3 MARCH 1939, Page 15

I confess that all this saeva indignatio puzzles me. Mr.

Bromfield is by nature a charming and courteous man of letters. Why should this Munich business so distort human judgement and courtesy that it drives agreeable people to gibe at us at a time when we are feeling mortified, unhappy and anxious? Why should the nerves of usually temperate men and women begin to rasp and jar at the very mention of Bad Godesberg? Why should the temper of Europe and America have become so frayed? The reason is, I suppose, that in all thinking people Munich has created a strange condition of emotional inflammation, due to the coincidence of immense physical relief with extreme spiritual discomfort. Severe moral shock, following upon an abrupt relaxation of nervous tension, has scalded the conscience of the world. Even the most insensitive people arc aware of some disquiet- ing conflict between their property and their principles.

Sensitive people take a more impersonal view; they feel that Munich disturbed not only the physical but also the moral balance of the world. Inevitably they blame us for this spiritual loss. They now realise that it was the power of Great Britain which for so many generations maintained this useful moral balance. Such recognition is painful to them. And even liberal-minded people are thus apt to lose their lucidity and calm.