LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
[In view of the paper shortage it is essential that letters on these pages should be brief. We are anxious not to reduce the number of letters, but unless they are shorter they must be fewer. Writers are urged to study the art of compression.—Ed., "The Spectator "I
SIR,—Your leading article of December 6th prompts the reflection that Hitler has not waited till "after victory" to begin the creation of the new order as he conceives it. A considerable sample of it is already in operation and is being used by him as a powerful instru- ment in winning victory for his evil cause. Why then are we waiting to create the beginning of a better order than his? Is it that, for the time being, all our efforts must be concentrated on victory to the exclusion of everything else? I agree that such concentration is .:ecessary: but I would add that few things—perhaps no single thing— would contribute more to winning the victory we hope for than the creation, here and, now, of a working sample, a nucleus, a growing point, a first instalment of the new order to be further extended when our victory is won. I say "a sample "—not "a statement." We trust too much in "statements."
Not long before the war a German, himself a Nazi, said to me "the Nazi system is purgatory ; but better than hell, and hell is the only alternative we Germans have." This, there is good reason to believe, is the attitude of millions of Germans today ; and not of Germans only, but of Vichy Frenchmen, Rumanians, Spaniards and others. Are we to wait, then, till "after victory" before taking steps to convince a bewildered Europe, Germany included, that hell (or chaos) is not the only alternative to the Nazi purgatory? But we shall not produce conviction by a " statement " of our aims. If " state- ments " would do the business it could have been done 18ng ago. A " sample " is necessary.
It would have been helpful, Sir, if in using the phrase "after victory" you could have given the daze to which the phrase refers. A great deal depends on the date. The further we project it into the future the less becomes the likelihood that a new and better order will emerge as the sequel, and the greater the likelihood that the sequel will be chaos. I venture to suggest that the absence on our side of a better alternative to the " order " which Hitler has already set on foot, before the victory he hopes for, and as a help to achieving it, is having the effect of postponing the date at which our victory will be achieved, and thereby diminishing the likelihood of a beneficent sequel. The alternative is not provided by statements of our "aims," conceived in general terms of "freedom," "justice," "co-operation," "democracy," &c., &c. Of these we have had more than enough.—