Written: 12 May 1932.
Source: The Militant, Vol. V No. 6 (Whole No. 102)Vol. V No. 25 (Whole No. 121), 18 June 1932, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2012. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.
The following is the reply of comrade L.D. Trotsky to three questions posed by the Berlin weekly, Montag Morgen, in a recent questionnaire. The questions were: “Do yon believe that the seizure of political power by the National Socialists is imminent? Do you not consider it the urgent command of the hour, that social democrats and Communists, leaving all the conflicts in principle unimpaired, must create a common organization of struggle? Would you be prepared, to work for such an organization in your person and with your name?”
1. Yes, I believe that if the most important organizations of the German working class continue their present policy, the victory or Fascism will be assured almost automatically, and in a relatively short interval of time at that Whether the Centre party will serve Hitler as a sort of stirrups or not, can be seen much better in Berlin than here. That is not what is decisive. A bloc of these two parties could eventually constitute a brief episode on the road toward the disruption of the Centre party, beginning with the Catholic trade unions. Hitler’s promises to remain on the terrain of parliamentarism (by the way: where is he now?), are of as import at the promises, let us say, of Japanese imperialism, not to employ poison gases in a war. To demand such promises is ridiculous, to hope for their fulfillment – utterly stupid. In reality, those politicians who are discounting Hitler’s parliamentary checks are clearing the road consciously, for the fascization of Germany. What this foreshadows for the German people and above all, for the entire proletariat, we do not need to repeat here again.
2. Yes, I believe that the Communist party must propose an agreement for struggle to the social democratic party and the leadership of the Free Trade Unions, from below up to the very top. In contrast to the decorative and impotent “iron front”, the united front of the working class against Fascism must have a fully concrete, practical and militant character. Its point of departure should be: defense of all institutions and conquests of proletarian democracy, and in a broader sense; defense of culture before barbarism.
A bold and frank initiative of the Communist party along these lines would not only increase its authority extraordinarily, but also change the political situation of Germany from the bottom up. The monopolistic bourgeoisie would immediately begin to feel that to play around with a Hitler dictatorship means to play around with the fire of civil war, in which not the paper values alone are in danger of going up in smoke. Among the countless and formless masses whom despair has driven into the camp of Hitler there will of necessity ensue a process of differentiation and of decomposition. The relation of forces would sharply change to the disadvantage of Fascism even on the threshold of the struggle. There would open up before the working class and the German people great perspectives.
3. Of course, I stand not only theoretically but even practically, altogether and completely on the ground of the tactics I have developed in many of my pamphlets, particularly the last. What Next? Every day only confirms anew the fact that there is no other path for the German working class. The question of the fate of Germany is the question of the fate of Europe, to the Soviet Union and in a considerable measure, the fate of all humanity for a big historical period. No revolutionary can help subordinating his forces and his fate to this question.
May 12, 1932
Last updated on: 25.6.2013