The Speech To End All Speeches
Charlie Chaplin – Final Speech from “The Great Dictator”
Text of the speech:
“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’s 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 these
qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these
inventions cries out for the goodness in man – cries for universal 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. To those who can hear me, I say: ‘Do not despair.’ The
misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who 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
Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you and 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 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 St Luke,
it is written the kingdom of God is within man not one man nor 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. Let us fight for a new world – a decent 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 – a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.
Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us unite!
Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up Hannah. The clouds are lifting! The
sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming
into a new world – a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed and
their brutality. Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is
beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow – into the light of hope, into the future, the
glorious future that belongs to you, to me, and to all of us. Look up, Hannah… look up!”