Page 5, 13th June 1941

13th June 1941
Page 5
Page 5, 13th June 1941 — Notes and Comments

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Locations: York, Berlin, London, Leipzig


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Notes and Comments


IT seems probable that we are shortly A to be confronted. if not with a peace Offer, then at least with some sort of " take it or leave it " pronouncement by Herr Hitler, the essentials of which will be the treatment of Europe as a single economic unit. Certain newspapers have forecast the institution of the Mark as a pan-European currency, but this is denied by Mr. Paul Einzig and probably Mr. Einzig is right. A pan-European currency would make the economic domination of Germany more difficult in so far as monetary accumulations which are bound to occur here and there even among the subject peoples would give full

equality of purchasing power. Hitler's ends would clearly be better served by a variety of national currencies all kept at a fixed but strongly unfavourable rate of exchange with the Mark. The genuine, as opposed to the pretended, abolition of tanff barriers is also unlikely though the barriers may quite possibly he abolished between the Reich and its vassals. But freedom of traoe between the vassal states themselves would increase the administrative difficulties of Berlin and might prevent her froIn skimming all the cream for herself. Yet even in its garbled and twisted form the " Economic Unification of Europe " which we shall no doubt have served up to us at the appropriate moment, will enable Herr Hitler to pose as the doer of something which the democratic statesmen left undone. It tends to be forgotten that one of President Wilson's Fourteen Points provided for this abolition of tariff barriers and that this proviso was completely ignored. Both sides seem to have been in agreement that such a notion was but the maundering of an Impractical University Professor. It is, of course, nothing of the kind. A European free trade area should ideally be accompanied by some sort of an equitable rationing of profit opportunities. We have already got the rationing, but we shall not get the freedom from Hitler.


THERE is a considerable confusion of opinions on the subject of RussoGerman, or shall we call it rather Nazi Soviet, co-operation. The Leftists are apt to construe every feeble sign of Russian opposition to Hitler as a harbinger of an armed conflict between the two empires. The Rightists are equally eagerly scanning the horizon of eastern Europe to prove their own favourite theory of understanding between Hitler and Stalin against the Christian and " capitalist " world they both abhor. The Soviet, despity their frantic efforts, have failed in consolidating the new system of government in Russia, all such economic progress as there undoubtedly has 1st= falls far short of the parallel achievement of the remaining world and it is almost unquestionable that much more would have been achieved had there been no revolution in Russia at all (and that at a considerably smaller cost in human life and suffering). Finally the original capital of ideological impetus has been spent and it would be vain to look for any inspiration among the inert masses of Russian population.

Despite all that the Soviets are sufficiently powerful to inspire awe in the small countries of the borderland and it is where they further Hitler's plans, as it were unwittingly. The Finns and the Rumanians argue, and probably justly, that whatever misery subjection to the Nazis might bring on their countries, the tyranny of Berlin will not last and they will be able to rise again in unimpaired nationhood. Whereas Soviet occupation would probably mean total destruction, after which any national reconstruction would be impossible. It is not only the wealthier classes that are struck. We must remember Soviet Karelia whose whole originally Finnish population has been deported to Siberia and Russians settled in its stead. Something very similar is now happening in the Soviet-occupied part of Poland. from where Polish families are transplanted to Central Asia and just left there to their fate—true, without much interference, but also without any possibility to earn anything like normal living among completely alien surroundings.


THERE is now the proposal to estab lish camps of anything up to fifty men all round the countryside and to use this gang labour to help in the haymaking, harvesting and ditching and draining.

It has not been possible so far to discover what types of men will be employed : whether they will be Conscientious Objectors and Pioneers, who have already had considerable experience of this work, or whether the Force will be thrown open to enlistment. With the former, many farmers are familiar and do not have to worry about supervisidlik, payment or discipline, but if the men are of the second group, then there at once arise problems that should be tackled now rather than wait until the camps are in being. The two chief of these must be discipline and payment; if the men are already on, or recruited on a military basis, then the question of discipline does not arise; nor does payment only in so far as it affects the quality of the work. The farmers' excuse that where these men are civilians, he will be unahlo to pay them the minimum wage because they arc not skilled men, simply won't wash, for a skilled Agricultural Worker has yet to be defined; and, anyway, the more skilled have left for the towns and factories years ago. And again, who is to say what shall be done? Is the farmer to issue instructions to the gang foreman or are these powers to be delegated to an official of the Agricultural Committee? Who, in the long run, is boss?


I N this month's Message Lord Queen borough, president of the Royal Society of St. George, whose opinion on the problem of the family and the State we printed recently, gives the six-point programme of the Society's campaign committee. We note with pleasure that this programme includes religious teaching in schools. But there are other things in it that make the whole worth quoting—

The strengthening of patriotic and religious teaching in schools; The furtherance of physical education among the younger generations; The tightening of our future regulations governing the entrance into Britain and subsequent naturalisation of aliens; The preparation of adequate Imperial machinery for the future migration of our people about the Empire, in the days when a re-distribution of population after the war will be a prime need; And—by no means least—the furtherance of that Anglo-American Union to which the work of the Society has for so long been directed.

The Society is appealing for increased support among all religions, and inviting criticism and suggestion for its active campaign. There should be many Catholics who could sincerely support a Society committing itself to so much that is excellent.


CERMAN rule in Poland has been "" characterized by unprecedented inhumanity ever since the occupation of the country. But recently reports began to come in of further recrudescence in the Nazi oppression which is meeting with the stubborn resistance of the population. The terrorism is particularly blood-curdling in the district of Lublin, where inhabitants of whole villages were summarily shot with machine-guns in reprisal for active and passive resistance to the invader.

It is estimated by the Polish authorities in London that up to date about 80,000 Poles of the leading classes have been done to death by the Germans and the toll of innocent victims continues to mount.

While this mass extermination is going on the Nazis introduced last March a new division of population and special bodies have been set up for the purpose of compiling the National Register (Volksliste). According to the new decree the population of western Poland is divided into 4 classes: Active Germans, Passive Germans, Renegades and Poles. The first, that is Nazis, receive German nationality first class. The second, who, as the name implies, do not belong to the Nazi Party and have shown little Interest in politics, deserve little better than " German nationality second class." The third are those " Germans " who have forgotten their " high origin" and gone Polish. They are invited to declare themselves as " Volksdeutche " (of German blood) and after ten years of " satisfactory behaviour " are promised permanent German nationality. In the meantime they are considered as " probational Germans." The Poles are a " transitory phenomenon," to be done with in time.

The scale on which such "probational Germans " are speedily fabricated is alarming. The Germans are making use of the historical fact that after the Tartar invasions in the thirteenth century many German colonists settled in Poland and were subsequently Polonized. Now the Nazis are trying to reclaim these " lost German sheep" by threats and promises and go almost as far as to assert that the Poles are " practically German." They see, however, no contradiction in regarding Poles at the same time as a lower race for whom nothing short of slavery and extermination can be good enough.


QOM E uneasiness is being caused by the " continued postponement of Mr. F. C. Hooper's promised Sunday night broadcast. An article published in the Sunday Dispatch from Mr. Hooper's pen certainly gives grounds for the belief that this postponement may be due to the very strong criticism by this gentleman of previous postscripters of what may be called the Priestley school of thought. Our readers have been given ample opportunity of becoming acquainted with our own attitude towards Mr. Priestley's views on the future of this country and few would be so misguided as to account

us among the Priestley fans. On the other side of the account we find plenty to disagree with in Mr. Hooper's point of view and in particular with his very sweeping statement that in pre-war England most people " did do what they liked " and that consequently pre-war England was, with certain minor imperfections, all that it should have been. In particular we quarrel with his complete glossing over of the vast problem of unemployment and insecurity. But if we are neither pro-Priestley nor pro-Hooper we are even more violently opposed to anything in the nature of a sociological B.B.C. orthodoxy in these matters, and we sincerely hope that disagreement with some of the minor gods at Broadcasting House is not the cause that is preventing Mr. Hooper from saying whatever it is that he wants to say. If these suspicions are unjustified (and we are by no means the only ones who are disturbed by them) we hope that the B.B.C. will lose no time in assuring us that they are groundless.


NEWS comes from Germany via New ' York that Dr. Hans Dricsch, internationally known philosopher and biologist, has died at Leipzig. He was seventythree years old. Dr. Hans Driesch was led by experiments on embryonic sea urchins to the conclusion that no purely mechanical explanation could account for the development of living organisms. He then abandoned Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and sought another explanation in logic and philosophy, becoming one of the leading German philosophers. His famous experiments on sea urchins' eggs showed that at a certain stage of the development of the single-cell egg into the many-cell embryo any fragment or group of cells cut off from the main body could be made to grow into a complete embryo. He also found he could reverse the process by cutting apart and then reassembling all the cells in a solution. From these observations Dr. Driesch concluded that there must be some non-mechanical or supra-mechanical agency inherent in all living matter, especially in the developing egg, which controls the development of the embryo cells into a complete and perfect organism. This theory of " dynamic vitalism " he opposed to the theory that all living processes can be explained by physical or chemical laws.

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