Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 21 September 1940
“Hard pounding this, gentlemen; let us see who can pound the ‘hardest.” These words, attributed to Wellington at the crisis of Waterloo, are appropriate to the great struggle now approaching its height. The crux of the war is upon us. If Hitler can invade us he will, if not, he will concentrate on air warfare and bring the whole of his resources to bear on the task of breaking our spirit.
London and .the coastal towns have met the first shocks proudly and splendidly: lf they continue to do so—and they are already past the danger period—they will have sealed off ‘the possibility of Nazi victory and paved the way to Nazi defeat. They are being gloriously encouraged in the air and on the ground by fighter aircraft and antiaircraft barrages which have flung back the bombing hordes and destroyed planes by hundreds.
In the great battle on Sunday, the Germans received staggering blows, material and moral. We have reason to hope, after six weeks of bitter aerial warfare in which the losses have never been less favourable to us than three to one in machines and six to one in men, that we are biting deeply into Goering’s numerical margin. While the R.A.F. is warding off the blows on London, it is also delivering incessant hammer strokes at the war industries of Germany and the coastal and industrial bases of the projected invasion of this country. The prospects of a serious attempt at invasion decline with the advance of the season and the early appearance of equinoctial storms.
We should be foolish, as Mr. Churchill is continually reminding us, to assume that because the invasion does not come it will not; we know, however, that if the Germans could have obtained mastery of the air we should by now be struggling with the invader at many points and under the gravest disadvantage. Mastery of the air is the vital condition of success for both of us. The Germans have tried desperately for it, and though they have not flung in their whole strength yet—indeed they can never do so because of their liabilities in the East—they have squandered like gamblers and must continue to do so or confess defeat. So far they are not within sight of either of their main objectives—the destruction of the R.A.F. and the demoralisation of the citizens of London and the Home Counties. They are waging this critical campaign, as they were expected to do, with every circumstance of barbarity, and bestiality.
The deliberate attack on Buckingham Palace was a crime no greater in degree than their devastation of the East End, but it set the imagination of the world aflame and etched the Nazi in all his loathly foulness. London has been greatly heartened not only by the magnificent defence of its guns and planes but by the sympathy of the civilised world manifest everywhere in eager subscriptions to relief funds. On the other hand the whole empire and cause have been heartened by the sturdy refusal of London to be cowed by the one fearful weapon Hitler has at his command, the weapon which has brought Europe low and under which the entire Continent cowers. By brave and patient endurance of this outrageous form of siege, London is making a contribution to victory more immediate and important than is perhaps realised at the moment. London is convincing the world that this vile weapon can be countered—as it was in the last war—by a disciplined and resolute people. The gallantry of the citizens of London has aroused admiration not only throughout the civilised world but in Russia, Italy, and Japan—presently it will arouse fear in Germany.
It is characteristic of Nazi methods of warfare that since the beginning of the present month less than a fortieth of the casualties inflicted on this country have been suffered by our armed forces. That is Hitler’s conception of war—when the resources of butchery and treachery are no longer open to him, when he is confronted with armed force which can neither be blackmailed nor betrayed, then indeed we shall be in sight of the end. Neither Hitler nor Hitler’s Germany will war against armies; if they cannot create terror and confusion by mass murder and treachery, then they are baffled. So far in their tremendous assaults on this country they have gained o encouragement from any sign of weakness or weariness in the defence, active and passive.
However, long it may take, Britain will convince Hitler that, as at Waterloo, the British can pound longest.