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Information bulletin
No. 131 (March 23, 1948)

Scammon, Richard M.
Czechoslovakia--a cause for hope,   pp. 11-12 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 12

look back to the early days of 1933
and the seizure of power by the
Nazis here in Germany.
The circumstances are very similar.
Germany had a political party com-
mitted to dictatorship and threatened
with defeat by the democratic forces
in the next election. The Nazi party
knew, from the heavy losses it had
suffered in the Reichstag elections of
November, 1932, that it would be cut
down still further by the good sense
of the German people.
The same held true this year in
Czechoslovakia. There were the same
signs that the new fascism, like the
old, was losing even a part of the
minority support it had controlled,
and  that  the   next  democratic
elections would end its lingering
hopes of winning a majority of the
people to the support of totalitar-
ianism.
But totalitarians in both countries,
then and now, had temporary control
of the police and the army. Moderate
groups, reluctant to believe the ex-
tremes to which the seekers of power
would go, had unwisely cooperated
to the extent of letting these all-im-
portant agencies of force slip from
their grasp.
As a result, it was possible in both
countries, then, in 1933, and now, in
1948, to govern the people without
the people's representatives. InBerlin
it was by decree. In Prague it is by
postponing the meeting of Parliament.
In the intervening time the totali-
tarians-Fascist  and  Communist-
hauled out the oldest trick in the
political world-the shabby, time-
worn plot Here in Germany the
Reichstag deliberately was burned by
the Nazis; in Czechslovakia the Com-
munists reported the discovery of a
so-called "reactionary plot against
the people".
IN GERMANY the new elections of
March, 1933, could thus be held in
an atmosphere of fire and compulsion,
with the opposition limited in their
effective ability to fight back against
the power-hungry architects of dic-
tatorship. Even so, it was necessary
to unseat many delegates and to
browbeat others to bring Nazism into
full power.
Only in one respect does the ex-
perience in Czechoslovakia differ
from the German pattern: there full
power had already been seized, and
the suppression of democratic po-
litical parties is already under way,
before the new elections can take
place and as a preparation for the
perversion of the ballot.
It is clear that these elections in
Czechoslovakia will be held, and that
the red Fascists, like their brown
brothers, will announce an over-
whelming victory. All the tarnished
old trappings of "national unity" will
be resurrected and paraded before a
terrorized population that knows that
the words "national unity" means, to
the Communisits, the unity of the
graveyard and the concentration camp.
The lesson of Czechoslovakia is an
obvjous one: that there can be no
compromise with totalitarianism, no
compromise with those who seek to
destroy the very democracy they
pretend  to  defend.  Neither the,
Fascists nor the Communists know
the meaning of the word "demo-
cracy". Neither the brown nor the
red dictator has ever triumphed
through the will of the people, nor
can they do so as long as the de-
mocratic forces of society resist them.
It is true the lines are now po-
litically drawn between two systems
of government. For no longer does
Czechoslovakia stand to the east of
that geographic line as an island of
democracy in a sea of red absolutism.
B UT LET NO ONE conclude that
this line must mean the per-
manent division of the world, or of
Germany which it crosses. The end of
Nazi totalitarianism began when Hit-
ler seized Czechoslovakia. The end
of the westward advance of Com-
munist totalitarianism may well be-
indeed must be-Czechoslovakia. For
European cultural and economic re-
covery will reach to that new
borderline, with aill resources of the
western world, and look across it.
Not only is the door open for the
hoped-for unification of Germany,
but the natural and historical inter-
dependence between the western and
the eastern parts of Europe will
irresistibly break through such false
and artificial political barriers.
Gradually the goods and services
needed on either side of the line
from the other will flow across with
quickening movement. For not even
the most cynical government to the
East would be so stupid as to deny
itself the economic advantages-yes,
the economic necessities-of trade
with the West.
This will become an increasing
compulsion upon the East as the vast
productive capacity of the West is
tapped. In the process of economic
contact through the iron curtain the
spiritual allies of the West among
the masses of the unwilling totalitarian
countries will gain strength, and
resistance will be kept alive, and
increasingly active.
Today's tragedy of Prague is tomor-
row's triumph of democracy, as
surely and certainly as the tragedy
of Munich 10 years ago sounded the
signal of awakening and attack against
the menace of Hitlerism.
Travel Abroad Approved
The Berlin Branch of the Joint Ex-
port-Import Agency has approved ap-
plications for 24 Berlin businessmen
to travel abroad, under a program
initiated in the latter part of 1947.
These representatives have con-
ducted or will conduct negotiations in
England, Luxembourg, Netherlands,
Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Norway,
and Sweden.
The fields represented include radio
and tubes; batteries; textiles; designs
for cretonne and wall paper; engineer-
ing advice in the operation of
sulphuric acid plants; construction of
plants; paper working machines; office
machines; special processing of wood,
scraps into a hard plastic, and con-
struction of special kilns for processing
slate and shale into building material.
Reichspost Survey Made
In view of the urgent need for
additional building space to accommo-
date expanding Reichspost services,
the Bizonal Department of Posts and
Telecommunications  has completed
a survey of all Reichspost buildings
and real property under requisition
by the occupational forces and by
Germans other than Reichspost per-
sonnel. This information will be used
as the basis for releasing the maximum
number of these properties.
INFORMATION BULLETIN
MARC1A 23, 1948
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