L'opinion liégeoise et la remilitarisation de la Rhénanie.

The Opinion In Liege And The Remilitarization Of The Rhineland: The remilitarization of the Rhineland, on 7 March, 1936, is a capital stage in the reorganization of the political and military power of Germany, after the first world war. The presence of the Reichswehr at Aix-la-Chapelle puts Liège among the outposts; the enemy motorized units could lay siege to the Ardennes in less than one hour. How was such an event felt about ? Before 1936, the eventuality of Hitler's denunciation of the Lucerne treaty newer really drew the attention of the Liège press. However, once accomplished the commotion was lively and general. The awareness of the extreme danger Belgium was facing, a danger made public by the newspapers, resulted in an uninterrupted attention during the months of March and April. Paradoxically enough, Germany was not described as the guilty party. The countries that were mainly considered responsible were the former allies of the first world war, whose dissension and political short-sightedness facilitated the plans of the Germans. Though wishing a change, the press of Liège dared not hope for a change in the French and English attitude and saw the German action as a starting point for further claims. Moreover, prudence recommends to take new military measures. Even the Liège socialists, up to then antimilitarists, agree on this point of view. Unanimity was restored, when the task of the Belgian government had to be defined : rallying France and Great Britain and acting in close collaboration with the two friendly nations. Even though the inter- ventions in Parliament of the Prime Minister, P. Van Zeeland, were well received this is not the case with the English attitude. The liberal papers even went so far as to reproach him for being too condescending to Germany, for his narrow-minded realism as well as for the inefficiency of his military aid. The French made a better figure and if they had to keep still before the British inaction they were not blamed for it. The British and Italian confirmation to France and Belgium, of the engagements of the treaty of Lucerne, was received with relief and the impression prevailed that any immediate danger had been avoided. On the other hand, the decision to enter into negotiations with Germany was met with scepticism and suspicion. The reason is to be found in the fear of the extreme diplomatic competency of the third Reich and in the weakness of its partners. Though vividly preoccupied by the evolution of the European crisis in March, 1936, the Liège press, reacted moderately : no panic, no diatribes against Germany, no demand for military action against tho Rhineland. It took on the resignation of the principal governments concerned : the after-effects of world war I had disappeared. A new European balance was to be born out of negotiations. By thus resigning themselves to an accomplished fact, the Liège newspapers, paying more attention to the military danger, did not realize the diplomatic advantage Hitler would take of a similar attitude. The alarm was beaten, the attention remained alert for some ten weeks. The ideological oppositions among the newspapers disappeared for a while, but it was only flash in the pan.