When Hitler spoke, the world heard a confused harangue which sounded both conciliatory and belligerent notes. Der Fuhrer again renounced Alsace-Lorraine, he promised that this Sudeten issue constituted his last territorial demand in Europe; and he did not press the minority claims of Hungary and Poland. But to a crescendo of "Sig Heil" he insisted that his present demands be met at once. His listeners know that October 1 is irrevocably Der Tag.
Even if the Sudeten areas really provide Hitler's last territorial demand--and it is well to remember that he once promised not to impair Austria's independence--Hitler can promise not to demand more land in central Europe because the territorial basis of the Drang Nach Osten will already have been laid. With Sudeten industry and fortifications in his grasp, and with France's cordon sanitaire virtually dissolved, Hitler can pursue the peaceful phase of his drive to the East--East economic pentration into southeastern Europe. Czechoslavakia, Rumania, and Hungary will become defenseless puppet states, and thus Hilter will carry out the plan outlined in Mein Kampf without taking one more inch of land.
If Hitler, who appropriates the democratic idea of self-determination to strengthen a totalitarian regime, really wanted peace he would not insist that so complex a problem as the transfer of Sudetenland be settled in so short a time. He would readily permit calm negotiations to bridge the gap between his "final" memorandum and Benes' "promise."
A world anxious for peace must turn from Hitler's time-worn protestations to England's belatedly firm stand. Britain's unequivocal warning that she will fight if Hitler marches may shunt the Sudeten crises back to the channels of discussion and conciliation. If so, it may prove to be the first effective caveat to Fascism and permit us to hope that the victory of democracy is really coming.