Stress on Union of French and English Catholics
From Our Own Correspondent
The atmosphere here during the past week has been very like that of 1914 and yet strangely different.
There has, of course, been a much more protracted crisis and there have been tragically divided feelings. Rumours have spread on the boulevards very much as they have elsewhere.
There were many reports early in the week that a movement against going to war for Czechoslovakia would take definite shape if Parliament was not summoned, and M. Flandins name was being very freely used.
It must be confessed that Herr Hitler's speech, without making any very profound change in the situation, influenced feeling here a great deal against Germany.
Hopes Disappointed Mr. Chamberlain's popularity has undergone no diminution. On the extreme Left he has been as bitterly attacked in France as in England, and this may be discounted. There has also been a slight modification of sentiment in what may be called the Left Centre. This seems to be due entirely to the psychological effect of disappointed hopes.
It is impossible to interpret the position of France correctly if it is supposed that there have simply been a war party and a peace party opposing each other.
Those who have been most insistently calling for what they describe as firmness have been at heart extremely anxious that the occasion for it should not arise. This is mainly due to circumstances which are very well known but should not be stressed at the present moment.
M. Cot is Unpopular The most unpopular man at the present moment among well-informed Frenchmen is M. Pierre Cot, and it would have been more tactful of him to have kept in the background than to have made himself the mouthpiece of M. Daladier this week.
All sorts of rumours have been in circulation about what happened in London. It was a generally accepted view in the early part of the week that Daladier and Bonnet were far from seeing eye to eye and their respective attitudes were, of course, aligned with those of parties supposed to exist within the British Government.
It is probably unnecessary at this time of day to point out that French people under strain are as calm as any in the world and it would be as unjust to judge Paris by some of its newspapers as to apply the same test to London.
As in 1914 the churches are full, but this has been the case for some time and does not give the same impression as it did twenty-five years ago of a sudden religious revival.
Friends in Brittany tell me that the religious sentiment there has been very marked. This is quite a different situation from that of 1914 when, until the last moment, there was a very general ignorance of what was happening in the world, and it has been said that some of the peasants were under the impression that they were being called to fight their ancient enemy, England.
Men Only At the recent " pardons" in the neighbourhood of Rennes the numbers taking past.were. so, numerous that it was necessary,