IN Western Europe at least the worst fears in regard to political developments following liberation have not been realised. The unexpected speed of the Allied advance has proved to have had more than military advantages. It has involved a clean-sweep—outwardly at least—of all whose political outlook had depended upon the belief that the war would end in a stalemate, if not a German victory. It has also enabled the two sections of the resistance movements, the section which maintained resistance in exile and the section which bore the heavier burden at home, to meet on toughly equal terms At the same time the military and economic conditions have necessarily rendered any normal democratic constitutional procedure impossible for sonic months. All these are proving the best conditions for shaping an interim administration refleeting the vital forces of liberated countries and, yet capable, one hopes, of resisting extremists of either wing. The fact that in France Christiandemocrats figure in the new Government and that a genuine Catholic social militant like M. Georges Bidault, editor of the Catholic daily, Aube, accepts the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, k an excellent guarantee that the hest, and not the worst, will he got Out of the spirit of victory and renovation. In Belgium the outlook is even more reassuring, and we may expect from the Dutch their usual political commonsense.
THERE are, of course, many disturb ing factors. It is not. sufficiently realised that many equally good patriots were divided, not by a difference of moral integrity, but by taking different views about the likely outcome of the war. It is right and proper— and in any case inevitable—that the future should belong to those who judged right; it is wrong and bad for the future of the country that the vast Majority of those whose judgment rather than character was at fault should be ostracised or condemned. And certainly " collaborationism " of that type was far less sinister in itself and far less harmful to the commonweal than the Communist " collaborationism " at the beginning of the war to which a writer in the Times has rightly drawn attention again. One cannot take seriously the patriotism of men who did their best to undermine French morale until the very second when Germany invaded Russia, and now pretend to lead all genuine patriotism. But one should _Like their carefully thought-out tactics seriously. Their intention in fact is to identify the virtues of patriotism and loyalty with revolutionary socialism while branding all moderates as typical of the spirit of " collaborationism" There are to-day very strong elements everywhere advocating popular uprisings similar to those of the French Revolution. Yet in modern social and economic conditions such uprisings would be fatal to all classes and could only help those who have a vested interest in social disorder. A better distribution of wealth and better social conditions will come to-day from a deepened respect for essential human liberties founded in the spirit-4 nature of man, and this is the last ng to interest ton many of those who aie looking to the extreme Left for leadership.
No Liberation in the East
RUT if matters are on the whole re1' assuring in the liberated countries of the West, the reverse is true of the East of Europe. It is unnecessary to underline again the tragedy of Poland, except to note that there is no sign of improvement. Unless very different values can be brought to bear upon Stalin, the signs are of a post-war Poland virtually within the Russian Empire. Such an outcome would mark a decisive defeat, not a victory, for the triumphant Powers. The coun tries of South-Eastern Europe present such complex problems and they remain so dangerous a factor for European peace that the only hope both for the world outside arid for the people themselves lay in some kind of federation. strong enough to defend their own interests as against the greed of the great Powers. Events seem to have precleded such a solution. It is clear that instead these countries as a whole will come under Russian domination. Russia is clever enough to exercise her preponderant power in very different ways, hut in the long run each country WM depend upon the convenience of the master. It is to be feared that two at least of these countries will suffer heavily and fundamentally unjustly. Hungary and Slovakia. The pro-German policy of these countries cannot be compared, say, with the collaborationism of a Laval.
It should rather be compared with the anti-British history of Ireland. In both cases the motive was highly patriotic. Their policy has failed, and they will suffer. But we must not be deceived into supposing that there can ever be a genuine reconciliation to the conse quences, more especially if these consequences turn out to be the substan tial domination of markedly Catholic lands by the atheist Power of the East. In the case of Yugoslavia there is cer tainly no more hope that the religious and political differences within it will
be weakened by the events of the war
and the success of Tito. Such coun
tries can be artificially kept quiet by a
great dominating Power and modern propaganda is able to paint a picture of democratic happiness, but it is idle to pretend that any of this spells the sort of liberation which alone is worthy of a victory fought tor Chris tian ideals and the Atlantic Charter.
WAR CR MINALS
WITH the Allied Forces' ." advance, the question of sheltering war criminals becomes acute. The warning to neutrals issued by Mr. Churchill that the giving of refuge to this class would be regarded as an unfriendly act is not forgotten. Sweden has already announced that she would not give asylum to " political refugees who had committed crimes chiefy in occupied countries." On the other hand, it is announced from Washington that " the Secretary of State, Mr. Cordell Hull, does not appear to be wholly satisfied by the statement of the Argentine Charge d'Affaires that his country will not be made a haven for Nazi war criminals." Mr. Hull, it is understood, is waiting till Argentina's attitude on this question has been more clearly defined. Meanwhile he has expressed the hope that " other neutral countries would take steps to prevent war criminals from taking refuge within their borders."
The demand now made on neutrals is novel though it is an inevitable outcome of the ideological or moral war, as distinguished from the purely national. Despite the cry raised at the end of the last war to " hang the Kaiser," that individual, who may be reckoned responsible for such German atrocities as were committed, was allowed to live and die in Holland without arty insistence on his extradition. During the Spanish Civil War thousands of civilians, including priests and nuns, were done to death in the most brutal manner by men who subsequently escaped 1.0 France, North Africa. Mexico or South America. Their crimes were proved by photographs of which, in Madrid alone, the authorities possessed 35,000 Yet they remained in those countries where they had sought ref
the combination of an ideolo ge. To-day
gical cause with the complete triumph of one of the belligerent sides must bring overwhelming moral and physical pressure on all neutral countries. It is another aspect of. that "absolute " quality in human action since the Divine Absolute was rejected. We shall suffer for it in the end, though few people will be inclined to tens if Hitler and his gang fail to save themselves through this operation of the new super-humanism.
THE WAR WITH JAPAN
ANOTHER question which the
conclusion of the war in Europe will bring to the front is the continuation of the struggle against Japan. The raising of this question reveals the different position in which, at the end of the conflict in the West, Russia and the AngloAmerican Allies will find themselves. Moscow, which is not at war with Japan, will then be free to proceed with the business of reconstruction unhampered by military considerations. The suspicion, which exists in the United States, that Great Britain will leave to the Americans the final phase of the war has received what many will deem confirmation by the statement alleged to have been made by Mr. Phillips, President Roosevelt's representative in India, in a code message to the President, that the U.S. would have the " prime responsibility " for the conduct of the war against Japan, since " there is no evidence that the British intend to do more than give token assistance."
The most solemn pledges have been given to Washington that Britain will afford all the assistance necessary in bringing about Japan's complete defeat, and even if we were to doubt the power of such pledges to bind us, it has to be remembered that to violate a promise made to an America with whom our future destinies are bound up is a different matter, as regards its itnrnediate consequences. to breaking a pledge given to helpless Poland. Moreover, even if Britain was inclined to show only a mild interest in the war in the East, Canada, Australia and South Africa are vitally concerned with the removal of the Japanese menace from the Pacific. The Quebec Conference should remove suspicions on this question.
RE-ENTER : GENERAL GIRAUD
SINCE his spectacular escape
from German imprisonment, appointment as C.-in-C. of the French Forces in Europe and subsequent brusque dismissal, General Giraud disappeared from public view. It appiars now that he has been in Algiers and, last week, an official communique from General Gatroux reported that an attempt had been made on his life and that he had been slightly wounded. Further, it is said that General de Gaulle has made overtures to him, inviting him to return to France as soon as he pleases and his state of health permits. If this report proves correct, it would seem to indicate that the head of the provisional Government is finding that a man with the reputation and following of Giraud might be a useful ally in solving some thorny problems.
The chief problem lies in the rival
claims of the French Forces of the Interior (known as the F.F.I.) and the regular army built up in Algiers. The merging of these two elements is going to be a delicate matter and, says the Observer's special correspondent in France, " can hardly be achieved without the assistance of the regular officers corps of the old army," and the attitude of this body towards de Gaulle is " full of reserve."
The return of Gintud, therefore, would assist in maintaining some con tinuity with the past. Another link with the France of yesterday is President Lebrun, now said to be living in retirement in Grenoble but without having resigned his presidency. If General de Gaulle were to find it difficult to combine his leadership of the Government with what are virtually presidential functions and were to recall Lebrun, at least as a stop-gap, a second stabilising factor representing that continuity would be enlisted on his side.
THE FREEDOM OF THE TEACHER
IN a letter to our contemporary,
Education, an ex-President of the Headmasters' Association cornplains of what he regards as an unwarrantable attack on the freedom of the teaching profession involved in the fact that teachers in the State schools are required to give religious instruction according to some as yet unformulated syllabus, and Compares the position in this respect of his profession with that of the press. The issue thus raised is likely to become prominent in future educational contsoversy.
In a subsequent issue cif Education, Fr. Drinkwater took up the challenge and pointed out that, as the lesser of two evils, the press is free to spread most kinds of error but that no one is obliged to read the press while " teachers in State schools, on the other hand, have their pupils brought to them, as it were, by the policeman."
He might have added that, while the press deals, for the most part, with matters of secondary importance, the religious or secular character of the education received by the youth of the country has decisive effects on character and on the future outlook of those concerned. The kind of syllabus likely to be produced is certainly far from what we should desire, but it will be at least some recognition by the State of a subject the paramount importance of which it should be superfluous to assert.
Instead of being an attack on freedom, the inclusion of a religious syllabus is the reverse. Christianity provides the basis of that respect for the person which is the motive that inspires the demand for freedom. In excluding it from the curriculum, we should be, as a freedom-loving people, sawing off the branch on which we are sitting. Such exclusion leads straight to the creation of the Servile State.