THE World War was won by the soldiers of democracy, over an autocracy in quest of world hegemony, led by an over-ambitious Emperor. The Peace was lost by democracy's postwar statesmen, for twenty years united in an attitude of defeatism, to that same autocracy in quest of the same world hegemony, this time led by an obscure World War corporal. The defeatism of those statesmen permitted Hitler's Germany to rearm, increase her territory and population, and create a militarized nationalism openly organized for wars of conquest.
Misled by the nationalist and racial slogans of Hitlerism and Fascism, many democratic statesmen long believed that the essential conflict was between German and Italian nationalism on the one side and Communism on the other. Only recently have they realized that the basic social principles of Fascism and National Socialism closely resemble those of Communism, the unimportant difference being that the revolutionary internationalism of Communism is replaced by racism, nationalism and imperial expansion. Fundamentally, Fascist dictatorship fights Communism as a competitor, but its chief aim is the destruction of democracy, for that is its deadly enemy. Any war which Hitler and Mussolini may undertake, whether for European or for colonial expansion, will be primarily an ideological war between the principles of state totalitarianism and the principles of democracy.
The defeatism of democratic statesmen in recent years grew out of their overestimation of Germany's fighting power and perfection of organization. They overlooked the chinks in Hitler's polished armor. The German unity achieved by Hitler is indeed formidable and imposing, but it is much less complete than he has made it appear.
It was comparatively easy to unite Germany, still smarting from defeat, on the task of throwing off the yoke of a humiliating treaty. It was comparatively easy to consolidate this unity by such tangible achievements as the reintroduction of conscription, the return of the Saar, the reoccupation and fortification of the Rhineland, the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland, all without a war. It was
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