THE troubles of the war-shattered world are like a tangled skein. The threads have to be straightened out; but this cannot be done by pulling at the end of one thread after another. The skein is full of knots, and the main knot is Germany.
The fact cannot be dismissed as a French obsession. Only yesterday the breeding place of war, today a fathomless gulf, Germany is in truth the world's Number One problem. For the French to point this out does not mean that they are just taking an emotional stand against "the hereditary enemy." The French thesis is based neither on thirst for conquest nor desire for reprisals. Evidence of this can be seen in the rejection of the policy of annexation by the Provisional Government of the Republic. Perhaps it will be permissible here for the President of the National Council of Resistance to recall that during the battle for the liberation of Paris he went to the city hospital to salute the wounded Germans, because they too were among the fallen and because France cares deeply for justice and does not confuse it with vengeance.
From the French point of view, the German question is first of all a problem of security. In this connection, no one in the world will deny that geographically and politically France constitutes a nerve center, and that when it is struck the most serious and far-reaching repercussions invariably follow. Even before two world conflagrations had demonstrated the truth of this dictum, a great American statesman, Theodore Roosevelt, said in 1905, apropos of the Morocco crisis: "If the German armies had overrun France, we in America would not have kept quiet."
Within the arc of indivisible security there admittedly are lines which must be watched with particular care. It must also be admitted that the countries situated along such lines have had the opportunity to develop definite ideas about the necessary guarantees of security. Therefore, when France declares that her security and by
Loading, please wait...