EUROPE: Last Words

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Some of the diplomatic jockeying which last week ended in World War II was old-fashioned international maneuvering for power. Some of it was doubtless actuated only by a desire to "make a record" that would look good in history. But all of it was conditioned by a fact new in human history:

The people of all nations the idea of war; 2) morally ashamed of it.

Because of this fact many of the exchanges which preceded the outbreak of war undoubtedly transcended mere diplomacy, and reached the level of moral efforts to save the human race. And all of the exchanges, genuine or hypocritical, were designed to appeal to this feeling in humanity at large.

Herewith TIME presents, from facts known at the present time, a sort of international white paper,* a chronological record in brief of the diplomatic exchanges that culminated in the white race's second civil war. The record properly goes back to a day six months ago, just after Hitler's troops took possession of Czecho-Slovakia:

March 18. At a meeting in Birmingham, England, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said: "Is this the last attack upon a small state, or is it . . . a step in the direction of an attempt to dominate the world by force? . . . No greater mistake could be made than to suppose that . . . this nation has so lost its fibre that it will not take part to the utmost of its power resisting such a challenge."

March 22. Hitler seized from Lithuania the onetime German port of Memel.

March 31. After consultation with Poland Chamberlain told the House of Commons: "In the event of any action . . . which the Polish Government . . . considered it vital to resist with their national forces, the [British] Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power."

April 28. In Berlin Hitler said to the Reichstag: "During the whole of my political activity I have always expounded the idea of close friendship between Germany and England. ... I am now, however, compelled to state that . . . war against Germany is taken for granted in that country. . . . The basis for the [Anglo-German] naval treaty has been removed. I have therefore resolved to send today a communication to this effect to the British Government . . . . As regards German-Polish relations . . . some months ago I made a concrete offer to the Polish Government: 1) Danzig returns as a free state into . . . the German Reich; 2) Germany receives a route through the Corridor. . . . The Polish Government has rejected my one and only offer. . . . Therefore I look upon the agreement which Marshal Pilsudski and I at one time concluded as . . . no longer in existence!"

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