Our Part in the Present Chaos.
It has by this time become clear that the United States is almost pledged not only to aid Great Britain materially but also to fight her battle. Before the melodramatic meeting of the President of our country and the Prime Minister of England there were indications of our increasing share. Since that meeting President Roosevelt has delivered a speech declaring that our Navy has been given orders to shoot at any Axis boats which threatened our safety in defense waters. Undoubtedly matters of great importance were discussed by these two leaders at that historical meeting. However the important decisions that were made about specific collaboration between the countries, which was probably the chief part of their discussion, was not made known to the public, which can be readily understood. Yet there did appear a program containing eight points which both Roosevelt and Churchill signed, as their joint declaration.
It may be of interest to examine their eight point program.
“First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;
“Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned;
“Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;
“Fourth, they will endeavor, with due respect for their existing obligations to further enjoyment by all states, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;
“Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;
“Sixth, after the final destruction of Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;
“Seventh, such a peace shall enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;
“Eighth, they believe that all the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must come to the abandonment of the use of force.
“Since the future peace cannot be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending a wider and more permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential.
“They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving’ peoples the crushing burden of armaments.”
We all would probably have some criticism of the sentiments expressed in these points. Aside from the evident “power politics” that certainly has much to say in the present conflict it is probably the best statement of the war aims of the allies. It is idealistic. It reminds one of the eighteen points of President Wilson, at least the ideal of them. For England and the United States it is rather easy to make the first assertion. The sixth point combines the real aim of the war, the destruction of Nazi tyranny with an ideal of mankind in general, namely, that men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want. Surely we cannot conclude that Nazi tyranny is preventing the realization of the freedom of mankind. There are the many other tyrannies all related to the one tyranny of sin. Because of the failure to realize that tyranny man goes on to visualize the abandonment of force. In this sinful world it can never be realized. We hardly believe that the nations who once talked of disarmament can really mean to speak of the same illusion. It almost seems as though it is necessary to make the chaos of war logical and justifiable and therefore that final feeble promise is given too, namely, to lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.
Although the war aims are expressed in such veiled and idealistic language we still conclude it really means we are entering into greater chaos. In spite of all the attempts of the Isolationists, the program of our country is taking definite shape—entry into war. That policy was shaped immediately when this country was committed to aid Britain. If we said “A” we must continue and say “B” and “C” etc. The Neutrality Act has been discarded. Our policy is now the freedom of the seas. In this sinful world that policy can only mean domination of the world.
To speak of a duty to protect weaker nations is true in itself, but to speak of that as a righteous act on the part of the democracies confuses things. We do not know the motives that are in the minds of the leaders of the nations. But judging from their past history the actions now of entering the war cannot be righteous. There are also acts of aggression in their past history. Their present position is founded upon acts of aggression. Their history is stained. Even now there are glaring injustices against races and people within their own borders. Before they can act as arbiters they must take out the beam in their own eye.
If we would speak of our part as a Christian in the present chaos, it must not be to attempt to untangle the mess, to restore order in the chaos. It is our duty to see that the present chaos is the judgment of God upon all the foolish attempts of mankind to save itself. Let it be a sign to us that even though there arise a semblance of worldly order and peace as is spoken of by the idealists that it cannot be the true order. It also shall perish from the face of the earth. Our part as Christians is to stand and wait in this chaos looking for our redemption. We may be comforted that when these confusions are taking place our redemption draweth nigh.
The Great Test of the Battle of the War so Far.
The battle now raging between the Nazis and the Russians is the greatest battle that has been fought so far in this war. The results so far have been rather a surprise to the world. The ability of the Russians to hold the Germans was underestimated. However, it is yet premature to say what the outcome will be. Whatever it will be, it will have great and grave implications for future history. We all are waiting to see how it will turn out. I think a statement by Douglas Miller in the Atlantic Monthly, September, is interesting. He says:
“The first two months of the present war with their alternations of ‘sitz and blitz’ are now definitely over. For the first time in this contest the German armies are hotly engaged on a 2,000-mile front against the Red armies. From June 1941 onward the consumption of German war materials leaps upward at a rapid rate. The large movements of men involved, the heavy use of mechanized equipment, the long distance, the wretched roads, all combine to place a strain on any war machine—even Hitler’s mechanized battalions. There can be no question that this summer at least, the Nazis are burning up and wearing out vast amounts of material. The wide plains of western Russia must he strewn with abandoned motorized equipment. Germany can afford to lose the steel involved in this destruction, but can she supply the skilled labor, the engineering capacity, the special alloys to replace these losses? Not quickly or easily; and, as far as some of the alloys are concerned, not at all. German soldiers are wearing; out boots on the Russian roads that cannot be replaced out of conquered supplies; and uniforms and overcoats were manufactured of imported wool that is far to seek. Never again in this war will the German army have the same wealth of material it now common has, to shoot away or consume. If Germany faces a sustained attack on the west or on the south, she will have to encounter it with inferior equipment and inadequate material resources.”
The more it comes to our ears that the Germans are being defeated, I think that so it will also be true that we will hear of many more groups than the American Legion go over to the side of those who shout that we must not stop until Nazism is crushed. The clearer it becomes to the Americans that an English victory will mean prosperity and all the freedom they desire the more will the present administration gain support of its policy.