VOL. 174 No. 5188

LONDON, OCTOBER 14th, 1939




An Editorial on the New Alignment GERMANY’S WAR ECONOMY

By a German Expert

NEUTRALITY IN THE BALKANS The Conflict between Business and Sympathy, by David Walker THE CAUSES OF THE POLISH FAILURE

An Analysis by Our Central European Correspondent

Full List o f Contents on page 448.


If there is a genuine will to peace in official Germany, let it be first shown towards the violently subjected peoples, the Czechs, the Slovaks, and the newly overrun Poles. That must be our first demand before we can begin to think that the Germans in Europe are prepared to live and let live. We would ask nothing better than that we could believe any such thing ; but we should be deceiving ourselves and preparing our own ruin if we indulged such hopes of Nazi Germany. The Germans are yielding point after point to the Soviet; let them yield something to their less powerful neighbours.

When Herr Hitler suggested a Conference, did he trouble to recall the way his Völkischer Beobachter wrote of the Conference proposal last August as insulting to the honour of a great nation ? His best point was that the Versailles settlement had not brought order to Eastern and Central Europe. Twenty uneasy years have shown that the charge is largely true. But, the Nazis apart, the friction in the territories whose frontiers were redrawn, the economic strain on so many Governments attempting to be sovereign with insufficient revenue and insufficient trade, were real evils, but small ones compared with the personal insecurity which Herr Hitler has brought with him. No man has the right to pose as a builder of order who cannot rule without a ubiquitous Secret Police and the complete denial of reasonable freedom of criticism and action to private people. The Baltic Deal

The Pact goes forward ; 17| tons of Russian gold are announced as arriving at Berlin, and the Russians are to begin delivering raw materials without being paid at present. Plainly they will never be paid if the Nazis lose their war, and they are perhaps not very likely to be paid, on the analogy of present Nazi practice in foreign trade, except by being offered payment in a particular kind of mark, which will only buy particular kinds of German goods. But the Soviet is taking payment cash down in the form of strategic advantages in the Baltic.

All through the summer the British and French attempt to include the Soviet in a peace front was baulked over the definition of indirect aggression as applied to the Baltic States. The Soviet was, in effect, asking for a free hand against those States, and Britain and France would no more sell their rights than they would sell those of Poland or Rumania. These States were carved out of Czarist Russia, and were the visible fruits of Russia’s defeat. Their existence depended ultimately on it being a major German interest that they should exist, restricting the scope of Russia in a sea which is to Germany of the first importance. Like the Poles, in 1920, the Finns had to fight for their independence from Red Russia, and did so triumphantly. We may well see them doing so again. They are hopelessly outnumbered, but their country is large, and most of it is impassable in the winter. Transport remains a form of activity in which the Russians under Stalin, as under the Czars, do not excel. But a glance at the map shows the increasing menace to Stockholm and the iron ore of northern Sweden. To the Swedes a balance between Germany and Russia in the Baltic, but a balance leaning in the more civilized direction of Germany, has always been held essential, and that balance is, for the time being, destroyed by the choice of Herr Hitler under the baleful miscalculations of Herr von Ribbentrop.

Retreat from Moscow

The Baltic Barons who, with other German settlers, are to leave Estonia for Germany, are the visible symptoms of the retreat, whereby Germans in Russia are to leave. Now is plainly the moment, and perhaps the only moment, for others in the Baltic States to preserve themselves. There is, in all this, careful design. Stalin has shown himself unwilling to become responsible for much Polish territory unless it can be claimed as land which was only put under Poland for strategic reasons, to give the Poles a broader belt of territory against Russia. That the frontier was so drawn twenty years ago is a matter of history ; Ukrainian independence