Hollywood Does a Re-Take on the War

(24 May 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 21, 24 May 1943, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.

Films cannot reproduce reality. But they can sometimes do more. They can give you a representation of events and people which can be more real than reality to an observer. By concentration, by leaving out the inessential, by dramatic symbolization, you can, through a good film, see a period of history or understand a movement better than by years of study. Thus, for instance, a film in which the following dialogue took place.

Chamberlain: We understand the German need for capitalist expansion. But we are arming. We shall not allow ourselves to be pushed out of Europe.

Hitler: I know that. But I must have Austria and Czechoslovakia, on the road to the Ukraine.

Chamberlain: Yes, but what guarantee have I got that when you have strengthened yourself in the East you will not turn against us in the West?

Hitler: I give you my word that –

Chamberlain: Stop that nonsense. This is not a diplomatic conference, or a party speech.

Hitler: Sorry – but you must give me my way. If you force me to another course, think of the consequences – the danger of revolution.

Chamberlain: That I see as well as you. But remember. If you overrun Poland, it will be war. We draw the line at Poland.

Hitler: I must have the province of East Prussia and Danzig.

Chamberlain: That could be arranged, if you have patience. But remember, you cannot dominate Northeastern as well as Southeastern Europe.

And so on and so forth.

For that is why wars come. Because of the clash of INTERESTS.

Let us review the European situation during the recent period.

Britain is determined not to allow any country to dominate all Europe; supports France against Germany; Germany is defeated in 1918. Britain at once begins to support Germany against France. Germany and Austria, starving, want to unite. Britain and France refuse.

Hitler comes into power in a desperate Germany. Poland says to France: “This man is dangerous. Let us crush him now.” Some in France say: “Yes.” Others say; “Yes, but if we crush him there will be a social revolution, and then what?” Lloyd George says: “Leave him. If he goes, there’ll be communism.”

Italy says: “We need Ethiopia.” French capital says: “Let us, divide it; you, Britain and ourselves.” They quarrel over the division. Mussolini, getting angry, attacks.

As soon as Hitler sees this he enters the Rhineland. The French, very frightened, turn to Britain. Britain says: “Leave him alone.”

Meanwhile, the Spanish workers, rise against Franco. All of them, Britain, France, USA, Italy, Germany, get together to crush the Spanish workers. Stalin intervened to be sure that no workers’ state will take power.

Japan, seeing the European nations engaged, says: “This is our chance to get China.” Roosevelt at once shouts: “Quarantine the aggressors.” But Britain does all it can to come to terms with Japan at the expense of the USA, while Chamberlain arranges Munich with Hitler. At Munich the British industrialists come to an agreement with the German, aimed at a European battle for the world market against USA imperialism.

These are some, just a few of the highlights. The struggle for economic power, to satisfy a capitalist economy that cannot be satisfied, fear of the masses whom the economy is crushing.

And Russia? Russia offered Hitler an alliance as soon as he came to power in 1933! Hitler refused it then. Only after Hitler’s refusal did Stalin become a “friend” of democracy, that is, of British and French imperialism; only to ally himself with Hitler as soon as it was expedient, Meanwhile, the British ruling class, almost to a man, supported Chamberlain; they changed only because they could not get a good working agreement with Hitler.

Such is imperialism, and imperialist war. Such is the reality of politics. Instead, what does Mission to Moscow show you? You see the stupidest diplomat who ever lived, wandering around Europe, a real “innocent” abroad, while Japanese and German diplomats whisper in corners, real movie villains. See Stalin talking like a Midwest parson, of sin and greed and wickedness and how honest Russia will have to compromise with sin if stupid Britain and honest America, with its “great President,” do not hurry up and come to Russia’s help.

The whole business is an offense to the intelligence of any honest worker. Yet what else could they do? For if they told only an inkling of the truth, the workers in every country would rise up in their wrath and settle accounts with all the war-makers. But the truth will out. And when a majority of the workers know, they will act.

Last updated on 24 May 2015