A REAL SECOND FRONT
IF the battle in Egypt, combined as it has been with heavy raids on Italy, means that our main offensive —our real " Second Front "—is to be staged in the Mediterranean, then it is good news. The taking of such a decision would, moreover, explain the long delay in starting the Second Front, for the one disadvantage of that theatre of war is the time needed for the disposing and supplying of the Anglo-American forces. On the otber hand, in every other respect the prospect of success out there is vastly greater than it could he in an invasion of any part of Northern Europe. The job is to defeat Rommel while cutting off his supplies. Success would mean the reopening of the Mediterranean, the securing of the vital Middle East against a possible German attack next year, and, above all, the applying of such pressure against a largely demoralised Italy that this enemy might be virtually eliminated and even conquered. The idea of a separate peace seems unlikely. The effect of such success on France and Spain would be tremendous, and, as a general result, the tables would be turned against Germany. If Russia can hold out sufficiently, Germany would find itself genuinely blockaded again as it was in the last war. And once again her days would be numbered. Any invasion of Northern Europe could hold out no such prospects and the smallest success could only be bought at the price of tremendous casualties.
There is, of course, a very long way to go before such successes can be achieved, but it is a great deal that the way to them can be discerned.
MAN AND WOMAN POWER
THE reasons for the calling-up of
the eighteens, and still more for the ending of deferment of younger trained men in expert branches of industry, including munitions, are not very clear. They are, no doubt, connected with the beginning of " the offensive phase." But the public will certainly wonder why it is that in a war wherein the casualty list has been unprecedently low and in which the influx of men from America is steadily increasing it should be necessary further to weaken the efficiency of the industrial front upon which so much depends. The decision is, no doubt, due to the pressure of the fighting forces, and it is reasonable to ask whether these have as yet learnt the truth that a modern fighting nation is one unit, in which the proportion of actual troops to those who in one way or another serve them must be comparatively small. In the case of the eighteens, the calling-up involves the loss of precious months of apprenticeship or training at the most formative period of life, for which we shall certainly have to pay heavily after the war.
More reasonable, from a strictly military point of view, is the call for more women volunteers, even from the married, a call that may be translated in time to conscription. And, no doubt, Mrs. Roosevelt's welcome visit is not unconnected with the study of our use of woman-power in wartime. She will certainly have great influence in her own country in any attempt to achieve there the same results. But here again the effect of all this on the social health and vitality of the great. Anglo-Saxon races may prove in the end formidable. The Germans, it will be noticed, prefer the grave difficulties of using European man-power to making the fullest military and industrial use of their women
INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR INDIA 1'1I R. Bertrand Russell has been put
ting forward a plea with regard to the impasse in India which deserves attention. "The problem," he says. "is to make the transition to self-government without handing India over to Japan. This problem concerns China and Russia just as much as it concerns England. It should be dealt with not by England alone but by the United Nations jointly. There should be appointed, with the consent of the British Government, a commission of four men, chosen respectively by the British, American, Soviet and Chinese Governments, with full power to negotiate with all sections of Indian opinion and to make recommendations keeping in mind two objectives: first, that the war must he mon, and, second, that Indian independence should be granted as soon as it can be granted without hindering this first objective." Much the same kind of solution has been advocated in America.
If the fact be accepted that, whatever happens. India has definitely ceased to be an imperial possession for which we are solely responsible, and that its fate is the concern of all, these are logical propositions. We have hinted at them before. If Mr. Amery and others are really sincere in the claims they put over the radio, speaking especially to America, they should find no difficulty in seeking the solution to the Indian deadlock on such a basis of international action by the Powers whose future as a whole in the war are so dependent on the immediate settlement of India.
SOUTH AMERICAN SOLIDARITY
PRESIDENT Rios of Chile has issued a manifesto which is interpreted as presaging a break with the Axis. •' I propose in international relations,' he said, " to align Chile at the side of all nations of the continent who are ready to defend the great principles of integrity and American solidarity."
Some indication of the policy to be followed may be found in the fact that the Minister of the Interior has ordered the re-imprisonment of three Germans arrested as spies who had been released by a magistrate on a legal technicality. One of these is said to have confessed that he sent shipping information to Axis agents in Cuba.
The prospect of Chile's adoption of a policy pointing towards a break with the Axis is causing some anxiety in the Argentine, which sees itself in danger of becoming isolated. Conferences are taking place between the Ministers of the two countries. German propaganda has been exceedingly active and not unsuccessful in the Argentine. This has made some headway among Catholics. A committee for the investigation of anti-Argentine activities, according to despatches from Buenos Aires, " reported finding pro-totalitarian activities among the clergy of various denominations in the ter
ritory of Mislones, where most of the German colony in Argentina is situated."
nN the other hand, the Brazilian
Deputation, an interview with whom we reported recently, declared that the bulk of the people in the Argentine were strongly in favour of the United Nations. A pronouncement of the Argentine Hierarchy condemning totalitarianism and racism was reported recently in our columns. The opinion of Washington on the situation has not been publicly expressed. But present tendencies in Chile, followed upon the action taken by Brazil, are considered hopeful. That there is need of combating the strong Nazi propaganda now being carried on in Argentina is evident. It is also unfortunately true that even the Catholic press is not immune. Our contemporary Orden Cristiana carries on from month to month a lone battle in defence of the principles laid down by the Hierarchy. Foremost in the defence of those principles is the Bishop of Temnos, who, in connection with the seminar recently held in the United States concerned with the creation of an understanding between American Catholics and their Latin neighbours, has been a foremost figure at the Chicago meetings of that body.
EDUCATION AND THE CATHOLIC PARENT
M R. Richard Twomey, President
of the Middlesbrough Council of Catholic Action, speaking at the recent conference on education in Newcastle, made a vigorous plea for what amounted to the return of parents to their responsibilities in education. " It is not a sound argument," be said, " to claim that as so many Catholic parents are unfit to exercise their parental rights the school authorities are entitled to assume them. The rights of the parent are not destroyed either by his unwillingness or his inability adequately to exercise them. The parents should he taught to realise their rights and duties, and every effort should be made to help them to undertake to a maximum extent their proper responsibilities." Applying this, the speaker deplored " such practices as children's masses, uhen children are marshalled by their school teachers under conditions identical with those that obtain at school." He pointed out that with the ending of the children's mass after school years ends in too many cases the attendance at mass 'anywhere. (He might in this connection have added a note about the contrast between religious practice in the Catholic boarding school and, too often, the indifference of the home, with lamentable results later on.) Finally he pleaded for a " Catholic Parents' Guild." working in close co-operation with the Union of Catholic Mothers.
We recall all this because in rereading the manuscript of his admirable speech we were struck throughout by the dreadful remoteness of all that the speaker urged from even the best Catholic life of the day. Indeed it was not surprising that at a meeting last Sunday Dr. Morgan, M.P., and Mr. J. Donovan should have to point out—in answer to the T.U.C.—that the modern parent cannot attend to the religious training of the family. The fact is that we have gradually reached the stage when Catholic parents, through a variety of circumstances, have actually become unable to undertake what is their primary responsibility towards their children.
THE FAMILY SCHOOL
AND the matter is by no means
confined to religion in the technical sense of religious practice. The failure of the parent to " bring the child out," which is the first meaning of "education," may well be at the root of most contemporary unrest. And on this point, it seems, the old Christian tradition meets the findings of the modem psychologist. In the unnatural environment of small families, living in houses and conditions unsuited to children's welfare, with parents' attention directed to outer-world activities— or contrariwise over-concentrated on the only child—one finds a fertile field for the development of " complexes " and other kinds of aberrations that may well last through life. It is in natural discipline, in give and take, in growing social relations, in common learning, in imitation by the younger of the older. in ritual of ordered life, none of which are really possible except in larger families under adequate material conditions, that both parents and children thrive. The parents because they are called upon in a thousand ways to live in practice what they themselves once learnt—in other words, to be living teachers; the children, because every spring of reasonable behaviour and every secret of successful social life is experienced from the very earliest age.
And all this is so natural to man that it realty is a question whether civilisation can be restored except on its basis. Where so many Catholic reformers are concerned about this or that detail of religious. social and economic life, one is forced to ask whether an all-Christian concentration on the restoration of the family may not prove to be the one key to Catholic Action in its narrower and in its wider meanings.