Notes by the Way

Bad News in New York—Afraid That Peace Might Break Out

The City page of the News Chronicle (September 19th, 1939) published a report from New York telling how shares slumped when it was feared that the war (and the war boom) might cease : —

WALL STREET’S WORST BREAK. The worst setback since the “war boom” started was experienced by Wall Street to-day. Part of the profit-taking sales was attributed to the belief that peace proposals would be made by Germany.
There was some recovery at the close, but the tone was weak and losses extended to 7 dollars in U.S. Steel, Bethlehem Steel, Douglas Aircraft and other “war babies.”

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The Communist Party Explains It All Away

Though obviously embarrassed by the recent actions of the Russian Government, the British Commuist Party continues to try to explain it all away. The general attitude adopred by that Party and by the Daily Worker is that the Russian Government will, in the long run, prove to have justified itself. In a letter to The Times, on September 12th, the Secretary of the “Russia To-day Society” argues that Russia has destroyed the Berlin—Tokyo—Rome Axis. He then adds:—

“It is not improbable that the British people will have much more for which to thank the Soviet Union before the present conflict is brought to a victorious conclusion.”

When the Russians invaded Poland the Daily Worker was in the unlucky position of having just published an assurance that it would not happen. The invasion began on Sunday, September 17th. The Daily Worker on the previous day had ridiculed the suspicious people who had forecast this. Mr. Walter Holmes, a regular contributor to the Daily Worker, had the following: —

“But, it seems, they learn nothing. Now, again, they are rushing forward with “explanations” of how Russia is going to share with Germany in a carve-up of Poland. I am content to leave the answer to the only people who can give it, viz., the Soviets, but I have no doubt about who is going tt have the last laugh.”

Two days later the Daily Worker was explaining why the Russian carve-up of Poland was justified, as a “counter-blow against Nazis.”

On the earlier mystery about Russia’s simultaneous negotiations with England and France on the one hand and Germany on the other, the Manchester Guardian (August 29th) put a pertinent question, which the Communists will have difficult in answering: “If Russia did sign the German pact because she was dissatisfied with the progress of negotiations with Britain and France, it is curious that she never informed the military missions of this, but encouraged them to think that their efforts would shortly be crowned with success.”

All the same, it seems certain that now Germany and Russia are neighbours, both intent on dominating Eastern Europe and the Balkans, they will find each other very dangerous friends, liable to turn into enemies at any moment.

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The Bishops War by War

The Bishop of London, 1915 : “We are in the midst of the greatest fight ever made in this world for honour and freedom, and—I will go further, and say—for the vital principles of the Christian religion.”—(Times Recruiting Supplement, November 3rd, 1915.)

The Bishop of Durham, 1939: “It is a crusade for the rescue of the ultimate factors of Christian civilisation, and we need the faith and fervour of Crusaders if we are to achieve victory.” —(Times, September 15th, 1939.)

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The Revised View of Russia

As soon as the possibility of an Anglo-Russian pact disappeared the Press suddenly rediscovered that Russia is a dictatorship, and that Bolshevism is very like Nazism. The Times (August 31st) gave prominence to a long letter showing point by point the similarity between the two ideologies. The Daily Express (August 26th) found that Russia’s retirement had its advantage: “If war comes the issue will be clearer. The democracies will be ranged against totalitarian States. . . .”

The Manchester Guardian (August 25th) found, likewise, that “the true division was never between Fascism and Communism, but between freedom and tyranny.”


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