VOL. 171 No. 5116

LONDON MAY 28th, 1938




Christopher Dawson replies to a critic RELIGION IN AUSTRIA Reflections of an American Resident in Vienna CATHOLIC HUNGARY

An Editorial on the Eucharistic Congress




By Hilaire Belloc

By Luden Corpechot

Full List o f Contents on page 696.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK Britain and Germany

The Need for Revision

The week-end, the first, but not by any means the last o f its kind, was a landmark. During it there emerged the clearest indications of what the line up would be in the event of the Germans attempting a unilateral and violent settlement with Czechoslovakia. The British intervention took the form of a great and obvious pre-occupation, a desire to see a spirit of compromise, because French participation would obviously mean British participation as well. That is a new factor, something much more definite than ever emerged in the years before 1914. Great Britain has, by continental standards, no Army. The Air Force is the subject of much anxiety.

But British participation would be, in the grim event, the participation not of a country, but of an Empire, most of it quite invulnerable from attack. I t has been for many years the main German objective to separate France and Britain, and on many matters the National Government in Britain and the Popular Front Government in France have found it very difficult to keep in any sort of step. But the chief lesson of last week-end is that a t the moment the Germans run the risk of provoking against themselves virtually all the elements which produced the alliance whose overwhelming force brought down the Empire of the Hohenzollerns. The present Nazi regime has set out to antagonize, without a single exception, all the strongest international forces in the world, good and bad alike. The Catholics, the Jews, the Communists, the democratic Liberals, all find themselves today in the opposite camp, and ranged against a people with whom, if it rested with them, there would be no sort of quarrel. In an interview with Mr. Ward Price, of the Daily Mail, Herr Henlein expressed, as forcibly as any Pacifist could do, the obvious fact that a future war would be equally ruinous and destructive for everybody. There would be nothing for the Europeans to do, he said, except “ to go and beg bananas in Africa.” The shadow of the last war, which caused, in nearly every country involved, the disappearance of the political regime in power when war began, is a wholesome deterrent today.

The prerequisite of successful mediation is to inspire more confidence in both the opposed parties than they can feel in each other. At the moment it is true to say that the French and the Czechs have been agreeably surprised at the depth and the vigour of the British response. It is not less important to make it plain that our opposition to violence in Central Europe does not imply any acceptance of the extreme French or Czech thesis. We have no reason to deny or to palliate the great mistakes made by Paris and Prague in the treatment of Minorities since the War. We must recognize that a forcible settlement is now only being revised because those who suffered under it have enough strength to compel the revision, and that in the last resort, in this balance o f forces, it is strength and not abstract justice which is deciding. The immediate question is whether, if the Czechs part with control of the police to their Minorities, they shall be immunised and their new internal weakness be counterbalanced by any general guarantee by the Powers. It is probable that such a guarantee, in which Germany would take part, will be feasible but not, in the long run, particularly important. The new conception which the Germans are developing will not involve any political subjugation of Czech or other Minorities in the steady expansion of German power south-east. There can be no prevention of German growth, nor should it be attempted, provided always that the Germans have the patience and good sense to proceed step by imperceptible step. The Reich and Citizenship

It should be clearly understood as fundamental that what is at issue is not any question of redrawing a frontier, but of remodelling a constitution. The Sudeten Germans, in short, can be of much greater value to the Reich as citizens of Czechoslovakia, and the kind of settlement which will probably be achieved in the course of the summer, which combines a high measure of autonomy with the continued unity of the Czechoslovak State, will be a settlement most convenient for German policy.