Menu JTA Search

Capital Comment

Uncertainty hounds Eastern Europe. A growing fear of insecurity is spreading from Germany and contaminating nearby nations.

The slaying of Chancellor Dollfuss in Austria, which has resulted in a muddled political situation there, coupled with recent events in Germany which have left the Hitler power tottering, have cast a black shadow over that portion of the Eastern hemisphere.

Official Washington views the current situation in Eastern Europe with considerable speculation and with the full knowledge of its seriousness. How seriously conditions abroad are regarded may be gleaned from the fact that while other high government officials are taking vacations and making trips to various parts of the country, Secretary of State Hull is sticking to his post in Washington. His eyes are trained on conditions across the Atlantic. The focal points are Germany and Austria.

With the slaying of Dollfuss new problems are expected to come up. As long as he was in control, the Nazi forces were resisted. What part the Nazis will play from now on is not certain. Indications are, however, that they will be an important factor to reckon with. Now that Dollfuss is out of the picture, German Nazis may be expected to do much more to aid their Austrian cohorts.

At this particular time the future of Jews in both Austria and Germany is more uncertain than it has been in the last year. Hitler has not shown any indication of a change in attitude. In Austria the future is still more uncertain. The forces that will control the Austrian government are not clearly defined. The stage is well set for a fresh outbreak of anti-Semitism in that country, particularly if the Nazis gain any sort of political recognition.

The United States and other leading nations of the world have scorned the persecution of Jews in Germany. Austria may have learned a lesson from this. In the event she has not, she will, in case a policy of racial and religious persecution is adopted. It has been made quite plain in recent months that a strong weapon— the boycott—will swing into play against any nation fostering inhuman practices on a minority group because of racial or religious differences.

The boycott has forced the Hitler government into a corner and is crowding it there. Statistics made available by the United States Department of Commerce in Washington prove this.

During the first half of this year Germany developed an unfavorable balance of trade, while during the same period a year ago, the trade balance was in her favor. Imports in Germany for the first six months of 1934 amounted to 2,302,500,000 marks and exports amounted to 2,086,600,000 marks. This represents an adverse trade balance of 215,900,000 marks, against a favorable balance of 290,900,000 marks for the same period last year.

It is significant to note that imports for the first half of. 1934 increased ten per cent, while exports from that country decreased as much as twelve per cent.

The unfavorable trade balance in Germany is continuing as a result of the boycott. Preliminary figures for June show that Germany’s imports were valued at 377,100,000 marks and exports at 339,100,000 marks, leaving an unfavorable trade balance of 38,000,000 marks. Another significant sidelight is that despite the present policy of restricted imports and compulsory exports, the trade for June showed very little improvement compared with previous months.

The United States has made a sharp cut in the amount of goods bought from Germany. This has resulted in a reduction in the quantity of goods Germany buys from the United States. Germany has also reduced imports from Australia and British India. During the month of June imports by Germany from Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, and the Netherlands advanced over imports a month ago.

German exports to France and Soviet Russia declined during June, but those to the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, and British India increased.

While political and financial pots are boiling in Germany, the drought continues to work its ruin. An acute food famine such as threatens Germany now may mean the end of high-handed rule.

That the Hitler government is well aware of the critical food situation is seen from official reports coming to Washington. These show that virtually all food trades in Germany have been placed under government control. Control of agricultural production and trade is now in the hands of the Reichsnahrstand, an organization created last December to take over on behalf of the State all existing agricultural organizations.

One of the most recent orders issued because of the drought is to regulate the marketing of fruits and vegetables, to prohibit all transactions in fruits and vegetables except such as are approved by the organization through the issuance of certificates, to fix prices and price spreads, to issue regulations regarding shipping and marketing, and to prescribe punishment and fines for violations.

The objective of the Hitler government is to obtain a complete government monopoly over all food sources and food supplies. Present plans, it is indicated, are for an extension of these monopolistic tendencies in Germany. These will be developed largely along lines designed to strengthen Hitler’s control on the people. Government control of food is a strong power with which to keep a people in line. This is true even though a tottering power wields this control.

NEXT STORY