A conflict of opinion as to how Germany should be treated in case she loses the war featured the first meeting of the Lowell House Symposium last night. Major Thomas Thomas, military analyst, and E.R. Halles, cable editor of the United Press, flung the verbal brickbats as they discussed anti-fascist military aims.
Major Thomas called for an immediate declaration of policy as soon as the war is over. "There is no such thing as a long Armistice. It would only lead to more trouble," he assented. Halles, on the other hand, declared that a three to five year "cooling-off" period is necessary after the conclusion of the war if a just peace is to be achieved.
"The men who win wars aren't fit psychologically," he maintained, "to make the peace."
Neither of the speakers hazarded a guess as to the outcome of the present struggle. The only certain thing, Major Thomas declared, is that there will be no small European nation capable of arming itself when the war is over. Every piece of armament will have to be made by either France, Great Britain, Germany, or Russia. Russia, he added, will become the dominant European power for many years to come if the Nazis are defeated.
Urging that the lessons of Versailles should not be forgotten Major Thomas outlined his plan for a just European post-war settlement. He suggested that limited armed forces be maintained in all countries, with conscription outlawed. Each nation, including Germany, must be free, to make and administer its own laws, he added.
Although he did not suggest a return to the League of Nations, Major Thomas proposed that some visible instrument of enforcement be set up to protect the mutual security that will prevail. He blasted the notion that sanctions might be effective, maintaining that it is a virtual impossibility to impose effective sanctions on a nation able to produce its own weapons.
Halles, in addition to urging an interval between the original and final armistice settlements, maintained that Germany should set up some form of constitutional monarchy as a means of bridging the gap between totalitarianism and democracy. Above all, the Germans should be allowed to have their own government, he argued.
Answering the question of an enforcement agency for a post-war world, Halles suggested that a pooling of the resources of Great Britain and the United States, who would then act jointly as an international police-force, would most nearly fill the bill.
With dominant sea and air power, these two nations could prevent a resurgence of either internal tyranny of external aggression on the part of any other country, he stated.
The symposium, held in the Lowell House Common Room, was the first of a series of similar lectures and discussions to be sponsored this year by Lowell House.