Lawrence Journal-World/February 18, 1938
Nazi Leader Is Expected to Reach for Czechoslovakia Next
When Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was a small lad he used to play continually at soldiers with his mates, and always he was captain, with a fearsome wooden sword.
When the Austrian boy wasn’t making victorious war, he was reading history and dreaming a wonderful dream. He envisaged a new union of all German peoples under the leadership of one iron-willed race, like the Prussians.
There was a race for you! Young Adolf admired the stiff-necked, closed-cropped, bemonocled Prussians.
Thru all the following years, even during the world war which wrought such havoc with the Germanic strength and solidarity, Hitler’s vision remained bright. It undoubtedly is the impelling force back of the dictator now as he reaches first for Austria and (unless his schemes go astray) next for Czechoslovakia.
It can scarcely be coincidence that the Austrian coup comes right on top of Hitler’s trouble at home with his army command. Had it not been for this difficulty with the Reichswehr officers, Der Fuehrer wouldn’t have struck at Austria so soon.
A dictator must keep himself forever in the limelight, and distract his people’s attention from embarrassing situations—arguments with the army, for example. Hitler is a genius at timing.
Thus far he would seem to have encountered few obstacles as he has paved the way for union with this second greatest German state—a really amazing achievement. The treaty of Versailles expressly forbade such a union: less than four years ago Mussolini threatened him with war if he tampered with Austrian independence. France, Britain and Italy got together at Stresa in 1934 and affirmed their backing for Austria’s sovereignty.
Thus the dictator has scrapped another section of the Versailles treaty, and the confederation of Germanic peoples is on its way. Another slice of the war treaties will go when Hitler reaches for the baby republic of Czechoslovakia, sole remaining democratic state in eastern Europe.
France is bound to Czechoslovakia by alliance, but neither Paris nor London has shown disposition to turn on the heat in this situation. “Peaceful penetration” presumably will be the slogan of the Nazis, which will mean that the transaction will be achieved from within Czechoslovakia.
Czechoslovakia is rather unhappily composed of bits torn from other countries at the end of the war. These include Bohemia, once mistress of that part of the world, which was sliced off Austria.
Hitler wants Czechoslovakia for several reasons: about 25 percent of its population of 15,000,000 is German, mainly living in Bohemia. Bohemia is rich in industries, including the world famous Skoda munitions works. The republic is a possible gateway for German armies to reach the Russian Ukraine, which the fatherland covets for its rich wheat fields.
There is cold-blooded gossip in Europe that Czechoslovakia might be partitioned among Germany, Poland and Hungary. Germany naturally would take Bohemia. Both Hungarians and Poles are included in the mixed races of the country, and these presumably would be returned to their motherlands.
Other smaller Germanic territories remain for Hitler’s attention. The free port of Danzig on the Baltic already has been attended to. That was taken from Germany at the end of the war, but Hitler has completely Nazified it by working thru the local adherents. It is easy to believe that in due course he will take Danzig back.
Then there is Memel, another important Baltic port, which was taken from Germany along with 945 square miles of territory and given to Lithuania. The Germans say they will have this back.
Another rather troublesome situation has existed in the Trentino, Austrian territory which was ceded to Italy by the war treaty of St. Germain. The Germans in this mountain country, backed by Austria, have protested vigorously and often against efforts to Italianize them.
One wonders whether such Germanic populations as those of Alsace and Luxembourg would enter into Hitler’s scheme for confederation. Nothing has been said about them recently.
(Source: Google News, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2199&dat=19380218&id=bGZeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=F2ENAAAAIBAJ&pg=1096,6046889)