GENERAL ARTICLES

What Price Europe?

ERLAND ECHLIN October 1 1934
GENERAL ARTICLES

What Price Europe?

ERLAND ECHLIN October 1 1934

What Price Europe?

GENERAL ARTICLES

ERLAND ECHLIN

THE EYES of the world, never far turned away or rested, are again fixed on turbulent Europe. From the West across the Atlantic, the United States, hands close on her dwindling purse, watches, anxi-

ously. From the East, over the flat Mongolian plains Japan sends long, calculating glances. Behind tight, soldier-lined frontiers the countries concerned look with suspicion, hatred and fear at the efforts of rival politicians in the ring of Central Europe to gain or maintain preferred positions in the old army game of the balance of power.

Canada follows the swift moves with increasing perplexity. No sooner has the mind settled for a moment on the prospect of conflict in the Baltic tarder states, Lithuania, Latvia and Esthonia, than the scene shifts rapidly 800 miles southwest to the Austrian tarder. Next week it may be Greece; a month hence that tiny piece of disputation, the Saar. Wherever it is, each news dispatch brings to our peaceful giant of a country word that the nations of the old world, unable to provide adequately for their own poverty-stricken millions or pay their debts, are building impregnable fortresses, laying down 35,000-ton superdreadnoughts and doubling air forces. Where it will lead we know—war. But why, what is it all about, and above all how does it concern Canada?

It will be easier for us to examine these affairs dispassionately when we realize that, on human grounds or politically, there is no sentiment in Europe for the nation Canada. In spite of war service and our seat at the League of Nations, Europe is not aware of us. Yet we may again be asked to water these foreign fields with our best bkx>d in a continental scheme for power. However the request is disguised, we must be able to look coldly through it and see where Canada will be at the end. We must stand on our own feet and do our own thinking. No people is better equipped, for behind us are four centuries of British conservatism and at our side the ultra-democracy of the United States. Between these influences, helped by both, we can steer our clear and independent way. It can do the more enlightened and farseeing minds across the Atlantic no harm to recognize that every war scare, every battleship and airplane drives Europe farther from us in thought.

Soldiers Everywhere

TWO GROUPS of nations occupy Europe’s land area;

one peaceful, the other traditionally warlike. With the exception of Switzerland, the inoffensive countries are scattered along the edges of the intractable centre. The Pyrenees isolate Spain and Portugal in their corner; the Irish Free State lies hidden behind the United Kingdom. In ringside seats, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden peacefully profit from the battles staged below them. Finland, buried in her forests, is out of the picture. Though all maintain respectable armies for defense—mostly by conscription—none of these nine nations threaten the peace of their neighbors either in national policies or military equipment. None, with the partial exception of Holland, are highly developed industrially.

Between the Russian border and the Pyrenees lie the fierce disturbers of the peace. A baker’s dozen of nations

swirl about on a stage slightly larger than the combined areas of Ontario and Quebec. Different in color, race and aims, more than 300 million people strive with each other and their neighbors for, in the case of the majority, a bare existence. Here, more than a score of tongues worship through twice that many creeds. In these million odd square miles, two and a quarter million soldiers stand continually at arms, backed by nearly ten times that many reserves, ready to attack or defend at the word of command. Beside them at the boundaries are the soldiers of the economic war, a quarter of a million customs and immigration officials, whose duty it is to confine even more closely the gotas and persons of their neighbors.

These thirteen nations teem. A part, nature has cast into somewhat the same mold France and Italy, Germany and Austria, Poland and the southern Slavs. Another part she has inextricably mixed into Magyars, Croats, Serbs, Ruthenians and Moslems. The sun-browned Balkan peasants of Roumania, Bulgaria, Jugoslavia and Greece will not improbably ta the last to see the distant dawn of European |>eace. Soothed as they have been by the hand of Versailles, war is still in their blood. Across the Danuta'

from unhappy Hungary, Czechoslovakia struggles with no fewer than five minority races; not the least of her worries being three million defiant Germans.

Russia, sprawling along the eastern frontier of these thirteen states, is not included with them. Despite her possession of the biggest army in the world, her philosophy is military non-aggression, and as yet she has thrown no threat of force into the post-war European ring. But Britain is there, and in full measure; a desperate and dread partner against any who would invade her isolation. Man’s mastery of ocean depths and the air has entangled the unwilling British more than ever before in continental Euro|X'an affairs.

Fear of Germany

ONLY FRANCE, Italy or Germany can bring on an all-Furo]X‘an war. Only the combined efforts of all three can prevent one. At such cross purposes are the foreign (xilicies of the three nations, and so many are the ix)ints of conflagration, that single causes worthy to designate an aggressor under the various pacts are obscured. Yet there is a single cause and it is the same as that of the last war. Fear ami haired of Germany. And it will be the cause of all the Kurojxtan wars of the future until either Prussia is destroyed to the last man or Germany is triumphant.

When the Peace Treaty of Versailles was laid on Germany the vanquished nation was made literally to taste defeat. Starved, beaten, inflated, deflated, prodded by black African bayonets, Overrun by managing commissions of the Allies, it was evident to Germany that France at least intended she should never rise again. Unrepresented at the councils where the fine phrases of President Wilson cloaked a vindictiveness that denied the boasted thousand years of culture, her first inklings of the extent of her humiliation came to her through the foreign press. Against Germany was brought the charge dreadful to the defeated nation and which no German has ever believed that she solely and deliberately caused the war. As reparations mounted to imjxrssible figures, tariffs and hostile world opinion barred her economic recovery. Under accusations shameful to her, Germany was relieved of her enormously valuable colonial empire. In the postwar republicanism so unsuited to Germany’s character, twenty-eight political parties rose to contest for power. The net result after fifteen years is National-Socialism.

Physically the strongest and by far the largest in imputation of these thirteen warring states, Germany's philosophy, Kultur (organization of life), conceit and realism have placed her sharply at variance with the aims of every other Western nation since the days of Frederick the Great. As a race she plays the game to win sans rules. The end justifies the means. Direct and brutal with herself as with others, her hardness is terrifying to the easy-going liberalism of France and Britain. Among other races, apart from individuals, her only admirers are the Turks and Japanese. This spirit, outspread from Prussia to ninety IXT cent of her people, made her ancient armies invincible, drew her together into an empire, raised her to a pre-war world power and, out of defeat, gave birth to National-Socialism.

This gospel of life has been so obscured by the froth of revolution that little is really known about it outside the

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Third Reich. Applicable solely to Teutonic peoples in its present form, it steers a way between the communism of Soviet Russia and advanced Western Socialism—containing enough political dynamite en route to blow the systems of several of her neighbors to bits. Its twenty-five-point programme covers nationalization, security for farm and industrial workers, profit sharing, earning restrictions, education, health, law and religion. Intensely pro-Aryan and anticapitalistic, it is classless and places the "common interest before self.” The German leaders have sworn with their lives to carry its unalterable clauses to fulfillment, and on this hope the German people have rallied to their support to an unparalleled degree. In only eighteen months and in spite of her exports being cut in half, Germany’s new system of planned production, distribution and marketing has given her an immense advantage over the individualistic methods of her neighbors.

What Germany Wants

POSSIBLE future trade leadership in crowded Europe is more to be feared than the military prowess on which it might be based. Every other nation knows that, given a chance, Germany could outsell them with ease. By any means this must be circumvented. Thwarted, too, must be the theory upon which German foreign policy is based. It is given here in full; for the first time in English:

“The Germanic World Theory is the unshakable belief that in the near and distant future such problems will confront the human race that they will be insoluble to all except one superior group of beings, behind whom the lesser peoples of the earth will gather in support at the hour of the Judgment of Civilization. This highly-developed, destiny-conscious race will then lead mankind to triumphant survival. The German people, from laborer to Reichsführer, believe that, as they have in the past constituted that superior race, so they do in the present; and are inflexibly determined to prepare themselves, individually and nationally, for the future highest place among the nations of the world to which God has called them, and to which they alone are worthy.”

Ambition running like fire through strong German veins can ask no more.

As Adolf Hitler says, Germany wants no war. War would ruin her present plans and drearily postpone the future. No soldier will be expended to gain a foot of territory. A new method of regaining lost ground is proposed in the “plebiscite politics” of the future. By this plan adjacent minorities will be encouraged to express constitutionally a preference; which choice will be backed by the whole economic and moral weight of a revitalized Fatherland. Germany sees that her peaceful regrowth will give her more than any conquest at arms. But she does not, by any means believe that peace has come on the world, and should she have to defend herself she means to do it.

All this leaves Germany in the position of proving, by the success of National Socialism, that she is right. If she is, then all the rest of the world is wrong. Not that that is much to judge by, for the world, as constituted at each period, was wrong about Christianity, its own rotundity, machinery, electricity, aviation, world war results, and just about every new idea prominent enough to receive universal attention. The fears of Germany’s neighbors are grounded on her eventual power, basically economic, sustained and extended by physical force. To the east Germany has convinced Poland that, for ten years at least, their interests lie together. The Lutheran Baltic States distrust all three of their big neighbors, Germany least of the three. France fumes on the Western frontier, ardently hoping that some miracle will bring about its fall.

The Austrian Situation

A YEAR AGO Italy was the only power that extended the hand of encouragement and friendship to the new Germany. After the experience of Italy’s volte face from the Triple Alliance during the war, the hand was received with scepticism and immense reservations. Italy has a definite expansionist policy—influence in the Balkans and territory in Africa, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean—to which every other end is directed; and this gesture meant no more than that France was given a bad six months during which Italian prestige gained the ascendancy over the French with the Christian Social party of Austria. The moment that was achieved, Italy withdrew the friendly hand and boldly supported Austrian “independence” against all comers —except Italy.

Almost the geographical centre of these states, forsaken, parklike Austria again threatens to become the starting point of another conflict. Forsaken because neither her old friend, England, nor the League of Nations will help her gain her genuine and desired freedom. Her only crime is that she lies at the door of the richest economically undeveloped territory left in Europe. The real struggle is whether France, Italy or Germany shall have the free use of her doorstep to sell goods. Complicating the issue is Austria’s marked preference for her harsher Northern brother.

But for the easy-going nature of Austrian character, it is likely that it would have gone National Socialist a year ago. The same characteristic has made the little country the playground for domestic politicians. The assassination of Chancellor Dollfuss has given impetus to the whirlpool, but has not changed its direction. Schuschnigg, von Starhemberg, other Christian Socials and the monarchists are in the centre of this rush of affairs, surrounded by socialist Vienna, the whole encircled by a countryside preponderantly Nazi. Austrian independence will be maintained even if it is necessary to import Italian soldiers to shoot independence into the peasants. But in spite of the bluster at the border, it is highly unlikely that Mussolini would invade Austria; for the minute Italian soldiers, whom the

Austrians hate, set foot on their soil the whole nation might go Nazi. Germany, undoubtedly Austria’s future destiny, could not, and would not for fear of France, assist them; but Jugoslavia with two million veterans, long hating Italy across the Adriatic, both could and would.

The union of Austria and Germany is a natural one, and, if both nations desire it, will in the long run make for peace. But at present Italy, France and Britain are against it. Nor does Czechoslovakia wish to have her most highly industrialized area squeezed between a Silesian thumb and a GermanViennese forefinger. Like the rapidly growing Balkan countries below and beside them, neither Czechoslovakia nor Italy have anything to gain by provoking a general European war. That leaves only one nation as a possible aggressor—France.

France and Great Britain

rPHE PEOPLE of France do not want

■*war; indeed, it is questionable that in their present temper they would even march. But the Cabinet, and especially the generals of the army clique, are gravely suspect. And more than in any other country, French armament makers have teen accused of keeping the old hatreds alive. On the part of responsible Frenchmen there is, however, genuine fear and deep distrust of the nation Germany, whatever its leadership. Their desire is to preserve for France the political and military domination of Europe which they imposed following the war. In desperation, as Germany’s strength has grown, their ministers have allied to France the greatest group of friendly powers in history. She has circled Germany with enemies as never before, and many observers fear that at the least provocation France will propagandize her people and deliver the blow. With a standing army of half a million and an active reserve nearly seven millions strong, the chief responsibility for peace rests with France.

Across the Channel and now extremely vulnerable by air, Great Britain has again subscribed to the philosophy that disputes between nations must ultimately be settled by war. In 1933 and 1934, army, navy and air forces were all increased, the latter sweepingly. Britain’s foreign policy is to hold what she has in both trade and territory; but it is based on the past rather than the future. In the war her armies on the Western front ended under foreign command; in the peace neither statesmen nor nation back of the statesmen rose to inaugurate the better day her high-minded ordinary citizens and soldiers dreamed of—in fact, were promised. Instead, the old game was once more begun of supporting the weaker nations against the stronger. Hence, up to* midsummer, 1934, Germany’s test friend was Britain. The switch to France came, not because of public disapproval of German internal policy but by reason of the genuine alarm in the Foreign Office at the determination and depth of German strength and unity. However, no matter how hidden from view real reasons for policy may be, Britain can never be conceived as instigator or aggressor. She is still a keeper of the

Helping her keep it, for the first time in her domestic affairs is a strong and uncompromising section of the British press headed by Lord Beaverbrook. The former Canadian has roused public opinion in Britain against commitments, past, present and future, which will shed the blood of a single Englishman on the continent of Europe. He demands a vote of the people before war is declared. In the House of Commons, Labor

is almost solidly opposed to being even prepared to equip an Expeditionary Force. These rays of hope explain, in part, the “feebleness” of Sir John Simon’s foreign policy. The other part is that a strong rôle in the distracted European politics of the last two years might have done more to provoke than to prevent war.

Growing up in these bigger nations is a youthful element which brings another ray of hope. They want a peaceful, planned and scientific solution of their nations’ difficulties, scrapping of armaments and relief from paralyzing, unproductive war expenditure. Already both the outcast nations, Russia and Germany, have officially offered to dismiss the last man from their armies if the other countries would do likewise. Bùt, of course, they did not get a hearing.

None of the people of the thirteen warlike nations within this 700-mile radius of Vienna are permitted to like each other for periods of any duration. Finance, trade, religion, race, are each used in turn by their propagandists to inflame them to a point from which some temporary advantage can be gained over the other. Each country has millions of poor crushed in debt. The heads of any state are always in danger from fanatics, but the leaders of these nations are guarded night and day against ruthless murder by active enemies. Supreme, in all but Britain, are their armies.

Are these states mad? Yes, both mad and human. What is the solution? It is war. War after war, unending war—until they have had enough. It has teen going on now since the beginning of history, will go on until individuals see its futility. Education will shorten the process. Surveying the continual warfare somewhere in Europe for the past two thousand years, one might well wonder if these nations were worth saving. If they are, they must save themselves. And in the saving more of the fresh blood of the new world may be used.

Canada’s Position

"VI/HERE DOES this leave Canada?

’’’ Viewed economically — and even Europe's troubles, under their superstructure of militarism, are basically economic —another European war might temporarily and artificially stimulate Canadian trade. But the results, through disruption of markets, buying power and credit, would not improbably be more deplorable than conditions today. At the present time our balance of trade is greater with the nine peaceful countries of Europe than it is with the thirteen warlike states they enclose— leaving out Great Britain. The cost of retaining Britain’s trade might outweigh any advantage gained; for even the Motherland must return value for what she receives —a capacity which war notoriously destroys.

It is, however, on patriotic and moral grounds that the issue of Canada’s participation in any future European war would be discussed. In the opinion of the writer—a soldier who saw thousands of other soldiers uselessly slaughtered in the last war in everything from glorious victories to attempts to save the face of the General Staff—man’s destruction of man is an outworn solution of political and economic disputes. That it belongs to the Old World can be deduced from the policies that led to the Great War, Versailles, and now the results of Versailles. That it should be permitted to gain a foothold in the isolation, safety and possibilities of North America, seems to be a denial of life itself. The sun, setting in place over the Western Hemisphere, is in striking contrast to the bloodred dawn of Europe.

Measuring

Earthquakes

KNOWN AS a stress recorder, a device recently placed in service at Harvard University will aid engineers in the design of structures that will withstand earthquakes. When miniature building frames are subjected to artificial earth-

quakes in the laboratory, the device indicates the stresses to which each member is subjected, and from these figures the corresponding stresses that would be induced in a full-sized building can be computed and guarded against.—Popular Science.