do not fulfill their promess, they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promess, let us fight to free the world. To do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world were science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!


Original Media:

(from “The Great Dictactor” by Charles Chaplin)


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