Li Fu-jen

International Rivalries Grow
Following Defeat of Germany

(26 May 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 21, 26 May 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Now that German imperialism has been eliminated as a factor in the relationships of the Big Powers, the ground has been cleared for a reassertion of international rivalries and antagonisms which were thrust into the background by the exigencies, of the military alliance against Hitler’s Third Reich. A new relation of forces has been established on the international arena and is finding its first expression in growing friction between the Allied imperialists and the Soviet Union.

The gushing “friendliness” which marked the period of the Allied-Soviet alliance against Germany has all but disappeared. Where hitherto the “Big Three” were amicably coupled in the capitalist press, we now see a conspicuous separation. Issues engendering friction and animosity are multiplying. One does not have to seek far for the causes, which reside in the changed international position of the Soviet Union.

Germany’s defeat has made the Soviet Union the most powerful state, with the most powerful military forces, on the European continent. With the defeat of Japan, the Soviet Union will also emerge as the greatest power in eastern Asia. Naturally, the imperialists are worried. They did not fight Germany in order to have Stalin seize a large part of the spoils of war and make the Soviet Union the master of Europe. They are not fighting Japan in order to establish Stalin’s hegemony in the East.

This explains the concern of Washington and London over the action of Stalin’s Yugoslav puppet, Marshall Tito, in occupying the Italian peninsula of Istria, including the highly strategic Adriatic port of Trieste, and the province of Carinthia in southern Austria. It also explains the persistent refusal of Britain and America to recognize the puppet regimes which Stalin has set up in Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria. The imperialist wolves have their own plans for Europe and these plans conflict sharply with Stalin’s moves.

For reasons which we shall discuss in a further article, the imperialists are compelled to refrain, if at all possible, from plunging into a fresh war in Europe at this time. It is knowledge of this fact which has encouraged Stalin in his unbridled “expansionism” in Europe. The imperialists must now largely confine themselves to exerting diplomatic and economic pressure on the Kremlin, while working to create an anti-Soviet public opinion which will be needed if and when more forceful measures are contemplated.

Thus Washington and London combine to demand withdrawal of Tito’s forces from Trieste. The British general, Sir Harold Alexander, accuses Tito of using the methods of Hitler, Mussolini and Japan in seizing former Italian and Austrian territories. Churchill, in the British parliament, aims an oblique attack at the Soviet Union with the statement that “there would be little use in punishing the Hitlerites ... if totalitarian or police governments were to take the place of the German invaders.” (Churchill was not, of course, referring to puppet dictatorships set up by the Allies in Italy, Greece and Belgium, but to Stalin’s puppet regimes in eastern Europe and the Balkans.)

At the same time, reports have been appearing in the British press of alleged mistreatment by the Red Army of Allied soldiers liberated from German prison camps. There is also the tremendous furore raised over Stalin’s arrest of the 16 Polish underground leaders. All this is part of the propaganda build-up.

By way of more forceful pressure, Washington has announced the imminent suspension, or at least the drastic curtailment, of Lend-Lease aid to the Soviet Union. Shipments to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease have totalled some $9,000,000,000. Although fighting in Europe has ceased, the Soviet Union is still in dire need of aid from abroad, especially in the matter of consumers’ goods. The Kremlin is even now trying to secure an American loan of $6,000,000,000 with which to finance imports from the United States.

The friction between the Allied powers and the Soviet Union has also been made manifest at the San Francisco conference of the “United Nations.” Here the Allied delegations rallied their numerous small satellite states for an overwhelming vote to defeat Molotov’s attempt to trade admission of the Argentine delegation against the admission of a delegation of Stalin’s puppet Polish government. Molotov thereupon made a demonstrative exit from the conference.

Anti-Soviet Bloc

Upon this and other issues there has been plainly manifested a tendency by the two big imperialist powers – United States and Great Britain – to construct an anti-Soviet bloc. This was observed by at least one observer at the San Francisco conference, I.F. Stone, correspondent for the newspaper PM. In the May 4 issue of that paper he wrote that there was a “tendency, which is very strong, if not dominant, to regard the United Nations Conference on International Organization as a conference for the organization of an anti-Soviet bloc.”

Stone went on to say that this was not his opinion alone; that it was the opinion privately held “by some of the most astute newspapermen here;” and that he “did not set this down on paper until I found confirmation in trustworthy official American quarters I cannot identify.”

To this, the correspondent added the following significant statement:

“The main question in the minds of many State, War and Navy Dept. officials, and too many members of the American delegation, is the balance of forces between the USA and the USSR, an implied assumption that war between them is inevitable and that it is our job to maneuver for as strong a position as possible in anticipation of that conflict.”

Growing friction between the Soviet Union and the imperialists, especially the American imperialists, is a patent reality. But it is by no means the only reality. There are the counter-revolutionary aims held in common by the imperialists and the Kremlin. There is the continuing war against Japan. There is the rivalry between the British and American imperialists, as well as the common front against the Soviet Union which at present unites them. These potent factors, all part of the antagonistic international scene, will be discussed in a further article next week.

Last updated on 7 November 2018