Written: July 1945
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 7 no. 10 (Mid-July 1945)
Transcription: Harry 2007
Markup/Proofread: Emil 2007
Non-fraternisation with the German people has collapsed. This is the first blow at the plans of the allied imperialists in relation to Germany. It marks the beginning of the end of the campaign of racial hatred and chauvinism disseminated by the capitalist class and their lackeys in the labour movement.
It is little over two months since the complete defeat of Germany. The Allies had announced a savage and vengeful programme of enslavement of Germany and the German people.
Taking advantage of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, the ruling class endeavoured to inflame the workers against the German people. Fearful of the consequences of a free interchange of ideas between the Allies troops and the German workers, they threatened severe punishment for any fraternisation with the German people. To bolster this up they conducted a concerted propaganda campaign to saddle the German people with the crimes of the Nazi regime.
But as we predicted in the columns of the Socialist Appeal, the campaign has failed in its purpose. In less time than could have been expected the Allied capitalist class have been compelled to withdraw the non-fraternisation ban. During the short time of its operation, the mass violations of the order were so great, that it became a complete farce. Punishments and threats were of no avail. Thus, in order to retain their grip on the Army of Occupation, the Anglo-American imperialists were reluctantly compelled to change their policy.
Not only on this question are they preparing to make concessions, but also in relation to the freedom of political parties and the right of the workers to organise in Trade Unions, the Allies are apparently preparing to make certain concessions.
The Stalinist bureaucracy in Russian occupied Germany have cleverly manoeuvred by allowing their Stalinist puppets, the Catholic Centre Party and the Social Democrats to conduct legal political activity, publication of press, organisation of unions, etc. Of course, all on the basis of a capitalist and not a communist regime in Germany.
The attempt at a military dictatorship over the German people solely based on the bayonets of Anglo-American imperialism and the Red Army, has been revealed as a reactionary Utopia. Within Germany, the imperialists are compelled to seek some base among the people.
But meanwhile, the plans for the dismemberment of Germany, for the national humiliation of the German people, and for the conversion of Germany into a semi-colony of the Big Three are to be continued.
The responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis is not to be laid on their real backers, the German capitalists and bankers and the British and French capitalists. The burdens of dismemberment and defeat are to be thrown onto the backs of the thrice oppressed and enslaved German workers and peasants, the first victims of Hitlerism.
The Times correspondent in describing the conditions in Germany in its issue of July 6th, remarks:
“…rarely in history can people have paid a more fearful price for the crimes of their leaders…”
While the German masses starve and suffer the capitalists and their supporters are still living well. Selkirk Panton, in the Daily Express of 6th July reports from Berlin in an article entitled: “Berlin Still Has Waiters In Tails”:
“‘I can get you anything you want,’ said George, ‘but you will have to pay for it. English cigarettes, even, but they will cost you £1 a piece.’
“George told me this as we sat having lunch today in one of Berlin’s luxury black market restaurants. It might have been a cosy, intimate little restaurant in London or Paris.
“There were soft-shaded lights. Waiters wearing tails and black ties moved noiselessly on thick carpets.
“There was glass in the windows and flowers on each table.
“The curtains over the windows hid from us the ghastly sight of blitzed houses on the other side of Kurkurstendam, once Berlin’s most fashionable and proudest boulevard.”
“Sitting comfortably there, sipping a brandy, real brandy which cost 30s. for a little finger, George gave me the prices he can get on Berlin’s black market from the city’s once smart set. They are per pound:
“Fresh dairy butter, £47; sugar, £7. 10s; dried peas, £3. 15s; meat, £9; sausage, £9; bread (outside the rationed amount), £2. 10s; coffee, £35; tea, £45.
“Cigarettes £1 each; cigars £1. 5s; new suit, £250 to £300; men’s and women’s shoes, (of bad ersatz leather), £70 a pair; home made “fire-water”, £40 a bottle; real rum, £62. 10s; whisky, £80; champagne, £10; Rhine wine, £9.
“A cake of soap £7. 10s; bicycles, £250 each; radio sets, £175.”
Thus—as in every country—amid the ruin and misery of Germany, the capitalist vultures batten and thrive.
The Anglo-American imperialists regard the sufferings of the German people with apathy and cynicism. But a new note is beginning to creep into their pronouncements. Open fraternisation will accelerate the realisation by the Allied troops that the German workers are no different from themselves.
The Times’ military correspondent in its issue of July 13th openly declares:
“…no one in possession of the facts and figures, up to the highest authority, expresses complete confidence that something approaching famine in the Ruhr can be avoided this winter. The most that is claimed is that all reasonable measures are being energetically taken with the best professional advice, and that if the winter crisis can be survived the future will be much brighter. And a British army of occupation could scarcely continue to exist amid starvation.”
Another capitalist paper points to the horror with which dead and dying men, women and children in the streets of the German cities would be greeted by the British and American troops.
Thus the allies look with foreboding to the situation which is developing in Germany. Meanwhile, as the Times has admitted, Germany forms an integral and fundamental part of European economy. In fact it remains the hub of European economy. To ruin Germany and lower the standard of living is to help in the decay and decline of Europe. But already in the docks of Hamburg, in Berlin and other cities men and women are being paid 4d. an hour by the Allied authorities! This at a time when prices of anything beyond the barest necessities are of the fantastic nature described.
The Stalinist Bureaucracy in the part of Germany occupied by themselves are playing a double game. While wooing the masses with fine phrases and simultaneously propping up the capitalists, they have been stripping Germany and Austria systematically of a large part of the machinery, stocks and clothes and other goods. Having turned their back to the only real alternative for Germany and Europe—a Socialist United States, in which all would collaborate to build a new world, they are plundering Europe in order to strengthen Russia.
But already, according to reports, this is having its effect in Austria where the workers are beginning to turn their backs on the CP quislings of Stalin. According to information received, the Trotskyists and former Spartacists have formed the German Section of the Fourth International. In Russian occupied Germany the Stalinist press is already beginning to denounce the Trotskyists and Trotskyist tendencies. Coming events will push the German workers in the direction of revolutionary communism.
The measures of repression by the Allies will have the same fate as the non-fraternisation ban. The British and American soldiers will get tired of acting as policemen for the Allied capitalists. They will wish to go home, where already struggles between the workers and the bosses are taking place. The peace imposed by the Allied victors will be not much more durable than that imposed by Hitler in Europe. -In the coming years the German, British. Russian, American and European workers and soldiers under the leadership of the Fourth International, will write their own programme of peace: a programme of fraternity and co-operation on the basis of the Socialist United States of Europe.