Written: October 1944
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 6 no. 6 (October 1944)
Transcription: Lisi 2004
Markup/Proofread:: Emil 2006
The allies have entered Germany and already in the tiny corner they occupy, they have shown their aims and intentions.
A hard and merciless peace against the Germans, has been promised. The generosity of Versailles is not to be repeated. The suggestion is made that Germany is to be occupied by the Great Powers for 10 years or more. Threats of dismemberment, handing the Rhineland to France; East Prussia, Silesia and Pomerania up to the Oder to the Poles; bits and pieces to Holland, Belgium and Denmark; and threats that Germany will be divided in two as Separate entities - all this is held out to the German masses as the happy result of Allied victory.
No wonder they have resisted desperately both in the East and in the West.
And now, this very resistance engendered by Allied policy is to be used as the excuse for the carrying out of their threats! Here we have a vicious circle. But an intentional one. The Allied imperialists want the Germans to resist. They want the German workers to fight desperately. Even though this may mean the lives of tens and hundreds of thousands of British, American, and Russian soldiers.
In an article in the Daily Express, as early as the 28th March of this year, called "Why Don't the Germans Crack?" written by Paul Holt, the comment is made that 6 million of the German people at that date were already homeless.
When Hitler sent troops marching in for the occupation of Hungary, to keep Horthy's tail up, the news was received throughout Germany with "utter apathy".
"Then what keeps the Germans steady? Fear. Strength through fear is what they've got."
Holt cynically goes on to comment:
"The march of events and the pronouncements of the leaders of their enemies huddle them together and deprive them of their last alibi."
Where else can they turn but to the Nazis who brought all this upon them? What other power or strength do they have to turn to? Since they must die as a nation by the sword, they resolve to live a little longer by the sword.
And, reviewing this, the Allied leaders are content... Thus, the responsibility for the support of Hitler rests entirely on the shoulders of Allied imperialism.
Yet despite this, in spite of all the crimes of Allied imperialism, their knowledge of what awaits them should they be defeated, the resistance of the German workers against Hitler has been growing greater and greater in the last period. It is now a race between the Allies and the revolution. Which will conquer first. Even the capitalist press, rigidly censored, day by day, reveals what is taking place in Germany.
The Daily Telegraph of May 1st, reports of a revolt in Dresden as follows:
"After a revolt recently by anti-Nazi elements in Dresden, the bodies of hundreds of rioters who had been shot were left lying in the streets as a warning to others."
"...The immediate cause of the revolt is not clear, but it is known that the anti-Nazi element among the workers is increasing rapidly in the city."
The Journal de Genève in an article entitled "The Struggle Against Defeatism in Germany", says:
"In a big town in Southern Germany executions take place at least three times a week. This town is no exception. Even so, the fate of its inhabitants appears almost enviable compared with that of Berliners or Viennese."
"I am alluding only to the executions of civilians - that is to say, saboteurs, defeatists, disparagers of the regime, enemy agents, etc. The German 'resistance' also has its victims. They are mostly workers and shopkeepers," says the writer.
Dozens of reports have come through recently, of strikes, mutinies, armed clashes and rebellions inside Germany. The most recent being reported in the Evening Standard on September 23rd, 1944:
"The miners of Saarbrcken have left the pits and are on strike."
The terror in Germany has reached the greatest heights since the coming to power of Hitler. Tens of thousands are being arrested, thousands murdered in the concentration camps. Workers in Austrian factories came out on strike after the murder of Thämann and Breitscheid. Two thousand planes have been kept in reserve by Himmler to deal with the home front, according to the Daily Telegraph.
It is significant that all news of the class struggle in Britain and America has been suppressed by Goebbels' censorship. The strikes of the miners in Britain and America were never reported to the German workers for fear that this would reveal to the German masses that there were two Britains and two Americas as well as two Germanies; not only the Britain of Churchill but the Britain of John MacLean; not only the America of Roosevelt, but the America of Eugene Debs.
This is the greatest crime of the British Labour and Communist Party leaders: that they, who have a relative amount of freedom, are preparing to support the repression of the German masses who are conducting the struggle so heroically against great odds, especially the odds of the Allied terms.
These smooth-tongued traitors, viciously slander the German masses and prepare to justify the imposition of imperialist repression on the German masses as bad as the slave regime imposed by Hitler in France and other European countries, and to justify the reduction of the German masses to a condition of colonial servitude like that of the Indians. Lenin said that the Versailles Treaty had reduced the German people to that of a colonial or semi-colonial bondage. Now, Stalin goes the whole hog. In justification for his policy, the Moscow radio broadcasts:
"The world has begun to generalise. There is now little difference made between Nazis and Germans. This difference will soon disappear completely."
"If Hitler is not overthrown now by the Germans themselves, the German nation may miss the last, the very last chance of reconciliation of forgiveness, even of mercy."
The plans for Germany are revealed in all their stark reaction. Eisenhower announces in a proclamation that they come, not as "oppressors" of the Germans from the yoke of the Nazis, but as "conquerors". The difference between "oppression" and conquest will be difficult to find when one reads the decrees of the military government. They contain the following provisions:
Curfew from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Travel forbidden without a special pass. Gatherings of more than 5 people for the purpose of discussion in either public or private, are prohibited. Firearms to be given up.
Newspapers, publications and posters of any kind will not be printed, disseminated nor posted. Public officials to stay at their posts.
These provisions establish Hitlerism without Hitler. The racial doctrine of the Nazis, but applied now to the Germans - and all this in the name of "extirpating Hitlerism"! Those provisions of the decrees banning the Nazi Party, its insignia and banners are meant clearly to throw dust in the eyes of the British and American people. The masses have no love for Hitler and once the S.S. and Gestapo have been removed they would automatically disappear without the "aid" of Eisenhower. On the contrary, far from destroying the Nazis - especially the bureaucrats who have faithfully carried out their crimes - these measures are meant to protect them. In this town an "independent" Nazi has already been appointed mayor - and this is in keeping with the policy of the Allies.
In an editorial in the Manchester Guardian of 8th August, 1944, they cynically remark:
"To whom will the occupying armies turn for help in administration if not to the Nazi bureaucracy?"
Had the Allies been really interested in smashing the Nazis instead of preventing elections, they would hold a democratic election; instead of preventing political expression in newspapers, they would encourage it.
"They [the Germans] don't seem to labour under the delusion of having lost their freedom to conquerors because they are accustomed to not having any - or rather they feel merely that they have passed from one form of military discipline to another."
Here is the secret of this poisonous campaign, of this Hitlerite racialism, on the part of British and American imperialism and their lackeys. It is not because the masses in Germany support Hitler, but because they are against Hitler. The German workers have gone through the experience of Kaiserism, "democracy", Fascism, what else have they left except Socialism? And the ruling class are preparing to out-Hitler Hitler in bloody repressions against the German masses. In this, of course, they will receive the support of the very elements who organised Hitler: the capitalists, generals and the Nazi bureaucrats. They will become Allied Quislings.
It is not they who will be suppressed and suffer; it is the German workers, peasants and middle class. But the German workers will resist with desperation this repression which will not differ in the least from that of Hitler, except that it comes from a foreign oppressor. In spite of all, the German masses have resisted and are resisting the Nazis. How much more so will they resist Allied oppression?
But the Allies are anxious because it is not merely the German masses they have to deal with, but their own workers too. The workers are supporting the war because they wish to wipe out Hitlerism, but they have no quarrel with the ordinary German workers, women and children. That is why the imperialists - not content with their lies that a German and a Nazi is one and the same - have poured forth a spate of propaganda in the last few weeks that the Nazis are preparing to "go underground" in Germany. This propaganda is nothing but a preparation for repression against the German workers. They are expecting resistance and this is their method of preparing to meet it. The example of Italy has shown that once the masses are free from the iron heel of Fascism, it is not so easy to replace it. According to the reports in the capitalist press itself, the Republican Fascists have utterly failed to gain any support except from a few crack-brains and cranks in Southern Italy. And in the North, despite German bayonets, hundreds, and even thousands of Fascists have been murdered by the workers.
British workers! Do not be deceived! And the British workers will not be deceived. Already, Stalin and his hacks together with the capitalist press in Britain and America, are holding up their hands in horror at what is taking place in Germany. The News Chronicle of September 22nd, 1944 reports:
"The Soviet press has expressed its relief and satisfaction at the strong protests raised in this country against the first symptoms of fraternisation by Allied troops with German civilians.
"The Red Army has behaved with perfect propriety to the civilian populations in its advance towards Berlin, and will doubtless continue to do so. But what the Russians fear is a growth of an easy-going temper among the Western Allies which might emasculate the peace terms.
"They say with stern clarity that punishment for a terrible crime against humanity must precede rehabilitations - and that if a repetition of the crime is to be prevented the German people must accept their share of the responsibility."
The British and the American armies have issued stern orders against fraternisation with the Germans under penalty of severe punishment. As these reports indicate, within 24 hours of the American army reaching Germany, fraternisation had already begun. If that is the position now, what will it be when the Allied armies reach the big industrial centres in Germany: Cologne, Berlin and Hamburg?
The American and British workers will not allow themselves to be converted into S.S. and Gestapo executioners. Inevitably, they will fraternise, in spite of all orders with the German workers and peasants. In the House of Lords, one of the commanders who had experience of this fraternisation which compelled the withdrawal of the Allied armies after the last war, warned of the necessity to send the wives and children of the soldiers of the occupying force to Germany. The fears of the ruling class are justified. In the place of reactionary racialism and nationalism which lays the seeds of new world wars, the class solidarity of the workers will break through in spite of the sell-out of the Labour and Stalinist leadership.
The workers of Germany and Britain will fight for a Socialist Germany and a Socialist Britain in a Socialist Europe.