NEARLY a century ago, in a prophetic article, Karl Marx characterized the line from Stettin to Trieste as the frontier of Tsarist imperialist ambitions. Today, the armies of Soviet imperialism have advanced to that line. This fact dominates all European politics and, consequently, world politics, in so far as any revolutionary development in Europe will necessarily compromise world peace. It therefore dominates the foreign policy of France, which is first and foremost a European Power, astride the end of the Continent between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, but also a World Power with territories and interests all over the globe.
General de Gaulle in July 1947, at Rennes, sought to put the French people on their guard. He described in forceful terms the alarming extension of Russian power over Europe: "Two thirds of the Continent are now under the thumb of Moscow," he declared. "Soviet Russia has already established, or is actively seeking to establish over certain Allied countries -- Poland, Jugoslavia, Albania -- and over certain conquered countries -- Prussia, Saxony, Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria -- a totalitarian dictatorship that is only an appendage or a reflection of her own. . . . She holds Czechoslovakia and Finland in her power, and her hand is heavy upon Austria. Moreover, she has directly annexed the Baltic States, as well as considerable territories carved out of Prussia, Finland, Rumania and Poland. . . . This bloc of nearly 400 million people now borders upon Sweden, Turkey, Greece and Italy. Its frontier is only 500 kilometers, distance from our own! We, who have never trifled with the freedom of men and the independence of France as if they were stakes in a game, declare that this state of affairs may soon place both these cherished ideals in peril."
It must be noted that General de Gaulle's denunciation of the Soviet danger does not spring from any initial hostility toward Russia. During the war, the French National Committee, of which I was a member, never had any illusions as to the character of
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