8 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 1


THE war has been slow in gathering momentum in the West. When people went to church on Sunday morning, if they did, we were at peace; when they came out the country was at war. But apart from the incidence of necessary regulations the first few days have been a time of expectation. Through Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nothing seriously disturbed the tenor of life at home, for while there were air-raid alarms there were in those days, so far as is known, no raids, though there could obviously not be long to wait for them. But the news of the sinking of the Athenia was a tragic reminder of what was in store, and the successful R.A.F. raid on German ports on Monday was inevitably accompanied by some casualties. Movement on the western front too has been slow to develop, and meanwhile the full brunt of the German attack has fallen on Poland. The problem before France and Britain is how best and most rapidly to relieve the pressure there. With regard to that General Gamelin and Lord Gort have no doubt matured their plans. At home there will be a wholly different way of life to settle down to. Evacuation has considerably changed the distribution of the population; the movement of vehicles after dark will be so difficult that the streets will be almost empty; the decentralisation of business has begun on a large scale and will continue. .111 classes, it is earnestly to be hoped, will from the first cultivate a rigid simplicity of life, both for its moral value and as means of avoiding unnecessary expenditure— particularly on such things as alcohol, tobacco and cosmetics.