8 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 1

Frightfulness from the First

The decision of the German Government to begin the war with an exhibition of that form of frightfulness which concentrated the execration of the world on Germany twenty-five years ago would be incredible if the facts were not so incontestably established. The Atlantic liner Athenia was sunk on Sunday night, with the probable loss of some 300 lives, not by mine but by a torpedo, fired from a submarine. The submarine subsequently rose to the surface and shclIcd the liner. It is believed to have been subsequently sunk by a British destroyer. The torpedoing of the Cunard cargoliner Bosnia on Tuesday makes it clear that the sink-atsight policy has been taken over as it stood on the eve of the German defeat in 1918. Let no one reflect despairingly that this is one of the inevitabilities of war. It is not war, it is the German way of war. No other country has so stained its record and none other is likely to. The effect on neutral countries, particularly the United States, is not to be computed here. Their policy is their affair, not ours. But there can be little doubt that if Mr. Roosevelt hopes to get the Neutrality Act amended he will find that Herr I Eder has assisted him considerably. Meanwhile it is imperative that the convoy system be developed at the earliest possible moment, as Mr. Churchill in the House of Commons on Monday promi ed it should be.