anyone had been inclined to A doubt the decisiveness of the Russian winter campaign (as compared with last year's strategical German retreat), the capture of Rostov and the fall of Kharkov must act as proofs that the Reichswehr has sufiered a resounding defeat. Nothing comparable took place in the previous winter campaign. The effects of such a German defeat are quite incalculable. The Germans, who have throughout heavily underrated the Russians and who have even been forced to admit that they were completely taken in by the Finnish war, were quite unprepared for such a turning of the tables. This means that they cannot gain sufficient time to withdraw their forces in good order and prepare a strong new line. Brilliant as phases of their Russian campaigns have been, they have shown themselves tO have been fundamentally unsound. They were conceived with the idea of a rapid knock-out blow. and when this failed in each year's campaign, serious dieorganisation followed. They themselves admit that it was a near thing last year. This year they have fallen into the disaster they so narrowly escaped before. There is now every reason to believe that spring and summer will see an increasing Russian pressure with the possibility that Germany will be thrown back behind her own frontiers as rapidly as she one advanced from them. On the other hand one must not take too seriously the Nazi cries of distress at the danger of Russia overrunning Europe. These are deliberate propaganda gambits for the purpose of holding the occupied countries and getting the last ounce out of the Germans themselves. But it is a dangerous game to play, given the German weakness under blows and the hopes of liberation in Europe It would not have been resorted to had the Nazi leaders been able to think of an alternative.
ADVANCIIIG BOLSHEVISM ?
SOME of our correspondents are impressed by the danger of Bolshevism overrunning Europe in the wake of the advancing Russians. In other words they are taking the 'German propaganda seriously. It would be foolish for us who for years have kept in the forefront of our comments precisely this danger of the spread of Communism to dismiss it now as unfounded. It is a possibility, and we certainly would feel happier if the precise aims of Stalin had been more clearly defined. At all events it is likely that Soviet Russia in her hour of victory will insist.on safeguarding her empire at the eXpense of her neighbour countries, including Poland. It is also possible that she will make heavy claims in the south-west in order to extend her sphere of influence over the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Such aims cannot be to the liking of Allies who originally took up arms for the defence of national integrities. None the less there is a clear distinction between a Russian aim to preserve and strengthen her Empire and the pursuit of the earlier policy of internationalist revolution in the name of Communism.
We ourselves have more than once suggested that there must be some sort of adaptation of a Europe divided into small independent nations around large ones to the need for wider groupings under the influence of the leading Powers. If this is agreed, then Russia clearly stands as a large Power with irn
portant claims. As to the feared Russian designs to BoIshevise Europe, we ourselves tend to believe that Russia's victories are more likely to convert her into a normal nationalist and imperialist Power.
One cannot, however, overlook the danger that a Soviet triumph Would vastly strengthen the revolutionary
forces in Europe and even in this country, forces which tend to act not in the name of the real Stalinite Russia but of-Moscow, the Mecca of Marxism.
THE BEVERIDGE PLAN AND THE GOVERNMENT
THE debate on the Beveridge Plan will be commented on more fully in a leading article next week. For the moment we must be content here with a strong protest against the Government's intention to reduce the proposed allowance for children from Ss. to 5s, and to make up the deficiency by increased child welfare services. Such services are valuable and, in some degree, absolutely necessary, but Christians will agree that any unnecessary transfer of the care of children from the parents to the State is a step in the wrong direction. The child, we believe, should be in the home and under the parents' charge as much as possible. Up till now poverty has often resulted in a very imperfect parental guardianship of children and it has militated against parents themselves developing the required sense of responsibility. Sir William Beveridge's carefully calculated allowante of 8s. (or a sum equivalent according to the value of money at any given time) would have gone far to remedy these defects. But a National Government (mainly Conservative in leadership and following) now proposes to separate the child from its home and parents even further and to provide for it institutionally. It is an interesting commentary on Catholic criticism of the Beveridge Plan, on the grounds that it takes away personal responsibility, that our National Government promptly seeks to undo one of the hest-founded features of the Plan in order to hand over yet further to the State the care of those who will tf roursnti t thhe at fcuht ur trset agnesn e rwa lo n stick We Beveridge and fight against an encroachment that cuts right across the Catholic tradition.