IN weeks when events felt to be decisive are taking place we are all apt to become somewhat hysterical: hysterically pessimistic when victories are not broadcast every few hours, hysterically optimistic when the smallest success is reported.
Common sense and realism will not only preserve our own nerves, but strengthen the will and morale of the country.
Nothing could have been more absurd than the reports of immediate British landings in Norway, and the Government is heavily to blame for not issuing immediate and authoritative disclaimers of the Stockholm reports that were blazoned across our papers. Such landings would, in fact, have been the best proof of the German allegation that they merely beat us to the winning post by a short head. The preparation, equipment and transport of an expeditionary force take time, and the latter requires the establishment of the command of the sea. The instantaneous movements of troops is only possible in the sort of sensational atones that did such service to Red propaganda in the Spanish war.
On the other hand we have no right to consider as decisive victories either the losses of the German fleet or the landings in the north of Norway.
In so far as the word " decisive " can be used at all, it must be applied to the German coup, in which victory was obtained by the foul instruments of wholly unjustifiable aggression, corruption, betrayal and bullying. The fact remains that Germany holds Denmark,, together with her considerable resources, and is strengthening her grip on southern Norway. Meanwhile, we have suddenly been deprived of most valuable sources of food and raw materials.
Our immediate aims appear to be the cutting off of Norway from Germany and a sufficient control over northern Norway to enable us to seize the Swedish iron ore region, should Germany strike at that country to ensure her communications. These two moves are brilliantly conceived, for together they must jeopardise Germany's chances of holding Scandinavia, the only object worth the immense risk she has undertaken. But neither has as yet been fully accomplished.
Meanwhile we must fa.ce the plain fact that the recovery of Norway will prove a lengthy, difficult and wasting business. Nor can we leave out of account the great danger of some form of Russian co-operation with Germany, for it is absolutely certain that Russia will do whatever she reckons to be profitable to herself.