The War Illustrated No 177 Vol 7 March 31st 1944

I have sometimes said in the past,“ Tljere are too many Flag Day Buts.” there is one oncoming Tuesday, April 4, which has m y very heartiest good wishes. A number o f sailors’ aid societies arc going to collect money to provide more hostels for sailors when they are ashore. In' ordinary times men who are too far from their homes o r have no homes togo to nearly always togo the same place where they are known, where they meet acquaintances, where they can pickup news that interests them .Now these hostels are often too full up to intake their "reg u lars,” who find themselves a t a loose end. The number o f seafaring men has greatly increased and the need for more accommodation is urgent. N o one better deserves help o f the kind. A chaplain o f a hostel tolls me many stories o f the dogged devotion to duty shown by the men he comes across. One old fellow o f 72, who had been seven times tor­pedoed, was asked if he did 'tn think o f retiring. He retorted angrily. **Don 't the women and children want the stuff we bring?” A boy o f 17, torpedoed on his first voyage, had to lie up for a bit, but when someone inquired, ‘“What shall you do when you 're well again ?”he just said simply,“ I shall get another ship .”D on't forget: April 4, and give as generously as you can. ’The case for the small trader is very persuasively putin the pamphlet which Mr. Erskine-Hiil. a Conservative M.P., has published with the approval o f Conservative Party headquarters. If these little shopkeepers were right in supposing that Board o f Trade in­spectors are specially dow non them for small infractions o f the law, mere technical offences, they would certainly receive public sympathy in even greater measure than they do now. But this wants a great deaf o f proving before it can be accepted as fact. 1 1 is. o f course, always the hope o fan inspector, what­ ever he inspects, to justify his existence by catching someone doing what he“ d id ’ton ugh ter.” It would be very dull, going round day after day and never finding anything wrong. Also, it might suggest to the authorities that inspection was not. after all, necessary. But the Board o f Trade people are not likely to be more generally in favour o f the multiple stores and the big establishments than they arc to befriends o f the small trader. The whole question is difficult. The little shop does useful work. Many prefer its homely atm o ­sphere. The big place offers a w'ider choice. But there ought to be room for both. Come people I know are inclined to treat the American Presidential Election pre­liminary. skirmishes more seriously than they need. The New Statesman calls it ‘*a major disaster, like the fall o f Fran ce” that the United States should be torn in the middle o f the war by this orgy o f the worst kind o f political intoxication. So it looks to those who are faraway and who have never been in America awhile Presidential struggle was in progress. On the surface there appear to be signs o f disunity on every subject o f utter dishonesty in the tossing to and fro o f accusations and abuse- o f the most impor­tant issue fin this case the War) being lost sight o fin the pursuit o f trivialities. But below the surface the national mind works much as usual. I do not believe the will to victory will be in any serious degree impaired. T here-is acute-danger, however, for-the will to lasting peace in such an appeal as Thomas Dewey is vnaking to Germ an-A m ericans. Peace term s,he urges, ‘‘must not be too seven maids with seven mops swept it for half a year,” it occurred tome that scarcely any book is so frequently quoted as Through the Looking Glass. Why, that very poem in which the above passage occurs bulges with lines that arc con­tinually heard. The Walrus and the Carpenter are two o f the most familiar figures in our minds. This is an interesting illustration of the unexpectedness o f literary fame. Recently the B.B.C. Brains Trust was asked a ques­tion :Could they say what books would be still read 100 years hence ?Of course they couldn't even make a guess. When Lewis Carroll published A lice's Adventures in Wonderland, in 1S65, and its continuation, Through the Looking Glass, seven years later, no one— probably least o fall Carroll himself (or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. to give him his correct nam e)—could have imagined that these stories written by a mathematician for children would take a permanent place in literature. r o\NE f my most unforgettable cinem a memories is that o f Emil Jannings as the magnificent hotel porter in The Last Laugh— I think that was the title o f the film in which that gorgeously attired personage was degraded to wearing ordinary clothes, in which he seemed to dwindle and collapse, and then at last he was restored to his glory and looked more resplendent than ever. I thought o f him when I read that in New York there are to be women hotel porters, because o f the scarcity of men. Can women ever really take the place o f those most useful, as well as most impressive guides, philosophers and friends to the hotel guest ?What­ ever you wanted to know, the hi'll porter would know it. You asked him about trains, about plane routes, about the best shops, about the amusements togo to. 1 Ie was always helpful, affable, slightly condescending, but cheerfully reassuring whatever difficulty you might be in. H e was not so prominent a figure in English hotels as in those abroad :and as in the United States the duties o f the hall porter on the Conti­nent were divided up between two or three lesser luminaries. So perhaps New York will not feel the change so much as would, say, Nice or Genoa, Scheveningen o r Copenhagen. V V hy do so many o f us like noise? When we rejoice, it seems as if we must do it noisily. If we want to hon our a man, we cheer and sing For he's a jolly good fellow. When we part after a festive gathering in the hope that it maybe followed by m anymore, we roar o u t'Au ld Lang Syne, in Moscow every Soviet victory (and they happen pretty often) is announced by salvos o f cannon fire. This is a curious survival for a State that claims to be in the front rank o f progress and culture: a survival o fan instinct that was stro n gin the very earliest men. Whether they were glad o r frightened, they felt they must create an uproar to relieve their exuberance o raiser their courage. The Chinese in quite recent times let off firecrackers to scare away evil spirits. Mexican soldiers fire their rifles in the a ir—o r did, gt any rate, during their last war with the United States, believing that aloud report can be as efficacious as bullets in driving off the enemy. Beating huge drum sis a method used by many African tribes to celebrate a victory o r inspire warriors with determination to avenge a defeat. Many people, both in and out o f the Forces, find the noisiness o f this war one o fits most dis­agreeable. features. Tanks make a more hideous din than anything did before they were invented. The London A.A. barrage is something never hear<t jn the world before. rigid.” That is an open forbid the German- American vote, which is large in many States o f the Union. Is it any wonder some Russians should he asking whether they are to take Allied assurances at their face value ?Another plea to us “not to be beastly to the Germ ans,” as Noel Coward put it in that satirical song o f his, is put forward by Mr. Brailsford in a Penguin booklet on Our Settlement with [Germany, which has been denounced strongly by The Spectator, usually on the same side as the author o f Scarlet and Steel and so many other works o f very great value and interest. He now’ AIR MARSHAL SIR R.M. HILL, K.C.B., M.C., A.F.C., whose appointment, at the age of 49, as A.O.C. of the Air Defence of Great Britain—an organization replacing Fighter Com­ mand—was announced on Feb. 29,1944. Previously he was A.O.C. No. 12 (Fighter) Group, R.A.F. Photo, British Official says “the Germans need a psychiatrist rather than a policeman,” meaning that they are not really responsible for their crimes and bestialities and should be treated like hospital patients, not as criminals. That sort of appeal may have some cffcct on people who have not experienced German cruelty and harsh contempt, but it will not prevent the Germans from being regarded with detesta­tion, and despised as well for their folly in worshipping creatures like the Kaiser and Hitler, for a great many years to come. It will hardly be safe for them to leave their own country and. as civil war is almost certain to rage there, it won't be very comfortable for them to stop at home. Whether the United Nations will really send “policemen ,'’that is, armies o f occupation, to try tot hinder Nazis and anti-N azis (of whom there'w ill be plenty when they are soundly beaten) from ¦destroying each other, is doubtful, I fancy. V V h£n t a question was asked in the House o f Commons the. other day about delay in clearing up ruins after air raids, and the questioner, Lt.-Col. Astor of The Times, referred to this delay as reminding him o f “If PAGE 703
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