. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Foreign Policy Association – December 17, 1939 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
The Nazis teaming up with the Communists – an idea that seemed as impossible on paper as it did in practice. But that’s what happened – at least for a short time.
That move, as well as the German entry into Poland and Uruguay’s neutrality by allowing the damaged German battleship Graf Spee to seek shelter in their harbor, prompted a resurrection of the League of Nations, at least temporarily. In Geneva a meeting was held and delegates of some 40 countries gathered to denounce the added Soviet aggression toward Finland and to vote on an aid package to that country. Instead, the League fell short of voting on aid, but instead voted to kick Russia out of the League of Nations.
This move far from satisfied the members among whom China, who expressed bitter disappointment that no such action was taken against Japan for their invasion of Manchuria in 1937, or Czechoslovakia for Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland which the League offered vague expressions of regret. The Finns looked at the gesture as hollow and without any sort of meaningful reprisals or much needed help.
Clearly, to most the move seemed more symbolic than forceful and signified to just about everyone involved (including the U.S.) that the League Of Nations was, for all intents and purposes, a dead institution.
But it further illustrated the need for some kind of world body to gather and sort our differences – just not this one.
A report on the gathering and the reactions to it was given by The Foreign Policy Association during their weekly broadcast over NBC on December 17, 1939 by way of a talk given by David H. Popper, research associate of The Foreign Policy Association.