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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 8. May 31, 1939

In Vain?

In Vain?

"If war had broken out last September Czecho-Slovakia would have been annihilated." is the boast of German leaders, and the explanation by English politicians of their lamentable action which caused the dismemberment of Czecho-Slovakia. But would this have happened?

The two nations were separated by a [unclear: mcwulalu] barrier, pierced by several passes. Thus lightning invention was impossible, Behind these mountains lay the main line of Czech defense— the Maginot Line. The invincibility of these fortifications against direct attack was amply demonstrated in teats carried out after the German occupation. Moreover the rebellious Sudeten territory lay in front of the Maginot Line. Full mobilization would furnish 1,000,000 troops, a figure which could be quickly increased in time of war. In this connection the semi-militarized Sokol organizations would have proved invaluable. The country had a reserve of arms and military transport unrivaled in Europe. She was particularly strong in artillery and mechanized units. Official statistics placed her air strength at 1600 planes.

Is it possible that a nation with [unclear: hese] resources would have crumpled before the German onslaught? Could not Czecho-Slovakia resist until France had launched an offensive across the Rhine, which would have successfully diverted German attention, for the Seigfreld Line was far from completion. Moreover Russian and Rumanian support would have been forthcoming. Remember that in 1914 a small, "contemptible" nation stemmed the German advance and enabled the Allies to mobolise. Under leaders like Savory and Benes and imbued with the fierce nationalism which has been born out of centuries of oppression, the Czechs could have halted the Nazi wave, and to perish fighting would have been preferable to slavery.

But all is not lost for these brave people, for some day out of the anarchy and chaos that was Europe they will rise again a free virile nation. Long Live Czecho-Slovakia!