Skip to main content

Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

See other formats

At the City of Birmingham Centenary Banquet on 14th July;
Mr. Chamberlain spoke of the difficulty of applying in practice
those principles of international law and order, reason and good
faith in -which all Britons believed. " It is much easier to formu-
late maxims of this kind than it is to apply them in practice $ and
those who endeavour to steer by these general but deep-seated prin-
ciples must expect to suffer many disappointments and set-backs^
to have their motives misrepresented and their sincerity doubted"
Throughout the -whole of the troubled summer of 1938 that was
the Prime Minister s lot. He was confronted with three major
crises—the Japanese invasion of China^ the long drawn-out
Civil War in Spain and the ideological passions to which it
gave rise in this and other countries, and the problem of the
Sudeten-German minority in Chechoslovakia, The last was
threatening to become the most serious of W/5 for the Germans
with their new-found strength and their ideal of racial nationalism
were showing signs that they were prepared to wait no longer for
the ending of a wrong which had continued unrightedfor twenty
years, while the French were committed by their policy of military
alliances to go to the assistance of Chechoslovakia if that country
were attacked ly Germany. Moreover^ though the British
Government had persistently refused to commit itself in advance
to unconditional intervention in support of Chechoslovakia^
Britain's obligation to assist France if attacked was very likely
to involve her in such hostilities. The Prime Minister and his
colleagues were, therefore^ making every effort to find a peaceful
solution of the impasse between the C^ech Government and the
Sudeten-Germans^ which should secure the just rights of the three
and a half million Germans included by the Treaty of Versailles
in the composite Czechoslovak State, without the use of force ly
any of the parties concerned. In this search for a settlement
by negotiation, Mr. Chamberlain -was persistently vilified by
r the leaders of the Opposition, whoy regardless of the fact that