It is difficult to obtain a proper conception of the war that is now raging in Europe.
Certain it appears, that in the two decades since the last “world war” modern culture has made tremendous strides in the progress of the “art” to destroy one another!
Haw the “common grace” theorists would explain the present conflagration of hatred and destruction one could be curious to know.
Difficult it is, too, at the present time to discover and pass a correct judgment on what may be the immediate historic cause of the present war, and to which of the two conflicting parties the blame belongs. Public opinion as molded by newspaper and radio comments, is motivated largely by sentiment. Some there are whose sentiment is pro-German, others are motivated in their judgment by an old anti-British sentiment, strengthened no doubt, in recent days by the glaring fact, that Great Britain left all her little friends in the lurch. There are the different sentiments of the various nationalities represented in our country. In the bosom of the American nation there is ample occasion for sentiment. There is, besides, the rather general sentiment of feeling for the “under-dog.” There is the Jewish sentiment, the Finnish sentiment, the Norwegian sentiment, the Czechoslovakian sentiment, the Polish sentiment, and the recently aroused Holland sentiment. Who did not pity the Jews, when they were cruelly oppressed by the power of Nazism? Whose indignation was not aroused when the clumsy Russian Bear struck out its brutal claws to destroy little Finland? And whose blood did not boil when the overwhelming German forces attacked neutral Holland?
Yet, by sentiment we can never determine the historic causes of conflicts like the one now raging in the old world.
And sentiment usually does not lay the blame where it belongs.
Many causes could, perhaps, be mentioned as concurring in the bringing about of this war.
But to me one thing seems certain: the present war is a direct continuation of the “World-war.” You may trace the cause of it to the Treaty of Versailles. By that treaty the seeds of hatred were sown that are now bearing such terrible fruit. That treaty was inspired by hatred and greed on the part of the victorious allies, who after all were not so victorious as they seemed; and their evident purpose was to strip the vanquished Germans, who were not as vanquished as they appeared, as naked as they could possibly strip them. The German army was disbanded; the German navy was scuttled; her colonies were taken from Germany; the German homeland was cut into by other nations; and an impossible war-debt was imposed upon her.
It was “vae victis,” indeed!
The allies forgot in their hatred and greed, that a nation like Germany may for a time submit to the inevitable, but while she submits will at the same time make up her mind to take vengeance as soon as possible.
This is just what happened.
The Germans recuperated. They grew strong again. And the hatred of the allies and the determination to avenge themselves was a strong incentive to them to realize the will to become strong again to the highest possible degree.
They began to shake off their chains.
And when they met with opposition on the part of France and Great Britain they let the world know that they would stop for nothing. Rallied around that man of the hour, strange, ungodly, fanatic, who seems to be a genius just the same, Adolph Hitler, they are determined to wreak terrible vengeance upon their enemies, especially Great Britain.
This is one factor that must enter into every historic explanation of the present conflict.
The Treaty of Versailles was no peace, but war!
And now the Germans are sowing the seeds of new hatred and more war.
Their desire for vengeance and lust for power is blinding their vision.
Ruthlessly they trampled underfoot the right of small nations: Poland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium.
Everywhere the German armies are victorious.
But do they not realize that more and more they make themselves the abject of a fierce hatred everywhere?
It is impossible at the time of this writing to predict the possible outcome of this war. Will Hitler’s Blitzkrieg succeed? To many it seems that it must succeed, if the Germans are to win the war at all. But the armies in northern France and southern Belgium are offering a fierce resistance. The British Isles are still intact, and as long as Great Britain is not subdued, Hitler has not won the war. The British navy is surely still a power to be reckoned with. The small nations that have been overrun are submitting to the inevitable, but are by no means conquered in spirit.
But, surely, seeds of hatred are abundantly sawn by the Germans everywhere.
Behind the German victorious forces there are already sprouting the seeds of new war.
Hatred and more hatred.
War and more war.
And in it all God is ruling sovereignly.
And also Hitler is His servant.
About this we will write more in our next issue, D.V.