Page 4, 18th August 1944

18th August 1944
Page 4
Page 4, 18th August 1944 — VICTORY AND AFTER
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VICTORY AND AFTER

EVERYTHING indicates that

the final phase of the war is approaching. During the last fortnight or so the enemy has clearly been making a gigantic effort to hold back the deadly three-sided threat. In France he came nearer to achieving a measure of success than we were at the time allowed to know. In Italy the fate of Florence, desperately held on

LO, was for a time in the balance. In Russia and Poland the advance has been held up, and tragic inistakes—if they were not worse have involved the further destruction of Warsaw and the loss of many loyal Polish leaders and men. To achieve these checks the Germans must have called on every resource at their disposal. for in each case they have been hopelessly outnumbered in men and, above all material. Those who put their trust in war and confess to a deep admiration for military heroism as one of the highest of human activities should, in logic, salute the extraordinary efforts of the desperate German armies.

But the gigantic effort is failing—as it had to. In France it looks as though the beaten and partly trapped enemy would have to uncover all the territory acquired by aggression in 1940. Italy bas become the bast of new operations whose extent cannot yet bc measured. And whatever the Russian plans, the enemy has certainly achieved nothing likely to render them impossible. Whether a Germany, partly demoralised by Internal events and certainly teluctant to accept the Nazi thesis of a fight to the death so that the movement may live in history arid rise again one day, can achieve II new defensive effort on shorter lines remains to be seen. Everything that hits happened in this war so far suggests that it it impossible. War has returned to the older technique of the single battle though with whole countries as battlefields, and an army beaten in the field cannot recover in time to offer battle again. Very soon the war may degenerate into " mopping-up " operations over the whole Continent with the substance of victory already achieved.

Not a Communist Danger

ON the whole, we in this country can expect to emerge from the war in good shape. Foi us victory will be a reality. Though we shall have to bridge an awkward interval before we can expect returns from a peace-time economy and from the immense job of putting Europe on its feet, it is to be expected that in some form or other Ametica will maintain the supplies which we shall need. She could not

afford to do otherwise. France, too, may recover fairly rapidly, and nothing is more important than the re-establishment of full mutual confidence between

France and ourselves Whatever the feelings of France during the last four yea's, we may expect that the libera(ion itself, together with the establishment of a strong and wise French Government. will open the way towards good relations, The same is true for Holland, Belgium, Spain and

Portugal. Thus we may reasonably expect some stability and a fairly rapid return to economic health in Western Europe, aided by the United Slates and the Dominions. Only politieal mad. ness could prevent that.

But it will be a very different and a very mueh more difficult story else

where. Many Catholics openly fear what is called the spread of Communism over wide areas. The Scottish Bishops have specifically referred to Communism in Poland. while there are signs of a growing fear at the Vatican of the Communist danger. We wonder, however, whether the word "Communism " is the right one to use. The use of this word immediately raises the class ques

tion and drives those who realise such

dangers into a party camp. In fact there is little or no danger of Com: munism in the original sense of the word since Communism has ceased to exist even/in Russia. The real danger is one of internal anarchy and disruption, date to political dissensions and economic distress, over the greater part of Europe. Such disruption which will have nothing whatever to do with the old class differences or with the old ideological quarrels must lead to a virtual control over Europe by. the Great Powers, and it will be extremely difficult to achieve such control without friction being created between these Powers, Alternatively. Western Europe and America, finding themselves without the means or the will to undertake their share of the job, will leave the field open to the military totalitarianism (rather than Communism) of Russia.

WE believe that the only answer to this problem is to be found in rein and statesmanlike efforts on the part of Britain and the United States In help defeated Germany and the countries that should naturally form a Central European Federation to recover political unity and stability as soon as possible. The same, of course, applies to Italy.

This suggestion is commonly interfreed as an anti-Soviet move and classed with the alleged attempts of the Right to rehabilitate Germany in order to provide a screen against Soviet Russia, It Is also criticised as being pro-German if not pro-Nazist. It is surely time publicists realised that a policy of this kind has nothing whatever to do with Communist Russia. It would be equally necessary, whatever Russia's internal regime. Not only does it offer the sole hope of genuine independence to a dozen European countries. it is also an obvious application of the traditional British foreign policy which has always been to counterbalance the growth of any over whelmmgly strong Power. Furthermore, it is an obvious expression of Anglo-Saxon faith in the doctrine of human rights. Human rights are indivisible, and there can be no denying their political and social benefits to all peoples who have attained to a degree of civilisation. Yet to-day it is praccally being taken for granted in this country that political and social rights Inas( he denied to large nunsbers of European peoples until some distant day when they have been re-educated. The problem of security against another bout of German militarism is, of course, important; but it is not the only consideration. It has to be balanced against other dangers. If it is another war we are trying to avoid we shall surely be better advised to restore the means of political and economic health to the countries of Europe, Germany included, than to allow them to disintegrate and become the prey of the strongest.

ft is truly difficult to understand how such vital questions as these— questions that must rise in the minds of any competeet historian or student of public affairs—have been completely blotted out by a concentration on the single danger of German militarism— the one danger that cannot recur for many yeats after the war since the victorious conclusion of the war in itself eliminates it. When it arises again. it will be in totally different circumstances, and our first job Ls to control those circumstances. This is a mutter of European policy as a whole..

the oil agreement which has been now signed by representatives of both Britain and the U.S. and the proposed establishment of an International Petroleum Commission is obvious.

The importance of this Anglo-American agreement is enhanced when it is learned that it is proposed to deal in the same way with such major cornmoditica as wheat, cotton and synthetic rubber. That Washington and London cannot by themselves accomplish the end in view is fully recognised and negotiations are to be entered upon with the Soviet Union, Venezuela, Colombia and other countries. The organising of world supplies is not intended to eliminate but only to control competition, and to prevent the waste which unregulated competition would involve. And to that extent it is possible to regard with satisfaction this effort to anticipate difficulties with which otherwise the post-war world would be sure to present us.

Backed as would be the power thus given certain Powers by military supremacy, the result of victory in the tield, there is revealed here a form of international organisation having under its control the supply of commodities necessary for civilised existence which will be in a position to exercise a dominant influence on the smaller nations. The threats issued recently to an Argentina unwilling to toe the line at the behest of the U.S. illustrates methods which might become all too common. In our editorial last week we pointed out that, though we had transcended the had old times when wars were waged for enrichment and territorial aggrandisement, them remained other ways of imposing the will of the powerful on the weak. We referred then to the transfer of territory,. but the remark is applicable also to the potentialities of such schemes as those described. It Becomes clearer every day that the achievement of international justice will call for constant vigilance.

CANADIAN FEDERALISM

THE victory achieved in the recent provincial elections in Alberta by the nine-years-old

Social Credit Party may not signify much as to the popularity of the Social Credit theory as originally defined, for this has been considerably modified. It does, however, confirm the Province's anti-federal tradition. This western part of Canada has a long-standing quarrel with the older Provinces in the east, and this was reinforced by the intlependent line in financial matters taken by the late Mr. Aherhart, leader of the Social Credit Party.

The same reaction against what in some quarters is regarded as the tendency of the Dominion Government to press unduly the claims of the central authority may be seen in the results of the Quebec elections. Although M. Duplessis opposed compulsory military service for Canadians in . the earlier phase of the conflict, it would he a mistake to interpret his victory over his Liberal opponent, M. Godbmit, as

a ttiumph for isolationism. The Bloc Populaire, which really is anti-British and isolationist, has managed to secuie the return of only four of its 80 candidates—a suggestive comment on the loyalty of Quebec as a whole. The majority won by the Union Nationale Party, led by M. Duplessis, is not to be explained by any Eoolness concerning Canadian participation in the British Commonwealth, and certainly not by lack of enthusiasm regarding the prosecution of the war, in which the sons of the Province are playing a conspicuous part ; it is attributable to the resistance offered by the Party to a Federal policy which it is feared would trespass on provincial rights as defined by the British North American Act. Quebec, in fact, is fighting the same haute against centralisation as those who charge Mr. Roosevelt with augmenting the dominance of a bureauciatic Washington.

VIEWS ON GERMANY

TWO recent books about Ger many suggest an important lesson. 'The first, Germany: The Last Phase, by the Swedish journalist' Gunnar Pihl (unpublished as yet in this country), gives a journalist-on-thespot's picture of a people revolting against the Nazi leadership from the time when the original German attack on Russia failed to reach Moscow. " Damned Nazis who began the war," was a viewpoint heard as early as that.

Stalingrad was far worse: " Its effects," he writes, " were more than the military consequence of defeat. The symptoms of a crisis in confidence had been observable for a long time, but the mental torpidity of the Germans had prevented it from breaking out. Now it became acute all at once, and I would say that Nazism died in Germany when the drama on the VoIset came to MI end—it did not die as a

system but it died as a faith," The effect on the people of Germany of this string of events since Stalingrad may be deduced. What they are feeling to-day must be obvious.

Yet it is for a people so terribly undeceived that an international Germanborn writer like amil Ludwig demands in Now to Treat the Germans an occupation by " foreign faees, foreign uniforms, foreign languaites, foreign customs " so that " the Germans be made to understand that they have been defeated. Again. Ludwig writes: " There is only one way in which a foreign educator can treat Germans, as a master." His prescriptions include the partition of Germany and the dismissal of four out of every five German university professors.

There is something to us peculiarly revolting in the way a Ludwig outdoes even the extravagances of those who have most suffered at the hands of German leaders in his demands—something so revolting that we find it hard to dismiss as nonsense the suggestion that the Luclwies of the world have an interest in seeing the break-up of Europe and the Christian traditions on which it has been built.

Europe as a Whole




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