The Anglo-French Alliance

Courtesy Reuters

THE Anglo-French Alliance is as complete an alliance as one can imagine. It has virtually no parallel in history, and only the coöperation between Germany and Austria-Hungary from 1879 to 1918 admits of comparison. But the Austria-Hungary which in the years following Sadowa gradually associated its destiny with that of Germany, was no longer a free country. The two ethnic majorities -- the Germans and the Hungarians -- dominating the Dual Monarchy were frequently more obedient to instructions from Berlin than from Vienna. Austria in particular was a hothouse for Pan Germanism and for the emotional ideas that went to make up "Mein Kampf." The Austro-German Alliance of 1879 -- which should never be confused with the Triple Alliance of 1882 between Germany, Austria and Italy -- was really a form of annexation on the part of the Hohenzollern Empire. The Anglo-French Alliance, in contrast, joins two peoples and two governments whose sovereignties remain equal, both in theory and in fact -- though of course the German propaganda bureau announces daily that France is being run by the British Cabinet and that Britain will fight on the Continent to the last Frenchman.

This Alliance, which has been growing empirically since 1936, was completed only after the outbreak of war on September 3, 1939. It is not the result of a long-deliberated plan of which all the details were worked out in anticipation of the deepening European crisis of the last few years. It took shape only gradually as an inevitable response to the intensification of that crisis. Neither nation has anything to be proud of in this trial-and-error method. If France and Britain had really presented a unified front back in 1935, the history of Europe would have taken a far different turn, and we would not today be fighting a Hitlerian empire covering Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries. There would be no such thing as a Russia occupying the eastern half of Poland and dominating the Baltic States and Finland. Nor would Italy, who

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