Can Putin Survive?
The Lessons of the Soviet Collapse
BY the majestic series of agreements signed in Paris in October last, which at the time of writing still await completion of ratification, the Western European Powers, in association where appropriate with the United States, have marked out a decisive step towards the reinforcement of their security in the face of the menace looming over them from the East. The fact that they have reached these agreements is a sign that they have recognized their peril and that they possess the necessary vigor to translate their fears into action. The profound misgivings which have understandably attended the course of the negotiations, and which indeed still deeply perturb many minds and have caused heartsearchings about ratification, are the measure of the difficulties inherent in the situation and of the gravity of the problems which called for solution. They also bear witness to the courage and skill of the European statesmen who, with support and encouragement from the United States Secretary of State, brought these agreements into being. All the statesmen concerned have deserved well of the free world; but without the bold, imaginative and superbly timed initiatives of Sir Anthony Eden it is doubtful whether success could have been wrested from the disastrous crisis precipitated by the French Assembly's rejection of the E.D.C. Treaty.
The misgivings about these agreements were of several kinds: misgivings about the extent to which they did or did not draw inspiration from the idea of a United Europe under supranational institutions; misgivings about the proposal for a military contribution by the Federal German Republic to Western defense; and misgivings lest their conclusion should stand in the way of German reunification, or should provoke a violent reaction from the Soviet Union. As to the last of these, I would here quote in passing a remark made by Castlereagh when one of his colleagues urged that it was important to avoid irritating the Tsar Alexander "by a pertinacious opposition which is unlikely to be successful." To this Castlereagh replied: "You must make up your mind to watch and resist him as another Bonaparte. . . . Acquiescence will not keep him back nor will opposition accelerate his march."
When the agreements are brought into force, there can be good hope that, through the creation of the Western European Union upon the well-tried foundation of the Brussels Treaty Organization, there will be a reconciliation between France and Germany, and that the main obstacle to common action by the Western European Powers will thus be removed; and that the Federal Republic will take her place as a loyal member of the Western European Community and will be able to make a contribution to Western defense in conditions which will provide adequate safeguards against the revival of militaristic or ultranationalistic policies. The terms of the agreements being such that the United Kingdom was able to subscribe wholeheartedly to them, and indeed to make a decisive contribution to their conclusion, the new Union will be fortified by the Commonwealth and transatlantic associations of the British Government. Within the wider Atlantic community, the members of this intimate Western European group will add strength to and draw strength from their other European associates and from the United States and Canada, the two representatives of the New World which--in a measure undreamt of by George Canning--have been called in to redress the balance of the Old.
Now that these pregnant possibilities have been opened up, what of the future relations between Russia and Germany? What of the prospects of German reunification?
Before looking forward, we may look around and look back.
The seven states which have entered into these agreements (Belgium, France, the Federal German Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) include those which, above all others, created and still have vitality to help to sustain the precious inheritance of Western European civilization which now faces the supreme challenge of its history. Among them are those which, with Spain and Portugal, projected themselves across the oceans and founded the new communities of what has been styled "Europe overseas." Some of these communities, themselves participants in and contributors to the common European inheritance, have more than once in the past, and now in our own time more powerfully than ever, moved in to safeguard the cause of freedom in Europe.
Western Europe, a small peninsula at the western tip of the great Eurasian continent, is highly populated, rich in inventiveness and skill, with high industrial and military potential, but lacking in space for manœuvre, vulnerable to attack, an inestimable prize for an invader, the nerve-center of the civilized world. It has faced perils in the past, from Huns, Tartars, Moors and Ottoman Turks, and has beaten them back. It has in our own day survived the onslaught of the renegade European who sought to institute a New Order based upon as foul a régime as has ever been found in human history. Cruel and tyrannous as it is, the Power by which Western Europe is today even more dangerously menaced has (unlike Nazism) at least something to be said for it, and therein lies the root of the danger. In its origins, the fundamental objective of Communism, which is to bring to an end the exploitation of man by man for his own profit, is a humane one. But in pursuing it, and other objectives less respectable, the Communist leaders have framed a doctrine and developed a practice which are aimed at the seizure of power by their adherents everywhere, and which inevitably lead to a denial of the freedom of the human spirit. And since the inheritance of Western civilization--at its best such a gracious thing--is, for all its grave shortcomings, founded on the freedom of the human spirit, the opposition of the two régimes is complete.
The polarization of power in two mighty concentrations based on Washington and Moscow, which marks the present age, was foreseen long ago by, among others, de Tocqueville and Henry Adams. Wars, especially total wars of the modern type, which use the latest skills and resources of technology, accentuate existing trends. The strong grow relatively stronger and the less strong grow relatively weaker. The United States has mightily increased its strength in two successful wars. The First World War made possible the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917; the Second World War opened the way for the subjugation of Eastern Europe by the Communists, and for the subjection of the peoples of China to Communist control. The massive industrialization of Russia, begun in Tsarist times, will be one of Stalin's most permanent titles to fame. Now the two giant Powers overtop all the rest. Not one of the others could conduct a world war with its own resources: not one of them could conduct more than a local war without assistance. They could be allies, even indispensable allies of the greater Powers, but not their rivals.
Lord Acton once said: "This law of the modern world, that power tends to expand indefinitely, and will transcend all barriers, abroad and at home, until met by superior forces, produces the rhythmic movement of history." In Asia there is still a vast debatable land between the two opposing groups. In Europe they have moved up to their common frontier and stand face to face. For us in Western Europe the enemy is at the gate; indeed he is within the gate. His agents are the great Communist Parties of France and Italy, and in other countries those citizens who, giving their allegiance to a foreign Power, make honest men their dupes and persuade them to undermine the foundations of the state. The power of Russia was foreseen; but as I have said elsewhere, "what was not foreseen was that this great force, directed by a consistent body of doctrine, and operating through a carefully designed system of political strategy and tactics, implacable in purpose but flexible in method, would take as its objective the establishment of its own particular organization of society throughout the world."
In Europe the frontier between the two halves of the world runs through Germany. In Europe the main contest now joined is for the body and soul of Germany. Upon the issue of this contest the future of Western Europe and indeed of the free world may well depend.
The line dividing the British and American zones of occupation in Germany from the Soviet Zone was drawn by the European Advisory Commission and approved by the member governments. During the earlier part of their deliberations in 1944, the European Advisory Commission, since they had to find some basis for their plans, worked on the assumption that there would still, at the armistice, be some central German authority which would continue to exercise a measure of jurisdiction during the occupation and after the establishment of the control. When it became clear in 1945 that the central German authority would disintegrate, the Commission made provision for the assumption of supreme authority by the occupying Powers themselves; and after the military surrender, this is the system that was instituted at a Four-Power meeting of Commanders-in-Chief in Berlin in June 1945. Even so, although under the mechanism of control then established, each Commander-in-Chief would exercise supreme authority in his own zone, and the joint Four-Power authority would be supreme in matters affecting Germany as a whole, it was still contemplated--at any rate on the British and American side--that the zones would not be sealed off from each other and that there would be a good measure of free movement from one zone to another. In line with this, it was decided at the Potsdam Conference that, although no central German Government was to be established for the time being, there was to be uniformity of treatment of the German population throughout Germany, and Germany was to be treated as a single economic unit. The Soviet Government disregarded these agreements, put down a barrier along the Western frontiers of their zone, stripped their zone of industrial equipment in the interests of their own reconstruction, and in time set about building up a so-called People's Democracy in Eastern Germany.
Had the Potsdam agreement been faithfully observed, something like what has since happened in Western Germany might have happened in Germany as a whole. The rehabilitation of local government, the economic assistance, the fusion of the zones, the currency reform, the bringing into being of a central government, the emancipation of Germany from military government and administrative control--these are the steps that might well have been taken on a Four-Power basis had the Russians not been Russians. The fact that the Russians had sealed off their zone and would not come to an agreement about Germany as a whole gave the Western Powers an opportunity, of which (after some initial reluctance on the part of the French) they made good use, to see that the developments which they were fostering in their zones, and which came to fruition in the establishment of the Federal Government, were directed to the promotion of truly democratic institutions in our own sense of the word and to the inculcation of a truly democratic outlook. He would be a bold man who would confidently predict that the kind of government over which Dr. Adenauer presides would permanently survive, or that the Federal Republic would always be a comfortable partner in the Western European Union. But if the Federal Republic is a healthier political and social organism than was the Weimar Republic (and there can be little doubt it is), the credit must in good measure be attributed (though there are also domestic reasons) to the enlightened political and economic measures of the British and American occupation authorities.
The total occupation of Germany and the assumption of supreme authority by the occupying Powers steadied the Western Zones, helped the transition from the horrors of Nazism and the desperate chaos of defeat and destruction to a new and more stable life and saved Western Germany from the ills that developed after the First World War. But none of this could have borne full fruit had it not been for the German people's will and power to work. Thanks to these, millions of refugees and expellees have been absorbed, shattered cities have been rebuilt and a prosperous economy has been established. This is one of the most remarkable achievements of our time.
Such is the setting in which the problem of the reunification of Germany now presents itself. The other side of the picture is the problem of German-Russian relations. Germany and Russia have come together in the past. Will they do so again? It is well to ask ourselves what were the circumstances in which these earlier rapprochements were brought about.
In the nineteenth century there was an effective balance of power in Europe among some half dozen Great Powers of comparable strength. Russia and Prussia were usually to be found on the same side of the scales, and this for the sufficient reason that they had a strong common interest in the continued subjection of Poland. It was only towards the close of the century, after the fall of Bismarck, that with Germany's "new course" (William II was to say in February 1914, "Russo-Prussian relations are dead once and for all! We have become enemies"), with the creation of her two-front army and of her high-seas fleet, the final estrangement began to develop; and it was owing to Germany's support of Austria-Hungary over a Balkan nationalist issue, of vital interest to the multi-racial Empire and of great moment to Russia's prestige, that they were drawn into war. After the First World War, both Russia and Germany were gravely weakened and, in spite of differences of régime, came together in the twenties at Rapallo as fellow outcasts from the international community. By 1939, both had recovered their strength, and in August of that year they again came together, once more on an anti-Polish basis. Germany was moved by her need to be free from disturbance from the Soviet side in her attack on Poland, planned for the end of August. The Soviet Union, having failed to come to an understanding with Great Britain and France, turned to Germany because Germany had more to offer; because a treaty with Germany would make it more likely that the Soviet Union could remain neutral in the now inevitable war, and could cash in on the projected partition of Poland and on the proposed delimitation of spheres of interest in the Baltic States; and because it expected that, after Germany and the Western Powers had exhausted each other, it would be the tertius gaudens, sated and secure. Matters did not turn out this way. The Soviet Union made good its spoils but did not avoid war. It was brought to the edge of defeat, and only at the cost of the harshest sufferings and bitterest sacrifices was victory in the end achieved.
What is the position today? The Soviet Union, by deploying the most intense effort, by plundering its victims and by placing crushing hardships upon its own people, has rebuilt its economy and restored and expanded its military strength: this is a colossal achievement. Germany is divided. The Eastern Zone is an abject Soviet satellite. Western Berlin is an oasis of freedom in a Communist desert. The Federal Republic has brought order and prosperity out of chaos: but it is only a part of Germany, a truncated fragment, not a Power of the first rank, not able to speak on equal terms with the Soviet Union.
What basis is there here for the reunification of Germany by agreement between West and East, or for a new Soviet-German rapprochement?
If the intentions of the Western Powers and of the Soviet Union in regard to Germany are to be judged by their acts, then it is clear that their immediate objective has been and remains to bind their respective spheres more and more closely to their own political systems. From this point of view, the Paris agreements represent no more than the crowning act in a process which has been going on since 1947. The two sides seem to be agreed in this, if in nothing else, that if they cannot bring about the reunification of Germany on terms which they conceive to be vital to their own security, then they think it better that Germany should remain divided, and that no thought of future reunification, which both declare to be their ultimate objective, should deter them from promoting in their respective areas the political and military orientation that best suits their major policies in the contest now engaged for the future of Europe and the world.
The outlook of responsible authorities in Western Germany does not, it would seem, differ substantially from this. They ardently wish for reunification in freedom, but only in freedom. Failing this, they would rather wait, and meanwhile discourage a rebirth of extreme German nationalism by a close association with the Brussels community and avert a rebirth of German militaristic ideas by, so far as may be, fusing the renascent German forces with those of the other countries of the West. The German army has in the past been used as an instrument in adult education of a questionable kind: the new Federal German forces can, in the spirit of the Brussels Treaty, become a channel for propagating positive democratic ideas in Germany and for combating current apathy and disillusion. The more firmly the Federal Republic can be founded in Western democracy, the stronger would be the pull upon the Eastern Zone, should a situation arise in which such a pull might be effective. It is the measure of the success of the postwar policy of the Western Powers, and of good hope for the future of democracy in Europe, not to be underestimated, that there should be Germans in positions of authority who think on these lines, and that the Brussels Powers could, as they did in Paris in October last, solemnly proclaim their conviction of the Federal Republic's devotion to peace and its allegiance to democratic institutions.
The decision of the Federal Government to enter into close association with the other Western Powers will naturally make it less likely than it was before--and this indeed was never very likely--that the Federal Republic will turn away from the West and seek an Eastern orientation. To do so would be to lose independence. The Soviet Union wants satellites, not allies. To contemplate securing reunification on any other terms than freedom would mean suicide for Germany. The Paris agreements, if and when they come into force, will be an additional guarantee, if any is needed, that the Federal Government, as at present constituted, will not embark on this course. The political obligations in the agreements will be reinforced by the military safeguards. The Federal German forces will be tied into the NATO infrastructure, without which they would be impotent.
"Unity," like "peace," will be a weapon in the Soviet propaganda armory to which some Western Germans, and particularly the Social Democrats, will be vulnerable. Were there to be a Social Democratic government in Bonn that proved to be less sagacious and less resolute than Dr. Adenauer's administration, the Western Powers might be hard put to it to stay them from courses of political unwisdom to which German Social Democrats seem to be especially prone.
Where the Social Democrats chiefly differ from Dr. Adenauer is in their assessment of the international situation. They hold that tension has continued to decrease since the death of Stalin, and that this offers an opportunity for negotiation with Moscow; they profess to believe that the reunification of Germany might still be achieved on terms which in substance would both ensure German freedom and be acceptable to the Soviet Government. In any event, they urge that one more attempt should be made to reach such an agreement before the Federal Republic moves into the Western Community. They do not seem ever to have clearly stated how they conceive that this circle can be squared. They have not indicated what price they think should be paid to the Russians, in terms of the definition of free elections or in terms of diminution of German sovereignty, in order to secure the abandonment of the strategically valuable Eastern German satellite and its Soviet-controlled puppet governmental party. Nor have they suggested that they would rather that a united Germany should be subjected to servitudes in a peace treaty in respect of armed forces and foreign policy (and this is what neutralization would mean) than that the Federal Republic should enjoy the equality of status embodied in the Paris agreements, subject only to safeguards which will not necessarily be perpetuated in a peace treaty. The Western Powers and Dr. Adenauer hold that there is a better chance of securing German unity in freedom, in negotiation with the Russians, after the Paris agreements have come into force than before; and that even if German unity is delayed, the Federal Republic will meanwhile be free and equal with the countries of the West.
And what, in the Western conception, does "unification in freedom" mean? The three Western occupying Powers have stated in the revised Convention on Relations between themselves and the Federal Republic that "pending the peace settlement, the signatory states will coöperate to achieve, by peaceful means, their common aim of a reunified Germany enjoying a liberal-democratic constitution, like that of the Federal Republic, and integrated within the European Community;" and they have declared elsewhere that the achievement through peaceful means of a fully free and unified Germany remains a fundamental goal of their policy. Reading these two declarations together, we may infer that unity in freedom is a sine qua non; and that a democratic constitution and integration within the European Community are desiderata, which it is earnestly hoped will be achieved through the exercise of free choice.
This is firm ground on which to take position. It raises the standard of unity, to which every German must passionately aspire. It opens up a prospect of membership of the European Community, which should be welcomed in the Eastern Zone. But it outlines a program to which the Soviet Government has so far shown no sign of being willing to agree; and until there can be agreement between the Western Powers and the Soviet Union, there can be no reunification of Germany short of war. The Western program does, it should be noted, hold out certain risks, which would become evident were the Soviet Government to accept it. If there were genuinely free elections throughout Germany under international supervision, and if as a result a genuinely free all-German government were to emerge, that government would, under the plan proposed by the Western Powers, be free to subscribe or not to subscribe to the obligations undertaken by the Federal Government under the Paris agreements; and accordingly to join or not to join the Western European Union or NATO. If that government were Social Democratic, which would be more likely than not, given the traditional political complexion of Berlin and of the Eastern Zone, its decision on this point might be in doubt. It might well choose an independent policy of manœuvring between East and West. In such a case, the Soviet Union would have much that it could offer at the expense of Poland and thus might have the advantage. But it ought not to be assumed that the Soviet Government would despoil Poland of territory for the benefit of Germany unless the result was worth the price--unless, namely, the result was the complete integration of the German state as a People's Democracy into the Soviet system. This is the risk which the democratic process must always carry with it. But the risk should not be overestimated. The antagonism between Germans and Russians, rooted in the experience of war and occupation, goes deep. A genuinely free German people would be unlikely deliberately to subordinate itself to Moscow, in company with Poles and Czechs. But the tactics of the Communists can be insidious; and the follies which governments can sometimes commit are almost beyond belief.
Would the Soviet Government, in the hope of some result like this, be likely to agree to genuinely free elections in our sense of the term? It does not seem very likely. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It has been open to them for the last seven years to try to turn the position of the Western Powers by taking them at their word; but they have been unwilling to take the risk of doing so. It is true that, in face of the detailed proposals for the holding of free elections in Germany under international supervision put forward by the United Kingdom Delegation and accepted by the United States and French Delegations at the Berlin Conference in February 1954, the Soviet Delegation went so far as to propose the preparation and carrying out of what they called "free all-German elections." But the spurious character of this proposal (the elections would not be free and would be indefinitely delayed) was cogently demonstrated by Sir Anthony Eden; and the Soviet Government, though repeatedly challenged to do so, did not furnish any clarifying details as to the timing and nature of the elections which it has in mind. It has since then, indeed, in a propaganda bid to prevent German ratification of the Paris agreements, thrown in international supervision, but still without any clarifying details; and it may well raise its bid. But the fact is that, with Mr. Molotov in charge of affairs, the Soviet Government does not much care to gamble in foreign policy, especially on an issue as grave as that of Germany. Better (it would say) hold on to the Eastern Zone and try to reach the final objective by other means.
The Soviet policy has been to prevent the integration of the Federal Republic in the Western European Community so as to keep the way open for the final objective, namely the incorporation of Germany as a satellite into the Soviet system. How, in the face of the Paris agreements, can the Soviet Government hope to achieve this final result? It will no doubt be content to take its time about it. It has a newly-born Chinese Communist Government to attend to; and a Communist Germany would no doubt be a handful. But meanwhile there will be a fertile field for using every kind of influence, argument, exhortation, cajolery and threat in order to attack and break down the minds of the governments and peoples of the Western Powers and of the Federal Republic so as to bring them to agree to a program for the achievement of German unity which will at any rate detach Germany from the West with good hope later on of attaching her to the East. The safety of Europe rests upon the firmness with which such threats and blandishments can be resisted. While holding out a program of reunification through free elections, whatever the risks which this would carry with it, the Western Powers must be firm in their minds, and make clear to their own peoples and to the governments and peoples of the Federal Republic and to the Eastern Germans, that nothing less will serve. To hold out for free elections must also imply that we shall not go to the other extreme and come to an agreement with the Soviet Union which would expressly perpetuate and formalize the division of Germany. However distant the reunification may seem to be, the division must remain de facto and provisional, a necessary evil: any other attitude would outrage German public opinion in both West and East and do grave harm to the standing of the Western Powers in Germany.
This psychological battle will be difficult to wage. Soviet propaganda is insidious: it appeals to the longing for peace that weakens the steadfastness of so many faint hearts.
Is there to be no end to this struggle for Germany? There might be an end if the Soviet Government, in face of the new and disagreeable pattern of events in Europe, would take the risk (which there is now an increased incentive to do) of agreeing to a truly democratic process in Germany. There might be an end if the Soviet leaders would desist from their ambition for power: this is hardly to be looked for until, as may happen in course of time, the revolutionary fires die down. Alternatively, there might be an issue, one way or another, if the Soviet Government, fearing as it undoubtedly does the menace of a rearmed Germany, took to other and more violent methods than those which it has hitherto used.
In the Berlin crisis of 1948 both sides tacitly observed the rules of the non-military war: neither side resorted to force, even on a local basis. It would in theory be possible for the Soviet Government to go beyond these limits without itself embarking upon an all-out war. There is the possibility of what Captain Liddell-Hart has called "guerrilla-type action combined with political subversion, or local advances in remote non-vital areas." Even with the present disparity in nuclear power in favor of the United States, and still more if that disparity were to be levelled off some years hence, the Soviet Government might think that the Western Powers would prefer to resist an attack of this kind with conventional weapons alone, even to their own disadvantage, rather than risk plunging the world into a nuclear war, in which neither side could expect to establish an easy advantage and in which all would probably be ruined. There are places in the world where such considerations might apply: but it is hardly likely that Germany could be one of them. In Germany the two sides confront each other in an area which is vital to both, in which neither can afford to tolerate an advance by the other, and in which there are public commitments which might make all-out resistance imperative. Even a new blockade of Berlin on the old pattern would be a much more hazardous enterprise than it was in 1948; the risk of war would be greater. The Western forces in Germany are equipped with tactical atomic weapons and might well use them to repel a local attack; and the distinction between the use of tactical atomic weapons and the use of strategic atomic or nuclear weapons is one which is unlikely to be maintained in practice.
The conclusion therefore is that, the Paris agreements notwithstanding, the Soviet Government would hesitate to embark on local action in Germany, either directly or through their satellites, which could lead to a nuclear war unless they had, upon a cool calculation of possibilities, convinced themselves that the hour had struck for such a war to be brought about. The First and Second World Wars were both conducive to the spread of Communism. The time might now be held to be ripe for a Third World War which, whatever else it might do, would give the coup de grâce to the capitalist world and lead to the final triumph which the historical process holds in store for Communism. If an opinion may be hazarded, it is that at this stage the Communists would take risks in the debatable lands in other parts of the world rather than in a nerve-center like Germany. But this does not mean that there is any cause for the NATO Powers to relax their preparedness in either nuclear or conventional weapons against an outbreak which always remains a possibility. Too much is at stake to permit any lack of vigilance.
It is sometimes said that the conclusion of the Paris agreements will make impossible the conclusion of an agreement about Germany with the Soviet Union which would have been possible before. The only agreement which it would have been possible to make with the Soviet Union before the Paris agreements was a bad agreement, and one which, in the interests of their own security, neither the Western Powers nor the Federal Government could possibly have entertained. What the coming into force of the Paris agreements would do would be to make it less likely than before that a bad agreement will be entered into. It would also give the Soviet Government a new incentive to abate its terms. Only by so doing can it now hope to change the pattern which the Paris agreement would consecrate.
How far the two sides have been from agreement was made patent at the Berlin Conference in February 1954. The Western proposals, as put forward at Berlin, are logical and consistent: free elections under international supervision under an electoral law prepared by the four Powers; convocation of a National Assembly; framing of a Constitution; establishment of a provisional all-German government; preliminary negotiations for a peace treaty; adoption of the Constitution; formation of an all-German government, free to make international agreements and to assume or reject existing obligations of the two parts of Germany; negotiation, signature and entry into force of a peace treaty, the Four Powers to retain till then certain rights as regards the stationing of armed forces in Germany and as regards Berlin and the reunification of Germany.
Under the Soviet proposals, the division of Germany would be prolonged, since East and West Germany would both become parties to the proposed European Treaty for Collective Security; they would participate in the preparation of a peace treaty; they would form a provisional all-German government, which would work out an all-German electoral law and hold all-German elections; occupation forces would be withdrawn (except for limited contingents for guard duties) before elections were held; in the peace treaty, which would be accepted by an all-German government, Germany would be neutralized, with only rudimentary armed forces for internal, frontier and anti-aircraft defense, and with only restricted rights to enter into international agreements.
According to these Soviet proposals, the participation of the totally unrepresentative Soviet puppet administration of East Germany in the provisional all-German government would mean that this government would rest on no electoral basis. The Soviet puppet administration would continue to exercise its influence in the well-known Communist manner throughout Germany for as long as the formation of a German government on an agreed electoral basis might be delayed--and this might be a very long time. Meanwhile the Soviet Government would possess an instrument by which to unify Germany by infiltration.
There can be no question which of these two programs points the way to unification in freedom and which does not.
There are those who revolt against the thought that, at the best, the present state of tension between the two halves of the world, typified by the difference about Germany, may continue for years, even for generations, and that if the heritage of Western civilization is to be preserved there must be unsleeping vigilance and unremitting military preparedness and unblunted resolution and infinite patience and unshaken confidence; and that this is the challenge which our generation has to meet. They hug the thought that there must be some colossal misunderstanding and that if only two or three men of high authority could talk round a table all would be well. Though the enemy is at the gate, they pretend that he is not the enemy; or if he is, he is not at the gate; or if he is at the gate, he can be bought off by concessions. But what concessions? What concessions could we make to the Soviet Union in the program which we have put forward for dealing with Germany that would not lead to the rendering up of the fortress? In offering free elections for the whole of Germany, and all that may ensue therefrom, the Western Powers are indeed already putting the future to the hazard in the name of democracy. This is an act of faith which they owe to themselves and to all that they stand for. But no more than this should be required of them. And if by the conclusion of the Paris agreements they seek among other things to ensure themselves in some measure against that hazard, this should not be made a reproach: it is an act of wise statesmanship.