(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The student in the post-Munich world,"

JOIN 

The Student Organization Whose Fighting Faith Is 

DEMOCRACY 

The American Student Union believes that: 

to keep democracy working, it muse be kept moving forward. 

This is the objective of 20,000 ASU'ers on 200 campuses and in. 
100 high schools. 

Aubrey Williams, Director of the National Youth Administration 

states : 

"The American Student Union has become in its few years of existence an. 
important channel for the expression of progressive student opinion. . . ." 



Max Lernjer, former Editor of The Nation, and professor at Williams 
College says: 

"My visit to the Summer Camp of the American Student Union has con- 
vinced me that it is capable of offering intellectual excitement to American 
youth, as well as evoking from them fresh social energies for the renewal 
of our democratic strength." 



THE AMERICAN STUDENT UNION 



112 East 19th Street, N. Y. G 



I apply for membership in the American Student Union and enclose 
$.50 ($.25 for high school students) as annual membership dues. 



Nam e ( please print ) 

College or School Class 

College Address Major 

Home Address -.- ■'■ 

City State 




b 
"IT." 7 



V7. 






Announcement 



FOURTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE 
AMERICAN STUDENT UNION 

Theme: 

Keep Democracy Working by Keeping it Moving Forward 

The University We Want to Study In 

The America We Want to Live In 

The World that Will Give Us Peace 

Place: New York City 

Dates: December 27-30, 1938 



Meet and mingle with a thousand other students whose fighting faith is de- 
mocracy. Hear an unusual group of speakers. Fashion policy that will make your 
campus a fortress of democracy. 

If your Club desires to send fraternal delegates or visitors write for further in- 
formation to the Convention Arrangements Committee, American Student Union, 
112 East 19th Street, N. Y. C. 



,181 



The Munich "Peace" Is Not the Peace 

the Peoples Wanted 

By JOSEPH P. LASH 

National Sectetary, American Student Union 

"They are ringing bells today, but they will be wringing 
their hands tomorrow." 



On September 30, alighting after his flight from Munich, 
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared: "I believe it is 
peace for our time.'' On October 6, closing the historic debate 
on the Pact in Parliament, the Prime Minister qualified his 
optimism: "I hope that the members will not be disposed to 
read into those words — used in moments of some emotion — 
more than they were intended to convey." 

"I believe it is peace for our time," and on October 9 at 
Saarbruecken in a truculent speech Adolf Hitler announced the 
strengthening and extension of his western fortifications. He 
told England to mind its own business and brazenly informed 
the English people that the election to power of a Duff Cooper, 
an Eden, or a Churchill would be construed as an unfriendly 
act. 

"I believe it is peace for our time," and, within a week addi- 
tional troops were pouring into a Palestine whose troubles were 
increasing because of Nazi encouragement. 

"I believe it is peace for our time," and October 10, Premier 
Stoyadinovich of Jugoslavia, in the moment when opposition 
parties favoring friendship with the democracies were suffering 
embarrassment from Munich, dissolved Parliament to get a 
popular mandate for more extensive, cooperation with Germany 
and Italy. 

"... peace for our time," and by October 10 it was clear that 
the price of forestalling further military occupation of martyred 
Czechoslovakia included giving access to German armies for 
war in eastern Europe. 

[3] 



i 



"... peace for our time," and within the month Japan took 
Mr. Chamberlain's pacifism at face value and marched into 
Canton. British trade and investment not only in the Yangtse 
area but in southeastern China will now continue only upon 
Japanese sufferance. 

"... peace for our time," and by the weekend of October 15 
every nation had announced vastly increased armaments ex- 
penditures. Germany hinted at permanent air superiority, 
English statesmen spoke of conscription, and Maginot lines 
were being planned for every frontier. 

"I believe it is peace for our time," and irony of ironies within 
the week the moving finger of aggression began to point to 
British colonies. 

"I believe it is peace for our time," and Mr. Chamberlain 
prepared to impose his kind of "peace" upon Republican Spain 
by blockade and starvation. 

If the Versailles Pact helped conjure up Hitler and the night- 
marish era through which we are living, what demons of fury, 
strife and dictatorship have not been released by the Munich 
Pact which marks English and French reconciliation not only 
to the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, but to the seizure of 
Austria, of Ethiopia and every aggression undertaken by 
fascism in the last decade? Yet those who loudly condoned 
Hitler because of the injustices of Versailles become strangely 
complacent before the Munich "peace." 

The Munich Pact marked no settlement of reason, of justice, 
of mercy. No basis was laid for international amity and well- 
being. Trade has not commenced to flow more freely, only the 
blood of German democrats and Jews in the Sudetenland. Mu- 
nitions factories are not being dismantled. The post-Munich 
world is not a world of reconciliation and Christian brother- 
hood. Instead the struggle only now begins for the Roumanian 
oil fields. Instead the struggle only now begins to reduce the 
Balkans to German vassals. And are there not many other Ger- 
man minorities to be used, when Hitler is ready, as the Trojan 
horses of aggression — Eupen-Malmedy, Schleswig-Holstein, 

[4] 



Alsace-Lorraine, Luxembourg, German Switzerland, German 
Tyrol, Poland? The Greater Germany that is Nazi gospel still 
has not been achieved. Nor has Mussolini abandoned his dream 
of a new Roman Empire with the Mediterranean as an Italian 

lake. 

Or the Munich Pact may become, as its sponsors hope, a re- 
vival of the Holy Alliance to snuff out democracy in Europe, 
starting with Spain, to police the continent against its revival, 
and ultimately to launch an attack upon the U.S.S.R. The 
Munich Pact may be any of these things but it is not peace nor 
the hope of peace for the peoples of the world. 

Did Munich Save Peace? 

Was the Munich Pact necessary then, if only to gain respite 
from war? In every instance of aggression from Japan's seizure 
of Manchuria, through Italian invasion of Ethiopia, fascist 
intervention in Spain, Nazi seizure of Austria, and now the dis- 
memberment of Czechoslovakia, the abettors of aggression 
within the democracies have prevented resistance with the cry, 
"resistance means war." And they have promised us that con- 
cession and appeasement would bring peace. And in every 
instance international tension instead has increased, the aggres- 
sors have been strengthened and emboldened, and each suc- 
cessive incident has proven merely a prelude to further ulti- 
matums. 

Would Hitler have gone to war over Czechoslovakia ? In an 
astute analysis of the British White Paper, Walter Lippmann 
has pointed out: 

"The disclosure of the fact that Lord Runciman accepted annexa- 
tion before Hitler demanded it is the crucial fact in the whole 
situation. That was why, without tisking a general European war, 
Hitler could demand annexation and back up his demand with a 
threat of invasion. . . . Hitler could threaten war safely because he 
could always retreat to a position which gives him peaceably more 
than he started to ask and all that he ultimately wanted. And 

[5] 



(g) 



by threatening war, and frightening the people of the world out 
of their wits, Hitler made it psychologically possible for Mr. 
Chamberlain and M. Daladier to surrender what they never could 
have surrendered in cold blood. By threatening a war that he knew 
he would not have to fight, Hitler made the peaceable surrender of 
Chechoslovakia seem to the peoples of the world like the triumph 
of the diplomacy of peace." 

Secure in his knowledge that Tory concern was chiefly with 
how to put over the betrayal of Czechoslovakia, Hitler could 
scjuash any moderating elements among the German ruling 
group. That there were such was made clear by Hitler himself 
in his Saarbruecken speech when he declared that "Among us, 
too, there were weak characters," weak characters, we may con- 
strue as those who were opposed to adventurism. All news- 
paper correspondents commented upon the lack of enthusiasm 
in the German public for the war that seemed to them in the 
offing. And from Italy the Herald-Tribune correspondent re- 
ported: 

"For one of the most striking features of that black week was 
the tremendous longing of all sections of the Italian public for a 
peaceful solution. Coupled with that was their freely expressed 
antipathy to the German alliance reinforced often by an intense 
hatred of Chancellor Adolf Hitler, whom they regard as willing 
to risk a world war rather than abate his expansionist aims." 

Hitler would have backed down before the united resistance 
of the western democracies, the Soviet Union, and the con- 
demnation of the civilized world. Both peace and Czecho- 
slovakia could have been saved. And not only did the Munich 
Pact betray peace and Czechoslovakia, but it gave back Germany 
to Hitler and Italy to Mussolini. This was summed up by 
Winston Churchill in his broadcast of October 16th: 

"I hold to the opinion, expressed some months ago, that if, 
in April, May or June, Great Britain, France and Russia had 
jointly declared that they would act together upon Nazi Germany 
if Herr Hitler committed an act of unprovoked aggression against 

[6] 



this small State, and if they had told Poland, Yugoslavia and 
Rumania what they meant to do in good time and had invited 
them to join the combination of peace-defending powers — in 
that case 1 hold that the German dictator would have been con- 
fronted with such a formidable array that he would have been 
deterred from his purpose. 

This also would have been an opportunity for all peace-loving 
and moderate forces in Germany, together with the heads of the 
German Army, to make a great effort to re-establish something 
like sane and civili2ed conditions in their own country." 



Why Did the Tories Sell Out? 

Deals with dictators, prejudicing the stability of peace and 
democracy, represent no new policy upon the part of British 
and French reaction. In 1935 the Hoare-Laval plan was nego- 
tiated with Ethiopia as the sacrifice. When popular pressure 
prevented its execution, the English Tory government sabo- 
taged the vital oil sanction rather than see Mussolini defeated. 
Mussolini's defeat by a semi-colonial nation would have been 
an example to the millions of black people in the English em- 
pire. Moreover it would have spelt the end of Mussolini, whom 
the English Tories have always regarded as a vital ramp against 
socialism. 

Italian invasion of Spain in 1936 again confronted English 
and French reaction with a conflict between the interests of 
their nations, which would be impaired by Italian domination 
of Spain, and the interests of their class. Italian spokesmen 
have openly declared their intervention in Spain to be part of 
their drive to convert the Mediterranean into an Italian lake: 
"It is time to understand that the Spanish campaign is an ex- 
tension of the Ethiopian campaign." (General Berlotti, FeK, 
1938) The victory of Franco would give France a third border 
to defend in addition to imperiling her communications with 
Africa. Nevertheless, British Toryism and French reaction have 
connived through non-intervention to assure the victory of 

(7} 



Franco. In this way they hope to forestall the enlargement of 
democracy that a victory of Republican Spain would entail, 
and the encouragement such a victory would give to the popular 
forces throughout the world. 

The same issues have been involved in the dismemberment of 
Czechoslovakia. The New York Post's Washington cor- 
respondent reported on September 23rd: 

"The President shares the opinion of liberal observers generally 
that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain has been motivated, 
consciously or unconsciously, by class loyalty as much or more 
than by concern for the welfare of all the English people." 

In the debates in France following the Munich betrayal, an 
uproar was caused by the revelation of a telegram from Hitler 
to Flandin, former Premier and leader of the appeasement 
forces in France during the crisis. In this telegram Hitler 
thanked Flandin for his efforts toward "complete collabora- 
tion between France and Germany." Rather than see fascism 
weakened, Chamberlain, Flandin and their allies sacrificed a 
country which typified liberal, capitalist democracy. Coopera- 
tion with Hitler in aggression was more to their taste than 
cooperation with the USSR in defense of international law and 
morality. 

Did Collective Security Fail? 

The Munich Pact represents a future plot as well as a past 
betrayal. It portends a plot against the people of Spain and 
against the people of China upon whom it is desired to impose 
a Munich "peace." Like the Holy Alliance of Metternich's 
time, it is a plan against western democracy. But to achieve this 
is it necessary to sow defeatism and confusion among the 
peoples of the world? This campaign of defeatism involves 
convincing the peoples of the world that collective struggle 
for peace and democracy was an illusory and self-defeating 
ideal. 

[8} 



I 



I 



In his speech defending the Munich pact before Parliament, 
Chamberlain makes the point: 

"If we are going to war, broadly a war of democracies against 
totalitarian states, not only must we arm ourselves to the teeth, 
but clearly we must make military alliance with any other power 
whom we can get to work with us. . . . That is what some honor- 
able members call collective security. ... It appears to me to 
contain all the things the party opposite used to denounce in 
entangling alliance and balance-of -power pacts." 

Mind you, not the Munich Pact nor the betrayal of Spain 
represent power politics, but the collective system to defend 
peace! Chamberlain, who does not bother to consult Parliament 
until after the deed, who negotiates secretly with Hitler and 
Mussolini, protests against "power politics" and entangling 
alliances ! It is not concern for open and frank diplomacy, how- 
ever, that animates Mr. Chamberlain, but a desire to sow utter 
despair and confusion among the people. Only in that way 
can the full implications of the Munich Pact be brought to 
fruition. 

Shall the people who cherish peace and their democratic 
rights succumb to the counsels of despair given us by rhe be- 
trayers of peace? Has the struggle to stop the fascist drive to- 
ward war through collective security been demonstrated as 
illusory? Has collective security failed? We must first say 
that the turn events took at Munich must constitute a profound 
mystery to those who declared that collective security was the 
new shibboleth of the reactionaries to mobilize the masses of 
people in defense of imperialism. For Munich showed that 
reaction feared the application of collective security and was 
prepared to go to any length to prevent the mobilization of an 
international anti-fascist front. Reaction managed to prevent 
a collective stand against Hitler. But no more than the defeat 
of a social security measure in Congress proves that measure 
invalid, has collective security been proven invalid. 

When progressives are defeated in Congress in their struggle 

[9] 



for a wages and hours bill, they begin again to build a more 
extensive and firmer unity among the people. They work for a 
Congress more responsive to the needs of the people. They do 
not declare that the objective of a wages and hours bill has 
been proven invalid. 

We must say the same today about the struggle to establish a 
collective peace system. The end has not been proven undesir- 
able. If anything the collective defense of peace and democracy 
today is more imperative than ever before. The victories of 
fascism have so strengthened it that only the most imposing 
array of united power can halt further aggression. In France, 
England and the United States, larger sections of the popula- 
tion than ever before have been awakened to the true nature of 
fascism and the peril that hovers over the whole world because 
of the Munich betrayal. More widely than ever before it is 
realized that the condition for the successful struggle to save 
peace is the overthrow of the 5th column Tory elements within 
the democracies who betray their countries and peace at every 
turn. 

The Munich Pact dictates the character of the renewed move- 
ment to halt the fascist drive toward world domination. The 
masses of people must unite to take control of foreign policy 
out of the hands of the Chamberlains and Daladiers. Only in 
that way can we rally the forces of democracy against the 
Munich Holy Alliance and save western civilization from a 
winter of reaction and wars. 

The Role of the U. S. 

In this struggle the people of the United States and, through 
them, the government must play a decisive role. Could one talk 
of American isolation in the recent crisis when 120 million 
Americans had their ears glued to loud speakers during the 
entire course of the crisis ? The wide acclaim that greeted Presi- 
dent Roosevelt's intervention indicates how unanimously the 
people of the U. S. realized that the outbreak of a war in 

[10] 



I 



Europe would not make it easier to keep America out of war. As 
events sped rapidly to a climax, millions of Americans began 
to ask themselves why American foreign policy had not previ- 
ously been brought into play to halt aggression and the break- 
down of international law. "A stitch in time saves nine," de- 
clared the common people, who now realized that had Ameri- 
can foreign policy been a force for peace yesterday, America 
would not be in such great peril of war today. 

The Gallup poll reports that 60 per cent of the American 
people believe that the Munich Pact will result in a greater 
possibility of war. 78 per cent of them are opposed to further 
concessions to Germany, such as colonies. Throughout America, 
as a result of the Munich betrayal, there is a deep sense of 
anxiety and a deep hatred for fascism which has been height- 
ened by Nazi outrages against Catholics. The reign of interna- 
tional lawlessness inaugurated by the Munich betrayal already 
is vitally affecting the U. S. in the plans for an unprecedented 
outlay for armaments. 

The answer to fascist aggression and fascist threat to peace 
must be given by our foreign policy. The latter is our first line 
.of defense. Only when foreign policy fails to defend peace and 
international law must a nation fall back on armaments. And it 
is an indictment of our whole past foreign policy of isolation 
that today the United States considers it necessary to jack its 
armaments up to the sky. 

Our isolationist "friends, the sum and substance of whose 
program has been fighting for disarmament and echoing Cham- 
berlain's slogan that collective security is "power politics" now 
judge the present circumstances as propitious for a renewed 
struggle for disarmament. Yet their very policy of opposing 
international action to stop aggression has helped bring about 
the present frenzied armaments race. Those who were respon- 
sible for Munich by preventing cooperative action of the democ- 
racies to stop aggression are likewise responsible for the present 
armaments race. 



In a world that has been imperilled by fascist aggression, our 
first line of defense must be a foreign policy which makes a 
distinction between aggressor and victim, a foreign policy that 
is the ally of the popular forces throughout the world that are 
struggling for peace and democracy. As the popular revolt 
against Munich acquires momentum in England and France, it 
will be strengthened if there is a parallel movement among the 
American people to align American foreign policy with that of 
the international forces for peace and democracy. 

That must be the aim of the American people. Specifically 
this means that the American people demand that the forth- 
coming session of Congress modify the neutrality laws so that 
they will distinguish between victim and aggressor, denying our 
resources to the latter and aiding the former. 



No Munich "Peace" for Spain 

More immediate and more urgent is the need to defeat the 
moves of the "betrayal axis" to impose a Munich "peace" on 
Spain. The withdrawal of 10,000 Italian troops from Spain, is 
camouflage designed to aid Chamberlain and Daladier in an- 
other sell out, since over 50,000 Italians remain. The with- 
drawal of the Italian troops is a prelude to a Chamberlain 
move to grant Franco belligerent rights so that with the aid 
of Italian warships he can blockade Loyalist ports. The with- 
drawal of Italian troops is a prelude to closing down the French 
frontier to shipments of food and clothing. 

The morale in Franco's territory has sunk so low that unless 
the "betrayal axis" can put through another "peace" maneuver, 
the fascists will be defeated. And the defeat of Franco would 
spell the defeat of Munich. The American people can prevent 
this betrayal of Spain by compelling the Administration to lift the 
embargo. This is to the interests of the United States, for one 
of the consequences of Munich will be increased fascist pene- 
tration in Latin America. The channel of dispersion will be 

(12] 



1 



Franco, since Latin America is bound by many racial, cultural 
and economic ties to Spain. Those who are concerned with 
keeping the western hemisphere free from aggression and 
fascist turmoil must help defeat a new betrayal of the Spanish 
people. The victory of Loyalist Spain will be worth more in 
keeping fascism and Nazism out of North and South America 
than a score of monster battleships. There are people in the 
State Department who want the United States to go along with 
the "betrayal axis" in its sinister move against Spain. The people 
of the United States who cherish democratic institutions must 
defeat them. 

First on the agenda of every person of goodwill who wishes 
to repair the damage of Munich is: NO MUNICH "PEACE" 
FOR SPAIN. 

The United States must cease being the ally of Japanese ag- 
gression, as it is today by supplying 54 per cent of Japan's war 
materials. American foreign policy must be directed toward ob- 
taining a quarantine of Japan. In light of the events around 
Changkufeng, which demonstrated that Japan was having 
enough trouble with China without taking on another opponent, 
it is absurd to say that embargoing Japan would have any other 
effect than shortening the war in the Orient. 

Coupled with this demand for governmental action, the 
people must rally more widely than ever before to provide 
humanitarian aid to Spain. Students of America must give the 
fullest cooperation to the International Student Competition 
for Aid to Spain. They must give the fullest support to the Far 
Eastern Student Service Fund. 

Italy, Germany and Japan are plotting in Central and South 
America, hoping to convert the Latin American countries into 
fascist bases to be used as a rearguard threat to the democracies. 
The United States must extend and strengthen its Good Neigh- 
bor policy, but it must become a Good Neighbor of the peoples 
of Latin America not the bulwark of the reactionary and fascist- 
minded dictators who dominate in many areas. 

[13] 



Peace must and can only be organized internationally. As 
Secretary Hull declared on August 16th: 

"Each day's developments make more and more clear the fact 
that our own situation is profoundly affected by what happens 
elsewhere in the world. 

"Whatever may be our own wishes we cannot, when thete is 
trouble elsewhere, expect to remain unaffected. When destruc- 
tion, impoverishment and starvation afflict other areas, we cannot, 
no matter how hard we try, escape impairment of our own eco- 
nomic well-being, 

"When freedom is destroyed over increasing areas elsewhere 
our ideals of individual liberty, our most cherished political and 
social institutions are jeopardized ... the longer this drift con- 
tinues the greater becomes the danger that the whole world may 
be sucked into a maelstrom of unregulated and savage economic, 
political and military competition and conflict." 

Recognizing the indivisibility of peace, Secretary Hull called 
for adherence to the basic principles of international law, eco- 
nomic reconstruction, limitation and progressive reduction of 
armaments, respect for treaties, abstention from the use of force 
in pursuit of national policies, abstention from interference in 
the internal affairs of other nations, and international coopera- 
tion to implement this program. 

Had the United States followed such a program in the crisis 
over Czechoslovakia, peace and Czechoslovakia could have both 
been saved. Had the United States lived up to this program," 
we might have been spared the present armaments race. 

Were the United States to follow such a program at the 
present moment we would be aiding Czechoslovakia solve the 
problem of refugees. 

Were the United States to follow such a program, we would 
lift the embargo on Spain, which violates long standing treaties 
with that country. 

£14} 



* 

4 



Were the United States to follow such a program, we would 
embargo Japan, which has violated treaties, laws and the in- 
tegrity of China and whose moves prejudice the future possi- 
bilities of peace in the Pacific. 

Had American foreign policy been actively consistent with 
these principles, there could have been no Munich betrayal. 
Unless the student who inhabits the post-Munich world rallies 
his government to the active prosecution of these principles in 
the future, the Munich betrayal will not have been the last. 



"In the name of my Government and the people of Spain, I want to express 
to you my most profound gratitude for the constant, enthusiastic, and efficient 
labor done by the American Student Union to help those who fight in Spain with 
heroism, in order to defend the ideals of liberty and justice." 

Fernando de ios Rios 

Spanish Ambassador 
October 1, 1938 



"Because of the pressure of work I was not able to express to you earlier our 
sincere thanks for the effective work which the American Student Union has 
undertaken on behalf of the Czechoslovak cause in making known the truth 
among its members." 

Julius Brabec 

Consul General 
October 4, 1938 



[15]