Germany Presents An Acute Case Of Conscience
L'Europe et la Question Allemande. By Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster. (Pion, 20 francs,) Reviewed by ROBERT SENCOURT
THERE is in the political world no case of conscience so acute as that which Germany presents. On the one hand, Christianity advises trust, forgiveness, generosity, conciliation, a constructive policy to
counteract the bitter memories of history and the fears which feed on them. On the other hand, Christianity, in its deepest instincts and in the voice of its central representative, sees in the party which rules Germany and torments Austria an enemy almost more dangerous than Bolshevism. That is the feeling of the German Bishops themselves: it is common even among German Liberals. They are terrified that National Socialism will lead them into a mad adventure which will break Germans', and they, Germans, thank God, in Germany's name, for the French army.
Are we then to suppose that Hitler has invented a party which threatens to destroy Germany? Professor Foerster shows that Hitler's ideas are none of them new. They are neither more nor less than the old Pan-German militarism which was responsible for the wars of Frederick the Great and for the three wars engineered by Bismarck; and, as Professor Foerster does not hesitate to say, for 1914.
Such an idea is to some extent justified. Prussia had to be militaristic to survive; without an army, Bismarck could not have made the Reich; without an army, Germany did not succeed in making her voice heard against the harsh repressions of Versailles. But the fact remains that, when led by Prussia, she has always been a menace, and she is one still. She believes in an army as a means of hegemony, of world control. In other words, she forces her pace on to her neighbours. No matter what concessions are given her, she asks for more. And is she offering us any kind of model government? The old inveterate tendency is personified by Hitler. Whenever he thinks it worth while. he breaks engagements and attacks. There is every reason to expect that he will do so always.
In these circumstances, he, as the incarnation of Germany, forces armaments upon Europe, and comes into open conflict with the Chereh. He makes people afraid to concede just claims because they are preceded and followed by unjust claims. Professor Herbert Smith would refuse all colonial claims because he is convinced that they are only the means of aggression; but if colonies cannot be ceded, there must be an end to the Munich agreement. But for the Christian the answer is clear. Just claims should be conceded for their justice: but the sanctity of law should be vindicated where the claims are unjust. The prospect for Europe is not pleasant.