THE press and " public opinion "
pressure against doing a deaf with the House of Savoy and Badoglio—it was the same with Darlan earlier in the war—betrays an extraordinary confusion of mind. It is partly actuated by a real feeling against anyone who was closely associated with Fascism or who collaborated with the enemy; but the deeper motive is class hatred—a fashion to which most of the press of England and America gives an inverted-snobbish support. The movement is the converse of the kind of intervention in favour of royal houses, upper classes, military castes, what not, which was the order of the day when Europe was horizontally divided into castes rather than vertically into nations. In either case it was an insult to the real people of the different countries concerned.
Nations are more than aggregates of individuals. They are true societies shaped by the past and continually evolving of themselves. The true good of their citizens is bound up • with that internal evolution. Naturally this evolution is much affected by foreign influences and environment and never more so than during and after a great war. But there ' is nothing more deadly to a living society than to be made the victim of a thought-out and imposed foreign intervention whose springs are likely to be totally alien to the natural forces shaping a country's destiny.
Because of this it' is of the first importance when a country is rocked by defeat that the victor should make use for his necessary military purposes of the longestestablished and least-controversial of the country's institutions and the man or men best able to maintain a provisional order. For those who most desire to see a great political and social change of heart in the defeated country in question this is the only right beginning.
The Way to Democracy
IN the case of Italy, there is reason to hope that the discredited Fascism will in due course be succeeded by a genuinely democratic and constructive Government representing all the elements of the nation
and suited to its genius. But to attempt to foist Onto the Italians in their present state of political disillusion and dissolution untried political leaders, whether from the country itself or from exile, is the most certain way of ruining such prospects. Their presence can only inflame passions and divide man from man. It Would be particularly foolish in a country where there is a constitutional monarch, long looked-to by the people as their natural hope against the tyranny of totalitarianism Nothing would infuriate the English people more than any foreign attempt to discredit our own Royal House for having consistently played its proper role of reigning but not governing. That has been the function of the liberal-minded House of Savoy also, and it is precisely in a crisis of this kind that such a monarchy is of precious importance.
It may be that when Italy settles down it will wish to pass from mon archy to republic. It is unlikely, but it is possible. But if this change is to prove fruitful, it is imperative that it be done freely by the Italians themselves. There is no sort of serious suggestion anywhere that Victor Emmanuel or Badoglio desire to defy the future wishes of the Italian people when conditions return to a degree of normality that will enable those wishes to be peacefully and accurately expressed. And there is no sort of chance that if they wanted to do this they would succeed against a people that now know what Fascism means.
The problem for the moment is to re-create conditions in which all that we mean by good democratic government can work. For our own good as well as for the good of the Italians. workers included, that problem must be solved with the only instruments to hand. It is a thousand times more important than indicting the so-called criminals of the past and a million times more important than appeasing the journalists and politicians who seek public approbation by their championship of what they think goes down best with the mob, even if it completely destroys any chances of the Europe of to-morrow adopting sound government like our own.
NAZIS LOOK TO U.S.A.
'SATE are accustomed in this country to see possible difficulties arising from our future relations with Russia and to understand the Nati hopes of easing their position by driving a wedge between West and East. It is not improbable, however, that the Nazis themselves entertain better-founded expectations of deriving profit from difficulties between Britain and America.
The reason is this. Though there are very fundamental differences of interests and outlook between Russia and ourselves, both countries are under a firm and consistent leadership capable of smoothing out troubles until victory is won. It is not the same with the United States. There the Constitution is such as to make it possible to deprive a President of effective power. This is the case when thE President and Congress belong to opposite political parties and consequently hamstring one another's efforts.
We may take it that Germany is watching very closely indeed the course of political events in the United States and counting a great deal 9n what may happen before and after next year's Presidential election. She is not so foolish as to imagine that there could be anything approaching a split between America and ourselves, but she is counting on a possible weakening of the allimportant American war-effort in her bid to escape from the war with a compromise peace. This possibility alone is sufficient to induce her to hang on. however hopeless her chances of victory. Roosevelt is clearly well aware of the danger!
DR. GARBETT RETURNS FROM RUSSIA
THE Archbishop of York's full 1. statement on conditions in Russia, with special reference to religion, will console Catholics every
where. It is an absolute libel to suggest that Catholics are disconcerted by hearing of marked signs of religious revival under Stalin. Obviously the return to a true knowledge and genuine worship of
Almighty God on the part of any of Stalin's subjects is an event which we welcome and for which we daily pray. It is a matter of far more importance to us than the political and economic nature of the regime.
What we deplore is the exaggeration of religious changes in Russia fostered by propagandists whose last concern is the intrinsic value of religious revival. We deplore. too, misunderstandings about the meaning of religion so that an impression of religious freedom may be given when in truth there is none. It is, for example, a fact that even to-day there is very much less religious worship and freedom in Russia than in Germany, where all churches function normally and where a measure at least of ordinary Christian apostolate has never ceased. On the other hand it may well be the case that the future of Christianity is more promising under Stalin than Hider. We cannot tell, and Hitler won't be there for long!
Dr. Garbett has hortestly described the state of affairs in Russia, and his confirmation that worship is widespread is valuable. He does not, however, deny the " non-religious" character' of the State nor the total prohibition of Christian apostolate as we normally understand the term. He is moreover silent on what is perhaps the most important issue of all, namely, the independence of Christianity in its relations with the State. The subtlest and greatest dans : to Christianity to-day is that it should be flattered into becoming an instrument of totalitarianism. The danger of this in the future Russia is obvious.
ARAB UNITY THE Middle East is very much
alive at present. In fact the whole Arab world is stirring. A project is on foot for federating these scattered people. So far the mandated condition of the various States concerned has been an obstacle, but now, with Egypt and Irak independent and Syria promised freedom, the circumstances are more favourable. We may yet see a great Arab nation taking its place with Turkey as a Power to be reckoned with at that end of the Mediterranean. The movement is more than political. That doughty King, Ibn Saud of Arabia, is taking means to instruct his nomadic subjects in the art of irrigation, which promises a transformation of the desert. There is already in existence an economic federation that has as one of its objects the co-ordination of production.
Ibn Saud, by the way, is a man to watch. He deserves to take his place with Ataturk as one of the personalities thrown up by the Middle East as the result of the last war. His leadership of the Wahabis, the Puritans of MosIemism, has been both courageous and enlightened. The present situation will give him opportunity to extend still further the influence he has acquired. Certain it is that we have not heard the last of the Arabs.
The suggestion forces itself upon one, though there• are no clear proofs that it has any substantial foundation, that there may be some connection between this project of Arab federation and the trials for smuggling of arms from Allied forces in Palestine in which, it is Alleged, certain Jewish organisations are involved. It may be assumed that Ibn Saud has his own views about the Jewish National Home on his borders, and, in this case, precautionary measures on the part of the Zionists are understandable.