Leon Trotsky

Interview with Montag Morgen

(May 1932)

Written in exile in Turkey, May 12, 1932.
Translated for The Militant, June 18, 1932.
Whether it appeared in Montag Morgen (Monday Morning, a Berlin weekly), or when, is not known.

[Following is Trotsky’s reply to three questions posed by the Berlin weekly, Montag Morgen, in a recent questionnaire:

1. Do you believe that the seizure of political power by the National Socialists is imminent?

2. Do you not consider it the urgent command of the hour, that Social Democrats and Communists, leaving aside their differences in principle, must create a common organization of struggle?

3. 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 of fascism will be assured almost automatically, and in a relatively short space of time at that Whether the Center 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 Center 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 much import as 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 accepting Hitler’s parliamentary pledges are clearing the road consciously for the fascination of Germany. What this foreshadows for the German people and above all for the entire world proletariat, we do not need to repeat.

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 monopolist bourgeoisie would immediately begin to feel that to play around with a Hitler dictatorship means to play with the fire of civil war, in which not just the paper values are in danger of going up in smoke. Among the countless and amorphous 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 change sharply to the disadvantage of fascism on the very threshold of the struggle. Great perspectives would open up before the working class and the German people.

3. Of course, I stand not only theoretically, but also practically, altogether and completely on the basis 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, of the Soviet Union and, in a considerable measure, the fate of all humanity for a long historical period. No revolutionary can avoid subordinating his forces and his fate to this question.

The Rise of Fascism in Germany Index

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Last updated on: 25.4.2007