WRITERS of weekly notes such
as these — notes which endeavour in a brief compass to comment constructively on the most important issues of the moment—must have felt that with the ending of the war in Europe there was difficulty in finding a unity' and perspective in the world situation. For five and a half years the fighting has been providing the background, tsnd though it might not necessarily be mentioned, it fixed the relative importance of all other events. Now one is faced with a kind of chaos of apparently unrelated and disparate troubles whose meaning and consequences are far from easy to analysed Unfortunately this journalistic difficulty reflects only too accurately the true state of affairs in the world and, despite the fact that everyone had been told that preparations for peace had gone very much further in this war awn ever before, it is becoming dearer and clearer that little of real importance was foreseen and planned. It is a terrible truth, and it may. well mean that now that the clear-cut arbitrament of united ' force has been withdrawn we shall stumble from one disaster to another. There has been time enough since VE-Day at least to see that the central problem is the fate and administration of defeated Germany. It had to be. As we have always contended, the fate of a great people of sixty millions with an enormous potential economic capacity and geographically placed in the heart of the Continent is a matter vitally affecting every member of organised society throughout the world, Yet it seems that nothing but a fluid, hand-to-mouth way of dealing with the most inimetate difficulties is prepared and available. This of CPUTSe is very largely due to the highly nonco-operative attitude of Russia, which has taken little trouble to disguise the fact that she has a policy which she intends to carry out where her writ runs quite irrespective of previous agreements or the feelings of her Allies. The plan is the classic Communist one. Safeguarding herself against all independent criticism and establishing a monopoly of administrative power and propaganda, she restores a working order in every field of civil life with the help of anyone in Germany capable and ready to carry out her instructions. And while she promotes an extremely able internal propaganda for the purpose of allaying the natural fears of the conquered people, she keeps up for foreign consumption the traditional propaganda of criticising every allied or international measure that might further a quick resettlement ellsewhete. It is really the first two stages of Communism at work simultaneously : the first stage causing confusion and dissension outside her boundaries and the second stage of appeasing those newly drawn within the Communist frontier. The third stage of enforcing totalitarian service comes later.
The Big Three IT has often been said that Hitler was obliging enough to reveal to the world all his future plans in Mein Kampf, but that no one was intelligent enough to take him at his word. Yet the Communist 'strategy is even clearer, and never disguised. It has been carried through with complete consistency (allowing for the many tactical variations which a master plan allows) for twenty-five years. It 15 always confusion, appeasement and then the swoop. Periodically the world is alarmed by the swoop, but confusion and appeasement create the new level from which the next sWoop is organised. And every time the world is taken in.
The war has enabled Communist Russia to extend her empire over the
Bettie States, Eastern Germany, Poland and large tracts of Central and South Europe. -Stalin is engaged in consolidating his gains, and this sufficiently accounts for what his Left-wing admirers plaintively call his recent tiresomeness and failure to understand the feelings Of the Western peoples! Where exactly he will draw his frontiers has not yet been decided. I-le has to consider preparing his position for another and later revolutiooary swoop when the time is propitious. The coming meeting of the Big Three (to which at the time of writing Stalin has not assented) will decide, so far as Russia is concerned, what has been permanently gained and what must still be made a bargaining point for later action. It can have no other meaning. We shall be flying in the face of all previous Communist evidence, not to speak of evidence to be derived from the Soviet Russia rejection of both Christian spiritual values and the tradition of free, representative, multi-party derencracy of the West, if we. delude ourselves with the idea that this lime a conference at the highest level will create unity and understanding and start the world on the way to untroubled peace. This does not mean that the Conference (if Stalin agrees) should not meet, Stalin wants it low of all. But it does mean that if Mr. Churchill and President Truman get round a table with Mr. Stalin, without a very clear idea of Communist strategy and tactics and without a defined plan as to how to check the plan, Stalin (as at Teheran and as at Yalta) will win another victory worth a war.
Arming Churchill and Truman As we said last week, we can have little patience with those people in America or this country who in their hearts want a war (" another crusade ") against Bolshevik Russia. Europe has had enough of War, and whatever might happen in such a war, we should emerge from it in a worse state than we entered. And above all the Western world is very far indeed from being spiritually and morally prepared for any crusade. The right answer is very different. What has really been happening over the last twenty-five years is a tremendous conflict between the philosophy that is founded on the conviction that man is an end in himself and cannot be made the mere instrument of State or Party or Class and the philosophy which deifies these Abstractions (covering little groups of interested and privileged persons). The economic and technocratic tide has been running heavily against the first philosophy, and the more rapidly ie that the latter has thrown away its only real support in the dogma and moral teaching of the religion which proclaims that every human being is created in the image of Almighty God. Totalitarianism, whether of Right or Left, is simply the exploiting of this tragic situation.
There can only he one answer: to set out again the charter of man's spiritual, moral, political and economic liberties; to demonstrate how those liberties can be reasonably defended in a few types of modern Ciovernment, of which lay far the most important is the libertarian, representative demoerutic government common to Britain and America, though it does not exclude some degree of Christian. founded authoritarianism; to foster a spiritual and moral re-education in the religion, philosophy and history from which this conception of liberty arose ; and to meet all emerging political and economic problems, whether in our own country or in the re-ordering of Germany and the Continent in a spirit of achieving in as short a space of Little as possible and over as wide an area as possible a restoration of genuine, free, constitutional rule adapted to the varying conditions and needs. Nothing else really matters to-day; for if this is not done it is absolutely certain that the future will be with the one great Power which is prepared to exploit the great drift towards a moral technocratic totalitarianism for all it is worth and without the smallest set uple. Only if Churchill and Truman can meet Stalin, clear in their minds about what is really at stake and confident in their ability to effect the beginnings of the needed renaissance of the West, can they hope to deal with him on equal terms. And it is equally certain that if they could do this, totalitarianjam would have met with its first real check—a check infinitely more important than anything which a trial by fonee could bring about.
An Unhappy Example PERI-IAPS the most tragic reflection thet one can make at the present time in this country is that, despite the fact that we are on the eve of a General Election, there appears to be no sort of perception among any of the contending parties of what is really happening. Liberalism which long ago denied its spiritual foundation sold the pass so completely even betore the last war that a recovery may be too much to hope for. Labour as a party has never been very philosophically conscious, though if it cares to look up its own history in this country it. will discover that its nonconformist pioneers would have been horrified by the pure expediency which now governs the party, Much stranger than this, however, Is the incomprehensible blight which seems to have fallen on the intelligentsia of the Tory party. The second issue of Douglas Jerrold's New English Review has just appeared, and it would be hard to conceive a more negative production. Douglas . Jerrold's editorial notes, we admit, stand well above the level of the rest of the Review, hut even these fail to betray any appreciation of the fundamental issues in the world scene. Even more surprising. however, is Mr. Jerrold's attack on the New Statesman for stating that " the reconstruction and equipment of Germany's industry is an essential condition of post-war recovery.' The fact that the New Statesman may be motivated by the kind of socialist universal benevolence which arouses Mr. Jerrold's ire can he no excuse for a Tory rejection of a measure which from every possible point of view is necessary. It is quite certain, for example, that the Soviet will not delay in reconstructing and reequipping that part of Germany which she controls. She is doing so already. Her aim has little to do with morality or the recovery of freedom and civilisation, hid she at least knows that nothing can be done without the centre of Europe running politically and economically. hrom our point of view, Christian commonsense and the struggle to maintain political sanity and freedom conspire to make it evident that the first necessity is to put Germany into a forking order which, whatever its moral nature, must be founded on a measure of economic health. Geimany, whether we like it. or not, is the balancing Power in Europe to-day, and if we are earnest in our belief that the future depends on the restoration of a society built on human dignity and liberty their we must make it poSsible for Germany to become part of that free society. One thing which will effectively preveut this is seeking to reduce Germany to an artificially controlled peasant State. It would become the breeding ground of every Fasciat and Communist discontent. If contemporary Intelligent Toryism can only produce negations of this kind—and there are plenty of others in this issue of the Review—we may well despair of the future.
SAN FRANCISCO REVIEWED NOW that the San Francisco Conference is drawing to a close, it may be useful to compare the results achieved with the outline proposed at Dumbarton Oaks in the autumn of last year. The objects proposed by the latter were four. (1) To maintain peace and security. (2) To develop friendly relations between nations. (3) To etchleye international co-operation between nations in solution of international, economic and other humanitarian problems. (4) To afford a centre for harmonising the actioo of nations in the achievement of these common ends. The question is whether the Security Council set up at San Francisco is likely to achieve these ends.
There was one object included in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, not included in this statement, to implement which little has been done. It was declared that the organisation outlined should " pro-mote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms." In his address at the plenary session of the San Francisco Conference, General Smuts underlined this requirement. The charter drawn up, he declared, " should contain in its preamble a declaration of human rights and of the common faith which had sustained the allied people in their bitter and prolonged struggle for the vindication of those rights." Previously to this, the American Hierarchy bad drawn attention to the need or a " Bill of interNation Rights," declaring that. participation in the international organisation ought to be conditioned by the acceptance of this Bill or Rights. No such Bill has been incorporated. Dumbarton Oaks did not go beyond the vague statement quoted and virtually left to the chief victorious Powers' decision as to when and how action is to be taken. As General Smuts said on the occasion mentioned, the responsibility of the great Powers was increased. This is where the chief improvement made by the San Francisco Conference on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals is to be found. The basis of the Security Council, it is true, is autocratic, but the right to participate in the deliberations preceding action is extended to others than the " Big Four." A means of reconciling the exercise of a central authority with regional responsibilities such as that 'of the pan-American nations which met at Chapultepec, Mexico, have been found. The need for future readjustment to meet changing circumstances or to embody the fruits of experience and further thought has been recognised. But without a Bill of Rights the whole business is at best a piece of machinery which nations may or may not find it convenient to themselves to use.