The French Yellow Book

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No. 180 :
M. DE SAINT-HARDOUIN, French Chargé d'Affaires in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 3, 1939.

IN the course of the last week a very definite change in the political atmosphere has been observed in Berlin. Whereas after the middle of July there appeared to be a certain détente, towards the end of the month there were signs of a fresh stiffening of attitude. The period of embarrassment, hesitation, inclination to temporization or even to appeasement which had been observable among the Nazi leaders, has been succeeded by a new phase: today the actions of the leaders of the Third Reich and the language of their Press reveal two dominating purposes:

To convince the German people that it is threatened, as in 1914, and that its very existence is imperiled.

To convince public opinion at home and abroad that the Third Reich is invincible and that neither threats nor any human power can arrest it in the pursuit of its vital interests.

Nothing is neglected which may give the German people such confidence in its own might as to allow it to await the future with calmness, to resist attacks of all kinds and to break through any obstacles which may impede its path.

I will try to show elsewhere how this propaganda is conducted. It is not without interest to ask oneself what motives have inspired it. It is probable that the rulers of the Reich are endeavouring to allay the fears which spread through the population when military preparations are, as at the present moment, greatly intensified.

On every side I am informed of what amounts to a recrudescence of the war psychosis which had manifested itself last September. The anxiety to allay the general alarm is particularly shown by the persistence of the efforts to convince the people that there is no danger of air-raids.

On the other hand, at a time when the German military preparations are being intensified and accelerated, when clashes between the Poles and the members of the German minority seem to multiply, when polemics regarding Danzig are being resumed, the Nazi leaders are doubtless anxious to impress foreign opinion with the conviction that Germany is now once again prepared to go to any lengths, if necessary, in order to obtain satisfaction and show that the Reich would not give way, even if faced by the coalition the crowning-piece of which would be a Franco-Anglo-Russian agreement.

At the same time the possibility must not be ignored that the leaders of the Third Reich may have wished to stimulate the somewhat failing enthusiasm of their people and to convince them that, their existence being threatened, they must defend themselves and that it is not so much a question of the Germans "dying for Danzig" as of their fighting for the life of the German people itself.

The military activity displayed by the Third Reich since June has all the time called for the greatest vigilance on our part. The tone now adopted by its Press must make us more vigilant still and as resolute as ever.


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