• Share
  • Read Later

(3 of 4)

"Perhaps the day will come." Now that Poland was subjugated and Germany was on such excellent terms with all her neighbors—including Britain and France, as far as he was concerned—Mr. Hitler wondered what all the shooting was about on the Western Front. At this point Adolf Hitler figuratively vanished into the drapery behind him and a composite character made up of Aristide Briand, Ramsay MacDonald, Gustav Stresemann, Neville Chamberlain, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cordell Hull suddenly took his place. The change of word and wind was nothing short of fantastic. Pacific, idealistic, hopeful, tenderly humane and sweetly vague, Herr Hitler turned his back on his old "Blood and Soil" act and began talking about war ending with "only losers"; about "millions of men uselessly sent to death and milliards of riches destroyed." He even made a short bow to free trade and the sanctity of the borders of minor nations. It was as though, after six years, he realized he had about exhausted Mein Kampf not only as a platform but as a point of appeal, and had been compelled to appeal to some larger interest, i.e., the interest of all the European masses, for whom he now specifically set himself up as the provider of "peace," "security," and "real economic prosperity."

It was his "inner sympathy" with the British, he indicated, and his "respect" for the "great achievements of the French nation" that caused Herr Hitler throbbingly to ask: "Why should this war in the west be fought? . . . "Continuation of the present state of affairs in the West is unthinkable. Perhaps the day will come when France will begin to bombard Saarbrücken. German artillery will in turn lay Mulhouse in ruins. France will retaliate by bombarding Karlsruhe and Germany in her turn will shell Strasbourg. Then the French artillery will fire at Freiburg and the German at Colmar or Schlettstadt. Long-range guns will then be set up and from both sides will strike deeper and deeper and whatever cannot be reached by long-distance guns will be destroyed from the air. . . . One day there will again be a frontier between Germany and France, but instead of flourishing towns there will be ruins and endless graveyards."

The man who has done more to destroy international compacts than anyone who ever lived in Europe, now spoke feelingly of the Geneva war-conduct convention. Without naming the time, place or agenda, He seemed to be trying to suggest that another European peace conference be held.

"I do not believe that there is any responsible statesman in Europe who does not in his heart desire prosperity for his people. But such a desire can only be realized if all the nations inhabiting this continent decide to go to work together, to assist in assuring this cooperation must be the aim of every man who is sincerely struggling for the future of his own people.

"To achieve this great end, the leading nations of this continent will one day have to come together in order to draw up, accept and guarantee a statute on a comprehensive basis which will insure for them all a sense of security, of calm—in short, of peace.

"Such a conference could not possibly be held without the most thorough preparation; that is, without exact elucidation of every point at issue.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4