Eighty years ago, as the tension over the Sudetenland is screwed up, Italy protects its family life and Britain protects its Royal deer
Tensions over Czechoslovakia mounted to fever pitch. It was widely expected that Hitler’s speech at the Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg due in early September would mark the turning point. Most people in Britain feared that it would be an aggressive prelude to military action.
The atmosphere of crisis was fuelled by a high profile speech by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir John Simon at Lanark in Scotland. In reality he did nothing beyond restating the British government’s policy that it would support France without setting any particular restrictions to this support. Implicitly if France took military action to protect Czechoslovakia Britain would join in. This was not welcome in Berlin. Further fuel was added to the fire by the retun of the British ambassador to Berlin, Sir Neville Henderson, to London for consultations. Lord Runciman continued his frantic shuttling between the various parties without reaching any agreement. Tension was also fuelled by moves on the other side of the table. The Sudeten German party declared that its members were free to act “in self-defence”. Its leader, Konrad Heinlein, visited Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Optimistic British press reports claimed that this visit had been endorsed by Runciman but it was an obvious escalation of the Sudetenes claims.
The socially conservative pretensions of the Italian Fascist regime emerged from a series of measures announced. The ranks of public service were to be barred to bachelors; only married men were to be allowed promotion. Moreover, junior civil servants would have to marry by the age of 26; senior staff would be permitted to delay the (evil) day by four years. The resulting incremental demand for home-makers would in part be met by capping the proportion of female employees throughout the public service and certain private firms at 10%.
The growing number of visitors to the Royal Parks around London had had the unfortunate consequence that the remainders of picnics for human beings had been fed to the Royal deer. These included food that was quite unsuitable for the poor animals - banana skins, orange peel, apples, chocolate, cake, biscuits, sweets and meat sandwiches – which they were unable to recognize as such. A formal Order was issued banning the public from feeding the deer at all.