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There is little imminent danger of a war in Europe as a direct result of Hitler's movement of troops into the Rhineland, said William L. Langer '15, associate professor of History, in an interview yesterday.
"Hitler's action was easily explainable and was merely executed in self-defense" he declared. "If a state such as New York or Massachusetts were left unguarded against foreign enemies, our immediate instinct would be to fortify it, and that is just what Hitler has done with the Rhineland."
No Invasion Involved
"It is not a question of invading another country's territory" he continued. "The Rhineland belongs to Germany and is populated with Germans. Of course people are alarmed because the Locarno Treaty has been violated, but Hitler's desire to have control over a region which Germany owns is perfectly understandable."
"I do not believe that the European situation today is as acute as in 1914", Professor Langer stated, "and I do not look for an outbreak of war in the near future. As to the possibility of conflict within the next five years, it seems to me that that is too far ahead to predict the outcome of events with any certainty. The situation is far too complex and there are too many conflicting factors involved."
League Sanctions Ineffective
No drastic action against Germany will be taken at the prospective meeting of the League of Nations Council, in Professor Langer's opinion. A vehement protest will very likely be made, but he expects the League to shy away from sanctions because of their probable ineffectiveness on Germany, which is a relatively self-sufficient country and is much less dependent on foreign trade for necessities than Italy.
Peace Pact Possible
Queried about the possibility of a future peace settlement for Europe originating from Hitler's proposals, he replied that such a development was entirely conceivable. "I don't think that Hitler is a militarist" he asserted. "He is rearming, like everyone else, to protect himself, but the more fact that he is doing it in defiance of an unfair treaty does not make his policy a belligerent one. France and England are strengthening their armies and navies, too, but they are doing it quietly and are not violating the Versailles treaty; therefore they are not 'militarists' in the eyes of the world."
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