Joseph Hansen & George Breitman

Wallace Ouster Signifies Third World War
Has Early Date on Wall Streets Calendar

(28 September 1946)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 10 No. 39, 28 September 1946, p. 8.
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(Joseph Hansen and George Breitman are SWP Candidates for U.S. Senate from New York, and New Jersey)

When Truman kicked Henry Wallace out of his Cabinet, he ended all uncertainty about Washington’s foreign policy. It is a policy of war.

Wallace is the leading spokesman among the capitalist politicians of the tactic of talking softly with Stalin and hiding the big stick. Secretary of State Byrnes has come to represent the tactic of brandishing the big stick and talking with brutal toughness. Wide sections of the populace have thus identified Byrnes with Wall Street’s bristling preparations for another slaughter; while they have taken Wallace as a symbol of their desire for peace.

Thus, by removing Wallace from one of the most prominent posts in Washington, Wall Street and its obedient servant in the White House are telling the world they are headed straight down the highway to World War III.

By backing Byrnes, Wall Street has served notice on Stalin to come across with the concessions demanded of him at the Paris “Peace” Conference – or prepare for a dose of atomic bomb medicine.

The foreign capitalists now in the orbit of Wall Street (Britain, France, Latin America, etc.) and the capitalists Wall Street is drawing into its orbit (Germany, Japan) will Interpret the ouster of Wallace as a signal that the Third World War will break out sooner than they may have anticipated. They will redouble their oppressive measures against the workers in those lands in preparation for the new war.

To the labor movement, the incident is an ominous warning, not only of another war, but of immediate renewal of the Big Business onslaught against the working class. A war program requires the regimentation of the workers, the passage of antilabor legislation such as was foreshadowed in the Case bill and Truman’s draft-labor bill.

Thus the Wallace ouster portends an anti-labor drive although it involves a figure who is not at all a representative of the working class. Wallace is a shrewd capitalist politician, astutely gauging his course for high stakes.

Wallace correctly appraises the masses’ fear of a new war, and he realizes how developments on the domestic front are driving the workers to seek a radical solution to their problems. He wants to win unquestioned leadership of this movement, keeping it within the Democratic Party, if possible, and within the framework of capitalist politics at all costs.

Consequently he has patterned his speeches on the model developed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Just as Roosevelt could promise the people “again and again and again” he would not send their sons into any foreign wars, so Wallace today calls for an end of imperialism, for peaceful cooperation with the Soviet Union, and for disarmament.

Examination of Wallace’s letter of July 23 to Truman and his speech of Sept. 12 reveals that at bottom his differences with Byrnes are purely tactical. Both are seeking the best way to advance the interests of American capitalism.

Wallace makes out that America has got sucked into imperialism by a “pro-British” policy. But the fact is, the British capitalists are only junior partners Wall Street is by far the dominant imperialist power in the world today. This is clear beyond all dispute in China, for instance. It is American troops and arms and money that reinforce the hated dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek.

Wallace. avers that “The slogan that communism and capitalism, regimentation and democracy, cannot continue to exist in the same world, is from a historical point of view, pure propaganda.” The reconcilability of communism and capitalism is the line advanced by Stalin long before the rise of Hitler, long before the volcanic eruption of Wall Street imperialism. Its falsity has been demonstrated precisely by the greatest historical events. Vast regions of the Soviet Union still lie in ruins from the assault of German capitalism.

Hitler’s attack was not simply the result of a. criminal war “plot.” It followed from the irreconcilable conflict between planned economy and capitalist anarchy. In the end either the workers of the world will put an end to capitalism with its wars and depressions, or world imperialism will destroy the nationalized economy of the USSR.

Wallace advocates “disarmament” as the only way to end the threat of an atomic bomb race. But the atomic bomb race has already begun and will continue despite all the pious phrases Of well-meaning pacifists. In such circumstances the slogan of “disarmament” is exceedingly treacherous, for it can delude many people, disarming them for the real struggle against war.

It should be sufficient to recall that Hitler began his preparations for the Second World War under the slogan of “disarmament.” Hitler was simply utilizing an old propaganda device of imperialist politicians. The failure of other capitalist powers to “disarm” was converted by Hitler into an argument to “justify” his all-out preparations for war.

The slogan of “disarmament” always appears during an armaments race. But it does not prevent war. The Third World War which Wallace admits is now looming can be prevented only by ending capitalism and building socialism.

Make no mistake – Wallace is a dangerous capitalist politician. He spread all the lies about fighting the Second World War to bring “four freedoms” including a quart of milk to the world. He is now preparing himself to serve the capitalist, class equally well in the Third World War.

The press is filled with speculation about the effect of Wallace’s ouster on the 1946 elections. Wall Street, however, is little concerned about the effect. The political brains in the pay of the Morgans, Rockefellers and the rest of America’s ruling families have taken the election into account too.

They undoubtedly calculate that they will lose little. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are committed to follow the same reactionary foreign policy. No matter which party wins. Wall Street remains entrenched, dominating the political field. If the labor movement becomes apathetic toward the election, Wall Street still wins. If the workers resent the brazen avowal of a course leading straight to war – where can they turn? The perfidious labor fakers have done their utmost to keep labor from organizing on the political field. They have fought with all their energy against building an independent labor party. In a key state like New York, the Liberals, the American Labor Party and the Stalinists have all committed themselves to supporting the Democratic machine.

But even if some losses were registered on the domestic political front, Wall Street’s overwhelming concern at present is with foreign politics. The main axis of American politics has shifted to the international arena.

Wall Street is after big game – world domination. Above all, American Big Business is fascinated by the vast areas of the Soviet Union. Capitalism could stave off its doom a few years with a blood transfusion at the expense of the Soviet people.

American capitalism has advanced its military frontiers to the other side of both the Atlantic and Pacific basins. The generals and admirals are building bases for the coming attack on the Soviet Union, and at home they are fostering militarism on a scale never before seen in the world. Congress is pouring tens of billions of dollars into the machinery of war. Wall Street has the atomic bomb, deadly new gases, rockets and other frightful weapons.

But why the feverish haste? American Big Business knows that the Soviet liftlion is doing its utmost to work out the production of atomic energy. Success will enormously strengthen the defensive military power of the Soviet Union.

Understanding this, Wall Street cannot help feeling tempted to strike soon. Regarding a Third World War as inevitable in any case, Wall Street has apparently decided to move up the dates on the calendar.

The ouster of Wallace means the interval between the Second and Third World Wars will prove a short one unless the workers act in time.


Last updated on: 18 June 2021