Joseph Hansen

Bid to German Capitalist Class
Made by Byrnes

Seeks to Line Up Backers of Hitler Regime
in Drive for New Imperialist War on USSR

(14 September 1946)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 10 No. 37, 14 September 1946, pp. 1 & 2.
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(Joseph Hansen is Socialist Workers Party Candidate for U.S. Senator from N.Y.)

The speech of Secretary of State James F. Byrnes at Stuttgart, Germany, on Sept. 6 is another milepost on the dark and gloomy road to World War III.

There was grim symbolism in the way Anglo-American imperialism organized Byrnes’ appearance. He entered Germany in the ornate car formerly used by Hitler as if he were trying to remind the German capitalists of the tours the dead Nazi leader staged in his “war of nerves,” before 1939.

Amidst the melancholy ruins of the once beautiful Stuttgart, the representative of Wall Street spoke like a Consul of the Old Roman Empire, holding out to the vanquished “enemy” the hope of junior partnership in the conqueror’s grandiose scheme of world conquest.

Carving Countries

The American Secretary of State disposed of borders, areas and whole countries of Europe as casually as a Yankee storekeeper cutting up cheese for sale across the counter.

The Ruhr and Rhineland, he said, couldn’t go to France because the people there “desire to remain united with the rest of Germany.” But imperialist France can have the Saar because France has been “invaded three times by Germany in seventy years.”

Byrnes’ speech was a bid to the German capitalist class to line up with Anglo-American imperialism for the projected war on the Soviet Union. All the points of the text he read fit into that aim, including the declaration that the eastern border of Germany is not permanently fixed at the Oder river.

The offer to set up a “provisional government” likewise fits into this pattern, as does the promise to build up Germany’s industrial strength.

Imperialist Plan

Byrnes’ speech marks the definitive close of the Allied propaganda about converting Germany into pastureland – the so-called “Morgenthau plan.” Even had they wished it, the Allied imperialists could not realize the savage policy ascribed to Morgenthau. But the truth is, the capitalists of Britain and America have long been working on a plan that is far more realistic from their point of view.

This plan is to unite world capitalism in common battle against the Soviet Union. In 1940 Trotsky observed that the USSR “still remains a workers’ state, terrifying to the bourgeoisie of the whole world.”

Wall Street Aim

Passing agreements between this or that capitalist power do not alter the. fact, said Trotsky, recalling words he wrote in 1934, that “taken on the historic scale the contradiction between World imperialism and the Soviet Union is infinitely more profound than the antagonisms which set the individual capitalist countries in opposition to each other.”

Hitler demanded world mastery as his price for leading the imperialist onslaught on the Soviet Union. Washington and London considered this price too high. Wall Street in particular saw the possibility of dominating the world itself.

Having crushed Hitler, Wall Street is now preparing the ground to crush the Soviet Union. This preparation proceeds along two lines: ideological and military.

The diplomats and propagandists serving Wall Street are now whipping up a tremendous campaign against the USSR, stirring up the hot coals of war talk, trying to hypnotize the people into acquiescence to another slaughter.

On the military front, Wall Street is converting America into a permanent armed camp. Atomic bombs are being manufactured on a 24-hour basis. Experiments proceed at a feverish rate with rockets, bacteria, robot planes, and even deadlier means of wiping out masses of human beings. The plan is to continue conscription indefinitely, building up a huge reserve of trained shock troops.

At the same time, Wall Street is building up its overseas bases. In the Atlantic and in the Pacific military bases fan out from the mainland in a vast perimeter reaching almost from pole to pole.

Night and Day

The work of lining up auxiliary powers for the gigantic undertaking continues night and day. When Congress finds it necessary to retreat in this work because of fear of retaliation at the voting booths, the Admirals and Generals continue it unofficially. All Latin America, according to the military blueprint, is destined to be brought under the control of the General Staff at Washington.

In Europe, Washington and London have been tightening an iron noose around the Soviet Union. In Greece, for example, they reinstated the puppet King George II. Byrnes’ speech constitutes a public announcement of Wall Street’s, drive to line up German capitalism as another auxiliary for the projected war.

Stalin’s Policy

For the people of the Soviet Union, Byrnes’ speech is another evidence of the bankruptcy of Stalin’s policies. Only a socialist revolution in Germany can convert the industrial heart of Europe into a powerhouse of planned economy. The third “alternative” listed by the Stalinists, “a new type of popular democracy,” is nothing but a lying mirage,

For the German people, Byrnes’ speech means Wall Street has again underwritten the German capitalist system which bred fascism. It means the reinstatement in power of the reactionary industrialists and landholders who backed Hitler. It means in Byrnes’ own words that continued “Suffering and distress in Germany is inevitable.”

For the people of America and the rest of the world, Byrnes’ speech draws the last curtain on the rosy scenes of a world of “Four Freedoms” painted by the war propagandists in such documents as the Atlantic Charter. The official spokesman of the State Department and the Truman Administration, has outlined Wall Street’s policy for Germany, the key to Europe. It is a policy of outright reaction leading straight to a Third World War.


Last updated on: 18 June 2021