Chief of the European Service, J.T.A.
In all the flurry and tumult of European politics within the past month, amid all the shifting, rapidly changing developments among the nations, at least one thing has emerged definitelyâ€”the tide of public sentiment which had flown dangerously close to toleration and acceptance of Nazi Germany has strongly veered away and the land of Hitler and his Nazis is again recognized by one and all as a menace to the peace and happiness of Europe.
The causes, of course, have been obvious and easily recognizable. Germany’s air-force, now openly admitted, has profoundly disturbed Great Britain. Her announcement of conscription has come as a new warning to a France that had, timorously, to be sure, offered friendship to Germany. Her brazen disregard of treaties and the boasts of her leaders seeking to recapture Danzig, have frightened Poland. Lithuania fears an advance to regain Memel. Switzerland finds her sovereignty flouted by contemptuous Nazis.
All the progress which Nazi Germany had been making toward obtaining a cloak of respectability by regaining a position among the nations has been dissipated and Germany once again is a dangerous outlaw among the nations of the world.
LOSES OUT WITH BRITAIN
It was with Great Britain that Nazi Germany had made the greatest progress, and it is with Great Britain that her losses in recent weeks have been greatest. The visit of Sir John Simon and Captain Anthony Eden to Berlin had been hailed as a German triumph in dissociating Britain from her allies. It was something less than that and the disclosures resulting from that visit were largely the cause of the swinging of the tide of British sentiment strongly away from the Reich.
As an instance of how strong this change has been, it is worth noting that when King George, on the occasion of Hitler’s birthday, sent the Nazi leader the customary telegraphic greetings exchanged between heads of states, the Manchester Guardian found it necessary to comment that this had aroused many questions “whether the message is sent according to usage or whether it is an act of special consideration towards Herr Hitler.”
“The answer,” it states, “is that the message conforms to established usage,” and then it goes on to cite many examples.
PRESS REFLECTS CHANGE
The revised attitude of the press, which had been complaisant, and in certain important cases, even actively friendly to the Third Reich, is to be noted again in the treatment of news from Germany. The Morning Post, ultra-conservative daily, wrote recently with frankly undisguised horror and at great length, of the brutality of the Nazi Black Guards toward two courageous Christians who had dared to protest against Count Reventlow’s remarks at a pagan rally. Readers of the paper were given a detailed account of every cruelty and atrocity perpetrated on the two men by the Nazis until the police dragged the unconscious hulks of the victims off to prison.
The new onslaught on religion in the last few weeks, with its ruthless suppression of dissenters from the new paganism and defenders of the established religion, has brought forth a wave of editorial protest here.
REACTION ON PRESS EDICT
The announcement that all newspapers in Germany not directly controlled by the Nazis would be subject to suspension aroused another wave of unfriendly comment. These protests, it should be noted, are not confined to the liberal press which has fought Fascism all along, but appears as well in the Conservative papers which had advocated friendship with Germany as a matter of national policy.
The Times, for instance, rounding out a long editorial review of Nazi treatment of the press, warns that “if the new press rules mean a further advance for the powerful extremist minority, they are a bad omen for the future. If the rules are vigorously enforced there will be nothing to counteract the activities of those propaganda departments where the fanatics are in charge. In their triumph one may recall some foreboding words of the Nazi Bible, the Fuhrer’s ‘Mein Kampf’: ‘The German has not the slightest idea of how a people must be misled if the adherence of the masses is sought’.”
And even the Rothermere papers, which had all but openly endorsed the Hitler regime, took fright at the Hitler air-force and frantically continued their campaign for a greater British force by raising the menace of German bombers.
THE MACDONALD ARTICLE
The new orientation can, perhaps, best be guaged by the remarkable article by Prime Minister J. Ramsay MacDonald, in The News Letter, official organ of the National Government bloc. Mr. MacDonald has been ardent in the cause of peace and has gone to great lengths to secure it for Europe. His stand at Stresa was, therefore, a surprise; his precedent breaking article, a shock.
Pointing out that the Berlin conversations had opened up some