Editorial – Hitler’s Stockingless Christmas

27 December 1941

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 27 December 1941

Hitler’s Stockingless Christmas

When we have given full value to the Japanese successes in the Far East and to the shortcomings of Anglo-American defence there the present outlook offers many consolatory features which may lend a gleam of cheerful ness to our Christmas.

The American Pacific fleet has disappeared into the blue and presumably will not reappear until it has brought the Japanese to battle. The massive invasion which the Japanese are now attempting in the Philippines looks like rashness and overconfidence, with a powerful enemy battle fleet in being. What. is really happening is that the Japanese are gambling on a lightning war to give them a firm strategic grip of the Pacific before the disconcerted American and British naval forces can be rallied, reorganised, and concentrated. Then the Japanese hope to turn from blitzkrieg to sitzktieg, and defy to turn them out, as Hitler is doing in Europe.

Such a plan is sufficient to explain the multiple and complicated expeditions the Japanese are undertaking under covet of temporary command of the Pacific. Short of further naval disasters to the Anglo-American force that command cannot long he maintained and the Japanese are not losing a moment of it, they are going hard where the going is good. Unfortunately (as well as surprisingly) the going is good in Malaya where, if the truth must be confessed, neither our strategy nor our tactics has been impressive. If the Japanese whirlwind campaign is not quickly checked and countered we shall find it difficult to disinfest the Pacific of the yellow pest, but, it amounts to no more than that. The Jap has no real hope of maintaining himself permanently against the mighty potential power of the United States and the British Empire, unless Hitler wins the main contest, and it is the more surprising that the Japanese came into the struggle at a moment when Hitler’s star was plainly setting.

It may be that they felt the impelling necessity to cash their nuisance value at once if they were to cash it at all, but their only hope of effective action, the resources of diplomacy having failed, was to strike a foul blow and to strike deep and hard. In the very process they hardened the heart of their enemies and put themselves beyond all hope of forgiveness, reconciliation or accommodation. They started this war in such a way that they must needs win it or accept penalties which will search them to the heart.

A Christmas dinner consisting solely of Far Eastern war news would not be especially appetising, but we have better fare on hand. We may rightly rejoice in the discomfiture of Hitler and the German nation whose Christmas will be embittered by the knowledge, inescapable though unadmitted, that the great attack on Russia has failed, the fearful price paid for it has been paid in vain, and that Get many now lies in deadly danger of the recoil. The rout of Rommel in Libya is another line of hand• writing on the wall, warning Germany that the phase of Nazi ascendancy in armoured warfare is at an end, and that Britain is ; in the field with plenty of armoured and mechanised force and the will and skill to use them. Hitler, in desperation, has assumed personal command of the German armies, with no other qualification than his legend of infallibility, his mystical semi-divinity. It is a poor substitute for the wonderful staff work of the German High Command now thrust aside by this strutting paranoiac. The manoeuvre has all the appearance of a desperate remedy for a desperate disease—a lethal dose of Hitlerism for a drugged nation already half dead of it.

The High Command once more secures its “alibi.” In the hour of defeat it was able to make a scapegoat of the Kaiser in the last war; this time Hitler has indemnified them and put himself on the “spot.” The German war machine is cracking and crumbling, groaning and grumbling. The collapse may be long deferred, by changing fortune or the inherent toughness and dogged loyalty of the German race. But when it comes, the first victim will be the beloved Fuehrer, who will be destroyed by his dupes before his victims can reach him. Meanwhile it is some satisfaction to think of the unhappy Christmas that is undoubtedly coming to Hitler.

This Macbeth is entering the shadows, and they are deepening and closing around him, thick with the ghosts of his crimes and follies.