VOL. 171 No. 5112

LONDON APRIL 30th, 1938



STAGES OF THE SPANISH WAR (A Map showing the Progressive Advance of the Nationalist Forces)


(From Our Own Correspondent)


By Lucien Corpechot


An Editorial on the Bishop of Chelmsford

DISTRACTIONS-II ON SKULLS — By Hilaire Belloc Full List o f Contents on page 560.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The French Minister’s Visit

M. Daladier and M. Bonnet succeed to the miserable heritage of the foreign policy of the Popular Front, but they are rapidly improving their position. The ice has been broken and conversations have started in Rome, which would have been impossible in the days of M. Blum. The British Ministers desire nothing more than the progress of these talks, which are obviously also timely for Signor Mussolini, whose attitude remains the decisive factor for the immediate future in Central Europe. The French can be reassured by Britain that the path is open to them to follow Britain in reestablishing good relations with Italy and Spain, and safeguarding, in consequence, the French communications with North Africa. In some ways the worst of M. Blum’s legacies was the categorical reassertion that France will go to the assistance of Czechoslovakia, which is something very much more easily said than done.

The French war machine of today is an immensely powerful defensive weapon. It was framed within the conceptions of the Maginot Line, and an exposed Rhineland. It could not throw itself on the German Siegfried Line in a desperate attempt to reach and succour the Czechs. Without Italian co-operation the effort could not be made at all. But even more important than the strategical difficulty is the political one. Central Europe’s Age-old Questions

The danger in Czechoslovakia is not a danger of invasion, but of disintegration. The moment a war broke out the different racial minorities would follow different policies, precisely as happened to the old Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which showed, on a larger scale, the same patchwork minorities. Czechoslovakia itself arose by the very methods and for the same reason that bring threats to it today. The German minority hold the limelight because, like the Uitlanders in the Boer Republics, they are the representatives of an immensely powerful neighbour. But where the Boers had no other European problem than the cosmopolitan British element, the Czechs face three important minorities, and their boundaries interest the Poles and the Hungarians hardly less than they do the Germans. What is certain, and what the French should be asked to recognize, is that the frontier and the Constitution of the new country set up as Czechoslovakia, twenty years ago, are sure to be modified. The important thing is to prevent the local conflict of interests from involving Europe in a Franco-German war, which would be the signal for the whole of the settlement of 1919 to be returned to the melting-pot. What Czechoslovakia is

The speeches at the Congress of Karlovy-Vary were not conciliatory. Party speeches seldom are, and Herr Henlein’s demands are that the Germans in Czechoslovakia shall be recognized, not only as Germans, but as National-Socialists. It would follow that their regime would be radically different to the regime of the other minorities and of the State itself. The Czech Government maintains a firm front, and the attitude of the German Government, while it allows the German Press to give full encouragement to Herr Henlein, is still governed by the declarations made in March. The tru th is that the Germans have so many good cards in their hand that only crass ineptitude will let any such situation develop as will give the Czech Government any claim on French or Soviet assistance. The German minority will count for more and more, and will advance through small concessions, each one thoroughly justified on its merits. There will obviously be a shifting inside Czechoslovakia, and a modus vivendi between equal racial groups will succeed to the era of Czech ascendancy which President Masaryk and Dr. Benes secured from the victorious Western Powers.