THE Allies have landed on the continent of Europe. General Smuts, a level-headed calculator, has estimated that the war—the whole war, east and west—will take an
other twelve months to finish. In their bones most people feel that the war in Europe is over except for the uncertainty how long Germany's collapse and surrender will be delayed as the tide of havoc laps her land, her cities, her people. Where is Hitler? We do not know. We can form a shrewd opinion that he no more controls Germany to-day than Mussolini controls Italy. This autumn unpredictable cracks arc likely suddenly to gape before our eyes as we survey the European continent. General Smuts himself has gone ahead of most guessers by suggesting that among the vast forces gathering to bring down the Nazi " gangsters," not the least effective will be the fifth column in Germany, or in other words, as he put it, " the revolt of the German soul itself."
It will be the speed of the European collapse that, paradoxically as it may sound, will constitute the next great danger to the Allied strategy, political as well as military. A strong man pushing with all his strength against a door that suddenly and unexpectedly gives way finds himself sprawling through the gap in as great a collapse as the door itself.
Will the Allies find themselves sprawling in a European wilderness without a plan, unequal to an emergency where tanks and the hideous accumulation of armaments at our disposal will be worse than useless?
HOW many people, for instance, are able at this moment to foresee. by the use of their bedraggled imagination, the part that will he played by Russia, this very autumn, in the inferno of a collapsed Europe?
One of the most interesting pieces of news that has come to us during the past few days is that Marshal Stalin has received in audience the leaders of the Orthodox Church and has approved the election of a Patriarch and the reconstitution of the Holy Synod. Is this a gesture to European Christians, especially of Latin descent, to suggest that the bogey of Boshevist atheism need no longer frighten them? Only the event will tell: but that is not enough. Something more than such a gesture is needed to eradicate the propaganda and the practice of a quarter of a century.
And besides, it may be too late for the " United Nations " to formulate a convincing thesis—convincing to European Catholics who wonder what Stalin has to offer as an improvement upon Hitler in the religiou sense—of any constructive Christian policy in a devastated Europe. The danger is urgent. Sooner than we expect, the emergency may fall upon us, and we may find ourselves, hopelessly, disastrously, historically, unequal to it. Have our leaders any plan at all, and if so, what is it?
Reparations : New Style
nliNERAL Smuts in his broadcast
• `-' last Saturday made an interesting and typical contribution to the sort of thought that must be devoted to the formulation of a post-war plan, if the fruits of victory are not again to go sour. " A broken, destitute, starving old world (he said) will call for relief and restitution and the opportunity of being set going again. Let that be our reparation policy, in contrast to the ruinous policy of that name of the last peace. Unless that new policy is followed, our western society may dissolve in a chaos of suffering and despair. If it be followed, in a true Samaritan spirit. not only will the self-inflicted wounds of ofir mother continent of Europe be healed hut a new atmosphere will be created among the nations in which the planning of a new world order could he carried out." Past history may be good medicine. It is worth while recalling what General Smuts referred to as the " ruinous policy " pursued after the last war in the name of "reparations," the word then being used in an exclusively materialist and financial sense. Our precious experts calculated that a capital liability could be imposed upon Germany amounting to something like f.11,379,000,000. (The actual sum was not at first fixed, but when in 1921 the Reparation Commission fixed the definitive sum, that sum was represented as conceding a remission of 42 per cent. of the 1919 claim, and the sum so fixed was f6.600,000,000.) In other words, the Allied pundits imagined that they could extract as " reparation " the sum of £150 from every man, woman and child in Ger many. This is not fiction; hut the unbelievable truth. The German currency collapse of 1923 and the world financial collapse of 1929 were both traceable to Allied notions of " reparation." The fact that Germany paid none of those sums demanded is beside the point. What did the harm was the endless series of conferences and expedients for enforcing payment. This time it is certain that we shall not repeat that particular gaffe. But the negative improvement is not enough What is needed is a positive constructive plan of true reparation: of " relief and restitution."
POPE'S PERSISTENT PEACE APPEALS
THERE have been malicious sug1 gestions that the Pope's broadcast last week was the more urgent because Italy was in danger. The evidence to refute this lie is clear, but we give a few proofs which could be multiplied tenfold. The summaries are quoted from Principles for Peace; the circumstances and timing need no comment. In a radio plea " to those in power and their peoples " on August 24, 1939, the Pope said " Nothing is lost with peace; all may be lost with war." In a message to the heads of European Governments on August 31, 1939 the Pope pleaded at the last moment for peace.
In the allocution of Christmas, 1939, the Pope outlined the requisites for a just and honourable peace.
In an address of February 11, 1940, the Pope praised the peade efforts of his predecessor.
In his New Year message of 1941 the Pope expressed his ardent desire for a just and lasting peace.
In his broadcast of Easter 1941, the Pope pleaded for a peace which would guarantee the honour of all nations, satisfy their vital needs and ensure the legitimate rights of all.
In his Christmas, 1941, allocution he said that no new order worthy of the name is possible unless the peacemakers are enlightened with supernatural wisdom, and he broadcast to the whole world his five peace points.
In a radio address of May 13, 1942, on his episcopal silver jubilee, the Pope said the belligerents should not let pass any occasion that may offer an opportunity for an honest peace of justice.
The N.C.W.C, have produced a book of 900 pages consisting of nothing but Papal peace principles, of which 350 pages carry the actual words of Pius xu.
MR. SUMNER WELLES
vvuATEVER the reasons and consequences which may be attributed to Mr. Sumner Welles's departure from his post as Under-Secretary of State, we shall do well to note the remarks of the Washington Post; it says of Mr. Welles, and of Mr. Milo Perkins and Mr. Wallace, who were recently released from authority in economic and foreign policy, all these men were prime expositors of the United Nations idea."
No doubt in due course we shall know about the circumstances of Mr. Welles's resignation, but in the meantime we may remember with gradttkde some of the wise and bold things Mr. Sumner Welles has said in his pursuit of the ideals for which the United Nations stand.
In particular we recall an address he gave in the spring of the present year to the Chamber of Commerce in the State of New York. He spoke at a time when the press of the United States was openly discussing the chance that the United States might " capture the air " when the war is over. One Major Al Williams for instance. writing in the New York World Telegram, roundly declared: " Vast plans are already taking shape to make the United States the greatest international airline nation in the world; we are going to dominate the airline and the air cargo business of the world."
Mr. Welles courageously joined issue in his address with those American business interests which in his opinion might help to produce still another war. " Unless the American people (he said) are willing to assume their fair share of responsibility for the maintenance of peace in the world of the future, by joining in the exercise of police powers. and by participating in such other forms of international co-operation as may effectively prevent the rise of economic or political dangers, the peace of the world cannot be maintained."
He ended his address with a strikingly frank admonition. " I am revealing no State secret," he said, " when I say to you that one of the gravest doubts which exist in the minds of our partners of the United Nations to-day is the doubt as to what the policy of the United States will be when the victory is won. They remember that when the victory of 1918 had been achieved, this great country of ours withdrew from almost every form of practical cooperation with its former Allies in the great task of constructing the kind of world in which we and all other peace-loving peoples could securely and profitably live. In very truth we won the war, and made no effort to win the peace. Our Allies are asking themselves now whether we shall again follow that course." Such things are best, and indeed only, to be said by American spokesmen .Mr. Welles did great service to the world by saying them.
" Freedom of the Air
THIS question of post-war aviation increasingly assumes the shape of one of the biggest problems that will fall for settlement when the war ends. Upon its solution will depend in a large degree the possibility of a long peace or still another world war.
Are the Great Powers of the earth, after fighting two world wars for the competitive acquisition of the earth's raw materials, to add a third war to the series in competition for the very air, for the command of the airroutes of the world?
As long ago as last January the Baltimore Sun bluntly declared that -the last shot of World War II will be the opening shot of a new and different war—an all-out trade war for favourahle and profitable positions in airborne commerce and control of world-wide air routes."
Since then much work has been done behind the scenes to avert such a catastrophe; but the work is far from smooth. A writer in the New York Times lately observed : "The pooling of operations and facilities by Allied nations during a war is one thing, but the post-war division of the pool is quite another, as United States and British shipping and aviation administrators are beginning to find out. Although no decisions have been reached, investigation has gone far enough to persuade Washington and London that in the peace settlements none will be more delicate and difficult than those affecting merchant marine and commercial flying."
It will be necessary in short, if further disaster is to be averted, not only for the Allies to be ready with a constructive plan to rescue Europe from chaos, but to be agreed among themselves on a plan for preventing that " first shot " in a new war, a war of atrocious rivalry in the air. The Prime Minister's eloquent appeal on Monday to the American people for full co-operation is a welcome and timely move in this sense.