The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 3 (July 1, 1932)
Pre-Lausanne Moves—Paradoxical Hindenburg Raises Von Papen—Duce Applauds MacDonald—Race Between Conferences and Crisis—Hoover Nominated.
“The Reich Administration is controlled by men of the Right for the first time since the German Revolution,” said the cablegrams of 2nd June. When Dr. Bruening tendered his resignation of the Chancellorship to President Hindenburg (whose only response is said to have been that he expected it), the world was in for a double surprise, for not only did a tried man go down, but one who seems to be utterly untried went up. The President's selection was Dr. Von Papen, the German military attache at Washington in 1914, a plotter who (says the “Daily Telegraph”) “continually violated United States neutrality.” But much water has flowed since then. Hindenburg, says one critic, was made President by the monarchists and consolidated the Republic. He was then made President by the Republicans, and now—the Right is in power!
Following Von Papen's elevation, various sections of the German Republican Press hailed it as a challenge to the Republic, and one talked of civil war. Some said that Von Papen's Chancellorship was all arranged between the ancient and paradoxical President, and the volcanic Dr. Hitler—but others of the Left were not so sure of that. However, they hated this Right Administration because it came in with declarations of anti-inflation and of insurance cuts; and a Right refusal to continue to pay insurance benefits on the current scale would not be compensated for even by a refusal at Lausanne to pay reparations. Besides, up to the time of writing, Von Papen has not repeated Dr. Bruening's statements about non-payment of reparations. While he seems to be firm for cuts at home, his foreign policy has yet to be disclosed. There may be new cards to play.
Will Herriot Relent?
What has been happening in Berlin is of course not only interesting because of the historical romance that invests the old Germany of the Hohenzollerns and the Germany of Hindenburg, but because the changes in Germany on the eve of the Lausanne Conference are very important to the world. While France, by process of general election, passed from Tardieu to Herriot, Germany passed to a new Government which seems to be ruling without the Reichstag, and by virtue of the grace of Hindenburg and, page 10 perhaps, Hitler. What the Germans will say at Lausanne is now not clear, but M. Herriot states he will not allow reparations to be contested. Herriot is said to be forming a Radical Cabinet without support of the Socialists, who say, however, that they will not be actively hostile at this crisis of foreign policy. And so the two old enemies, Germany and France, proceed to their new game of chess at Lausanne.
A Grand Old Enigma.
Although, in order to explain the issues, the cabled views of German Republican papers have been given above, there is yet no proof that the President has deserted the Republic. If for the moment he deserts the Reichstag, it may be that he is minded solely or mainly to secure by semi-absolutism a foreign policy that he cannot secure from a divided Reichstag or from party groups. The fact that Hindenburg, in his war book, denounced the enforced abdication of “my All Highest,” and the fact that he has swung from monarchism to republicanism and from Left to Right, does not prove a somersault back to Hohenzollernism; it may simply mean that he will use any weapon—from Streseman to Hitler—to safeguard his main concern, German unity. That unity is said to be the old man's sacred charge. Even Wagnerian opera can hardly point to a more fateful figure.
Galvanising a Conference.
Of the Lausanne Conference itself, just opened, it is premature to speak. But obviously it has opened in a much bolder spirit than seemed to be likely even a week ago. The British Prime Minister, with renewed dynamic force, seems to be determined to get something done with regard to disarmament as well as debts, and the Italian Duce has sent him an inspiring telegram. Lausanne is the debts centre (where the Americans will not come) and Geneva is the disarmament centre; Mr. Ramsay MacDonald in mid-June was busy in both and it was reported that, in a trans-Atlantic telephone message to his missioner at Geneva, President Hoover stipulated disarmament as a preliminary to American discussion of debts. If Mr. MacDonald's spade-work succeeds America may participate later in a big stabilisation conference. But the Ottawa Imperial Conference will precede that. With British Empire preference in the air, the lower tariff movement in Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Scandinavia, also Argentina's attitude, are significant.
Swept the Convention.
After all that was said about Mr. Hoover's being a good President but a bad politician, he seems to have tamed the Republican National Convention in a way which that Convention was never tamed before. All the inconvenient demands were compromised or side-tracked, and the President raced away with the nomination on the first ballot. If he can manage the election campaign as he manages the party managers, he should win his second term, and after another four years of worrying over inflationary and deflationary issues he may emerge with the reputation of a good politician but a bad President. For the President who can balance a depression Budget and yet maintain intact “America's high standards of living” has probably not yet been made, either by the elector or by Heaven.
Fight for Standards.
One thing that the Republicans have to live down is the 1928 cry of “Vote for Hoover and Prosperity.” That Prosperity talk had done duty in other elections, but in 1929 Depression knocked at Wall Street's door, and how all America's overhead is to be got rid of without further sacrifices may well puzzle a people who set out to collect debts by means of tariffing-out goods and half-cornering gold. One gleam of hope is the predicted rise in wheat; if it happens the Republican campaigners will reach out hard for that life-buoy. But American advices state that the boast of maintaining wages is now no longer heard, the unemployed having reached twelve millions. On 31st May President Hoover dramatically appeared before the Senate page 11 to plead for a balanced Budget, the dollar being at a serious discount for the first time for half a century.
Still Time for Sport.
The spectre of debts and possible repudiation crops up everywhere—in Chile, last of all—and it is hard to avoid a subject which after all affects the world's bread and butter. But there are other things—for instance, Olympic Games. At a time when cash is scarce, good athletic material seems to be plentiful—at any rate, in New Zealand—and the result is that this Dominion sends more than a cricket quota (even more than a football quota) of athletes to Los Angeles. The number of athletic contenders is given as 24, and that apparently does not include Lovelock, the Rhodes Scholar from Otago, who, being now at Oxford, joins New Zealand's Olympic team from the other end. Following on his inclusion in the team, Lovelock broke the three-quarter mile record at Stamford Bridge.
A Dot in the Ocean.
In the vast expanse of ocean it is hard to find even a big ship. That has often been proved by various searches for disabled steamers, and by British warships' hunts for German raiders. Yet in June the Polish aviator Hausner was rescued by the steamship Circle City after floating for days on a monoplane which broke down while he was trying to fly the Atlantic from New York. It is said an equally extraordinary escape occurred last year, when three aviators who attempted to fly the Atlantic from Portugal to New York were supported at sea by their Junkers all-metal machine for six days before a Norwegian steamer picked them up eighty miles from Cape Race, Newfoundland. Other crashes that occurred in June without loss of life affected Mr. Lang and Mr. Moore in Australia and Sir Richard Squires in Newfoundland—but that is another story, and a political one.
Altar In Scenic Wonderland.
(Photo. courtesy “Evening Post.”)
View of the altar in the Church of England recently erected at Waiho Gorge, South Westland, New Zealand. The altar looks out upon the world-famed Franz Josef Glacier, three miles distant, with Mts. Roon and Anderegg towering to heights of over 7,000ft. above ft.