Rumors are wildly flying again of a political union between Austria and Germany. Considering the difficulty with which Bismarck ejected Austria from the Confederation such talk is astounding. Gone is his empire; gone the House which he patiently raised to great power; and now his arch-enemy Austria reappears amid the fold from which he drove it with blood and iron. But the wheel of fate which has crushed the works of his hand has likewise crushed Austria. Stripped of its power, its land, its resources, the once proud state looks to a weak Germany as its last hope in a struggle for existence.
This union will probably never be achieved. It is natural enough that German speaking states should join hands; but the internal forces that prevented agreement for hundreds of years still operate, as post-war history illustrates but too clearly. And then there is France. The key to her whole recent diplomacy is her attempt to ring her former foes around with her own military satellites and to build up these petty states as much as possible. A union of Austria and Germany would certainly strengthen the former and possibly the latter; and French policy demands the weakening of both. Inasmuch as a single vote in the Council of the League can block this project, France holds the whip hand.
Some good, however, will result from this project, even if it fails. It is universally agreed that what is necessary in Europe is a clarifying of national policy and thought. Upon any such issue as this France must make a definite stand; so too with England and Italy. Once promise, policy, and conduct become reconciled Europe's future will seem less hazy be it war or peace.