‘This Is the Last Territorial Demand I Have to Make in Europe’

by Victor Davis Hanson

Vladimir Putin all but said the above yesterday, after annexing the Crimea — and promising to let alone the rest of the Ukraine. If we just insert Ukraine and Russia for Czechoslovakia and Germany, the following speech could easily be Putin’s:

(Berlin 1938 Moscow 2014)

Now I have tried during this time also gradually to bring about good and enduring relations with other nations.

We have given guarantees for the States in the West. We have guaranteed to all contiguous neighbors the inviolability of their territory so far as Germany Russia is concerned.

That is not a phrase — that is our sacred will.

We are not interested in breaking peace. We do not want anything from these peoples. It is a fact that these our offers were meeting with increasing acceptance and also growing understanding.

Slowly, more and more nations are departing from the idiotic delusion of Geneva; I should like to say, departing not from collective peace obligations but from collective war obligations.

They are withdrawing from them and they begin to see problems soberly and are ready for understanding and peace. . . .

Bitter as it may be for a few, in the last analysis the interest of the German Russian nation stands above all.

This interest, however, is: To be able to work in peace.

This whole activity, my fellow citizens, is not a phrase that cannot be proved, but instead this activity is demonstrated by facts which no political liar can remove.

Two problems remained.

Here I had to make a reservation.

Ten Several million of Germans Russians found themselves outside the Reich’s Russian Federation’s confines in two several large contiguous regions — Germans Russians who desired to come back into their homeland. This number of 10,000,000 several million is not a trifle…

Somewhere, my fellow countrymen, there is a limit — a limit where yielding must cease, because it would otherwise become a harmful weakness and I would have no right to maintain a place in German Russian history if I were simply to renounce 10,000,000 several million without caring about them. I would then have no moral right to be Fuehrer President of the German Russian people.

I have taken upon myself sufficient sacrifices in the way of renunciations. Here was a limit beyond which I could not go. How right this was has been proven, first by the plebiscite in Austria the Crimea; in fact, by the entire history of the reunion of Austria South Ossetia and Crimea with the Reich Russia. A glowing confession of faith was pronounced at that time — a confession such as others certainly had not hoped for.

A flaming testimony was given at that time, a declaration such as others surely had not hoped would be given.

It was then we saw that for democracies a plebiscite becomes superfluous or even obnoxious as soon as it does not produce results democracies hoped for.

Nevertheless this problem was solved to the happiness of the great German Russian people, and now we confront the last problem that must and shall be solved.

This is the last territorial demand I have to make in Europe, but it is a demand on which I will not yield.

I am thankful to Mr. Chamberlain Mr. Obama for all his trouble and I assured him that the German Russian people wants nothing but peace, but I also declared that I cannot go beyond the limits of our patience.

I further assured him and I repeat here that if this problem is solved, there will be no further territorial problems in Europe for Germany Russia.

And I further assured him that at the moment that Czechoslovakia Ukraine has solved her other problems, that is, when the Czechs Ukrainians have reconciled themselves with their other minorities, the Czech Ukrainian State no longer interests me and that, if you please, I give him the guarantee: We do not want any Czechs Ukrainians.

I now head the procession of my people as first soldier and behind me — may the world know this — there now matches a people and a different one than that of 1918 1989. . . .