Is national sovereignty so absolute that a government may without limit oppress or even destroy whole groups of its citizens? Have other states no right or duty to protest or intercede, even when such oppression casts burdens upon them? What is the civilized world to do when a nation makes the persecution of its minorities a matter of declared official governmental policy? These are the basic issues which this book examines in the light of international practice during the past three centuries.
In I933, the National Socialist Party came into power in Germany and immediately embarked upon a deliberate policy of depriving "non-Aryans" (i.e. Jews and Christians of Jewish ancestry) of their civil and political rights. The civilized world at first hesitated to believe that hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children would be immolated merely because of their ancestry. But when legislation and extra-legal measures, including a relentless boycott, humiliated and segregated the "non-Aryans" and began gradually to deprive them of the means of earning a livelihood, when violence and terror drove tens of thousands of German citizens to seek refuge in neighboring lands, protests arose in every part of the world calling for action by the League of Nationsi.
Twice during I933 the League of Nations responded to these protests. In the spring of that year the League Council demanded that Germany, then still a League member, perform its international obligations with respect to minorities in Upper Silesia. Germany yielded, to the extent of promising to comply with her covenants. In the following September, Nazi persecution was again condemned by the leading statesmen____________________