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LULL ON THE WESTERN FRONT

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Despite French and Italian troop movements to the borders and the recent flare-up over Lithuanian treatment of Nazi agitators, European nations have settled into a state of suspended animation, largely due to Sir John Simon's visit to Germany. Again Britain, much to the dissatisfaction of her former allies, is playing her historic role of mediator and preserver of the balance of power. One of the most favorable signs in the present imbroglio has been the enthusiastic reception given by the German populace to Britain's part as the "honest broker."

There remain, however, dangerous explosives in the international situation, largely because Hitler has been talking more loudly and faster than the leaders of all the other countries combined. Although Der Feuhrer asserted his wish for European peace, he emphasized, in the devious language of diplomacy, his determined opposition to any interference in the "natural relations" between Austria and Germany--a statement which will stick in the crop of Mussolini. Even more serious are the arrogant demands that the Polish Corridor be demolished, that part of Czeckoslovakia be returned, and that the Reich have an air force equal to the French. It is not to be expected that Hitler's seemingly altruistic notion of demanding a huge army to ward off the "red Monace" could deceive any of the negotiaters, but it certainly serves to bank the fires of hostility in Russia. Further, and perhaps most important, he reiterates a demand for a much larger navy--one which would give Germany parity with Italy, and dominance in the Baltic. This will have serious repercussions in England, and make extraordinarily difficult of realization her plan of impartial mediation.

There is a real crumb of comfort in the reflection about the contemporary attitude, and later adjustment to the Italian and Russian dictators' policies of building up huge war machines a decade ago. Some cynics, however, particularly in France, think that a punitive war is necessary to forestall danger to their own countries. England holds the key to the whole situation; without her aid other countries will hardly resort to such a drastic and risky measure. Although Hitler has made all the demands so far, the English attitude is yet to be fully formulated and determined. Despite the war scare, it is well to remember that if Hitler does not continue to overplay a strong hand, with particular reference to a navy and Great Britain, no war is likely to come in the immediate future.

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