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EUROPE: Wir Machen Nicht Mit

2 minute read

Germany’s chief Foreign Office spokesman, fat, foul-tempered Dr. Paul Schmidt, hates all neutral reporters, especially the uncowed Swiss. Last week, at a press conference, he snarled at them again. The Swiss press, began Dr. Schmidt in his heavy voice, had a “negative attitude” toward the New Order.

The Swiss reporters turned bland, unimpressed faces toward this routine announcement. Then Dr. Schmidt leaned his plump, manicured hands flat on the heavy table. “There will be,” he said viciously, “no place for such editors in the new Europe. We will make short shift of them. Perhaps they will find their future home in the steppes of Asia, or maybe it would be best simply to send them off into the Great Beyond.”

Scrappy, invective-loving, democratic Swiss editors had long been soft-voiced when speaking of their powerful, threatening neighbor. Now they were soft-voiced no longer. In the bluntest language printed on the European continent in months, the Neue Berner Zeitung declared: “The National Socialist conception of a new European order is absolutely incompatible with the freedom of Europe’s states and peoples.”

Said Zurich’s Volksrecht; “The prospect of death can scare no one who must imagine what the ‘New Europe’ of tomorrow will be like from the way it looks today.”

The Easier Nachtrichten: “The time has come for our government to reject all attempts at intimidation, unambiguously and energetically.”

The Swiss people sent their editors hundreds of letters of agreement. The Swiss League of Students voted approval. Stockholm’s press applauded and Ankara’s Yenisabah spunkily wrote: “The threats directed at Switzerland provide a foretaste of what the world can expect if Germany wins.”

Whether Schmidt’s burst was bad-tempered carelessness or a balloon to find out whether neutrals were still afraid of Germany, the answer was the Zurich Volksrecht’s headline: “Wir machen nicht mit!” (“We won’t play ball!”)

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