VOL. 172 No. 5132






By Douglas Woodruff


By E. R. Roper Power


By T. V. Fleming, S.J. Full List o f Contents on page 356.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The Plebiscite Proposal

“ In this hour of Sudeten-German need, I step before the Sudetens, the German people and the entire world, to declare that we want to live as free Germans.

“ We again want peace to work in our home. We want to go home to the Reich.”

With this declaration of Herr Henlein the new German tactics disclose themselves, and it is now quite certain that, though there will be violent controversy, the Sudeten plebiscite demand will have to be considered.

Mr. Chamberlain’s decision to visit Herr Hitler has been generally acclaimed. I t cannot make matters worse. It may well make them better. In particular i t has the advantage, as an imaginative and dramatic stroke, o f making the Nuremberg Party Congress, and the speeches there, recede a little way in the distance, and th a t is all to the good. I t changes the key in which international discussion was pitched, and it imposes a breathing space.

There have been some exceptions to the general approval which has hailed the Prime M inister’s initiative. The Communists in Britain and France showed themselves immediately uneasy and displeased. For some time past there has been a drive to get Lord Runciman recalled and to bring about, if it might be possible, the replacement of Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Halifax by Conservative statesmen with a different sense of the international values involved, less reluctant to embark on a jo in t ideological crusade in the same camp as the Soviet. It is greatly to be hoped that the German Führer will appreciate that he is unlikely to find in Great Britain so well disposed a Government again. Great Britain in Europe

What is now absolutely definite and destined, in war, or truce, or peace, to colour the whole situation in the future is that Great Britain is committed in Central Europe up to the hilt. We did not expect a dynamic people like the Germans not to pursue, with a good deal o f success, an expanding and forward policy in their own immediate part o f the world. But the consideration which has determined British foreign policy for centuries, that British power shall be a counterpoise, in reserve against the strongest power in order to prevent a hegemony in Europe, a policy which, in recent times, aligned us with the French, down to 1918, and made us then lean to Germany, during the years o f French ascendancy, has now swung us back strongly into the French camp. Where the tone of the speeches of General Goering and Herr Hitler serve Germany so ill, is that they make what would normally be a policy of activity in Europe about which British opinion would be largely unenthusiastic and in great part divided, into something about which the whole of the British Empire is in complete and whole-hearted accord.

At the moment it requires an effort of the imagination to recall how numerous and influential were the pacifists in Great Britain a few years ago. Today there is no one more anxious for peace than Mr. Chamberlain’s Government. The whole o f the Opposition, and a great deal of the Conservative Party, is more reconciled to the idea o f inevitable war than is the Government. There is a very wide-spread feeling that there can be no real peace, that tension and uncertainty and recurrent crisis are the set orders of the day as far as the eye can see into the future, and that it would be better to end the tension by a show-down. Unhelpful Insincerities

The City, which can only function in a very different sort of world in which men can look ahead, joins forces with the Left. I t is an extraordinary achievement in unity, hardly less remarkable than his work for unity inside Germany, this achievement o f Herr H itle r’s in producing a singularly unanimous opinion against Germany. It is remarkable, because in the substance of the Czechoslovakian dispute, as distinct from the German tactics, there is a great deal to be said for the full German contentions. I f we could go back twenty years we should frame Central Europe differently. I t is naturally