15 MARCH 1940, Page 6


PEAKERS are often misjudged on the strength of con- densed reports of their speeches, but when The Times reports that Lord Ponsonby said on Stinday that " dictators had no successors " (the argument being that if Herr Hitler disappeared no dictator would succeed him) the presumption is that he did say it. If so, I wonder what Lord Ponsonby's theory about Stalin is That he is not a dictator? Or that he did not succeed Lenin? Or that Lenin was not a dictator? I suppose any of the three theses is arguable, but there is a pretty universal opinion about all of them. As to the dictum that " if we had not made war on Germany Hitler would have gone by now," Lord Ponsonby is in a strong position in so far as no one is qualified to dispute that most im- probable assumption. Hitler has been in power for just over seven years. For more than six and a half of those years we did not make war on Germany and Hitler grew stronger all the time. What sane man believes that if peace had been kept Hitler would have been overthrown between last September and now? Was there any single sign in the past year of the Army, or the Gestapo, or the S.S., turning against him? And with their backing what had he to fear from all the rest of Germany?