Foreign Affairs

Authority on international relations, now in this country on a lecture tour

The New York Times correspondent reports in his wireless message from Warsaw on October 8 that the factories in Poland are busy day and night, working in double shifts, turning out munitions and machinery for the Soviet Union. One year ago that would have been an unheard of thing, entirely unbelievable for everybody who understood European politics. For it was an axiomatic truth: Poland and the Soviet Union are bitter enemies, as in fact Poland and Russia have been for the last two hundred years. Poland was thus in a geographically dangerous position: between Germany and Russia, who have been close allies since the famous treaty of Rapallo, concluded in 1922 by Walter Rathenau, the Jewish and democratic foreign minister of Germany. During a period of ten years Germany and Russia formed a solid block, united in the opposition against the treaty of Versailles, against France and Poland. “Democratic” Germany and “Socialist” Russia stood up together against the “Imperialistic iniquities” of the peace treaties terminating the World War. It seemed forgotten that Imperial Germany had dictated to conquered Russia at Brest-Litovsk a peace treaty certainly not better and probably worse than the treaty of Versailles. Common interests brought Germany and Russia together. Germany’s factories produced machinery, airplanes and munitions for the Soviet Union. German engineers helped the gigantesque scheme of industrialization of Soviet lands become a reality, German military leaders dreamt of and prepared a scheme of military cooperation of the two countries against Poland and France. France seemed then at the head of all anti-Bolshevist conspiracies, her old entente cordial with Russia gone forever.

Hitler’s arrival to power in Germany has changed this picture of European politics which dominated the situation of 1918-1932 entirely. Hitler and his party declared themselves the foremost antagonists of Soviet Russia. They hoped to regain world dominion for Germany by leading a coalition of all non-Socialist states against Russia. The Soviet Union answered by a clever move: what seemed impossible a few months ago, was made possible by Hitler. Soviet Russia concluded treaties of friendship with France and with Poland. Nothing is heard any more in Soviet Russia of her hostility against the treaty of Versailles. Russian orders now go to Poland and to France instead of to Germany. The old friendship of France and Russia which dominated European politics up to 1914 is on the way to being re-established: the country of the Revolution of 1789 and the land of the Revolution of 1917 have come together. Germany sees herself isolated, more isolated than she has been since 1914, for Italy is as uncertain an ally in 1933 as she was in 1914 and the Austrian Empire is gone and replaced by states either hostile to Germany, like Czechoslovakia, or alienated in their sympathies, like the little Austrian Republic.

NEXT STORY