The War Illustrated, No. 223, Vol. 9, January 4th 1946

TheE /ford Looks Back SECRET WEAPONS Oct. 7.1939 When one reads the ravings o f his foulness the Fuehrer one's inability immediately to “get back ”at the liar leaves a paralysing sense o f impotence. Only continued struggle and endless patience against all that his vile creed and evil energy have brought upon us will make him bite the dust someday— but knowing the abysmal falsity o f the fellow we need not be too terrified about his “new arm to which there is no defence.” Aerial attack on all our seaports— which 1 have envisaged from the first— is Mr. Lloyd George's idea of this mysterious and dreadful “new arm .”1 think he maybe right. We’ll know better when the war begins. WRIT TEN in the “phoney ”period o f the War that paragraph reads oddly today. Those o fits who survive know well enough that “his foulness ”did have in mind several secret weapons, and quite recently we have seen samples o f them on exhibition in Trafalgar Square. But in September of ’39 /never guessed that I should live to see scores o f flying bombs passing over my country home and nearly two score o f them being shot down in the Weald o f Sussex. .But time has shown that the Allies too had secret weapons and were able to use them at the right moment, with no preliminary shouting about them. EARLY BROADCASTING Oct. 7,1939 Just been listening to Winston C hurchill's broadcast—masterly !No overstatement clear, concise, penetrating. His slight inclination to raise his voice at the end o f a sentence, rather in the“M ethodv "manner, is of small account weighed against the fine seriousness of his tone and the simple effectiveness o f his words. Contrasted with them outhings and bellowings ...of a speech by Hitler, Goering, or Goebbels. it makes one proud to be British when listening to Winston Churchill. But the B.B.C. shows small sign o f improving. Its dud program mes have led to a great falling-off in listening. I hear on all hands from friends and acquain­tances that they have practically stopped plugging in for the drivel that is dished out between the news bulletins o f noon and nine —and God knows these are hardly w'orth straining a tympanum to hear. A noteworthy example o f ineptitude preceded Mr. C hurchill’s most welcome speech. It was the reading of a news item from the German communique which asserted that ten British planes had been destroyed to two Nazi planes. Not one word o f contradiction o r confirmation was vouch­safed. If the German statement is true, heaven help us when the w'ar starts. If it isn’t, why aren’t we told ?/AM glad to recall the improvement that eventually took place in the B.B.C. broadcasts as the War dragged its slow length along, and the genuine triumph it achieved from D-D ay to the end. But alas, there are moreno o f those heart- stirring speeches by our Old Man Eloquent to listen to. /maybe wrong, yet I fancy somehow that the falling-off in the number o f listeners must now be reckoned in millions daily though how their numbers can he guessed at all is something o f a mystery tome. RETURN OF THE HORSE Oct. 14,1939 Sorry to sec the old horses coming back to London. My satisfaction in the mechaniza­tion o f the Army was mainly due to the feeling that there would be fewer horses to be mangled on the battlefield, and I fear that when London really feels the weight o fair raids manv o f the thousands o f horses that have returned to the metropolis as sub­stitutes for motors are all too likely to be helpless sufferers in the bombing. The un­happy devotion o f the Poles to cavalry added a distressing amount of animal suffering to the heroic martyrdom of their people. J-JO W little one could foresee things in those early days. The horrible destruction o f horses that took place after Germany turned her Armies against the Soviets, and the martyrdom o f mules in the Burma War, were dreadful but inevitable. /am sure the Russian Cossacks were as fond o f their horses as any animal-lovers among us and sorrowed no less at their sufferings, which, however, did not exceed those o f the unfortunate men, women and children who were doomed to perish by the hundreds o f thousands in prison camps when the Nazis began their organized attempts to extinguish whole populations. The true horrors o f the War to come were little in our minds in those exciting but almost happy days o fits first autumn. BELGIUM PRE-INVADED Oct. 14,1939 One o f the most significant things I have noticed in the news from Belgium is the fact that no fewer than fifty Nazi journalists— each o f whom is merely a lying propagandist expelled from Paris—are now resident in Brussels. They have all somehow been accommodated as “press attaches ”of the Nazi Embassy there. Moreover, although all the French private residents in Belgium have now returned to France, none o f the German residents there have gone back to Germany. This looks like the Nazis' ‘’fifth column ”in Belgium ready for the invasion. IT was I And how very stupid it all seems today. No one was being deceived by those obvious tactics yet the web of interna! cross purposes was so closely meshed that there would seem to have been noway out, no means o f forcing the hand, calling the bluff, o f the intending invader. T woof our leading legal lights— Mr. Justice M cNaghten and Sir H artley Shawcross, the A ttorney-G eneral—in the King's Bench Division the other day would seem to have antagonized in the course o f one single case the whole regiment of hard-working housewives. The learned judge refused to acknowledge a housewife’s activities in the home as “work within the meaning of the Act,” while the Attorney-G eneral apos­trophized themas a “ labour of love.” And yet, as far as I ’ve seen, not one single protest has been raised! A ccoRDtNG to a recent inquiry by one of our main railway systems, men who want “Ladies only ”compartments provided on all trains outnumber women by more than two to one. What no one seems to have had the courage to suggest is the introduction of a Men“ only” coach—which is what these men want. O r think they do. ]\/Tr. F.A. Hamilton -P i arson, who rejoices in the title o f “Psychiatric Medical Inspector ”of the Home Office, declares that the great increase in petty thieving, bad manners, discourtesy, irritability and self­ishness maybe due to our diet. Those, who know their Pickwick will hardly find any­thing new here, for was it not all anticipated PAGE 574 ROLE OF THE TANK Oct. 14,1939 Tome one o f the most noteworthy facts o f the war so far has been the conquest o f Poland, not by any “secret arm ,”but by an arm invented by an Englishman— the Tank. Despite all the braggadocio o f Hitler, the most formidable thing on wheels came out o f the brains o f Englishmen in the Great War, and I have little doubt that the British invention which was used with such deadly effect against Poland will yet be used effectively against Germ any, for it is seldom that an original invention is beaten by imitations ty/E ILL, think that, though it took four to five years to do it, the place o f the tank in the victorious march o f the 8th Army fro mEl Alamein to Berlin and, later, the lightning thrusts o f Allied armour through France and Belgium to the Siegfried Line and beyond fully justified m y comment. NAZI CASUALTIES Oct. 21,1939 A letter in The Times recently, from an obviously well-informed correspondent, outpointed that the official German history o f the Great War put all German casualties at 33J percent higher than the figures admitted jn the bulletins issued during the War. So'w hen Hitler states that his casual­ties in the murder o f Poland totalled 45,090 killed and wounded, we can figure 60,000 as the minimum —“and then some.” For the Prussian liars o f 191418 w'ere the veriest amateurs compared with their Nazi successors. J HAVE not seen a British official record o f the German losses, but according to the“ Arbeiter Z e itu n g "of Zurich, which claimed to have access to German War Ministry statistics, the Nazi dead num­bered 91,278, seriously wounded 63,417, and the slightly wounded 84,938. Until our official historians have examined all the secret records o f the Nazi losses the truth about tlieir own casualties in the rape of Poland can be moreno than guesswork. The only thing certain is that here again Hitler was lying indeed, no evidence has at anytime been forthcoming o f his ever having spoken the truth on any subject, even by accident. over a century ago by Mr. Snodgrass whoso adroitly blamed the salm ono f the night before for his morning “hangover ”?D e-re a ding that totally neglectcd classic, John Forster's Life o f Walter Savage Landor, the other day, I came upon this shrewd diagnosis o f a modern tendency: “the desire to read without the trouble o f thinking, which railways have largely encouraged and to which many modern reputations are due.” That was written seventy-seven years ago, and the years between have only served to point its truth and throw into deeper relief the awfulness o fits implications. What the pessimistic Forster would have said of Reading inHabits the Atomic Age hardly bears contemplation !'The “peace,” no less than the war, con­tinues, happily, to enlarge our know­ledge o f American ways—and means. Yet there must have been many people in Britain who learnt with surprise from President Truman the other day that the U.S. is till without a national health insurance scheme. Which is something that this country has boasted for well over thirty years. Those who dash into print with attacks on the work o f the British Council in spread­ing abroad a fuller knowledge o four cultural heritage should read the Council’s last annual report. Here they will read that of 2,009 students in Turkey wishing to be sent over­seas, over half gave Britain as their first choice. For this the Council very properly cairn sits share o f credit.
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