BRAKES FOR THE HITLER JUGGERNAUT
Since Rumania is already under a virtual dictatorship, Kind Carol's purge of his Fascist opponents is in itself hardly an event of universal importance. At the same time, if viewed in the light of corollary events, the purge takes on added significance. It may indicate that little Rumania has decided definitely to oppose--and, with the help of Britain, effectively to oppose--the eastward march of the rumbling Fascist juggernaut.
When Czechoslovakia was forced to capitulate to the demands of Chancellor Hitler, the world assumed that this was a step in the realization of the Drang Nach Osten. Not only was there in Rumania a well-organized Fascist party and a large German minority, but there were the rich oil fields of Bessarabia and there was the coveted Ukraine beyond. The possibility of effective resistance to a Hitler thus tempted was generally discarded. But recently King Carol visited London, stopped off at Berlin, and went home drastically to purge the fascist party. The purge followed within a few days of the Berlin visit. Such an unexpected turn of events strongly suggests a pointed rebuff to Hitler.
More important than this speculation is the evidence that Britain is joining in resisting Hitler. Just possibly Chamberlain is not the villain he is generally presumed to be;--just possibly he has not sold out the whole of Eastern Europe. When the Rumanian ruler visited 10 Downing Street, he asked for a loan of $125,000,000 to case the weight of German economic pressure; in the light of yesterday's abrupt and vigorous purge, it may well be guessed that he received this--or equivalent aid. If so, the Munich Pact may merely have marked another surrender to expediency, no more serious than its parallels in 1931 and 1935. The transfer of the Sudeten Germans was not intrinsically unjust, and if the surrender of 1938 has stimulated at long last a will on the part of the democracies to resist further Fascist aggrandizement, then history will not endorse the gloomy report which pessimists today are so generally proclaiming.