1 Facts Rev. [i] (1939)

handle is hein.journals/facreiw1 and id is 1 raw text is: 3acf4JJ

August 16th, 1939

Permission to reprint these articles, all or in port, may be
had by communicating with the German Library of Information.
Additional copies of this issue may be obtained upon request.

Men have an instinctive fear and hostility toward
things which they do not understand.
To make a thing fearsome and dreaded, it is only
necessary to surround it in mystery or leave it unex-
Thus it has been with the German word Lebens-
raum. The leaders of the British Government who had
an interest in giving the German word Lebensraum a
sinister aspect have lifted it bodily from the German into
the English without taking the pains to translate it or
express it in the equivalent English tcrmz. Lord Halifax,
the British Foreign Secretary, has included Lebensraum
in his own gallery of misunderstood words. That Lord
Halifax has used Lebensraum as a catchword is en-
lightening in regard to England's attitude toward Ger-
many's economic and social necessities.
While Lord Halifax and some of his fellow members
of Britain's Conservative party can't seem to translate
Lebensraum, the task of so doing should not be in-
surmountable to persons of the Viscount's intellectual
Lebensraum   simply means living-space--or
perhaps breathing space. A man occupies only a few
cubic feet of space, but to live he must have around him
a space from which he can draw the elements necessary to
life. An individual is an organism. So is a nation.
Both must have their breathing space or they suffocate.
When translated or interpreted into its equivalent
English terms, the German word Lebensraum loses its
sinister appearance. It simply becomes a normal and
fundamental national aspiration.
Lebensraum or breathing space is not the
product of an artificial political policy-it is the
natural outcome of geographical situation and environ-
Britain with her insular situation was forced to go
far afield in search of food supplies and raw materials.
Her breathing space became the British Empire,
scattered over the globe, but connected by Britain's lines
of communication-the life lines of the Empire. Life
line-Lebensraum.   Britain would struggle as in-
stinctively to maintain those life lines as a man would
struggle to prevent his supply of air from being cut off.
Germany, situated in Central Europe, with a huge
industrial population to support, must find her breathing
space in the surrounding areas from which she can draw

food supplies and raw materials vital to her population
and her industries.
While England has the possibility of insuring her
existence by economic exchange within the borders of
the Empire, Germany cannot satisfy her own vital needs
within the frontiers of the Reich. The lands to the
southeast of Germany are of tremendous value to the
Reich-they are of such extraordinary importance to the
Reich because they can help make Germany's position
less unfavorable by an unhindered exchange of products.
If any attempt is made to block this mutual exchange
of goods between countries, Germany must certainly re-
gard such an act as hostile-just as England would re-
gard any attempt to cut her so-called life lines to the
The German concept of the word Lebensraurn does
not imply territorial domination. Thus, one can speak
of protecting a Lebensraum if one's breathing apace is
The river Rhine and the Danube are vital parts of
Germany's breathing space. The Rhinc iinds its way
to the sea through Holland and the Danube empties into
the Black Sea through Rumania. For instance, Germany
has never raised any question about the mouth of the
Danube, because no obstacles to trade and life have ever
been built up against her there.
The principle of one country's right to a breathing
space in another country definitely does not infringe on
the sovereignty of the latter country. That is one of the
reasons why Poland's claims to Danzig on the mouth of
the Vistula River are absolutely without foundation.
Likewise, Germany has no claim on Rotterdam at the
head of the Rhine, although geography text-books the
world over refer to the Rhine as the German River
It goes without saying that there is always the possi-
bility that obstacles in a breathing space or Lebens-
raum will be created with the express purpose of strik-
ing a damaging blow at the vital nerve centers of a na-
tion. It follows, 4or example, that England could not
permit Ireland to develop a menace to her security.
Germany could not allow Bohemia to become a hotbed
of foreign political intrigue plotting against the security
of the Reich.
On the positive side, the German concept of Lebens-
raum envisions a flow of commerce and an exchange of
goods and services between the various units of'the
Lebensraum which enables each country to comple.
ment and reinforce the economy of the others.
Common breathing space can be founded only on

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 2,700 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Access to this content requires a subscription. Please visit the following page to request a quote or trial:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?