Page 6, 25th August 1939

25th August 1939
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Page 6, 25th August 1939 — IN A FEW WORDS
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IN A FEW WORDS

Tannenberg

ON Sunday, Germany will celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the so-called battle of Tannenberg. " Socalled," because no fighting took place at all near the little East Prussian village, where five centuries earlier the united Polish, Lithuanian and Russian forces defeated the Teutonic Knights.

The name of Tannenberg was given to the great battle of 1914 to give satisfaction to the German feeling of acute nationalism.

Much has been written about this Russian defeat, but those who had been through the fighting at Bohanstein during the decisive days of August 27-29 know that the full story of Tannenberg has yet to be written.

In those fateful days Russia fought for her Allies, and Marshal Foch attested this when he said: "If France has not been wiped out from the snap of Rurope, we owe it first of all to Russia."

It was on the insistence of France that Russia threw her armies into East Prussia on the 15th day when 28 days were necessary for a. proper mobilisation.

Prisoner's Story

I WAS speaking only the other day to I Count George Bennigsen, who was one of the many thousand Rueslan prisoners taken by the Germans after Tannenberg.

He explained to me that the advancing forces lacked everything, transport had not been organised and for the final three days all supplies of food and ammunition were held up. Technical equipment, aircraft and wireless were practically nil, or what there was could not be used; some of the troops were totally unfit for a difficult operation and should have had at least several weeks of training. It was clear for the more thoughtful that the advancing Russian forces had not the slightest chance of success. Count Bennigsen holds that Russia never recovered from the Tannenberg disaster, which shattered her confidence in her armed forces.

Count Bennigsen was exchanged in 1917, and as a lieutenant with the North Russian British Expeditionary Force. fought against the Bolsheviks. He was educated in the St. Petersburg Military College, the famous corps des pages, and became a lieutenant in the Preobras jensky Guards. He was decorated with the Military Cross and the Oaots de Guerre.

Gape Day

DACK to crisis. Back to normal. During the Silly Season it was almost embarrassing for some people not having to go and gape in Downing Street. Monday was the first big Gape day. There was the customary " anxious " crowd in Downing Street, This is what they saw according to the Daily Telegraph:

10 a.m.—Prime Minister and Mrs Chamberlain leave Downing Street for a walk in St. James's Park, 11 a.m.—Lord Halifax crosses from the Foreign Office to 10, Downing Street to see the Prime Minister.

3 p.m.—Lord Halifax returns to the Foreign Office. Ms Lansbury calls at the Foreign Office. Mr Burgin and Sir Samuel Hoare call at 10, Downing Street.

5.30 p.m.—Mr Arthur Greenwood calls at 10, Downing Street.

6.45 p.m.—Lord Halifax returns to 10, Downing Street from the Foreign Office.

Those of us who weren't on duty to watch these momentous occurrences were at least doing our bit by buying extra quantities of the evening papers.

Communist, S.J.

THE term "Communism," in popular use, is indeed elastic; I don't see how it can stretch much further, though, without going bust. I see a note in the Picture Post in which Douglas Goldring uses the word indifferently of New Testament teaching, of the Jesuit Reductions in Paraguay, and of the state of things to which the U.S.S.R. expects to attain after at least another fifty years!

Mr Goldring can be thanked for this that his remarks will perhaps draw the attention of many to that wonderful work which was performed for so long for the Indians in Paraguay by the Society of Jesus. If they can get hold of Cunninghame Graham's account, A Vanished Arcadia, so much the better. There one has the story, vividly told.

But the Indians in the Paraguay Reductions were not " Red " Indians in any Communistic sense, Their colonies, under the Jesuit Fathers, were so many theocratic commonwealths; each had its church, and the populace went to Mass daily. I don't suppose that Mr Goldring, or for that matter anybody else, contemplates in his mind's eye the spectacle of daily Mass as a feature of Russian life in the happy Communistic state for which the U.S.S.R. is now laying the foundations!

Not Fatalism—Prudence

t•-•ATHOLICS are not fatalists. Nobody, leo I hope, will do injustice to the memory of Anthony Crossley by putting down to prevision what was really, In that gifted man, a quality of prudence

and consideration, in which many others would do well to follow hie example.

Mr Crossley and his wife, both of them given to air travel, took their air journeys separately, lest in a crash both might lose their lives and so leave their children doubly oiphaned.

Here was wisdom and parental regard. Crossley took his seat in that ill-fated plane last wsek with no fear of ill. Disaster came, and death; but forethought had envisaged such a possibility, and the children have at any rate their now sorrowing mother left to tend and console them.

Surely there is a lesson here for others with similar responsibilities, faced as we are with risk on every hand. The tragic way in which Anthony Crossley met hie end accentuates the pathos of loss in the case of one of the most popular Catholics In the House of Commons.

Sir Edward Bubb

TE death of General Sir Edward Bulfin, K.C.B.. C.V.O., that very well-known old Stonyhurst boy. recalls once again the remarkable military tradition of that school. Its War Record, a beautifully produced book, shows a loyal past which is second to none,

In one way, at least, its record is unique in that it was from Stonyhurst that the first V.C. of the last war came. It was Lieutenant Maurice Deese who won that coveted honour by his conspicuously heroic action in the first retreat from Mons.

Stonyhurst can boast of five V.C.s, of which two were won before the Great War; Brigs-General E. W. Costello won his during the Malakand Expedition of 1897, and Brig.-General Paid Kenna got his at Omdurman. It is also of interest that the famous Zeppelin brought down at Potters Bar was a prize of a Stonyburst man, Major Wulstan Tempest, D.S.O., M.C.

JOTTER




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