Editorial – Growing Together (video)

23 August 1941

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 23 August 1941

Growing Together

The parallel of the Wilsonian ” points ” must have occurred to everyone who listened last Thursday to the joint declaration of President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill. Most of us doubtless took comfort from the recollection that Germany’s collapse followed swiftly on President Wilson’s historic ” encyclical.”

But then the United States was at war, and rapidly becoming the most powerful partner in the alliance against Germany. President Wilson commanded almost unanimous support in America. It is possible that the United States is a more effective factor in this war than in the last, though still “non-belligerent.” Nay, it is conceivable that Germany might have been defeated in the last war without American aid, but not that we should win without American help in this war.

And yet President Roosevelt, head of a State which is undoubtedly exercising a decisive influence on the war is not yet authorised to take any belligerent action whatever against the Nazis. Nevertheless, in this totalitarian scrimmage with forces that know no law and obey no rule, there is nothing essentially incongruous in this joint declaration by two heads of State, one engaged in war, the other desperately holding itself back from war. The declaration on the face of it is a declaration of human, racial and national rights; not an ultimatum to any nation or group of nations, but a definition of the issue now being fought out.

For every one of the eight Roosevelt- Churchill propositions is a total repudiation of the Nazi philosophy. They lay down the working rules for a world in which Hitlerism could not breathe, just as the New Order is utterly stifling to all as men have hitherto conceived it.

The eight points are the peace aims of all who wish to see the world survive the awful tyranny that now menaces it. The sixth visualises the final destruction of Nazi tyranny and the eighth promises present disarmament of the aggressors while the world is being made made safe once more for democracy.

Insofar as the declaration has helped to clarify the minds of men who are still fighting or capable of fighting for these ideals, it is a document of immediate as well as historic value and importance. It may help also to encourage resistance in the occupied countries and it will certainly fortify the mind and spirit of those now at death-grips with the powerful Nazi machine. It it easy to over-estimate its moral effect on the Axis peoples, though they will certainly not relish the striking evidence it affords of rapid progress towards total alliance between Britain and America.

For the declaration is a mockery unless it leads to unreserved co-operation throughout the English-speaking world. President Roosevelt has from the first spoken and acted ahead of American public opinion, but never more boldly and decisively than in this instance. It is that aspect of the declaration which will impress the Germans and their wretched satellites in Italy, France and the Far East, for they are concerned not with moral gestures, but with what lies behind them. They have denied in their souls every principle affirmed in this declaration, and will surrender not to the superior morality of the British and the Americans, but to the superior force which will eventually grow out of that moral agreement. Deeds, deeds, deeds, alone, will decide these moral issues.

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