"It is my own conviction that Hitler is contemplating an anschluss," William L. Langer '15, Coolidge Professor of History, said in an interview yesterday.
Discussing the present position of the Czechs, the professor continued, "Czechoslovakia made a mistake in lining up with France and Russia. She antagonized Germany immediately, and made herself the spearhead for anti-German feeling. Hitler now wants to make the Czechs a minority in his empire, thus turning the tables."
Hitler Will Invade Balkans
Hitler will push on into the Balkans, Professor Langer believes, although he will not take them into his pan-German empire. His present aim is to reunite Bohemia with the other Germans, and then to extend Nazi control over non-German elements.
In regard to yesterday's elections, he pointed out that only recently had Henlein showed himself as a complete Nazi and revealed that he was working hand in glove with the German government. "I guess a great majority of the Sudeten group will back Henlein, as the safest thing to do.
"But I am very uneasy about it; something is going to crack," said the professor, insisting that this crisis was far different from the Austrian one.
"The Czechs will give Germany a good run for their money. They have no end of munitions and good fortifications. But they could not hold out for any great length of time.
"Their geographical situation is unfortunate, for Germany will attack from three sides, while the Poles and Hungarians gallop in. Germany might let Hungary take Slovakia.
Poland Sides with Reich
"There is more chance that Poland will go with Germany. They feel it safer to stay on the right side of Hitler, in spite of their alliance with France, which has been rather sickly for the last three or four years.
"France, too, is more interested in Czechoslovakia than in Austria, Mussolini may intervene on the side of Germany. Then it would draw in everybody on one pretext or another.
"However, I do not think the British will fight for Czechoslovakia. Russia remains a great big enigma. They are deeply involved in China; it is doubtful if they will went to make trouble in the West.
Will Hitler Grass Right?
"I do not think anybody can say what Hitler will do if he can convince himself that France will stay out. Hitler will not go on if he thinks war will result. The danger is if he guesses wrong, but he has shown remarkably good sense in the past.
"Action is only a matter of weeks now," the history professor stated. "If the election crisis can be tided over to the middle of June, it is possible that nothing will happen for quite a while."
"The colonial business has only been postponed, and that is where the British Lion will begin to growl. I suspect that Hitler is organizing his pan-German empire for that; it has not given him the raw materials which he needs.
"But nobody knows what will happen," Professor Langer concluded. "It is impossible to predict what goes on in the heads of other men."