The March of Time: September 16, 1938

From Radio Days. 1 August 2004. <http://www.otr.com/marchtime.htm>

MUSIC -- FANFARE.

NARRATOR -- The March of Time!

MUSIC -- SECOND FANFARE.

NARRATOR -- Life!

VOICE -- The life of the world, its conflicts and achievements, its news and fun, its leaders and its common people.

MUSIC -- March.

NARRATOR -- Tonight, hour after hour, by short-wave wireless through the ether and along the cables undersea, the news piles up from the capitals of Europe . . . world-shaking, momentous news that sends Britain's grave Prime Minister flying to Adolph Hitler and President Roosevelt hurrying back to Washington . . . the grim, portentous news that Sudeten Germans are in armed revolt, and behind every dispatch the mounting fear that the field-gray German regiments, mobilized and ready, may march into Czechoslovakia. All this week, day after day, and every hour of each day, the news poured in . . . and tomorrow and all next week news will come from London, from Paris, from Prague, from Berlin. And as the headlines record each flying fact and rumor, United States citizens watch and wait and try to understand.

VOICE OF TIME -- LIFE, the magazine of pictures, has one single continuing purpose . . . to bring the events of our times and the people of our world before the eyes of its readers with the new impact and understanding that only pictures can give. Readers of LIFE have a keener comprehension of the crisis of this week, for they have seen France's impenetrable Maginot line and the amazing defenses of little Czechoslovakia, where lies Europes's destiny. They have gone with LIFE to look upon the faces of the people of Europe . . . Poles and Slavs and Czechs and Prussians . . . faces proud and humble and fearless and frightened. They have eyewitnessed the setting of the stage of the great dramatic story that, in the critical weeks and months to come, will be found week and week in pictures in the pages of LIFE.

NARRATOR -- Pictures . . . which add a new dimension to our understanding of the life of the world. And now, the March of Time!

VOICE OF TIME -- The second week of September, 1938.

NARRATOR -- The most important week since mid-July of 1914 is drawing to a close. And the peoples, governments, and armies that make the destinies of nations this week again stand where stood those of a generation ago, in a week of crisis whose events led to a great world war. A week of crisis whose full significance was not known until four years later, in armistice and in a treaty of peace.

NARRATOR -- "The allied and associated powers, being equally desirous that the war in which they were successively involved and which originated in the declaration of war by Austria-Hungary on July 28, 1914, should be replaced by a firm, just, and durable peace, have affixed their seals to this treaty, together with those of the German Empire and every component state."

NEW VOICE -- Article 81. Germany recognizes the complete independence of the Czecho-Slovak state, which will include the autonomous territory of the Ruthenians south of the Carpathians and the portion of Silesian territory known as the Sudeten area. German nationals habitually resident in any of these territories will obtain Czecho-Slovak nationality ipso facto and lose their German nationality.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

HITLER -- The shame of Versailles has only made more imperative the rise of the German people to fulfill their destiny.

NARRATOR -- In a windowless cell of grim Landburg fortress, an emaciated, fanatic-eyed young man is writing a testament in fine German script. It is Adolph Hitler, in September, 1923.

HITLER -- German Austria must return to the mother country. But the final path of German empire lies not through Austria to the South nor France on the west but eastward, to Russia and the wheat fields of the Ukraine.

NARRATOR -- Between Adolph Hitler and the east lies the Republic of Czechosolovakia.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- The second week of September, 1938, Monday, the twelfth. In Russia, avowed objective of Adolph Hitler's eastward march of empire, in Czechoslovakia, number one obstacle in that line of march; in France, hereditary foe of Germany, pledged to prevent that march; in Great Britain, pledged to fight if France fights; in the United States, awestruck spectator of a theatre in which one spoken word may set off a war . . . the governments and peoples of the world are waiting to hear by radio a message of Adolph Hitler, speaking in his native tongue to people of his own race and mind.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN. BIG SIEG HEILS OUT OF MUSIC.

HITLER -- Die Befestigungswerte in Westen werden noch vor Beginn des Winters fertig sein. Hinter dieser Front aus Stahl und Beton, steht das deutsche Volk in Waffen!

SOUND -- SIEG HEILS.

NARRATOR -- "The fortifications in the West will be finished before the beginning of winter. Behind this wall of steel and concrete stand the German people . . . under arms."

HITLER -- Ich werde unter Keinen umstAnden der weiteren unterdrUckung der deutschen Volksgenossen in der Tschechoslovakei in entloser Rube zuzusehen!

SOUND -- SIEG HEILS.

NARRATOR -- "I will tolerate no further oppression of German people in Czechoslovakia."

HITLER -- Sie werden mir auch am freudigsten zustimmen wenn ich vor dem ganzen deutschen Volk festelle das wir nicht verdienten Deutschen zu sein wenn wir nicht bereit waren eine solche Haltung einzunehmen, und die daraus volgenden Konsequenzen so oder so zu tragen.

NARRATOR -- "I say that we shall not deserve the name of Germans if we were not prepared to take this position, ready to bear whatever consequences may follow."

SOUND -- SIEG HEILS UP BIG INTO SINGING OF "DEUTSCHLAND UBER ALLES" . . . CARRY SINGING UNDER.

NARRATOR -- In Nuremberg's Congress Hall and in every nation of the world has climaxed one of the most remarkable pieces of oratory in modern times . . . the September 12 speech of Adolph Hitler.

MUSIC -- UP TO FINISH WITH ORCHESTRA.

NARRATOR -- Balmoral Castle. The Scottish highlands.

MUSIC -- PIANO REGISTER.

NARRATOR -- It is evening in the summer residence of the British royal family. In the music room, Their Majesties, King George and Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret Rose listen to Crown Princess Elizabeth at the piano. The King's equerry, Sir Arthur Erskine, enters, steps quietly to His Majesty's side.

MUSIC -- ALL SOTTO.

EQUERRY -- I beg pardon, Your Majesty . . .

KING -- What is it, Sir Arthur?

EQUERRY -- I have very grave news, sire, from Mr. Chamberlain . . . regarding Czechoslovakia. Serious disorders have broken out as a result of Mr. Hitler's speech. The Czechs invoked martial law in the Sudeten provinces, and the Germans demand cancelation of the decree within 6 hours.

KING -- Six hours.

QUEEN -- What is it, dear?

KING -- An ultimatum to Czechoslovakia.

EQUERRY -- An ultimatum, yes, sire. Mr. Chamberlain and the defense ministers are making our defense plans on a war basis. KING -- (Pause) Six hours. IN that case, I had best return to London immediately.

EQUERRY -- Yes, Your Majesty.

MUSIC

NARRATOR -- By immemorial custom of the unwritten British Constitution there can be no mobilization, no declaration of war without the signature of Britain's King.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- Prague, Tuesday . . . the day of the German ultimatum, at the barracks of the first Czechoslovakian army corps.

C.O. -- Attention!

SOUND -- SIEG HEILS.

C.O. -- The first army corps is ordered to proceed immediately to the northern border for extraordinary defense duty. Headquarters of the first division will be at Boehmisch-Kermau. The third, fifth, and eighth regiments are assigned to patrol the Sudeten mountains westward. Be ready with full military equipment to march in one hour!

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- The German ultimatum has 4 hours to run. In Paris, capital of Czechoslovakia's ally, pledged to resist German aggression, hour after hour over the Paris radio station . . .

VOICE -- (Filter) Citizens of the French Republic! Attention! Municipal authorities have begun the distribution of sand throughout the city. Within a short time, heaps of sand will be found in every street. Citizens are urged to store the sand in the top rooms of their homes for use in sandbags and to fight fires started by bombs and shells in the event that Paris is bombarded.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

VOICE -- (Filter) Six hours have passed. The German ultimatum has expired. In Prague's Gragany castle, in his library, Czechoslovakia's baldish little President, Eduard Benes, sits at his desk, a microphone in front of him, a pitcher of water beside him. He looks inquiringly at an announcer.

ANNOUNCER -- Ten seconds, Mr. Benes.

BENES -- All right.

ANNOUNCER -- Ladies and gentlemen . . . the President of the Republic, Eduard Benes.

BENES -- My people, I know you are all waiting to know our answer to the demands of the German Sudeten party. Their ultimatum would have meant for us to abdicate the sovereignty of part of our nation and in effect turn it over to another state. PAUSE. We have rejected it. I speak, not as one who orders your destinies but as your elected President . . . of Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, and all other nationalties in our democracy and nation of Czechoslovakia. Be calm, be considerate, keep your nerves steady. That is all your country requires of you. Then, God willing, your government can do what is pledged to do . . . keep peace, not only for this country but for the whole world.

MUSIC

SOUND -- MARCHING FEET.

NARRATOR -- One hour later Czech troops are on the march, for the German ultimatum has been rejected. From Prague to Cheb, from Pilsen to Vimperk, from Mor to Kraliky, Czech troops go to man their frontiers. The troops of Czechoslovakia's ally, France, 6,000,000 strongmove up to the vast subterranean bulwark, the Maginot line. All through the night Belgian soldiers march toward Liége and the German border.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- Wednesday morning in London's dead-end Downing Street, outside Number Ten, official residence of Britain's Prime Minister, crowds linger, watch ambassadors of the world's powers come and go. American Ambassador, Joseph Kennedy, emerges, is stopped by a British correspondent.

BRITON -- Mr. Kennedy . . . Mr. Kennedy! SOUND -- MARCHING FEET OFF.

KENNEDY -- Say, what is that . . . a parade going on there!

BRITON -- It's the Scots guards, sir, marching up to their barracks.

KENNEDY -- Oh.

BRITON -- Mr. Kennedy, has the United States declared officially on the side of the allies?

KENNEDY -- Allies?

BRITON -- I mean to say Britain and France.

KENNEDY -- United States relations with Britain are as friendly as ever.

SOUND -- FADE IN MARCHING AND DRUMS.

BRITON -- But what about President Roosevelts's statement that the United States was with us?

KENNEDY -- The President has explained that more fully to me personally.

MUSIC -- BEGIN BAND MUSIC: IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY.

KENNEDY -- In no sense of the word is the United States taking sides in the present crisis.

BRITON -- Mr. Kennedy . . .

KENNEDY -- Say . . . That's "Tipperary" they're playing, isn't it?

BRITON -- Yes.

KENNEDY -- "Tipperary." I haven't heard that in 20 years.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- In London, troops marching to the music of a song that sent them into battle 20 years ago. In Czechoslovakia, men march to a new song of conquest, as, from Sudeten farms and villages, Nazis, uniformed and in mufti, join bands converging on the towns along the German border, shouting the forbidden words of the "Horst Wessel Lied" as they march into the still-darkened streets. For it is 8 hours since the time limit on the Nazi ultimatum to the Czech government expired.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- By noon on Wednesday, the quiet villages of the Eber district are a bedlam of wild disorder and violence. At Habersparirk, six gendarmes take refuge in the police station; and a mob of 50 grows to 1,000 outside.

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

NARRATOR -- Then inside the building, the six-trapped men hear the threatening sound of a timber forcing the massive door.

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

CAPTAIN -- You'd better try the phone again, Lieutenant.

LIEUTENANT -- Yes, sir.

SOUND -- PHONE CLICKING.

LIEUTENANT -- Hello . . . hello . . . hello . . .

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

LIEUTENANT -- It's no use, sir.

CAPTAIN -- There's nothing else to do . . . unless the troops arrive . . .

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

BARTOSCH -- I could climb up to that window, sir. Speak to them through the bars.

CAPTAIN -- Too late for that.

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

BARTOSCH -- Try it anyway. Here, give me a hand.

LIEUTENANT -- Right GRUNTS. . . .

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

BARTOSCH -- All right. People of Eger . . . stop. . . . This will do you no good . . .

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

BARTOSCH -- You are only harming your own cause . . . You will . . .

SOUND -- SHOT . . . GLASS . . . GROAN . . . FALL.

CAPTAIN -- Bartosch! Are you hurt, Bartosch?

BARTOSCH -- Through the chest . . . I think so . . .

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

LIEUTENANT -- Here, tear his shirt . . . we'll bandage him up.

BARTOSCH -- No . . . the door . . . watch the door . . .

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

CAPTAIN -- Better let him lie where he is . . . He's out of the way here.

LIEUTENANT -- I'll try to stop the bleeding.

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN.

BARTOSCH -- The door . . . the door . . .

SOUND -- "WHAM" -- TRYING TO BREAK THE DOOR DOWN. DOOR SPLINTERS IN . . . CROWD SOUNDS.

CAPTAIN -- Stop . . . This man is hurt . . . This . . .

SOUND -- HE IS DROWNED OUT BY A GREAT MOB.

MUSIC. NARRATOR -- War begins as a state of mind, is justified by an "incident." The incident may be the murder of an archduke or the sinking of a battleship; a quarrel with a customs official or the hanging of a political zealot. This week six Czech policemen are trapped and killed by a mob of Sudeten Germans in the town of Eger in Czechoslovakia. Czech police retaliate, fire indiscriminately upon every marching band of Nazis in the Eger district. And by Wednesday afternoon 2,000 Czech government troops are engaged in a civil war against 4,000 armed storm troops of the party of Adolph Hitler.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- In Geneva, in the cloakrooms and corridors of the great white League of Nations palace, the delegates gather in little knots, their faces grave and expectant with the foreboding of Hitler's march to the east. Slowly they file into the vaulted Assembly Chambers, still talking in swift, nervous questions; at last take their seats.

CZECH -- Monsieur le Président.

PRESIDENT -- The delegate from Czechoslovakia.

CZECH -- Gentlemen of the Assembly, word has just come from my country that a civil war is in progress. PAUSE. Gentlemen, in my country, in the center of Praha, there stands a statue of Woodrow Wilson. It was on the faith and optimism of that man, coming into a Europe weary and half-mad from 4 years of war, that the Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded. Europe today is not half so weary nor half so mad as it was in the days when these things were inspired. Gentlemen, is there not something left that united peaceful action can accomplish? STIR . . . PAUSE. Gentlemen, I don't want to make an appeal to you. I ask a simple question. PAUSE. Very well. That is all, Monsieur le Président.

SWEDEN -- Monsieur le Président, there is very little more to be done here at this time. I suggest that the League Assembly now adjourn.

MUSIC.

NARRATOR -- In Rome, Benito Mussolini mobilizes 140,000 men, begins recalling airplanes from Spain. At Invergorden the British fleet weighs anchor, sails out across the North Sea to hold maneuvers opposite German Heligoland. It is late Wednesday afternoon.

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- There has been no word in 12 hours from Berlin and Adolph Hitler; and in Washington, at the United States State Department news hawks have been waiting since morning for an interview with Cordell Hull, are ushered into the presence of a grave and deadly serious Secretary of State.

HULL -- I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, gentlemen.

SOUND -- MURMURS AND AD LIBS.

ONE -- Mr. Secretary, the situation in Europe is so acute, we feel it is proper to ask that you explain the attitude of the government . . . give the public your appraisal of the crisis.

HULL -- One person can appraise the situation as well as another, gentlemen.

THREE -- Is it true that you have discussed the situation with President Roosevelt?

HULL -- Whenever developments require it. I talk with the President every day.

ONE -- Mr. Secretary, will you tell us how many American nationals are in the danger zone?

HULL -- Yes, I can tell you that. There are 12,000 in France, almost 6,000 in Germany, and more than 5,000 in Czechoslovakia. Altogether, about 23,000.

TWO -- Are any arrangements being made to care for them in case of war?

HULL -- Our envoys already have their instructions. They have full discretion to deal with any emergency which would require evacuation of American nationals. In Prague and other posts, there are bombproof shelters, and American consular authorities have arranged facilities for our citizens.

SOUND -- DOOR OPENS.

AIDE -- COMING UP. Excuse me, Mr. Secretary. The President is calling from Rochester.

HULL -- You must excuse me, please, gentlemen.

SOUND -- NEWS HAWKS EXITING.

HULL -- Good morning. Good-by.

SOUND -- PHONE OFF HOOK.

HULL -- Hello . . . hello, Mr. President . . .

MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- From Cordell Hull to Franklin Roosevelt goes word that three more Sudeten districts have been placed under martial law. Czechoslovakia has called out two more reserve classes to the colors . . . 140,000 men. And a few hours later, on the observation platform of a train, drawn up in the station at Rochester, Minnesota, home of the famed Mayo Clinic, stands Franklin Roosevelt, his hands gripping the railing in from of him:

F.D.R. -- My friends . . . here I came as a father and not as President, and you treated me accordingly. I am going away knowing that you still will be pulling for that boy of mine. PAUSE. I am not going back to my Hudson River home now but to Washington. For, as you know, conditions of affairs abroad are extremely serious. That is why I go back to the national capital, as President.

COUPLE OF VOICES OFFSTAGE -- Good-by, Mr. President . . . Good-by, Mr. President . . . good-by . . .

SOUND -- TRAIN STARTS CHUFFING.

MUSIC -- SNEAK

COUPLE OF VOICES OFFSTAGE -- Good-by . . . good-by.

SOUND -- TRAIN UP AND DOWN. MUSIC -- UP AND DOWN.

NARRATOR -- It is late Wednesday night when the first official communiqué is flashed from Germany, and the world learns that Adolph Hitler has summoned an emergency meeting of his Council for War. In Nazi party headquarters in Munich, Chief General von Brauchitz, Reichswehr Chief of Staff Keitel, General Reichenau have been conferring with their Fuhrer for 3 hours. An aide enters the council chamber.

AIDE -- A telegram, Fuhrer . . . from London.

HITLER -- From London? Read it.

AIDE -- READING. In view of the increasingly critical situation, I propose to come over at once to see you with a view to trying to find a peaceful solution. I propose to come across by air and am ready to start tomorrow. Please indicate the earliest time you can see me and suggest a place of meeting. I should be grateful for a very early reply. Signed, Neville Chamberlain. SILENCE.

AIDE -- PAUSE. The English ambassador is waiting, Fuhrer.

HITLER -- Tell His Excellency that I am very ready to meet with his Prime Minister. I suggest that he leave tomorrow morning. He will be able to see me at my home in Berchtesgaden in the early afternoon.

MUSIC.

SOUND -- PLANE IDLING UNDER.

NARRATOR -- Early next morning, at London's Heston Airdrome, out from his car . . .

SOUND -- CROWD MURMUR UNDER.

NARRATOR - . . . steps Great Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, followed by two aides from the Foreign Office; pushes his way through an anxious waiting crowd toward an airplane, ready, its motors idling.

SOUND -- MOTORS NEARER.

BOBBY -- Stand back, please . . . Stand back there . . . This way, Mr. Chamberlain.

COCKNEY -- Good luck, Mr. Chamberlain.

ANOTHER -- God bless you, Mr. Chamberlain, sir . . .

A THIRD -- Stand by Czechoslovakia.

CHAMBERLAIN -- All ready, Sir Horace? Strang? AD LIB YES, SIRS. Hop on in then . . .

RADIO -- One moment, sir . . . Could you just say a few words, Mr. Chamberlain . . . to our listeners?

CHAMBERLAIN -- Very well. I am going to see the German Chancellor because the situation seems to me . . . to be one in which discussions between him and me may have useful consequences. My policy has always been to try to ensure peace . . . and the Fuhrer's ready acceptance of my suggestion encourages me to hope that my visit to him will not be without much result.

RADIO -- Thank you, sir . . . thank you . . .

CHAMBERLAIN -- Well, Halifax, I'll keep in touch with your through Neville Henderson . . .

HALIFAX -- The very best of luck, Neville . . .

CHAMBERLAIN -- I hope so. I sincerely hope so. Good-by . . . good-by . . .

SOUND -- PLANE DOOR SHUTS . . . MOTOR GUNNING.

NARRATOR -- It is the first time that a British Prime Minister has left his island to confer with the head of a European state . . . since the World War.

SOUND -- PLANE BEGINS TO TAKE OFF UNDER.

NARRATOR -- For Neville Chamberlain, statesman and diplomat, son of a family of Britain's foremost statesmen, is off to confer with a one-time Austrian house painter, is off to Berchtesgaden, where Adolph Hitler conferred with little Kurt von Schussnigg, one week before the annexation of Austria. SOUND -- PLANE OFF AND FADING. MUSIC -- WITH SOUND OF RAIN UNDER.

NARRATOR -- At five o'clock Thursday afternoon, up the winding mountain road from Berchtesgaden climbs a black limousine, through heavy rains on up to the Wackenfeld, Adolph Hitler's villa. Out steps Neville Chamberlain, his umbrella still tight-rolled, is greeted by a bareheaded Reichsfuhrer, his hand upraised in the Nazi salute. Three hours later, Neville Chamberlain returns to his hotel, to proceed to London. And from the meeting that may determine the future course of European history comes just one official comment . . . from Britain's Prime Minister . . . Neville Chamberlain.

CHAMBERLAIN -- Yesterday afternoon I had a long talk with Herr Hitler. It was a frank talk, but it was a friendly one. Later on, perhaps in a few days, I am going to have another talk with Herr Hitler. This time he has told me that it is his intention to go halfway to meet me . . . in order to spare an old man another such long journey.

NARRATOR -- One statement: noncommittal . . . and cryptic. And whether it means collapse of negotiations, plebiscite, or a decision to march is known this week to only two men. But well does the world know that Neville Chamberlain has cut short his visit by 2 days; that Viscount Runciman, England's neutral negotiator, has left Czechoslovakia suddenly and unexpectedly; that in the Sudeten mountains nine Sudeten Germans and twenty Czechs lie dead in civil strife. Historically neutral Switzerland has mined all frontier approaches against invasion, tripled her border guard; Rumania has met in council of war to reiterate her alliance with France and Britain; in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, mobs have stoned the Nazi consulate; Japan has reaffirmed the anti-Comintern pact, announced that she will fight beside Germany. And this afternoon comes news from Prague: that the Czechoslovakian government is moving methodically to crush the entire Sudeten German movement, has ordered the dissolution of the Sudeten party, disbandment of the party's storm troopers, seizure of their property, surrender of all arms and ammunition within 24 hours, and the arrest of their leader, Konrad Henlein, for high treason, on charges which may well mean for him the executioner's ax. Tonight, at nine forty-five Czechoslovakia's Foreign Minister Kemil Krofta announces offically that his government will not accept dismemberment, will not sanction a plebiscite, will resist any efforts to disrupt the Republic of Czechoslovakia with any means at his command. At week's end, in London, silent crowds pause to watch a single woman, on her knees in prayer at the base of the Cenotaph, memorial to Britain's dead in the World War; across the whole island the congregations of the Free Churches bow their heads to ask for peace. And by day and night, in a never-ending stream, the people of London file into Westminister Abbey to kneel and pray; and among them Annie Chamberlain, wife of Great Britain's Prime Minister; as this week from the pulpit speaks white-haired old Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England . . .

LANG -- Almighty God, Father all merciful, now in this hour of our greatest need look down on us with compassion. Guide Thy servant, our Prime Minister, that we may come out from the shadow of world sickness. Touch our hearts with Thy divine understanding, O Lord, and in Thy infinite mercy protect us in Thy grace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord . . . Amen.

MUSIC CURTAIN.

NARRATOR -- What will Hitler do? His pledged word of support to the Germans of Czechoslovakia has been given before the world . . . How will he maintain it? And what of Neville Chamberlain, Britain's solemn, angular Prime Minister who swallowed pride and brushed aside precedent in a dramatic eleventh-hour bid for peace? Will he go down in history as a futile blunderer, or will he emerge as a great and grim figure whose dogged courage and British tenacity triumphed over the mystic-minded man of destiny who would give Germany her place in the sun? If England and France abandon their 20-year stand, what new realities must they face . . . of an insurgent Germany which they seem powerless to turn aside except by arms? Can England and France give up peacefully what Hitler demands? What decision will come to Adolph Hitler in the day or in the night . . . tomorrow . . . no man can tell. But one thing is certain . . . that the crisis of this week's news is not the end but the beginning of one of the most tempestuous, news-packed eras any age has known! It will be an era of fast-moving events greater in the vast sweep of their influence than any events in history before them. And it will be an era that will be seen as no era has been seen before! For week after eventful week, LIFE's pages will make the 18 million men, women, and children who read LIFE each week eyewitnesses of the news of the world and the ways of the world's people. And, having seen, their knowledge of the world will be enriched and their understanding deepened. For they have discovered in LIFE a new kind of pictorial journalism, which satisfies that strangely compulsive modern desire to see and to know and to be informed. That is why LIFE is the most potent editorial force in America today. And that is why LIFE has the greatest readership ever brought together by one magazine. Tonight, people throughout the country are reading their copies of this week's new issue of LIFE, thinking about it, talking about it. Your copy is waiting at your nearest newsstand. LIFE's price is ten cents.

VOICE -- Again next Friday night at this same hour . . . join LIFE on the air with the March of Time! This is the National Broadcasting Company.

Copyright © 1938 by Time Inc.