VOL. 174 No. 5181

LONDON, AUGUST 26th, 1939


IN THIS ISSUE THE FATE OF POLAND An Editorial on the Increased Threat to H e r Independence


B y G . M . Godden


B y a Correspondent in Sw itzerland

RUSSIA AND THE GERMAN PROTECTORATES Our Central European Correspondent w r ites on R e la tio n s betw een Teuton and S la v

CARDINAL NEWMAN AT OXFORD From Unpublished Sources, by Father H en ry Tristram , Cong. O rat.

Full List o f Contents on page 264.


Parliam ent reassembled on Thursday to give emergency powers to the Government a t an immensely grave time. I f we are called upon to honour our pledge to Poland we have made it plain we shall do so, but the great practical measure o f the blockade, by which time would certainly have been on our side, is gravely compromised by Soviet Russia, the largest land area in the world, becoming a friendly neutral in support o f German war measures. The calculation th a t neither Britain nor France can do anything effective, that they will not commit the folly of frontal attack on the Siegfried Line, is the basis of the German confidence th a t the summer will pass over without world war, and with a further great German trium ph, and th a t if war begins, the Western Powers will realize th a t they could only have won a war o f endurance and cannot intervene as military powers in eastern Europe.

The tendency o f Russian policy ever since the retirement o f Litvinov has been towards isolation from Europe, and there has never been much hope in London o f obtaining from the Russians anything more than an undertaking to help Poland with supplies in the event o f war, and to refrain from so helping the Reich.

But from an economic point o f view the neutrality of Russia might be a very serious matter. A neutral Power in war has the right to trade with either belligerent : a right which the Americans exercised during the opening years of the Great War, so that Anglo-American relations during 1915 were very strained.

The new pact foreshadows still closer relations. I t is in a long line. In April, 1926, a Treaty was signed in Berlin between Germany and the U.S.S.R. This was renewed in 1931, and it is plausibly claimed by many th a t it was confirmed by the National Socialists in 1933 and again renewed on its expiry in 1936. Article 3 of this Treaty is as follows : “ I f on the occasion of a conflict o f the nature mentioned in Article 2 (i.e.,

virtually any conflict in which either Russia or Germany may be involved), or a t a time when neither o f the Contracting Parties is engaged in war-like operations, a coalition is formed between third Powers with a view to the economic or financial boycott o f either o f the Contracting Parties, the other Contracting Party undertakes not to adhere to such coalition.” The meaning o f this is th a t i f Germany should become involved in war with the Western Powers, Russia would be technically neutral, bu t the greatest weapon o f the Western Powers, which is the weapon o f the blockade, would be nullified by a constant supply o f food and raw materials sent to Germany from Russia. I t is hard to visualise any circumstances in which such supplies could be in terrupted ; for no th ird Power could dispute the jo in t mastery o f Russia and the Reich in the Baltic, and consignments sent by sea from Leningrad to Stettin could continue whatever the military situation in central Europe. The vast resources o f Russia place the Reich in a position to disregard the British Navy. Russian Resources

Already, reports Le Temps, large consignments of Russian petrol have been landed a t Stettin, which will do something to alleviate the acute petrol shortage from which the Reich has recently been suffering. Russian cotton from Turkestan, an essential material of war, has also been arriving a t Stettin ; and these are shipments, it is noted, which must have been arranged even before the conclusion of the commercial agreement.

One consequence o f the German move towards understanding with Russia th a t may not be without its importance, is th a t it must strengthen the confidence o f the Army in the Fiihrer. Ever since the Treaty of Rapallo the German generals have favoured close relations with R u s s ia ; under the Weimar Republic, when those were openly possible, the connections between the Reichswehr and the Russian Army were very close. German officers went to Russia to train the