Joseph Hansen

World Events

(21 February 1949)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 8, 21 February 1949, p. 2.
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Scandinavia Looks Down Gun Barrel
of U.S. Imperialism

Scandinavia is looking down the gun barrel of American imperialism. The Danish, Swedish and Norwegian governments have been told to sign up for protection under the North Atlantic Pact or suffer the consequences.

Why is the State Department so set upon forcing these traditionally neutral countries, particularly Norway, to line up now ip the projected war against the Soviet Union? Why not let them try to keep put of the slaughter as in past wars?

The answer is that the war of aggression plotted by Wall Street is the most meticulously planned the world has yet seen. Not one of the small countries in the vast military coalition is to be permitted to drag its feet.

The “good” little countries who agree promptly to take protection can count on Marshall Plan carrots and Atlantic Pact armaments. Those who offer even token resistance will be given a taste of Wall Street’s economic and financial persuaders.

Strategic Area

Scandinavia occupies a strategic place on the military maps of inter-continental warfare. Flanking the narrow Skagerrak and Kattegat straits, Scandinavia controls passage to the Baltic just as Greece and Turkey control passage to the Black Sea. Control over these bottlenecks signifies power to deny Soviet shipping access to the Atlantic. And it must not be forgotten that these are likewise the gateways to key invasion routes. In addition, Norway dominates the lanes to Murmansk.

This is not all. If you place a compass on a spherical map, centering one leg on Oslo, the capital of Norway, and trace a circle with a 2,000-mile radius on the earth’s surface, that circle will cover virtually all the main industrial areas of the Soviet Union, most of the main cities and the heaviest population areas. A 2,000-mile flight is well within the range of present-day heavy bombers carrying atomic missiles.

Norway is thus of vital importance in the war plans that contemplate saturating Soviet transportation, lines and industrial complexes with atom bombs.

Northern Beachhead

Norway’s evident hesitation at signing up with the imperialist gangsters for protection has forced the State Department to avow that Norway will not be compelled to grant bases to the United States under the North Atlantic Pact. This assurance is simply a diplomatic maneuver. The capitalist press has revealed that while bases will not be granted openly, still adherence to the North Atlantic Pact will mean construction of air fields and harbor facilities in Norway designed to meet Washington specifications.

Consequently, U.S. warships and U.S. atomic bombers would find the Scandinavian beachhead already fitted out on the day the cold war changed to a shooting war.

Kremlin Alarm

Moscow’s alarm at these open preparations for attack is thus not without justification. We can get an idea of the Kremlin’s emotion by imagining the Truman Administration in a comparable situation; Suppose the Soviet Union stockpiling atom bombs, the USA without the secret of tapping atomic energy and Moscow deliberately organizing a Gulf of Mexico Security Pact that would grant bases in Cuba, Mexico and both sides of the Panama Canal to Russian submarines and atomic bombers while Soviet generals openly discussed plans for pulverizing American industry with a lightning atom bomb war. What would Washington’s reaction be?

One military writer, Col. R. Ernest Dupuy, frankly admits in the Feb. 12 Christian Science Monitor that “From the Moscow viewpoint, Norway’s inclusion in the Atlantic Pact immediately establishes a definite and intolerable danger spot, at the very doorstep of the Soviet Union itself.”

That is why the capitalist press is speculating on the possibility of Moscow moving forward to occupy Finland as a defensive military measure if Norway joins the North Atlantic Pact.

The Kremlin, however, would find such a drastic move highly distasteful, for it ufould provide fresh grist to Wall Street’s warmongering propaganda mill. The Stalinist bureaucracy is endeavoring to keep Scandinavia out of the North Atlantic Pact through diplomatic and economic pressure. The Norwegian shipping and fishing interests, for instance, plying a profitable trade with the Soviet Union, can be touched where it hurts most, in the pocketbook.

The answer of the Swedish government to the squeeze from Washington and Moscow is a proposal to form a regional Scandinavian Neutrality pact.

Whether Washington will grant the Scandinavian countries a breathing spell by easing its opposition to such a pact or press relentlessly for early adherence to the North Atlantic Pact remains to be seen. A tactical concession would seem in order. But up to now the Truman Administration has steadily stepped up the tempo of its war preparations and, as in the case of the Rio Pact, has displayed little patience with the grumblings, fears, hesitation, procrastination and maneuverings of the small countries it is lining up for the slaughter of another war.

Dissident European Stalinists
Meet in Switzerland

The Socialist Leader, newspaper of the British Independent Labor Party, reports in its Jan. 29 issue that dissident Stalinists from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland recently held a conference in Switzerland to plan a campaign against the Moscow leadership.

The Leader does not report the exact differences between these Stalinists and the official Kremlin leadership and does not make clear their attitude toward the Tito opposition in Yugoslavia; but does declare that “the gathering is not to be confused with the Trotskyists.”

Another interesting report, indicating growing anti-Kremlin sentiments among Stalinist ranks appeared in the Feb. 6 German-language Cincinnati Free Press.

“The postal administration of the Soviet Sector of Berlin,” says this paper, “decreed a postal prohibition against the Communist Party Opposition (KPO). The KPO came out with wall posters in the past few days, in which they accuse the SED functionaries (Stalinist) of the Soviet Zone and their bosses in the Soviet. Union of betraying the working class. Moreover, the SED leadership was called upon to express themselves on the fate of two leading functionaries of the old Communist Party of Germany who disappeared without a trace in the Soviet Union.”


Last updated on: 29 February 2024