25 OCTOBER 1940, Page 14


SIR,—Mr. Richard Turner writes very glibly about showing the Germans that there is a "more excellent" way than war. But it does not seem to occur to him that excellence is largely a matter of taste and that what would appear excellent to him might appear poisonous to another. The British regard negotiation, arbitration and com- promise as the ideal means of getting what they want. The Germans don't, because what they want cannot be had by any of these expedients. The average German's idea of supreme happiness is having somebody to bully, to dominate and to oppress. The one appeal which has never failed to arouse the almost unanimous enthusiasm of the German people is the. appeal to conquer and oppress, not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself.

That a highly cultured people like the Germans should not be civilised seems to many of us such a fantastic proposition that we simply refuse to accept it. But it happens to be the fact that the Germans are not -civilised and that their contact with civilised peoples has merely served to increase their savagery. They have been fully occupied in demonstrating this to us continuously since 1870. That is the essence of the European problem which will have to be faced after the defeat of Germany in the present war. I suppose that in the course of generations it will be solved some day, but it is certainly not going to be solved either by treating it as non-existent or by dangling under the noses of the German people a bait of the kind concocted by Mr. Turner, which has no attraction whatever to them.—