22 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 2

Bewilderment in Spain

It was not to be expected that Spain would look on with indifference when Germany, who intervened in Spain with the avowed object of combating Communism, made her deal with the Soviet Republic and joined hands with her in the plunder of Poland. At the outset of the war General Franco declared his strict neutrality and expressed the hope that the conflict would be circumscribed. There is now no party in Spain, among the victors or the defeated, which can con- sider with equanimity the acts of its former supporters—the Germans in the one case, the Russians in the other. What now has happened to the " ideology " which caused the cruel prolongation of the civil war? The Stalin who sent help to Republican Spain, and had Bolshevist leaders con- demned and executed because of their alleged relations with Germany, is now the friend of Hitler. The Hitler who helped Franco ostensibly against the Communists is now the Communists' friend. All this, baffling enough to us, has for the Spaniards a peculiarly bitter irony, when they see with what cynical indifference to the cause the Germans exploited and aggravated their domestic struggle. France need now feel little anxiety about her Spanish frontier.