Capital flight has often been described as an epidemic which spreads under conditions of looming economic or political disaster. In the mood of collective fear, the catchword becomes 'Man muss Devisen kaufen'. Investors scramble to transfer their wealth to somewhere safe, usually beyond the national frontier, before the gates slam shut. European investors had little evidence of how far the US authorities could be trusted not to interfere with their capital in a state of war. But the risk of US unpredictability had to be set against the danger that the traditional European safe havens — the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland — were unsafe from German attack. The 'unadvised' investor in summer 1938 could readily have considered the possibility that Germany was bluffing. Germany might proceed to further acts of aggression 'to protect' its minorities in Poland, the Baltic States and Romania.