THE TABLET A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER AND REVIEW

ESTABLISHED 1840 REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER

VOL. 174 No. 5174

LONDON, JULY 8th, 1939

SIXPENCE

IN THIS ISSUE

TH E STRENGTH OF THE SOVIET

n. THE ARMY AND THE PARTY

By Lancelot Lawton

POLAND AND THE WEST

By Our Central European Correspondent

THE VATICAN AND THE EASTERN CHURCHES

By Dom Bede Winslow THE “ OUR FATHER”

By Mgr. Ronald Knox Full List o f Contents on page 36.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK Polish Rights and Claims

In reply to the intensified activity o f the Nazi Party, in control of the Government and people o f Danzig, the Polish Government has concerted with Britain and France diplomatic approaches to prevent the steady transform ation o f the Free City. The shadow o f the fate o f the Czechs lies across the path o f negotiation, for moderation so plainly availed the Czechs nothing, and it is extremely possible that, had they been more intransigent, they would be much better off today.

But the Poles do not need any warnings o f this kind. I t is a persistent habit of the English to think th a t the peoples o f Central and Eastern Europe have, all of them, the approach o f reasonable business-men to their political issues, whereas, in fact, the historical imagination and strong emotional reactions play the major part. There is an undoubted danger th a t the Poles may feel the present moment uniquely propitious for a forward policy. The action o f Germany has played into their hands, in the sense th a t outside opinion, a t the moment, has no faith in German guarantees and therefore recoils from any sort o f negotiation with the Reich which might involve, as Lord Halifax made plain, the surrender of something concrete in return fo r merely verbal assurance. There is today a public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic ready to characterize as “ aggression” anything the Germans do. It is not surprising if there has been lately a recrudescence of Polish Chauvinism, the reappearance in the Polish Press o f certain ambitious and provocative maps showing what the frontiers of Poland really ought, on mixed racial and historical grounds, to be, maps extending in some cases to embrace the western suburbs o f Berlin. The Polish Press is controlled, for Poland is an authoritarian State today, and these things are permitted,

perhaps, to show the Germans th a t the Government is, in fact, acting with great moderation, perhaps to enhance Polish morale. Ribbentrop in the Baltic

The forthcoming visit o f Herr von Ribbentrop to the Baltic States is a m atter o f much importance. No statesman is more a t home a t negotiation with smaller and weaker countries, and the Baltic States anyway prefer Nazi Germany to Soviet Russia ; i f they feel in danger o f losing their liberty o f action, they may well make agreements with Germany before it is too late for them to do so.

From the point o f view o f Britain and France it is no compensation if they prevail in gett'ng the Soviet to offer Switzerland or Holland guarantees which will not be welcomed, when what is really essential is to safeguard the genuine independence o f the Baltic States in their present forms of Government, hostile though these are to the Soviet.

From a very different point o f view from ours, M. Léon Blum writes in Le Populaire, demanding that mutual pledges o f protection against military aggression, such as the present Franco-Soviet Pact embodies, shall be extended to small neighbour States, and then, he asks, very significantly, whether aggression is ju s t to mean invasion and military occupation or to include also “ revolutions provoqués.” M. Blum recognizes th a t the internal politics o f States do not remain unchanged and their development in one direction or another must be recognized and expected, but he cannot find a formula which would justify intervention against revolutions provoked from the outside, while safeguarding normal political change. The frontiers o f ideas are not geographical, nor are the frontiers of money and propaganda.