THE. outrage committed on Cardinal Mindszenty is prompting more and more people to ask themselves what, if anything, can be done to bring home to Moscow and its puppet regimes the fact that in mid-twentieth century such iniquities cannot be tolerated by the civilised world.
It would seem that the British and American governments believe that there is nothing concrete they can usefully do to save the Cardinal nor to ensure security for the millions in Russia and Eastern Europe who are forcibly prevented from leading their lives as their reasons, consciences and tastes prompt them.
We do not believe this to be the case.
There is one factor in regard to . the Soviet Empire which we too easily overlook. For all its size and apparent strength, it is an empire with enormous weaknesses. in the interests of the persecuted as well as in the interests of the future of civilisation, we should now be exploiting those weak nesses. On our present policy, time is on the side of Stalin.
THESE Soviet weaknesses may be examined under two heads, internal and external.
Internally, the Soviet cornmends an immense population that is still hopelesly backward by comparison with the West and it has at it disposal enormous resources which it is still unable to exploit. The first difficulty—the backwardness of its people—it is trying to remedy both by its own efforts to raise its technical and educational level and by using the brains of the people it has conquered in Germany and Eastern Europe, as well as with the help of the Communist sympathisers in the West. But it is doubtful whether it can succeed in it object of bringing its vast man-power to any level of efficiency in any way comparable with Western Europe and the Americas. As it progresses in one part, it is faced with the task of conditioning and equipping many millions more who are brought under its suzerainty. The recent conquest of China, for example, while it must increase the potential strength of Communism will create more problems than it can solve. As for the enserfed of Eastern and Southern Europe, these peoples must be persuaded to co-operate willingly with their conquerors instead of taking every opportunity of sabotaging the social and economic system into which they have been dragged. Indeed, there is no mystery about the reason for the immense cruelty with which the Soviet empire is ruled. That cruelty affords the only practical means of maintaining a show of order; but its maintenance is proof sufficient of the Soviet Empire's inability to create an empire within which common purpose, pride and voluntary effort are the indispensable factors for success in raising a people to real efficiency.
Because of this weakness, the Soviet is obviously unable for the time being to exploit its great material resources. What it has achieved so far in this matter has been very largely due to its contacts with the rest of the world. It has imported, forcibly or voluntarily, technicians and experts from other countries, and it has studied and used the machines of the West which have been allowed freely to enter into Stalin's camp.
The war and the occupation of so much of Europe have gone a long way to enable Russia to make such industrial progress as is necessary nowadays for power, but observers seem agreed that Russia has a long way yet to go, and that this further progress cannot be made without much further help from the West. Let us not forget the'lesson taught us by other totalitarian regimes: such regimes always look far more efficient than they really prove to be. The measure of human success, even socially, is not the size of the unit nor its machine-like organisation, but the skill and effectiveness of the human person, created to be free and to work within a climate of freedom.
EXTERNALLY, Russia's weak ness lies in its dependence both on its Fifth Columns and on the gullibility of non-Soviet governments. Furthermore, we have to remember that in many occupied countries there exist vast numbers which but wait for the chance of rising against their masters and meanwhile are not without the means of injuring them by slipshod and faulty work.
If the governments of the West took active steps to break down the power of the Fifth Columns: if they prevented the Soviet Empire from importing the machines and goods needed for study and service, as well as from benefiting from the work of Western experts and technicians; and if they spurred the conquered peoples on to more deadly action by affording them the hope of liberation—and nothing would do this better than any evidence of meaning real business about the matters here discussed—there is every probability of this giant empire collapsing under its own ill-disposed weight.
We mention these things this week because they make it clear enough that we are not short of means of bringing home to Stalin the possible consequences of his barbarism towards his opponents, great or small.
If it is senseless for us to feed those who would destroy us with the very nourishment they most need if they are to effect their purpose, it is utterly wrong for us to condone the crimes daily being committed under the orders of Stalin by thus ministering to him either through our reluctance to make temporary sacrifices or through sheer cowardice.
It seems. to us that the Albert Hall meeting on Feb. 7 is an occasion when we could eschew the usual high-sounding phrases and get down to brass tacks.