16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 20

SIR,—When Mr. Bevan, in his letter in your last issue,

urges that " we should put forward more clearly, in agreement with our French Allies, what attractive elements in the subsequent state of things would remain safeguarded for the Germans if they accepted our terms," it is obvious that these " elements " must be attractive to the Germans if they are to influence them at all.

This fact seems to present an insuperable difficulty. We have to deal with what Elizabeth Koffka calls " the Nazi mentality," and vividly describes as " a nation thoroughly trained in obedience and, worse, in self-deception, for six years, full of self-importance, with little patience and self- criticism, but with high ambitions." In face of such a men- tality it seems impossible to formulate any " attractive elements " which would appear in the least attractive to the vast majority of the nation. Until a complete change takes place in German "mentality," and a great enlightenment comes to them, it seems impossible to assuage the bitterness of the peace terms to which we are even now pledged by mingling with them " attractive elements."

And so we come face to face with the hard fact that we do want " the destruction of Germany," connoting by that term what alone Germany can mean when she makes use of it. What we also want—the abandonment by her of her aggressive ambitions, her acknowledgment of the just claims of truth and justice, and her acceptance of our offer of good will—cannot, unless she accomplishes a complete " change of mind," offer any compensation for the deep humiliation which she is bound to feel when our peace terms are formulated. And Germany's reaction to these terms (which would certainly have to include a great deal more than the restoration of Czecho-Slovakia and Poland) would most certainly be a scornful rejection of them and a still firmer resolve to fight to the utmost. In the light of these considerations, it seems hopeless to formulate peace proposals more definitely than we have already formulated them. The more definitely we formulate them the more unacceptable they will be to the "Nazi mentality."

Vae victis! is the only doom which anyone attempting to look into the future can confidently predict concerning Germany. That woe would be dire enough if she were possessed with a reasonably " sound mind." With her unshaken " mentality " its woefulness is bound to be increased tenfold.—Yours