Of late we have been hearing a great deal about international conferences. No less than three such conferences were held, the last of which has just come (to a close according to a dispatch from Moscow.
First there was the Moscow conference. At this conference the foreign ministers of England, China, Russia, and our own Secretary of State, Mr. Cordell Hull, were the principal parties. This conference was hailed as a great success and the American Press certainly gave Mr. Hull a large share of the credit for the accomplishments at Moscow. We were told in glowing terms about the splendid achievements of wonderful harmony among the ‘big four.’ Various questions about present political and international problems in connection with the prosecution of the war were settled in an amicable way around the conference table. And also on the postwar problems they came to certain very important agreements. Secretary Hull assured the American public that there were no secret agreements. However, subsequently it became clear that some of the most important postwar problems were not discussed. Nothing was said for example about the fate of some of the smaller nations in postwar Europe. It was agreed that the Italian formula of self-government, the people choosing their own leaders and form of government, would be applied to the liberated nations. However, it was significantly added that this formula of self-government, the people choosing their own leaders and form of government, would be applied to the liberated nations. However, it was significantly added that this formula of self-government will not apply until the boundary disputes are settled. This means in none diplomatic language that e.g. a country like Russia which has boundary disputes with Finland, Rumania, the Baltic states, Poland etc., will first ‘settle’ these disputes before the people con choose their own form of government. In other words Russia will first take what it wants and then the people that are left can do as they desire. Concerning this particular agreement there appeared an article in the Herald American of Nov. 22, under the caption “Sacrifices to Communism.” The article states among other things: “It is plainly evident that Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, probably Czechoslovakia, and many others have been abandoned to Russia by a formula which says no “self-determination” will be extended to them until their territorial future is determined, since that will be when Russia has taken armed possession of them, and practically incorporated their territory in Russia, and says “take them away if you can—which would necessarily mean another war.” Thus far the quotation. Hence, even though there was the greatest harmony among the conferees, and even though Austria was promised independence after the war, the Moscow conference looks very much like a great victory for the ‘Russian Bear.’ And it certainly would be most logical that Russia becomes the dominant power on the European continent after the war is finished and won by the Allies. Naturally the Christian Church fears the power of ruthless, atheistic communism.
The Moscow conference had hardly come to a “successful conclusion” or there were rumors in the air about another conference and that there was great political news in the making. By now we know that another conference has taken place in Cairo, Egypt, among the ‘big three:’ Roosevelt, Churchill, and Chiang Kai-Shek the Generalissimo of the Chinese Republic. That important discussions were held among the ‘big three’ follows from the nature of the case. At this conference the questions of strategy, of the immense complications of global warfare, and matters of territorial boundaries, the latter especially in connection with the Japanese Empire, were discussed. That it was an august body which met in Cairo is plain from the fact that both Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt were accompanied by their entire general staff. There were more than two hundred British diplomats and military men, the American delegation numbered a hundred men, and China had about twenty men present. We are told that the conference decided on a final drive on the Reich due this winter. Various details were worked out at the conference and unrelenting pressure on Germany was promised. At this conference it was also decided that the Japanese Empire is to be broken up and that Japan is to be reduced to a minor power. The daily papers stated that the heads of the three governments had agreed: (1) “Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914.” (2) “All the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa and the Pescodores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.” (3) “Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed.” (4) “In due course Korea shall become free and independent.” Naturally, various political questions and postwar territorial claims are to be settled at a later date. But if the agreement of the ‘big three’ is to be executed and realized this would mean a realignment in the Orient. Japan would become a small, unimportant country and China would become the leading and dominating power of Asia.
Hardly had this conference come to a close or Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill, presumably with their general staffs proceeded to go to Teheran, the Persian capital, where they were to meet with the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. While I am writing this article word, has just been released that this conference has come to a close, however its decisions and results are as yet not known to the general public. One of the chief topics has undoubtedly been the war strategy against Germany. Detailed plans were perhaps drawn up with respect to a coordinated drive against Germany from the West by the Allies, England and America, and, from the East by Russia. A new psychological ‘war of nerves’ may also be expected against Germany in the near future. The conference also may have dealt with problems about postwar reconstruction of Europe, the rebuilding of Russia’s devastated cities, perhaps an agreement has been made about various territorial boundaries, the rehabilitation of the conquered nations etc. etc. It is also expected that these ‘big three’ have drafted an ultimatum to Nazi Germany demanding immediate unconditional surrender or suffer total destruction. However it is not likely that Russia has made any agreements with the Allies which would conflict with her present well known policy to divide Europe as she sees fit. Before the conference ever started the papers stated already: “Washington officials are confident of complete understanding between the President, Churchill, and Stalin, on all the remaining major questions with the possible exception of boundary problems.” Russia is a powerful nation, thus far she has stood the brunt of the fighting, and she naturally has a strong voice and a determined will at the conference table.
Reading about such momentous decisions and political maneuvers it seems that the destiny of mankind is in the hands of a few men. However, it is a great comfort for the child of God to know that the Lord, God Almighty, reigns- as King Supreme and that He executes His will and realizes His counsel. If this was not so we might indeed be apprehensive about the future. Thanks to God we know that He will bring sin His own way and by His eternally determined means the climax of all things.
Progress of the War
The latest news can be briefly summed up as follows: In the Russian theatre much bloody fighting is going on at the present. The Russians have scored tremendous gains this past summer. At present however the Russian offensive seems to have slowed down considerably and Germany is making a supreme effort to regain the initiative. We are told by the daily papers that bloody battles along a 600 mile front are raging wherein Germany attempts to regain the control of vital communications and supply lines and halt the surging Russian drive to the old Polish border. It still remains to be seen whether Germany can make any worthwhile gains or whether the Russians are strong enough to hold on to their present positions and get ready for new, crushing offensive battles-. Fact is that although Germany has sustained terrific losses both in men and material, as to date the German Army shows no signs of an immediate collapse.
It becomes more evident by the day that the Allied drive in Italy was a great disappointment and certainly upset the time table for the conquest of Italy. Our Armies are still more than 60 miles away from Rome. Our men in the 5th Army, under General Clark, who at present are slashing into the Nazi winterline, have seen some bitter fighting, and their progress is slow. The 8th Army under Montgomery has finally crossed the Sangro river and thereby threatens the main German positions of its so-called winterline. How long (the battle will last before the Allies enter Rome, no one knows. Hopes are high that the worst is over in this particular theatre of war. But that leaves Northern Italy still full of German soldiers. The continual rains and the difficult terrain of fighting have done much to slow up the progress of the 5th and 8th Army.
Recently the U.S. marines launched an offensive against some of the Gilbert Islands in the Mid-Pacific. Our marines were victorious in their adventure, but at a very heavy cost of men. The conquest was accomplished at a cost of 3772 American fighting men, either killed or wounded. At this rate the loss of life will be terrific when our Navy undertakes major offensive battles against the Japanese. Recently we read an article about the fanatical tenacity of the Japanese soldier. One of our military men stated: “The Japanese soldier fights to die, the Allied soldier fights to live.” One thing is clear, we should not underestimate the Japs. It is reasonable to expect that during the coming winter our Navy will undertake more offensive blows against the outer defense ring of the Japanese empire.
The Allies are still waging the air offensive against Germany. Berlin, the capital of Germany, has of late been severely bombed. Within the last two weeks no less than 7500 tons of bombs have been released upon the city. It is claimed that from one fourth to one third of the city is in complete ruins. According to reports, many more severe aerial blows are to be executed against Germany during the winter. No less than fifty two cities are on the list for total destruction. It is horrible to think about it what all this means in terms of sorrow, trouble, destruction, fear and death.
Of late there have been several peace rumors, but high officials tell us not to put any stock in them. The opinion seems to be quite general that Germany will, not collapse internally this winter under a sustained aerial offensive, and no-decisive defeat is expected on the battle fields till next year. If this estimation is correct it means that some very bloody fighting lies ahead of our armies and that the future rate of casualties will be heavy when the Allies invade the European fortress. Some experts believe that our casualties will be extremely heavy when the Allies start their invasion of the West. And then of course we still have to deal with Japan. Hence, it is not true that the war is over except for the shouting. The worst, climatic history In terms of loss of men, perhaps with the exception of Russia, is still to come. Raymond Clapper wrote in one of his latest syndicated articles these significant words: “Many people think the war is over when Germany surrenders, but for us the dying will only have begun.” The latest list of our American casualties for all branches of the armed forces has reached already the formidable figure of 126,969 killed, wounded, prisoners, missing.
On the Domestic Front
Space does not permit us to broaden out on this point at all. Let me mention a few of the things that are going on at home.
As far as eating is concerned the American people certainly are well fed. Those in authority claim that food supplies of most things are adequate and will continue so.
We are piling up a tremendous bill of war. Only part of the cost of this war is paid for at the present. The future generation will be burdened with a tremendous debt the equal of which has not been in all the history of the world. It is estimated that the present war will cost the U.S.A. at least 300,000,000, 000 dollars. An astronomical figure which we can mention but none of us has the slightest idea how much 300 billion dollars really amounts to.
Roth business and labor makes money on this war. In fact practically all classes of people in our Country benefit financially from the present war. And still people are never satisfied, much to the chagrin of the boys that have to do the fighting.
The inflation which our government tries to curb and control is of late threatening to expand faster than ever. Washington we are told is full of lobbyists, each fighting for his own group. Labor wants higher wages, especially since John Lewis practically got what he asked for. The so-called ‘little steel’ formula is out of date, so the labor leaders claim. The farmers fight tooth and nail for the abandonment of ‘subsidies.’ They want a free market for their products and uncontrolled prices. The politicians in Washington seem to be afraid to take matters in hand, afraid to curb inflation, afraid to tax the people etc. With them the trouble seems to be votes. They want to offend no more people than is necessary, lest they lose out in next year’s election.
Daily the American people are told to be patriotic and to put everything in the war effort. However, a great many individuals and groups try to squeeze out of the war as much as they can. No wonder that one hears a protest every so often from our boys that do the fighting in the fox-holes, in the air, and on the seven seas. Yes, indeed, ‘democracy’ as we speak of it and have it in our own country is very cumbersome, has its many weaknesses, and certainly will never bring the glory and the golden age of which many philosophers and politicians dream.
What are we to do? We should be faithful in our task as citizens of America. But let us not be deceived as if a future ideal state of affairs were in store for us. Our expectations are not from man. Our goal is not the earth. With the patriarchs of old we should ever more intensely seek the Country and the City that is above. For we expect new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwelleth.