662 CRUCIAL THIRD DAY IN RUSSIA of that gigantic country firmly in his iron grasp. But when he claims that Russia is a Socialist State, he's a liar ! Russia is the very personification of the Capitalist State, and there is no other Capitalist State in the world like it: a population of two hundred millions, iron, manganese, nickel, oil, petrol—everything one could desire, in limitless quantities, and all belonging to the State; and, at the head of it, a man who says: "Do you think the loss of thirteen million lives is too great a price to pay for the realisation of a great idea?" Poland would have been overrun, and Germany, too, with her hundred-thousand-man army, in the wink of an eye. In Paris itself they hoisted the Red Flag. Europe has got away with it by a miracle—and with a black eye! Europe has once before had a similar lucky escape; at the battle of Liegnitz the Hungarians—how, goodness only knows— stopped the Mongol hordes. Whether it was the losses they suffered in the battle or the death of Genghiz Khan in Mongolia that caused the Mongols to retreat, we shall never know. British strategy is founded on hesitancy and fear. If the fools had but gone on, once they had been cleared out of Greece, they could have marched straight on to Tripoli and taken the place. Instead, they chose that very moment to call a halt, without the slightest reason. It is a classic example of a lack of imagination and orderly thinking. And why this desperate desire to take Salonika? Was it because they were less anxious to bomb us, and wanted instead to attack some Italian town each night? For us things are much more simple, for in most cases we have no choice. In the East, if I don't attack, the Russians will gain the initiative. We have constantly faced the danger of being annihilated. On the third day of the Russian campaign, the issue hung by a thread. If we had not taken the most audacious risks, even to the extent of putting in our paratroopers before even our own artillery had ceased to shell the landing-grounds on which they were to land, the whole campaign might well have been jeopardised. When one knows that there is no alternative but to advance, the problem simplifies itself enormously. In any case, we cannot very well retire out of Europe, can we? To keep the cowardly on the right path, I
THE DIEPPE RAID 663 was compelled to say to him: "If you retire, you will be shot. If you go forward, at least you have a chance of survival." We were obliged to shoot a few hundred conscientious objectors, but, after that example, we had no more. In 1914 the British faced the mighty Germany and survived. This time they faced, as they thought from the tales of the emigrants, whom they believed, the Germany of the Weimar impotence. The Germans, too, once possessed that sense of insular security which is such a source of strength to the British. At one time they could with justice claim that all western Europe identified itself with the German State. It was the Peace of Westphalia which was the foundation of the permanent weakness of modern Germany. I have always said to my supporters : "It is not the Treaty of Versailles we must destroy, but the Treaty of Westphalia." The French, of course, regarded the Versailles Treaty as just a continuation of the Westphalian Peace. Amour propre, in a general sense, is a source of strength. But pride often goes before a fall. In Spain the Gastilians are as proud as kings, even when they go about in rags. That is a completely inverted type of self-esteem which thinking Spaniards have for centuries regarded as ridiculous. The Gastilian will deign to fire his rifle, but he considers it quite beneath his dignity to clean it! All this loud talk about American reserves—it's just nonsense! The only reserves that any capitalist State builds up consists of just what is required for the current year. As I see it, the most important result of the Dieppe raid from our point of view is the immense fillip it has given to our sense of defensive security; it has shown us, above all, that the danger exists, but that we are in a position to counter it. Less important, perhaps, but equally pleasing, is the gift the British have given us of a first-class collection of their latest weapons; never before, I think, has anyone taken the trouble to cross the seas in order to present his adversary with samples of his most modern arms ! It is always so much easier to decide on the specifications of a new tank, for example, when one knows beforehand the weapons it will be called upon to face !