Chronicling change in the cast of superpowers

Take a diplomat of today from any foreign office the world around and plump him back into the world of 1908, and he would be more baffled than was Gulliver when he woke up to find himself among the Lilliputians.

After all, the Lilliputians were only humans behaving like other humans, but smaller. There was no time difference between Gulliver's England and Lilliput.

But over the 75 years since this newspaper first went to press the ''enormous explosion of change'' referred to in the opening article of this series has been nowhere more visible than in the political power world.

Today's world is dominated by rivalry between two vast superpowers - the United States and the Soviet Union. News and history are made of the struggling of the two for advantage, and of the ranging of the other lesser powers around that struggle. And lowering in the background is a capacity for global nuclear destruction that not even H. G. Wells foresaw three-quarters of a century ago.

A glance back at the Monitor's first front page on Nov. 25, 1908, shows what a totally different world existed in those days - in many ways narrower as well as quieter, gentler.

The lead story was a report on the unveiling in Washington, D.C., of an equestrian statue of Gen. Philip Sheridan of Civil War fame. In top middle position was a three-column spread with photographs about construction work on the dam being built across the Charles River here in Boston.

True, the first editors of the Monitor were also aware of a time bomb ticking in Europe. Rather modestly, at the lower left corner of the front page, was a perceptive two-column report on troubles in the Balkans. The article called the troubles ''another phase of the economic duel between England and Germany.'' It referred to ''the all-pervading influence of modern Germany's rise to the rank of a foremost industrial and commercial power.''

That ''duel between England and Germany'' was to become the dominant theme of history over the next four decades.

And then would come a new and different world. The United States and the Soviet Union would emerge as superpowers. Their rivalry would take the place of the old Anglo-German duel and older Anglo-Russian one. Europe's empires and Europe's eminence at the center of affairs would disappear. And under the superpowers' nuclear stalemate a bevy of new nations would appear, form alliances, feud, and try desperately to lift their multiplying millions above the most basic forms of deprivation and poverty.

But in 1908 ''the duel between England and Germany'' was a novelty not yet widely recognized - not yet able even to dominate the top front page of a newspaper. In the world of that year it was still interesting that a fine statue had been set up in Washington to the Union general who rallied his troops at Winchester. The President, Theodore Roosevelt, was there for the unveiling, and so was ''Secretary of War Wright,'' who had fought ''on the other side'' in the Civil War. Reconciliation between North and South was still important news.

By today's standards the news on that first front page of the Monitor was largely either local or concerned with material progress. But that page accurately reflected a pervasive sense in those days that history had been completed.

The final step in that completion had been a British military victory in South Africa over the Boers in 1902. By 1908 the Union Jack flew over a third of the earth's surface. Cecil Rhodes's dream of an unbroken British connection from Cape Town to Cairo was realized. Most of Africa, India, Australia, Canada, the essential seaports of China, and a host of islands wherever they were useful to the world's greatest merchant marine were all British.

Britain was not only Great, but also the only global ''superpower'' of those times. Small wonder that the London Bureau of The Christian Science Monitor soon became its largest office outside Boston. A full-time staff correspondent covered 10 Downing Street and Parliament, another the Foreign Office, a third covered general British news. A fourth specialized in women's affairs. In addition there were a sports writer and a drama critic.

London was not only the power center but also the culture center of the world. Not until after World War II did the Monitor's bureau in Washington expand into the paper's largest.

The same first front page report that noted the ''duel'' between Britain and Germany also mentioned a ''diplomatic axiom that the rivalry between England and Russia from Constantinople to Peking was fixed and permanent.''

Mankind approaches 1914's 'Guns of August'

That sense of Anglo-Russian rivalry was tenacious. It comes out five years later in a Monitor editorial of Feb. 12, 1913. Mankind was then only a year and a half away from the ''Guns of August'' which shattered the solid, fixed, comfortable world of the turn of the century. German empire building had caused a series of minor crises. German battleship building was deeply worrying the British Admiralty. The Austrians were threatening Servia (today's Serbia) and Albania, at the expense of the Turks.

The editorial took the line that the crises were induced by Russian and French diplomacy, that ''for months past only the united efforts of Berlin and London have prevented a catastrophe.'' It argued that events in the Balkans were of no concern to England. It concluded with the hope that 10 Downing Street ''may ask itself whether the German Codlin is not after all rather the friend than the Russian Short.''

The idiom is puzzling today. As nearly as I can discover, German Codlin meant a type of hard green apple used in cooking, while Russian Short was an apple derived from the Astrakhan variety from Russia. But the sentiment is clear. England and Germany should cling to their friendship dating back to the Napoleonic wars, when Blucher's timely arrival on the field of Waterloo relieved Wellington's hard-pressed Grenadiers and helped mightily to win the day.

By the summer of 1914, however, Anglo-German rivalry was no longer a subject of speculation at the bottom left corner of a Monitor's front page. The story had moved to the top right lead position as Europe slid toward the ''Guns of August.''

On July 28 the top story was a London proposal that England, France, Germany, and Italy confer to try to resolve the issue between Austria and Servia (today part of Yugoslavia).

On July 29 the top story was ''Austria Declares War on Servia.'' But in reading that story one gets no sense of awareness yet of the horrors that were coming.

The same Monitor front page that announced Austria's declaration of war on Servia devoted the three left-hand columns to the opening of the Cape Cod canal. The editorial page that day did estimate, accurately, what lay behind Germany's emerging support for Austria and the increasing likelihood of general war. It was ''the instinct of pan-Germanism finding definite articulation.''

But only gradually did the realization come that the war that began in 1914 was not going to be over suddenly, quickly, and with relatively little pain. The early German advances bogged down into trench warfare. A desperate Germany turned to submarine warfare against Allied shipping. The Lusitania with Americans aboard was sunk.Woodrow Wilson had been reelected in 1916 on the slogan that America was ''too proud to fight,'' but by April 6 of 1917 Congress had voted for war against Imperial Germany. War ends comfortable world of 1908

There were 20 different news stories on the front page of the the Monitor that day. Every one dealt with some aspect of the war and with America's entry into it. By then there was little left of the comfortable, presumably unchangeable world of 1908.

The Monitor editorial that day explained what had happened in the following firmly worded terms:

''He [the President] has made up his mind that the cause of liberty, the course of progress, the demand of Principle has required the entrance of the United States into the war, not for the lust of conquest, nor for the love of applause, but with the greatest hatred of the necessity, in defense of all that mankind holds sacred today, and which mankind unfortunately had to win with the sword, and today only knows how to hold with the sword.''

A thought runs all the way through the story of the last 75 years of history like a single thread that desappears from time to time beneath the fabric, then reappears. It is the thought that Russia was the true enemy of Western civilization and culture and that the two great Anglo-German wars of the era represented a tragic failure of Western statesmanship. That the ''German Codlin'' rather than the ''Russian Short'' was the real friend of England.

But the story went differently. On Nov. 8 of 1917 the Monitor was reporting the second phase of the Russian revolution. The Czar had been overthrown and his place taken by Kerensky. Then entered Lenin, Russia left the war, Germany transferred whole armies to the Western Front and made its climactic bid for victory.

It was the fresh weight of America in the scales that finally broke the stalemate on the Western Front. The Kaiser abdicated and took refuge in neutral Holland. The old order in Europe was finished. It is unlikely that there will ever again be a Monitor front page like that first one where the top news was of the unveiling of a Civil War statue in Washington and the building of a dam across the Charles River in Boston.

In a sense the whole story of World War II was a postscript to the story of World War I. True, it was a long and bloody and fearfully destructive postscript. Yet it was the playing out to the bitter end of that ''duel between England and Germany.''

The punitive peace that the Western allies imposed on Germany in 1918 bred the frustration that cleared the way for Hitler. Hitler came to power determined to wipe out the results of World War I and win for Germany a far broader empire than Kaiser Wilhelm had ever envisaged.

This time the Monitor could foresee, better than most of its contemporaries, the dangers ahead. On the day World War I ended in 1918 the Monitor commented: ''The task of the world will be not merely restoring the material damage done by Germany, but rehabilitating the German character in the face of mankind.'' And when foolish Allied policies drove Germany into the worst currency inflation in modern memory, the Monitor urged help for the Germans.

Through 1923 Monitor columns reflect two parallel streams of events. On one side was the economic distress in Germany and the unwillingness of the Western powers to grant the relief that both wisdom and charity counseled. Parallel to it ran Hitler's rise to power in Germany on a tide of bitterness. It was foreseen. It could have been prevented.

A Monitor correspondent had an exclusive interview with Adolf Hitler. Under the date of Oct. 3, 1923, the Monitor quoted Hitler as stating that rather than hand the Ruhr over to France as the German government was than doing in leiu of reparations payments, he would have turned it into a desert.

''If I had been at the head of the government,'' Hitler said, ''the Ruhr district would have been burned down as Moscow was burned by the Russians. The French would never have found a single bridge or tree there.''

Hitler also declared to the Monitor's correspondent that ''what has been possible in Italy .''

The rest of the story is familiar.Hitler's march to power. The war Hitler planned and launched. The decisive moment of crisis in the winter of 1941 when Hitler's army was stopped outside of Moscow by a winter cold so intense that German troops, unprepared for a winter campaign, could do no more. The German push for Stalingrad, and that other German push for Cairo on the African front, failed. Then came the twin Allied victories at Stalingrad and at El Alemein. America entered the war, again. The tide turned decisively and once more the German reach for power was frustrated.

This time the sequel was different. London and Washington had learned the lesson of 1918. They did not impose a punitive peace on either Germany or Japan. ''Certainly, self-interest and humanity both demand vigorous American aid to help make Japan self-sufficient again,'' remarked a typical Monitor editorial of the day. And this time, unlike the period after World War I, it was a viewpoint that was almost universally echoed among the victors.

In Europe, that part of Germany held by the US, Britain, and France was helped to economic recovery -- and helped morally as well. Chastened and renewed by fair and constructive treatment, it was invited back into the Western community. Its great industrial machine was repaired and tied tightly into the cooperative endeavor of the European Common Market. Its political energies were released into a new democracy at home and a broader vision of unity within Europe as a whole.

We are back now to where we were before Kaiser Wilhelm embarked upon his great ''rivalry'' with England. Back, but with one tremendous difference: The power world which we write about daily in the columns of this newspaper is totally different from the world of 1908. Then Britain was the only truly global superpower. The rest of us were many, more or less equal, and none having anything like the reach of Britain.

The superpower situation today has no parallel in modern times. To find anything resembling it you have to look back to the rivalry of Rome and Parthia at the beginning of our era. Parthia was an empire lying between Arabia and India. There was nothing else of importance in the world of those times. China was too far away to count. The known Western world was a two-power world -- two powers jealous, suspicious. They coexisted unwillingly and uncomfortably. War was chronic along their common frontier, but it was border skirmishing. Neither Rome nor Parthia had the ability to destroy the other. US, USSR jealous and suspicious rivals

The US and the Soviet Union are like that today. They are jealous and suspicious rivals in a state of constant maneuver for some advantage in weapons of influence. Washington courts the Soviet Union's neighbors in Eastern Europe. Moscow courts the United States' neighbors in Central America. But the power of each is so enormous that both instinctively avoid the decisive test of strength that could destroy both.

The coming of nuclear weapons marks a mighty divide. The England and Germany of 1908 could comtemplate war with each other because the concept of war as it existed in those times did not imply mass destruction. In World War I a few small bombs were dropped on London from Zeppelins. But, by and large, cities and the mass of civilians were immune from war.

World War II was fought in a new dimension. Air power had come of age. No city in Europe or Asia was immune. Only the Americas continued to enjoy relative immunity. London and Berlin, Coventry and Dresden, Southampton and Hamburg became frontline victims of war.

And then that war ended on the threshold of still a newer dimension. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out in moments. The nuclear age had arrived - at a split-second cost of 100,000 lives. It shortened the war. But, as this correspondent reported in a dispatch from Washington in July 1946, the US Strategic Bombing Survey on the Pacific war offered its ''opinion that certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped. . . .''

Less destructive ways of using the new bomb, put forward by the scientists who had built it, were disregarded. ''These are facts,'' I wrote then, ''for every man to weigh for himself.''

What became unblinkingly clear was that all-out war was no longer a sane national option for either of the superpowers. They must pursue their rivalry by means short of nuclear war.

Perhaps the world came closest to nuclear Armageddon during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. It was one of those historic turning points. A Monitor map published then laid out in simple detail the swath of US cities reachable in minutes by Cuban-based Soviet nuclear missiles. But, more than that, it was President Kennedy's facing down of Soviet leader Khrushchev that triggered Moscow's mass military buildup of the past two decades. ''Never again,'' said the Soviets, and launched their drive for at least equality in nuclear and conventional military power.

Meanwhile, under that superpower standoff, the rest of the globe had been evolving, too. The dissolution of the empires of the earlier age - British, French, Portuguese, Belgian, German, Spanish - spawned a horde of new countries, and a place where they could meet and air their desires and their frustrations and sometimes use their numbers to push or restrain the great powers. Both moral and practical dimensions

In 1908 there was one British Empire. Today there are 57 separate and independent fragments of that empire. And these are among the 150 sovereign and independent countries with voting rights in the United Nations. The UN is often anything but united. But, springing from the ashes of two world wars, it has a moral as well as a practical dimension.

Its founding at an international conference in San Francisco in April 1945 was full of idealism. Not surprisingly, the Monitor had several correspondents present. The conference's aim was high. As former Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, chairman of the US delegation, put it in his report to the President: ''The conference had one purpose and one purpose only: to draft the charter of an international organization through which the nations of the world might work together in their common hope for peace'' (Monitor, July 13, 1945).

Today, the child of that hope-filled gathering is still a forum where even the smallest nation can sometimes get a hearing. Its blue-helmeted forces try to keep the peace in the Middle East and Cyprus. Discussions in its halls and corridors have sometimes been able to turn aside or ameliorate the conflicts of the lesser powers.

But the UN has had its share of failures and frustrations. And these have their parallel in the two great superpowers' discovery of the limits on their power, too.Vast though that power may be, it is not enough to win for them everything they think they want.

American power was frustrated and ultimately excluded from Vietnam only partly because the Soviet Union and China sent arms to the North Vietnamese and to the Viet Cong. The wieghtier factor in that equation was the power of native nationalism.

The US entered Vietnam originally as the supporter of French colonialism.When the French were defeated and thrown out, the US stayed on in an effort to support a successor regime composed largely of people who had been the lower and middle level of government bureaucracy during the French period. And Wasington allowed itself to become more and more deeply committed as the war, in the words of one Monitor headline, ''always seemed to be turning the corner. . . .''

The Soviet Union has run into similar trouble in its postwar imperial course. It tried to treat mainland China as its property. Chinese nationalism rebelled. Moscow's single biggest loss since World War II was its loss of influence in China. It has still naot managed to regain it. Its second most serious loss was the loss of Egypt. Again, local nationalism rebelled against Soviet influence and Soviet presence.

It is local nationalism that is again thwarting Soviet purposes in Afghanistan. The war there is in its fourth year. Resistance to Soviet rule is still widespread.The rebels are able to score occasional local successes. The Monitor has been exceptionally diligent in dispatching correspondents to tramp the mountain passes of the great Hindu Kush range to report on what is going on behind the Russian occupation lines.

The Soviets can still enforce their grip on the immediate neighbors in Eastern Europe. Only Yugoslavia has made good its escape. The others still belong, perforce, to the Soviet imperial system. But only two countries outside the Soviet area choose voluntarily to remain genuine allies -- Cuba and Vietnam. Distance permits a degree of independence. There are other clients such as Eghiopia and Angola who look to Moscow for support but are free to break away -- and talk of doing so someday

In 1908 the United States was a second-class power, and a secondary source of world-shaping news for the Monitor. Often more important and more newsworthy in those days were England, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Germany of the Kaiser, Italy, Russia, Japan.

There is no longer an anguishing question about whether Britain's greater rival is Russia or Germany. All that belongs to the past. There is one rivalry that matters today, the rivalry between the Soviet Uniona dn the US.

The contrast between the news in that issue and the news in today's issue is a reminder worth heeding, that history does not stand still. Nations and empires rise and fall. Nothing is permanent in balance of power politics, not even today's rivalry between the Soviet Union and the US.

Twenty-one years ago, when Kennedy placed his blockade around the island of Cuba and the world watched nervously as the Soviet missile-carrying freighters slowly approached and then at the last minute turned around, the United States was probably at the peak of its comparative power on the world stage. It far surpassed the power available to the men of Moscow.

Today the US is nearer a parity of power with the Soviets. Its system of voluntary alliances is more essential. China's leader, Deng Xiaoping, phrased it succinctly in an interview in Peking with Monitor editor in chief (then editor) Earl Foell.

''The Soviet challenge can only be coped with if the United States strenghens unity with its allies and unites its strength with all the forces that are resisting the Soviet challenge, including the forces of the third world,'' he said at the end of 1980.

The editors of this newspaper could not foresee in 1908 the details of the world we live intoday. But they could perceive some of the vital strands of history unraveling and reforming in front of them.

The pattern of today's world will break up in time, too. We cannot foresee the details of tomorrow's power structure. But in reading the lessons of the past we can also reach for some of the broader threads that lead into the future.

We can discern the greater ability of free societies to adapt to, and use, current revolutions in technology and information. We can see the continuing influence of the vision and character of great men and women, the mental Gullivers rather than the Lilliputians. It is such qualities that will be needed to build the inevitably closer, tighter-together world of the coming century.

World War II was fought in a new dimension. Air power had come of age. No city in Europe or Asia was immune. Only the Americas continued to enjoy relative immunity. London and Berlin, Coventry and Dresden, Southampton and Hamburg became frontline victims of war.

And then that war ended on the threshold of still a newer dimension. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out in moments. The nuclear age had arrived - at a split-second cost of 100,000 lives. It shortened the war. But, as this correspondent reported in a dispatch from Washington in July 1946, the US Strategic Bombing Survey on the Pacific war offered its ''opinion that certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped. . . .''

Less destructive ways of using the new bomb, put forward by the scientists who had built it, were disregarded. ''These are facts,'' I wrote then, ''for every man to weigh for himself.''

What became unblinkingly clear was that all-out war was no longer a sane national option for either of the superpowers. They must pursue their rivalry by means short of nuclear war.

Perhaps the world came closest to nuclear Armageddon during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. It was one of those historic turning points. A Monitor map published then laid out in simple detail the swath of US cities reachable in minutes by Cuban-based Soviet nuclear missiles. But, more than that, it was President Kennedy's facing down of Soviet leader Khrushchev that triggered Moscow's mass military buildup of the past two decades. ''Never again,'' said the Soviets, and launched their drive for at least equality in nuclear and conventional military power.

Meanwhile, under that superpower standoff, the rest of the globe had been evolving, too. The dissolution of the empires of the earlier age - British, French, Portuguese, Belgian, German, Spanish - spawned a horde of new countries, and a place where they could meet and air their desnd win for Germany a far broader empire than Kaiser Wilhelm had ever envisaged.

This time the Monitor could foresee, better than most of its contemporaries, the dangers ahead. On the day World War I ended in 1918 the Monitor commented: ''The task of the world will be not merely restoring the material damage done by Germany, but rehabilitating the German character in the face of mankind.'' And when foolish Allied policies drove Germany into the worst currency inflation in modern memory, the Monitor urged help for the Germans.

Through 1923 Monitor columns reflect two parallel streams of events. On one side was the economic distress in Germany and the unwillingness of the Western powers to grant the relief that both wisdom and charity counseled. Parallel to it ran Hitler's rise to power in Germany on a tide of bitterness. It was foreseen. It could have been prevented.

A Monitor correspondent had an exclusive interview with Adolf Hitler. Under the date of Oct. 3, 1923, the Monitor quoted Hitler as stating that rather than hand the Ruhr over to France as the German government was then doing in lieu of reparations payments, he would have turned it into a desert.

''If I had been at the head of the government,'' Hitler said, ''the Ruhr district would have been burned down as Moscow was burned by the Russians. The French would never have found a single bridge or tree there.''

Hitler also declared to the Monitor's correspondent that ''what has been possible in Italy also is possible in Germany, where the German people, given a Mussolini, would fall down on their knees before him and worship him more than Mussolini ever has been worshipped in Italy.''

The rest of the story is familiar. Hitler's march to power. The war Hitler planned and launched. The decisive moment of crisis in the winter of 1941 when Hitler's army was stopped outside of Moscow by a winter cold so intense that German troops, unprepared for a winter campaign, could do no more. The German push for Stalingrad, and that other German push for Cairo on the African front, failed. Then came the twin Allied victories at Stalingrad and at El Alemein. America entered the war, again. The tide turned decisively and once more the German reach for power was frustrated.

This time the sequel was different. London and Washington had learned the lesson of 1918. They did not impose a punitive peace on either Germany or Japan. ''Certainly, self-interest and humanity both demand vigorous American aid to help make Japan self-sufficient again,'' remarked a typical Monitor editorial of the day. And this time, unlike the period after World War I, it was a viewpoint that was almost universally echoed among the victors.

In Europe, that part of Germany held by the US, Britain, and France was helped to economic recovery - and helped morally as well. Chastened and renewed by fair and constructive treatment, it was invited back into the Western community. Its great industrial machine was repaired and tied tightly into the cooperative endeavor of the European Common Market. Its political energies were released into a new democracy at home and a broader vision of unity within Europe as a whole.

We are back now to where we were before Kaiser Wilhelm embarked upon his great ''rivalry'' with England. Back, but with one tremendous difference: The power world which we write about daily in the columns of this newspaper is totally different from the world of 1908. Then Britain was the only truly global superpower. The rest of us were many, more or less equal, and none having anything like the reach of Britain.

The superpower situation today has no parallel in modern times. To find anything resembling it you have to look back to the rivalry of Rome and Parthia at the beginning of our era. Parthia was an empire lying between Arabia and India. There was nothing else of importance in the world of those times. China was too far away to count. The known Western world was a two-power world - two powers jealous, suspicious. They coexisted unwillingly and uncomfortably. War was chronic along their common frontier, but it was border skirmishing. Neither Rome nor Parthia had the ability to destroy the other. US, USSR jealous and suspicious rivals

The US and the Soviet Union are like that today. They are jealous and suspicious rivals in a state of constant maneuver for some advantage in weapons or influence. Washington courts the Soviet Union's neighbors in Eastern Europe. Moscow courts the United States' neighbors in Central America. But the power of each is so enormous that both instinctively avoid the decisive test of strength that could destroy both.

The coming of nuclear weapons marks a mighty divide. The England and Germany of 1908 could contemplate war with each other because the concept of war as it existed in those times did not imply mass destruction. In World War I a few small bombs were dropped on London from Zeppelins. But, by and large, cities and the mass of civilians were immune from war.

But only gradually did the realization come that the war that began in 1914 was not going to be over suddenly, quickly, and with relatively little pain. The early German advances bogged down into trench warfare. A desperate Germany turned to submarine warfare against Allied shipping. The Lusitania with Americans aboard was sunk. Woodrow Wilson had been reelected in 1916 on the slogan that America was ''too proud to fight,'' but by April 6 of 1917 Congress had voted for war against Imperial Germany. War ends comfortable world of 1908

There were 20 different news stories on the front page of the Monitor that day. Every one dealt with some aspect of the war and with America's entry into it. By then there was little left of the comfortable, presumably unchangeable world of 1908.

The Monitor editorial that day explained what had happened in the following firmly worded terms:

''He [the President] has made up his mind that the cause of liberty, the course of progress, the demand of Principle has required the entrance of the United States into the war, not for the lust of conquest, nor for the love of applause, but with the greatest hatred of the necessity, in defense of all that mankind holds sacred today, and which mankind unfortunately had to win with the sword, and today only knows how to hold with the sword.''

A thought runs all the way through the story of the last 75 years of history like a single thread that disappears from time to time beneath the fabric, then reappears. It is the thought that Russia was the true enemy of Western civilization and culture and that the two great Anglo-German wars of the era represented a tragic failure of Western statesmanship. That the ''German Codlin'' rather than the ''Russian Short'' was the real friend of England.

But the story went differently. On Nov. 8 of 1917 the Monitor was reporting the second phase of the Russian revolution. The Czar had been overthrown and his place taken by Kerensky. Then entered Lenin, Russia left the war, Germany transferred whole armies to the Western Front and made its climactic bid for victory.

It was the fresh weight of America in the scales that finally broke the stalemate on the Western Front. The Kaiser abdicated and took refuge in neutral Holland. The old order in Europe was finished. It is unlikely that there will ever again be a Monitor front page like that first one where the top news was of the unveiling of a Civil War statue in Washington and the building of a dam across the Charles River in Boston.

In a sense the whole story of World War II was a postscript to the story of World War I. True, it was a long and bloody and fearfully destructive postscript. Yet it was the playing out to the bitter end of that ''duel between England and Germany.''

The punitive peace that the Western allies imposed on Germany in 1918 bred the frustration that cleared the way for Hitler. Hitler came to power determined to wipe out the results of World War I a

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