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VOL. 173 No. 5151


LONDON, JANUARY 28ih, 1939



An Editorial on National Defence


An Apologia: by Rosalind Murray

JOHN FRANCIS BENTLEY THE RECUSANT POETS H is Centenary: by Michael Trappes-Lomax By Bernard Newdigate


Reflections on a Recent Publication

Full List o f Contents on page 100.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The Surrender of Barcelona

At the moment of going to Press the Nationalists have made a triumphal entry into Barcelona, just a month from the launching of the great Catalan offensive. In the last week the pace has been particularly quick, and there has in fact been little military resistance as town after town, and notably the memorable town of Manresa, has been occupied. Every day sees an increasing disparity between the official Republican utterances and the facts of the situation, and we must rejoice that what looked at one time like being a particularly terrible campaign has been won with such little bloodshed, with enormous captures of prisoners and material. The representative of Great Britain, in the humane tradition of British representatives in Spain from the beginning of the war, intervened, at the departure of the Republican Government, to ensure that there should be no last minute killing of prisoners, and received assurances. The number of prisoners in Barcelona was given as two thousand, which we must consider a most disquietingly small figure, after the numerous arrests of every sort of person suspected of not being whole-heartedly behind Sr. Negrin, for it is a legitimate deduction from events that a very high proportion of the population is not represented by the defiant declarations of Sr. Negrin and Sr. Del Vayo. The Republican Weakness

Already the military critics are seeking to analyse the causes of the Republican collapse, not being satisfied, as English civilian audiences can be, with the pretence that the Republican Army had no good weapons. It has had and lost the latest weapons in innumerable quantities, which are listed and often exhibited as the Nationalists capture them. In the last few days the Nationalists declare that twenty-two tanks crossed the French frontier by Le Perthus. Let it be granted that the superiority of mechanized equipment has rested with the Nationalists. That would not of itself explain the disappearance of the Catalan Army, and a military critic in Le Temps finds the key weakness not in material, but in the officers, in particular the battalion commanders. The Republicans, he says, have had an extremely competent staff. They have had a great many very brave soldiers and a great deal of equipment. What they could not improvise was an officer tradition. This same claim was made many months ago by General Yague. The Spanish Left has ignored the function of the military tradition in the State, only seeing the officers in economic terms as the representatives of an economic class. It is all part of the vast fallacy current in this country also which sees in a' State no place for traditional force, which expects to be able to produce every kind of essential figure by examinations or selection. Paris Watches

The struggle in Paris has been hardly less important. M. Bonnet obviously did well to postpone his important speech in the debate on foreign policy, because with every day he has had a stronger case for refusing further to compromise France with a lost cause. If he needs a further argument, it has been provided for him in the Italian troop concentrations, which are there to restrain those Radical deputies whose defection would bring down the Government. The unexpectedly complete collapse of the defence of Barcelona has robbed the French Socialists of their main argument, that all could yet be saved. One mistake still being made at this late hour is to threaten to occupy Minorca or parts of Spanish Morocco if the Italians do not promptly evacuate their base in Majorca. No doubt the French could install themselves, but at a price in justified Spanish indignation which it would be a great blunder to pay. The Italians are making some display of military force, for which there is an apparent double purpose. Not merely to deter the French Left from last minute efforts in Spain,

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