Royall Tyler to Robert Woods Bliss, April 5, 1938

S.D.N.“League of Nations.”

5.IV.38

Dear Robert.

Here are some more of Bustros’sElias (Elie) Bustros, an antiquities dealer in Beirut, Lebanon. offerings, with his letter.The whereabouts of this letter are not known.

The terra-cotta roundelThis terracotta roundel has not been identified. is a repro., or very nearly a repro., of one of the Morgan dishes from Cyprus, in the Metrop. Mus.David plates, silver, Byzantine, 629–630, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 17.190.394–399. Perhaps interesting to have it for that reason. I have no doubt that it’s contemporary with the silver dish. The enameled lampThis enameled lamp has not been identified. I don’t much care for, but it’s perhaps worth considering as a Syrian example of the champlevé technique which was much practiced in Gaul. The earringsThese earrings have not been identified. & the crossThis cross has not been identified. are very pretty – I think you may possibly want them. The other things nothing. Let me know at once if you want me to make any offer, & if not, please return the photos.

The mess in France is so distressing, and the effects of it on the whole European situation so relentless, that one hardly dares to make a comment, lest tomorrow’s news bring something still worse. Ever since Feb. 4,On February 4, 1938, the German government and military were reorganized. Adolf Hitler became Minister of War, and other personnel changes in both the army and diplomatic corps, formerly led by moderates, brought them under the direct control of the German National Socialist Party. & more especially since March 12,On March 12, 1938, the German army marched into Austria unopposed and seized control of the country (the “Anschluss”). I’ve been gloomily reflecting on the fatal linking up of blunder after blunder after blunder that constituted the Western powers’ policy in central Europe & particularly on the Danube, ever since the armistice. And on the magical sureness with which HitlerAdolf Hitler (1889–1945), a German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. has chosen his moment for lightening-quick action. The stage is so set for him now that he may well achieve his ends without having to fight – tho’ the Cz. Sl. nutFollowing the German annexation (“Anschluss”) of Austria in March 1938, the conquest of Czechoslovakia became Hitler’s next ambition. By March 16, 1939, the Germans occupied the entirety of Czechoslovakia. will be a harder one than any he’s had to crack so far, and he’ll need all his skills plus all his luck to pull it off.

It’s sickening to think of Austria—poor devils, can one blame them, after all that’s gone before, if they suddenly rub their eyes now & feel they’ve got a new chance? It was folly, from the beginning, to reduce them to their post-war status & expect it to last. The only chance was to support a restoration there & in Hungary, with a regroupment including Cz. Sl.—but BenesEdvard Beneš (1884–1948), a leader of the Czechoslovak independence movement, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the second President of Czechoslovakia (1935–1938). was too petty to see it until it was too late. If ever there was a false alarm, it was Benes: able, clever, industrious, and with as much vision as a mole. Old Masaryck [sic]Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (Thomas Masaryk) (1850–1937), an Austrian-Czech politician who advocated Czech independence during the First World War. He became the founder and first President of Czechoslovakia. Initially he wanted to reform the Austro-Hungarian monarchy into a democratic state, but during the First World War he favored the abolition of the monarchy and succeeded with the help of the Allied Powers. would have been capable of acting while it was yet time, but Benes always blocked him. And with the Quai d’OrsayThe French Ministry of Foreign Affairs was located at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, and thus the ministry is often called the Quai d’Orsay. seeing through B’s eyes, and Downing Street10 Downing Street, the official residence and the office of the Prime Minister of Great Britain.  caring Damn all—alas, alas. Much love

R. T.

P.S.

Bill sends me the catalogue of a sale at Sotheby’s,This Sotheby’s auction has not been identified. at which he picked up (£13.0.0) the little lama [sic]This llama object has not been identified. & the dicky-birdThis dicky-bird object has not been identified. you’ll see (I’m sending the catalogue) and a dealer whose name Bill doesn’t know, but who has a place in Paris, 1 rue des Beaux-Arts, got the beakerThis beaker has not been identified. for £18.0.0.

You might perhaps care to have the gold beaker. If you do, send me a cable giving me a limit, & if the dealer still has it, I dare say he’d take a modest turn on it. Bill says there was almost no one at the sale.

I’m tempted to resume the lament that ends on p. 1 of this letter, but I’d better not. You know it all, already.

R

Also for my poor Hunks!“Hungarians.” Imagine what a dilemma faces them!In February 1938, the Hungarian government arrested the leaders of the Hungarian National Socialist Party in order to stamp out the Fascist-National Socialist movement. The German annexation of Austria (“Anschluss”) in March, however, made Germany a neighbor, and this ended any plans for a Hapsburg restoration and the expansion of the Little Entente to include Austria and Hungary. Well, with all my affection for them, the present juncture is one at which I don’t think I could help them, and my presence would be more of an embarrassment to them than anything else. I’m glad I got out when I did. A small affair—but the LeagueLeague of Nations. hasn’t so very many on its record in which the decision was taken betimes,—instead of just waiting to be plucked like a ripe pear, which attitude has been the normal one for the padres“Leaders.” of Western policy all these years.

 
Associated Places: Austria; France; Hungary