The western powers advertise their weakness against the Fascist dictatorships


Germany and Italy, declined to attend. Italy did so on the cheeky grounds that Franco had not been invited. The conference went ahead with all attendant ceremony and seriousness but nothing could disguise the fact that France and Britain had merely advertised their utter powerlessness and, more invidiously, their unwillingness to go beyond the politics of gesture in restraining the Fascist dictatorships.

The first Pan-Arab conference to discuss opposition to Zionist gathered in Syria. All of the Arab states sent delegates except for the Yemen. It was prompted by the continuing unrest in Palestine and the manifest improbability that Britain, who ruled the area under the pretext of a League of Nations mandate, would apply any solution to the problems it had created, least of all and equitable or lasting one. The Congress had little hope of achieving any practical changes in policy but by some measures marked the modern era of uneasy relationship between the West and the Arab nations.


The Nuremberg Rally of Germany’s Nazi Party was enlivened by a huge parade of members of the Reich Labour Service. It was an overwhelmingly male turnout but plans were afoot to expand hugely is nascent female arm. Its contribution to national agriculture was lauded to the skies and the widely brandished spades were labelled as tools of peace. This was immediately belied by the soubriquet “soldiers of the spade” applied to its members and the generally military conduct of the affair made plain that the service was simply another aspect of the regimentation of German society on a war footing.

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