Page 4, 24th September 1943

24th September 1943
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Page 4, 24th September 1943 — MR: CHURCHILL'S TRIUMPH
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MR: CHURCHILL'S TRIUMPH

pOR the Nets time in the course of the war the Ptimc Minister was able to play an innings in the House —if the metaphor be allowed—on a perfect wicket. He was able to review a period of twelve months leading up to the beginnings of the great victory harvest for which he personally, above all other Allied leaders, is most responsible. Stalin has been the instrument of the mighty Russian come-back which Germany dreads more than_ anything else. Roosevelt has been able to produce the overwhelming weight of men and materials tvhich are threatening to crush Germany from the West. But it was Churchill who stood fast through the dark hours. His spirit and energy have 'been the link between the great currents of power, just as Britain and the Empire in standing fiem have enabled the resources of the world to be gathered and directed against the enemy. It is a moment of which all of us can be proud, though we must also remember that the real test of the achievement will come later when the task begins of making use of out opportunities for the good of mankind.

Italy

Tstory and mode of Italy's col lapse has proved the majority of our publicists to have been hopelessly wrong, and we may fairly claim that it has justified the views of this paper. Mussolini, doubtless, made in last week's statement the worst of Italy's record (from the German point of view). But it is clear that tinder Italian Fascism room was left for the formation of strong opposition groups, most of which were perfectly prepared to follow the Duce when he was leading straight, hut were resolved and in the end were able to turn against him and his machine when he began to gamble with his country as the stake. The chief focus of this free patriotism and enlightenment was, the House of Savoy. And though the ex-Duce did not see fit to mention the fact, we cannot doubt that the Church must have played a very important part in keeping Italians highly critical of the immoralities and stupidities of the Fascist party. The part it has played will be seen one day in its full light to the discomfiture of the Church's political Critics.

Germany THE situation in. Germany is cer tainly different, but the differences are accidental. This seems to be acknowledged by the Prime Minister in his speech, particularly when he said we do not wage war with a race as such." , Germany is far stronger, the Nazis are far more ruthless and far less civilised, there is no outward focus like royalty to rally criticism, the temptations of war are far stronger, the people are far more amenable to State discipline. Even so, we are firmly convinced that fundamentally the German problem is similar to the Italian one.

Not many men are able to resist the hire of a successful leader who claims to restore' national prestige. (If we wish men to avoid that sort of hero-worship, we shall have to go much further in spiritualising their outlook than has so far been accomplished.) But. when a leader is seen to be failing and the ruinous consequences of his adventures become plain, then the people quickly turn from him.

CHRISTIANITY'S PART THERE is nothing insincere or sus.' picious in this. It is human nature. If men are prompted by circumstances to turn away from what proves to have been evil and illjudged. they should be welcomed by those who claim to have sounder ideals. We shall be very soon discovering that there are many Germans who have kept their heads, even if they were in part of themselves deluded by Hitler. We shall find that throughout the regime there existed centres of doubt and veiled opposition. We shall find, above all, that Christianity played a vital part in saving the nation from the complete worship of the despot of the hour.

It will be tip to us then, if we wish to shape a better world and to end the war quickly, to know how to greet the new spirit and to foster it along constructive channels. A policy of unconditional surrender will prove no more useful in Germany than it did in Italy. Indeed it will be more obviously disastrous, for we cannot expect so sudden and complete a collapse in the former country. We. cannot afford the luxury of playing anti-Darlanism versus Darlanisrn, for the American fear of being accused of Darlanism again seems the only reason for the eat and mouse game with Badoglio.

TWO FALSE CRITICISMS 17 is now possible and most impor

A tent to disentangle three self contradictory criticisms of the handling of Italy, and to find in the Prime Minister's speech his own answer to them.

The first suggestion is that time was wasted in negotiations with the Badoglio Government when the Allies should have pressed forward their military attack. Mr. Churchill dealt harshly with this, as due to incredible ignorance of military necessities and quite contrary to the facts. This pseudo-strategic line of attack can hardly survive his speech.

The second criticism is that we should have ignored the Badoglio Government and made terms with " the revolutionary masses " of Italy. Considering the fantastic history of difficulty and delay in communicating with the King and Prime Minister, it only seems necessary to enquire how we were to get into touch with the representatives of the " democratic elements " (to give them another name). Mr. Churchill goes beyond this practical difficulty and reveals his own view in his telegram to General Alexander referring to the prospect of all Italy " sliding into anarchy " as " scarcely less unpleasant " than total German domination.

The Real Lesson

THE third criticism, which this paper has consistently made, is that time and opportunities were lost by failing to respond generously to the Badoglio Government on their first approaches early in August, authenticated to Sir Samuel Hoare on August 15, when they asked for help to Italy in changing over to our side.

Our objection to the answer " un

conditional surrender first " is two-. fold. First it appears to have given the Germans time to strengthen their hold over Italy without the faintest corresponding advantage to the Allies. The second and fundamental objection is that this reply gave no encouragement to the Badoglio Government or to the Italian people in their most tragic hour when encouragement was needed by them and owed by us. There is nothing in the Prime Minister's speech to answer or reject this criticism except his implied adherence to the formula of unconditional surrender." On the contrary his statements " We knew nothing about this new regime " and " we would have done more if we could " to help the Italians in August imply the possibility of a regret which is most encouraging.

If the lesson hag been learned it may yet stand us in good stead in the more difficult decisions that lie ahead.

VANSITTARTISM REVERSED THE reversal at the T.U.C. Con.1 ference of4tie Vansittartite resolution is highly welcome. Those who read our comments at the time upon a lamentable betrayal of the international ideal of Socialism will not have any doubts about our feeling lin the matter. At the same time we are not deceived into supposing thaf a philosophic Internationalism and a Christian brotherliness were the only causes of this conversion.

'[he only two intelligent outlooks in the world to-day are Catholicism and Socialist-Communism, and for this reason they bear a close resemblance to one another up to a point. They are both internationalist; they both believe in the person and his great possibilities, as distinguished from abstractions like State, money, race, power for power's sake, and so on; they both logically calculate the means to the end. and refuse to confuse them. Hence in this instance, just as the Christian rejects Vansittartism as sub-adult and contrary to faith in man as the only possible instrument under God of spiritual regeneration, so the Socialist-Communists realise that their end, the earthly paradise of all in a civilisation of Materialist mechanical prosperity, depends on converting man as such and making him the willing instrument of the

new order. That is why Stalin's general attitude to the peace has been so much more intelligent than anyone else's except the Pope.

Our own Socialists are for the most part a mixture of Marxist and Christian ideals with a' great deal of capitalist and nationalist flavouring,' and in their hesitations on this subject, they de?rionstrate the influences

under which they act. In their present attitude the Marxist influence counts for a good deal, and it is our job to work so that the wiser tactics tOwards the-enemy make for a Christian internationalism after the war rather than a Comniunist one, We certainly cannot take the fact that it will for granted.

COAL AND LABOUR TROUBLES

HE anxiety about the coal situa

is no longer disguised. With mining difficulties goes a certain amount of labour trouble in other industries.

On the one hand it is intolerable that organised or unorganised labour, whether in the mines or elsewhere, should take advantage of war con-. ditions to blackmail the community into constant wage increases. • On the other hand, we all know perfectly well that in coal-mining especially but in many other industries as well, economic and labour conditions are still thoroughly unsatisfactory. The Government may plead that this is no time for radical changes, but when we are told in a leading paper that even the Beveridge Plan is more or less dead, we can scarcely expect the workers to be satisfied with such excuses.

The only line of solution is for both sides to get away from the eternal question of money and wages. Workers want fair wages— above all family wages; but they want something else. They want to feel like men, and not serfs. in their vocation. They want human conditions; they want responsibility; they want partnership; they want comfort and security. This is partly a question of money, but far more a question of imagination and the willingness of men of property to think tr: ierms of common human good. Evidence on the part of the Government that it is alive to what is going on in men's minds, even if major changes cannot be made here and now, would ease the labour position to-day. And only such evidence will prevent calamitous troubles as soon as the war constraints are lifted. Unfortunately that evidence is not really forthcoming.




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