Wikimedia Commons Leningraders on Nevsky Prospect during the siege, 1942.

The War for Eastern Europe

THE Nazi assault on Bolshevik Russia ends one nightmare and begins another. The sinister prospect of a coalition between the two wings of world revolution, which haunted the minds of western statesmen for five years, has now been dissolved by Hitler's panzer divisions. In its stead rises another frightening prospect -- the possibility that Germany will control the resources and labor power in the vast territory stretching from Bohemia to the Himalayas and the Persian Gulf, and that she will use it as a base from which to gain domination of all Asia.

The key to an understanding of the present titantic struggle must be sought in the forces of history which have perpetuated a disequilibrium in the No Man's Land of Eastern Europe, where for centuries Teuton and Slav have contended, where the Catholic and Orthodox churches have proselytized at each other's expense, and where the Western and Eastern influences in European history have remained locked in stalemate. In the transition from the mediæval period to the modern, the breakdown of the unity of western Christendom and the emergence of the nation-state system roughly coincided in time with the elimination of the strong buffer states which had stood between the Germanic and the Russian centers of power. The result was perpetual instability. Any new solution for this tragic area must be considered in the light of its rôle in history. It is the thesis of this article that the solution of the problem of Eastern Europe is one of the prerequisites to the establishment of a lasting world peace.


Eastern Europe attained its maximum usefulness as a buffer between Teuton and Slav during the first half of the seventeenth century, when Muscovy was going through the Time of Troubles. The Ukraine then enjoyed the freedom of Cossack self-government under Polish hegemony, and Germany was the scene of the Thirty Years War. The buffer states (the Swedish-Baltic Empire, Poland and the Ottoman Empire) reached the

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