The War Illustrated No 170 Vol 7 December 24th 1943

Ont. o f the favour­ ite arguments o f those who used to admire Hitler­ ism and Fascism of the Mussolini brand was that under absolute rulers government was so much more competently* carried on, the real interest o f the population better served, the best men picked to serve it. 1 have known firm believers in democracy say there was“ soViething in that arg menu t.” 1 never feJI for it. and now it has been com­pletely exploded, not only by revelations as to the corruption and incompetence o f Fascist administrators in Italy, but by the- retention in office, by Hitler o f the man who has been the most complete and utter failure o f the whole war. I n any democratic country H erm ann Goering would have been sacked long ago, if he had ever been appointed Air Force Chief, which 1 do not think he would have been, seeing that he never showed any sign.of real ability. He has done nothing that he boasted he would _do. He pro­mised Germans victory in the Battle o f Britain. They were beaten. He assured them they need not' fear bombs on their cities. One by one those cities are: being reduced to ruins. Yet he sticks to his job. Nothing could more plainly show what poor boobs the German people tare. F J id the tremendous explosion o f public anger provoked by the release o f Mosley and his wife come as a surprise to the Home Secretary and the Government in general? I must say ir astonished me. When I read the first bald announcement that he was about to beset at liberty for reasons o f health, 1 thought, “This will mean questions in the Commons. ”But the instant flaring-Mp o f indignation allover the country and among all classes was something for which I can hardly recollect a parallel in the last fifty years. The H oare-Laval agreement caused-something o (lief kind, but not nearly so widespread. When the T sar o f R ussia's licet on its way to Japanese waters during the Russo- Japanese War sank British fishing- boats in the North Sea as a result o f sudden panic, a howl went up which might have Carried u s into the: conflict, if statesm en-'had'not handled the incident wisely. But th a twas more a newspaper outcry than an out­burst o f popular rage. This Mosley episode was gingerly dealt with by the Press. The howl cam efrom the1 ,public, and it seemed tome that all sections o f the public were thinking alike in a most unusual way TTun latest report o f a cure being discovered' for the “common cold ”could not have been circulated a t a moment more: certain to ensure interest in. it. Launched in the sum merit would have received little notice. Just at the beginning o f winter ’there is always a: lot of'coryza,, as the doctors call it when they want to make patients- believe they are suffering from something rather important !All the unfortunates who were sneezing o r sniffing, coughing and blowing their noses, seized on this piece o f news with gratitude and hope. My hope is that they will not expect anything to come o fit. In my time there have been so many, statements that diseases have at lost been o vercom e: I ceased long ago to believe in any o f them. The truth about colds is that no remedy cart remove them they have to take their course. They are a sign that something has gone wrong in our bodies and that “something ”can be removed with care and perseverance. If you merely not, inmost circum­stances, plan lor him­self and he dislikes very much being planned for by other people. Each of us. has individual tastes, preferences, and ideas o f how we like to live we want to arrange our Jives as far as we can for ourselves. There has been an amusing illustration o f this. At a Practical Planning Exhibition in Westminster there- was on show a model kitchen. A practical housewife went lo see it. and wrote to a newspaper to say wit as-all wrong. wIt asn 't, the sort o f kitchen any woman would like. Who could have designed it ?Some man. she supposed, who knew nothing about kitchen labours. She was wrong. The design was concocted by six workingwomen who live -on Birmingham City Council Estates. It was setup for criticism in Birmingham, and many other women gave their views. It was modified in accordance with some o f these. So it does embody the ideas o f housewives. Yet other housewives d on’t approve o fit at all. Well, there you are !Tastes differ, and opinions vary. Planning is a tricky business. We must goat it with a lot o f careT then congratulatory articles about the hundredth anniversary o f the founding o f Macmillans,, the great publishing firm, there has been refer­ence not only to the famous authors whose 'merit it perceived while they were young and unknown, but also to some whom it declined to publish and who became famous neverthe­less. One o f these was Bernard Shaw. He offered* his early novels to the firm, and had them returned with thanks. I have seen it sug­gested that this was an error of judgem ent. With that I do not agree. Those novels are included in the complete edition o f Shaw ’s works, but they are curiosities even now, and a t the time they were written, more than fifty years ago, they were certainly not the sort o f fiction forM acm illans to accept, and they failed at first to find acceptance from any publisher. Shaw has the good sense and generosity to recognize this himself. H e has been unusually quiet off late. That is due partly, no doubt,. tO' his being only three years off ninety. But' he admits that the complexifies of this war puzzle him that is one reason why he has not written as frequently about it ashe did about the conflict of 1914-18. one period o f the Napoleonic Wars there was a heated controversy about ja ilo rs’ pigtails, which used to bethe only stylfc in the British Navy. Now there is ongoing a discussion about soldiers’ pyjamas, which may seem a trifle compared with the tremendous, issues still trembling in the scales, o f Fate, but it has avery real interest for rnillions.of our fighting men. Not so much when they are actually- fighting, for then there is not much chance o f sleeping in beds and taking otf day-clothes top u ton night­wear. But when they are living through intervals between engagements, and. especially when they are a t hom eon leave, they do like to enjoy as far as- they can the amenities o f peacetim e.Very few are able to get sleeping-suits. They are not part o f the clothing issue. The War Office expects soldiers, to sleep in their dav-shirts. And the men have not enough coupons to buy pvjamas, even -if they are procurable at a moderate price. The matter keeps on bobbing up in the House o f Com mons, but evidently we are short o f pvjama -Materials and shall be for a considerable time to come. take a medicine that lessens the symptoms of your cold, you drive them elsewhere and very likely the change is for the worse. Too not travel about the country much these days. When I do, I can answer with- a firm “Yes. I ”the query “Is your journey really necessary ?’’Wherever I go I notice disregard by fanners o f the warning given by the Ministry' o f Agriculture against building hay-stacks or w heat-stacks close together. The customary way is to put them in a rickvard. That was also the sensible way—ones. Now that high ex­plosive and incendiary bombs are liable AIR COMM ODORED. C.T. BcNNETT, C.B.E., D.S.O., com­manding officer of the Pathfinder Force, which by laying marker flares guides R.A.F. bombers to their targets,, is an inexpert astro-jiavigation,. a pioneer 'of flying, former Mercury “pick-a-back ”aircraft pilot, and co-orgr.nizer of the-Atla-n tic. Ferry Service. Pathfinder’s gilt eagle bad'g&fcseen under his 1 4 winjp.” „ Pliotu, 'British Q tfu-tuiG room C<rpy,ri#li& to fall a t any moment on any part o f the country it is the reverse o f sensible to place ricks: in a bunch, so that i f one catches fire .they must ball e destroyed This seems so A obvious th atone can hardly understand why farmers don o tact up o nit. Buc they are: hard: to detach from traditional methods They are inclined, many o f them, to snort with disdain a t advice from the Ministry o f Agriculture. They keep to their old habits, and in far too many cases one sees groups o f sraeks literally “asking for Their.” County Agricultural Committees should take the matter in hand", a ing. compulsion if necessary For the lossT when ricks burn, is not the farmer's only, but the nation 's'e y hat we are loo much' inclined lo forget just now, it seems tome, this atMan is not by nature a planning animal. He does Readers of The War Illustrated who have difficulty in obtaining regular copies are advised to place an order with their newsagent immediateiy- PAGE 479
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