THE CONQUEST OF CORFU
Foreign policies in all countries entail deals that cannot stand the light of day: distributions of secret funds, thefts of documents, acquisition of "useful information" through hidden channels, and so on. Statesmen of high repute resort to these practices from necessity. The politician of low calibre wallows in them. He stoops, often needlessly, to intrigues with shady adventurers; he supports one faction against an opposing faction in another country in order to overthrow a given régime; he squanders millions to obtain "a good Prese". Confused plans and wild projects swarm about him. It becomes difficult for the "boss" himself not to lose both sense of reality and sense of responsibility. He easily slips down into the quagmire of the detective novel.
In 1927, the leader of the German Socialist parliamentary group, Herr Breitscheid, stated in Vorwärts (December 29), without being contradicted by the Foreign Minister of the Reich, that "in 1923, Mussolini threw out feelers towards Berlin to try to discover how the German Government felt about an eventual Italo-German collaboration against France. The Italian Government was willing to sell arms to Germany. German political circles were wise enough to receive this offer coldly, and the Minister of the Reichswehr withdrew from the affair after having flirted at first, according to certain information, with the idea of acquiring the arms."
While Mussolini was thus offering arms to the Government of the Weimar Republic, and thus encouraging them to resist France, he was supplying Hitler with money and spurring him on to fight the Weimar Republic, if there is any truth in the statement made by the journalist Abel in the course of a libel suit at Munich brought by Hitler against the Münchener Post in February 1930. Abel deposed that in the autumn of 1923 he brought together an Italian army captain called Migliorati, then attaché at the Italian Embassy in Berlin, and Hitler, who was then preparing a "putsch" in the Ruhr. The situation in South Tirol was discussed. "Italian Fascism was interested in strengthening German Fascism and was ready to help with money and arms providing it ceased all resistance in the question of South Tirol".1 In June 1932, the Munich court ruled these statements to be slanderous and sentenced Abel. A political sentence involving a man of Hitler's stamp, in a country as frenzied as was Germany in 1932, is of scant value, but, on the other hand, Abel's____________________