THE WESTERN MAIL
& SOUTH WALES NEWS, August 16th 1934
BIG GUNS POINT TOWARDS AUSTRIA
of Germany Bordering on Hysteria
of lightning streak across the Adriatic. Vague outlines of sailing craft glide
through the darkness of the bay, while to the north a searchlight reveals every
few seconds the red, white, and green funnel of a giant Italian liner.
where I sit, in the principal square, rival orchestras clash with each other to
allure the hundreds of Italians who stroll towards the quays.
is Trieste, the port which makes Italy the Mistress of the Adriatic. It is
here that I wish to sum up my threefold impressions since my arrival in Italy
from the Austrian province of Carinthia.
first impression is troops, troops, troops. As soon as the train had
crossed the pass from Austria and had arrived at the frontier station of Tarvis
(a name which may well be important in the future, for Tarvis and the Brenner
Pass are the two main entries from Italy into Austria) I saw in the pine forests
for miles along the railway track hundreds upon hundreds of camouflaged tents of
curious square shape like bathing tents painted grey, green, a dirty orange, and
a smudged red. The smoke of many camp fires hovered over the woods and
Italian soldiers looked up at the passing express and waved. In fields
numerous powerful military lorries stood, as it ready at any moment to plunge
into the foreign land a few miles away, while big guns waited near, pointing
village inns the men in their green-grey uniforms would come out in laughing
groups of three or four and watch the workers who were rapidly constructing a
new road leading directly to the frontier.
the train descended the valley was bordered by fortresses which showed signs of
two hours later we were in the plain, and the region filled with troops lay to
the east, an idyllic range of mountains shining in the evening sun.
HATRED OF GERMANY
dark, excitable Italian - an important Fascist of the district - entered my
compartment, and when I talked with him I gathered vividly my second impression
of Italy to-day, an impression of a way of hatred of Germany which borders on
hysteria, and which is leading to a revolution in Italian foreign policy.
gestures of passion! How vehemently his eyes flashed at the very mention
of Germany! Like a Machine-gun spitting out fire he exclaimed: “Germany!
The Germans are savages. Hitler is a barbarian. Mussolini will never
forgive him, because he has broken all his promises. The murder of
Dollfuss has ended for ever and ever my friendship, we had for the Germans.”
described to him the Italian troops I had seen on the frontier. His face
gleamed with pride. “They will march, too,” he declared, “the very
moment Austria becomes Nazi and joins with Germany. We have 40,000
soldiers ready. The way they were mobilised was wonderful. The men
were working everywhere at the harvest, but Mussolini had only to give the word,
and, presto! in a couple of hours they were travelling full speed towards Tarvis!”
WAR FEARS SCORNED
of a future European war which might arise out of a union of Austria with
Germany and out of the entry of Italian troops into Austria troubled me again.
Would not Germany send troops or aeroplanes into Austria to stop the Italians?
Would not the Yugoslavs do the same? Surely the Italian policy would be
the height of criminal madness, precipitating a European war? I expressed
my doubts to the Fascist.
that omniscience which characterises Nazis, Bolsheviks, and Fascists, he
dismissed my objections with scorn. “European war!” he laughed.
“We’ll just walk in, that’s all. The Germans will not prevent us;
they are too weak. We could crush them. They have a hostile France
on one side and a hostile Poland at their back.”
the Yugoslavs?” I rejoined.
are too weak and uncivilised. France will settle with them, and our way
into Austria will be clear.”
optimism is certainly dangerous on the Italian side, but it is perhaps warranted
by the new friendship between the Italians and the French.
must be our ally,” declared the Fascist. “It would settle everything
to have an alliance with France. She is a great nation, she is powerful;
our differences could be easily settled. We would then not need to quarrel
about our navies in the Mediterranean; but France should give us land in Africa
Barthou, the French Foreign Minister, is coming to see Mussolini in September
and I have the impression that the result of their talks will be a cementing of
Italo-French, friendship and another blow at Hitler.
TRIESTE THE CLUE
this point of our conversation the brilliant lights along the Trieste shore
appeared and we were approaching what was once the great port of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire and the link between Central Europe and the East.
After the War Trieste became Italian and now it plays a vital part in Italian
final impression is that Trieste is a clue to Italy’s policy of maintaining
the Independence of Austria. The Italians fear that if Austria joins with
Germany the Germans will cast longing eyes at the port of Trieste, in the same
way as the Russians coveted Constantinople before the War.
independent little Austria is no danger to Trieste. Therefore, the
Italians by recent agreement have allowed Austria a free harbour in Trieste,
where the Austrians pay no customs duties and have extra-territorial rights.
fight for the independence of Austria is, therefore, Italy’s fight for
Trieste. And because Trieste means Italy’s spearhead for expansion throughout
Africa there are, for example, four Italian lines from Trieste which sail round
Africa - and because Trieste means Italy’s mastery of the Adriatic, Mussolini
is not likely, without a grim struggle, to allow Austria to join with Germany.
Photo to be
HERR VON PAPEN,
the newly appointed German Minister to Austria, arrived by air at Vienna