|Young Italian boys on parade with rifles and packs. All boys over eight in Italy are now required to take military training.|
be achieved, not by conquest, but by the organization of a sort of regional League of Nations, dominated by Italy.
France witnessed a reign of official corruption, hardly equalled in the annals of history, while the flow of reparations was coming into the devastated areas. Then came the depression and a violent resentment of the various scandals. Confidence in democratic government hit an all-time low.
Bloody rioting in Paris in February, 1934, had all of the earmarks of the beginning of another French revolution. New political alliances followed. First of these is a "Leftist" group, known as the Popular Front, an embattled alliance of liberals, socialists, and communists, anti-German, pro-Russian, and pro-League of Nations, with an enrollment of 400,000 armed fighters. On a platform against the Bank of France, the gold standard, deflation and big business, this group won the elections of May, 1936, and Leon Blum became premier.
As the new party took over the Government, one million men went on a nation-wide strike, occupied factories, prevented publication of the daily press and the operation of public utilities. Frantic enactment of social legislation providing the demands of the strikers stayed the tide.
Against the Popular Front are the Fascist leagues which favor dictatorship, a corporate economic state with a pro-German, pro-Italian policy. The most important of this group is the Croix de Feu of Colonel de la Rocque with 200,000 war veterans.
America's interest in and friendship for France date back to our own independence. The two countries have long shared and fought in defense of the same political ideals. The abandonment of the Democratic form of government by the French Republic would be viewed by Americans with genuine alarm.
Austria is demanding revision of the Treaty of Trianon and the restoration of the purely Magyar territories. In these demands, Austria has the support of Mussolini who, however, opposes a revision of the treaties of Versailles and St. Germain if such revision involves a German-Austro Union or the absorption of the Southern Tirol. Austria, apparently, is no longer in favor of the German union and has eliminated from its constitution the clauses providing for the confiscation of Crown property and the banishment of the Hapsburgs. The door is left open for the return of Archduke Otto.
Poland, Serbia, Rumania and Czechoslovakia are anxious not only to retain their own nationalism but also to hold down the nationalistic aspirations of their subject minorities.
Bulgaria is demanding revision of the Treaty of Neuilly, so as to provide an outlet to the Aegean Sea, and the return of her Macedonian possessions.
Turkey wants to refortify the Dardanelles. Great Britain has been non-committal on revision of the other treaties but has announced definite opposition to Turkey's suggestion.
Europe, today, because of the points of friction created by the peace treaties, is in a far more complex and precarious condition than it was on the eve of the World War. Extreme nationalism and territorial expansion dominate the foreign policy of a growing number of countries. The common people now living under the rule of governments which have abolished representative assembly and seized control of the press, have no voice in the all important decision of declaring war.
A "war to end war" can never accomplish its purpose, because treaties ending wars lay the foundations for subsequent conflict. The only thing that will prevent another war in Europe is a revision of the treaties of Versailles, St. Germain, Trianon and Neuilly, all of which are based on the assumption of guilt on the part of the Central Powers. Since the United States, to our everlasting glory. did not sign any of these treaties, we are in no way involved either in proposed revision or in defense of the territorial boundaries set up by these treaties. It is Europe's problemnot ours. There is little hope that the statesmen of Europe will risk their political futures by agreeing to a revision. However, peace can only be worked out during periods of peaceful relations. Peace can never come as an aftermath of war.