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Part III


"Am I therefore become your enemy,
because I tell You the truth?"
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians


Adolf Hitler's appointment in January, 1933, by Reichs-President von Hindenburg as the Chancellor of Germany was the death blow to the remnants of the European order which had survived the political and moral ravages of the first World War and the Paris Peace Conference. Gone was the "spirit of Locarno" which had helped Briand and Stresemann, in October 1925, to lay the foundations of a system for the general pacification of Europe. That inspiring trend was reversed. The agreements between Germany and her neighbors to submit their controversies to arbitration were cast aside by Nazi arrogance. France, twice invaded within the last fifty years by the German Army, felt particularly affected by the renewed menace from East of the Rhine. Security became a national obsession in France. A downward trend was also started in the life of the Reich's small neighbors, a growing tragedy which, alas, to the present day has not come to an end.

By 1934, when German rearmament admittedly was begun, the balance of power was already shifting away from the Western Democracies, for will-power and determination are just as potent factors as effective physical power in the shaping of the destinies of nations. And Hitler had what Nietzsche termed the "Wille zur Macht" (the will to attain power); in fact, it was the only qualification he had, which impressed me in my several discussions with the Fuehrer. That persuasive, almost mystic superiority complex however, he possessed to an exaggerated degree. It assured for this uneducated fanatic mastery over his highly educated nation. It determined both his ascendance and his doom.

The nineteenth century Concert of Europe, which had maintained relative peace in the world during 100 years, was gone for good, and the wartime division of the European powers into the victorious Entente and the defeated Central Powers had also disappeared by 1934. But no new balance of power or guiding influence had developed on the Continent. Particularly, in the heart of Europe all stability and cohesion were destroyed, which fact did not escape Hitler's attention. On the ruins of the venerable Austro-Hungarian Monarchy various small people endowed and stricken with a keen sense of independence


were busy setting up their separate miniature national autarchies. Many of them were wary of the threat looming in the East in the shape of the giant Bolshevik Russia imbued with world-revolutionary ambitions. From then on, they also had to struggle against Hitler's schemes, whose drive for "living space" they could never halt in the disintegrated Valley of the Danube. Their situation became increasingly uncomfortable, when to Hitler's stepped up subversive actions the Western Democracies reacted with another menace, rapprochement to the Soviets. Wedged in between two brutal totalitarian dictatorships, the internal good order of these small states was exposed to infiltration and subversion by both the Nazi and the Communist ideologies and by the concomitant apparatuses at their command. Indeed, they were living dangerously.

Victory in the first World War had not benefited the Western European Democracies either. Britain relaxed in the post-war years and enjoyed the reduced amenities of a bygone Victorian age without accepting, however, the corresponding sacrifices. Her foreign policy was equally antiquated. In the shade of an imaginary "splendid isolation," British overall policy concerning Europe remained based on the centuries-old maxim: keep the Continent divided. Temporarily, this approach proved successful, since both Hitler and Stalin were pursuing a similar policy. The British position seemed quite comfortable with competition crippled and political cohesion disrupted on the Continent. To counterbalance France, at that time the strongest Continental power, the British Foreign Office had favored the creation of a stable German government led by Hitler to replace tottering democracy. It will be remembered that for more than a year after Hitler's take-over of the government the British still approved of him, while refractory France was being annoyed by the arrogant Nazis. The British believed that their respectability would not suffer from these manoevres-after all, Hitler had observed all the formalities of the game and had obtained power through democratic processes. Even Mr. Eden who disapproved of Prime Minister Neville ChambeHain's policy of "getting together" with the dictators, seemed to believe that Litvinov, although a Communist, "was a good European."1

While dark clouds of the approaching tempest were forming over complacent Britain, the waste of years-never to return-was even

1 Facing the Dictators, p. 182.


more appalling in the course followed by the Third French Republic. The dynamism of the bourgeois French Revolution had been exhausted by time, by party strife and intrigue; worn out cliches no longer generated in the masses the courage and determination to stand up with eighteenth century slogans against the Proletarian Revolution of the twentieth century, whichever brand - Nazi or Bolshevik - it may have been. Unable to find the long overdue solutions to her pressing internal problems, or to develop a constructive European policy aimed at unification, France had become grievously decadent. In a rapidly changing world, with vast, novel tasks to perform, she fell back on outmoded, rigid diplomatic and legal formulas which did not fit her needs, but prevented reconciliation. Thoughtlessly, her leaders did not appraise properly the destructive aims of the Soviets, the difference between the weak Tsar Nicholas II, and the successor of Genghis Khan, the cunning Stalin, whom French political leaders of all shades - Barthou Laval, Herriot, and Leon Blum - were prepared to accept as an ally and even to trust. By habit, France reintroduced the quarantined Russians into the midst of their prospective victims. In her quest for security through restoration of the Franco-Russian alliance, France took a downhill road which was to lead her first into the morass of the Popular Front infected by the inclusion of the Communist Party and from there on, after Hitler and Stalin joined hands for the spoliation of Europe, down to the bottom, to defeat and surrender to the Nazis.

Nothing is more relative in the life of nations than power. The self-satisfied lethargy of France and Britain following the First World War automatically brought into prominence their junior partner in the victorious Entente: frustrated, yet upcoming Italy. Indeed, it was Mussolini, and Mussolini alone, who saved Austria from Hitler in July, 1934. At that time, Italy was the only major power which was fully rearmed and the Duce intended to make use of that investment before it became obsolete. But he was hesitant, as yet, to commit Italy either to her wartime Allies, who had disregarded her interests in the past, or to her traditional foe, Germany, who might mistreat her again in the future. To the dismayed Mr. de Kanya, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Duce confided in the autumn of 1934, shortly before starting his adventure in Abyssinia, that the "Mare Nostro," the sea so romantically coveted by D'Annunzio, was no more the Adriatic Sea but the Mediterranean, in which Basin Italy would replace the decadent


British rule. That Empire was crumbling - said Mussolini - it would soon come to an end, for their armed establishment, even the British Navy, had been neglected to the point where they could no longer discharge their extended responsibilities.2 The Duce's firm logic was coupled, however, with short term wishful thinking. He did not live to see the anticipated end of the British Empire realized.

Following the murder of Dollfuss, which became a milestone in the history of European decline, the shocked French leaders hoped that Mussolini and Hitler would stay divided, that in French-Italian relations new combinations would become possible and that perhaps Italy could be won over into an alliance with France. But Yugoslavia remained unalterably hostile to Italy. Her opposition became a stumbling block to the French policy of rapprochement with Italy which could not be disregarded. For by antagonizing Yugoslavia, the French-Little Entente Alliance might have been loosened, even upset. French strategic thinking had been overrating grossly the value of the Little Entente insofar as the defense of France against eventual German aggression was concerned, for the Little Entente, as such, was operative practically only against Hungary. Even the Yugoslav mobilization in 1934, in support of the Nazis, did not modify this mistaken French evaluation.

While in Western Europe conditions remained unstable because of lack of political organization and leadership by the Great Powers, Central Europe and the Balkans grew shaky and confused as a result of overorganization of those small states. In February, 1933, under the impact of the Nazi take-over of Germany, the Yugoslav-Rumanian-Czechoslovak loosely knit alliance, the Little Entente, transformed itself into a permament international organization, while retaining its close ties with France and its good relations with Poland. One year later, in February, 1934, the Balkan Pact was signed combining Yugoslavia-Rumania-Greece-Turkey, but omitting Czechoslavakia, the third member of the Little Entente, and also Bulgaria, an indispensable link in any Balkan system. The reason for the latter omission was discovered one month later: the Balkan Pact was accompanied by a secret protocol, guaranteeing the territory of the signatories which caused friction between revisionist Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia defending her territorial

2 Mussolini spoke with disdain of the British to Prime Minister Gombos in 1935. The Mediterranean Fleet of the British had not been properly provided with armmunition and Mussolini believed that his navy could have destroyed that of Great Britain.


status quo. Moreover, the policies of Greece and Turkey - both friendly to Hungary - did not coincide with those of the other two Balkan Fact partners opposed to Hungary. So, they held several meetings in 1934 to coordinate their divergent interests. Besides face-saving, very little was accomplished, for according to their geographical location these small states had to seek defense against different pressures weighing on their borders. Czechoslovakia, for instance, felt endangered mainly by Nazi Germany, whereas Yugoslavia, still out of Hitler's reach, was leaning on Germany against the expanding Italian influence on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

At a meeting of the Balkan Entente (October 31, 1934), Greece, quite reasonably, refused to accept any responsibility outside of the Balkans in view of her limited resources. The ambitious Dr. Tevfik Rouchdy bey, Foreign Minister of Turkey, who liked to poke a finger into every pie, then launched the plan of merging the Little and the Balkan Ententes, since each of them was too weak to stand up alone against any aggressive great power. But Titulescu, the Foreign Minister of Rumania, a country not yet endangered by either the Soviets or the Nazis, wished to avoid all added obligations. Endowed with the Byzantine gift of pleasantly phrasing unpleasant decisions, he praised in flowery terms the ideal of both Ententes, which was identical: "the maintenance of peace, but in spheres so distinctly separated that it. would be absurd to ask the signatories of one pact to blindly shoulder the responsibilities of the other." The validity of this reasoning could not be doubted and therewith the move toward unity of the small Central European and Balkan states came to an end.

Thus, in autumn, 1934, when the Marseille murders suddenly inflamed the smouldering embers on the Continent, there existed no established authority to uphold the rule of law and justice, except the League of Nations, which was already wasting away. In March, 1933, Japan politely had given notice of her decision to withdraw from the League and the same year, in October, the Nazis suddenly quit with a bang. A medicine was then selected as a remedy which was to hasten the death of the patient: in September, 1934, prodded by France, in agreement with Britain and Italy, the Assembly admitted the Soviets to membership in the League of Nations. The always respectable Journal de Geneve reported (September 9), that it was the grand idea of Barthou, recommended also by Benes and Titulescu. "Like all men they


are subject to error." To what an error! On January 27, 1934, Kaganovitch, at that time second in rank to Stalin, had declared: "Our task is precise: to use in every manner the divergencies among the capitalist countries and not allow them the possibility of resolving their own internal contradictions." Five years later Stalin, "the bulwark against Hitler," became the trigger man of the Second World War which knocked out France and brought under Soviet domination his sponsors, Czechoslovakia and Rumania. The argument proffered in Geneva, In the summer of 1934, in favor of the Soviets, had a ghastly resemblance to the motivation voiced nowadays to promote the admission of Red China to the United Nations: the requirement of universality, which, with America absent, was actually non-existent in the League from the very beginning. Within a few months, during the Abyssinian crisis, the world witnessed the fact that devoid of physical power, even the highest international authority of the world becomes worthless, unless it maintains a high moral standard. The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact gave the coup de grace to the League of Nations which, on December 14, 1939, still gathered enough energy to reach the eminently logical conclusion that "by its own actions the Soviet Union has expelled itself from the League of Nations."


The reader will probably remember the political aspect of Europe in the 1930's, as he later saw it in the vivid light of the Second World War, when the line-up of the various powers was clearly visible. But, in 1934, when the Marseille regicide was perpetrated, the European scene was still chaotic and shifty, with only a few somber outlines clearly drawn The time was not yet ripe for the totalitarian dictators to start large-scale armed aggression, which, one by one, was to wipe out the independence and freedom of their small neighbors. But murder of their political opponents was already on the agenda and was marking the path of their progress as the forerunner of greater evils to come.

Just before the New Year, 1934, Prime Minister Duca, the strong-man of Rumania, was murdered by a fanatic of the Iron Guard, allied to the German Nazi Party. The year started in that agitated country with the arrest of some 3000 pro-Nazi extremists. The core of the conspiracy, however, had certainly not been wiped out, for shortly thereafter, at the last moment a plot was uncovered, planned by officers of the General Staff, to bomb the Orthodox Cathedral in Bucharest during the Easter midnight service and thus destroy King Carol and his Cabinet. Urged by the liberal-minded Titulescu, King Carol, although inclined toward the Nazis, agreed under the impact of the misfired conspiracy to dissolve by decree the pro-German Rightist organizations in Rumania. But, as often happens, the pendulum now swung to the Left. The Bucharest Parliament turned its eyes Eastward and approved the resumption of diplomatic relations with the Soviets. On October 8, the Francophile Mr. Titulescu came to terms with King Carol and again took over the Foreign Ministry, which he was to direct during the international crisis caused one day later by the murder of King Carol's brother-in-law, King Alexander of Yugoslavia.

On June 15,1934, Mr. Pieracki, the Polish Minister of the Interior was murdered for political motives by an Ukrainian, John Marzinkovitz In the early 1920's, following the reconquest of a major part of the Ukraine by the Russians, remnants of the Ukrainian Independence Movement fled from their Soviet-dominated land to Germany, where,


as anti-Communists, they were well received. Another Ukrainian faction which emigrated from Galicia1 was hostile to Poland but had no grudge against the Russians, who at that time were a threat to Poland. To forge an instrument against the Poles, Mr. Benes offered to the latter group a friendly haven in Prague, awarded scholarships to their students, and gave clandestine support to the group's anti-Polish political work. The assassin of the Polish Minister belonged to this group.

In the same month, on the 30th, another, even more ominous murder was committed, under ghastly circumstances which made Hitler's power in Germany uncontested. Captain Ernest Roehm, Chief of Staff of the SA, a dynamic Nazi organizer, had decided to develop his Party Militia into a regular army. This raised distrust in Hitler's suspicious mind. The Chief of his Security Police, the diabolic Reinhard Heydrich, did not fail to notice his reaction. Eager to destroy Roehm, his competitor, he forged documents to prove that the disloyal Roehm, while on a vacation at a Bavarian lake, was preparing a Putsch to liquidate Hitler. As if stepping out of a Shakespearean drama, Hitler flew into a rage and together with Heydrich and his SS men invaded Roehm's villa at night. Roehm, Hitler's one time best friend, was shot to death while still in bed.

A blacklist prepared by Heydrich was approved then by Hitler. It contained, besides the Fuehrer's opponents, other names who might have obstructed Heydrich's ascent to the top of the Nazi hierarchy. His career was prodigious thereafter, until in Lidice it came to an inglorious end. The day following Roehm's murder, I happened to be on a tour in the Bavarian mountains. I became curious: one car after another passed me, driven by SS men in black uniforms, with the window blinds drawn. Soon it became known: hundreds, if not thousands, of Germans were arrested and executed on this occasion. This was the first mass murder in Nazi Germany, and since Hitler got away with it, others were to follow. Prominent Germans, such as General Kurt von Schleicher, a former Chancellor of the Reich, were executed merely because Hitler did not like them, and another former Chancellor, the foxy Franz von Papen, only escaped a similar fate by going into hiding, thus saving his life for coming afflictions.

Next in line to be murdered by Hitler, while heading the govern-

1 A former Austrian provinces adjudged to Poland by the Peace Conference.


ment, was Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss of Austria. His death acted as a catalyzer; it speeded up various diplomatic actions and also precipitated the murder of King Alexander. The easy-going West has never properly understood or appreciated the struggle which Dollfuss - this champion of freedom - led against superior, brutal forces, sometimes with desperate means and single-handed. Adverse Marxist publicity has done much harm to Dollfuss' reputation which deserves to be restored. Not quite five feet tall and of simple peasant stock, he became the champion of little Austria's resistance to the two towering evils of our time: Naziism and Communism. At that time, the majority of the Austrian Marxists stood yet far to the Left; unfortunately for all of Central Europe, they had not joined the moderate Second International but professed adherence to the so-called "Two and a Half" group, which in an emergency - as was also experienced in Hungary during Bela Kun's dictatorship - would join hands with the Bolshevik-dominated Third International.

In the summer of 1933, Dollfuss had to face two revolutionary upheavals, which blew up railroad tracks, bombed buildings, and with arms and other aid from Czechoslovakia, tried to establish Marxist rule over Austria. The fighting had hardly stopped in the streets of Vienna when we saw the valiant, miniature Chancellor marching upright, exposed to a hundred deaths, behind the coffins of the killed patriots. On October 3, 1933, an extremist of the other brand, a young Nazi, fired two shots at the Chancellor, one of which was deflected from his heart by a button. In February, 1934, the Socialists again staged an armed revolt against him but were thoroughly defeated. Caught in a pincer, between two violent revolutionary movements, Dollfuss was compelled by adverse conditions - sustained by foreign subversive efforts - to rule temporarily by decree, unless he was ready to accept Nazi domination which at that time in Central Europe was still a more potent menace than Communism.

Threatened from within by the bold Nazi underground and Socialist paramilitary organizations centered in Vienna, and also from the outside by Hitler and the agile Mr. Benes, Dollfuss decided to seek support for Austrian independence from his friendly neighbors: Hungary and Italy. Following his visit in Budapest, in mid-March, 1934, the Pact of Rome was concluded among Italy-Austria-Hungary, mainly for the purpose of lending political and economic support to Austria


for the maintenance of her independent statehood. There were no other powers in Europe at that time sufficiently interested in the fate of Austria to share in these responsibilities, although the way was left open in the Pact of Rome for their participation in the agreements. Even after the murder of Dollfuss, no power was found outside of the signatories of the Pact of Rome which would have risked the impairment of its relations with flourishing Nazi Germany for the sake of besieged Austria.

In those months, I was Hungary's Chief Delegate in Geneva to the League of Nations. The German Minister to Switzerland, Baron Weizsaecker, seemed quite worried by the Nazi Party's interference in the conduct of Germany's foreign affairs. He foresaw, a year before the murder of Dollfuss, that Hitler would eventuafly attempt to annex Austria by the use of force. At his insistence that I talk to Hitler and convince him not to upset Germany's improving international position by some adventure, in early autumn, 1933, I visited Berlin. I was feted at a pompous dinner in the Adlon, in Hitler's absence, by his collaborators: Rosenberg, Goebbels and his Austrian advisers, headed by Herr Habicht, Hitler's "Inspector for Austria," who had been expelled from that country. I did not need much time to understand that all advice to the Nazi Party in the direction of moderation toward Austria was futile. So instead of waiting for Hitler's return, I visited Count Buelow, the respectable Undersecretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He had Conservative leanings and was mistrusted by the Nazis. In a whisper and apologetically, he admitted that German foreign policy was being shaped exclusively by Hitler and his Party and that he [Count Buelow] was only conducting routine administrative work. Yet, each morning, glancing through the papers on his desk, he delayed his resignation - so much damage and misery would result should the Party settle these delicate matters. Austria's situation was hopeless, in his view, if Hitler succeeded in remaining in power, for the Fuehrer was intractable on the subject of Austria. I left for Budapest with dismal impressions and thereafter never saw Berlin again.

In September, 1934, one year later, at a dinner during the meetings of the League of Nations' Assembly, I called Mr. Eden's attention to that sore spot-besieged little Austria. I frankly told the British Chief Delegate that I was more worried at present about the fate of Austria than that of my own country, since the annexation of Austria by Nazi


Germany would soon lead to general war. And then, I risked the question: Would the United Kingdom consider what guarantees it could give to Austrian independence? In an icy tone, I was informed that Britain felt much relieved and had to attend to other problems since the Austrian crisis was at long last solved. Solved? For how long? Mr. Eden accepted at face value a recent statement by Hitler, when the assassination of Dollfuss did not bring about the collapse of Austria in which he limited his interest in Austria to German "cultural" relations.

It is an unpleasant but recurrent experience in modern diplomatic life to find most of the political leaders you deal with overburdened with routine work, time-consuming social duties, excessive concern with the press, etc., and therefore loath to attack major political problems before it is too late to avert a crisis. This must have been the mood of Mr. Eden. But could he expect that Hitler's tactical retreat in Austria would change in any way his basic strategy aimed at expansion? Irrefutable evidence to the contrary was available to me. Shortly before Hitler became Chancellor, I tried to persuade him to leave Austria alone or else Germany would lose all her friends. He became incensed and went into a harangue: "Austria is a German land and will become part of Germany." He abused the "wobbly and soft" Austrians who needed to be instilled with Nazi discipline. "I may temporize with the 'Anschluss,' but I will never compromise in carrying out that duty," was his final assertion. Statesmanship demands preparation to meet the worst possible eventuality. The democratic habit of taking "calculated risks" instead of squarely facing onerous problems at the proper time has caused many a calamity to the West which also bad to pay a heavy fine for its complacent attitude towards Hitler.

I always have believed in the usefulness of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and have disagreed with the national aspirations of some political parties in Hungary and in other Danubian countries which were seeking complete separation from Austria. I also have supported wholeheartedly Hungary's participation in the Pact of Rome for it was to strengthen the sagging morale of Austria. Among the Middle Danube States, the key position was held by Austria whose independence had become a cornerstone upon which European peace also rested. Vienna in the hands of the German Reich could never be an end in itself - it would be a point of departure for further expansion, the gate-


way leading to Budapest, Belgrade, and the Dardanelles. Should Germany force its way into Vienna, every small nation down to the Mediterranean would be at her mercy; the position of Prague, particularly, would become untenable. Prague's fate then would determine, sooner or later, the future of Budapest also. The "Drang nach Osten" had to be stopped in Vienna. The security of all the Danubian and Balkan States was built upon the power of resistance of the triangle, Vienna-Prague-Budapest. Should any one of these three pillars crumble, the rest were bound to go down with it.

The decision of the Paris Peacemakers: the isolation of Austria from the neighboring small nations with which for many centuries she had lived in full partnership, was ruinous to Austrian interests, not only because of its economic consequences, but mainly because of political and ethical considerations. The Austrian question, ever since 1919, had been handled by the Allied Powers and by the League of Nations, primarily as an economic problem. The "relief" funds and international loans which had been granted to Austria, probably helped more to destroy the self-confidence and national pride of the Austrians than most of her benevolent creditors imagined. An honest people that for centuries bad earned international respect by industry and cultural accomplishments, could not accept as a solution of the problems of its national existence, the humiliating position of presenting herself, at regular intervals before international authorities, begging for loans which she was certain never to be able to repay. The will of the Austrians to maintain their independence had to be strengthened. They had to be given a definite mission, the fulfillment of which would keep up their spirit, rebuild their national ideals along traditional lines and enable them to regain their self reliance and vitality. The mission of the Austrians had always been to unite the Middle Danubian nations in a broad co-operative system. Vienna had been, for many centuries, the market place not only of material goods but also of the cultural products of the highly civilized Danubian nations. The Austrian spirit, imbued with Latin elements, developed, in the course of generations, a distinct national individuality different from the rest of the Germanic peoples. Tolerance and assimilation of foreign cultures was the main feature of the Viennese atmosphere, where the peoples of the Danube Valley gladly gathered under the auspices of the Court of Vienna. To be sure, there had been internal strife within the Austro-Hungarian


Empire; but it never rose to become an international danger. The calming Viennese atmosphere has been for many centuries helpful to the security, peace and prosperity of Europe.

Publicity which qualified the Pact of Rome at first as a "Fascist Alliance," was not only mean but also unintelligent, for only Hitler could profit from it. In February, 1934, shortly before the Pact of Rome was signed, the Nazi movement was outlawed in Hungary. The Alliance of Rome was not even neutral, it was simply anti-Nazi, and Hitler knew it perfectly well. He decided, following the signing of the Pact of Rome, to take action without delay in Austria: to wipe out her annoying Chancellor. Hitler could not tolerate interference in his "living space," least of all by Mussolini, an ideological competitor. On July 25, of the same year, an armed squad of Nazis dressed in Austrian uniforms invaded the Chancellory and shot the intrepid Dollfuss in his office. He died without being permitted by his assailants to receive medical aid.

Tribute was paid to the brave Austrian Chancellor in the League of Nations by no lesser statesman than the eminent Delegate of Switzerland, Mr. Motta, at the plenary meeting of the Assembly on September 12, 1934. "His fundamental idea," said Motta about Dollfuss, "was to defend the integrity and the self-government of his country. He died for this ideal. He faced the menace of death which he felt coming, with faith and patriotism and accepted it without flinching. . . . All parties, even those against whom he fought, have to bow to the man who sacrificed his life for his principles."

This cowardly crime prompted several changes in European attitudes, and some of them were beneficial. Mussolini's energetic move barring Hitler's road into Austria allayed most of the adverse criticism previously voiced against the Pact of Rome and made it possible for the successor of Dollfuss, Kurt Schuschnigg, during a visit in Budapest in September, 1934, to strengthen, together with General Gombos, the Hungarian Prime Minister, their adherence to the Pact. There also developed in England an irreparable disenchantment with Hitler. "What would Hitler do to me," asked Lord Chatfield, the First Sea Lord, during my visit in September, 1934, in London, "if he had a chance to treat me as he pleased, when he did this to Dollfuss, another German?" Unannounced and not admitted, the British Foreign Office moved away from the side of Germany and back to the old-time "Entente Cordiale"


with France. The early diagnosis of this fact proved helpful in my diplomatic work in Geneva, yet this change was publicly revealed only in 1937, when following the abdication of King Edward VIII, Stanley Baldwin voluntarily retired and, surveying in the House of Commons his term of service as Prime Minister, mentioned this turn in British policy as having been decided upon in autumn, 1934, after the murder of Dollfuss.

One Western reaction, however, to Nazi barbarism proved to be hopelessly unsound. As years passed by, it grew into a deadly mistake which now threatens our Free World with final disaster. Disgust with Hitler and his policy of expansion induced the Western Democracies to seek better defense against this growing menace. But reluctant to accept the inescapable sacrifices, they became increasingly inclined to rely on the hoped for aid from, and even an alliance with, the Soviets. Summer 1934, the murder of Dollfuss, was the time when the aroused but complacent West took the decision to help the Soviets out of the isolation which paralyzed their destructive energies. Moreover, the Democracies had no joint strategy and no coordinated forces of their own. They relied on individual deals and power political combinations with one or the other dictator. Europe thus became dependent on both dictators and took the calculated risk that Hitler and Stalin would outbalance each other indefinitely.

It was France, her Foreign Minister Barthou, who started the ball rolling toward the precipice, when in summer, 1934, he payed an official visit to Moscow. Thereafter, when the Soviets applied for membership in the League of Nations, there were fine warnings voiced, but no worthwhile opposition to their acceptance developed. Not only Britain, but Fascist Italy, angered by Hitler's Austrian adventure, voted for the admission of the Soviets during the September Assembly Meeting. The fiction promoted by Mr. Barthou during his visits to Warsaw and Belgrade became almost generally accepted; namely, that a pro-Slav policy to which the Soviets also belonged would shift the European balance of power in favor of the Western Democracies and keep Hitler definitely in his place. So Barthou became most active trying to bring about a network of alliances which would include the Soviets and would help to keep Germany down.

The myth of a Slav political entity was brutally refuted, however, at Marseille by the Croat and Bulgarian assassins of King Alexander,


the murderers and the victim himself all being Slavs. Unintentionally, Mr. Louis Barthou, who greeted the King on the Quai des Belges, was also killed on that 9th of October, 1934. Dressed in an Admiral's uniform and decorated with the wide red ribbon of the French Legion of Honor, the smiling King Alexander, a descendant of the Karageorgevitch dynasty, traveled in an open motor car and was engaged with Mr. Barthou in a friendly conversation, when in the Rue Cannebierre, the main traffic artery of Marseille, a man shouting "Long live the King!" jumped on the running board of his car and fired several shots at the occupants. Colonel Piollet, who escorted the King's car on horseback, struck down the assassin immediately, but the murderer continued shooting until overcome and lynched by the bystanders. Several shots were also fired on the car from the crowd, obviously by accomplices in the murder plot. King Alexander, hit by two bullets and bleeding from five wounds, died shortly without regaining consciousness. The aged Louis Barthou, whose right arm was torn asunder by a bullet, bled to death before any help reached him. The French General Georges, a member of the Supreme War Council, sitting opposite the King in the car, was hit by several bullets, one of them right over the heart, but the Serbian decoration of St. Sava deflected it and saved the General's life. Stray bullets killed two mothers in the crowd and wounded ten other spectators, one of them fatally.

In the series of political assassinations the last notorious murder, also in 1934, occurred in Leningrad on December 1. Sergei Kirov, the third-ranking Commissar in the ten-member Bolshevik Politburo, was killed in a plot in which prominent Party leaders and the Political Police were involved. The murder of Kirov was greeted by Stalin as a welcome occasion to launch the largest purge in Russian history. This mass murder of his political opponents he labeled in true Bolshevik style a "war on terror." After a one day trial, on December 6, he had sixty-six "terrorists" executed. Kamenev and Zinoviev were placed under arrest to be later sentenced to death. There followed an avalanche of terror lasting for months and sweeping out Stalin's opponents not only from the Party but altogether from existence. The Soviet delegation had to observe for a while some reserve in the League of Nations in view of the home record, which in spite of the utmost secrecy seeped out and prevented the Soviets, as yet, from seeking acclaim as the champions of freedom.

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