Joseph Hansen

Wall Street Threatens Another War

Spokesmen of Big Business Launch Attack on U.S.S.R.

(9 March 1946)

Source: The Militant, Vol. X No. 10, 9 March 1946, p. 6.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2018 by Einde O’Callaghan.
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American imperialism is raising a tremendous hue and cry against the Soviet Union. Nothing like it has been seen since 1939 when the Allied propaganda machine, in defense of Baron Mannerheim’s “poor little Finland,” opened all stops against the USSR.

Here are a few items that illustrate the rabid and dangerous character of this campaign.

Dr. Harold E. Lasswel, well-known political expert of Big Business, declared in a book released January 19 that in shaping foreign policy from now on all “moves will be considered in relation to the strength of Russia and America in a possible war ...”

Dr. Isaiah Bowman, president of Johns Hopkins University and official adviser to the State Department, said February 23 that “The Division into two worlds was never more sharp than now ... Stalin’s speech of February 10 ... means preparation for possible war.”

Speaking of the need to “clear the air” in connection with the Soviet Union, the February 25 N.Y. Times, conservative organ of American Big Business, made a thinly-veiled editorial threat: “It has been said that the Germans embarked on the first World War because they doubted British participation, and on the second because they doubted American participation. Such doubts should not tempt aggressors in the future.”

The N.Y. Daily News, expressing the viewpoint of the pre-war “isolationists,” is demanding that Washington retain the military bases built on Iceland during World War II because of the strategic character of that island as a stepping stone in a possible war with the Soviet Union.

“Get Tough” Attitude

On February 27, Senator Vandenburg, authoritative spokesman of the Republican Party on foreign policy and U.S. delegate to the UNO, demanded a “get tough” attitude toward the USSR.

On February 28, Secretary of State Byrnes, speaking for the Democratic Party and the Truman Administration, followed up Vandenburg’s threats with a bristling statement that Washington “intends to defend the Charter” of the UNO. “We do not want to stumble and stagger into situations where no power intends war, but no power will be able to avert war.”

And on March 1, the Navy Department charged the Soviet Union with a “hostile act,” namely, firing at an American plane in distant Manchuria.

The immediate objective of this propaganda barrage is to intensify the diplomatic pressure against the Soviet Union. Anglo-American imperialism wishes to confine the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union to the narrowest possible area, to wall it off and to prevent it from any further expansion.

The Kremlin bureaucracy on the other hand, fears the spectre of a Third World War. Having long ago given up the defense of the Soviet Union by the revolutionary methods practised by Lenin and Trotsky, it seeks to entrench itself in all the border lands of the USSR, regardless of the will or welfare of the peoples there.

This immediate conflict in foreign policies gave rise to the sharp diplomatic exchanges in the opening sessions of the United Nations Organisation. But these diplomatic and propaganda outbursts also issue from the fundamental antagonism in economic structures between world imperialism and the USSR. These will inevitably lead to another worldwide explosion if social revolution does not intervene in time.

What Is Next?

While this diplomatic war of nerves goes on American Big Business continues its drive for universal military conscription and a gigantic military machine. The atom bomb factories continue to pour out atom bombs at the reported rate of 500 a year. The Brass Hats continue preparations for grandiose and colossally expensive “tests” of newer and more frightful atomic explosives. In the Pacific and the Atlantic Washington tightens its grip on the countless military bases constructed during World War II.

All the propaganda about the Second World War being a holy crusade to bring peace has thus turned out to be a tissue of lies. The Allied powers have now split into sharply antagonistic camps. Within a few months after V-J Day, Anglo-American imperialism is girding for the Third World War.

All Stalin’s promises that the Second World War would bring security to the first workers’ state in history have likewise turned out to be lies. The great cities of the Soviet Union now face annihilation from atomic bombs wielded by the very Allies whom Stalin praised as “peace-loving nations.”

Tragic confirmation is in this way being given to Leon Trotsky’s warning in 1940 that unless socialism is established, “The third imperialist war would be waged not by national states and not by empires of the old type but by whole continents ... National uprisings and pacifications would culminate in a new world war, which would be the grave or civilization.”

What position should the workers take toward these ominous preparations for World War III?

First, they must oppose the mad drive of Anglo-American imperialism toward the atomic annihilation of mankind. All the rabid propaganda against the Soviet Union is obvious diplomatic preparation to throw the blame for the new holocaust on the prospective foe. It is the same technique followed by both Hitler and the Allied powers at the onset of the Second World War.

Secondly, the workers must oppose Stalinism tooth and nail as the most perfidious force in the labor movement. The record has proved a thousand times over that Stalinism is incapable of anything but the most treacherous betrayals of the world working class.

In its brutal moves in Iran, Manchuria, and Eastern Europe, the Kremlin bureaucracy has once again violated all the principles of Bolshevism. It has replaced Lenin’s firm adherence to the principle of self-determination of peoples (including the right of secession from the Soviet Union) with cynical seizures of territories at the point of the bayonet. This crime has further alienated the sympathies of the oppressed masses of the world and set back the struggle for world socialism.

Thirdly, in case of war the Soviet Union must be defended from imperialist attack. This necessity is not so easily seen, as many workers tend to identify the rapacious and oppressive Stalinist bureaucracy with the Soviet Union. From a correct estimate of the crimes of Stalinism, they make by analogy an incorrect appraisal of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin’s ruthless, totalitarian policy has contributed immeasurably to this confusion. Workers the world over, to cite but one instance, feel the same revulsion over the reactionary role of the Red Army under Stalin in Iran, Manchuria and Eastern Europe that they feel over the role of the imperialist armies in Indonesia. India, China, the Philippines, etc. Stalin’s crimes furnish grist to the mill of the imperialist propagandists.

Defend Soviet Union

But the Soviet Union still remains a mighty conquest of the working class despite its Stalinist degeneration. Its continued existence weakens barbarous, war-breeding world capitalism. The Soviet Union can be compared to a powerful trade union which has fallen into the hands of racketeering bureaucrats. Class-conscious workers fight the bureaucracy up and down the line in such a union, but against an attempt of the bosses to crush the union they are its most militant defenders.

It must be added that those who suffer most from such a bureaucracy are the rank and file within the organization. The most oppressed and terrorized victims of the Kremlin bureaucracy are the Soviet masses. The battle against Stalinism is at the same time a battle in the cause of the Soviet people, who yearn to throw these bureaucrats off their backs.

Fourthly, capitalism has now reached such an advanced stage of decay it is no longer capable of anything but plunging the world from one terrible slaughter to the next. If the imperialist war-mongers are permitted to continue their present course, mankind faces obliteration from the atomic bomb and the even worse instruments of death now being prepared in the laboratories of unbridled militarism.

To avert the catastrophe of a Third World War capitalism must give way to the socialist society.

Only socialism offers a way out of the suicidal impasse to which capitalism has brought humanity. Only socialism can open the road to the planned society of peace, plenty and the brotherhood of man.

The present war-mongering propaganda of American imperialism is another grim warning to the working class that time grows short. The fight against Wall Street and perfidious Stalinism has become the key political question facing the labor movement. The struggle for socialism must be carried forward with the utmost energy!


Last updated on: 22 December 2018