THE WESTERN MAIL
& SOUTH WALES NEWS, 16th October, 1933
Herr Hitler’s Breakaway
- As the German Sees It
Storm That has been Brewing for 14
By GARETH JONES
The storm which
broke on Saturday, when Germany left the League of Nations, has been brewing for
Let us try to put
ourselves in the place of an average German and interpret his feelings.
Ever since the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 stamped the Germans as a pariah race
they have nurtured feelings of deep humiliation. They have stored in their
memories every little insult to their nation, every attack on their honour,
every slight upon their good name, until their supersensitiveness has produced
the haughty, clumsy declaration breaking the bonds between them and the Western
world. Germans writhe when they think of their history since 1919.
WAR GUILT CLAUSE
There was first
the War Guilt Clause. Nothing arouses the passion of the German so
violently as to be accused of the sole guilt in the war. The Germans
consider that: the Great War was one of defence by a Germany encircled by
powerful enemies; and to be branded as a criminal before the whole world dealt
blow to the German’s pride which rankles more to-day than ever. For the
gesture against world co operation by Germany on Saturday the accusation of War
Guilt bears no little responsibility. But that was not all. Troops
poured into the Rhineland and the sacred river of Germany’s legend and song
resounded to the bugles and the tramp of the enemy. Imagine how the
Germans felt when black troops marched through their country lanes and peaceful
I remember how
the eyes of patriotic Rhinelanders blazed with fury when they told of negroes
insulting their Countrymen. In the inns of the Rhineland tonight vile
stories of black troops will be repeated and Hitler will be praised for having
cut adrift from politicians who allowed such insults to Germany to remain
By the presence
of foreign troops each German felt his own prestige lowered; but still greater
was the humiliation of those Germans who had been placed under the rule of
nations which they despised. Millions were made into Polish or Czech
subjects, and they prayed for the day when revenge would come.
brought revenge, foolish, childish, unthinking, but a revenge which-few Germans
will regret. The blow to the League which it entails will raise many a
contented cheer in Germany, where the League has always been mistrusted and
In 1919 Germany
was considered too despicable a nation to become a member, and it was only after
many rebuffs that she was allowed to enter in 1928. The feelings of a
German can well be summed up in the words, “You did not think us worthy of
joining your League in 1919. Very well, in 1933 we rejoice in being able
to smash that pro-French weapon of oppression,”
The League of
Nations is synonymous in the German mind with surrender, compromise, and
however, the failure of the League of Nations to further disarmament is the main
cause for Germany’s outburst. Germany feels fooled by the promise of the
Allies at Versailles to disarm and resents the position of inferiority to which
she is condemned by her inequality in armaments.
It is more than
national resentment, however, which has caused Herr Hitler to break away from
the League of Nations. The personal reasons were very powerful, as they
always are in great political decisions. Hitler will never forgive the
Assembly of the League for the magnificent applause which greeted his enemy
Dollfuss, nor will Dr. Goebbels forget the cold shoulders which showed him
clearly how Hitlerism is hated. And it was in Geneva that Mr. Ormsby-Gore
gave one of the most resounding slaps in the face which Hitler has ever had in a
speech condemning the persecution of the Jews.
However great may
be these external reasons, the most important is probably the internal situation
of Germany. Hitler has brought excitement, brown shirts, banners, bands,
processions, but he has not brought bread.
wonderful success in fighting unemployment, but his statistics are as
phantomlike as those of Soviet Russia. The suffering and hunger in Germany
are intense and the spectre of disillusionment is shaking an icy finger at the
He needs some
triumph, some circus, to maintain his popularity. The Reichstag Trial has
failed to do this. He, therefore, stages what be imagines will be a
dramatic foreign victory to keep minds of his desperate people from their empty
cupboards and their tattered clothes.
WILL IT LEAD TO WAR?
gesture of scorn in the face of Europe lead to war? I do not think so.
Germany, isolated, still torn by internal dissensions, could never risk an
attack. All her former friends, Italy, Russia, Austria, are deserting her
and she stands a lonely, tragic figure, hysterically defying the powerful steel
claws of France, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. The more she defies, the
tighter the claws gather round her and the lonelier she becomes.
Geneva she has formed another League of Nations, the league of all nations
determined and united to prevent her from re-arming.