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Editorial – War Aim No. 1

19 October 1940

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 19 October 1940

War Aim No. 1

Answering the fools according to their folly Mr. Churchill informed certain questioners in the House of Commons this week that Britain’s war aim was survival. That is what we are fighting for survival through victory and we have yet to convince the world that we can do it. When our capacity to survive has been universally recognised “then cometh the end.” That will be the time to talk about war aims, and to interpret more specifically our general aim of restoring liberty and security to the world.

It is difficult to understand the mentality of journalists and politicians who, at this critical moment in the struggle, can think of nothing more useful to do than to pester the Prime ‘Minister for a statement of war aims. It is like demanding of a householder who is still locked in deadly conflict with an armed burglar, what use he proposes to make of the security he hopes to win for his household and far his goods.

It will be time enough when the terrible power of Hitler has, been smashed and all his’ satellites dispersed, to consider what use shall be made of the new lease of life which Great Britain has won for civilisation.

It will be time also to consider who is entitled, among, the nations, and within the nations, to a voice in the “new order.” Let it never be forgotten that if civilisation survives it will be by the might, majesty, and gallantry of Britain, supported by the moral and material resources of the United States.

Nowhere else in all the world, save for gallant remnants of subjugated races, is there the slightest title to be consulted about the use to be made of the dear-bought victory for which the British Empire now toils and bleeds.

Germany, Russia, ltaly, Japan —all in their degree are deeply dyed in war guilt- the leaders ,of France, too, have an awful responsibility before history, and the small neutrals, lacking the courage and intelligence to combine against the aggressor, have merited some part of the dreadful fate that has overtaken them—always excepting Czechoslovakia, helpless victim of the perfidy of France, and Poland, though slightly tainted by acceptance of a Bohemian town as “pourboire” from Hitler.

Russia’s villainy is colder and deeper than any. Stalin’s scoundrelism exceeds in cynicism that of Mussolini, and neither has Hitler’s excuse of, insanity. If by a freak of fortune—which is by no means to be excluded—the ultimate victory of Britain is furthered, directly or indirectly, by Russia, the fact will still remain that Russia is incapable of generous or civilised motives, and is totally indifferent to the triumph of evil as such.

It is humiliating to think that a British Ambassador is to-day hanging about the skirts of Stalin in mute and pathetic appeal for Russian aid and comfort, negative or positive. Russian aid is a commodity that will only be bought by British “capacity for survival.” Not British diplomacy but overwhelming, undeniable, inescapable superiority by land, sea, and air, over Germany and her vassals, will bring aid from Russia. By that time all the world will rush to Britain’s aid

Britain has survived the first great German onslaught. Good! It would never have done for Hitler to smash the British Empire with his second hammer blow and proclaim peace from London by August 15th. By now, Hitler would, have turned his arms against Russia from sheer necessity to, wage war, and the lumbering Russian giant would have been brought crashing to the ground with a few slashing strokes. Britain, however, survives and grows stronger; Hitler begins to flinch from the ordeal of battle in the West, and to seek diversions and sideshows elsewhere. Stalin has to decide whether this is the moment to oppose him, and if so how far this can be done without open hostility. Turkey, Greece, and Yugoslavia are still intact, with, the British Fleet in support.’ These nations will oppose Hitler if assured of Russian support. They may even oppose him if assured of Russian neutrality. Any further drift toward abject acquiescence in German control of the Balkans may cost Russia these allies and confront her with the fate she has always dreaded – Teutonic control of the Dardanelles and the Black Sea. It is impossible that so clever a scoundrel as Stalin should allow himself to be outwitted as simply as that, and the probability is therefore that Turkey will be stiffened by Russian guarantees and that Russia will mobilise—has probably done so already — to take swift advantage of any opporunity to protect her threatened left flank.

Great Britain will benefit from this and other cynical moves in the game, but it is the business of Britons to concentrate on the main conflict and to put their whole strength into the frontal overthrow of Germany. That accomplished, all else will follow – without that