March 20, 1939 – Voices Of Spring – Diplomacy In Overtime – The League Of Germanism
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As tensions increased throughout Europe, this first day of Spring in 1939, life for the most part was making a heroic attempt at seeming normal.
For the first of two reports for this day, the English Service of Paris Radio was reporting on the upcoming departure of President LeBrun for a state visit to England, presumably to shore-up whatever differences the two countries may have had because, it was looking more and more like they would be needing each other again in the future.
Meanwhile, diplomatic forces were working overtime with reports coming in on the progress of the Czech takeover by Germany. The action sent many in Eastern Europe into a state of dis-ease. Particularly, since it had been reported Germany was claiming large numbers of its citizens were actually living in Rumania, Poland, Turkey and Bulgaria. Germany claimed some 3 million Germans were living in Hungary alone.
The League of Germanism, meeting in Munich on March 17th, reported some 750,000 Germans living in Yugoslavia, 800,000 in Rumania. All this cause for Spring to be a little queasy that year.
There was also news about an article recently published discussing the thaw in relations between France and Spain. Even though France was regarded as something of an agitator during the recently ended Civil War, a sincere attempt to patch up differences between the Le Brun government and the Franco government were afoot with Spain heaping praise on Marshal Petain as an exemplary figure in French military history.
From Moscow came a less rosy picture. It was the opinion of many in the Soviet Union that the German occupation of Czechoslovakia was a pure act of aggression and that the Soviet Foreign Ministry sent a strongly worded note to the Foreign Minister in Berlin. It was also noted that public opinion felt the current state of affairs had worsened since the Munich Crisis of September, 1938. The report went on to say that the feeling in Paris was one of energetically demanding rebuff of what Moscow called “the Fascist aggressors” in Czechoslovakia and that it was claimed the Press was more and more mentioning the Soviet Union as the most important factor in the preservation of peace. Well . . . of course they would – it was Radio Moscow making the report.
And so went the world, as viewed from overseas with news reports from Hungarian Radio, Radio Paris Mondiale, and Radio Moscow shortwave services for this first day of Spring, March 20, 1939.