Nazi Foreign Policy, 1933-1941: The Road to Global War

By Christian Leitz | Go to book overview

5

Nazi Germany and Southeast Europe

From economic satellites in peace to partners and victims in war

In January 1939, the second edition of Bloodless Invasion by Paul Einzig, a renowned expert on international trade and finance and political editor of the Financial News, appeared. In his preface to the new edition Einzig noted the following:

When this book was first published in June 1938, interest in its subject was very limited in Great Britain. I was practically alone in trying to draw the attention of the public to the methods and aims of German economic penetration into South-Eastern Europe. In the meantime, however, the situation has changed completely. The economic consequences of the Munich agreement attracted much attention to the German south-eastward trade thrust, and since then the subject has received a great deal of publicity. In the United States, too, public interest in the German bloodless invasion of the Danube Basin and the Balkans has increased to an unhoped-for degree. 1

Both the quotation from the preface and the book’s title (and subtitle) were to highlight Einzig’s unshakable belief that the Nazi regime possessed a master plan for the ‘peaceful conquest’ of Southeast Europe 2 which it was now, in 1938-9, implementing with great success. This belief runs like a red line through the book with Einzig backing it up with numerous reasons and examples. In essence, Einzig’s argument ran, the states of Southeast Europe were becoming victims of Nazi Germany’s concerted economic onslaught, an onslaught that would provide the foundations for Germany’s political control of the area. In Einzig’s dramatic verdict, ‘The more they [the “Danubian States”] come to depend upon trade with Germany for their prosperity, the more they are exposed to political pressure aiming at setting up puppet Nazi Governments which would take their orders from Berlin. Even more dramatically, Einzig concluded that The acquisition of political control over the Danubian and Balkan

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