Written: December 1943
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 5 no. 24 (Mid-December 1943)
Transcription: Lisi 2004
Markup/Proofread:: Emil 2006
The last few weeks have been marked by intense diplomatic activities on the part of the “United” Nations. These conferences mark the new turn in the war in which Germany faces inevitable collapse and Japan is pushed onto the Defensive.
The main motivation of these Conferences has been an attempt to arrive at some agreement between the Allies on the political map in Europe once German Imperialism has been defeated.
The Teheran [Tehran] Agreement has been hailed as a guarantee of a better world and of permanent peace by the whole of the capitalist press. Earlier, that political buffoon Harry Pollitt, getting down on all fours in front of his imperialist masters, the better to lick their boots, had proclaimed ecstatically that the Moscow Agreement was an even greater event than the Russian Revolution! The superlatives of the C.P. in describing the results of the meeting between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill were in similar vein.
However the real meaning of the Agreement, and we may be sure that it contained secret provisions which have not been published, is sufficiently clear.
The unexpected strength of the Soviet Union has compelled the imperialists temporarily to arrive at an agreement with her. German imperialism has hurled its might against the Soviet Union in vain; despite terrible wounds the Soviet Union remains a mighty military power. In addition to which the imperialists have to reckon with the fact that the war has already lasted longer than the last imperialist war, and the war weariness and bitterness of the masses throughout the world brings in its train revolutionary explosions. Especially is this so in relation to the Continent of Europe.
They must end the war quickly if events are not to place the situation completely beyond their control.
But the overwhelming majority of the peoples of occupied Europe look towards the Soviet Union for a way out. And in Britain, and America too, the working class looks towards the Soviet Union with sympathy. Thus the imperialists are compelled to attempt a compromise with the Kremlin bureaucracy. They can do so because Stalin fears the Socialist Revolution in Europe as much as they do themselves. Against the Socialist Revolution in Europe they have a common basis. The Stalinist bureaucracy is the only force, they recognise, which can assist them in smashing the movement of the masses in Europe.
This agreement was to decide on the treatment of Germany and her satellites after they have been defeated. For Europe it offers no way out. Draconic retribution meted out to the German nation, on the same lines as the Nazis inflicted on occupied Europe, can only sow the seeds of future war, just as the basis for the present war was sown at the Versailles Peace table. In return for the sabotage of the revolution in Europe, the Stalinist bureaucracy is obviously demanding that enormous reparations must be paid by Germany.
But while sowing illusions in the minds of the world working class in the repulsive ceremony at Teheran, of the aims and objects [?] of his “Allies”, Stalin has been afraid of their intentions towards the Soviet Union. He has objected to the manoeuvres behind the scenes in which they have prepared to form a new “cordon sanitaire” in Eastern and Western Europe directed against the Soviet Union. Because of the relationship of forces, in words, and only temporarily, they have been forced to abandon this project. The imperialists have apparently agreed to abandon the plan for Federations in Eastern and Central Europe which are to be directed against the Soviet Union, and has conceded to Russia the frontiers the bureaucracy has demanded. A significant statement appears in the Times of December 13th in dealing with the Czech-Russian Treaty saying that Czechoslovakian and Russian relations will be influenced by their common frontier.
Such a statement appearing in an article in the Times was an acknowledgement by the mouthpiece of British imperialism, of the frontiers established by Russia in 1940.
Meanwhile, the Anglo-American imperialists are using their enormous financial and material preponderance of armaments for the purpose of undermining the position of Germany before dealing their decisive death thrust by invading Europe. Churchill and Roosevelt have had discussions with the President of Turkey. Pressure and blandishments must have been used to persuade Turkey to enter the war. And it is indeed unlikely that Turkey, no more than Holland, Norway or any of the other small countries could stay out of the war if the Balkans became a sphere of operations. Meanwhile rumours have appeared that Roosevelt (and probably Churchill too) is having discussions with the “democrats” Salazar and Franco to define their attitude when Western Europe is invaded. The spectacle of the fascist butcher Franco on the same side as the “democracies” is not to be ruled out. Promises of loans, economic aid, etc., might induce Franco to grant air bases or even a right of passage across Spain. As always the small powers have no choice but that of their masters; their decisions rest not on questions of democracy or fascism, but the relative strength of the giants struggling for world domination, and which group of powers they believe will be on the winning side. Threats directed to Finland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary are intended to persuade these satellites of Hitler to change sides, as Badoglio has done in Italy to move over to the stronger side. Thus the gruesome game of power politics goes on.
The Anglo-American imperialists wish to confront German imperialism with such an array of overwhelming force as to persuade the German generals and industrialists, already preoccupied with the threat of revolution on the part of the working class, to remove Hitler as the Italians removed Mussolini and submit to the victors. If the deal with these elements should not succeed, then all the preparations will have been made to invade Europe from all sides.
The almost-certain defeat of Nazi Germany will not solve any of the problems for Europe or the world, any more than the destruction of the Kaiser’s Germany inaugurated an epoch of peace and democratic advance. The imperialists themselves are compelled to recognise the nature of the problem which capitalism is incapable of solving. The problem of the division of Europe into many states which have antagonistic interests and yet are mutually interdependent one upon the other. The Times in an editorial comments:
“But Europe is a unit in the sense that no plan of military security or of economic order can work which does not treat Europe as a whole.
“...Efficiency demands a comprehensive plan and comprehensive action not limited by national frontiers; and the same will be equally true of long range economic construction.”
The Times regards the problem of Europe from the angle of joint hegemony over a capitalist Europe by Britain and Russia:
“In Europe that organised preponderance of power must be exercised, primarily though not exclusively, and in the name of the United Nations, by Great Britain and Russia...
“If on the other hand Great Britain and Russia were to fall out, or if they were to disinterest themselves in the affairs of the Continent, then the framework of European order and security would break down and the means of enforcing the continued dismemberment of Germany, even if it had been imposed at the outset, would no longer exist. In the only conditions in which European security can be a reality, the dismemberment of the Reich is irrelevant and unnecessary; in any other conditions it is impracticable and could not be maintained…
“The true solution must then be sought on other lines. In the Europe of the future, the key points, of military and economic power, including—and especially the whole war potential of the German Reich, will be under the firm control of organs representative of Europe as a whole or, in some cases perhaps, of a still wider constituency.”
Such a solution, which, apart from the probable secret intentions to dismember East Prussia and possibly Silesia as a compensation to Poland, with bits and pieces torn from Germany given to the other Allies of Britain on the European Continent, would leave Germany intact except for the detachment of Austria from the Reich. Probably the Soviet Union is demanding that Germany should be left as a single state as she was after the last war, as an insurance against her present allies.
Whatever the alignment of forces, the “peace” will be even more transitory than it was after the last war. Stalin’s policy, if successful, would not preserve the status quo for long. A capitalist Europe, if stabilised, would speedily develop to the victory of the most barbarous reaction, and this in its turn would prepare the way for a new war of intervention against the Soviet Union, despite the services of the bureaucracy in the interests of capitalism. Meanwhile the contradictions between America and Britain would have developed a new intensity. The continuance of capitalism would speedily and with inexorable necessity result in a new and even more monstrous world bloodbath. Such is the price for mankind of capitalist anarchy and capitalist chaos as expressed through the outworn private ownership of the means of production and the outworn national states.
But fortunately, the calculations of Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, no more than those of Hitler and Mussolini, will be able to dictate the course of events. Already the civil war, under the very heel of the invader, taking place in Poland, Greece and Yugoslavia are a mirror of developments that will burst forth throughout the European continent. Not the present rulers of destiny but the masses of all Europe and the world will have the last word to say. They will fight for a United Socialist States of Europe and a Socialist World.