GEDDES SPEECH

in Cambridge for the 1918 general election

   

 

 

Geddes denied that he was 'weak-kneed' on the subject of indemnities (= reparations), then went on to say:

 

(Cheers.) "If I am returned," said Sir Eric, "Germany is going to pay -restitution, reparation, and indemnity - and I have personally no doubt we will get everything out of her that you can squeeze out of a lemon, and a bit more - (cheers) - but there are some things I would not take from Germany, because they would hurt our industries. I propose that every bit of property, movable and immovable, in Allied and neutral countries, whether State property or private property of Germans, should be surrendered to the Allies, and that Germany should pay her precious citizens in her precious paper money. (Cheers.) No German should be allowed to own anything in this country. If Germany has got anything to buy with she can pay that in indemnities. I propose that not only all the gold Germany has got, but all the silver and jewels she has got, shall be handed over. All her pictures and libraries and everything of that kind should be sold to the neutral and Allied world, and the proceeds given to pay the indemnity. I would strip Germany as she has stripped Belgium." (Cheers.)

Sir Eric Geddes, December 1918

Note the insertion of the word 'cheers', indicating the public approval for sentiments of this kind.