THE TABLET A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER AND REVIEW

ESTABLISHED 1840 REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER

VOL. 174 No. 5194

LONDON, NOVEMBER 25th, 1939

SIXPENCE

IN THIS ISSUE

THE DEFENCE OF THE WEST An Editorial on “Los von Rom” and the German Breach with the Traditional Order in Europe

RUMANIAN OIL AND GERMAN NEEDS

An Estimate from Bucharest by David Walker THE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS The Roots of Prussia described by Our Central European Correspondent

CHURCH AND STATE IN SPAIN

By Our Madrid Correspondent Full List o f Contents on page 600.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK Indiscriminate Mines

The intensified mine-laying campaign is designed to make the seas round the British Isles too dangerous for neutrals. Already neutral shipping has suffered varied losses, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, from mines indiscriminately sown. I t is all reminiscent of the great German declarations in the Spring o f 1915, announcing the unrestricted U-boat warfare which recoiled in due time on the Germans themselves. The first British reply has been to intensify the blockade by searching neutral ships carrying German exports. By the nature o f the case these ships are mainly those o f the smaller neutrals placed on the great sea routes, and it is primarily Rotterdam and the Dutch transit trade which will be affected. It is a double blow for Holland. German mines increase the peril of the voyage, and the English searching diminishes the profit. But in general, neutrals have readily understood that if the Germans disregard long accepted international law, in the hope of preventing exports from Britain as well as imports, the Allies are entitled to consider themselves no longer bound by those same rules, especially when their disregard o f them involves no inhumanity or danger to neutral lives.

control o f the upper air, and leave the Allies and the Germans to fight it out over their heads. It is impossible not to have the greatest sympathy for these small commercial countries, who are so placed th a t the more difficult the position o f besieged Germany becomes, the more likely they will be to find themselves the victims of Nazi policy. The stronger the present French and British line along the French frontier, the more tempting to German strategists is the idea of luring their enemy into the open, to engage him in the flat country of Holland and Belgium.

But, like most military ideas, there is almost as much to be said against such a plan. In Holland, Germany loses her Rhine frontier and the Siegfried defences. The country becomes absolutely flat where the northern plain is reached, at a latitude where certain hills in England are higher than anything which is met again before the Ural Mountains. This country leads directly, and a t no great distance, to the Kiel Canal, and the basis of the whole of the German submarine activity. The German idea o f obtaining nearer bases in Holland might well work out, in the event, in imperilling the bases in Germany itself. Pressure in Central Europe

The new British measures will very greatly restrict, in a highly competitive world, German opportunities of obtaining foreign exchange by the sale o f goods. The Low Countries

While the Low Countries continue to feel the Nazi pressure, the seas are made increasingly unsafe for them. On the plea th a t they are not properly resisting the British blockade, the Nazis seek to enclose them in the German economic orbit. Nazi aeroplanes expect to fly immunely across the skies o f Belgium and Holland. At present, both countries fire upon interlopers. The alternative might not be more advantageous to the Germans if the Low Countries abandon as beyond their power the

It is theoretically possible to plan long and elaborate circuitous routes for German exports, with most of the journey overland. In practice, sea carriage is so much the cheapest that quite small deviations from the normal channels o f trade render competition difficult or impossible for Germany.

This will drive the Reich more and more on to the Danube countries. In the last War the whole area of what is now Yugoslavia, Hungary, and much o f Rumania, was part of the sovereign domain o f the Central Powers. Germany today is larger than the Germany o f the Peace Treaty, but very considerably smaller than the jo in t organization which went into