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 men, white.

We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ 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 as 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 out 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 never perish. 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 a 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’s 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 fulfill their promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill 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 all unite!

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The Great Dictator (1940) is a film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin, who also plays the leading role. It is primarily a satirical view of the then-dictator Adolf Hitler, who is called Adenoid Hynkel in the film. There is also a parody on the dictator Mussolini, which is called Napaloni in the film.

Chaplin himself plays two roles in The Great Dictator: that of a Jewish hairdresser and that of the dictator (Hynkel). This is the first film in which Chaplin speaks. He has avoided this as long as possible for fear of the reactions.

Although Chaplin already worked on the film at the end of the 1930s, he did not appear in theaters until 1940, when Hitler had already conquered large parts of Europe. Initially, the film was not well received in the US and the then government even spoke of an attack on “a head of state of a befriended country”. The popularity of the film did not rise until the US became involved in the Second World War in 1941 because of the attack on Pearl Harbor and The Great Dictator could thus be used as a propaganda film. During the Nuremberg processes it turned out that the film pops up twice in overviews of films sent to Hitler. [2] An eyewitness from the circles around Hitler is convinced that Hitler has seen the film. [2] What Hitler thought of the film itself remains a mystery. That he would have found the film funny seems rather unbelievable, since he was under the illusion that Chaplin was a Jew. [2]

Chaplin, incidentally, later indicated that if he had known what Hitler would later do horribly, he would never have made this (comic) film.

 

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