Leon Trotsky

On The Future of Hitler’s Armies

(August 1940)

Written: August 1940.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. V No. 19, 10 May 1941, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

(The following paragraphs are a page in Comrade Trotsky’s archives, among the unfinished materials he was working on when he was assassinated August 20, 1940, by Stalin’s GPU.)

Hitler’s soldiers are German workers and peasants. After the betrayal of the social democracy and of the Comintern, these workers and peasants in large numbers succumbed to the fumes of chauvinism, thanks to the unprecedented military victories. But the reality of class relations is stronger than chauvinist intoxication.

The armies of occupation must live side by side with the conquered peoples; they must observe the impoverishment and despair of the toiling masses; they must observe the latter’s attempts at resistance and protest, at first muffled and then more and more open and bold.

On the other hand, the German military and bureaucratic caste, after a series of victories and robberies of Europe, will rise still higher above the people, will flaunt more and more its powers, its privileges, and become demoralized like every caste of upstarts.

The German soldiers, that is, the workers and peasants, will in the majority of cases have far more sympathy for the vanquished peoples than for their own ruling caste. The necessity to act at every step in the capacity of “pacifiers” and oppressors will swiftly disintegrate the armies of occupation, infecting them with a revolutionary spirit.

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Last updated on: 2 November 2015