We have grown so accustomed to thinking of war as a highly mechanized and incredibly expensive enterprise that many a sober fellow, among them your columnist, has doubted the economic possibility of a European conflict. Pondering excessively, I am unable to see that the credit agencies, governmental and private, which assisted in the confection of the World War could come to the front again, as so many observers are willing to predict, for their zeal has cooled and their money is padlocked, and mere subsistence is difficult for them. The kind of war which we spell with a capital letter is very, very remote; but there is another kind which the poor in all nations and at all times have embraced, and which is, God knows, terrible enough for any taste.
Goebbels, Goering, and, to a lesser extent, Hitler himself, have behaved since last March in such a manner as to convict themselves either of the desire to go to war or of a stupendous inability to chart their own course. For the essentials of their propaganda are capable of no other interpretation, and that propaganda they have brewed with uncommon energy and ability, leaving no page in the book of mob inflammation unturned, no trick in the militarist deck unplayed. M. Daladier has been an apt pupil, and the guerre de revanche, seemingly moribund, has blossomed beneath his hand. The great obstacle is economic expediency, but Lloyd's are willing to wager at three to one odds that the French and German foreign offices can achieve the decisive calorie which will boil this issue away, and bring the kind of unmoneyed, simple conflict which dragged over Germany during the Thirty Years' War.
The role of the neutral nation will be, as always, a difficult one. But those nations sincerely desirous of European peace still have an opportunity to preserve it. An economic boycott of Germany to force its government to terms would so multiply its target as to make a shot impractical. If Great Britain and France will not consent to an arms parley at Stresa, they must shepherd Hitler back to the Geneva conference, and a boycott would provide the quickest and least disastrous instrument for this purpose. Hitler must have a voice in the settlement of the armament question; he cannot accept the decision which seems impending at Geneva, he is unable to meet his colleagues at Stresa. The immediate point should be a provision for the statement of his claims to the victors of 1914, and if he must be forced to table, humanity decrees that Europe use the gentlest of methods with the nation he has deluded. POLLUX.