24 NOVEMBER 1939, Page 6


THERE are few things more difficult today than to reach .1 any assured conclusion about the state of Germany. What appear to be best authorities, whether Germans outside Germany or neutrals who have just left the country—I have been hearing most interesting accounts from one of each this week—tend not only to differ from one another but to tell stories not wholly consistent in themselves. One difficulty is that conditions vary in different parts of the Reich; estimates from Berlin, from Bavaria and from Wurtemberg would be quite divergent. So would reports based on contact with the upper, and reports based on contact with the lower, classes. What seems as certain as anything can be is that internal stresses will not be a factor to reckon with till some six months hence at the earliest. Tempting as it is to make the most of signs of discontent, there is no ground for think- ing that they amount to enough to alarm the Nazi chiefs. The people as a whole hate the War and hope for peace, but there is no evidence that they fear defeat. In military circles there is complete confidence of the success of the offensive planned for the spring—though it is confidence based in part at any rate on various assumptions for which there is no visible warrant. There seems no doubt that an attack on Holland was definitely intended, and that might have un- loosed a general conflict on the Western Front, but if it is now abandoned (which it may not be) it need not mean at all that Herr Hitler is left furiously bewildered as to his next step. He need take no major step at all till the spring.