Tear Up The Treaty
Says (his writer: Europe will have to abandon the Versailles Treaty and write a new pact, or else-War
LIEUT.-COL. GEORGE A. DREW
IS GERMANY preparing for war? That is the question everyone must ask after seeing the intensity of the training of the Reichswehr, the Brownshirts, and the Hitler youth. I asked that question of an official at Nazi headquarters in Munich this summer. His answer was most emphatic.
“Germany is not preparing for war. We know as well as anyone what war costs. But we are training our air force, our army and our navy to protect ourselves. We are a great people. We are proud of our traditions. Because of our weakness we were being humiliated by the nations which surround us, and the situation was intolerable. We had been promised that other nations would disarm. When Hitler came to power he proposed that other nations should disarm to some extent as evidence of their good faith, but nothing was done. He had no choice under those circumstances but to insist upon that equality to which we are entitled.”
I think the answer was sincere. It sums up the attitude of the average German. But it does not go quite far enough. I
spoke of something that seemed to me as significant as anything I saw in Germany. That morning I had visited the Field Marshal’s Hall, which is important in the history of the Nazi movement, as it was beside this hall that Nazis were killed when they were fired upon by the police during Hitler’s ill-fated march on Munich in 1923. On the side of this hall is a memorial to these men who were the first to fall in the Nazi cause. Day and night it is guarded by two men in the uniform of Hitler’s personal guard. It has, therefore, become a focal point for the imagination of the German people who are constantly stirred by Dr. Goebbel’s propaganda.
Just above this memorial across the exterior end wall, in ten groups, are the names of the territories lost under the Treaty of Versailles. Above these names are ten large green wreaths upon each of which is an iron cross. They are a constant challenge to the scores of thousands who pass that building every day. They should also be a constant reminder to the rest of the world that one of the promises of the Nazi party to the German people is the restoration of lost territories. The sentiment that prompted the hanging of these wreaths and which keeps them always fresh is exemplified in many ways. In Berlin a flag flies at half-mast in memory of their loss. It is the sentiment of the German people. So conservative a Nazi as Hjalmar Schacht, the president of the Reichsbank, refers to “the theft of our colonies.”
I asked the same official if this challenge in a country which is vibrating with military enthusiasm did not suggest a dangerous possibility.
“No.” he said, “the most serious threats to peace were the Saar, Alsace-Lorraine, and Danzig. The Saar has now been
returned to Germany, the question of the Danzig Corridor has been settled for ten years by our agreement with Poland, and Der Fuehrer has stated quite definitely that Germany will not demand the return of Alsace-Lorraine.”
I asked him what the position was in regard to the remaining territories.
“Oh, they must ultimately be returned to Germany; but for the present, our internal problems are more pressing.”
I suggested that difficulties might arise on this score, and wondered whether Germany would go to war if her demands were refused.
“Germany has no desire to go to war. She knows it would not pay.” And then he added, as an afterthought, the frankest admission I got from any German, as though he were speaking to himself and not to me: “Not yet.”
Not yet. Germany is not ready to go to war until she is sufficiently strong to enforce her demands. Germany wants peace, but can contemplate circumstances under which war might pay.
The German attitude has been well summarized by Dr. Schacht.
“An attempt has been made to keep Germany defenseless, while her neighbors not only do not reduce their armaments but have been continually increasing them. In the circumstances, how can anybody be surprised that Germany has lost confidence in the justice of world opinion dominated by the victorious powers? How can anybody still be surprised that Germany should concentrate all her energies on regaining that position which, as one of the oldest and greatest of civilized nations, she has occupied through more than a thousand years of history?
How will she seek to regain that position? In the answer to that question lies the fate of Europe, probably of Western civilization.
Another Scrap of Paper
SHE IS seeking to regain that position in many wravs, but of greatest interest to the outside world is the rapid expansion of her air. land and sea forces, not alone because of their threat to European peace but because it represents a complete repudiation of the military clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. Continued on page 1+6 A few years ago war would have been predicted as the only possible result if Germany suddenly started to rearm without consulting the victorious powers. But when Germany announced this year that the Reichswehr was to be increased from the Treaty limitation of 100,000 men to 550,000, all that happened was the passing of innocuous resolutions by the Council of the League of Nations condemning the German action in repudiating the Treaty. The ink in these resolutions was scarcely dry when Hitler repudiated the air restrictions of the Treaty and stated that the German air force would be developed in accordance with Germany’s needs. As though to emphasize the cynical attitude of the German Government in regard to treaty restrictions, a demonstration of fighting aircraft forbidden by the Treaty was arranged for the following day over Berlin !
Tear Up the Treaty
Continued from page 10 -
And then Great Britain gave the coup de grâce to the Treaty when she signed a bilateral naval agreement with Germany without consulting any of the other treaty signatories, although the ships permitted under the agreement were forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. It is significant that this agreement was signed without any discussion of the resolutions of the League óf Nations passed only a few months before, and to which Germany had made no reply other than a restatement of what she proposed to do. In those few short months the position had so changed that what had been bitterly condemned in regard to the land forces is formally approved by Great Britain in regard to the navy.
In June, therefore, the Treaty of Versailles became another “scrap of paper” so far as the land, sea and air clauses were concerned.
THIS WAS a great victory for Hitler.
One of the strongest appeals he had I made to the German people was that he ' would remedy the injustices which he claimed had been visited upon Germany at Versailles. When he gained power he first ¡ discontinued reparation payments. The later steps were but the fulfillment of his pre-election promises. But it must not be I forgotten that he promised a great deal I more. The geographical injustices were also j to be corrected. It is generally assumed in ! Germany today that the return of the lost ¡colonies will be demanded as a matter of course. There are also Austria, German Czechoslovakia, and the other European areas with predominant German popula-
tions, to which Germans look as being properly part of the reborn Germany.
The “programme” of the National Socialist German Workers Party was adopted in February 25, 1920, at a mass meeting of the party in the Hofbranchus in Munich. The first three of its now famous twenty-five points were as follows:
(1) We demand the union of all Germans, on the basis of the right of the self-determination of peoples, to form a Great Germany.
(2) We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings with other nations, and abolition of the Peace Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.
(3) We demand land and territory (colonies) for the nourishment of our people and for settling our surplus population.
The importance of these three points can only be realized when one fully appreciates the part that the programme plays in the direction of the affairs of modem Germany. Incredible though it may seem, this document framed by a group of men who at that time had little political experience and adopted as the formal creed of the party at a meeting more than fifteen years ago in a Munich beer hall, has been impressed on the mind of the German people with all the concentrated power of the Department of Propaganda as an infallible guide to German action and possessing something in the nature of divine sanction.
The constitution of the Nazi Party states that this programme is unalterable and will not be changed to meet circumstances; but if circumstances and the programme conflict, circumstances will be changed.
It is in the light of the wording of the first three points of this programme and the blind acceptance of the dictates of the Nazi party which has declared them to be unalterable and means what it says, that German military, air and naval preparation must be regarded.
“Germany has no desire to go to war. She knows it would not pay—not yet.” But if the German air force were much the strongest in Europe, and if the German army were the best trained and best equipped, and the navy prepared to play its part, is it not likely that demands would be made in accordance with the Nazi programme which are still premature?
A Dangerous Situation
THE PRESENT situation can only lead to war, and in spite of soporific assurances to the contrary, the possibility, or probability, of war is the subject most discussed in Europe today. Everyone except the armament manufacturers and a few madmen wants peace, but in the sendee of that penerse god “security” all are rushing headlong into an uncontrolled arms race which can have but one result. In the windows of chemists’ shops in Berlin. Paris and Rome, the latest models of gas masks are displayed for sale. Air-raid drills for the civil population are now regular occurrences in the great cities of Europe.
It is nonsense today to say that there is no immediate danger of war. In Germany, in France, in Italy, in Russia, and in the smaller European states, there is a constant roar of military aircraft overhead and the constant sound of marching men day and night.
It is unnecessary to recapitulate those steps which have led up to the greatest arms race the world has every known. It is only necessary to remember that when Germany was disarmed at Versailles it was unequivocally stated that this was but the first step toward similar disarmament by the victorious powers. On behalf of Great Britain, Lloyd George said that it would be absurd to expect a great nation like Germany to remain disarmed unless the late enemies were prepared to carry out similar disarmament.
Now Germany has decided she will wait no longer and, having determined to rebuild her forces, she is doing so with typical German thoroughness. In Germany today one has the feeling of a nation already at war. not so much in the number of men in uniform as in the impression that everything is being subordinated to the objective of power.
It is no wonder that other European nations are fearful of German preparation. Germans love uniforms and parades, and there is a smartness, appearance of efficiency and obvious pride in the uniform itself which one does not see in France and Italy. Then also there is the fact that there are perhaps a million Brownshirts, in addition to the Reichswehr, who are constantly drilling. One is likely to hear these volunteer troops marching at any time of night during the week, and from noon on Saturday until Sunday night the open fields outside of Berlin or any of the larger cities are filled with groups of brown-clad men drilling on foot or with motor cars or motor-cycles.
BUT MOST important is the development in the air. In every way possible Germany is being made air-minded. Tenfoot models of aerial torpedoes stand upright in the more important thoroughfares to remind Germans of the danger of air attack. The “¡Luftschutz,” a defense organization against air attack, appeals to the public by glaring posters. Other posters issued by the propaganda department tell that the Fuehrer has said that German youth should take to the air. The largest building under construction in Berlin today is that of the Air Ministry next to General Goering’s residence.
German civil aviation is going ahead by leaps and bounds, and her machines and airways are the best in Europe. Long before the Great War, Germany had organized and standardized industry in a way that is only now' being imitated by other nations. She has had years of experience in that direction, and now the production of aircraft is standardized and centralized as it is in no other country. The all-metal Junkers which are the heavy passenger and transport planes of the Lufthansa, fly at 175 miles an hour and have annihilated distance between the European capitals. They are all readily convertible to heavy bombers, and recently a new machine has been added to the Lufthansa fleet, showing the trend of events.
I was flying from Berlin to Nürnberg and was told that I w'ould be leaving in a Heinkel. It is an all-metal, four-passenger, single-engined monoplane capable of carrying a considerable load of baggage and mail. It was not until w'e landed at Nürnberg that I realized how fast the machine was. We had flown 390 kilometres in one hour and fifteen
minutes without any evidence of effort. A German to whom I spoke in some surprise of the performance of this machine said. “Oh ! You came down in one of the bombers, did you?” It did not seem to occur to him that there was anything remarkable in this comment. It is the fastest commercial airplane in the world and is now being produced in great numbers, and it undoubtedly has been built as a fast bomber.
The German people individually do, I believe, w'ant peace. But as a nation, they are preparing with startling speed and efficiency for war. They may be nearing a ! financial crisis, but they are also nearing a point where they will once more dominate the European military picture.
How to Avoid War
HÖHERE IS only one way that war can be avoided and that is to tear up the Treaty of Versailles and have a new peace conference—but not at Versailles where the Hall of Battles is too close to the Hall of Mirrors.
Whether the other signatories are yet preI>ared to accept that position or not, it is quite clear that Germany lias completely repudiated the treaty. It is also difficult to interpret Great Britain’s signature of the naval treaty in any other light. This means that there is no existing treaty clearly defining the present position of those nations and territories affected by the Treaty of Versailles.
Surely the best course is to face the situation frankly and say to Germany, “You have stated that you make certain demands for revision of territorial control. The other defeated nations are complaining of similar injustices. Let us meet and see how close we can come to agreement.”
If that w'ere done, and if it w'ere found that some solution might be possible on the major issues, then it is most unlikely that Germany or any other nation w'ould provoke war on the less important issues. But while they all remain unsettled, and w'hile Germany is vigorously rearming under a Government which accepts as “unalterable” the demands of the Nazi programme, there is very real danger of an explosion at any time.
The world may disapprove of Italy’s course in Abyssinia or Japan’s course in China, but neither of these presents the threat of a general conflagration that is almost certain to follow an attempt by Germany to pursue her declared territorial aims by force.
One may disagree with Germany in regard to her internal and foreign policies and believe that she deserves no consideration, but that does not meet the threat to w'orld peace—to civilization itself—that lies in her rearmament and the spirit of a proud people smarting under w'rongs real or imaginary.
The war, if it w'ere fought, w’ould be for the rectification of territorial and other dictates of the Treaty of Versailles. Since the issues are clear, sanity suggests that the peace conference be held this time before the war begins.
The wreaths are still green on the wall of the Field Marshal’s Hall at Munich. A Germany that is once more thrilling to the sounds of military bands and marching men looks to the day when the period of mourning will have passed. It is no evidence of weakness or of approval of the German course if Canada and the other nations who signed the Treaty of Versailles recognize that it has become a mere “scrap of paper” during the past few months. Why not complete the process and, admitting that it is no longer effective to preserve world peace, hold a new conference as soon as possible to settle those clearly defined issues which must lead to war if they are not solved. It is the only alternative to destruction and worldwide chaos. There is no reason why the suggestion should not be as acceptable from Canada as from any other nation. No effort should be spared, even if the prospects of success are very doubtful, which may contribute in any way to some return of international stability and the assurance of peace for w'hich so many men laid down their lives a few short years ago.