VOL. 170 No. 5089




THE CHURCH AND FASCISM Essentials and Accidentals of Civil Society

ABBOT CHAPMAN ON THE NEW TESTAMENT An account of his case for the priority of Matthew

A R NO LD LUNN ON AM ER IC A Some Impressions and Comments

Full L i s t o f Contents on page 680.


The visit of Lord Halifax to Hitler has an importance not to be measured by its formal character. It is not a visit of negotiation but of exploration. Much may come o f the talks, because what Lord Halifax reports to his Cabinet colleagues will determine the immediate future. But the momentousness of the visit lies in its departure from the whole line of policy which the British Government has followed up to now. The French Foreign Minister was naturally informed that the visit was to be made. Since the Anglo-German naval agreement two years ago the French have had to accept the position that, in the view o f this country, Britain and France are each entitled to make such separate arrangements as they may please. It is indeed highly desirable to keep the interests o f all the great Powers distinct. It was Anglo-French solidarity, at first inside and then outside the League in the last two years that brought about the reply o f the Rome-Berlin axis, and the addition o f Japan to counterbalance Soviet Russia. The first aim o f British statesmanship must be to arrest this drift towards two opposed blocs. Lord Halifax does not go to Berlin as in any sense the representative o f a bloc. Much the best method is to treat peace as highly divisible, to settle questions one by one, to welcome recent developments like the new neutrality attitude o f Belgium as limiting the area o f a possible war. There are many welcome signs that this attitude is growing in Great Britain. An Open Mind on Revision

The great truth which must never be forgotten is that the era between the Treaty o f Versailles and the re-emergence of Germany was never an era o f the reign o f law, it was the reign of force, but as the force was possessed by France and Britain it did not strike us as the crude predomination of might. In its essence, however, it was nothing else. There was nothing sacrosanct about the new countries which were set up in Central Europe, or about the boundaries which were decreed for them in excessive haste during the summer o f 1919. There might equally well have been not merely quite different boundaries like the boundaries of Hungary, but quite different countries, like Croatia. Once the map had been redrawn, the new governments which were its beneficiaries formed the Little Entente under French tutelage, backed by the French Army. The Constitution o f the League was so drawn up as to give the minorities no sort o f status which would enable them to work for revision. Everything depended upon the enjoyment o f sovereign status. Groups like that led by Dr. Masaryk and Dr. Benes emerged as sovereign governments, and today, nearly twenty years afterwards, a generation has grown up which takes the new map of Europe for granted, and easily comes to consider that any changes will rightly and inevitably involve a world war. How Belgium Began

Belgium, whose king has been in London this week, has a history which is highly relevant today. After the defeat of Napoleon, the country which is now Belgium was put under the King of Holland, because the British were not willing that any large Power should control Antwerp. The settlement did not last more than fifteen years, the Belgians threw off the Dutch, and an independent kingdom was created, with a new dynasty and that guarantee o f neutrality which was the immediate occasion o f the British declaration of war against Germany in 1914. Belgian independence arose out of the fall o f the monarchy in France, but it was not allowed to destroy the peace of Europe. The effect of the network o f mutual obligations created in 1919 is to make it very difficult for anything similar to happen in Central Europe without it involving the great Powers. We ought to recognize that there are no provisions in the Peace Treaty which are certain to endure for ever. Much of it has already lapsed, like the Reparations clauses, much has been repudiated by the Germans, much may be the subject of contention and negotiation, perhaps, o f localized conflict.