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Editorial – ” A Draught of Life “

22 March 1941

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 22 March 1941

” A Draught of Life ”

Mr. Churchill has described, in one of his imperishable phrases, the effect of Mr. Roosevelt’s latest speech on this staunch though sorely tried nation. It came as a “great draught of life” and brought us final assurance that we are no longer alone. It stiffened and rallied the enemies of Hitlerism throughout the world. It was a trumpet call of defiance, a clear declaration of alliance and affiance, a solemn pledge that the whole of the resources of the United States shall be thrown into the struggle for the survival of democracy and freedom.

Hitler has caught and enslaved nations and used them against us; he has bribed and menaced Italy, tempted Japan, and blackmailed Russia into affording him aid. But he has no free ally; not one nation has come to his aid in the spirit in which the United States Republic is now ranged at our side. This alliance, welcome as it is, and decisive as it may prove, has not been sought by Britain; it has been wrougnt for us in a wonderful way by Hitler himself; for it proceeds from the inescapable conviction of the great American people that there is no future for freedom until this monstrous tyranny, of which Hitler is the ghastly personification, is rooted out of the earth.

The significance of Mr. Roosevelt’s declaration is everywhere understood, by no one was it more promptly and frankly recognised than by Mr. Hearst, whose Press had thrown its powerful weight on the side of isolation. Mr. Hearst accepts the defeat of that policy and now calls on Americans to range themselves completely behind their President in his virtual declaration of war on the Axis. The Americans have realised, not a moment too soon, that their hour of destiny has struck—they must meet this menace now, and neglect no means to overcome it.

As if to give point to the urgency and timeliness of American intervention, Mr. Churchill has revealed the deep westward penetration of the Nazi counter-blockade and the imminence of the threat to the coasts and the shipping of the United States. If the British Navy were to break under the tremendous strain imposed on it by the defection of France, America would at once be fighting for its life in its own waters and territories. Hitler may well complain now of “provocation,” a word he has used so lightly and falsely of the lamb-like victims he has killed and eaten one by one. What “provocation” did any one of them offer him compared with this tremendous act and deed of President Roosevelt ? And what is his answer to that ?

He dares not so much as call it “provocation”—that inevitable preliminary, in his mouth, to acts of war. He dare not admit even to himself, much less to his people, the dread and fatal fact that America is in the war against him. The significance of this decisive intervention is minimised and obscured; the German people are assured that it means nothing, will affect nothing, and will change nothing. Hitler, being what he is, may persuade himself even to this, but he will never persuade those Germans whose memories are still free to wander back to the last conflict with the United States.

President Roosevelt’s words have sunk deep; they have shaken the Axis and the deeds that are to follow will break it. Hitler, in his “bitter need” is putting forth his whole strength to cut the lifeline between Britain and the “arsenal of democracy.” He will fail and in failing will fall. The mounting strength of the forces he has evoked will crack and crush him. He will be destroyed and with him all the evil that is flowing from him, because the survival of human liberty, dignity, honour and virtue depend upon it