L. Trotsky

Russian-German Trade Relations


Source: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 32 (Whole No. 91), 21 November 1931, p. 3.
Transcription/HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
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The appeal entitled, Is a Soviet Germany Possible? only proves all the more how important it was at the time, for the Soviet government to elaborate a model plan of cooperation between the Soviet Union and Germany, right at the beginning of the crisis. That would have had an incomparable agitational value at the present time. The least that could be done now, is: to catch up with what has been missed.

I have only cursorily glanced through the anti-Soviet manifesto of the Leipziger Volkszeitung, (lack of time) but its dull shallowness leaps right to the eye. The Russian social-democrats maintained in 1917 that the dictatorship of the proletariat was all right for a highly industrialized country – but in no case for a backward Russia, for which it could only mean disaster. Besides, the dictatorship would not last more than three days (later one, three weeks) This was the social-democratic evaluation of the October revolution. Now, after fourteen years, the German social democrats says: Soviet regime, i.e., dictatorship of the proletariat? – in a backward country: very good; there are wide dimensions, an overwhelming preponderance of the peasantry, etc. For highly industrialized Germany, the dictatorship of the proletariat would mean a complete collapse.

On a Soviet Germany and Soviet Russian Relations

On economic collaboration between a Soviet Germany and the Soviet Russia. Here, the German social democrats manipulate the present day export and import figures, in order to demonstrate how insignificant the trade turnover between Germany and the U.S.S.R. is. That only proves that if Soviet Germany were to work according to the rules of capitalist Germany, it would suffocate. Industrial import into Russia is limited by the credit conditions. In the course of several years the collectivized agrarian economy, now for the most part merely a form of bureaucratic coercion, could be made extremely fruitful, and the entire turnover of both countries could be completely revolutionized by German industry and organizational capacity.

But what of the transition period? Evidently, Germany would have to go through a few hard years. The workers, however, would at least understand why they made such sacrifices. But even in these most acute transition years, assuming that the rest of Europe would remain capitalist, Germany would not be isolated from the world market. Once the proletariat has expropriated the landowners, the bankers and the industrialists, it will immediately be able to produce for the world market at cheaper prices than at present. Under such circumstances, an economic blockade is absolutely out of the question.

Direct contact with Soviet Russia would immediately be re-established, for between a Soviet Germany and Soviet Russia, capitalist Poland would soon be crushed. However, it is quite improbable that European capitalism can remain firm for any considerable length of time after a revolution in Germany.

It is really necessary to write a more lengthy work on this subject. The German comrades could perhaps divide the material among themselves, take up the work in the different fields, and in the first instance collect material to this end. Later on, I could also join in the collective work.


(Signed) L. Trotsky

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Last updated on: 11.2.2013