THE TABLET A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER AND REVIEW

ESTABLISHED 1840 REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER

VOL. 172 No. 5133

LONDON SEPTEMBER 24th, 1938

SIXPENCE

IN THIS ISSUE

M R . CHAMBERLAIN’S GREAT EFFORT

Editorial

THE SPAIN OF THE NATIONALISTS

III.—BILBAO AND THE BASQUES

By Douglas Woodruff

POPULATION PROBLEMS: SOME CONCLUSIONS

By E. R. Roper Power

THE CHURCH POLICY OF 46MEIN KAMPF ”

By Edward Quinn

THE CATHOLICISM OF CHARLES II

The Text of the Papers found in 1686

Full List o f Contents on page 388.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The Fateful Days

This week-end marks a turning point. If Herr Hitler listens to his more moderate counsellors, it will be a turning point immensely to the good. That is plainly Mr. Chamberlain’s hope. On the other side, Dr. Goebbels’ newspapers in the last two days are not encouraging. There is the danger that the moment may be felt opportune to build not European peace and appeasement, but some further exclusively German successes, and if this is attempted the whole structure of peaceful change will be likely to collapse.

It was Thursday of last week Mr. Chamberlain first went to see Herr Hitler in Bavaria. Exactly a week later he returns to Germany after a week more crowded with fateful decisions than any for twenty years. Mr. Chamberlain returned on Friday. He spent all Saturday getting the consent of the British Cabinet to far-reaching proposals for settling the Czechoslovakian issue immediately and without war, by transferring the predominantly German areas to the Reich. All Sunday was spent going over the same ground with M. Daladier and M. Bonnet and obtaining, at midnight, French agreement. On Monday the French Cabinet discussed and agreed, and on Tuesday, and through the small hours of Wednesday, the Czechoslovak Cabinet in Prague had, under extreme pressure, to fall into line. Mr. Chamberlain could then announce the second visit to the German Fiihrer.

This extreme rush, this taking of highly complex decisions in a very few hours, has only been made necessary because the Germans have chosen to impose an extremely short time limit before using violence in Czechoslovakia. It precludes any pretence that the decisions have not been taken under duress and to avoid greater evils, and decisions so taken, whether or no they are reasonable in themselves, must gravely damage the prestige of those who are thus driven to make them. The near future will show whether these extraordinary exertions prove to be part of a larger and more hopeful policy, or whether their whole merit is that they have prevented a war at this time and on this issue.

It has become increasingly plain that such a war might easily have come about. Indeed, we cannot say that the danger is yet passed. Only the Cabinet know the truth about our preparedness or unpreparedness, and that of France. But it is widely and authoritatively said that in one vital respect, their air force, the French are, at the moment, very seriously under-equipped. The French Army, both infantry and artillery, is not open to these criticisms, but the air arm would, in this particular war, be of exceptional importance. Indeed, in view of the Italian attitude, the French would have the choice of making infantry attacks on the already strong Rhineland fortifications of the Germans, or of limiting their assistance to the Czechs to the despatch of aeroplanes. The French material of war, which the politicians of the Popular Front have supplied to the Spanish Republicans for so long and on such a scale, is badly wanted in France itself.

The English rearmament is not at the moment in any position to make good the deficiencies of the French. General Goering’s boast about starting earlier and being a few noses ahead has only too much justification, and if there is one kind of public man who has little justification in attacking the present policy of the Government it is those who took a great pride in opposing British rearmament. Nor should those who declared with a ring of moral superiority, “ We prefer butter to guns, ’’ be surprised when butter will not do the work of guns.