Page 4, 14th May 1943

14th May 1943
Page 4
Page 4, 14th May 1943 — VICTORY IN TUNISIA
Close

Report an error

Noticed an error on this page?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it.

Tags

Locations: Bizerta, Algiers, Tunis

Share


Related articles

Frenchmen Find A Leader

Page 6 from 2nd April 1943

Darlan Throws New Light On The Intricacy Of The French...

Page 1 from 18th December 1942

She Watched The Gathering Signs

Page 16 from 13th January 1939

Algiers Committee Won't Be Recognised As A French Governmen

Page 1 from 30th July 1943

Behind The Scenes At Casablanca

Page 1 from 5th February 1943

VICTORY IN TUNISIA

GENERAL Giraud's broadcast to

France from Algiers expressed most happily the 9uality and meaning of the rapid triumphs in Tunisia —thus, by the way, reminding a number of people that to be critical of certain forms of democracy and socialism is perfectly reconcilable with inspiring leadership in the struggle for justice and liberation. " With the help of the workers of the United States, fighting side by side with the soldiers of Great Britain and the United States, we can no longer have any doubts—we arc certain of success. Six months after the Allied landings on African soil, on this day when we are celebrating the memory of Joan of Arc, Tunis and Bizerta have been simultaneously occupied, both towns—we hardly dare say it—in a miraculous way." Then he predicted what was

to come. " a few days there will no longer be any Germans in Africa. Their rule of world domination is beginning to crumble. To-morrow the , fortress of Europe will be attacked Wait till we are ready to strike together, from the north as well as from the south, from the east and from the west. I am sure that on that day all political issues will be forgotten, and there will be only one ideal, the Mother Country."

To be fully appreciated kese victories must be contrasted with the dark days, that seem but yesterday. when few people indeed dared to, feel confident that Egypt and the Middle East would he held against Rommel's deadly and brilliant

thrusts. Had Rommel succeeded the war must have become a tedious and apparently meaningless stalemate between two worlds with Britain the advanced fortress of one of them. In a few months the whole setting has altered and Hitlerisrn is pressed back from all sides into the narrow frontiers where the Euhrer's sway still holds firm thanks to the discipline and patriotism of his own German people—for it is no longer possible to say that among even the pro-Germans in Italy and the occupied countries there is now left, despite the promise of European charters, any more spirit than can be furnished by the prick of a German soldier's bayonet in their rear.

Force and justice'

IT is certainly well for those who

perhaps especially dislike war and doubt its reputed efficacy in ushering in new and better worlds to meditate on the inirnertie changes of fortune which force alone can bring about. The pacifist and even the reflective Christian are apt to underrate the place that must be allotted to sheer ftiree in the shaping of the pattern of history. In the African campaigns at all events valour and intelligence were pitted against valour and intelligence. The battles were like some vast medieval tourney at which the World at large

was the spectator. In the end a brave and well-led enemy was routed by the side which had the greater weight behind it. And by this trial of strength the course of events has

been decisively altered. Nothing else. whether civilian morale, the power of propaganda, sweet' persuasion. love, could have achieved com parable results in anything approaching„the same time. Yet the fact remains that force is but an a-moral instrument, and it tells in itself nothing of the moral quality of the sides whose destinies are so deeply influenced by the consequences of resort to it. The moral is surely that we art over-sanguine when we imagine that men will easily give up recourse to this method of altering their fortunes and that we shall have to go through a lengthy period of seeking to harness force to the ends of justice before we can expect to reach a stage of civilisation when force is abandoned.

These. considerations have their relevance in regard to the oext stage of the war. Strong as we have now become, we are still faced by the toughest proposition of all, the storming of Europe manned by the German Army and supported by the Nazi economic and war machine. To the outside spectator, like Franco— and we do not think there is any reason to suppose that he is not speaking his honest mind—the conflict between the two forces seems to be of such a nature that even now a decision will not be gained. We are certainly going to take a chance on that, and to take it with every confidence after what has happened in Africa! But it would he folly to underrate the stubborn nature of the task. In itself it is once again • a question of force against force with the making of a century depending on the issue. But on this occasion we shall be in a position to reinforce ourselves most powerfully with immaterial weapons.

The German People

TIESPITE the Nazi efforts to offer

to the world the blue-print of that better disciplined, fairer, semisocialist order to be established by the triumph of Hitler, the moral position of the Axis has from the start been its greatest weakness. It had the makings of a case (as any untried experimenter must have the makings of a case as against the actual accomplishments of a highly imperfect world), but the plain fact is that it has shown little or no power of proving its case. Its deeds, before and during the war, have been the best evidence of its real mind. None the less, the overwhelming force which it seemed to wield, powerfully reinforcing, as it did, a number of well-founded grievances cleverly exploited by acting on people's fears for the future, was sufficient to persuade more people than we care to believe possible that there was something to be said for the " new order." Nothing, of course, has done more to dissipate this illusion than the growing strength of the Allies pitted against the dwindling strength of the Axis. We are even prepared to hope that this may prove sufficient to cause inner weaknesses within the Nazi camp that will of themselves prove decisive very soon after the weight of the Allied attack is felt. But we dare not count on this.

It seems to us, therefore, that now is the time to reinforce the corning campaigns against the fortress of Europe with the sort of propaganda (the word now being used in its best sense) which will result in so clear a combination of justice with force that the alliance will he invincible. For the occupied countries that stage has very nearly been reached. The overv.helming desire in the hearts of their peoples to be free from the Nazi yoke is in itself enough, so long as there is confidence in our armed strength to promise an overwhelming degree of direct and indirect aid. But there remains Germany itself. History does not suggest that a still well-armed nation of reasonably well-fed people tinder effective leadership is going to give in just because the fortunes of war have

changed. And the precedent of

Britain in 1940 is a powerful argument for the Germao leaders. Can, that stubborn spirit be weakened, sufficiently to guarantee the success] of enemy arms? Only we think if it is made clear to the masses of the people that the struggle has hut one purpose: to free them from a tyrannous and unnatural usurper, doomed ultimately to failure, in order that they shall be free again in a just and sensible order from which they can profit as truly as their rescuers. The ideals for which we fought, the vision of the more intelligent of our people in all classes, the hope we all share for an era of peace and happiness, they all, we believe, make it reasonable for us to make our aim, not only the liberation of the people of the occupied countries, but the liberation of the German people. There alone'lliS all its implications is the clue to and guarantee of a quick and decisive victory in the toughest stage of the war.

EVIDENCE ABOUT SPAIN

WE should like to give what fur

ther publicity we can to the evidence furnished in the Tablet by an Austrian Jew, Eli Rubin, as to conditions in a Spanish• concentration camp where he was interned for over two years after escaping from the Nazi reach. Though, as he points out, the camp was filled with people whom Nationalist Spain would consider her " ideological enemies," these refugees were absolutely safe from being returned to Germany on any pretext except their own voluntary wish; there was absolutely no discrimination between the Jewish and other refugees; the internees got exactly the same food as the Spanish soldiers and the same tobacco ration as the Spanish people; they were paid enough to enable the poorest to provide for essential comforts, like tobacco and soap; they were treated in such a way that the Poles, for example, Were able to build up within the camp a whole university life. " Miranda de Ebro (the name of the camp) should not be remembered otherwise than as a consoling promise for a better, more humane, nobler future of the world," is the writer's final reflection.

Here is a little piece of direct testimony to the spirit of Nationalist Spain which wholly fits in with what is otherwise known of the chivalry of the Spanish character and its intentness on creating a more human world. Despite the exceptional difficulties that have faced the present regime and in spite of the abusive propaganda that is still directed against it, history, we think, will judge that there is in Spain today the making of a new order that will more and more transcend the ideological divisions essentially

foreign to Christian Spain. But whether that order will in fact emerge will largely depend on the goodwill of other nations and those who influence their policy. It is not perhaps surprising that under these conditions General Franco so urgently desires the balance of peace and claims the Pope as a sponsor of this need. He can have confidence in the goodwill towards his country of arty British Government headed by Mr. Churchill, but he would be better able to appreciate the view that the war is regarded here as a conflict similar to the Civil War, where negotiation in the face of starkly conflicting ideologies was impossible, if he could have the same confidence in British and American public opinion.

THE B.B.C. AND EVOLUTION WE have received a copy of a " pamphlet called The B.B.C. Abuses its Monopoly, in which there is printed a correspondence between Lt.-Col. L. Merson Davies and Mr. Douglas Dewar (known to many Catholics as a strong opponent of the evolution hypothesis) and the B.B.C. , The correspondence relates to a series of talks entitled "Man's Place in Nature ' given last autumn: The writers contest vigorously the scientific integrity of the talks given in the series by Professor D. M. S. Watson, F.R.S., who gave seven of them and part of an eighth.

To the non-scientific reader Colonel Davies and Mr. Dewar seem overwhelmingly to have made out their case on the grounds of plain mis-statements, questionable theories presented as proved facts and suppression of facts. Nor is the importance of a series of talks on a subject so closely related to the general religious and philosophical views of the man in the street in question.

The writers asked for the opportunity of presenting their case to the public either by one talk or by open debate, but both these requests were refused. In a way we sympathise with the difficulties of the B.B.C. officials, and we are reluctant to impute to them any bias or malice. It is fairly clear that the talks were arranged in good faith and speakers chosen on their reputed merits. (In this matter as Mr, Dewar well knows reputed merits have little to do with ultimate truth.) It is always hard for a big corporation to alter its ponderous movements, and the idea of opening a debate on this subject may well have seemed altogether too awkward. But the test is to come. Colonel Davies and Mr. Dewar have no doubt made their impression. Let them watch the B.B.C. on the same and kindred subjects in the future. If they discover a change of approach and emphasis, as we hope they will, their work will have been well done.




blog comments powered by Disqus