"We may lose the war if we don't build the kind of world for which we have made an enormous investment . . . not a perfect world but a livable, endurable i world. . . Our aim s peace and some kind of security, and these are the aims of all humanity. It would be a tragedy for the peoples of Europe to feel that we Were going to turn them over to either Russian or British spheres of influence. What we must have is a united peace—not an American, British or Russian peace—and we won't have this unless the small as well as the great nations have a voice."
This was Anne McCormick's message to American youth on her return from a six-months' tour of Europe as New York Times war correspondent.
Anne McCormick, who was awarded the Lactare medal last year for her work as a Catholic journalist, found the liberated countries more interesting than the war itself because " in the liberated countries post-war problems are overlapping the war and the people are thinking in post-war terms."
In these countries, she said, "corpses of villages " arc as depressing as human corpses: a nicely-polished copper On hanging on the wall of all that is left of a Dutch home signifies the " end of a home," and one of the greatest calamities that has befallen thousands and thousands of EUropeans is that they have lost " that sense of continuity which gives meaning to life."
She described three and four-year-old children who " looked at me with eyes ,er .eventy-years' expeRtnee," and she described devastation in England, Normandy, Belgium, Holland and Italy, where (owns and villages have been wiped out as thoroughly as Aachen,' 3ermany, where " not a single house is standing," and the head of the military occupation commission is living several miles outside the city " in the only habitable house in that vicinity."
General de Gaulle, she reminded, was practically unknown to the majors., or s'IsMen people until he became the " symbol of resistance." The im'isieintrity or .hi face, she said, was explained to her by an associate as a ". mask to cover up extreme sensitivity." "Certainly." she said, " he is not a demagogue." His power she at tributes to two things: (1) He had no connection with the French politics of the past, anathema to the new France, which insists upon a different kind of republic with all new faces: and (2). he stood up for France against both Great Britain and the' United States.
The people of their Interior " in all the liberated countries, Mrs. McCormick believes, want to be governed by those who have had experiences similar to their own, and they seem to have a general antipathy towards the return of a " Government-in-exile." regardless of whether it happens to be good, bad or indifferent Government. Mrs. McCormick predicts an important I-01e for France in the post-war world as " the voice of small countries." . She also emphasised the fact that France, " which 1 always thought of as having middle-aged appearances," now has " an enormous reserve of healthy, alert youth." For almost five years, she explained, many young men of 18 to 23, who normally would have been called up for military service, have been leading. a rugged but healthdeveloping life hiding out in mountains and forests to avoid being picked up by the Nazis for forced labour.
Mrs. McCormick's pessimistic report was about Italy, which she first visited in August, not long after the liberation, and again just before her return to the United States. She found that during the interval much of the liberation joy had withered under the delay in relief work.
THE PEACE TO COME Credit for winning the only Italian victory, the " salvation of Rome," rightfully goes to the Pope, Mrs. McCormick said, but .even in Rome there are areas of destruction. Paris may he the only capital in Europe that will come out of the war intact, she said.
Parts of London, she continued, look like the " ruins of Pompeii," and " London is so drab and the British people so tired that it is extraordinary how life goes on." ,