PRO ECCLESIA DEI, PRO REGE ET PATRIA

THE TABLET

The Tablet Publishing Company Ltd. 39 Paternoster Row, London, E.C. 4 . Telephone : City 2 5 3 6

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th, 1939

PRINCIPAL

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK . .349 THE THREAT TO EUROPE 352 THE FIFTH PERIL (II) 353

By Douglas Woodruff PRIDE OF RACE .............................................355

By E. I. Watkin SPIRITUALISTS AND THEIR “NO WAR”

PREDICTIONS ............................................ 357 By Herbert Thurston, S.J. THE CHURCH ABROAD 358 CARDINAL NEWMAN AT OXFORD: V 359

By Henry Tristram, Cong. Orat.

CONTENTS

BOOKS OF THE WEEK ................................ 361 THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY ON THE

W A R ..................................................................... 365 TALKING AT RANDOM 366

By D.W. CONTINENTAL BROADCASTS

. . 367

C H E S S ..................................................................... 368 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR .368 R E Q U IE S C A T ......................................................... 369 LITURGICA AND CALENDAR . 370

THE THREAT

E VERYTHING which is happening in Poland today is a foreshadowing of the future in the west. The German industrial superiority over Poland has made possible a superiority in the air which is playing a great part in the German advance. The lesson of the first fortnight of war only confirms a judgment in this country upon which long range plans had already been based, that air superiority is likely to prove the decisive arm, and that such superiority can be obtained by the British and French Empires. The very charges which the Nazis reiterate against the Poles as impossible people, the Nazi demand that the present Government in Poland should yield place to another Government with whom the Nazis can negotiate, reproduce in that smaller stage of Poland, in a kind of brutal parody, the attitude of the West towards the Nazis themselves. Over against the inventions of Dr. Goebbels about Polish wickedness and untrustworthiness, there stand the huge historical facts of the twelve months since Munich, which have convinced a Government so profoundly and, as many critics thought, improvidently pacific, as Mr. Chamberlain’s administration, that there is no alternative to war, and that a long war is a very much lesser evil than a continued acquiescence in the enslavement of Central and Eastern Europe.

In consequence, when the British and French Governments say there can be no peace with Hitler, they are not so much throwing down a challenge as recording a fact. Peace means a harmony of wills, and no man strove harder than the British Prime Minister to find common ground with the leader of Germany, and to achieve that harmony of wills. There can be no peace with something which of its nature is expansive and explosive.

It is, indeed, a great tragedy that Germany should have fallen under this movement, and that in this movement the extremists should have prevailed. Nothing could have resisted the growth of the Reich in moderate and statesmanlike hands, in hands which were careful, for example, not to antagonise religion at home, or to abolish justice, or to excite universal apprehensions abroad. Central Europe, which never achieved a settled place since the collapse of the old German leadership of the Habsburg Empire, was waiting for another leadership, if only it had been a civilized one, offering security and advantage to the people of the Danube. Today they are all threatened, and Europe is threatened with them. This is evident to Britain and

TO EUROPE France ; it will become increasingly clear in Italy and Spain.

Slovakia is an example on a small scale of the kind of life proposed for the lesser peoples of Europe. Their country is a German military b a se ; a Slovak regiment has been interned for refusing its allotted role in the German High Command’s programme, and the words used last March about a loose and benevolent German protectorate have been revealed in six months for the hollow temporary trickery which they were. Behind those phrases the reality was the German Air Force, and the threat of bombing as the reward of disobedience. This is the new technique in Europe, a technique which the new developments of the Air Forces of the world have placed at the disposal of countries large enough to build enormous air fleets.

The air development transforms the old idea of frontiers and fortified posts, and introduces a new kind of threat to the smaller countries which cannot hope to possess first-class air fleets. One answer may be the progressive retreat of humanity underground, the planning of cities with that essential overlayer of earth, cement and sand, which is to our age what the stone walls round every town were to earlier centuries. But that is a counsel of despair while it is possible to remove the threat, and to replace the regime of sudden threats by a European order in which power rests with those who have the wisdom and the humanity not to abuse it. It is the strength of Britain and France today, that while their naval supremacy is unchallenged, there is not one of the smaller countries with valuable overseas possessions which ever feels the least anxiety because it is no match for Britain and France at sea. Today the Indian Empire of the Dutch is obviously a great deal safer from any armed threat than the Netherlands themselves.

The simplicity of the issue, well crystallised in the statement which the Catholic Hierarchy of England and Wales has just issued, leaves us with a task which, for the time being, must transcend our other preoccupations. Until it is proved to men whose only criterion is force that they do not possess the ultimate force, and that the world is not to be the world of their crude and merciless dreams, all the lesser controversies between men opposed to them must take a secondary place. Elsewhere in this issue we print a letter from a leading representative of the small company of Catholic pacifists, whose integrity indeed we respect, but in whom

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