Diplomatic Prelude, 1938-1939

Diplomatic Prelude, 1938-1939

Diplomatic Prelude, 1938-1939

Diplomatic Prelude, 1938-1939

Excerpt

The issue of a crisis depends not so much on its magnitude as on the courage and resolution with which it is met. The second German bid for world dominion found Europe weak and divided. At several junctures it could have been stopped without excessive effort or sacrifice, but was not: a failure of European statesmanship. Behind the German drive were passionate forces, sustained by obsessionist, sadistic hatreds and by a crude ideology; to these the Germans, whom defeat had deprived of their routine of life, showed even more than their normal receptivity, while the rest of Europe had neither the faith, nor the will, nor even sufficient repugnance, to offer timely, effective resistance. Some imitated Hitler and hyena-like followed in his track; some tolerated him, hoping that his advance would reach its term -- by saturation, exhaustion, the resistance of others, or the mere chapter of accidents -- before it attained them; and some, while beholding his handiwork, would praise him for having "restored the self-respect of the Germans". Janissaries and appeasers aided Hitler's work: a failure of European morality.

On November 11th, 1918, it could have been foretold with mathematical certainty that should a united Germany in control of her resources be allowed to achieve re-armament, her European conquerors would be in mortal danger. Germany was now as pre-eminent in numbers and organisation as France had been when she made her two bids for world dominion. There was not a nation on the Continent, barring Russia, whose numerical strength was much more than half that of the Germans, and none whose industrial war-potential could compare with theirs. It had been chiefly France and . . .

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