24 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 2


THE War is showing rather greater signs of liveliness. It might indeed by this time have developed into all the full intensity of the latter months of 1914 if Germany had not seen fit to abandon the plan, which she was un- doubtedly on the point of putting into execution, of invading Holland ten days or more ago. It is quite premature to assume that the plan is abandoned permanently, though it may be if Herr Hitler is convinced that he will not be able to execute the convenient scheme of picking off Holland first and Belgium at leisure. But in spite of a certain increase of artillery activity on the Western Front there is as little prospect as ever of operations on the grand scale there before the spring. The visits of German aeroplanes to British shores are becoming more regular, but they are obviously of negligible importance, and it is still true that no real test of the fighting value of the rival air forces has been provided either here or in France. The sea is, and looks like con- tinuing to be, the chief battle-ground, and with reprisal provoking counter-reprisal, it seems likely that the full depths of savagery and inhumanity have not been sounded yet. It is perfectly true that if Germany commits herself to the policy of mass-murder—of neutrals equally with belligerents, and women and children equally with fighting men—we cannot retaliate in kind even if we would. But there are other methods. And though it is inevitable that the new mine-warfare will involve us in heavy losses, it will certainly not win the War for Germany. One surprising fact, incidentally, is the relative immunity our commerce has enjoyed so far from attacks from the German sea-raiders which are known to be at large.