VOL. 174 No. 5190

LONDON, OCTOBER 28th, 1939



A GERMAN CATHOLIC REPLIES The Author o f “British Propaganda and German Catholics” Replies to some Questions


An Editorial on the Bases o f Civil Society

KING CAROL’S DIFFICULTIES A Study of Rumanian Policy. By Our Central European Correspondent

Full L i s t o f Contents on page 496.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The Ribbentrop Failure

The charge o f Herr von Ribbentrop th a t Great Britain had been planning for years to make war on Germany did not attem pt to explain why, if th a t was the policy, it was not carried out many years ago, when Germany was much weaker, when the Nazis first came in, as Marshal Pilsudski advised, or again when the Rhineland was reoccupied. I f we had been hostile o r jealous we would never have let the Reich rearm in peace. In fact, the neutral world has never doubted our pacific mind—and Herr von Ribbentrop made great play with our decadent love o f ease, warning neutrals th a t our sun was setting, and advising them to link their fortunes with the new dynamism. What the neutrals did doubt was our resolution first to rearm, and then to use our armaments ; now th a t they are reassured, they take new heart themselves, knowing th a t a halt has been called to bullying in Europe. We now have the great advantage th a t Mr. Chamberlain’s persistent efforts for peace have convinced the world th a t we have no ambitious designs, th a t our victory will carry no threats o f any kind for them, whereas a Nazi victory all too plainly would.

The R ibbentrop speech was a notable admission of failure. I t cannot have been reassuring to intelligent Germans, with its call to place, as usual, utter blind faith in the Führer for war, after it had demonstrated how completely his policy towards Britain had miscarried. I f it was true, as Herr von R ibbentrop said, th a t good relations with us was the foremost and dearest o f the F ü h re r ’s wishes, why did he set about securing them through the employment o f such an agent as von Ribbentrop, who may have had his uses for rough interviews with smaller Powers, but who was quite the worst choice for London. I t would not have been difficult to secure good relations ; it would have been easy to secure a strong p ro-G erm an party in England, if the Nazi Government had been willing to refrain from actions inside Germany, which increasingly disgusted the people who would have been their friends.

The treatm ent o f Dr. Schuschnigg may have seemed a small piece o f private cruelty and revenge to Herr Hitler. I t was not, in the event, a small thing. In his earlier days, before his ambassadorship, when he came to London as H itle r’s emissary, von R ibbentrop used to answer the charge th a t the new regime was addicted to gross brutality, by saying th a t it had to deal with people who still belonged to the era o f the Thirty Years’ War and could be controlled in no other way. As the refugees have since come to Britain, the cynicism o f th a t reply has become ever clearer. The Nazis adopted violence because most Germans shrink from it, and it has paid handsome dividends. The cruelties which, more than anything else have turned Britain and the United States against Hitler, emerge as a blunder as well as crimes, i f he really desired good relations, for he turned the scales against himself by them.

The simpler Germans may, for a time, accept what they are told, but the higher circles, alike in the Army and the State, know very well th a t Hitler and Ribbentrop have made an appalling mess o f the foreign relations o f the Reich, landing it in a fatal war, with the sympathies o f almost every country against it. Hungary Turns from Nazidom

Hungary is as good a sample o f the old authentic Europe as could be desired. Its people are intensely patriotic, they are also intensely Catholic. They have suffered for twenty years from the Peace settlement which enriched their three neighbours who were on the victorious side, and they never ceased to watch and wait and work for revision. This hatred o f Ihe peace which robbed them of so much territory gave the Hungarians a natural link with post-W ar Germany, and for a long time the Nazi propaganda among the Germans in Hungary and among the Hungarians made considerable headway. But since the destruction, first o f Czecho-Slovakia and then o f Poland, and since the abandonment by Nazi Germany o f the anti-Communist