A Missed Destiny – Part 5 of 9

As the audacious as the Fascist conception of foreign policy was, it rested all the same on extremely fragile bases. German enthusiasm does not replace the tanks, heavy artillery, and bomber squadrons that it lacks. The ambition of Italy cannot compensate for the advancement in armaments and the superiority of France, reinforced by its colonial empire in Africa. Otherwise, even Fascist Italy is, in relation to France, a second order soldier. The appeal of England is not sure of anything: it would like to avoid war and it is not going to enter it on the side of Italy and Germany.

But even the strong sentiment of international Fascist solidarity held by Italy is suspect. In the extreme case, France could always offer it more than Germany. “The sacred selfishness” of Italy would not hesitate, if that was worth the effort, to let Fascist Germany fall for parliamentary and democratic France. Italy only requires and does nothing. It doesn’t even accept the idea of the reattachment of Austria to Germany and no longer wants to speak of the restitution of South Tyrol.

Instinctively, National Socialist Germany feels the precariousness of its system of foreign policy. For this reason, it wants to liberate itself, on the interior of its own borders, from all the elements that, in a state of emergency, could suddenly be used to cause internal weakening. It wants to prevent all the dangers that could threaten it internally. It wants to prevent them with so much circumspection that it doubts a defeat in foreign policy, due to the attitude of Italy, could be as fatal as the fraud of Locarno was to the Weimar regime.

The struggle against Weimar was the struggle against alienation by France. The social-democratic worker, supporter of the Weimar regime, was an ally of France. That gave the assault against social-democracy this mortifying spirit: it equally had a meaning for foreign policy. National Socialism, by combating the social-democratic worker, lead the war against an external enemy, France. It could conceive of itself as an army on the march, delivering itself into combat, obtaining its victories and celebrating its heroes who died for their cause. After the great decisive battle of March 5th, 1933, which was its “Tannenberg,” it put its prisoners of war in “concentration camps.” The disappearance of social-democracy was considered like a cleansing of the German soil, the French spies, vanguard, and auxiliary troops were eliminated. The successes that the “National Revolution” won against social-democracy were darkly felt as defeats of France. Thus we could justify the noisy celebrations of victories with their torchlight, their standards, and their music.

Because we had broken the strong position of France, we spoke of a “national uprising.” The social-democrats were expelled from all the posts where they were permitted to act, as functionaries of Versailles, against the German people. These posts, made vacant, were, with good reason, pocketed as “war booty” by their own men on which they could count. Pacifism was mercilessly proscribed as “high treason.” We no longer believed that it could be a moral and ethical principle. We say it is rather a somewhat doubtful tendency of placing the French claim to power above the German national right to existence. Pacifism abandoned its right to life because its defense would have required courage, resolution, and total engagement.

Fascist Germany, that wants to put itself in a condition to direct all its vital elements against France, cannot compare itself to social-democracy. If it would tolerate the latter, it would make a concession to France. Social-democracy hurt the cohesion of the Fascist bloc and weakened its striking force, directed against France.

But its dissolution was, in no case, a guarantee for the Fascist bloc. It could not give it the certitude that it would have with the height of France and its system of alliances. The success of the beginning does not in any way determine the definitive result of foreign policy: the dismantlement of social-democracy is far from being the omen of victory in the conflict that is announced between the Fascist bloc and France.

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