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Sean O'Casey and the Nazi-Soviet Pact

I am repeating O'Caseys article in favour of the Nazi-Soviet Pact in order to keep it close to Shaw's article on the same subject. Both were published in the British press at a time when Britain was at war with Germany! I have added Explanatory Notes. Emphasis is also mine.

To Picture Post 11 November 1939

What Are Our War Aims –
Sean O’Casey, the Irish Playwright in a Statement to Picture Post

Our first aim ought to be an immediate peace bringing to a sudden and unprovided end to the pitiful struggle that is now going on for what is called the destruction of Hitlerism. Forever the Versailles treaty has vanished and [Polish leader] Smigly-Ridz [1] and his hencemen who laboured in the wealthy lord’s vineyards are bygones by this time.

Why do they want to destroy Hitler when according to the words of their own mouths, Hitler has been destroyed already? By Stalin – Churchill has said so much already in a broadcast; Punch has shown Hitler, the man and Stalin, the master in a cartoon; and J.L. Garvin has bellowed it out in the wide spaces of the Observer. Mr. Eden has said that Russia blocks Hitler in the east and Turkey blocks him in the south-east; and the Maginot Line surely blocks him in the west. Then what prevents us making peace with him and all the world? Even if he would, he can’t bear the world on his back, so the yell of world domination is simply sunshine.

The world must get together to end this curse of world domination everywhere. With England no less than with Germany; in India no less than in Czecho-Slovakia; and in all places where there is a Rajah, white, brown or black. With forces as they are there can be no victory – only senceless destruction. France will destroy Saarbrucken, Germany will destroy Mullhouse; France will destroy Carlsruhe, Germany will level Strasburg – so said Hitler, but we refuse to believe the devil even when he speaks the truth. Like the last war all the mouths are open again, spraying boast and bombast all over the world. Hore-Belisha boasted that 150,000 men were carried to France without a single casualty. But will this 150,000 be brought back to England without a single casualty? That is the point that concerns these men, their relatives, their friends.

The only war aims that can ever be are the aims of the guns and we know what they are.

Peace at once and than war. War to throw down the barriers to keep us from the practical things being done in the USSR and to force us into the madness of the impractical things they want us to do here; peace communism instead of war communism; war on the sham hypocrisies and the stupidities in high places; war to drive the rotteness out of our children’s blood and bones; war for citizenship for our young men who are good enough to die, but not good enough to vote; war on the cant of physical fitness for a half starved nation; war on Mr. Duff Cooper’s [2] schoolboy essay that “The German people should be given every assistance in finding for themselves a form of government which will create confidence in their future determination to pursue peaceful methods.” See the sign of it? Blather. Receive every assistance from whom? Mr. Duff Cooper and the rest of them. The God-sent wisdom of the English governing classes is over and done with; away with them, and him; peace abroad and war at home against these things, here and now.

(from “The Letters of Sean O’Casey – On the Run from London to Devon, 1938-39”, pages 820/21)

Explanatory Notes:
[1] Edward Rydz-Smigly (1886-1941) was a Polish military and political leader as well as a painter and poet. He served as General-Inspector of Poland's armed forces during the invasion and conquest of that country by Germany and the Soviet Union at the outset of World War II. On September 18, 1939, following the fall of his country, he entered Romania, where he was interned for slightly more than a year, during which time he renounced his command of the Polish military. In December 1940, he crossed from Romania into Hungary, and from there into Slovakia and then back into Poland, where he volunteered as a common soldier in the Polish resistance movement. He died of heart failure in Warsaw in December 1941. He was buried in Warsaw under his alias "Adam Zawisza". His tombstone at the Powązki Cemetery bore that name until 1991. A new tombstone was erected by the people of Warsaw in 1994.

[2] Alfred Duff Cooper (1890-1954) was a Conservative politician and Cabinet Minister. He was a decorated hero of the First World War in which most of his closest friends were killed – including John Manners whose sister, Lady Diana Manners he then married. He became a friend of Winston Churchill in the 1920s and a prominent opponent of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s. After the Munich Agreeement in 1938, that handed over part of Czechoslovakia to Germany, Duff Cooper resigned as First Lord of the Admiralty in protest. He then worked with Churchill to secure Chamberlain’s resignation and the latter’s replacement by Churchill (1940).