Mexborough and Swinton Times November 18, 1939
The Gentle Queen
The Queen’s broadcast to the women of the Empire was one of the war’s loveliest interludes. Her gentle voice is rarely heard in public and her subjects think of her as a bonny face with a sweet smile. Millions heard her for the first time on Sunday, and were deeply touched by the matter and the manner of her address, which could not have been bettered. It was as a woman to women that she spoke, with all the infinite tenderness of her sex in the presence of sorrow and tragedy.
No one could listen to her without the profound conviction that she stands as an example to all women of patience, gentleness, and courage in suffering —and something more, cheerful determination to be practical and busy in the multitude of little feminine tasks which women can perform—if not to win the war, to make the war endurable for those who have the grim duty of seeing it through.
After the raucous tirades of the “You-taught-us-how-to-hate” school, our gentle Queen came like “cooling fragrance in the heat; solace in the midst of woe.”
The Marlborough Touch
Mr. Churchill’s second broadcast review had the authentic Marlborough touch. Mr. Churchill is the most hated and feared Englishman in Germany. Nazi cartoonists portray him as a monster of wickedness—a deceitful and bloodthirsty man such as, the Psalmist says, “shall not live out half his days.” To Hitler, who knows little of England and the English, Churchill is the head and centre, the pillar and ground of English Teutophobia.
The Germans ascribe to Churchill the evil influence over Chamberlain that we believe Ribbentrop to have exercised over Hitler. But Mr. Churchill owes his present position to Hitler himself. In Mr. Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement Mr. Churchill had no place. Mr. Churchill steadily predicted the failure of this policy, and not until Hitler proved him right and forced Mr. Chamberlain into war did Mr. Churchill Come forward into the Government. The Prime Minister then gladly and gratefully availed of the dynamic energy of the man who, whatever his defects, is brilliantly outstanding in that quality and has no counterpart in the War Cabinet of any country. Mr. Churchill put into his latest defiance all the invective and sarcasm of which he is an acknowledged master.
Hitler he assailed with a turgid rush of epithets unknown to the language of diplomacy and absent, even in the heat of war, from the grave, measured utterances of our Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. Hitler and his gang are scoundrels and criminals, and why mince words in saying so? That was the temper in which Mr. Churchill spoke to Germany, and in that spirit he jeered and gibed at their “humanity to the strong.” This is the language of war, and however one may deplore war and all that arises from it, few people in this country to-day can have any illusions left as to the real character of the men who have brought this catastrophe on Europe. Few will gainsay Mr. Churchill’s indictment, however vigorously expressed, of the cowardly villainy with which Germany has used her recovered strength.
However much we may prefer the dignified moderation of Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Halifax, we have to admit that there are depths of infamy that only a Churchill can adequately describe and condemn. Its language apart, there was much in Mr. Churchill’s plainspeaking that needed to be said to the leaders of the German people. Doubtless it would be translated with every distortion calculated to anger the Germans, and there was in the speech much matter for the purpose. But all British statements are so misrepresented in Germany so that no goodwill is lost or gained by modulation.
What has been made plain by Mr. Churchill is that Great Britain and France cannot be moved by threats, and are ready to meet and endure the utmost malice of their enemy, well knowing that they will be spared nothing on the score of humanity but only from fear of their own great power of retaliation. For many weeks dark hints of air massacre have been thrown out. But the German military leaders well know the difficulty and danger of such an enterprise; the German people realise the certain and terrible repercussions of such a stroke. These threats are integral to the German psychology of war always there is primary reliance on intimidation, and the Nazi leaders are reluctant to accept the terrible truth that at last they are come to answer stony adversaries not to be moved by mere sound and fury, or the breathing of threats and slaughter.
Deeds and not words will decide this awful issue, and in wasting their words the Germans are wasting something far more precious. They have a plain choice between war and peace it is for them to count the cost of such a war as they must wage against such an adversary, and balance it against the sacrifice of that mad ambition which has made the Nazi system unendurable and incompatible with European civilisation.