The Great Dictator Speech 

Charlie Chaplin

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings 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. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....

The invention of the aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man - cries out for global brotherhood - for 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.

Soldiers! Do not give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave 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 these unnatural men - machine men with machine hearts and machine minds! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You do not hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Do not fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but all men! In you! In you, the people – you the people have the power - the power to make this life free and beautiful – you the people have the power to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then - in the name of democracy - let us all unite. Let us fight to free the world – to make a new world - a decent world - a world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! 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, where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Political Satire, 1940




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