Now that the great hurricane of Europe seems to have blown itself out, there remains one problem that is staring all the countries in the face, one which they cannot avoid no matter how hard they try to look the other way. This is the explosive doctrine of self-determination for racial minorities. It is the doctrine which Hitler has been applying to such advantage for the territorial expansion of Germany, but also the principle which, if strictly applied throughout Europe, would mean the uprising of some thirty million persons who would break up the boundaries of Europe and give back chaos in return. That there should be so many people living on the wrong side of the frontiers is unfortunate, but at least there are seventy million fewer people today in such plight than there were twenty years ago. The eventual solution of the problem must come either from a gradual adjustment of claims by impartial plebiscites or from the setting up of absolute equality of races within a nation. Yet Hitler's recent Czechoslovakian move tends away from rather than towards a solution.
In the first place, the Nazis by their seizure of the Sudeten areas, have set the precedent of claiming nationalities by the conquest of foreign regions and the subsequent creation of new minorities (for many parts of the Sudeten area include as many Czechoslovaks as Germans). What is more, Hitler, in his "glorious" liberation of the submerged Germans, by carefully avoiding mention of the seven hundred thousand Poles in German Silesia or the three hundred thousand Slavs in East Prussia, proves himself to be anything but a champion of submerged peoples. Likewise, in supporting the claims of Poland and Hungary who are demanding their share of territory, Hitler is overlooking the fact that these two countries are dominating far greater minorities themselves than exist in Czechoslovakia.
Merely the thought of Hitler's treatment of German Jews makes his protest of Czechoslovakia's discrimination against the Sudetens seem like a hypocritical fabrication. It was the removal of subversive elements that were threatening the unity of the state that Hitler claimed to be the purpose of the rout of the non-Aryans from Germany (it seems that he considers every Jew a Communist and every Communist a Jew). On the other hand, if questioned about the Poles in German Silesia, he would reply that they were more German than Polish, and hence should continue to live under the swastika. In saying that he would, without realizing it, have hit upon the reason why the complete extinction of racial minorities is not imperative; but he shows at the same time no intention of applying this very idea to German minorities in foreign lands.
In short, Hitler is merely getting all the advantage possible out of the theory of self-determination. He is threatening creation of new minorities instead of removing the old ones, and it is not until he realizes the absolute necessity of equality of races within a nation that there is much hope for a satisfactory solution of the problem.