Recipe For The Defeat Of Nazism
Table of Contents
Chapter I The Unbalance of Power
Chapter II Total War
Chapter III The Totalitarian United States of Europe
Chapter IV The Era of Super Imperialism
Chapter V The Re-Armament of America
Chapter VI International Strategy and Perspectives
The first broad phase of World War II has come to an end. The French have been captured. The British have been placed on the defensive and rendered relatively innocuous. The German war machine now dominates a Totalitarian United States of Europe of more than three hundred and fifty million souls.
World War II now unfolds itself on a higher plane as Germany, in alliance with Japan, undertakes to dissolve the Soviet Union and to bring that mass of peoples and territory under subjection. The Soviet Union once destroyed, Hitlerism must then attempt the gigantic task of drawing the Western Hemisphere into its orbit. The stakes are nothing less than the mastery of the entire world. A new era of history has begun.
This is no time to equivocate or to blur the problems before us. The whole panorama spreading in all its grandiose proportions must be considered objectively and dispassionately so that the people of the United States see clearly what they must do. Our very existence hangs in the balance.
Chapter I—The Unbalance of Power
As with clock-like precision Germany absorbs or conquers one nation after the other, the task of sifting the reasons for the amazing victories of Nazism throughout all of Europe becomes ever more freighted with care and concern. We see an Adolf Hitler almost overnight, like the hero in some dime success story, catapulted before our eyes to pinnacles of power unparalleled in human history, we can hardly believe that history is still subject to the prosaic laws of cause and effect and that, after all, nothing has come to pass without natural cause.
The sources of the Nazis power lie in the economic, political, and social worlds which emerged from the ruins of the first World War. Our Starting point, however, should be not 1918 but rather 1914, since it is only by sharply contrasting the pre-war with the post-war world that we can get a proper perspective for our picture. Let us, then, take up the situation as it presented itself just before World War I began.
In 1914 a congeries of civilized empires had in its collective grip the peoples of the entire world. The territorial dimensions and political influences of each of these empires were carefully delimited by a delicate balance of power that, for the time being at least, provided a false sense of security and stability.
In Europe, the balance of power consisted, on the one hand, of the Triple Entente, composed of the British, French, and Russian empires, and on the other hand, of the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austro-Hungary, and Italy. Around each set of allies were grouped the smaller states of Europe and contacting them at various points were the imperialist systems of other nations stretching their tentacles to every point of the globe.
Had our economic world moved smoothly and serenely at an equable well regulated pace throughout, the balance of power then extent might have lasted considerably longer than to 1914. Such, however, could not be the case. The fundamental law of our economic system is the law of uneven development that constantly breaks through closed circles making of human history a spiral curve that never returns to its original starting point. This uneven development was bound to end the old equilibrium some time and shift the scales in one direction or another.
Of the great powers that had seized the modern world for their own aggrandizement, Great Britain was the earliest and the greatest. The entire United Kingdom containing only forty-five millions of people, or a little over two per cent of the world’s total, and producing perhaps ten per cent or so of the world’s wealth, nevertheless managed to control and dominate directly close to four hundred million people living in colonies and dominions covering a territory about seventeen and a half million square miles and containing preponderating quantities of grain, live-stock, jute, rubber, nickel, tin, gold, and materials essential to modern life. To this listing must be added Britain’s indirect control through her international investments of a large number of other vital goods and services.
What was the secret of Britain’s strength and how had she managed to retain her world-wide control over such a long period of time? The general answer is not very complicated. Reaping the full benefits of the great commercial revolution of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, England was first to develop the factory system to its modern levels and, thus strengthened immeasurably, was enabled by the middle of the eighteenth century to defeat all her rivals for the chief portions of the international trades and to wrest for herself a huge colonial domain. The increased markets for English goods and the large profits accruing from the traffic in turn fostered the industrial revolution at home. The new inventions in the manufacture of textiles and of machinery of production, in the processing of metals, and in the field of power, secured to England, now the heart of the United Kingdom, supremacy in the economic field for a long period to come.
By utilizing her economic supremacy and colonial control to full advantage, Great Britain, all during the nineteenth century, managed successfully to handicap her European rivals for power. To vanquish challenging France under Napoleon, Great Britain threw her great financial might in unceasing struggle to bolster the old regime of continental Europe, till her opponent, bled white, lay writhing on the ground and a new “Holy Alliance” could be created to guard British interests. Again, to restrain a rising Germany under Bismarck, Great Britain, now allied to France, joined forces with Tsarist Russia to surround Germany and to create a new balance of power which would guarantee more adequately the stability of the old equilibrium.
But the same industrial revolution that had given strength to England to break open and to conquer the major markets of the world for herself, could not possibly be confined to that little isle alone; the very force of British industry compelled industrial development and expansion abroad.
Soon, highly centralized France, geographically favored almost as much as England, was to enter into the race. Huge portions of Africa and Asia came under the merciless exploitation of the French. As in the case of England, here too a small portion of the world’s population, forty million, having approximately only half of even the United Kingdom’s economic weight, took possession of an immense area more than twenty times the size of the home country and inhabited by a numerically larger population.
Other competitors appeared: Germany, the United States, Japan, Russia, as the industrial revolution pervaded every phase of the economic process and rapidly transformed every aspect of political, social and intellectual life everywhere. These new competitors challenged still further the older monopolies seized by the earlier beneficiaries of the commercial and industrial revolutions and presented the English and French imperialists with the problem of how to retain their leadership.
British and French supremacy had been maintained by three chief methods: colonies, free trade, and financial control. A brief discussion of these three methods will help us not only to understand the pre-war world but to grasp the changes that took place in the economic and political order following World War I.
Colonies, let us note, preceded free trade; free trade, in fact was based on colonies and was the child of seventeenth century monopoly just as it became the mother of twentieth century monopoly. None the less, for many years it was the fashion for English economists to write endlessly on the theme of free trade versus monopoly as though no other relation between the two but antithesis could possibly exist. These economists persisted in blinding themselves to the fact that nothing could be more natural for those countries possessing the best means of production and the largest and wealthiest colonies than to advocate free trade and to use the advantages of their colonial monopolies as the chief instrument to conquer the economic markets in any field of competition that free trade implied.
It is true that the Mercantilists, who dominated the colonial policies of imperialism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, stood for principles which negated free trade in so far as the relationship of the colony to mother country was concerned, for under the Mercantilists the resources of the colonies were to be used entirely for the benefit of the home industrial imperialist country. The parent nation dictated the laws of immigration, of export and of import, of production, and of internal commerce for the colonies. This, however only laid the basis for the later adoption of free trade doctrines; for once the home country had the resources and strength of the colonies behind her, she could feel strong enough to meet all competition elsewhere. Only then could she afford the luxury of adding the doctrines of free trade to her armament so as to try still further to batter down trade barriers and to broaden the market for her own products.
If free trade came from the womb of monopoly, it itself was an excellent way for certain groups to maintain their monopoly. For the British Empire, and to a lesser extent for the French Empire, free trade became an absolutely indispensable economic method to dominate and monopolize world markets. Let us examine briefly the case of Great Britain.
Great Britain herself did not have the raw materials sufficient for her enormous production of finished goods for a world market. She had to obtain these supplies not only from her colonies which suffered from lack of development and of capital, but above all from other parts of the globe, particularly from the Western Hemisphere. Naturally, Great Britain wanted the most unhindered flow of these raw materials to her shores and under such circumstances could do nothing else than become a chief advocate for a world system of no tariffs, or very low tariffs, and for a completely fluid world market.
Add to this the fact that Great Britain, as mistress of the seas, more that any other nation carried the world’s sea trade, drawing untold revenues from this means of transportation, especially when her ships in many places had wrested for themselves a practical monopoly.
Furthermore, since England had been the first to place modern manufactured goods on the market and was most efficient in their production, free trade could not but guarantee industrial supremacy to that country. Once free, open competition was the rule, England could maintain her premier position as the work-shop of the world so long as other countries could not surpass her in industrial production.
Finally, free trade meant that Great Britain which had most of the trade would have most of the world’s money as well. Free trade was based on a world money system in which the precious metals played the part of a universal equivalent for all values. Pouring into England from all parts of the world came a huge flood of money which could be used by the bankers and financiers of that country to insure a still firmer hold on the resources and goods of the world.
By means of their enormous reserves of gold and means of credit, the bankers of London were able to invest their capital in all foreign countries and to attempt to bring those countries under their direct or indirect domination. In all their investments, British financial experts were interested not merely in private gain and in the rate of profit, but also in monopoly. It was for this reason that the chief investments of British bankers abroad were not so much in factory production as in railroad and public utilities, in government bonds, and in the formation and establishment of those huge international cartels, syndicates, and trusts which marked the imperialism of the twentieth century.
Obviously, if colonies, free trade, and financial control were the ways by which the British and French empires obtained their hegemony, these means could not be the ones likely to be favored by their rivals. New needs created new ways in Central Europe and in Asia. Following the French Revolution which burst asunder the fetters stifling the modern productive system in Central Europe, a tremendous economic development arose in Germany and in neighboring countries. Soon productive expansion and the need for markets and for raw materials began to put their pressure upon the political structures of Germanic Europe resulting in one convulsion after another. The revolution of 1848, the War with Denmark, the War with Austria, the War with France, the formation of the federated German Empire, the ensuing close alliance with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, bitter antagonism to France and England, the efforts to win over Italy and the formal alliance entered upon with that country, the push towards the East and the growing hostility towards Russia,—all of these great events were political counterparts to the tremendous growth of German economy and the need of that economy for greater “elbow room".
Germany was compelled to follow a course of development entirely different from that of Great Britain and France, if only from the fact that her industrial awakening arrived so belatedly, when her Western rivals had already seized almost all the best colonial lands and had obtained supremacy in commerce and finance. Germany could not possibly win by following a policy of laissez faire or let it be, so prominently advertised in the West; she could not afford to let Liberalism win the day; she could not adopt a philosophy of government to the effect that government is best which governs least; she could not let individual enterprise overshadow organized control, she could not permit politics to be secondary to economics, nor pacifism to overshadow the policy of military might.
Once Europe as a whole had become awakened and was developing its own complicated division of labor, Germany’s central geographic position became of enormous strategic importance. Gone were the days when Germany’s position, remote from the Atlantic Ocean and ocean-going trade, had militated against her. No longer was Central Europe the battle-ground for one exhausting war after another. Blessed with raw materials and resources superior to those of either France or Britain, and with a population almost equal to both of them combined, the Germans were in a position to become the foremost industrialists of all Europe. Not commerce, not finance, but industry,—here was the economic key to world power for the German people.
Had Germany followed the course of England, it might have been expected that her industrial development would have a long, slow, and laborious process. Only gradually had English factories become modernized and transformed by cumulative inventions of machinery and by improved methods of management as English production pragmatically plodded behind lush English trade. And here we may pause to note as part of the law of uneven development the corollary that the very unretarded pursuit of a line of least resistance in one direction may definitely hinder the rate of growth of other portions of the country’s economy and thus hinder the evolution of the entire economy.
In the case of England, the path of easiest development had been trade, oceangoing trade, connected with colonial control and financial leadership. For a long time the merchant had been the dominant factor in British life and had become the most vociferous exponent of the doctrine of Free Trade as he pushed aside any attempt on the part of government officials to coordinate the people’s activities.
Englishmen who left the home country to settle in the virgin colonies of America, South Africa and Australia, British seamen who roamed the seven seas and whose chief reliance for months on end was the law of the cutlass and the yard-arm, traders who wanted to go wherever they wished without let or hindrance to make as much money as they could, a State totally unable to control in any centralized fashion the far-flung activities of its peoples and its scattered possessions, surely these factors could not lead to any definite and conscious industrial policy by the English administrators of government. Despite the rich plums it could still hand out to its favorites, the British State was steadily reduced to the minor functions of colonial meddling and police action at home. A philosophy of Utilitarianism sprang up that declared that the greatest good to the greatest number could be achieved if government kept its hands out of business and let its people alone in their economic endeavors. Thus industry developed in England without a plan, haphazard and chaotic, accrescing with the needs of trade and finance but making no conjointed efforts to insure maximum efficiency of its capacities. There was no need for hurry. Germany had to hurry. Coming late upon the scene, she had to make up for lost time. With no great future in trade or finance, and concentrating upon industrial might for supremacy, Germany soon found that she did not have to go through the entire gradual evolution that had prevailed in England and France, but that she could take advantage of the most recent scientific discoveries, of the most far-sighted inventions, and of the most advantageous practices of management to stand on the shoulders of her rivals and to begin where they left off.
In her industrial progress Germany was favored by a set of remarkable circumstance that should be noted here. In the first place, she had a far more obedient working population than that which toiled in either France or Britain, a population which had been freed from serfdom not by its own efforts, but by those of the French. There was no pattern of the Paris Commune in Germany; there were no Anarcho-Syndicalist tendencies within the German labor movement to insist that the general strike and sabotage become the chief tenets of its immediate program. There were not even the milder traditions of Magna Carta, of Protestant Rebellion, of Bills of Rights, of revolutionary Labor Chartism, of Irish revolutionism among the German masses as among the British. The Socialism of the German proletariat was a Socialism that held the development of German industrial might as its dearest object. The Socialists of Germany sang the loudest the praises of the trust, the cartel, the syndicate, the monopoly, the nationalized industry controlled and owned by the State.
In return, industry could not fail to put its indelible stamp upon such a proletariat. Let us remember that the industrial process is the result of an entirely different subdivision of labor from that which results in free trade. The trade in commodities presupposes a division of labor in society in which one group produces one set of products and another group an entirely different set, which products are then exchanged in definite proportions with each other. People engaged in the cycle of exchange are not at all necessarily interested in the methods of production. So far as the trader is concerned, each productive group is independent of any other and he can remain entirely indifferent to their technique and culture. What he is mainly interested in is their products.
A nation whose most articulate sections are exchangers, traders, and merchants, therefore, must give a corresponding style and set of attitudes to the people generally that soon become frozen in definite social patterns. While such a nation may become acutely aware of the anarchical relations governing the market place, it can yet remain alien to the organization, discipline, and planfulness that mark the subdivision of labor within the factory itself.
The subdivision of labor within a factory or industry is in sharp contrast to the subdivision of labor giving rise to free trade and commerce. Within an industrial plant there is established a definite relation of men to machinery, a definite place for each man, a single control of the labors of all the men, a coordination of all the activities in the workshop, a planfulness that makes all operate under the will of the master or the manager of the enterprise. Nothing is deliberately left to chance. Everything is studied so that the collective product thus cooperatively created may be put on the market with maximum efficiency and with the least expenditure of energy and waste. Naturally, a proletariat engaged principally in such enterprises will be stamped with an entirely different style and socio-political attitudes than the working-class of a nation emphasizing chiefly trade and commerce.
As we have already noted, Germany as a nation was primarily neither a commercial firm nor a counting house, but above all a huge industrial undertaking which millions of workers were toiling day and night to perfect and to enlarge. The German people naturally would prominently display those traits in which they were trained, which were so necessary and useful inside the factory, and which led to such a high degree of cooperation, organization, discipline, definite relations of men and machinery, obedience to one central will, and completely coordinated activity to carry through a single purpose and to achieve a single result. We must appreciate these qualities of the German people if we are to evaluate the causes for the later resounding victories of Nazism over all of Europe.
The second remarkable feature favoring Germany’s struggle for industrial supremacy was the type and activity of the German State. In this country the state was ubiquitous and intimately fused with industry. Once the German robber barons and princes, who for centuries had demonstrated their Edelheit by plundering the traders of their vicinity, had united under their chief, the King of Prussia, as Kaiser of the German Imperial Reich, such impoverished rapacious rulers could not possibly be expected to let business alone and to keep the state merely as tax-gatherer and policeman. Nor was such conduct feasible under the circumstances.
While the noble dynasties of England or of France might get rich on the gleanings from trade and commerce and from the rich pickings from the colonies, such avenues of gain were not open to the Junkers of Germany. Wealth and power could come to them only through the careful nursing of the productive machinery of the country. Germany could get the capital to rival her competitors only by husbanding her resources with the utmost care, only by working her industries with the greatest efficiency, only by focusing the whole power of the nation, through the instrumentality of the agencies of the State, behind each and every one of her enterprises bidding for world markets. Far from adopting the laissez faire theories of British and French Liberalism, the Germans had to follow in the strictest manner the principle of close coordination of the activities of the state with every economic advance.
Hence the protagonists of free trade theories were never very popular in Germany; instead, from the very beginning, there arose the idea of a Zoll Verein or Customs Union which could use the weapon of the high tariff to protect Germany’s industries from competition with those of the rest of the world. Coupled with the tariff to build up German economy went the subsidy from the state to allow her factories and workshops to outsell the “free” industries of every other country. The State was conceived as the central ganglion giving the purposeful orders to each industrial member of the body corporate. The State had its nerve centers in every important business venture and governmental rules and regulations planfully controlled the operations of thousands of plants throughout the nation.
In this manner, by the close fusion of State and industry, Germany at last found the solution to the problem of how to beat the combination of finance and free trade so successfully used by the British and French.
To grasp the full import of this intimate relation of state and industry in Germany, we must constantly bear in mind that the German state placed above every other section of the population its military caste which, headed by the royalty and nobility, dominated every phase of State activity. Nowhere more clearly than in Germany was it recognized that by no means was the State chiefly an instrument to keep traffic in order, or to help old ladies across the street. Rather was it the central agency of the nation to push its way to power by military means. The very essence of the State was the army; to abolish the army would mean to annihilate the state, an alternative unspeakably horrible to the state-loving German who firmly believed that the German state was the highest product of civilization. Since all history had shown the German that in the intercourse of state with state might made right, he was quite ready to asseverate that war was the fundament and culmination of state activity. Thus in Germany the partnership established generally between state and business meant especially a partnership between industry and the army.
This partnership was much to their mutual advantage. On the one side, industry needed the organizing centralization and planning of the state and could also profitably use firm, aggressive, military methods to win new markets. (We stress again the fact that Germany, inferior to her rivals in the fields of trade and finance, could wrest the monopolies established by the British and French only by a ruthless use of the war machine.) On the other side, German militarist adventurers had dire need of the maximum development of industry, not only as a source of revenue for the political rulers of the country, but, above all, as a source of power for conquest.
To conclude, military and industrial advance went hand in hand and the industrialists heartily seconded the military caste so firmly ensconced in German society.
In an industrial society wealth accumulates in quite a different way than in a trading or money-investing society. In the latter case, as in England, say, wealth may accumulate and generally does, by the process of centralization: that is to say, it accumulates by a process of bringing a given mass of capital into fewer and fewer hands without necessarily entailing any expansion of physical production of goods. Just the opposite is the case in an industrial society which can accumulate capital principally by the method of concentration: that is to say, it accumulates by enlarging the industrial plant or creating more branches so as to turn out more products than before. Centralization does not at all imply any increase in the product; concentration of capital on the other hand, must not only realize an increase but must also dispose of this increment or perish. Furthermore, the advancement of an industrial firm by the extension of its productive apparatus not only implies the necessity of finding a large market for its new goods and of obtaining more raw materials, but above all demands a greater organization of the industrial process itself.
British financial capital, for example, could be invested in the railroads of South America or in the utilities of British Dominions without the slightest thought being given to the physical development of these industries by the investors. So long as their investments were protected and brought results.
Englishmen had no need of concern with changing either the economic or political relations of the country involved. Indeed, if only as a matter of inertia, such investors would rather incline towards ultra-conservative maintenance of the status quo.
German industrial capital, however, could be invested in Bohemia, say, only by erecting factories there, by training the proletariat of that locality with the help of imported German mechanics and foremen, and in general by rapidly organizing that new territory of Central Europe. With the expansion of German industry into other lands came the inevitable necessity of seeing to it that these other lands were organized in the same manner as Germany herself.
Here arose an acute political problem that had to be solved unless Germany was to find an end to her economic expansion. If German industrial development was to continue in the East, the only logical direction it could take, then the role and destiny of the German Empire obviously was to control this eastern portion of Europe so as to develop it properly and bring it completely within the German economic system. Such control could not but threaten the political and national integrity of those states of eastern Europe industrially inferior to Germany and living on an entirely different plane of culture. Every push of German industry into East Europe, therefore, carried with it political explosives to blow to pieces the old balance of power.
German industrial development in Poland, for example, at once brought with it both an unsettling of the internal relations within the Russian State and a correspondingly sharp response from Tsarism which looked upon this industrial infiltration as a method by Germany to undermine and conquer parts of the Russian Empire. Again, German industrial expansion in the Balkans found itself in sharp contradiction to the haphazard and chaotic political forces dominant there. It was patent that the multifarious special interests, rules, tariffs, hindrances of all sorts luxuriating in the Balkans made it extraordinarily difficult for German industry to proceed in any adequate manner without a complete political and economic reorganization of that territory under German guidance.
Especially noteworthy was the situation created within the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the evolution of German industry. That Empire had been delicately balanced by a set of internal forces which set Czech against Hungarian, Austrian against Pole, Rumanian against Turk, Ruthenian against Croatian, Slovene against Italian, Slovak against Jew. Precariously perched on top were the Hapsburgs ruling only by dividing one group against the other, and, within certain limits, fostering the chaos by allowing each group to do with itself exactly what it pleased.
Such conditions German industry could view only with abhorrence, and was bound to set as its goal the elimination of these petty conflicts and the integration of Central Europe into one economically organic whole.
Had parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire been independent states, the task of establishing a different order would not have been difficult. Bound by a million ties to the German economic system, Bohemia would have been annexed to that country of which it was in reality but a part. So would it have gone with other sections. But standing in the way of this reorganization was the hybrid Austro-Hungarian Empire having its own independence to maintain, its own dynasty, stupid state cliques, and politicians to appease, its own tariffs and economic destiny to fight for. The Hapsburgs could neither industrialize their own country nor permit others properly to do it for them.
No doubt, even before World War I Germany could have tried to effect an organic unity between the Germanic peoples living on both sides of the border between Germany and Austria. If these attempts were not seriously tried, although they were seriously enough discussed, it was not, as Adolph Hitler imagined, because of any personal relations between the Hohenzollern dynasty that ruled Germany and the Hapsburgs, but was rather because of the fact that any expansion of Germany into Eastern Europe would have spelled war, and Germany could not at that time have afforded a struggle with the entire remainder of Europe allied against her.
Basically, Germany failed to unite with Austria before the war for the very same reason that she failed to win the war, namely the superior set of forces thrown around Germany by the French, British, and Russians. Russia especially was concerned with the maintenance of the antiquated Austro-Hungarian system. More than anything else it was Russian Tsarism that kept the Austrian Kaiser and his clique upon the throne, helped bolster that precarious balance of internal relations within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and barred the way to German expansion in the East.
The contradiction between the organizing and disciplining tendencies of German economy and the anarchical and chaotic political conditions in Eastern Europe became constantly accentuated as production itself developed qualitatively new levels. If national boundaries, jealousies, tariffs, regulations, politicians, armies and such had militated against progress when industry was still on a mechanical plane, producing machinery, railroad engines, textiles and similar material how much more did these conditions hinder the expansion of industry when new chemical and electro-dynamic techniques were introduced?
Could the Balkan nations or the petty principalities making up the old Austro-Hungarian Empire possibly develop such industries as radio, aviation, electrical equipment, wireless, automobile, moving pictures, telephone, or television? Incapable of economic ingenuity or of any grand achievement themselves and unable to utilize the inventions and discoveries of science and industry waiting at their door, the small countries of eastern Europe were rapidly becoming an historic anomaly no longer justified in any economic sense. The petty principality would have to go the way of the feudal manor or the hand loom factory. Historically it had outlived its usefulness.
No one saw this more clearly than the Germans. If German industry was to organize its expansion it would have to take over these anachronistic principalities of Europe and bring them in line with economic progress. Hence German concentration of capital egged on the German military to put an end to the petty states and their selfish barriers to progress. Before Germany stood the gigantic alternative: either the organization of Europe or the extinction of the Empire.
The spread of the industrial revolution into Central Europe could not but violently affect the Russian Empire which with unparalleled rapidity had driven its way across Asia to the Pacific. In very self defense the Russian state had been compelled to adopt modern technique and put it to use for its own protection. In contradistinction to the English with their gradual methods, the Russians pushed their industrialization with feverish speed, its rate of growth often rivaling that of the boom towns of the American West. The new industrial plants erected were large and modern, and were operated according to the most advanced European methods. The sites chosen for industrial centers were generally planfully selected with the cities artificially built around the plants that were erected there first. Russia came to illustrate in classic form the law of combined development, a backward country leaping rapidly through various stages of evolution in order to realize the most advanced methods of production far ahead of the general level of the country.
Despite all her filth and backwardness, Russia had a tremendously progressive role in the awakening of Asia. Sprawled all across that continent, her adoption of Western methods operated as a continual prodding of a slumbering mass of humanity embracing half the human race. Every step forward taken by the Russian giant whether economic, social or political, was bound to have deep reverberations throughout the Orient.
In Asia, Russia was limited in her conquests only by the power of the British Empire and of Japan, limitations which served all the more sharply to remind Tsarism of its great need for capital and Western methods. Yet, each defeat of Russia in Asia brought convulsions at home making the ruling dynasty all the keener to resist any alteration of the status quo in Europe. Russia was in the paradoxical position of having to Westernize herself while fighting the influences of the West with all her might.
The chief danger to Russia, the chief disturber of her status in Europe, was the tremendous growth of the German Empire. This was so not only because of the external struggle of both powers over the Balkans, East Europe, and the Near East, but also because Germany, through her growing penetration of Poland and Eastern Europe, had rendered the position of the anachronistic Romonoff dynasty extremely precarious. Poland, ever more closely bound to the West in general, especially to the Central European economic system of which Germany was the heart and center, was impelled continuously to fight the Absolutism of Russia rooted so deeply in Asia. In a sense it could be said that the struggle between revolutionary Poland and the decadent ruling cliques of Russia flowed from the struggle of the German economic system for more breathing space.
Thus Russia occupied a double position: regarding Asia she was Western and progressive, but as concerned Europe, Russia furnished the chief bulwark for reaction, with her immense hordes standing ever ready to beat down the political uprisings that followed the course of the Industrial Revolution, Tsarism refused to recognize the fact that Russia could not have her industrial development without having an industrial society which would render intolerable the Absolutism of the Tsar. Just as Russia could not fight against industrialization, so could she not win her conflict with the politics of the West, that West whose nearest exponent and menacing rival was German.
Here then, were the conflicting forces that made for the balance of power existing before the World War of 1914-1918. England and France, allied with Russia, formed a counterweight to Germany allied with Central Europe, with Austro-Hungary, and with an Italy who believed that she could realize her imperial ambitions in the Mediterranean and in Africa only by opposing French and British interests.
For a long time the countervailing forces were relatively equal and neither side dared launch the offensive against the other. But in this case time was no healer of wounds; delay only made more acute the burning contradictions that could find no other solution than open battle. Germany could no longer desist from her push to the East, a push that meant World War I.
If we agree to the general thesis that in the long run that politics follows economics and that in any struggle among nations, that one that is the best developed economically will eventually prove superior politically and militarily, Germany should have won the war, and indeed, almost did so, even though Italy finally broke from her former partners and joined the side of England, France and Russia. If Germany did not vanquish her opponents it was not in violation of the general thesis but rather in confirmation thereto, for Germany lost World War I only because a country even superior to Germany threw into the fight its full economic strength and later its military might against her. It was the support given by the United States in terms of money, credit, materials, and men that finally won the day for the exhausted British and French Empires.
Had the United States remained in the European field in the political sense, the normal course of events where superior powers conquer inferior powers might have followed in Europe. But the United States, for reasons of its own, did not care to remain in Europe, either to take territory for herself, or even to join the League of Nations. The reasons for this voluntary withdrawal by the mightiest country of all to enter the World War go to the very heart of the diplomacy consistently displayed by the United States from the early days of the foundation of the Republic. At this point, however, what we must carefully analyze is not the cause for the voluntary renunciation by the United States of the booty of war, but the consequent result of this withdrawal upon apparently abandoned Europe.
The Versailles Treaty had contemplated such drastic repartitioning of Europe as to make impossible even in the far future the rebuilding of the German military and economic machine. Germany was to be almost entirely disarmed, her army disbanded, her navy sunk, her marine confiscated, her railroads stripped of rolling stock, her resources mortgaged, her products taken through reparations and war indemnities, her colonies handed to others, her political set-up entirely smashed. Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, yes, even Denmark and Lithuainia all hacked slices from Germany. East Prussia was cut off by the Polish corridor while the old Napoleonic policy of separating the Rhine area and Bavaria from the rest of Germany was given serious consideration. Germany’s allies fared even worse. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was completely broken into fragments, parts becoming independent, the rest going to a swollen Jugo-Slavia, Poland, and Rumania. Bulgaria was stripped of a large portion of its land and deprived of entrance to the Mediterranean. The old Turkish Empire was given a mortal blow and saved a remnant of its independence and power only by most heroic revolutionary measures.
In short, the Versailles Treaty was dictated by the diplomats of France and of Britain in a tone of finality and decisiveness just as though they had really won the war all by themselves and were actually the stronger nations. This was a fatal illusion. These diplomats either calculated on always being able to bring the United States to their aid, or they failed to realize fully that the military and political withdrawal of the United States from positive European politics created an anomalous situation where the countries that had won the war were too weak strictly to enforce the peace.
A defeat for England and France might have modernized those countries and compelled them to revamp their economic systems. Their undeserved victory, however, only served to fasten on them for a still longer time the out-of-date methods which had almost cost them the war itself. While Britain and France returned to free trade, colonial control, and financial juggling to keep supremacy over Germany, that country was utilizing the results of the war to get rid of all her old machinery and material, and, with the help of capital from the United States, to rebuild a far mightier industrial machine than ever before. Superficially, from the Versailles Treaty, France and Britain appeared entrenched in world mastery for generations to come; actually, their victory only made them more ripe for defeat in the next struggle. Strangely enough, the war ended the balance of power not in favor of the victors, but in favor of vanquished Germany!
Nothing was clearer in 1919 than that the World War had shattered the old basic rhythms and patterns of world politics, replacing them with sudden unpredictable spasms and convulsions. The difficulty of defeating Germany had exhausted Europe; the peace treaty had Balkanized it; and from one end to the other of the continent flared the Communist Revolution. To make matters even more difficult, there had taken place during and immediately after the war a definite shift in world economy, a shift away from Europe and towards the United States. All of these considerations helped create a permanent desperate crisis for the powers that won the war as well as for the powers that lost it, a permanent crisis that the old methods could not in the least liquidate.
How unstable was the power of the ruling classes and how miserable the masses had become could be gauged by the Communist Revolution that broke out in Russia and from there extended to Finland, Poland, Hungry, and Bavaria, and threatened to seize power even in Italy and in Germany. No country was safe from the threat of civil war and for a long time after the armistice the chief concern of the politicians of Europe was the fight to prevent the working classes from uniting their forces to take over power for themselves. German Junkers and French democrats vied with each other in earnest cooperation in Finland, Poland, the Baltic Provinces, and elsewhere to crush the advance of the Russian Red Armies; Rumanians and Czechs marched into Red Hungary; the troops of Versailles occupied the Red Ruhr; German officers were given a free hand by their erstwhile enemies to disperse the Bavarian Soviets, while Austria was starved into submission and Germany and Italy were aided by credits and supplies from the United States. As Soviet Georgia and Soviet Armenia were invaded by French and British forces, a huge international interventionary army was rushed into the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics to put an end to the communist revolution at its very source.
What could speak more eloquently of the general exhaustion of capitalist Europe and of the weakness of the Versailles victors than the fact that in the end Bolshevism was not conquered but that, on the contrary, while, thanks to the aid of the United States, Communism was set back in Germany, in Italy, and in the rest of Europe, sovietism continued supreme in Russia, and Siberia, a territory covering one-sixth of the entire globe and containing enormous resources and potentialities? From now on Communism would no longer be content to be merely a spectre haunting the world, but would be a living vital force constantly urging the masses of workers to overthrow the capitalist system and to build a cooperative commonwealth of their own.
If Europe was to be freed from soviets it was imperative that the Soviet Union be destroyed. The failure of England and of France to annihilate the soviets only made the problem ever more acute and pressing for the rulers of all Europe, and indeed, of the world.
The Russian Revolution profoundly affected the entire nexus of political relations of post-war Europe. For one thing, in 1919 the old alliance between France and England on the one hand, and Russia on the other was now absolutely impossible. Alliance with Russia meant the spread of Communism than which nothing worse could be imagined by either the Paris Bourse or London’s Downing Street. Implacable hatred for anything Russian now become the order of the day for these elements that controlled the French and British Empires.
The rupture of the old alliance of France and Britain with Russia presented these imperialists with a duel problem: First, how could they stem the tide of bolshevism to prevent it from spreading throughout Europe and the West? And second, how could they replace the Russian alliance so as to enable them to surround Germany East and West as in the past? The League of Nations appeared as the solution to their dilemma.
Through the instrumentality of the League of Nations which they controlled, France and Britain believed that they could utilize all of the small countries newly formed in Eastern Europe so as to form a cordon sanitaire or health line from Finland to Rumania and thus quarantine the Communist virus. Simultaneously, this alliance of small nations could be used against Germany if need be and to this end huge sums of money were poured into Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Jugo-Slavia, Rumania and the Baltic countries.
Such a dismal policy was doomed to failure. The very formation of the cordon sanitaire was an admission on the part of France and England that their offensive against Communism had been smashed and that they had been driven to adopt a defensive policy of watchful waiting. Such an admission was tantamount to a confession that France and England were no longer fit to remain the leaders of Europe since they could no longer fulfill their historic task of crushing communism. Communism could never be beaten by merely defensive tactics. If Russian Communism was in fact eventually checked it was not so much owing to the strength of the cordon sanitaire as to the inherent weakness of sprawling, semi-Asiatic Soviet Union combined with the fact that Europe was temporarily stabilized with the aid of American capital.
As a steel ring around Germany, the chain of little States of Eastern Europe was also destined to break. It was chimerical even to dream that these petty principalities could ever take the place of the huge Russian Empire. Perhaps poignant Polish romanticism could imagine it would yet extend from the Baltic to the Black Sea and beat off both Russia and Germany, but surely the cynical attaches to the diplomatic staffs of the various powers knew that these so-called independent states, fragments of former empires, were but puppets for larger powers, incapable of any serious resistance if invaded by either the Germans or the Russians.
The essential fact of the matter was that the Russian Revolution had put an end forever to the old balance of power. England and France, although victorious, now had no Eastern front, no large subservient power with which to encase Germany and squeeze her from the East. No puffing, like that of the frog who wanted to be a cow, could change that drastic situation. No wonder England and France bent all efforts to destroy the bolshevistic regime of Russia so as to be able to renew the old alliance, for without that alliance their whole victory would become a mockery. On the other side, the German rulers were quick to see that by destroying the Eastern Front the Russian Revolution could be made to play right into their hands.
Nor was this the entire situation. As we have seen, the statesmen at Versailles had nothing else to do than with sanctimonious mouthings of the principle of self-determination of peoples, to recarve Eastern Europe into an agglomeration of small states. On the general principle of depriving communism of as much territory as possible, whatever could be hacked away from the old Russian Empire was formed into separate entities: Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, or else given to Poland and Rumania. The annihilation of Tsardom and the defeat of the Central European powers in the war had also exploded the Austro-Hungarian Empire into its component parts. Czecho-Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary were made into independent states, while portions of territory went to Jugo-Slavia, Rumania, Poland and Italy. Thus Eastern and Central Europe looked for all the world like an enlarged Balkan peninsula.
No sooner were these petty states formed than they at once began to imitate on a mean scale all the vices of the large-scale imperialist countries. Lithuania grasped a piece of East Prussia; Poland gobbled a slice of Lithuania; Finland began to threaten Swedish possessions and to claim Russian portions of Karelia; Rumania seized all she could of Hungry. Later Hungary and Poland were to grab parts of Slovakia and Ruthenia; a new war had to be fought between Greece and Turkey before boundaries could be definitively delimited; and so on ad nauseam.
Nor were the internal regimes of these miserable states any better. Poles oppressed Ukrainians; Czechs discriminated against Ruthenians; Rumanians ruled Hungarians and Bessarabians with an iron hand; Slovenes, Croatians, and Serbians were constantly at loggerheads; Macedonia was a veritable nest of intrigue and murder; Greece and Turkey engaged in wholesale deportations of each others’ peoples; and all of them took it out on the Jew. The whole foul scene was a fitting commentary on that wonderful doctrine….the capitalist self-determination of peoples.
Was there, indeed, any adequate reason why small racial enclaves completely surrounded and dominated for centuries by vastly more numerous nations should be torn from their old subdivision of labor and launched upon a brand new set of tasks, the accomplishment of which would not add one particle of benefit to the world as a whole or to the people of that region itself? If it be said that each group has the right to perpetuate its language, race, religion, and cultural forms in its own way, is the Balkanization of Europe the sole way to reach this result? From the economic point of view, there was far less reason, we may say, for the excision of Bohemia from the German system and the formation of an independent State of Czecho-Slovakia than there was for the secession of the State of North Carolina from the United States in the days prior to the Civil War. At least North Carolina was attempting to become part of another huge entity, the Southern Confederation of States, and did not desire in the least to set itself up independent and isolated from every other State near it, North Carolina fought not to worsen the old, but rather to perpetuate the old balance into the future.
This was not at all the situation with the new little states of Eastern Europe. These entities had all been part of a general European system. For many years, for example, the Germans, relying on the fact that Bohemia was really part of the German economy, had poured their capital into that region, had sent in their foremen and skilled mechanics, had built up that country so that it functioned as an integral part of the whole. There was no need to duplicate factories in Bohemia capable of fulfilling the needs of the market by other factories in Germany and vice-versa. Thus each country could have as its division of labor that which it had been adapted to do best.
Consider now what happened with the tearing away of Czecho-Slovakia from the German economic system and with its being formed into a separate independent state. At once a new government arose that, because it was allied to the enemies of Germany, was forced to set up high tariff walls against German goods and in turn had to face the reprisals of its former co-workers. The Czecho-Slovak State, because it had to think in terms of war with Germany, now had to think also of economic self-sufficiency. It made no difference that formerly it had exchanged Bohemian shoes for Saxon textiles, for example. Bohemia had to set up its own complete industrial system and as much as possible to duplicate that which had been done in Germany; in turn Germany had to build new factories within its territory to compensate it for what it had lost in Bohemia.
Could a more reactionary system have possibly been devised than this, the splitting up of Europe into a swarm of petty units, each striving with all its might to be self-sufficient and independent of the others, tremendously multiplying the costs of the state and military establishments, accentuating the wastes of economic functioning, unable in the least to make any outstanding advance, politically utterly helpless and with no future but extinction? From the economic point of view it would be as sane to smash the huge business corporations and factory firms that have now been built up in every part of the United States and, with holy murmurings about the sanctity of the individual, force them back into the petty individual enterprises that had previously prevailed. Under such a reactionary regime as was created by the Versailles victors it was no wonder that Europe was not able in twenty years following the World War to come up to the standards of production it had reached in 1914!
Perhaps this hopeless weakening of Eastern Europe was precisely the end that French and British imperialists desired to create, perhaps they had no other alternative; at any rate, the formation of these helpless national groupings in the long run was bound to play into the hands of the Germans. After all, all these groupings had traditionally been under the influence of either the Germans or the Russians; never under either British or French influence for any length of time, and besides, they were separated from the Western rulers by all of Central Europe. Their economic helplessness was bound to force them into trade relations with Germany on conditions that could only draw them closer than ever into the German economic system. As soon as French and British gold would cease to flow in their direction, and French armies become unavailable, they would be forced to gravitate into the old German vortex.
These economic tendencies were reinforced by the fear of bolshevism expressed by the rulers of these small countries. Almost all these petty nations had been turned into armed camps under ruthless dictatorships in order to crush the Communist uprisings that had threatened to engulf them at one time or another. The failure of England and France to vanquish Russia burned a deep mark into the consciousness of Balkanized Europe, especially as one could contrast the fate of the British and French forces with the brilliant successes of the German armies over the Russians during the World War. Germany, even in the midst of the most severe fighting on the Western front had been able to destroy the armies of Russia, and to force a drastic “Tilsit” peace upon that unfortunate country. England and France, on the other hand, with the help of the entire world, had been unable to break the back of bolshevism emerging from a completely exhausted and ruined country. What other moral could be drawn than that the real savior of Europe from Bolshevism was a strong German Empire?
If they had to choose between Bolshevism or Germany, all the dictatorial cliques in charge of the countries of Eastern Europe would unhesitatingly choose Berlin for their Capitol. In this respect, too, the Russian Communist Revolution unwittingly played into the hands of the German politicians.
The slow recuperation of Europe following the World War was not due merely to its general exhaustion or to the Balkanization of its Eastern section, but was caused even more fundamentally by great permanent changes in world economy which left Europe relatively in a much worse position than before. These changes in their major outlines were marked by the shift of the economic center of gravity to the United States, by the breaking up of the British Empire, by the rise of Soviet economy, and by the upsurge of Japanese production and the markets of Asia.
The United States emerged from the war equal in production to all of Europe put together. Added to this enormous weight were the branch factories and business operations conducted directly by Americans abroad and their indirect domination through international cartels and syndicates covering the most important resources, raw materials, finished products, and economic services throughout the world. The basis for this leadership of the United States rested upon its enormous natural resources and power, its great food supplies, the ample raw materials at hand, the exceptional equipment and rationalized technique of production, the huge home market, and finally, the tremendous reservoir of capital in its possession. At the same time many countries became practically dependent on the markets of the United States for their very existence. The chief European capitalists felt heavily the tremendous impact of the United States in competition.
The World War and its aftermath greatly weakened capitalism’s power to withstand the blows of economic crises which arose only the more violently. Between 1918 and 1929, England, France, Germany, the large as well as the small countries, careened madly from one side to another, from prosperity to crisis, from reaction to revolution. Periods of prosperity or crisis in England no longer corresponded with similar periods in Germany, or those in Germany with events in France, or general conditions in Europe, with those in Asia or in the United States. Each country seemed to function as an independent fragment, dizzily spinning on its own axis towards its inevitable doom. This was the basic pattern in Europe following World War I, while entirely new economic and political equilibria governed America, Europe, the Soviet Union, and Asia.
Comparative statistics illustrate the above conclusions. Conditions in the iron and steel industry are good indices of general business conditions. In 1920, for example, while the U.S. was falling off in iron and steel production from about 37 million tons to 17 million, the United Kingdom was falling from 9 to 4 million tons but Germany was rising from 6 to almost 9 million tons, and France was advancing as well. In 1922, on the other hand, when the U.S. had recovered to 40 million tons, Germany had fallen to 5 million tons, while France was still going up, and England had recovered to about 7 million tons. In 1926 while the U.S. remained at 40 million tons, France had gone to 10 million but England had dropped to 4 million and Germany had risen to 11 million. In 1929, the figures for the U.S. were 42.6 million tons of iron and steel; Germany, 15.5 million; France 10.4 million; the U.K. 7.6 million.(*1)
In the financial sphere, as a result of the redivision of Europe by the Versailles Treaty and the chaos caused by war and revolution, one country after the other experienced drastic currency crises culminating in Germany in 1923 and in France and Italy in 1925, etc. In 1926 wholesale prices stood as follows (counting 1913-1914 as 100): Germany, 134.4; Belgium, 744; France,718; Italy, 603; Poland, 105; United Kingdom, 148.1; Japan 178.9, etc. Thus, in the same year the widest differences were to be noticed in countries in close juxtaposition to each other. By 1929, while prices rose 15% in Belgium, they fell 13% in France, 27% in Italy, 7.2% in the U.K. (*2)
Considering the economic fluctuations from the aspect of their effects upon the income of the people, we note that in 1924 the number of bankruptcies in the U.S. was the lowest of the nine years that followed; in Great Britain, on the other hand, it was the highest, while Germany experienced the most violent fluctuations, ranging from a monthly average of 516 bankruptcies in 1924 to 1,003 in 1926, falling to 475 in 1927 and rising to 821 in 1929. In France the figures showed opposite fluctuations, or 659 in 1925, 122 in 1926, and 689 in 1927.
In France, despite temporary suspensions at various levels, the cost of living, having leaped up during 1925, mounted steadily from 1927 to 1930; In Italy, it took a drastic drop from 1925; In Great Britain, it showed a steady decline; In Germany, it maintained itself at the same level. In France, wages rose above the slowly dropping cost of living; in Great Britain, they had been below the cost of living. In both Germany and Italy also the cost of living dropped gradually; after 1930 wages dropped at terrific speed.(*3)
Thus, we can safely declare that, as a result of the World War and the revolutions continually shaking the capitalist structure, capitalist world economy was nowhere able to return to the relatively stable equilibria and smooth functionings that had existed prior to 1914. It was as though someone had taken a mighty hammer and smashed the social framework of Europe into fragments. It was upon this weakened capitalist structure that the unparalleled severe world economic depression fell in the 1930’s.
Financial supremacy also began to shift to the Western Hemisphere. War debts payable to the United States amounted to over $12 billion; private loans abroad payable to American investors amounted to over $15.5 billion more. Soon the greatest part of the world’s hoard of gold came to rest on these shores. In spite of every effort on its part to resist the growing hegemony of the United States, Balkanized and exhausted Europe was unable to do so.
As a result of the shifting of the economic center of gravity to the U.S., a most severe struggle took place between Europe and America generally, and between Great Britain and the U.S. especially. The European capitalists felt heavily the tremendous impact of the U.S.. War debts payable to the U.S. amounted to over $12 billion; private loans abroad payable to American capitalists amounted to over $15.5 billion more.
The United States became increasingly the dominant part of world capitalism. Up to the twentieth century, America had served as the instrument for the rejuvenation of Europe, as an enormous outlet for Europe’s surplus capital and relative surplus population. Had it not been for the open door of America, class conflicts in Europe would have matured far earlier and would have led to decisive solutions before this time. Thus America’s growth postponed the ultimate day of reckoning for Europe.
In this respect the U.S. and Russia functioned as two powerful reservoirs of reaction, each in its own way. Russian Tsarism and the huge Russian army stood ready at the beck and call of the financiers of Europe to crush every democratic and socialist movement in the West. Thus the breakdown of the Russian system became the goal of every democratic movement. On the other hand, the United States, in depriving Europe of its militant characters, in permitting the masses of Europe to believe that salvation was attainable in the “promised land”, offered an outlet for the pent-up streams generated by European contradictions and thus prevented eruptions. Under the Russian system, socialism was crushed; under the American system it was dissolved into Liberalism. Both cooperated to save Europe from a workers’ rule.
After the War America’s doors were shut. There was no longer any escape for Europe’s militants. America began to affect Europe not as a liberator releasing Europe’s productive forces and relieving her of militant revolutionists but as a huge competitor smashing Europe to pieces.
After the World War, the United States again was called upon to save Europe. This time America was forced into an entirely different technique. It had to throw into the fray the whole might of its reserves to save Europe from the advancing proletarian revolution, to send its army against the Soviets, to liquidate many of its war debts. It made fresh loans to the European capitalists. It practically gave away its war supplies and material then in Europe. It brought into Germany alone $4 billion for the rehabilitation of Europe and for stamping out revolution. These favors, however, were not granted without political payment. The policy making classes of the United States used their favorable position and power to make Europe subservient to their ends and to break up all alliances against America’s power. From then it was expected that each country would have to come to America humbly to beg for funds or for support for its continued existence.
In self-defense, European capitalists struggled to resist the impact of American capitalism. Under French and English leadership, an attempt was made to organize a debtors’ bloc against “Uncle Shylock". The reactionary French plan of a “United States of Europe” was another such attempt to consolidate the continent. Similarly, many international cartels were formed to meet the growing competition from across the Atlantic; high tariffs were erected to resist the American invasion.
That this resistance of reconstructed Europe was successful to some extent was evidenced by the fact that imports from the U.S. into various European countries fell steadily, especially after the arrival of the world economic depression. The share of imports from the U.S. into the U.K. fell from 18.6% in values in 1925, to 14.7% in 1930, and to about 11% in 1933; Germany in 1923 imported 19.1% of her total imports from the U.S.; in 1927 this had fallen to 14.7%, and in 1933 to 9%. In spite of this resistance Europe continued to lag below its former pre-War strength, both relatively and absolutely. After the coming of the world depression the loss of European markets by America was not due to the fact that other countries won those markets as to the fact that the markets no longer existed, each country curtailing its imports in an extreme effort to obtain self-sufficiency and avoid complete bankruptcy.
The structural changes that took place during and after the World War, had as one of their results the growing disintegration of the British Empire. Emerging from the war with Germany with tremendous material loss, both in goods and in men, handicapped by antiquated industrial technique, and by increased competition, Great Britain, heavily in debt, was utterly unable to regain her former premier position. Revolts in India and in China, the industrialization of other countries, the technological shift to means of production which Great Britain proper did not contain within its own borders, (for example, the shift from coal to oil in modern production), coupled with the breakdown of Europe after the war and the increased tariff rates all around, all these events further combined to reduce the power of Great Britain. Added to this were the resistance labor offered to any drastic decrease in its income and the costly struggle which followed the attempt to lower wages. The British General Strike in 1926, although it lasted but nine days, alone cost Britain nearly a billion dollars.
In the foreign field, in Europe, England was forced to meet the increased competition of a Germany that had thoroughly rebuilt its productive machinery with the aid of American capital. In the Western hemisphere, the pressure of the United States was driving all British goods before it, and even in the Dominions, notably Canada, the influence of the United States was becoming increasingly felt. In Asia, rising Japanese industrialization was putting an end to British profits in textiles and in other trades.
Naturally, the decline of British economic weight could not continue without a relative fall in political position. Japan seized the opportunity to annex to herself a huge portion of Asia; Manchuria, portions of Inner Mongolia, an immense section of Central China, the entire sea coast of China and all important islands pertaining to it, and to make preparations for her next steps in Indo-China and the Indian Ocean. Step by step Britain was being squeezed out of the Far East.
Nor can we ignore the fact that the victory of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union seriously weakened the relative world position of British imperialism. The rapid further industrialization of Russia greatly strengthened that country’s hold on the Middle East; in Persia, in Turkey, in Western and Central China and even in India. Through the Communist International and affiliated bodies, Russia was giving mighty body blows to British prestige and preparing for its downfall.
The tottering international position of Great Britain had to be accompanied by drastic changes within the country. Taxes on low incomes were increased; the pay of workers and government officials was cut down; social insurance was reduced; heavy consumption taxes were placed on articles needed by the masses, etc. The Government itself moved steadily away from popular influence; the national Government from above and the Mosley blackshirts from below showed definite Fascist symptoms, in turn mute evidence of the growing disintegration of the British Empire.
All of these innovations brought their own contradictions marked by the rioting in Belfast, Glasgow, and London, the mutiny in the navy, the drifting of labor organizations to the Left, the split with Ireland, the adoption of the Statute of Westminster recognizing the constitutional independence and equality of the Dominions with Great Britain, and similar measures.
This was the picture given the world by the British Empire, the dominant victorious power of Europe, twenty years after the termination of the World War, and the inauguration of the Versailles Peace. Surely such a disintegrating empire could afford no real leadership to a Europe constantly on the verge of internal dissension and civil war. Surely such control as Great Britain and the League of Nations could give was not sufficient to prevent the explosions so imminent on the continent.
While the British Empire was declining, Germany, phoenix-like, was rising from the still warm ashes of the past to ever greater proportions.
Economically, as well as politically, Germany went through three main postwar phrases. The first period from 1913 to 1925, was one of chaos and inflation. Politically, this was marked by the overthrow of the old ruling class and the attempt on the part of capital to check the advance of the militant workers by giving power to the Socialist bureaucracy, Economically, it entailed a terrific impoverishment of the whole population and the destruction of the savings of the middle class. From the point of view of big business, however, this period meant a great growth of the trustification and cartel movements which had been spreading in Germany even before the War, which had been immensely spurred on by the hostilities and which now reached their culmination point.
The cartels established in Germany had been of many kinds, including those regulating prices and fixing uniform trade conditions, quotas of production, apportionments of territories, standardization of products, etc. Prior to the World War, Germany had generally stopped at the cartel and had not advanced to the trust form, the reason being that the manufacturers were still specializing in imitating the goods of other countries, perfecting the inventions produced elsewhere, and winning markets through better sales methods, rather than through superior production. During the War, a complete centralization of all industry had been established by the State. The post-war chaos and inflation enabled big business to buy up practically anything cheap, and to erect at once a tremendous new trust movement based on speculation. This was best illustrated in the great Stinnes Konzern and other vertical combinations.
The basic cause for this unprecedented rise of vertical trustification was not only the currency inflation but the loss of territory under the Versailles Treaty, by which the Reich lost 25% of its coal and 74% of its iron ore. This meant that German business had to utilize far more efficiently than ever before the greatly decreased resources at its disposal. The result was a great development of scientific research and definite stress on the importance of scientific management and planful production in industry.
The second period of German post-war history ranged approximately from 1925 to 1930. It was marked politically by the establishment of the coalition government, the mutual collaboration between the reformist Socialists and the Liberals and Centrists under the Weimar Republic whose President was Hindenburg. The Communist revolutionary movement was now definitely broken. Germany becoming a vast market for foreign capital, absorbed in this period over $4 billion from the United States alone and completely rehabilitated its factories and industrial machinery, thus emerging in more gigantic proportions than ever. At this stage the Versailles Treaty was modified by the Dawes and Young plans, which reduced the unspeakable total of reparations Germany was to pay under the original Versailles Treaty to the merely staggering sum of over thirty-five billion marks. To secure further concessions, Germany also flirted with Russia and signed a treaty of friendly relations with that country.
With the end of inflation, the vertical combinations represented by Stinnes broke down and collapsed. New cartels and a far stronger trustified movement sprang up, instead, this time closely controlled by the government itself. The cartels now entered into a struggle with the cooperatives, which had demanded a social regulation of the cartel whereby the cooperative could maintain its existence. In industry as in trade, a tremendous concentration of capital occurred, leading to the direct entrance of the State into many more important industries. A large increase of public utilities took place, coupled with a trustification of important industries and a consolidation of capital in trade, both through the chain store and department store systems on the one hand, and the large cooperative movement on the other.
Added to these trends in Germany were the peculiarities of her problems of national resources. Practically without petroleum, with her lignite deposits rapidly vanishing, and with but scanty resources in ferrous and non-ferrous metals, the whole problem of conservation had become a matter of the greatest public concern. Deprived of natural resources by the war, the industries turned to ersatz production and synthetic combinations to replace the lack of natural resources. Lacking oil, Germany created synthetic oil from the cracking of coal. The coal industry, therefore, was transformed into a chemical one, which, in turn, became a power industry erected upon the bony structure of steel and based on electrical energy. In all this, there was not the slightest intimation of any desire to return to a freely competitive economic system, nor did the possibility of such a return any longer exist. And with increased rationalization, the individual sank completely into the group. The whole movement in both its technological and organizational aspects was based on cooperative effort and pooled labor.
The third stage of German post-war history coincided with the world crisis of the early thirties which hit Germany with frightful force and led to the victory of the Nazi Party. Nazi totalitarianism was the only hope offered to German capitalism to free itself from utter collapse and bankruptcy. Under the Nazis the already developed trends towards trustification, rationalization, and nationalization became enormously accelerated and were elaborated into a complete system of totalitarian autarchy and state capitalism. By these means the power of the German rulers to strike was enormously enhanced; Germany achieved a momentum hitherto undreamed of.
The titanic world economic depression raging in 1930 brought home to all Europe in a most drastic fashion the vital necessity of solving the basic post-war problems besetting that continent if it was to survive as a creative force. Behind the dark shadow of unemployment and empty factories were both the menace of Communism and the permanent collapse of European competitive power. Torn between the United States on the one side and the Soviet Union on the other, Europe had become self-divided, and was bound to be driven down farther and farther as the tool of this or that greater historical force.
The problems facing the continent of Europe as a whole were basically threefold: First, there was the problem of the economic development of the continent, to enable it to compete with the superior economies of the United States and now also of the Soviet Union. The basic drive obviously for this economic reorganization of Europe could not possibly come either from France or from antiquated nineteenth century England, but only from Germany. The victory of Germany in Europe was bound to be followed by great industrial advances throughout every portion of the continent.
Connected with this economic problem was the political one of the creation of a United States of Europe. Such a United States of Europe had been promised by Communism when the Red Army had marched to the gates of Warsaw and when huge masses of proletarians were ready within the gates of the other European capitals to come to the aid of the Revolution. But with the ebb of the international Communist movement, the sole way open for a United States of Europe was through domination by Germany; certainly neither England nor France could achieve it.
The third most important problem for Europe to solve, especially for a Europe enveloped in a most desperate chronic crisis of unemployment and mass unrest, was the problem of Communism which had threatened once before to envelop it completely and which remained a permanent menace. Here, again, the leadership had to be taken by Germany, not only because Germany was the most industrialized nation, was confronted most acutely with the problem of putting down within her own borders the aspirations of the mightiest working class in Europe, but also because in the international arena Germany alone was able to lead the crusade to destroy the Soviet Union.
So long as the German ruling class was weak and disarmed, there stood before all the rulers of Europe the fear that at some critical date the German workers would take arms in their hands and revolt, joining forces with the Russians. This was no idle dream. Even in 1933, when Hitler had already become the Reich’s Chancellor, the Communists and the Socialists were able together to register 14,000,000 votes and to control the principal industrial sections of Germany. The cost of the social insurance and relief measures which were appeasing the populace was rapidly leading capitalist Germany into bankruptcy and could not much longer be continued. And when the country could no longer feed the masses, no one could foretell what would happen.
Even France and England could not but hail the methods of Hitlerism in exterminating all the dangerous organizations of the working class within Germany and in assuming the anti-Communist leadership everywhere. It was the belief of the Chamberlains and the Daladiers that Hitlerism could be induced to continue its attack against the Communists by engaging in war against the Soviet Union. They secretly hoped that in the course of this German-Soviet war not only would the Soviets be overthrown but Germany would become exhausted and both fall an easy prey for further exploitation. These statesmen failed to understand that the task of vanquishing the Soviets was no easy one, that Germany had no intention of becoming exhausted in this process for the benefit of England and of France, and that before she engaged in the struggle against Russia, Germany had first to reach the maximum development of her strength through the formation of a United States of Europe under her control.
The English and French imperialists failed to grasp the simple aphorism that one can not have one’s cake and eat it too; one could not possibly urge Germany on to the war against Russia without building up that same Germany to such a strength that she would first thrust aside all efforts to prevent her from dominating Europe and from reducing to subjection the very England and France that were urging her forward!
If England wanted Germany to declare war on Russia, how could she prevent Hitler from rearming to the maximum ability with the maximum speed, from uniting with the other Germans in Austria and elsewhere to establish his reserves, from closing the corridor dividing East Prussia from Germany proper, from demanding the right to move German soldiers to the Eastern border of Poland, from dominating all the eastern border countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea?
The British and French rulers believed they understood well enough the motivation of the Hitler movement in setting up as its chief aim the struggle against international Communism. They believed that this was merely a new way of carrying out the old Pan-Germanic policy of “Drang nach Osten” by carving out a rich imperial territory from Russia and the Near East. They had not learned sufficiently the lessons of their own failures; nor did they conceive that, as punishment for these failures, they were doomed to be pushed into the discard of history as second-rate leaders of second-rate countries.
Having failed themselves in 1919-1921 to destroy the Soviet Union, how could the bankrupt conservatives of the British and French Empires put conditions to the only force they knew could actually achieve what they could not do themselves? Furthermore, how could they be expected to appreciate the irony of history that one of the preconditions for the victory of German Nazism over Communism would be the downfall of the British and French imperialists themselves and that the turning over of the task to Hitler was an admission of the complete failure of Liberal-Pacific-Democracy and the termination of their historic leadership over Europe? British and French diplomats might cheat their nations, they could not cheat history.
Let us pause briefly to underline the lessons of the failure of British and French imperialism to crush Soviet Russia in 1919-1921. The first lesson that had to be learned from the dismal results of the invasion into Russia was that to overthrow the Soviets it was not enough to mobilize only the secondary countries of Europe, but that only the most important industrialized countries working together at full strength could do the job. If she were to win, capitalist Europe had to be led not by far-flung disjointed empires whose chief interests were beyond the seas, nor by countries second-class as measured in terms of industrial power, nor by nations engaged primarily in commerce or financial speculations. Only if headed by the mightiest industrial country of all—and that country could be no other than Germany—could Europe possibly meet the test.
Second, the French and British had operated in command of armies composed of independent forces from small countries of a disunited Europe or from allies having their own aims and purposes. Such armies were ridiculously incompetent. It was manifest after their defeats suffered in Russia that the capitalists in order to smash the Soviets would have to unite their forces under one head with one aim and one organization. Who else could achieve this military unity but Germany?
Thirdly, the British and French had tried to destroy bolshevism not by a frontal attack to its heart, Moscow, but by flank attacks through the Baltic, through the Balkans, and through Siberia. Not a haphazard attack only through the flanks, not naval actions which could not touch the interior of the country, but only the most awful direct military avalanche known to history hurled by an immense army at the center of Russia—Moscow. This combination alone could accomplish the victory. And only Germany could offer this possibility. After the rise to power of Hitler, Germany had wiped out the waste and military inefficiency of democratic pacifism and had thoroughly prepared for precisely this struggle.
Fourthly, the events of 1919-1921 showed that it was fatal to try to attack Russia from the continent while in the rear Europe itself was divided, with a discontented Germany refusing to participate. The great increase of strength of Russia during the decade of 1930-1941 had made it even more plain that not a divided Europe but only a firmly knit United States of Europe could possibly conquer the Soviets. Was it not patent that only Germany could create this United States of Europe embracing all the militaristic little states that had been formed on the borders of Russia and whose sole reason for existence was the struggle against bolshevism?
From the higher capitalist point of view it was becoming increasingly obvious that only through the economic and political organization of Europe under the German aegis could Europe retain its historic initiative and importance and beat back the competition of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan, and that only by allowing Germany to take complete military leadership could Europe successfully undertake the struggle against proletarian communism that threatened to engulf capitalism forever. To put it another way, the old profit system in Europe, sick unto death, had to call upon its greatest and most highly developed power to take command in the struggle against Communism and the Soviet Union. No wonder Hitler appeared to his protagonists as a veritable Saint George arming himself against the dragon, as a Siegfried going forth to battle for right and truth.
British and French imperialists well understood that by its decisive action against international communism, Germany was bound to earn the undying gratitude of every tottering and unstable ruling class and would be considered not as a menace but rather as the armed knight fighting the battles for all capital. To continental Europe, Germany’s failure to crush communism would spell the end of the leadership of Europe in history, either because of the victory of communism or because of exhaustion, the initiative then passing to America.
Naturally, what Great Britain desired was not only the destruction of the Soviets, but the complete exhaustion of Germany as well. Then capitalism could be re-installed in Russia, and the alliance of Great Britain, France, and Russia to encircle Germany could be recreated. Should Germany, in its coming war, destroy the Soviet Union too quickly, they calculated, then, with the reinstallation of capitalism in Russia, there would be no alternative but for France and England to enter the war against Germany to deprive her of the fruits of victory and to re-establish the old balance of power. Similar calculations prevailed in France.
In order to egg Germany on to war in the East, the Chamberlains were quite willing in a policy of appeasement, to sacrifice Czecho-Slovakia, the Baltic Provinces, and the Polish Corridor. Only when it became plain that Hitler’s policy meant the practical extinction of Poland as an ally did French and British statesmen decide to support Polish nationalists to the extent of war.
Had Poland gone along with Germany, she would have been offered the tempting bait of the Ukraine, but in return Poland would have been reduced to utter vassalage. This was a condition the megalomania of Polish chauvinism could not possibly tolerate. The nouveaux-riches and petty nobility of Warsaw had tasted state power too long to give up their independence without a struggle. Their plan was to employ Germany as an ally against Russia and then to unite with England and France in a new partition movement whereby Polish avarice could be satiated at the expense of her neighbors East and West.
Evidently, between Polish megalomania and Hitler messianism there could be little compromise. As French and British leaders were forced by popular pressure to side with Poland, the Nazis were forced to take a new direction in their fight for power. So long as they could separate Russia from England and France, it made little difference to the Nazis which conflict they took on first. If, by offering parts of Europe to Stalin, Russia could be neutralized, the full force of the Nazi war machine could be used against those fools who failed to realize that the savior of Europe was only Hitler.
Thus the war for Poland in turn became a struggle to dissolve the influence of France and of England upon the continent of Europe. World War II was begun. As the stakes of the war were new in the history of the world, so were the methods of the war itself. World War II was to be a new kind of war demonstrating new forms and techniques. It became Total War.
(1) See, National Industrial Conference Board: Chart Np. 239, “Road Maps of Industry” Series October, 1930
Chapter II—Total War
(2) See, National Industrial Conference Board: Major Forces in World Business Depression
(3) See, League of Nations: World Production and Prices, Appendix III, Table 2 (1932 Series)
Chapter II—Total War
The present war is like no other war in history. It ushers in a new level of fighting, the unique features of which we must thoroughly absorb or else perish in ignominious defeat. Superficially, it may appear that World War II is something special in that it has mobilized the entire nation for the struggle. But there is really nothing new in an entire population, rather than a small armed body, going into the fray. It is true that in localized wars of the past, when no great issues were at stake, battles were fought by a mere fraction of the nation, specialized armies that met on a front far from the general life of the people who were left more or less vitally unaffected by the actual physical conflict. But when truly great issues were in the balance, the existence of this or that level of civilization or social achievement, for example, then the entire body politic has always been aroused for the fight.
World War II is most appropriately termed Total War not merely because the total energies of the nation are bent to the struggle, but because for the first time in history, the entire country, totally and each separate portion of it, has been turned into a potential battlefield in which every point in the rear may become at any moment a vital point of the front. Here is the feature of the present war, the brand new relation of front to rear, to use a military expression, on which we must concentrate our attention.
It may help us to grasp the new situation if we were to trace briefly the historic evolution of the relationship of the front to the rear as it has unfolded before us in previous struggles where people have been more or less wholly involved. This evolution contains three distinct principal phases.
The first phase existed in the days of primitive warfare, before the regular State and the Nation, as we understand these concepts, had been developed.
In the days of the invasion of Europe by the primitive hordes of Teutons, Slavs and Huns, it was not uncommon for the entire gens, clan, tribe, or nation to participate in the affair, the women and even the children standing right behind their men ready to take up the arms of those who perished. Here, we might say, there also existed a total participation of the population in the war, and here, too, the front and the rear were indistinguishable, but in the sense that it was all front and no rear.
From this amorphous condition there gradually arose the second phase in this process, antithetical to the first, where there was a sharp separation of the state and its armed forces from the mass of people. In this period the front and the rear were generally acutely demarcated, often the people neither knowing nor caring where the official armies were fighting and dying.
But even when regular states had been strongly established there were numerous climactic occasions when masses of people not previously in the official armed forces were mobilized and hurled into the war at hand. We need give but two examples of the many that appear readily to mind. In the sixteenth century when the security of the commercial classes of England was threatened by the Spanish Armada, the English government called to its aid not only its regular array but the entire private merchant marine of the nation. It was because of this popular mobilization that the Spaniards were so disastrously routed. Again, during the time of the French Revolution, millions of people were thrown into the wars in huge columns that gradually became hardened into invincible armies. Even here, however, in both these two cases, despite the fact that large numbers were called on to perish in battle, there was not only a distinct separation of front from rear but the rear was hardly touched by military operations.
The twentieth century has witnessed the transformation of the relationship of front to rear toward a new synthesis where front and rear have again become indissoluble but on an incomparably higher plane then in primitive days. In its first aspects this transformation geared the entire functioning of the rear, separate and distinct as the rear still remained, to the functioning of the front. In its later aspects “front line” one dimensional fighting gave way to depth fighting of three dimensions in which the entire rear, no matter what its depth, became a part, indeed the principal part, of the front.
By the time of World War I, there had perforce arisen, together with national compulsory military service and our modern complicated division of labor, the prime necessity of coordinating the rear to support the front and of establishing some regulation of the general activities of the entire nation. This process was not completed when World War I came to an end and even in 1918 by no means were the regulation and mobilization of the rear as comprehensive and systematic as at the front under military command.
During the present war we must expect to see perfected the process begun in the last world war, namely, as complete a mobilization and regimentation of the rear as of the front. The nation as a whole must go to war today as one organized unit prepared to support the military front with a complete national plan of industry and economy with each man at his post as though in the army.
But were this the only difference between the present and the previous world war, then we might say it was but a difference in quantity and degree, rather than a difference in quality and kind. The important point we must repeat again and again is that whereas previous national wars all separated front from rear, today the front and the rear form one single indistinguishable area. This salient fact must lead us to entirely different tasks and perspectives.
Today, it is not enough to throw as many people as possible into the divisions of the army and of the navy. Nor is it enough to train a large numbers of workers to make ammunition, guns, airplanes, and similar material necessary for the front. Nor is it enough to train every civilian to be a good soldier ready to go to the front to fight. This was the situation in France and yet France collapsed the moment the front was pierced. No, what must be understood by the nation at its peril, is that in the present war every portion of the rear may become a part of active struggle at any moment, and that the entire civilian population must be trained, not only for civilian duties, not only for military duties at the front in regular stereotyped activities, but for active duty in the rear in new forms of conflict and with new methods. Only by the training of the entire civilian population for struggle in the rear behind the army, a struggle in which the army aids the civilian rather than the civilian aiding the army, can the invader be repulsed. This is the lesson that the French failed to grasp and which the English are learning entirely too late.
How has this new situation come about, that the rear should now become the front and that those in the rear must be trained for military action befitting the rear in an entirely new manner? The answer lies in the new technical developments that have silently and secretly been transforming the mode of military struggle.
First, the terrific striking power of the tanks and armored car divisions has enabled the invading forces to pierce the front line and to enter deep into the rear. Thus military forces must be established at myriad posts behind the front lines, deep in the interior of the country, in order to meet these penetrating thrusts. And around the cadres of military forces there must be grouped the entire civilian population in order quickly to transform the area penetrated into an active military front until at least the front line may be redressed or reserves sent to the threatened spot.
But tanks and armored cars are by no means the chief menace. The principal new situation arises from the airplane. The “front” is a very transient thing at best. Quickly huge armadas of bombing and fighting planes can penetrate to every city of the invaded country and cast their explosives and inflammatory materials into the heart of the populace. Parachute fighters can land to consolidate positions in all the essentially important sections of the country and to paralyze the entire economic and social life of the nation. It is the airplane, above all, that makes every section of the rear into part of the front and makes it impossible for the military to foretell, just where the battles will take place. There is no longer any specialized “theater of war;” the whole land becomes a “theater of war.”
Once we grasp this important new development, a fact that has transformed the present war into a struggle entirely unique in the history of the world, we must ask ourselves two questions: First, what is the answer of the invaded country to this new method of invasion, what new tasks are there to be undertaken in the light of this transformation of the rear into the front at so many points? And, second, can democratic countries immersed in the philosophy and politics of Liberalism possibly undertake and realize these new tasks so as to defeat the Nazi-Fascist dictatorships? These are the two questions to which the principal part of this chapter will be confined.
Our thesis is that Liberalism is an outmoded method of action wholly incapable of accomplishing the tasks before it in the present war; it can by no means overtake the Nazi-Fascist nations in the new forms of struggle that are breaking forth. Liberalism is a dead system totally incapable of defending itself or of being defended historically any longer. Unless it is transformed to some new system superior to Fascism, it will go under to Fascism.
Obviously, if the front and the rear have now become one indissoluble unit, a two-fold problem arises in this connection: First, the problem of organizing the rear as efficiently as military science has organized the front; and second, in recognition of the entirely new tasks that the rear must realize, the problem involving the special organization of the rear for the new types of conflicts to be solved.
For hundreds of years military science has been wrestling with the problems of organization of the front, in terms of mobilization, deployment, tactics, strategy, and logistics. Up to now, however, relatively little real attention has been paid to the other similar problems that the rear must solve if all of a sudden it becomes a front, As we shall see, among the capitalist powers it is not the Liberals—and we hasten to add it cannot be the Liberals—but rather the Fascists who have begun to pay attention to these new problems with rich results for themselves.
In the army, problems of unity of action, discipline, coordination of efforts of the various divisions of the armed forces, elimination of all other motives save the motive of willingness to die for one’s country, strict disinterestedness in the course of performance of duties, all of these matters have been given prime attention and have been more or less solved by the inner routines and methods of the various armies.
In the rear, however, (in a Liberal democratic country, even more so than elsewhere) the very opposite conditions prevail than at the front: there is great disunity of the population, an utter lack of discipline, of coordination, of disinterestedness and of willingness to place the welfare of the people above the selfish interests of this or that private enterprise.
In the army the profit motive has disappeared, all the soldiers share whatever there is in common, whether hardships or victories. In the rear, on the other hand, each special group tries its best to get for itself what it can from the war and to utilize the mass murders at the front for its own benefit. Is it any wonder that when once the invading army penetrates the front and enters the rear that the entire resistance of the people collapses and the victory of the invaders automatically follows? France is a wonderful illustration of such a debacle.
It would make a discussion of this complicated subject much easier were we to consider the rear first, separately from the front, but in the same terms as the military men conceive the front, and then, having established certain first principles, proceed to examine the brand new problems that the imminent transformation of the rear into the front places before the entire population.
Obviously, there can not be a proper mobilization of forces in the rear without a complete registration of all the resources, materials, and men at our disposal, and a proper distribution of these factors in the light of the impending conflict. We must get out of our heads the illusion that we can fight a war in our spare time or without completely transforming the organization or our national economy. There must be a definite allocation of the energies of our nation toward definite tasks and with definite ends. There must be a place for every man, woman, and child, and every one must be in his place.
But how can we properly mobilize our economic powers and reorganize them if we have not placed them under a central purposeful control that has the authority to utilize all forces regardless of the profit system? As it is, especially in democratic liberal nations, each factory is operated more or less as the owner pleases, even when that owner is given orders for national defense. To the manufacturer, the national defense orders are only part of his business; he himself individually still remains the decisive factor in regulating the efficiency and technique of production. He is responsible to no one and is supervised only in the most elementary matters.
If this is true so far as each individual factory is concerned, how much more is it true for the industry as a whole? What authority is there to tell any industry that it is futile or wasteful or that half of the firms in a given industry should go out of business as unnecessary were the newest processes of production introduced universally? Who is to tell the cosmetic industry, say, that a country preparing for war has absolutely no use for such a thoroughly vapid trade now consuming the energies of so many people and using wantonly so much of the nation’s resources and materials?
No, under Liberalism the only regulator of production is the market place. So long as there is a possibility of making profit, capital and labor will be poured into the most useless trades and will utilize the most wasteful methods. No question is ever raised of the good of the country as a whole; each person simply asks himself: What is there of profit in it for me?
Does anyone possibly imagine that our country can enter into a life and death struggle with the great fascist powers without a better organization of the rear than this? Do we have to allow “natural and gradual” processes of unlimited competition to determine how many men rather than women shall be employed in the textile industry, or how many workers in all shall be allocated to the shoe industry, or whether the cosmetic trade should be allowed to exist at all, or whether this or that productive process should be developed in New England, or in the Middle West, or in some other region? Instead of a united carefully planned system, such as would exist within the army itself, there reign anarchy and chaos, slightly limited as the conditions become unbearable and compel some change.
Fascism has at least made some beginning in doing what Liberalism is congenitally unable to do. Under the Nazis a steady propaganda campaign has been launched that the German girl is more beautiful without paint and powder on her face and through the powerful pressure of the Nazi Party the cosmetic industry has gone almost completely out of business. Again, under the Nazis, large numbers of people were induced to join one or the other “voluntary” society and to wear the uniform of their respective groups, thus eliminating, to a very considerable extent, the extreme wastefulness due to style changes and whims and fancies that the profit system has injected into the clothing trades in our country. Thus, under Hitler, there has been created a standardization in articles of need and an elimination of waste in consumption far greater than that which existed in the past. Under Liberalism, on the contrary, such a result would be unthinkable so long as anybody could make a tittle of profit by introducing some new fad or whim utterly fantastic in the light of the desperate needs of the hour.
And what must be stressed in connection with all this is the important consideration that the proper economic mobilization of the people in the rear must be accomplished before the war starts. It is silly for anyone to say that the reorganization of the rear is necessary but that it can be postponed to some later date, perhaps after war is declared. Such a person fails to see that today there is no sharp hiatus between peace and war, there is no long drawn-out controversy with all the punctiliousness and form of the quadrille of the eighteenth century. Rather, today, peace is constantly being permeated with war, is indissolubly connected with war, moves imperceptibly towards war, so that all of a sudden the country is at war without even the formality of a declaration being necessary. The quicker the people of America learn that we are at war with Hitlerism now, even though not a single shot may have been fired, the better for all of us. Since the struggle is inevitable, it is criminal to enter it unprepared.
In order for America to win the forthcoming war, it is absolutely necessary to throw the entire surplus product of the country into the form of war materials and supplies of all sorts as well as to increase to the utmost the capacity of the people to produce these necessary materials and supplies, Certain industries will have to be enormously expanded, others sharply contracted, and perhaps entirely new industries created. None of this can be realized unless the nation through the state steps in and assumes complete and authoritative control.
In short, were we even to begin to mobilize our forces and to organize the rear as military science has organized the front, we could not possibly allow private industry to function on the profit system any more than the army could function on such a system. National control according to a given plan needed in the coming struggle demands in the rear the same philosophy as the army demands in the front: the philosophy of the supreme sacrifice of one’s personal interests for the good of the country, the complete annihilation of the selfish profit motive, the complete unity for the welfare of all.
How can we possibly achieve such a result under Liberalism whose whole philosophy has traditionally preached that the government is best that governs least, that the government exists for the good of the individual, that free trade and free competition are the cure-alls for all our ills, that every man has inalienable rights among which is the right of keeping his property for himself and of doing with his life that which he pleases regardless of the good of his country, and that the most inalienable of all such rights is the right to make profit?
Hitlerism can never be destroyed by such a philosophy or program of action. Unless we ourselves adopt something better, Hitler will have been right in his designation of us as a people doomed to succumb as utterly unable to meet the new conditions of the twentieth century.
National planning, national purposefulness, national control for the benefit of the entire people, is an absolute necessity during the coming war. Similar proposals were widespread during the industrial depression that raged after 1929, and it must be said that these ideas made considerable headway in all quarters. But whatever hesitation may have existed regarding national planning when the life of the nation was not directly involved, there can be no question about it when the country must engage in a war where the rear must be thoroughly organized and coordinated with the front or go under.
We can only look to Germany or to Russia to see how far ahead in national planning these countries are in comparison to the United States. We may say that their planning is crude and incomplete, we may say that they made many mistakes and committed many blunders, but at least these countries made a beginning, a beginning that has given them an immense superiority over the nations still following the economics of laissez-faire, the politics of individualism, and the ethics of each man for himself, the devil take the hindmost.
A country that cannot control and mobilize properly its economy cannot marshal its entire population for the struggle. It can not efficiently utilize the energies of its population not called to the front. It must throw extraordinary burdens on some, and no burdens at all on others. It must engage large numbers of people in activities utterly fruitless, completely nullify the efforts of others by waste and carelessness, and everywhere allow full development to the one who means to look solely after himself first, last, and all the time.
And what is more, the failure properly to control and to organize the rear is bound to have its repercussions upon the front as well. Soldiers who are drafted and made to serve in the army cannot help but contrast that which they must do and that which the business men and those in control have reserved for themselves. They must be disciplined, they must make the supreme sacrifice and die for their country, while the business man can insist that so long as he pays the required portion of his taxes and makes goods for the war that he be let alone to build up his business for himself and for his family. The soldier must become disgusted at the way the rear is run, he must begin to feel that he and his family are but dupes and pawns for the benefit of selfish business interests in the rear. The whole morale of the army becomes weak, preparing the day for complete defeat and disaster at the front. Let us say plainly: Those who refuse to organize the rear and the social forces behind the army, can not be entrusted with the control of the front and the social forces within the army.
It is not the mass of people, always ready to die in their own defense, who will oppose the necessary reorganization, but only those whose private gain is subserved by the keeping of the old antiquated nineteenth century methods. Such selfish interests would rather lose the war, would rather succumb to Fascism, than to reorganize society to fight it. These elements are the real basis for the Fifth Columns that Fascism has utilized so well in the defeat of those countries which they have so ruthlessly invaded. Industrial magnates who want to keep their selfish control over the resources and materials of the country for their own profit, profiteers who want to utilize the exigencies of the war to make a killing, exploiters who feel this is their chance to rise over the dead bodies of others, such are the types who make up the strength of the Fifth Columns and it is these people who, unfortunately, also make up, through their sons and relatives and friends and connections, the principal bulk of the officers of the army at the front.
There is no question but that the whole-hearted organization of the rear must entrain with it a complete reorganization of the front as well. There cannot be a popular taking over of the country’s resources and economy with a complete elimination of the selfish interests who place their profit over the welfare of the country, without a complete change in army morale and in army methods. Up to now the officers in the army have generally felt that the army really belonged to them and that the soldiers were but unthinking pawns in their general scheme of things. But with the tremendous awakening of the nation as a whole and with the far more intimate connection of the front with the rear, of the army with the mass of the general population, this whole antiquated ideology must give way. Unless the army is also brought into this new scheme of things, it, too, must fail in meeting the Fascist attack.
For at least it can be said for Fascism that it has made a gesture in overthrowing the old schema. In the rear it has nationalized this and that important industry and strictly regulated and confined the others not nationalized. The power of the state to take over all property is unquestioned and there is never doubt but that at any moment the state will and does sequester whatever it needs. The importance of the private owner of industry has rapidly diminished. Private ownership, private control, and private profit have been put in the background so far as Fascist ideology and propaganda, at least, are concerned. The mass of people are given to understand that there is no set of individual capitalists who can speculate and make profit out of the war or who can lay plans for the disposal of the people and the resources of the nation on their own hook.
And in the army the same sort of feeling is fostered by the Nazi elements who have striven to put the old army officer—so supreme in the days of the Kaiser—in his place. It is not the old army officer but the Nazi Party that has the supreme say and this is translated to mean that the army is not under the control of any special military caste, but is the servant of the entire Reich, of the entire Volk. In short, the Nazis have done all in their power to give the impression to their subjects that this is a People’s War.
Herein lies one of the great sources of power of Hitler over his Germans. It only proves once more that the only way for us to beat Hitler is to demonstrate emphatically that it is our struggle and not his that is really the struggle for the people and that America is not in the hands of sixty families and a few billionaire corporations for their own benefit, but is really in the hands of the plain people of this country for the welfare of all. America’s way to beat Hitler is not through Liberalism, nor even through Fascism, but only through the genuine transformation of the ideals of our struggle so as to show the people that a truly better economic, political, and social world will result from Hitler’s destruction.
The 1940-1941 terrible Battle of England has illustrated in all its horror the utter futility of the old Liberal and Conservative methods of doing things.
If and when it occurs, the fall of England will have to be traced not to the lack of sufficient armed forces or materials, nor even to the lack of planes, but principally to this failure to plan nationally and to organize the rear in the manner of the front. For this we have to blame the entire outmoded leadership of the British nation. Not for one moment have they shown a genuine intention really to take over private property and private industry for the nation’s benefit. Let us look at the picture more closely.
Certainly, especially after the debacle in France, all the British leaders must have known that the principal cities of England would be heavily bombed, tens of thousands of homes destroyed, whole cities and towns wiped out, millions made homeless, the entire population permanently huddled in bomb shelters, masses of people unable to reach work on time, unable to get home from work, unable to have warm food and warm shelter when needed, unable to get the proper rest and recreation, their whole life savings gone, the whole complicated economic division of labor which existed in normal times annihilated.
What should a government entering such a war have done? Take the question of housing. First of all, those in charge should have registered all the houses and all the rooms available. Then they should have seen to it that all the houses were available to all the people regardless of class distinctions or status of property. No sooner was a house bombed in a given region when the family without a house applying to the regional office should have received license to enter this or that house nearby And sequester certain rooms for themselves. The poor of the slums might have had to be moved to the castles of the royalty, but this at least would have provided shelter for all and all would have been made to feel that the government really meant to consider the needs of the entire nation. But nothing of the sort was done. When homes were bombed the homeless were either out of luck, or they were taken care of in some governmental institution far from their work or their neighborhood, as though they were outcasts of some sort, while the other families still stayed snug in their homes, though their homes may have contained many empty rooms and many useless house servants. Only slowly and belatedly has a different arrangement been worked out.
Take the question of war clothing and bedding. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed and the mass of people had to take to the bomb refuges. Was there any decent effort made to provide these shelters with warm blankets and quilts for those rendered destitute? No, each person came with his own luggage, the rich with many warm things, the poor with few, those bombed perhaps with nothing. What was the feeling of those who came with nothing when they saw the others with fine food and fine bedding making themselves quite comfortable, if you please, just as though the world was not tumbling all about their heads? There was no requisitioning of all surplus raiment and surplus bedding for such emergencies. We may rest assured that if this has been changed in any degree it has not been because of official initiative but because of the clamor of the people.
And the shelters themselves have presented a really shameful situation. For the poor there were but open trenches with some corrugated iron supports, with no adequate drainage and no method of keeping warm during the long hours in the winter when rain, mist, fog, snow, and cold must penetrate through and through everyone exposed in the open. Let us remember that people must often evacuate their homes quickly without the opportunity of getting the necessary clothing and bedding needed, or cannot reach their houses in time to extract these things. Let us keep in mind the fearful winters that England customarily gets and we can appreciate the situation of the poor and what dreadful results must be expected.
Nor have the subway and cellar refuges for the poor been any better. There are not enough of them, there has been no conception of heating them, or of supplying them with beds and bedding; they are absolutely useless should gas be used in the war. In short, these holes must become veritable pesthouses for the masses should the bombing be continued steadily as it must be. Contrast these shelters with the underground cabarets and luxurious sleeping quarters that the wealthy have provided for themselves. And should some poor group running from the bombs dive into these shelters—cover charges are exacted—then one can imagine what glares and hostile looks emanate from the wealthy patrons at the cattle who have dared to intrude upon their sacred preserves.
And what about food? Is there any reason why those bombed whose homes have been destroyed should live less well and less securely than those who have been more fortunate and have still their jobs, their homes, and their savings? Any ordinary decent government that understood the problem of organizing the rear adequately would have requisitioned the food, seen to it that all got an equal quality and quantity according to their needs. Those bombed would have received even better care than that accorded to ordinary civilians. But no, such is not the case in Britain. The almighty gold pound still prevails in the rear and every selfish pig who has the money can swill himself into a stupor while hundreds of thousands are in desperate fear and misery.
Take the matter of municipal transportation. It would seem that certainly in time of war the government would take steps to maintain production by seeing to it that all the workers could reach work in the best and most efficient manner. It would seem but reasonable to requisition all the cars of a given neighborhood and to allocate them to the workers going to different points, thus relieving the burden upon the buses which, with their routes already disrupted, have to face interminable delays under the periodic bombings. But no, each Briton who has the money and is lucky may drive his own cars to work or get a taxi, if he can; the poor can wait, or walk. Could anything be more chaotic than this method of organizing the rear?
Take the matter of social security. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and for millions their entire life savings and security have disappeared. The people begin to worry what is going to happen to them in the future, Who will pay their rent? How will they get other homes? Will they be forced to go into government institutions provided for them in barrack-like regimentation? They look helplessly to the government for some adequate statement of policy. But none such is issued. What do they expect the government can say, a government that will not even adequately requisition the houses, the food, the clothing and bedding, the shelters, the transportation, and supply the other needs of the masses so vital to life and safety? How can such a government promise to each family a home and security in the future?
We can imagine what are the feelings of the British laborer daily going to work under such onerous conditions, sticking to his job despite the falling bombs while at the same time he knows that his home has been destroyed and his family left entirely insecure and helpless. Must he not suspect that in his country there prevails a class rule as rigid and brutal as the one existing under Hitler? The worker would be a dolt not to ask himself why he should work himself to death when the wealthy are still able to maintain all their privileges. Aping his upper classes, more likely than not the British worker will be tempted to work as little and grab as much as he can.
Is it conceivable that the struggle can be won against Hitler when trade unions stubbornly retain their eight hour day and forty-eight, or forty, or thirty-five hour week, when they resist speeding-up the work, and when they insist on rules limiting overtime and declare strikes and stoppages? The French were soon to learn otherwise: that, indeed, only the complete utilization of all the energies of the nation can possibly reduce Hitlerism to ashes, that labor must work night and day without restraint, and that it is folly to call on certain sections of the population to give their lives in the army while other sections insist on eight hours sleep, and eight hours play, and the right to preserve all their old extravagances as before.
And yet labor is wholly correct to insist on giving as little and getting as much as it can so long as the factories are privately owned with each owner using the war for his own private ends. Why should the worker give up the eight hour day won after so many years of struggle, only to enable the profiteer and private owner of industry to get richer? The sole way to get unity in the rear is to eliminate entirely the profit motive. Only when labor sees that all capital is conscripted for the struggle through nationalization of the factories and through confiscation of all wealth and income over a certain modest level, only when society demands all give their utmost for the benefit of all, will there be obtained that same unity in the rear as manifests itself at the front.
This is the only way in which Hitlerism can be defeated. Otherwise there must continue to exist the friction among the classes that led to the collapse in France and that must lead to disaster in Britain. It is this friction that breeds the Fifth Columns so useful in demoralizing the country fighting Hitler.
As with the laborer, so with the soldier who returns home on leave and sees his family without shelter and bedding, his relatives in fear and misery and totally in the dark about their future. He, too, must question whether a government that prates about democracy, the rights of the people, etc., that calls upon the people to fight Hitler to the death, and has not even the fairness and decency to mobilize the vital means of consumption, to organize the rear in a rational manner so that the nation really can fight—whether such a government is worthy of continued existence and worth while dying for. A demoralized, chaotic rear can only bring similar demoralization at the front and render Hitler’s job all the more easy. The soldier sees that in fact each privileged individual and class in the nation mean to give up none of their privileges even though Hitler triumph.
The British government would not dream of managing the front as it has managed the rear; it would not dare to treat its soldiers as it treats its civilians. Certainly, within the ranks of the army such outrageous favoritism and discrimination as is shown behind the lines would be met at once with mutiny and rebellion. If, thanks to the new methods of Total War, the civilian is now subject to the same exigencies and trials as the soldier, why should he be treated differently?
Is the nation really ashamed of the equality in the army flaunted so readily by the soldiers? Does the government at bottom, consider such equality the badge of slavery of the conscript unworthy of the decent citizens the at home? The quicker the people smoke out such views and garrote the spokesman, the better for all; the sooner the nation learns that liberty without equality and fraternity is a swindle and a deception, the stronger will it be to resist Fascism.
It is senile Liberal-Conservatism that stands in the way of the proper organization of the struggle against Hitler. While Liberal-Conservatism cannot prevent equal treatment in the army because each private has his rifle, it can yet see to it that the whole country remains disunited by economic privileges and torn by class conflicts. Labor, in the rear, cannot obtain equal treatment and establish genuine unity for the simple reason that it is without arms. Under such conditions there can be no question of Hitler’s ultimate victory.
As long ago as the eighteenth century when the French people, led by the Jacobins, found their nation endangered and the Germans at the very gates of Paris, they knew how to meet the desperate situation. With heroic measures they instituted a degree of equality that gave the masses the will to die for the new order and thus made them indomitable. Liberals to this day throw up their hands in horror at the mere mention of the “Terror” of the Jacobins which alone saved the day for the French people, but Napoleon, who knew better, could write of those days: “Their energy (that is, in the days of the Terror) had an electric effect, by the fear with which it inspired one party, and the example which it gave to the other; one hundred thousand volunteers joined the army and the revolution was saved.” (Footnote: For an elaboration of this point see the chapter on the French Revolution in my work The Conquest of Power, 2 vols. New York 1937).
It may well be as conditions grow more desperate in England, the Liberal and Conservative “democrats” may yield to the Labor Party which will begin to take Jacobin measures for the safety of the country. But no doubt, by that time, it may be entirely too late to save the day for England. Labor may be given power only to hold the bag and to take ultimate responsibility for the defeat. That is the clever “planning” of the Liberal and Conservative “democrats” in England.
Granted that Hitler must and will be destroyed, granted that Fascism is the greatest menace to the American people we have yet faced, granted, even, that we may, therefore, have to help Hitler’s enemies in this struggle, but at least let us declare to the world that our aim is not the eternal preservation of a Balkanized Europe nor our ideal the vicious Conservative-Liberal regime that has been exposed in the present conflict.
As part of the task of organizing the rear, one must take into consideration the entire political set-up that Liberalism has bequeathed us under the term “democracy.”
We do not wish to burden our book with a discussion of the program and philosophy of Liberalism, whether it be the program of the Social Contract (where each individual is conceived of having made a contract to submit to the wishes of the others, a contract which he may break at any time) whether it be the program of Individualism, (where the welfare of all is to be subordinated to the welfare of each) or whether it be the program of Utilitarianism (which states that the greatest good to the greatest number can be best obtained by letting each person do exactly what he pleases so long as he lets others do the same and that our society will best develop by letting each person pursue his own selfish interests to the maximum). Nor shall we bother with criticizing the political attitudes adopted by Liberals who declare that one must be tolerant to “the other side” (here, Fascism), that everything can be solved by the use of sweet reasonableness, that force is no solution to any question, and that all great frictions can be smoothed over by compromise and appeasement. Here is a Pollyanna Umbrella-Chamberlain approach that can only spell disaster to the opponents of Hitlerism.
All of these matters are important in themselves but since we are here interested rather in the question of the necessary and vital organization of the rear in time of war, the philosophy and attitude of Liberals can be important to us only from the point of view that they are directly opposed to the whole conception of the maximum development of State activity for the organization of the rear. Especially has this been traditionally true of the Liberals of the United States who from earliest time tried to avoid the State as they asseverated the belief that the government is best that governs least.
In the past, politics in this country has been entirely subordinate to economics. The best brains have gone into private industry and business rather than into public life, or rather, the best brains in private industry would put their agents into the government of the State. Politicians have been looked upon with contempt and identified with grafters whose hands were filled with lucre from the public till.
If the depression of recent years has changed this American tradition the coming war must drastically revise the whole estimate of the function and capacity of the State to represent the welfare of the whole. There is no other central organizing force of a nation in time of war than the State. The State as a whole does for entire society that which the military general staff does in the front. If it is true that the whole rear and the totality of social life must be thoroughly organized under total war, it must also be true that the State must expend its power and activity in every possible direction. Any belief that the present war can be conducted by the efforts of individual enterprises acting on their own account and tied but loosely by the State is bound to play right into the hands of the so-called Totalitarian powers.
Naturally, since the Liberals looked upon state activity as a whole in a derogatory sense, they could not possibly develop to any extent the democratic aspects that the state might possibly take on. In practice, therefore, the democracy of the liberal state was always a limited one. In the United States, for example, under the influence of Liberalism, despite the gradual extension of our political democracy we still have a situation where, by means of a complicated system of checks and balances, bicameral legislatures, life-long tenure for appointed judiciary and difficult process of amendment to the Constitution, the will of the people can be thwarted and checked for a long period of time. We still have a vast disfranchisement of the mass of workers and farmers, even a superficial study of the election returns making it evident that most of those who vote are not workers and most of the workers do not or can not vote. The deprivation of rights among the Negro people is notorious. Even today thirteen States have a property-ownership qualification for voting, require payment of general or poll taxes, bar delinquent tax-payers or disqualify non-tax-payers. Add to this the mass of other requirements concerning age, residence, literacy, etc., and we can really see how to a considerable section of the people the democracy of Liberalism for which they will be called on to sacrifice their lives in the coming war will be but mockery.
To stress parliament and congress rather then the people, to recognize elections but to restrict the vote, to build a constitution but to block the will of the majority, to talk democracy but to practice oligarchy and bureaucracy, in general the substitution of one system of fraud and coercion for another, these have been the methods of Liberalism which today will prove fatal to the national defense.
But what is far more important to the mass of people is that especially in the realm which Liberalism has always considered more important that politics,—namely private economic endeavor,—the Liberals never practiced any genuine democracy. It was not Liberalism that initiated the campaign for industrial democracy for the rights of the workers within the factories, for the formation of strong trade unions, for the demand that industrial dictatorship and economic despotism be put an end to in this country. It was only when the workers took matters into their own hands along these lines that Liberalism began to change its traditional course and to develop a brand of welfare liberalism that took cognizance of the demand of the masses for a voice and a vote in the industries to which they gave their lives.
This is not the place to consider what program America will have to adopt in its struggle against Hitlerism. All that must be considered at this time is the fact that the unity of the people of this country, a unity which is an absolutely vital prerequisite to any adequate organization of the rear in national defense, can become realized only if the present barriers to a genuine democracy are entirely obliterated and democracy become a fact in every aspect, economic as well as political, in the social life of the country. Only then can we generate that unity of will and purpose that will enable us to put up a victorious struggle to Hitlerism.
It is not only in its limited conception of democracy that Liberalism fails generally in its efforts to arouse the people and to lead them in their fight against Fascism; Liberalism fails just as completely in establishing a specific government structure that can meet the stress and strain of Total War.
Consider the checks and balances system of the government in the United States. As part of this unwieldy system to a considerable extent each locality can do what it pleases, each state can execute its own program oblivious to what others are doing, and the country as a whole can not carry out entirely and completely any program that is necessary. Furthermore, each department of government can nullify or delay the work of all the others.
If the rear is to be thoroughly organized for struggle there must be a far speedier mechanism of responsiveness to the new needs and problems that will arise with dizzy suddenness and startling rapidity. Our whole scheme of democratic government must be changed in the light of the new organization of the rear for war. Local, regional, state and federal activities must all be geared smoothly and uniformly to a common end, and each department of government become subordinated to one central body with supreme power.
Above all must the old Liberal electoral habits be completely obliterated and an entirely new principle of election established—the principle that only those working for the good of the nation in the war struggle can participate in elections of leaders of our republic. Voting should be by functions, not by area; the soldier and slacker, the worker and the social parasite, the social minded and the criminal egotist are not equally entitled to the same vote simply because they were born in this country. There is now no necessity to vote by electoral districts, and where large areas are bombed and the population scattered—such an old fashioned method is really impossible. The elections must take place according to the war functioning of the population; the representatives of the people must speak for those engaged in those functions.
In time of war the population will be organized into various chief divisions: First, the military forces; second, the industrial armies in the factories and behind the lines; third, the civilian population engaged in the various civilian war organizations of which more will be said later. Since the entire population will be engaged in one form or another of these activities, and since these activities will go on regardless of what areas are bombed or who is rendered homeless, there can be no better democratic mechanism for the expression of the wishes of the people than to allow all elections to take place through these organizations and to have the representatives come from these organizations. Only those who do not participate at all in the war will be disfranchised, and most properly so; only those who do give their all for the struggle will have something to say.
Any other form of voting can only be a farce in time of invasion and bitter war. What actually happens is that no voting at all takes place, although the most important policies of the country, involving the very life and death of the nation, are at stake. With elections no longer held under conditions of Total War, the old representatives soon tend to lose entire touch with the people represented, and to remain frozen as of the time they were first elected.
If the rear is to be organized along lines similar to the military, then the industrial soldier in the factory, the civilian soldier in the anti-parachutist troops, or in the emergency fire-fighting brigade, or in the first-aid corps, or some similar body, whether man or woman or even youth, all must be allowed to express their wishes through the elections within the organizations through which they have been mobilized for the struggle. And the delegates to this war parliament must consist of these soldiers, sailors, workers, civilian fighters, and such who have been giving their all for the struggle.
But, alas, the Liberals and, the so-called “democrats” would rather give up the fight to Hitler than to allow this new sort of war ‘’democracy’’ really to function. For the whole power of the old sham liberal democrats will be exposed and the world will never need them again.
What we have already written about the new tasks of the hour and Liberalism’s incapacity to meet these problems, is not by any means the most serious gravamen of our indictment. What makes democratic liberalism absolutely incapable of organizing the rear, or indeed, of presenting any serious resistance to fascism is the basic fact that under the Liberal-democratic state no genuine political party can take leadership.
Of course there are ‘’parties’’, parties built solely for electioneering and the garnering of votes, parties necessarily gyrating endlessly around parliamentary institutions. But there is no party in the least organized and constructed for the preparation and training of the country for the adoption of the new measures necessary.
Let us take the United States, as a classic example. We have two principal parties competing at election time. The parties are very vague, open affairs. Anyone who has voted the ticket can register as a party member, can vote for the candidates in the meetings and primaries of the parties, and can even run for party office. There are no dues, no discipline, few meetings, save near election time, and the members have no obligations save to vote the party ticket. The party committees that exist in the localities and in each state are quite independent of the other local and state committees formed elsewhere. Whatever connection there is on the top through national committees is pretty loose. The party candidates who are elected may meet in caucuses on this or that question and may help greatly to mold party policy, but the active membership of the political party is but a petty fraction of the whole, the rest being under no claims or duties whatever. Such parties are mere vote-getting machines, they can have absolutely nothing to do with the mobilization of the people for any physical action.
Contrast this with the party of Fascism which has been molded along the lines first developed by the Communist parties. This is not a party devoted merely to vote-getting, but a party of action in every phase of social life. Fascists are bound by a semi-military discipline and severe organizational ties. They form their nuclei in every factory and workshop and have their fractions in every organization formed in the country. Through their fractions they control all the mass organizations of the people as well as the entire political apparatus of the state. The party is not an organization that interests the members a few minutes out of the year, but functions as the central organ to control and to coordinate all the various activities of its members during all their lives. In all national struggles it is the part that works out the strategy and tactics for the people; that decides what is major and what is minor, and that parcels out the energies of the people in this or that endeavor. The party is the brain, the driving force, the vanguard of the whole nation—but only in Germany, in Italy, and in the Soviet Union!
What similar organization have the people in democratic countries? None, whatever. Under Liberal-democracy, people have been taught to leave all national initiative to the legislators who, in turn, have been taught that the best government is that which lets business most alone. What political party exists in America that can undertake to prepare for the coming needs of the hour by doing what it can on a volunteer basis? Can the Democratic Party organize rifle squads, parachute fighters, anti-parachutist groups, chemical fire-fighters, and the myriad of other such bodies so necessary in time of war? The most that can happen is that some Democrat or Republican, aroused by events, may try to organize some association outside the party, totally uncontrolled by the party. But in this way the whole movement must smack of a private endeavor, with the suspicion that it is for the private aggrandizement of the politician-founder. The party, as a political expression of the population, under Liberalism, will do and can do nothing whatever.
This was not the case with the Nazis. Even before they came to power, they formed their storm troopers, they engaged in drilling, they issued a call to all the youth who believed in a stronger Germany to participate with them and by means of this organization which indeed was accomplishing much more than the legislators were doing in talk, they drew to themselves the nationalistic and patriotic elements who were ready to give their lives for a greater Germany. Thus were trained in advance the new cadres who could take over the government when once power came to them and who could remold the country along the lines the party had attempted on its own volition.
Despite all their shoutings of the positive creative value of the State, the Nazi-Fascists have really come to understand that the State is, after all, not a cause, but an effect, and that the prime moving factor in political society is not the state but the party. It is the party that moves, it is the state that drags behind; On the other hand, paradoxically enough, it is precisely our democratic-Liberals, who have always preached the futility of state action, who now leave all national initiative to the state itself and thus can not generate the initiative of the masses or really organize their struggle effectively. But it is notorious that our democratic-Liberals have always tended to look upon the world with ultra-rose colored glasses and to trust to luck to muddle through.
Lacking a proper party, democratic Liberalism must also fail in two other important respects: first, in the international field, whether in trying to demoralize the Fascists or to win allies, and second, in the military field, in the phase of logistics, the science of utilizing time and speed in the mobilization, deployment, and maneuvering of men and materials. Let us briefly examine these matters further.
Every observer today must note the remarkable work that the Fifth Columns organized in the invaded countries have been able to perform for the Nazi-Fascists. In previous wars, it is true, opposing states have always used the services of their agents, professional espions and saboteurs, to find out what the enemy was doing and to hinder him as much as possible. The opponent might even send in clever demagogues to agitate the people on the other side into disaffection and rebellion. But never till the present era have we seen countries planning invasion organize far in advance regular disciplined parties with more or less mass following systematically to betray the people from the rear as the invaders crash through the front.
Such work as this could not possibly be done by Liberal-Democratic countries and it is by no means strange that all the Fifth Columns should be Fascist and none Liberal. Certainly, there must be large groups in conquered Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Holland, or Belgium, for example, who would welcome the defeat of Hitler and do all in their power to effect it; but, alas, so congenitally incompetent are the regimes of the democratic countries that they cannot possibly reach and organize these rebellious elements into Fifth Columns of their own.
Again the crux of the matter is Liberalism’s inability to form a genuine party of action. While Fascism, like Soviet Union Communism, has had at its command a genuine and capable party that could form international contacts many years before the actual struggles broke forth and could utilize the class struggles in other countries for their benefit, in democratic-Liberal countries, there being no parties, there could be no international annexes to these parties, no international groupings that would work abroad with zeal and devotion.
The German Nazis, for example, sent their men into Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Rumania, etc., not as agents of the German state but as party members. The party, not the state, had planfully analyzed the field of work for these men, had carefully given to each man his particular role, had studiously discovered the weaknesses in the opponent’s methods and had organized and aroused the sections of the enemy’s population in favor of Germany. Very cleverly utilizing the issues of anti-Semitism, of trade unionism, of communism, of national oppression, of poverty and misery of the masses, of graft and corruption in government, and similar questions, and being aided by the very looseness of Liberalism’s internal regime to work their demagogy to the utmost, Nazi-Fascist agents have found it an easy task to build a native movement to weaken and demoralize their opponents from within.
At this point what deeply concerns us is not so much the paradox that Liberalism, which has always preached international toleration, should prove so nationalistic as to have no international organization, while the rampant nationalism of the Nazi-Fascists should form such a very effective international center, but rather the vital question whether a nation, such as the democratic-Liberal one, which remains nationalistically isolated with no effort to establish organized international support among the people of other countries, can possibly defeat another nation which has been acute enough to take advantage in advance of every opportunity to do this. The answer is obvious. Fascism here, as elsewhere, borrows a technique from the Communists and proves itself far superior in the struggle to old antiquated Liberalism.
As we have said, the defect is fundamental. It lies in the fact that under Liberal democracy it is to the interest of those who run the state and the industries not to foster genuine parties of action. The result is that the loose Liberal state is absolutely unable to handle in time the new problems that arise. Liberalism, in this way too, shows that it is unfit to fight Total War.
The failure to create a genuine mass party as the driving force within the state has led to a most fatal weakness in every Liberal-democratic country trying to compete with Fascism. That fatal weakness consists in the complete inability of the people under Liberalism to wrest the historic initiative away from the Fascists. In almost every situation it is the Liberal-democratic countries that have “missed the bus.” And this failure lies in the very nature of the Liberal state.
It is not the bureaucratic functionary of the state, left in charge by Liberalism, who can take the initiative, but only the active political leaders of the class which finds itself most imperiled by impending events. The state bureaucrat can never act in time against Nazi-Fascism.
This has been well illustrated by the present war. It cannot be said that either France or Britain was unaware of the military transformation steadily taking place in Germany ever since the accession of Hitler to power. If France and Britain were caught far from adequately prepared it is because there was no party of action to ring the bell of alarm. Everything was left to the State bureaucrats who could act only in a crude and belated fashion, only after the results were already foregone. From the very start, in every case the Nazi-Fascists have been given full play to choose the time and the place for battle as they themselves saw fit.
Take this question of starting a war. In the United States the rules are laid down in the constitution. Before a war is started it must be “declared". The only body to “declare war” is Congress, that is, the legislative deliberative body, not the quick moving executive. Before the “Declaration” is voted on it must be proposed and debated at length. Each legislator is to express his opinion on the matter, ask his constituents to advise him on the matter, take his time “deliberating” on the question. Under our eighteenth century rules, war is not something to be entered in to speedily. The enemy is to be given due warning and have full time to prepare. Such is Liberal-democracy.
Need we draw the lesson for our reader? Need we point out that Fascism is a social order especially geared for war, that the Nazi-Fascists strike without any warning whatever? Only after their armored divisions have crashed the frontier deep into the victims country, only after their planes have bombed all the victim’s hangars and airfields and left them helpless, only after the victim’s cities have been blasted into shambles, in short, only after the advantages of surprise and initiative have been exploited to the full, do the Nazi-Fascists bother about the punctilio of a “declaration.”
The military science of logistics teaches us that it is not enough to have a superiority of men and materials over your adversary. What is more important is to have the superiority at the right time and place and to be able to move your men to that place faster than your opponent. Mobility and maneuverability are essential qualities in any military struggle. The party-less Liberal-democratic State, to speak military language, has lost almost all mobility and maneuverability in relation to the Fascists. Liberalism can speak only of defense, it can not possibly take the offensive. And without the offense, it is lost.
This lesson must not be lost upon America. Those who prattle about national defense and declare that it is enough to arm and to wait until we ourselves are attacked are speaking a vicious nonsense that can only lead to disaster. To defeat Hitler, America must take the initiative and must herself choose that time and the place of the battle.
But, indeed, how can America take the offensive when the people as a whole have not worked out any ideals of the inevitable struggle? With what program shall America go in to the battle? If we do not know why we are going to fight, how can we possibly enter into the conflict prepared to the end? How can we win friends abroad and demoralize our enemies? And how can we possibly do all this without a party? If we do not have a world program and organization superior to that of the Fascists, how can we win the war?
Now that Germany has declared war against the Soviets, America will be treated to an excellent example of the real way to fight Nazi-Fascism. Despite the utter degeneration of Stalinism, there has remained in the U.S.S.R. all the ingredients for the recreation of a genuine people’s party of action.
Notice that, despite the suddenness and unparalleled weight of the attack, Russia was not at all unprepared for the fight. At the border, defenses were prepared in depth, the army wholly mobilized. Defense was commingled with offense and hammer blows struck within Germany by the air force. Behind the front, the rear has been adequately organized. Factories have been properly spaced; economic forces properly allocated, production and consumption carefully adjusted for the war. Between the factories and the front, the civilian population has been carefully trained for precisely the events that have occurred.
Beyond the borders, far inside Germany and Central and Western Europe the Soviet Union’s own international party is at work rallying the oppressed sections of the population to revolt against Nazi-Fascism. The Communist nuclei will prove far more effective within Germany than Fascist nuclei can possibly be within Russia.
The outbreak of the war against Russia must raise the morale of the Russian people to the highest pitch. The Russians are not fighting for an old effete world but for a cause they have come to consider the hope of humanity. They will throw their all into the struggle and will throw out all who have hindered them. A far more powerful party will be created—even if it takes drastic military action to do this—and Stalinism will be purged from the movement as waste matter is expelled from the body of a sick person now getting well. Russia will teach America how to fight Fascist war with People’s war.
Up to now we have considered the problem of mobilizing and organizing the rear in Total War as though the problems of the rear were distinct from those of the front. But as we have mentioned, this distinction is no longer entirely valid; at any moment points of the rear may become embattled features of the front. We must now consider the new problems which this unique situation of military fighting and invasion presents to the people of America.
The Germans have amply illustrated in France that so great is the striking power of their Panzerdivisionen and so great is the mobility of their motorized forces that they can break through the front at many points, perhaps even at will, to crash through into the rear. Against this onslaught, France knew no adequate method of defense. Under Weygand, part of the army was taken from the front and posted at certain strategic points in the rear, and the depth of the theater of war was greatly extended. Yet this was insufficient. France fell in an amazingly short time although, it must be emphasized, in the rear itself there are millions of Frenchmen, former draftees, who had been through bitter military struggles in the past and who were ready to give their lives for the cause.
The answer to the question, how could such a population as that of France, of around forty million people, trained in the science of war for so long a time and composed of elements whose bravery had been tested before in the most desperate circumstances, how could such a nation collapse so completely the moment the front was pierced? The decisive answer is that the Frenchman, whether at the front or still in the rear as a civilian, was only a “front” Frenchman; he had never been trained to fight as a civilian, while still a civilian, in the rear. This is a lesson which Americans must never forget.
How can the people of a country whose front for the moment has been pierced by irresistible columns of tanks and armored cars defend themselves? Obviously, it can only be by the most complete training of the populace for exactly such fighting. The civilians must be trained not for the specialized front warfare indulged in by regular soldiers, but for a new kind of fighting in which they must utilize the peculiarities of their neighborhood terrain and the skill of their regular occupations to harass and destroy the invading army. The theater of war must be considered the whole country and each person in the rear taught exactly what to do.
First of all, the entire rear must be divided into regions, each coordinated by a local center having the full power to act whenever such a region is cut off from the rest.
Second, the population of that region must be organized into different civilian war divisions for specialized duty when the front is pierced. Bridges must be blown up or repaired, telephone calls must be made and electrical wires either cut or mended, tank traps and motor car traps must be set and operated, factories must be destroyed or parts dismantled and taken away, and stores of supplies necessary to the invading army removed or demolished. In short, a thousand and one tasks must be done immediately and simultaneously by the entire population, each person trained for his specific duty by his special organization.
Third, the entire civilian population must be adequately practiced in the use of firearms. There must be a stand of rifles in every factory, there must be hand grenades in every home or center, there must be a set of machine guns in every village, there must be cannon to be fired point blank at the tanks as they try to pass by. In short, the entire rear must be armed at least with small arms so as to enable the general population to offer what resistance it can. It is not necessary to take the men and women into the army to do this. The actives will join their rifle and explosive divisions and be trained as civilians for their necessary operations not at the front but in their own village and community. Not a war fought by conscripts, but only a People’s War can vanquish Fascism. And the people must be trained and trusted for the job.
Fourth, it is necessary to see to it that the able bodied men and women who can do so continue to fight in the invaded region in guerilla fashion. Since each such region will have some regular military forces as well, military forces that will be trained in advance to use their guerilla auxiliaries, such civilian forces made up of workers and farmers will not be a mere mob or rabble with pitchforks in their hands but a formidable group harassing the front, rear, and sides of any columns that might pierce the front. Thus it will be impossible for these columns to make their raids overnight into hundreds of miles of invaded territory as was done in France.
In this connection must the population be disciplined not to flee as refugees from the invaded regions. The aged, the women who can’t leave to join the embattled forces, and the children who are caught in the invaded region must stay where they are. To flee will do them absolutely no good as the Belgians, French, and Poles experienced all too poignantly. They can only further demoralize the rear for the defenders, they can not help as refugees. Nor can the defenders spare the vehicles, the forces, nor the time necessary for any such wholesale evacuation.
All these actions require training and practice beforehand. To attempt to do all this, as England may be trying to do now, only when the war is actually on, is to begin entirely too late. The time to act is before war is declared, provided one knows, as in the United States, that war is inevitable. It is then that the regions must be mapped out, the committees chosen, the population organized and trained, the whole plan inaugurated.
The situation becomes much worse when the front is pierced not only by motor columns but by airplanes that rain an unceasing hail of bombs upon the civilian population in the rear. Such possibility means that every civilian center must be thoroughly organized to resist this invasion and holocaust of death from the air. And if poison gas and deadly bacteria should be used in a war to a finish, the problem becomes even more vital and complicated.
Civilian groups must be organized to build and to operate sufficient air-raid shelters with adequate food and clothing stored therein. This is not a matter merely for experts but a matter for the whole population to discuss and to participate in, since it affects the lives of all the people.
To face the air raids, civilians must have a minimum knowledge of fire-fighting. The fire-fighters who operate when a city is being bombed must be composed of groups thoroughly prepared for their jobs. Here too, large sections of the population should be brought into the work.
Hospitalization work, first aid work, blood transfusion work, emergency care, special medical reserves, stretcher-bearing, and yes, grave-digging, all require the aid of large masses of people who must be trained in advance what to do, where to go, how to work.
The establishment of adequate food supplies and water during such emergencies, the special need for warm food and hot water under such circumstances, the special diets required by aged, by babes and children, by wounded and diseased, all demand consideration far in advance of the actual hostilities.
Certainly the entire population must be given a comprehensive training in war chemicals, especially in poison gas. They must be taught to recognize one gas from another and the special dangers and antidote for each. They must be able to recognize the merits of each different type of gas mask and its special uses.
Thus, when one even begins to consider the many new trainings and organizations that the entire civilian populations must enter into, it becomes next to impossible to conceive how the present peace time political machinery of the government can possibly accomplish that job.
As for the efficacy of our present methods of education, it is only necessary to pose the question to reach the conclusion that our entire educational system must be completely revamped to meet the new needs of the hour.
How foolish our whole educational system is in the light of the present war can be seen when we look at the studies our professors and students who reach such maturity that they can present their “theses” for the degrees of doctors-of-this or doctors-of-that spend their time working at.
According to the “List of American Doctoral Dissertations’’ printed annually by the Library of Congress, the great intellectual brains of our country have been working on such vital subjects as: “New Data on the Authorship of Act I of the Comedia de Calisto y Melibea,” “The Relationship systems of the Tslingit, Haida and Tsimshian,” “Don Jean Mabellon and the Benedictine historical school of Saint Maur”, “The construction atto kolvou in the Works of Horace”, “A Study of the Conference and Non-Conference Methods of Teaching Freshmen written composition in a State Teachers College”, “The Intellect in the Philosophy of St. Thomas”, and similar questions by the thousands.
Let us admit that everything, even the most trivial, has some importance, but does not such utter futility and waste speak volumes why our nation will perish in the war Fascism must bring to our shores? Can one imagine that teachers and educators given to playing with mental toys so far removed from the deeds of the people can possibly retrain our nation for the coming struggle? In the holy name of “Pure science” and “Pure art” these intellectual dinosaurs no longer know what century they are living in and are as modern as the animals of the Pleistocene era.
Let us be alive to the deep political problems that this entire reorganization of the rear to adapt itself as a front must entail. The City Managers Association has indeed sketched a plan for municipal emergency work brought on by earthquakes, floods, and fires; the Red Cross, too, has worked out some sort of technique to deal with regional calamities, but this is only the beginning of the work.
When the rear is being heavily bombed there is needed an entirely new political set-up. The handshaking mayor, the wardheeler, the dummy alderman and councilman, and what not become utterly useless under these circumstances. A different type of political structure must be framed composed of leaders in whom the people have confidence, who have trained themselves in the new tasks to be performed in the rear, and who know just what must be done by whom at the proper time. Should our election machinery be revamped, as we have already proposed, and votes taken only through organizations playing a social role in defense, the election of proper officials is assured.
One final important point that must be considered in arming and training civilians is the relation of these civilian armies to the regular soldiers of the nation. It stands to reason that where the entire civilian population is trained so deeply in the art of military struggle as we have pictured necessary, automatically the old gap between the regular soldier and the civilian will be entirely closed. And as the civilian population far outnumbers the military, and as most of the battles, perhaps, will be fought in the rear with civilian fighters bearing the brunt much more then the regular soldiers, Total War may well see the paradox that it will not be the military that will dominate the civilian but rather the civilian fighters who will absorb the military and take genuine command of the situation.
Especially will this be true when the civilians have built the proper political party to bring about the transformation from nineteenth century Liberalism to a thorough-going people’s movement that alone can carry on the struggle against Fascism, that alone can arouse and retrain the people and that alone can coordinate all the phases of front and rear into one organic unity. Not the military staff but the party will then appear as the true generalissimo of the struggle. And only then can Fascism be defeated.
By this time, no doubt, the reader may have become aware of the scope of the problems involved in defeating Hitlerism and defending America, and as deeply convinced of the utter futility of the old methods conceived by the bankrupt Liberals and Conservatives who speak in the name of “democracy.” But, looking at the matter merely as one of national defense and of military organization, the reader may reflect: Well, if Fascism is better than Liberalism for the conduct of Total War, why should we not take to Fascism and build even a bigger Fascism than Hitler, Mussolini, or Hirohito ever conceived of? No doubt this is at the bottom of many of the movements that at present are criticizing our well-intentioned Liberals. There are many who are aspiring to become the American Hitlers and Mussolinis and there could be no better program for them than one in which they could show that only American Fascism could defeat the foreign dictators of all sorts.
This is not the place to take up what sort of program America must adopt in entering the struggle against Hitler. But it might be well, once and for all, to state that the adoption of Hitler-Mussolini methods in this country would by no means solve the important military problems which have been posed in this chapter. We can not emphasize too strongly that no Fascist conscripts, but only a liberated people can really solve the military problems given above.
If the reader is not convinced of this, let us take as our best example what has happened in Germany. Let us ask ourselves what improvements did Hitler realize over the methods of the Kaiser and whether Hitler himself could really solve the modern problems which the airplane and increased scientific development have placed before the whole world. Can Hitler, too, organize the rear as he has the front? Has he actually behind him a monolithic populace that can fight with fury every inch of the way should Germany be invaded? Or is Nazi-Fascism under the surface just as brittle as the democracies?
At the very start, let us give the devil his due; let us admit that Hitler has made a great advance over the methods of the Kaiser and, indeed, has eliminated the many glaring faults hampering the German war machine in 1914. The achievements of Hitlerism in this connection can be summarily enumerated as follows:
First of all, a great improvement was made in the political leadership of the struggle. Under the Kaiser, Germany was led by an old agrarian Junker caste that remained isolated from the great advances of industry and saw the destiny of Deutchland through the formulas of dynastic ambitions of this or that princely house. Such a mob of swashbucklers could not possibly unify the forces of the German people; the most they could do was to form a Federation of Princely Houses under the leadership of the King of Prussia. To them German destiny meant their conquest of the peoples of Europe over whom they would hover like the lone eagles of Nietzsche taking of their prey what they would. The integration of Europe into one solid whole absorbed by a greater Germany was unthinkable to them.
Naturally, this Junker robber caste could only look with contempt upon the merchant and industrialist who, in turn, saw the princes and military officers as a snobbish, extremely expensive set of parasites, basically unable to comprehend the modern tasks and problems that the industrial revolution had introduced. The mass of workers, turning definitely socialistic, viewed the monarchy and nobility with deep hatred and hostility.
Under such conditions the Kaiser leadership could not create a central party of control that could send out its tentacles into every social group and organization in the country and could coordinate all efforts with a central plan. The Junkers knew how to organize a conscript army—the best in the world; they knew how to give general orders to industry and with military rigidity attempt to put iron discipline in the rear; but they proved in the end to be the victims and not the masters of the social forces they could neither understand nor control.
In Germany, too, (though perhaps to a lesser degree than in England, France, America, and all other countries engaged in the last war) profiteering, waste, graft, and corruption proved indelible signs of the deep disunity and lack of organization of the people in the rear. Each one got what he could from the war and the class struggle raged in every form as much as could be expected. The proletariat in each country began through strikes, sabotage, defeatism, and open mutiny and rebellion to batter down the doors of the entire system of social control.
The Nazis have made giant strides ahead in all this. First of all, they have been able to build a genuine party coming from the more modern and vital sections of the population and supported by those industrialists who feared Communism but wanted no return of the parasite Junkers. With such a party the Nazis were able to erase every other political organization and to murder the leaders of the working class that could stir up the masses against them. The extirpation of the trade unions, cooperatives, and workers’ political organizations, so heartily applauded by the reactionaries of England and of France, was the first step in Hitler’s war mobilization by which he planned to annihilate those very English and French reactionaries as well.
The Kaiser’s Federation of Princely Houses has been supplanted by a completely unified Reich where the former independent German states are but mere administrative districts with their old local autonomy entirely gone. Further than that, Hitler has assimilated the other Germanic states into his system and has brought them also into the same unity. Vienna is now no longer the brilliant capital of an independent system of races and nationalities, but a mere police center to carry out the orders of Berlin.
Thus Junker provinciality leading to friction based on local and racial prejudices and interests has given way to a greater German cosmopolitanism in which all Germans are made to unite as one regardless of the localities where they were born. Using the propaganda of anti-Semitism as an anvil, Hitler has hammered home upon all Germans their own racial unity and has spread the myth of their superiority over all other races in Europe. With this excuse, the Nazi Frankenstein monster can crush ruthlessly under foot the old racial autonomies enjoyed in Europe.
The complete integration of the independent sections of Austro-Hungary and other German dominated areas that Germany has been able to take over during the present struggle, and the unity of these sections with the rest of the Reich were tasks that the Kaiser never could have accomplished under the old system and they represent achievements that have greatly strengthened the power of Germany to conduct the military struggle.
Through the Nazi party, trustified industry, now linked with and even dissolved into the state, has been able to integrate the population in the rear and to organize production and supplies for the front far more efficiently than was done even under the Kaiser and far better than could be done by the Liberal-democracies.
Naturally, these improvements have had an immense effect upon the efficiency of the German army itself. The new officers are not from the old Junker school but from the party of the Nazis who pretend to speak for the Germans as a whole and who present entirely new ideals for the future. The Junkers have been dropped as leaders as heavily as their dearest troops—the cavalry—have been dropped from the army. The new leaders, coming from industry, manifest a far better understanding of the products of modern industry: the tank, the armored car, the airplane. The German army will never forget that it was precisely in this respect, precisely in the use of products of modern industry, that it was caught surprised by the enemy forces of the Allies in the last war. The great development by German industry of ersatz or substitute products for natural resources and materials from which Germany is barred is also a great boon to the army and enables it to operate far more efficiently than in 1914.
What is more important, not only has the German army through the superiority of German industry obtained the decisive advantage of launching an overwhelming initial attack, but through the alertness of the new political leadership this army has been permitted constantly to keep the historic initiative and to make plans for the next time and place of battle practically at will. We may say that under the Nazis, German capitalism has built up its army to the highest point it is capable of.
In its foreign policy, too, Nazism has proved vastly superior to Kaiserism. By giving the impression that he was going to attack the Soviets and stabilize capitalist Europe, Hitler was able to get the blessings of Chamberlain, Deladier, and that crowd not only to rearm, but also to grab Austria, Czecho-Slovakia and other regions vital for his start. Hitler corrected the mistake of having as his ally a loose Austro-Hungarian Empire practically worthless in a long struggle. He corrected the mistake of letting Italy go with England and France. He corrected the mistake of having to fight simultaneously both the West and the East at the very start and cleverly separated Russia from the rest of Europe until he could afford to strike with full power at either side. He corrected the mistake of allowing England and France really to become united and to mobilize their world resources before they could be crushed. He corrected the mistake of making Japan his enemy, and, above all, he has corrected the chief mistake made by the Kaiser in forcing on war with the United States before Germany could pulverize England.
The drive of Hitler has been a cumulative one, carefully prepared in stages in which the preceding stage once reached becomes a great aid in the realization of the next and greater stage. The Anschluss with Austria made the collapse of Czecho-Slovakia inevitable, this in turn brought about the quick fall of Poland, and with these resources at hand Hitler was able to conduct his Blitzkrieg against the West and to lay the foundations for still greater battles for world mastery.
As in their foreign and diplomatic policy, so in their propaganda, the Nazis have proved infinitely superior to the old Kaiser regime. Before the war began there was no shouting of Me und Got, nor boisterous drinking hailing der Tag; there was not the slightest official indication that Germany wanted anything but peace and a just restoration of that which was stolen from her by an admittedly robber Versailles Treaty. That is how Hitler began the fight. He wanted only to put together the German nation which had been broken unjustly; he wanted only to get back the territory rightfully belonging to the Germans. He wanted to take over no other nation, neither of Slavic nor of French extraction. He would forget the loss of Alsace-Lorraine; he had no quarrel with the West; he did not want to break up the British Empire. He wanted only to destroy that beast Communism and to prove himself the Lochinvar of Europe by liquidating the Soviet Union. What could be more modest, more reasonable than this?
Did Hitler achieve Anschluss with Austria? That was only to unify the German people. Did he destroy Czecho-Slovakia? This was only because Czecho-Slovakia declined to let the Germans there unite with their own kin. Did he wipe out Poland? This was because Poland stubbornly refused to give up the German Corridor that cut Germany in two. Did he take over Denmark and Norway? This was a fraternal gesture to Nordic peoples so that they would not be invaded by England and France. Did he march into Holland and Belgium? This was because they, too, were really Germanic peoples who had to be taken into protective custody so that they would not be seduced by the wiles of the French and the English who were preparing to use these countries as springboards from which to jump at Germany, etc., etc., etc.
And in all this, the peace-loving Hitler never once declared war, but let England and France issue the declarations. England and France were the warmongers, they were the destroyers of peace, they were the cunning conspirators to draw the people of the United Sates into the fray. Repeatedly Hitler made offers of peace to France and to England, repeatedly has German propaganda striven desperately, and with considerable success, to show that the impoverished and despoiled Reich had never wanted to initiate the world blood bath brought on by the rapacity of the French and British parasites.
Only in the case of Soviet Russia has Hitler changed his technique. Now Hitler has suddenly become the new protector of religion and of morality. Now it is he who has taken the initiative to declare the war and boldly to set himself up as the leader of a European Crusade against Communism. Gone are his hypocritical pretensions of being a man of peace. The ferocity of a Gengis Khan or Tamerlane is to be but a stint of the fury to be unleashed by the hordes of Hitler’s Nazis.
Hitler’s declaration of war against Soviet Russia is a gigantic effort to unify capitalist Europe around him, to bring Spain, France, Finland, and all the other hesitant countries into line, to isolate Britain completely from the continent and to win those resources that would assure victory later over the United States.
Trained in the art of mass approach and mass demagogy, the Nazis have been able to push their propaganda into every country, using the subtle issues of internal differences to demoralize their opponents and so win over new friends to their side. For Nazi agents, is it is not enough that foreign countries should believe that Germany had not taken the initiative in the war and was not responsible for its beginning; their plan is to go much further. The insidious objective of the Nazi international is to raise racial, religious, and social differences in every country where loose organization permits this to be done, and to tear that country asunder in internal struggles. Here the Nazis have learned hard from the Communists, but with a far meaner purpose and viler methods, for the leading colleagues of the Nazis in each of the foreign countries have never been those representing the progressive instincts of the oppressed, but always some little clique of traitors capable of the most unscrupulous acts for their own selfish and reactionary aggrandizement over the mass of people.
In all these respects the Nazis have improved matters greatly both over the Kaiser and over their opponents who still fight Hitler as though they were fighting the Kaiser. But when we have given Hitler credit for all this, we have said all there is to be said on the subject, and the reader will have noted that so far as the real problems of the organization of the rear in his own country is concerned, Hitler is not much better off than his opponents. His has been an improvement merely in degree but not in kind. At bottom Fascism can not solve the very problems that it itself has raised! Fascist War can never be People’s War.
The essential basic fact of the matter is that Nazism is a political system of dictatorship over the people, using the people as pawns and dupes for its own lusts. Fascism, no more than Liberalism, can trust the people, can arm the people, can permit the people to take initiative into their own hands. Fascism has led to a system of slavery for the mass of workers and farmers and for the crushed races and nationalities under its domination which must breed deep within the nations conquered, from the concentration camps to every humble hearth, an unalterable hatred and determination on the part of the people for its overthrow.
Under Fascism, the German industrial worker has been turned into a veritable conscript toiling under unbelievable conditions. The eight hour day has disappeared giving way to the ten and twelve hour day everywhere. Overtime restrictions, limitations on intensity and speed of work, rest periods, holidays, and vacations, all are gone. The pay has been drastically cut for the average worker, the prices of standard goods fixed so that only the barest existence can be eked out.
No word of protest dare be uttered. Inside the factory the employer is the supreme “Fuehrer,” responsible to the state for the regimentation and obedience of those under his command. Discharged workers may find no work elsewhere unless in jail. By law, it is now forbidden for anyone to leave his job or to get another job unless permission is first granted by the state. Travel from one city to another by workers, even on their own time, has been reduced to an absolute minimum.
The lower middle classes also feel the unbearable pressure. The little store keeper now finds his supplies of goods strictly rationed. He is told just how much to buy, just what to sell, and just what his price must be. He must keep clear, separate accounts regularly inspected by the state. And woe to him should he protest his regimentation and try to step out on his own!
It is the same with the poor farmers who have now been straight-jacketed into a neo-feudal system, where they are forced to produce the items demanded of them, forced to buy and to sell at the prices stated, unable to alienate their land or to change their occupation, and their sons are unable even to leave their village or strike out for themselves. For the younger sons there is no hope of improvement since the land can no longer be divided among all the children, but goes only to the eldest son.
The youth, too, have been conscripted into industrial armies: the boys serve in labor camps supporting the front; the girls are sent out to farms far from home as servants and menials. All of them are forced to join Nazi organizations of one sort or another so that they can be under complete surveillance at all times.
If such awful prison-like conditions exist for the mass of Germans, what must life be for the Poles, or for the Czechs, or for the other races and nationalities now in Hitler’s grip? The murder and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Austrians, Poles, Czechs, Dutch, Belgians, French, Jugo-Slavs, Greeks, Jews and others bear witness to the stubborn struggle of these peoples against Hitlerism.
How can such a system of ruthless dictatorship such as Nazism possibly enlist the entire civilian population for struggle should its own rear be penetrated by other armies? On the contrary, large masses of Europeans would hail as saviors any force that could destroy the Nazi-slavery.
The unfortunate fact, however, is that all through the war, Nazi-Fascism has been allowed to keep the initiative, to maintain the offensive, to invade other lands and to keep its own from being invaded, and to have such a superiority in its armed forces as to be able to break the rear of its opponents. This does not modify the truth of the matter, however, that once the Fascist front itself were ever to be broken there would be found the same disorganized, unprepared dissatisfied rear as was found in Holland, or in France, or elsewhere. The rear of the Nazis is just as brittle as the rear of the “democracies,” and should an army ever break through into Germany it would find a population entirely ready to yield and, indeed, eager to revenge themselves on their despots.
Any American who believes that the superior way to fight Hitler is to organize this country into a monolithic Fascist state will do well to ponder over the considerations given above. The bigger Fascist power may beat the smaller, but in no way can a Fascist state really organize the rear so as to make it an effective front if need be. The most that can be said is, given two Fascist states at war with each other, then the one that can penetrate the front of the other can demoralize the rear and cause the collapse of its opponent. And this is the case with the “democracies” as well. Fascism can increase the striking power of the military at times, it cannot adequately protect the country from invasion.
Just the opposite situation occurs when Fascist war is met by the armed might of the entire people and the war turned into a Peoples War. Not only is the striking power of such a people’s army immensely enhanced but what is most important, every hamlet, village, town, and city, every street and house and barnyard throughout the land become military points which have to be taken by storm and the inhabitants killed before such points can be safe for the invaders. Such is the case whenever the people fight for themselves and not for a few above them.
Here, indeed, is the hope of America. Americans do not shrink from the war with Hitler. Nor do they want to ape Hitler. Once they are convinced that old Liberal nineteenth century methods of our leaders are inadequate they will move, not to a pseudo-Totalitarianism that represents the interests of a tiny fraction of the nation, but, if we may employ the term, to a genuine totalitarianism that for the first time includes in the total the mass of the people and allows their interests and welfare to have the dominance.
Chapter III—The Totalitarian United States of Europe
The conquest of Britain by the Germans in the present phase of World War II must bring in its wake an entirely new organization of Europe, which, for want of a better title, may be called the Totalitarian United States of Europe. From the general capitalist point of view this is an immense step forward for the whole continent of Europe, and must inaugurate a great expansion of Europe’s powers.
That the defeat of Britain should have this result is not at all remarkable considering the role that Britain was forced to play respecting the mainland of Europe to which it was bound and yet which it feared as a great rival. To maintain her economic supremacy England for a long time tried hard to keep her industrial inventions from spreading beyond her control, and when she could no longer contain the industrial revolution within her borders, then did her best to destroy those countries of Europe whose economic advancement threatened England’s political power. We need but recall England’s wars against the French Revolution, her consistent support of the old regime of the Sultan of Turkey, her struggle against the rise of the German economic machine and her alliance with Russian Tsarism in its fight against Western Europe, to see how heavy the hand of England lay upon history.
In passing we might say that even in regard to her own colonial possessions as the American Revolution amply demonstrated in the Western Hemisphere, England’s policy was often far from progressive. In Asia, her support of the Nabobs and Rajahs with all their despotic trappings from Burma to Persia, her Opium War with China, and her reactions to the awakening of the Chinese people, all showed the fear the British Empire held for any popular change that would stimulate the peoples of the backward countries to develop socially and politically on their own account.
England’s supremacy in Europe to a very considerable extent depended on a policy of dividing and conquering. For hundreds of years it had been part of the tradition of English diplomacy to hire European despots to initiate wars for England’s benefit and to fight her battles on the fields of other countries. With the rise of the industrial might of Central Europe in the nineteenth century it became more than ever important to keep Europe divided. A United Europe under German leadership spelled doom for the British Empire. No organic United States of Europe could possibly be tolerated by British imperialism.
Just the opposite would naturally be the goal of any chief continental rival of Britain. In earlier days Spain, then France, and now Germany, all attempted to place Europe under one control. The efforts of Spain through the Holy Roman Empire could result only in the exhaustion of Spanish resources. The efforts of France, under Napoleon, however, were more impressive. Yet Napoleon failed as previously had failed the attempts of Charlemagne and of the potentates of the Holy Roman Empire who could not accomplish even what the Romans had achieved many centuries before them. The fact is that without the industrial revolution the capacity of any country thoroughly to digest and integrate other large bodies of people was extremely limited. The most that could be done by any dynamic power was to found some sort of dynastic alliance that would superficially bind certain groups together for a limited period of time.
Only with the complete domination of the industrial revolution could the dream for a united states of Europe become realized, and, in the capitalist sense, only Germany could possibly attain it. When, after the World War of 1914-1918, the victors, with so much talk about a League of Nations and a European family of peoples, came together to bring about the Versailles Peace, far from uniting Europe, they could only Balkanize the continent still further. Those who were incapable of ruling could only ruin. (It is a curious fact, in this connection, that the only European countries which, a generation after the Versailles Peace, could claim to be much stronger than before the war were Germany and Russia, both of them outside the League of Nations and countries which the Versailles Treaty had meant to destroy.)
Nevertheless, the lack of a United States of Europe became acutely felt even by England, and above all by France, when once the new problems of the post-war period had to be faced. How was the menace of militant Communism to be met if capitalism in Europe could not be united for its own existence? Because of this disunity, at one time Bolshevism had almost won the day; certainly because of this disunity capitalism did not and could not conquer the Russian Revolution. Again, without unity how could Europe meet the competition of the United States that was steadily driving the European leaders into second place? The United States had emerged from the war as the general creditor nation, equal in power practically to all of Europe combined. Unless there could be put up a united resistance by the debtor nations to the claims of the United States, all Europe, first in an economic and then in a political sense, would become mere coolies working for the benefit of that colossus of the Western Hemisphere. For these reasons, also, politicians after the war, especially the French, wrote plans proposing some sort of United States of Europe at least so that the war debts could be cancelled.
The United States countered these moves of the debtor nations by concentrating on the reorganization of the German economic system so as to make impossible the permanent hegemony of the French for struggle against this country. It was the United States more than any other country that rebuilt the power of the German capitalist system and paved the way for Herr Hitler. So far was the United States against unity in Europe that she would not even participate in the League of Nations. Thus the United States took over the role of England and accentuated it, the role of playing off one set of countries against the other while her businessmen sold supplies to both sides and reaped the markets neglected by our rivals as they were engaged to the limit in military preparations.
This does not mean at all, speaking historically, that the resistance of America to a united front of European debtors and insolvent nations had the same historic meaning as the opposition put up by England. From the twentieth century on, in production and in general economy Britain actually had become inferior to Germany and to a Europe united by Germany; American production techniques, resources, capacity and actual production is, on the other hand, superior not only to a Germany but a Europe united by that country. From a world point of view, the efforts to unite Europe so as better to resist the pressures both from Communistic Russia and from superior capitalistic United States were efforts of historically dead forces trying to stave off that defeat that history had made inevitable for European leadership as a whole.
None knew better than the Germans that if Europe was to face American superiority and to resist the forces of international Communism, a closely united Europe was absolutely essential to them—and this is more or less correct. Now, if Hitler were not permitted to organize Europe, the Nazis argued, Europe would have to surrender either to the superior forces of the United States or to those of proletarian Communism. Either European unity or disaster!—that is how the Nazi-Fascists had to picture the situation to their cohorts and adherents.
Essentially, the position of the Germans is just as reactionary as that of the English. The English wanted disunity in Europe so that their inferior economy could longer endure; the Germans want unity in Europe for precisely the same reason, namely, to meet and to destroy historically superior powers, both the superior capitalism of the United States, and the superior economic system of world Communism. And for this reason the efforts of Hitler’s imperialism are as doomed as those of the British imperialism it is destroying. The only force that can permanently organize Europe is the force that is strong enough to organize the world.
If Americans ought to believe that the United States of Europe formed by Hitler is reactionary, this must not lead them in any manner to support the opposite reactionary position of the British taken by American businessmen, and to advocate the permanent division and internecine conflicts of the people of Europe so that our private corporations may continue easily to win world markets for themselves. Such a position must bring on our heads the hatred of the people of the entire world and cannot possibly succeed.
For the same reason, even though we may have to support Britain’s struggle against Hitler, it must be, not with the mean purpose of British imperialism, but with a program of a People’s United Sates of Europe in firm alliance with the people of the whole world. Naturally, such a program could be as hateful to Wall Street as it would be to London’s Fleet Street, but it is the only program we can possibly take.
Nothing should convince us better of the feelings of Europe towards England than for us to examine the British program toward Europe as seen by the Europeans. Let us ask ourselves, for example, what possible future did Britain intend for Austria? Would Austria have been allowed to join Germany? Would she have been permitted to expand her own territory? Would she have been enabled to develop economically her own country? Would she have been let free to form Soviets and to join the peoples of other sections of Europe? According to English rule, Austria was completely barred from all of these historic paths. Before the Austrians, the future appeared as a gray hopeless Sargasso Sea of stagnation and decay. No matter how much the Austrians may hate Hitler, they can never willingly return to the British system of Austrian suicide.
Or what future did Latvia have under the British plans? Does any one believe Latvia could possibly expand either East or West or possibly be in a position to utilize the inventions of industry so plentiful around her? Barred from joining Russia, barred from joining Germany, barred from fusing with their smaller neighbors, in hopeless antagonism to far greater powers around them, the people of Latvia knew all too well that they were kept alive by Britain for the sole purpose of serving as a buffer nation to be sacrificed in the war against the Soviets or against Germany as the case may be.
No different was the fate allotted by the British to Jugoslavia, to Hungary, to Bulgaria, to Rumania, or to any of the smaller powers of Europe. The efforts of Britain were all directed to freezing for all time the miserable status quo of 1918.
How can the American people possibly identify themselves with the aims of British imperialism? Are we to enter war to insure that all the peoples whose economic development categorically demand that they get together to utilize the inventions and scientific discoveries of our age, must never get together? Must the United States, embracing an entire continent with enormous room for expansion, forbid the peoples of another continent to come together, either peacefully and fraternally if they can, or by harsher and more traditional historical methods if they cannot? Are Americans forever to fight for the maintenance of the British Empire with its millions of slaves in Africa and in Asia and its stagnant, decadent character so that the selfish interests of a few imperialists may be kept alive? Certainly, this cannot be why Americans will want to enter the conflict, especially since the British Empire has been as much the chief rival to the Americans as it has been to the Germans and the stagnant existence of the British Empire particularly in the Western Hemisphere has militated against the far more rapid development of liberating influences that superior American capitalism could furnish to the same countries under United States control.
No, the future of the British Empire holds but one destiny: complete disintegration, and this destiny will be fulfilled in the present war. The United States will be the chief beneficiary, since huge portions of the former British Empire must become part of the United States. It is not the role of the United States to save the British Empire for the British, but to win over the Empire countries—Canada, the West Indies, Western Hemisphere possessions, Australasia, etc., for rapid industrial development for herself.
The American people must here break with the American agents of Britain who, sooner or later, will come out with their own program for the war. If we are to help England during the present conflict it can not be done with the desire to support the English program or really to allow the English to use the progressive forces of this country for their own reactionary aims, but rather to prolong the struggle enough so as to exhaust Hitlerism and to annihilate him ultimately by the weight of superior forces. What must be defeated, from our point of view, is not only the Nazi-Fascist forces but British imperialism as well.
Now that Germany has declared war upon Russia, it may well be that British Labor will increasingly demand a new program, one renouncing British imperialism and setting free the British colonies. Such a new program would greatly clarify the atmosphere and solidly mobilize the people of the entire world against Hitler and his allies.
Despite our aid to England, Hitler has been able to drive Britain into a small corner of Europe and at least to begin his new organization of Europe, the center of which is Nazi Germany.
To the Nazis, Totalitarian United States of Europe must mean at least one thing: the complete integration of all economic forces into one organized entity. Around the whole of Europe will be placed one general tariff and customs control. Only by such a monopoly of foreign trade can the Nazi-Fascists unite the forces of all Europe in international competition.
The mere existence of a single European Customs Union, establishing one tariff barrier to all goods from the outside, places the foreign countries dealing with Europe on a distinctly disadvantageous basis. Germany will see to it that resources which Europe may possess in disproportionate quantities for example, Mercury—are kept entirely at home or rationed out under special conditions. No products in competition with German goods will possibly enter Europe.
Within Europe, German machinery, German materials, and German finished goods will dominate everywhere. There will be no longer any tariffs between one country of Europe and another, just as there are none between the various states of the Union in the United States. But let no one imagine that the annihilation of national tariffs within Europe will mean free trade and free competition of one national entity with the other. Far from it. Nazi-Fascism does not break down internal tariffs to restore Free Trade; it here breaks up former national trade barriers only to obtain complete monopoly throughout Europe.
Behind the Totalitarian Customs Union will lie the fact that German industry will completely reorganize the entire economy under its control. The new Nazi control will decide just what countries will produce what articles, just how much each will produce, how much each will consume, and in what proportions the surplus will either be mutually exchanged or set side into a central European hoard for international struggle.
The new continental division of labor that will be set up by no means necessarily entails the lowering of the productive ability of the peoples of Europe. On the contrary, German industry must set itself the task of modernizing every backward portion of the continent. Regions that before were poorly developed may well blossom forth as their water-power resources are tapped, their minerals extracted, their lands irrigated, fertilized, and worked with modern machinery in large-scale farming. German or native factories may spring up in all parts of Europe as a great expansion of mechanical, chemical, electrical, wireless, and aviation industries accompanies the internal unification of Europe.
Under Hitlerism, however, increased production cannot possibly mean increased consumption for the mass of toilers throughout Europe. Certain German minorities may, indeed, profit at the expense of others, but for Nazism the increased power of Europe must be conserved for one object—Total War for the mastery of the world. To this end alone will the slaves be forced to intensify their labor and to reduce their demands.
The monopoly of all foreign trade in Europe must give the Totalitarian dictators immense power in all international relations. Countries dependent on European goods will be forced to buy at Europe’s terms not only in a monetary but also in a political sense. And it will be the same for countries whose products must be sold in Europe or not at all. Unless these countries definitely tie up with Nazi-Fascism and obey its orders entirely, they will be cut off from decisive markets, their economy will rot, internally these nations will seethe with unceasing discontent and unrest, helped along by Nazi Fifth Columns, until their regimes are overthrown.
Especially will this pressure be felt by the smaller countries of Latin America. These countries cannot sell all their products to the United States. Should England fall and the Totalitarian United States of Europe function, what can the tottering ruling regimes in Latin America, so easily subject to violent overthrow, do but make peace with Hitler and offer themselves as means for attack against the United States? And this will all the more readily be done as Totalitarian Europe, facing the need of annihilating the influence of the United States, throws its surplus machinery and finished goods into Latin America on such terms of barter and credit as to make it utterly impossible for the United States to compete on the old basis.
So far as European Fascism is concerned, it will not have much need for huge supplies of gold and silver. Within all Europe there will be but one central monetary system and valuta, whatever local symbols of money may be used in various regions. Trade within Europe may be carried on in terms of labor time, skilled labor counting as a multiple of unskilled. Under such a system countries with more productive labor will weight proportionately heavier than those with less productive labor. Thus, if German workers produce six times the amount of goods produced by the same number of workers in Rumania during the same time, then goods of Rumania will be worth one-sixth those of Germany, and, in terms of local currency, the German mark will stand to the equivalent Rumanian valuta at the ratio of one to six. Thus highly productive Germany will have an exchange rate extremely favorable to itself. Naturally, there will be periodic revisions in exchange ratios as labor efficiency varies with technological and other changes.
Behind Europe’s currency will be no metal reserve separate and apart from that small amount needed as a balance in international payments. On the contrary, instead of buying and selling in terms of money, Nazi-Fascism may use entirely different systems: internally, concerning trade among European bodies, as we have noted, the standard of labor-time; externally, with foreign nations, the method of barter. Countries with enormous gold hoards, like the United States, may find them growing increasingly useless.
Using the barter method in international relations, the Totalitarian United States of Europe will not allow individual buying and selling, but will pool all resources in one general agency. Where trade by the central trading agency of Totalitarian Europe will not be with foreign states, but directly with foreign private concerns, the tremendous bargaining advantages to Nazi-Fascism are just as obvious. On the one side will be a mass of petty commercial houses all hungry to buy or to sell; on the other side will be a gigantic entity that can manipulate its resources at will and use its goods as excellent bait for the formation of Fifth Columns abroad.
The general Nazi-Fascist trade agency may decide not to trade for money at all but to trade only if in return it can get the entire crop of this or that nation, or the monopoly of this or that material. Brazilian coffee may be sold to Europe, for example, only on condition Brazil sells to no one else, or only on condition Brazil buys European products solely. Again, the whole supply of Chilean nitrates may be taken if Chile will purchase German machinery and give Germany the monopoly over Chile’s electrical industries. Examples are endless.
Is it any wonder the Nazis boast that once they perfect their new economic order, the United States will not be able to prevent their world supremacy? It will not be necessary to invade the shores of this country except after the battle is already won. Using the great economic power of united Europe, Hitler believes that by offering far greater advantages to Latin America than can the United States, he will be able to isolate and to weaken America long before actual political supremacy is established by military invasion.
Should England surrender, what indeed will Argentina do with its beef, Brazil with its coffee, Chile with its nitrates, Venezuela with its oil, etc., etc.? Surely the United States cannot take the whole produce of these countries. And if Latin America cannot sell, how will it be able to buy what it needs for its own people? A desperate crisis thus faces Latin America. Latin American countries cannot remain neutral: either they receive the fraternal care of the United States or they are bound to turn to Nazi-Fascism against the United States.
Should the economic plans of the Nazis really go into effect, then the United States, in order to maintain its superiority in international competition, would have to perfect a new continental reorganization on its own account. It would be compelled to do to North and to South America economically that which Germany will have done with Europe, and thus keep its relative superiority on even a higher level than before. Under capitalist conditions, it is only by intensifying murderous competition to the highest degree that humanity can be led to technical and cultural attainments.
The United States can not possibly allow the subjugation of Latin America by Nazism. To meet the ruthless juggernaut of the Totalitarian United States of Europe,—whether war against the Nazis is declared or not—the United States must take over responsibility for the welfare of the people of the South and Central American regions. This is not only our economic task, but, as will be pointed out later, our political task as well.
Corresponding to its new economic integration, Totalitarian United States of Europe must set up an entirely different political system. The concept of totalitarianism embraces as its essence the idea that the total forces in society must work in harmony towards one common political objective formulated by the needs of the state. In the past, the difficulty in Europe was that there were many states. The formation of a Totalitarian United States of Europe signifies that there will be one state—and that state, in fact, will be the German state.
Naturally, such a political goal can not be achieved over night; many transitional stages may have to be experimented with. It is not merely a military matter of subduing recalcitrant states who fight Germany, nor simply a political matter of arranging with such allies as Italy or such larger entities as France and subjugated England just what role each should play, with Germany laying down the rules. Above all it is a matter of careful adjustments of a multitude of activities and functions so that order will not break down and rebellion ensue. All parts must be fitted together and made to work.
It stands to reason that within the Totalitarian United States of Europe there can exist no two equally matched powers fighting for mastery. And, in fact, there is no such situation. Italy in no degree can challenge the supremacy of her partner, Germany. On the other hand, it would be foolish for the Nazis to conquer Italy and transform a valuable adjutant into an enemy.
At present there is a great role for Italy to play in Southern Europe, in the Near East, and in Africa. Germany can well afford to build up Italy’s prestige in order to use her as a help in colonial work and in the policy of Southern Europe and Asia Minor. Such a relation of Germany to Italy would imply that certain political autonomy be given Italy, larger than that accorded others.
Again, the various parts of Europe have each exhibited an infinite variety of economic forms. In some States, a number of utilities and industries were nationalized, in others, certain industries were already organized in international trusts, cartels, and syndicates; in some countries national associations dominated the field; in others, private endeavors were entirely in a primitive, anarchic state.
Given such a variegated process, it becomes extremely difficult to lay down a uniform pattern for all of Europe. No doubt the matter would be greatly simplified if each trade or industry throughout Europe could be organized under its own board or control centered in Berlin, operating its enterprises as public property. Under such conditions, there would be no longer the need for separate states in Europe. All Europe would be like Germany itself, one state to which could control and regulate all industry.
Such may be the goal of the Nazis, but it surely cannot be realized at one stroke. To a considerable degree, control will still be exercised not directly from some intra-European center but from the traditional national capitol of this or that political entity.
So long as national political entities still have a useful function to perform, albeit in a greatly reduced degree, a number of states will have to be kept alive in Europe. The problem whether the political coordination of the states within the Totalitarian United States of Europe will be in the form of a Federation, groups of Federations, or one central super-government having supreme power, is a secondary one depending on practical relations.
It may be that Germany will have different relations towards different peoples of Europe. Regarding Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, and Northern France, Hitler may make every effort to ingest them directly into greater Germany, to favor their development, and to fuse them with the German Volk.
There is no reason why England, either, if conquered, should offer any special difficulty to being absorbed directly into the German system. By that time the British Empire would have entirely disappeared: the Asiatic portions to Japan, the American regions to the United States, the African areas to the Totalitarian United States of Europe for joint development. A terribly ravaged England might be faced with no other alternative but fusion or death.
For the non-Germanic peoples in the East: the Poles, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Hungarians, the Rumanians, the Bulgarians, and the South-Slavs, depending on their degree of resistance or of amenability to the new order, a different policy may be taken. Here separate puppet governments may be allowed, but all industries to be coordinated directly by Berlin as far as possible.
Finally, a third grouping might be formed under Italian leadership including Southern France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Albania. Here the Italian government would coordinate the industrial undertakings of the regions in question with a considerable amount of autonomy and would help work out a common policy for the colonies in Africa.
Regardless of the transitional political forms Totalitarian United States of Europe may take,—whether subordinate states survive or perish, whether they are grouped in federations or send delegates to a common center—there can be no question but that in fact there will be but one super-State over all—the Nazi State. The decisive factor is the all-powerful German army, utterly irresistible in Europe and bending each part to its will. Europe can have but one army and one navy; this will be a magnificent war machine, Nazified through and through, under Nazi leaders with Nazi dreams of World Power.
Behind the Nazi European army will stand the Nazi European party, having national sections in every country. Placing its henchmen in every position of political power, the Nazi Party becomes the great unifying force synchronizing all social movements, remolding and revitalizing Europe for the struggle for world supremacy.
With such a party and such an army, the Nazis may be free from the menace of serious revolutionary movements from within for a considerable time to come. All sorts of problems will engross the attention of masses of people and keep them busy night and day. Reconstruction of devastated areas, reorganization of industries, creation of supplies for new markets of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, preparations for the struggles against the United States and the carrying out of the struggle against Russia, all of these matters must exhaust the energies of the toilers. So long as they are fed, clothed, and sheltered, their plight will not be too desperate.
Under such circumstances, any revolt not supported by superior forces from without, is doomed to be ruthlessly crushed by the Nazi-Fascist regime. The population will be entirely disarmed. The Nazi Party will have its agents in every social organization. The huge German Army will always be ready to strike. What chance can the oppressed and exploited of Europe have against such forces as these? Should the Nazis meet defeat at the hands of either America or the Soviets, then a different story would be told. On all sides the masses would rise to drink to the last drop their cup of revenge.
Let no one imagine that the defeat of Hitler would bring back the golden days of Liberalism and a disunited Europe. The formation of a United States of Europe is an inevitable outcome of the development of our civilization. Even before Hitler, the Red Army had attempted it in 1919. Had the Communists been able to sweep through Poland and to have joined forces with the German proletariat immediately after the war, there would have been set up a Soviet United States of Europe with a program of the confraternity of peoples and with the slogan of “Workers of the World Unite!” Furthermore, now that the Red Army meets Hitlerism on the plains of Europe this again must be their battle cry, giving hope to revolutionaries waiting to overwhelm the Nazis in the rear that a new world is in birth.
The quarrel of the American people with Hitler’s United States of Europe is not with the unity of Europe but with Hitlerism. Under Hitlerism, that which would be a progressive development turns into a monstrous weapon for the destruction of the liberties of the peoples of the world; that which could be a wonderful dream becomes a hideous nightmare.
We can not fight Hitlerism by fighting the idea of the United States of Europe. Rather must we raise on our banner the watchword that only the destruction of Nazism can unify the people of Europe into one fraternal indissoluble bond. An end to Hitler tyranny! An end to Europe’s internecine wars! Long live the People’s United States of Europe!—these must be our slogans in the coming conflict.
Chapter IV—The Era of Super-Imperialism
The emergence of the Totalitarian United States of Europe must coincide with certain general world movements that mark a new era for the epoch of imperialism, transforming this period into an era which we may well designate as Super-Imperialism. The difference between imperialism and super-imperialism, although still one of degree rather than of kind, is as sharp as was the contrast between the period of twentieth century imperialism itself and the preceding capitalist system of free competition and laissez-faire.
With the reorganization of Europe under German leadership there come into existence four great powers fighting for the mystery of the world: Germany in charge of Europe and potentially in control of Africa, the Soviet Union bestriding Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and Siberia, Japan in charge of East Asia, and finally, the United States leading the Western Hemisphere. Such a new world situation places all the rivalries and struggles that existed in the epoch of imperialism on the highest possible world plane.
That something similar to this is the inevitable trend of affairs could be seen on the smaller scale of national economics during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the large trusts begin to push the smaller factories out of existence and to dominate completely the production of this or that line of industry and commerce. The rise of the big trust and syndicate by no means did away with competition except within the particular field dominated by those concerns; on the contrary, trustification meant the intensification of competition on a higher plane.
Competition raged between vertical trusts and horizontal trusts, between national trusts and international cartels, between regional groups and national associations, between trusts of one industry as against those of another, between public utilities and private endeavors, between industrial and commercial combines, between financial holding companies, one with the other, or between such financial giants and independent concerns, between chain stores and department store monopolies, between these and the nation’s cooperatives, between the business and the landed monopolists, and in the international sphere, between the monopoly of one state and that of another, and then between states for the monopoly rights of foreign investments, etc. Even in the ranks of labor, the monopoly of one craft fought for the monopoly of another. At the same time, in the ranks of the petty promoter, the smaller enterprise was all the more desperately competing with its equals for the relatively few scraps of the market still left open to it.
Sooner or later the process in the international political field would harmonize with the general economic trends: the small nation would be swallowed up by the larger nation and ingested into one organic whole, leaving the struggle between the great powers clear and sharp. Instead of a mass of small nations, snarling at and fighting each other, there now arise several huge organic entities which carry on the battle on the highest possible world scale. Each must try to organize the entire world.
If the epoch of imperialism was marked by the domination of finance capital and the export of capital to the far corners of the earth, the epoch of super-imperialism must see an entirely different development. As each enlarged unit carefully controls its production and surpluses with an eye to the struggle for world power, taking care to keep valuable materials away from the others and to obtain from rivals as much of their needed supplies as possible, the whole system of world trade and world financing becomes radically changed.
Each large group would try to organize itself as far as possible on a basis of self-sufficiency. Within each country the state would dominate and coordinate all lines of activity. The trade of the world would be mostly carried on along lines carefully planned by these international entities, with gold used as the universal equivalent only to pay for the difference due each group in the value of the goods bartered in large lumps.
Gone would be the old transportation of goods in small countries to a myriad of ports according to the demands of an international market. Now there would be certain ports only that would be open; goods would not be bought by individual traders, but by governmental trusts and clearing houses, purchasing in tremendous quantities on a barter basis only what the state needed for its ambitions. Also gone would be the days when individuals would be freely able to invest their capital in this or that country as the rate of profit might move them. Foreign investments would be undertaken only by state banks and only along lines permitted by the foreign governments involved.
In short, instead of the still open world of the epoch of simple imperialism, there would be a series of closed worlds, each interchanging with the other only as the demands of the struggle between them compelled them to do so. Finance, industry, and commerce would be synthesized into huge super-national state enterprises, each in a desperate struggle for the earth.
Which of these super-nations is destined to survive? In the order of economic importance, the American system would rank first, the European second, the Soviet third, the Japanese fourth. Will the United States try to prevent the formation of the European and Japanese systems not yet perfected? Will the second and fourth-rate constellations destroy the third, the Soviet? Will America attack Japan leaving Russia free against Hitler? A thousand fascinating alternatives open up before us. The complexity of the problems must not cause us to run away; on the contrary, we are compelled to study them all the more carefully, not with the simple rule-of-thumb of political arithmetic, but with the necessary algebra and calculus that alone can produce the general formulas of specifically unknown quantities. We may not be able to give arithmetic answers to all the problems, but if politics is a material science, we should have the general equations at our command. This is indeed vital to the question: Can America defeat Hitler?
Were the people of America really alive to the tremendous danger of Nazism, they would not for one moment permit the establishment of the Totalitarian United States of Europe under Hitler, nor would they permit the formation of a similar totalitarian agency in East Asia under Japan, since it is only this combination of Europe and Asia that can destroy them. The plans of the Hitler-Hirohito combination must include such features, therefore, as would lull the American people to sleep, allowing them to dream of peace and comfort. Instead of first completing the Totalitarian United States of Europe and thus arousing the United States to immediate action, for example, and then with Japan’s help attacking the Soviet Union, Hitler has cleverly eluded these processes and before he has been exposed in full, so far as the menace of Totalitarian Europe to America is concerned, has first declared war to conquer completely the Soviets. The United States, if it passively watches the destruction of the Soviets from the sidelines, may then wake up entirely too late to the fact that now there are no longer four, decisive world entities, but only three, and that the other two survivors are in an irresistible alliance against her!
Here is the burning danger so serious to the interests of America that we must sound the alarm again and again. It is not too late to defeat Hitler should America participate in the war with dying Britain. It is not too late either to win should we enter the conflict after Britain is conquered, but it will be entirely too late should we wait until after the Soviet Union has also been destroyed and Germany and Japan remain alone to fight us. Let every American sink this thought deep into his consciousness. Here is the anchor to keep his ship from, falling over the rapids.
There is no doubt many Americans who, passionately desiring world peace, will cry out: why should there be this unending series of world struggles for mastery of the earth? Cannot the chief powers get together, work out spheres of influence for themselves and let each other alone, except as they cooperate for the common good? Can we not make the era of super-imperialism an era of real understanding and harmony?
Alas, for such Pollyannas who fail to realize the raging fever within a state entity that drives it forward to the fight, till four become three, three itself become two, two becomes one, and one itself explodes or is liquidated in a new social order. As the world now exists, each capitalist unit, whether the state of old imperialism, or the super-state of super-imperialism, must bitterly exploit its workers under conditions that yield a huge surplus growing ever greater as the workers become more and more productive. The surplus must be got rid of or the factories will shut down and unemployment and social revolution be on the order of the day. In fact, it was precisely because social revolution stared the rulers in the face that Totalitarianism arose as a way out.
The method of Totalitarian rulers to get rid of their ever-increasing surplus is not to give it to the workers who produced it—that would be Communism and would spell such an advancement of the masses as would render the rule of the few impossible—but to store it in the shape of war materials and to consume those materials in one conflict after another. For capitalist-imperialists there is no way out of the chronic economic crises which face them save perpetual military conflicts,—war.
Certain it is that with the emergence of Hitlerism over united Europe there must take place a bitter struggle between the four dominant powers that survive. In Europe, there will remain the dualism between Germany and the Soviet Union; in Asia, the dualism between the Soviet Union and Japan; throughout the world, the fight between Germany and Japan against the United States. The conflict must go on to the finish. In this fight the country that has the greatest chance to survive is the United States. It is for this reason that Hitler and Japan must carefully plan their alliance for world power.
The close alliance between Hitlerism and Japanese imperialism is the only method by which either of these entities can survive whether the war is against the Soviet Union or against the United States. Neither Hitler nor Hirohito can do without the other; they must hang together or hang separately.
Their nearest opponent, which they must first of all destroy before they can take their next big step forward, is the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union stands directly in the path of Hitler’s utilization of Asia as the source of his raw materials and the dumping place for his products. The Soviet Union is the sole power that can prevent the land forces of Germany and Japan from uniting. And what is more import, the Soviet Union stands as an ever ready threat of Communism to eradicate the whole capitalist system so painfully built up by the Nazis. Against the Soviet Union first and foremost must be directed the full force of Hitler’s war machine. For Hitler, this course of affairs is the line of least resistance.
It makes no difference that Hitlerism and Stalinism in the past had reached some sort of working agreement. Such an accord depended entirely upon the exigencies of the moment. For the Soviet Union it was to her interest to egg on the war between Germany and England and to play off one against the other, thus weakening Europe in particular and world capitalism in general, and delaying invasion against her own shores. Stalin calculated that from an exhausted Europe there might arise the chance for the world victory of the Soviets.
Although Stalinism misjudged the power of Germany’s Blitzkrieg and Hitler’s ability to conquer and organize Europe without internal exhaustion, nevertheless Russia was able to get certain immediate advantages from the struggle and to advance her borders from Finland to Rumania. This has been a great help to the Soviet Union not only in the negative sense of having broken down the fortifications built by enormous cost by French and British capital as a springboard against her, but in the positive sense of augmenting her population by many millions, of obtaining new resources and supplies, as well as of increasing the depth of her fortifications against invasion from the West. The military constructions formerly used against Russia and now have been taken over by her, have been transformed into another line of defense, while still a third line was built all along the new border. Thus where there was but one line of fortifications there became three.
Nor is this all, and it is for this reason that there appeared no hurry on the part of Stalinism to join any power, even the United States, in a fight against Germany or Japan: Russia stood to gain immensely from any continued long-drawn-out fight that took place against the British Empire acting alone or in conjunction with the United States. First, there was the small matter of taking over Persia. Only British imperialism traditionally has stood in the way of this conquest even in the days of Tsardom and now the last obstacle has disappeared. Already the Soviet Union has large numbers of Mohammedans within its borders: Turkomans, Bashkirs, Tartars, and numerous other groups very close to the Persians in race and customs. The conquest of Persia would be an easy task for the Soviets and would immensely increase her resources not only because of the great oil fields there but above all because then for the first time the Soviet Union would have free access to the warm seas of the Indian Ocean.
To the East of Persia lie the rich areas of Chinese Turkestan, with its teaming Mohammedan population, its cotton fields, its agricultural products. Here, too, assuming that her policy towards China permitted it, Russia would find an easy and important conquest. And with Persia and Chinese Turkestan within their union, the Soviets would have surrounded the great prize of India on three sides. Baluchistan and Afghanistan would be but easy stepping stones.
The fall of the British Empire would permit the greatest possible development of Soviet influence to take place within India. The withdrawal of British troops or their defeat in the struggle with Germany would place the entire burden of controlling the vast Indian masses upon the utterly effete bankrupt Indian native princes who would recoil in horror at the tremendous movements of the masses demanding not only independence from imperialism but also release from the wretched despotism of the degenerate nabobs and rajahs who had ground them into the mud for so many centuries. The reckoning would be a terrible thing in India, the revolutionary movement would take on awe-inspiring proportions, and the gainer of this entire movement would be the Soviet Union. Unless checked by Germany and Japan, India would fall like a ripe plum into the hands of the Soviets.
On the other hand, just as the Soviet Union gained from her temporary alliance with Germany, so did Germany gain even more from neutralizing the Soviets while engaged in the struggle with Britain. First of all, Germany was able to gain complete control of Europe and, with Italy, could try to seize the entire continent of Africa. Compared with this, the European gains of Russia were trifling; indeed, speaking relatively, the Soviets lost ground to Germany rather than gained.
Second, if Russia could gain Persia, Germany stood to win the whole of Asia Minor: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and, with Italy, Arabia. Had these calculations been realized again Russia would have lost relatively in the competitive race for power; the lion’s share of the spoils again would have been seized by fascism!
The relative loss in the position of the Soviets can be all the more clearly seen if we add to the above considerations the fact that the other opponent of Russia, Japan, would not be idle either, but would make every attempt to take over the entire Eastern portion of Asia, including South, Central, and Western China, the Malayan Peninsula, Indo China, the Dutch East Indies, Thailand, and even Burma. What is more, before the Soviet Union would have been able to utilize the new conquests efficiently, she would find herself in a desperate struggle against the German-Japanese alliance and might be forced under. In proportion as the Soviets approach that situation or believe it inevitable, they will be ready to consent to a military alliance with the United States, forming the most effective world counter-block that can possibly defeat the Hitler-Japanese combination.
The deadly antagonism between Nazism and the Soviet Union would be inevitable even if the latter were a capitalist state and were modeled along the political lines of either the United States, Japan, or of Germany itself. There are some people who pretend to believe that the Soviet Union has the natural role of providing raw materials for Germany, and Germany the natural role of supplying the finished goods. Such thinkers fail to realize what every Russian ruler has understood, whether he was the Tsar or Stalin, namely, that the continued specialization of any country on agrarian goods must make that land subordinate to, and the economic colony of, the country which dominates her with machinery. In our world it is not the countryside that rules the city, not agriculture that dominates industry, but entirely vice-versa. And so it is in the international sphere.
Every country, therefore, tries to industrialize itself as rapidly and as much as possible. For this the United States declared its revolution and its independence. Again, with this in view, there have taken place within Russia the most bitter struggles over questions of industrialization, the achievement of this or that five-year plan, etc. Especially strict were the Russians in maintaining their state monopoly of foreign trade precisely in order to regulate their imports and exports and to insure that each exchange would benefit Russia’s industrialization and allow her to secure her independence by strengthening the might of her military power.
Despite the terrible crimes and blunders of Stalinism, its vainglorious boasting of “beating and surpassing” the production of all other countries, and its ridiculous theories of Socialism in one country, the fact is that Russia has made tremendous strides in industrialization and technique, so much so, as already to shift the entire specific weight of world economy somewhat in her direction. The huge state machine of the Soviets can be subordinate to no other power but must raise the issue of world supremacy as clearly as does Germany herself.
The struggle between Germany and the Soviets is not merely one for the recarving of the earth’s territory; it is far more fundamental than that. It is a struggle between two world systems: the system of capitalist-imperialism and the system of Communism. Despite its degeneracy from the original Communist program, and its destruction of the world revolutionary forces, Stalinism remains the prisoner of the Russian Revolution and cannot go forth to world battle without calling upon the proletariat in opponent countries to take over the system of private ownership of the means of production and change the entire world to a communist commonwealth. If the Nazi-Fascists have a world program of struggle against financial capital, the Soviets have the world program of termination of the capitalist system as a whole. If the Nazi-Fascists speak of the contradictions of competitive capitalism, the Communists must expound the contradictions of capitalism as a whole; if the former speak of putting order into this world of anarchy and chaos, the latter must insist that this order have a proletarian character, and that, if there is to be a world plan realized it must not be a plan for this or that clique nor for this or that so-called superior race, but for the mass of toilers of the world as a whole.
Against the Totalitarian United States of Europe, the Soviets must counter the Soviet United States of Europe established through internal revolution of the workers of such country against their respective capitalist states and through the joining of world proletarian forces with the Soviet Union.
To the Fascists and to many Liberal-Democrats who are fond of looking for sinister economic motives in the propaganda of all save themselves, all this Soviet program sounds like mere propaganda trimmings for Russian imperialism to demoralize enemies and to win world power. And it must be admitted that Stalinism has given every reason for these views to prevail and for the mass of people in Europe to believe that joining the Soviet system means simply transferring themselves to new bosses and tyrants. The history of Stalinism is the history of one disaster after another in the field of proletarian movements throughout the world.
Under the leadership of Stalin, the Communist International, the sole international driving force able to support the existence of the Soviet Union, rapidly degenerated and finally completely collapsed as a genuine proletarian force. Swinging widely from one example to another, and precisely in the wrong direction each time, Stalinism played havoc with the lives of hundreds of thousands of determined revolutionary fighters and squandered completely whatever assets the Russian Revolution had given it.
During the dark inflationary days of 1923, when Germany and Central Europe were really ripe for Sovietism, Stalinism played a policy of caution that ruined the entire Communist movement there and led to the stabilization of the Mussolini regime and to the election of a Hindenburg destined to pave the way for Hitler. Then, swinging violently in the other direction, the Communist International under Stalin issued the order for adventures in Bulgaria and Estonia which had as a result the decimating of its chief cadres of revolutionists in those countries.
When, following these blunders, the Communist International did recognize that capitalism was entering a period of temporary stabilization, Stalinism failed to understand that even in such a period there would be a law of uneven development in which sections of the world’s toilers would be advancing to revolution. Thus, the outbreak of the British general strike found the Communists thoroughly unprepared and in pursuit of a policy that threw the weight of the Russian Trade Unions against the British strikers. Thus, too, the historic Chinese revolutionary movement of 1925-27 saw the Stalinists stifle the revolution at its birth and bring on the terrible destruction of the trade union and democratic forces of this country. Here again, when already it was entirely too late, the Stalinists ordered a most drastic swing to the other extreme and created adventuristic abortive attempts to seize power such as the Canton uprising in 1927, which could only lead to the slaughter of the last forces that the Communists relied on.
It was during this period of partial stabilization of world capitalism in 1924-1929 that Stalin began to pronounce his theory of Socialism in One Country. Retreating from any idea of helping the workers and toilers of other countries to stage a Communist revolution, Stalin hotly enunciated the doctrine that Russia did not need the help of outside forces to build its garden of Eden, but could afford to let the rest of the world sink under Fascism. He expelled and murdered those of his former comrades who dared point out that the destruction of the international working class organizations was the preliminary to the destruction of the Soviet Union itself. In his crude attempts at building Socialism in semi-Asiatic Russia, Stalin threw the workers against the peasants and isolated his party from the masses. From now on the Communist Party rapidly degenerated into a bureaucratic clique carrying out the industrialization process in such a brutal and wasteful way as to make the toilers of the world believe that the Russian Revolution had entirely failed in emancipating the people.
Within Russia, the policies of the Stalinists resulted in the actual destruction of the Communist Party as a revolutionary force and of the trade unions, cooperatives, and Soviets as organizations of the workers. More and more the Stalinist state put on the appearance of the Nazi-Fascist state abroad. In the field of foreign relations the doctrine of Socialism in One Country transformed the Communist International into a Fifth Column for Russian nationalism, mere adjuncts of the Russian consulates and embassies whose politics changed overnight with the fluctuations of the foreign interests of Russian nationalism.
Flying the flag of Socialism in One Country, Russia now appeared in all disarmament pacifist conferences as a good child. She even joined the League of Nations and signed the Kellogg Peace Pact; everywhere Communists throughout the world were urged to form pacifist Liberal societies for the promotion of friendly relations. As Russia abandoned the interests of the world proletariat she came more and more to rely on the good intentions and pacifist promises of the capitalists not to have any more wars.
In a military sense the pacifist theories of the Russian diplomats wrought enormous damage upon the defense of the Soviet Union. Stalinist pacifism announced the doctrine that Russia would concentrate entirely on her physical borders, that the rearmament of Germany and the advances of Japan were of no fatal concern to her. Thus the militarist and Fascist enemies of Russia, such as Germany on the West and Japan on the East, were given ample opportunity to prepare their forces and to win important bases for attack.
In abandoning the foremost revolutionary principle that the best defense for a revolution is an offense, Stalinism placed in jeopardy the very existence of the Soviet Union. To the superior forces of their enemy, the Soviets under Stalin handed complete freedom of initiative to guarantee the Soviets own destruction!
Nor is this all. Stalinism was not satisfied with endangering the Soviet Union, it had to help Fascism positively. It was, among other things, the failure of the Stalinists to create the proper bases and methods for the working class united front that enabled the ridiculously weak elements of Hitlerism in 1933 to carry the day within Germany and physically to destroy all those workers who might have challenged Nazi power. Again, in the Italo-Ethiopian War the Soviet economic machine was used to aid Italy to conquer the colonial masses of Ethiopia. Later, by her Franco-Soviet pact, the Soviet Union Stalinists accomplished the dual purpose of throwing all the German workers into the Arms of Hitler—since Hitler could show that the Communist policy was now building up the French army—and to throw all the French workers into the hands of the French military officers and imperialists who utilized their power to crush the Spanish Revolution, to appease Hitler abroad, and to advocate the formation of a Fascist regime in France. Stalin’s job was completed when he rushed to aid Hitler in the present war. As a result of all this, Russia has now to enter the life-and-death struggle against Germany without a single proletarian force outside her borders upon whom she can really rely.
And yet, we repeat, the Russian Revolution, despite its leadership and the official policies established by the Soviet state, despite the utter degeneracy of the Communist Party and the vicious tendencies of its ubiquitous bureaucracy, must still stand on the basic principles laid down in 1917 under Lenin. Let us remember that while a disproportionate share of the national product of Russia is consumed by the wasteful bureaucracy for its own benefit, there is still no other class outside of the workers that dares to stage a civil war to overthrow the proletarian rule, however poor, that has been established.
The degeneracy of the Russian state was an inevitable product of the fact that Russia had been left alone to try to build Socialism in one country. It stands to reason that a semi-Asiatic proletariat could not build such a new system of society by itself nor could it ever hold its gains of 1917. The Russian workers were bound to fall back and retreat—and Stalinism has been the political expression of such a retreat—but as yet they have not been conquered. This will soon enough appear now that the Soviet Union is in a desperate struggle to the finish with Nazi-Fascism.
So long as Stalinism was allowed peacefully to remain in charge of a backward semi-Asiatic state, it could hold full control of the situation and pursue to the end its degenerate policies. But once let war on a large scale break out, once let the entire population of the Soviets be armed again and brought into action both in the front and in the rear, then the great force of the Russian Revolution is bound to make itself felt. Should the leadership of Stalinism lead to heavy military defeats, as it is bound to do, then within the rear there will emerge again the will of the masses to regain the heroic stature that they had assumed in 1917. It is only by the might of Nazi-Fascist forces without added to those of the Stalinists within that the Russian Revolution can be really crushed. As it stands today, the Revolution remains a terrible menace to German and Japanese imperialism, a menace that must be drowned in blood before these powers can possibly take their next steps forward toward world power.
As in the case of the Nazis, the Japanese too, must plot for the extinction of the Soviet Union. It is not only that the Soviet Union stands in the way of Japan’s seizing huge portions of Asia and supports the Chinese armies under Chiang Kai-Shek, but that the Russian Revolution, once it is called into whole violent eruption again, has the enormous potentialities of organizing the masses of all Asia into a huge unceasing people’s guerilla war that must terminate in the utter bankruptcy and collapse of the Japanese political system.
The role of Japan on the continent of Asia, similar to the role of that other island power, England, to the continent of Europe, can be none other than a reactionary one, designed to stifle the economic and political progress of the people of that vast mainland. Japan cannot really digest Asia, as Germany, far more industrially developed and advanced, can digest Europe. Japan must, therefore, subdue Asia not to develop it as an industrial region, but, in the manner of the conquerors of old, simply to utilize the masses as coolies for its insatiable lust for world domination. Japan cannot bring to China that culture and technique of the West which alone can modernize the land, but, on the contrary, can only force the return of the old: must compel the emancipated Chinese to return to the ways of the Manchus or to the precepts of Confucius; must destroy the vitality of vast sections of the Chinese nation by the systematic introduction of opium and narcotics, must drain from the Chinese peasants the last bit of surplus food possible, must utilize the lumpish mass of Chinese humanity as camp followers and army laborers for its military adventures.
Japan has not even the excuse of England—namely, the great scientific and industrial achievements given by England to the world. For Japan is far inferior in every possible way to the arts of the Western nations which her ruling caste, frozen in the mold of the middle ages, has been able to steal or adapt for her own use. The unbelievably coarse superstitions of Shintoism are the most natural philosophy for this atavistic ruling class. Immeasurably worse than Tsarism, immeasurably meaner than Western imperialism, Japanese militarism takes a position in Asia which is tainted in the blackest reactionary hue imaginable. The fight of Japan can not be for the emancipation of Asia and that continent’s development, but for the supremacy of the darkest aspects of the Asiatic manner of life over the entire world. In all this Japan stands in the starkest contrast with the emancipatory tendencies that the Russians have always expressed in Asia and which are now most acutely shown through the ideals and program of the Russian Revolution. Between Japan and the Soviet Union there can only be a life and death struggle to the finish.
It is impossible to imagine the Soviet Union engaged in a life and death struggle against either Germany or Japan or both without her taking recourse to the same formulas that brought success to the Russian Bolsheviks in 1917-1922. Gone will be the whole paralyzing theory of Socialism in One Country. Instead, the Red Army will have to take up once again the battle-cry of Marx: Workers of the World Unite! In order to demoralize the rear of the Nazis and of the Japanese, if for no other purpose, the Russians must enlarge on the slavery of the masses of people under Nazi-Fascism and under Shintoism, must call upon the enslaved to revolt and to take over the state and the means of production for themselves. As they call on the toilers behind the enemies lines to revolt, the Red Amy, in every bit of territory it occupies, must turn over the factories to the workers in that region and make them feel that the people of the whole world must unite for the victory of the Soviets.
As the Red Army goes forth to battle once again it must raise the doctrine of the self-determination of peoples, not in order to form separate states for each racial enclave or group, but to show that under the workers’ Soviets no race is made inferior, or oppressed by other races. Each race can follow without hindrance its cultural genius and inclinations for the good of all. Striving to rebuild their new Communist International the Red Army men must again take up the program of world revolution and proletarian Communism.
It is true that Stalinism in its march into either Finland, Poland, the Baltic Provinces, or Rumania in the last two years in no wise acted differently than an ordinary imperialist power. In Finland, for example, the advance of the Red Army was nowhere prepared by a native revolutionary movement striving to demoralize the Finnish rulers from within and to take over power as a Soviet Republic. Nor was it different in Poland, in the Baltic Provinces, or in Rumania. But be it remembered that in these secondary struggles Stalinism still had full control. Such cannot be the case in any major war fought by the Soviets.
Were it possible for the Red Army to march into Western Europe, the dead hand of semi-Asiatic Stalinism would soon be cast off by the Communists themselves. Should the Soviets extend to portions of Germany, the German proletariat must become the inveterate enemies of Stalinism and try to replace the Stalinist regime with a general international organization that would end the dominance of the Russians and would place the movement on a general Western European basis. We do not say that Stalinism must go if the Soviets extend their influence in Persia, or in China, or in Asia generally—in fact, with the extension of the Soviets in that direction Stalinism may well become strengthened—but we do insist that the Soviets cannot extend their power over culturally and technically more advanced Germany and Western Europe without witnessing—whether accompanied by internal convulsions or not—the definite ending of the Stalinist control and the formation anew of a genuine proletarian international Communist movement and organization.
In the struggle between Germany and Russia there can result only two eventualities; either the destruction of the Soviet Union, or the creation of a Soviet United States of Europe that will not only terminate the former piecemeal and broken economy of a Balkanized Europe but must carry forward that economy to undreamed of heights so as to challenge the entire world. A Soviet Europe can so strengthen the people of that continent as to lead to the Sovietization of all the counties of the globe.
The possibilities of Soviet victory in Europe can have the barest hope of realization only if America should enter the war on the Soviet side. If left alone, the Soviet Union will be no match for the German-Japanese alliance that would inevitably dismember her. So weakened is the Soviet Union by Stalinism that, despite the most heroic resistance the people of Russia are sure to make in their own behalf, she could not be expected to survive any great length of time.
It is in the light of this certain doom of the Soviet Union if left to herself to meet a joint German-Japanese attack, that Americans must guide their policy. Those who would gladly see the Soviets go under must ask themselves the related question, what does the fall of the Soviet Union mean to us, what does America gain or lose from this event? We do not have much time to make up our minds.
For our own part, we wish to state with deepest conviction that the destruction of the Soviet Union by the German-Japanese alliance must lead directly and inevitably to disaster and slavery for the United States. Whether we like Communism or not is beside the point; whether we be rank conservatives or even advocates of an American brand of Fascist nationalism, we must be forced to admit that our very existence depends on preventing the German-Japanese alliance winning the day.
Let the sceptical American look at the situation should the Soviet Union fall under the German-Japanese onslaught. The dissolution of the Soviet Union would bring to Germany all of the vast territory up to the Ural Mountains and to the Indian Ocean, if not beyond. To Japan would go most of Siberia and Central Asia in all likelihood. Certainly it must be admitted that these two empires would be enormously strengthened in territory, in man-power, in economic and military might. Between them they would be in control of over a billion and a half human beings and perhaps seventy percent of the world’s economy!
Should this combination then turn on the United States, what possible chance could this country have even should she possess both the will and the time to take over and absorb all Latin America to aid her? It could be that before we would be in a position to finish our plans, Germany and Japan would step in to prevent us. But, having seized all the world outside the Americas, the German-Japanese combination would have no need to hurry. They would have ample time to bide their turn and strengthen their positions before advancing to the final attack. Initiative would remain with them and each day their superiority would grow correspondingly greater.
It will not hurt us to look at the results of the fall of the Soviets a little more clearly from the point of view of military invasion of the United States and to study the ways in which the immense forces of Europe, Africa, and Asia could strike at our shores.
It is a well known fact that the Siberian coastline in the far North is very close to the coast line of North America, the border between the Soviet Union and Alaska being but a few miles apart. Is it indeed very difficult to imagine what can happen when once this coast line is under the complete control of the Japanese, when huge bases are built there and large mechanized forces transported to the far North in Siberia? Once Siberia is in the hands of the Japanese the invasion of North America by military forces overland becomes an immediate and real possibility.
It is a further fact, well testified to by explorers, that the climate of the Arctic region is a most equable one, and that masses of airplanes can easily start from one side of the Arctic region, say the side of the Soviet Union, and, crossing the Polar regions, safely land on innumerable points on the North American continent.
We have paid very little attention to the possibilities existing in the far North of traveling directly from North America to Siberia and to Russia, but not so the Russians who have concentrated on these problems. There is no doubt that the Nazis will greatly improve on the Russians in this as in other respects. It will not be necessary for the Germans to take the long difficult trip over the Atlantic either by air or by sea to reach American shores with military forces. Once Russia is conquered, it will become a relatively easy matter for the Nazis, following the Russian experiments, to cross the Arctic region by plane, and perhaps even by ship, and land a large force to cooperate with the Japanese in any attack on Alaska and in the North. From their many air bases easily maintained in North Canada, the Nazi-Fascists will have a jumping off place for constant bombardment of our centers.
Let us add the consideration that the African continent bulges sharply in the direction of South America and that the nearest point between the two regions, starting from Dakar, is much less than the distance between the United States and Europe, and, perhaps, one half of the distance from the United States to Argentina and the south central part of South America. Here is a bridgehead to the Western Hemisphere which the United States will find very difficult to nullify.
Finally, with the fall of Greenland and Iceland to the Nazis, every important possible jumping-off place in the Old World will be in enemy hands: Greenland, Azores, African West Coast, Siberia, perhaps Philippines, not to mention the bases in Alaska, Canada, and Latin America which they may be able to establish in the New World.
Let us again emphasize the point that military invasions need not be the first step taken by America’s enemies. Once the Soviet Union is partitioned, the German-Japanese alliance will have all the time it needs before striking the first blow. Although our doom may not be immediate, it will none the less be automatic.
In the light of these disagreeable facts, what strategy can the people of the United States possibly pursue? Can we hope that after the Soviet’s downfall we will be in a position to break the tried and tested German-Japanese alliance in favor of one of our own? No such possibility exists for the simple reason that once either Germany or Japan goes under, there is nothing to stop the United States from destroying the survivor. Allied together, German and Japanese imperialisms can conquer the world; divided they are both doomed to extinction. And this they know!
If we cannot divide Germany from Japan, there is but one alternative left to the American people: firm unbreakable alliance with the Soviet Union. Only the United States-Soviet Union block can adequately counter the terrible combination of Germany and Japan. The irony of history forces the two extremes—the strongest reservoir of conservative capitalism and the international center of Communism—into partnership for the destruction of the middle orders that try to bar the way. Then the decks will be cleared for action for the final struggle: Imperialism or Communism.
Chapter V—The Rearmament of America
The monstrous eventualities placed before us by the present World War must bring most acutely before the American people the whole problem of an adequate program of defense. From appearances it seems it will be only after the bombs of disaster have fallen all around us, tumbling the old buildings over our heads, that America will begin to wake up. Up to now the traditional incubus of Liberalism has weighed so heavily upon us that politically, in comparison with the Totalitarians, we have been in the midst of a profound stupor.
From the time of the American Revolution to the last World War, there is no conflict in which this country has been engaged where she did not enter first and begin really to prepare afterwards. We have relied upon the blessings of our vast distance from the centers of the enemy, upon his absorption with other problems or his relative weakness, and upon our own great internal strength to give us the time for such preparation as we needed until we could prove the winner. Alas, such cavalier methods can no longer suffice in this day and age. There remains only the hope that the disasters will not be too acute at first so that America can really awake in time.
The deep political stupor of the American people has been a necessary counterpart to unique conditions under which Americans have found themselves in the new world. Nowhere else has there appeared stronger the theories of unbreakable social contract and of unbreakable natural rights where individual claims were considered prior to and superior to social needs and where public responsibility was at a minimum! Nowhere else where constitution and judicial systems conceived not as instruments of the general will of the nation but as bulwarks for the egotist to protect himself from the encroachments of the generality. The state and politics meant to the average American of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the recurrence of the old order of Europe with its armies, functionaries, kings, and classes, from which he was trying so hard to escape when he came to these shores.
The despotisms in Europe with their fearful exactions and incessant wars and revolutions had effectively hindered the European from using his abilities from using his energies for his own economic advancement; in his flight to America, the immigrant wanted to reverse this very process. If the state would let the immigrant alone he would be glad to let the state alone; all he wanted from society was the right to be unbothered in exploiting for his own account the virgin soil and the exceptional opportunities that America offered him. In his flight from despotism, taxation, militarism, and class formations, the American came to idealize classless society in which the individual property holder would be allowed to spend all his time increasing his personal wealth and resources.
A deep aversion to politics and to the state coupled with a profound pacifism has been part of the very essence of his reactions in the New World which he hoped to transform into a Utopia entirely different from his home country. His abhorrence of the professional army became proverbial. One of the causes of the American revolution was the quartering of British soldiers upon the inhabitants; one of the deepest contentions of the opposition in the fight over the adoption of the Constitution was on the question of the power of the Federal Government to create a standing army. Before the World War, few serious minded citizens signed up as soldiers in the army, and in the minds of the public no idea was more detested than that of conscription.
Even without a great standing army and navy we were able to win independence and to take over the best portions of the vast continent of North America for our full utilization and enjoyment. Busy with our own affairs, we did not have to entangle ourselves with the complications of Europe, but could go our own sweet way by ourselves. The idea of the United States Government, like that of its individual inhabitants, was to be let alone to develop its own facilities in peace.
With such a temperament and attitude, the American people could not be expected to engage in war in any other than an exceedingly haphazard manner. War was considered a mere temporary aberration of the body politic: it would not drain off the vitalities of the nation or really profoundly disturb the social system. In war time, each one could go about doing what he had always done, just as though war were not upon us. The officers placed in charge of the war activities both at the front and in the rear were generally wholly inexperienced. Our nation would enter the war wholly unprepared and unmobilized, relying merely on our adaptability, our potential strength, and our as yet unchecked ambition and proven self-reliance to win the day.
In her foreign relations the United States also adopted curious non-political methods in which she relied on winning markets abroad and securing her international interests not through the method of military conquest but entirely through the economics of superior industry, cheaper prices, and money loans. It was not necessary to take over foreign territory to replace one set of political institutions abroad by another, to seize physically the colonies of Africa, Latin America, or Asia. All the United States needed was the Open Door, a free field for competition, and she was sure that the superiority of her economic means would prevail.
It was with such methods and program that the United States engaged in the last world war. It was to prevent the closed door in Europe which the victory of Germany would entail, it was to prevent the ruling classes of the rest of the world from forcing a class system and militarized state upon the Western Hemisphere, it was to allow our economic superiority to triumph in a free competitive world,—such were the beliefs that induced the American people to enter at last into the struggle. In short, it was the desire to freeze the world into the traditional patterns of the 19th century (a re-translation of the slogan “Make the World Safe for Democracy") that urged America to war.
Alas, the very processes of the world war and its aftermath only accelerated the conditions which America wanted to avoid. More and more the open door became closed; in the new American immigration policies, in Europe’s rationing system, in the British Empire tariffs, in the Soviet Union, in the Far East. Increasingly, the United States was forced into military measures, was forced to drop her emphasis on natural and economic science and to concentrate upon politics and the state, social convulsions and turmoil. Willy-nilly the new world of America was being forced into the patterns of old Europe.
In foreign affairs, Liberal isolationism, flowing naturally from her entire political orientation, had always expressed the strategy of the United States. Continuing the dream that we were destined to dominate not only the Western Hemisphere but also the world, were we only to maintain the policy of letting each country pursue its economic freedom, our political withdrawal from Europe after the World War was inevitable and merely pursued a line of conduct which had been traditionally ours.
The fact that American foreign policy was purely negative, planless, stressing economics rather than politics, and changing specific direction from day to day, had to prove in the long run entirely unsatisfactory. To the poor masses abroad, no doubt the role of America in world affairs had a very stimulating and liberating effect. They wanted to reach America; they wanted to live in a country where such golden opportunities as the average American possessed could be realized at home. They were greatly impressed that America had no big conscript army, sent no huge military forces to subjugate its neighbors, and had no ideals of military conquest. The inventions and technical methods America exported could only further develop the culture of the people abroad since they led to new standards of living undreamed of before. But although the Chinese might be awakened, the Russians encouraged, the Germans stimulated, the Latin Americans, developed by the technical advances of the United States, in the end, far from liberating the masses abroad politically, these improvements served, it seems, only the more securely to fasten the yoke of dictatorship upon them.
Had the Americans adopted a positive policy of liberation and organization of the world politically as they had adopted an enthusiastic practice of such liberation and organization in the world of technical and natural sciences, the entire picture would have been changed. But to do this America herself would have to be transformed and the world as yet had not stamped that pressure upon America to compel her to move in the new direction. Here is how matters stand even today.
In the present deep-going crisis facing America, it is entirely too much to expect that any far-reaching changes will be made unless we are unavoidably driven to them by Nazi-Fascism pressure. Ours will be no far-seeing plan, no thorough reorganization of our methods. On the contrary, the policies adopted regarding the coming conflict will be but a mere quantitative development of the basic patterns used in World War I. The army will be quantitatively increased, from one to five or seven or ten million; the navy will be augmented to double its size; the factories will be given orders for war production and the workers trained wholesale for the new instruments they must produce; there will be multifarious government boards to take care of this or that special activity during war time, whether it be propaganda, or shipping, or aviation, or conscription, or war relief, etc.
War production will be put on a cost-plus basis so that huge profits can be made in proportion as the project is wasteful and costly. Each civilian will be allowed to choose whatever occupation he pleases and get whatever wages and profits he can squeeze; each person will try to send others to the war while he himself tries to make his millions at home. There will be an excess profits tax but no limit on the amount of profit one may make. Industry will function as much as possible just as though there were no war. Capital will do all it can to throw the costs of the war entirely upon the shoulders of labor and labor will have to fight to make wages equal the rise in the cost of living and to use the crisis of the war for the benefit of its organization.
Nor will we have a positive world program, although should our ideals in entering the war remain identical to the ideals of the British Empire of keeping the world exactly as it was in the nineteenth century, we are doomed to receive no help from peoples abroad, we can stimulate no revolutionary movements to break the back of the dictators there, nor will we organize many of the nations under our influence. To counter the world program of Order and Stability of Fascism, to meet the program of the permanent emancipation of the masses under Communism, what will be the program of the United States under philanthropic Liberalism? Certainly the catch-words of Woodrow Wilson can not be made to do duty as they did in 1914. The masses of Europe will not turn back to the interminable internecine petty squabbles that the so-called free competitive world of the nineteenth century brought on to them. No, they must be made to look forward to something new and better, something that promises them the end of both nineteenth century anarchy and twentieth century Fascist slavery.
As the futility of American Liberalism leads the United States into one error after another, there is bound to arise a movement sponsored by sections of Big Business and related interests for a complete revision of our course. The program enunciated by such groups will be the program of American Fascism and Totalitarianism, although such a name naturally will not be used. Hiding its anti-popular character, this new movement will attract to itself considerable sections of the population by its acute criticism of the old antiquated methods of the Liberals, it will draw strength from every error made by the traditional forces in power, while at the same time it will siphon funds from every reactionary interest that will fear that the people, under the strain and stimulus of war, might put an end to the predatory lust of these interests forever. The old order dies hard; just before it dies, the candle flickers most brightly.
In speaking of American Fascism, naturally we do not include the alien movement of the Nazi Bunds and Italian Fascist circles which have been subsidized here from abroad and which are composed of foreigners and hyphenated Americans. Nor do we mean such crack-pot groups as the Silver Shirts, the renovated Ku Klux Klan and similar rackets. We have in mind a perfectly honest native movement stimulated by large American interests who will try to find some way out from the errors of Liberalism along the lines generally set by Hitler and Mussolini.
Such an American Fascist movement will not necessarily adopt any of the slogans of foreign Hitlerism nor will it make friends with the totalitarians abroad. On the contrary, the new movement will be very careful to have deep roots in American traditions, to work with distinctly American methods and aims, and to have as its definite goal the struggle against the rivals of America for world power.
Already during the depression following the crash of 1929 such a movement was objectively ripe in this country, and had there been in America a large-scale militant working class party with trade union support striving for political power, no doubt a distinct Fascist organization of the middle class and big business would have crystallized. In its program it would have, perhaps, enunciated some sort of Utopia of plenty for all where every man would be a king, and would have emphasized the American way of life of assimilation of all white races under the super-national United States as the sole way to bring about eternal peace throughout the world. Unlike its European counterpart, American Fascism need not have repudiated the Constitution under which it would have come into existence, but could have tried to advance to power with the slogan “Obey the Constitution” on its lips and with vehement allegiance to the passwords of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” In its practical policies, however, American Fascism, like its varieties in Europe, would have insisted on complete governmental control, collectivism in all forms of life, rigid rejection of the Negro, destruction of the labor movement, and compulsory abolition of class formations outside the leadership of capital and private property.
Thanks to the great reserve strength of capital in America, matters did not come to serious political crisis before World War II broke out in Europe, a war that liquidated America’s economic depression with its unemployment and empty factories, only to bring on an even more severe crisis in relation to the war problems and tasks that this country must face. The war danger gives American Fascism a new opportunity; if previous domestic contradictions and difficulties were not sufficiently favorable for its development, American Fascism now has an excellent chance to rise on the basis of the external pressure that the victory of Hitlerism and Fascism in Europe and in Asia will place upon America.
The American Fascist movement must look with great admiration upon the organizing methods which brought Hitler to power and which it will imitate and try to surpass with all the ingenuity that Americans are capable of. Such an “American Party” will drop the negative, isolationist, withdrawal policy that has traditionally been America’s and will boldly challenge Hitlerism by striving for world power itself. An integral part of this plan will be the political and, if necessary, the military subjugation of all the other countries of the Americas to chain them together under one will as Hitler has done in Europe.
The domestic policy of these American Fascists will be of a similar nature. In the name of national defense they will bend all efforts to militarize and to regiment the population into huge standing armies and industrial reserves. Industry will be centrally coordinated by an ever enlarged state bureaucracy that will fuse its interests with those of big business regardless of the growth of public control and ownership that may take place. They will make every attempt to organize the industrial rear in proportion as they build up the mightiest military and naval forces this country has ever established. One political party will dominate the scene, all other popular organizations having been broken up and disbanded or the members arrested. Civil liberties and democracy for the masses will disappear. Social reforms will be drastically reduced. And, naturally, all of this will be done in the name of the struggle of the American people for independence against the world menace of Hitlerism.
There is no doubt that, from the strict point of view of national defense and ability to make war, the domination of this new American Totalitarian movement can prove immensely superior to outmoded nineteenth century Liberal-democracy. Under the pressure of the needs of war a planned economy with nationalized industries centralized by a huge state apparatus harnessing tens of millions of workers in regimented industrial and military battalions can enormously increase the striking power of the United States. We might double, triple, even quadruple our general production, we might multiply our military strength many fold, we might, indeed, even be successful in conquering and holding huge portions of the globe and even win the last fight for supremacy.
But all to what end? The mere expansion of the American capitalist system at such deadly cost will make the American people not much better off than the German people are under the victories of Hitler. The mere change from the tyranny of Hitler to the mastery of the American Hitlers would not add one whit to the general happiness of the world. American Fascism would have merely replaced one master for another and brought all the general contradictions of capitalism to their sharpest point.
The organization of the entire world, whether by Hitler, Hirohito, or by some unnamed American dictator, would not in the least solve the basic problems which in fact have given rise to the struggle of these states for world power. The masses of people enslaved throughout the world would only produce still more enormous surpluses of products, which the rulers of the world would be unable to dispose of. The whole capitalist world, now a closed system like that of Ancient Rome, could only rot. The working classes, now really bound together in common chains under on a general world wide system of unified state capitalist control, would be bound to strive for their emancipation through one international revolution after another.
The struggle for power by an American Fascist movement could not but throw the entire United States into violent and prolonged convulsions that would paralyze our nation’s efforts for a long time to come. So far as the American people are concerned, what good is the destruction of Hitler if the only result would be the rise of a still greater Hitler in American uniform? They would be compelled to fight the American Fascist movement with every instrument in their power. Before the trade unions and the workers of this country would yield their social reforms and their civil liberties, before they would be regimented as convicts as the Germans have been, the United States would perforce be weakened by deep civil struggles that would only make the Western Hemisphere a still easier prey for the Totalitarian dictatorships abroad.
In short, regardless of the “efficiency” of the program of future American Fascism, we must reject that bait, not only because Fascism would throw America into terrific internal convulsions and enslave the people, but also because, even if it should overthrow Hitler and dominate the world, it could only bring on all the more certainly the very program of Hitlerism that it wished to overthrow. The American people are not interested in giving their lives to kill this or that individual dictator; they are concerned, however, in putting an end to the program and philosophy of life that these dictators would foist upon us all. Were the struggle against European Hitlerism to result only in the creation of an American Hitlerism even more cruel and exacting, then, indeed, were the American people shamefully betrayed!
Is there, then, no way out for the American people? Are they doomed to be either defeated by the futility of nineteenth century Liberal-Conservatism, or crushed by a native dictatorship even more monstrous than that flourishing abroad? Is there no way of destroying the Nazi-Fascist beast save by turning into a larger beast ourselves? Surely the people must find a way out, thoroughly consistent with the deep tradition that America stands for, namely, the” liberation, emancipation, and improvement of the masses, and not for their enslavement. Popular initiative must work out a practical program not inferior to Hitler’s, not aping Hitler’s, but leading the people of the world instead, onto new paths of peace and order far superior to the dictatorship of Nazi-Fascism.
The American people themselves must organize to take control in this profound crisis in our history. The war against Hitlerism must become a genuine People’s War. The aims of the movement must be the liberation of the peoples of the world from all forms of slavery which have enchained and debased them up to now. Americans can not free themselves without freeing the entire world. Not the negative policy of isolation and seclusion, but a bold program of fraternity of the people of the whole world must be ours if we are to survive as a free nation ourselves.
If the people of America are to carry on the war against Hitlerism in their own interests, the primary task that must be accomplished is the complete elimination of special private factions that would utilize all the resources and energies of the United States for their own private advancement. There must be a total reorganization of the economy and political set-up of this nation in the light of the coming inevitable struggle. As a tentative suggestion to this end we submit the following
Draft Program for the Re-Armament of the United States
First of all, there must be set up as a distinct department of our government a central control board of national economy that not only will have the function of taking over the separate industries and economic endeavors and giving them a common coordination and direction, but will also have entrusted to it the working out of a two or three-year plan for the realization of certain objectives vital if America is to win the war. The resources and energies of our country must be carefully registered and allocated to certain definite tasks; the rate of growth and improvement must be judiciously synchronized and America moved as one unit in the course of national defense.
Naturally, this power of realizing a central plan will carry with it authority for the nationalization of the utilities and the key industries of the United States. It will entail the strict regulation of all industries not so nationalized and the prohibition of the continuance of any industry or trade not vitally needed under the present circumstances. Price fixing, rationing of supplies, trade regulation, import and export control will also belong to this work. Nor will the control board lack the power to sequester private property and to organize and shift the labor supply of this county.
All the surplus wealth of the nation not actually needed for personal consumption must be pooled by the government and thrown into the struggle. Beyond the comforts of life, no one can be allowed to consume the materials of this country so vital for war; beyond a certain limited income no one must be allowed to subtract from the total revenues of the countries supplies necessary for the generality. It is obvious, then, that the savings of the community, as well as profits of the former owners of industry, must be utilized for the war needs; the dividends of stockholders and the discounts and interest payments of bankers likewise. America will not be able to carry the incubus of paying interest or principal on its debts. Together with the confiscation of all profit from war industries and the confiscation of the national debt must go the confiscation of individual savings and of incomes over a certain level.
It cannot be presumed that the American people will be unduly considerate of the profit interests of a small minority and refuse to throw its surpluses into the common treasury for common struggle, when they do not hesitate to throw their entire human force into military and labor battalions ready to give their lives for their country. Conscription of capital must go along with the selective service of men. Only in this way will we get the unity of the people necessary to overcome the deadly menace of Hitlerism.
It stands to reason that the conscription measures of capital and of wealth, as of labor, must be carried out on such a basis as not to create misery and chaos on an even greater level in the rear. The “poor widow and orphan,” for example, who will find her stock valueless, need not be turned out of her home; she can be secured with a general minimum income from the state. The government cannot pool all the resources of the entire nation into one mass without at the same time being duty bound to provide full social security for all.
A standard minimum income varying in degree with the needs of the recipient and his work for the common cause, but yielding a common level of security, must be guaranteed to all. And so great are the resources of our country, that this level of security can easily include many comforts as well as all necessities. The income given to the families of soldiers, the income earned by the laborer, the income secured to those whose property has been sequestered and taken over for the common cause, all must be adequate to meet the needs of health and development under the existing circumstances.
Far from reducing the measures of social reform and social security so hardly won by the people of America, the proper mobilization of American economy and income must coincide with a great extension and development of these measures so that none will become the exceptional victim of the conflict.
Such a rationing of the means of consumption on a generous level must be warmly welcomed by the mass of people as a whole. It will prove that this war against Hitler will be truly a people’s war; the profit motive will be taken out of the struggle and the people will be imbued with the duty of giving their all for the common cause.
These measures will also remove the last hesitation of formerly exploited and oppressed groups to give their all for the fight. The Negro people, who have constantly been dealt the worst of every deal, will now be brought fully and loyally into the struggle. Sections of the South whose social and economic levels have been on a most miserable plane will now find their standards much improved and equalized with the rest of the country. Agrarian groups, heretofore neglected and abandoned by the more advanced sections of the community, will now be brought in to the common stream. On all sides there will be an equalization of development and opportunities that must unleash the greatest enthusiasm of these people for the fight. This will coincide with the general industrial policy of the planning board for the all-rounded industrialization of America and the extermination of the inequalities that private profit had brought hitherto in its train. The tremendous industrialization of the South, the unheard-of advancement of hitherto benighted portions of our people must bring a unification of our population and a strengthening of our morale that will make us invincible.
Such a program of abolition of private profit from the war and of the pooling of our national wealth and capital for the struggle is bound to be followed by the utmost sacrifices on the part of organized labor and of the mass of workers generally. Every worker must know deep in his heart that he cannot call on his dear one to die in the trenches at the front and yet not give his own mite to help in the conflict. In a truly People’s war the trade union movement will not hesitate to lengthen the eight hour day, to remove restrictions on overtime, to insist on working holidays and Sundays. Only considerations of health and safety will limit their endeavors. And should any individual worker adopt the policy of sabotage, there will always be the trade union discipline to remind him sharply of his duty.
For, under a People’s War, the trade unions, far from disintegrating, will grow to include the entire working population in the fields of production and distribution. It is the trade union that will help in the rationalization and in increased efficiency of production. It is the trade union that will guard the workshops, prevent the destruction of materials, and fill the People’s War Training Associations so necessary in the rear.
(Parenthetically, let us contrast these basic tasks America must undertake with the timid hesitating projects actually attempted through the present set-up, the Office for Production Management. Instead of a professional job, here we have a make-shift amateurish arrangement operating from day to day, with an untrained and ever shifting personnel that can only muddle one difficult problem after another until conditions become so acute as to compel thorough revision. Let us hope that, by then, it will not be too late.)
Secondly, hand in hand with the reorganization of our economy under a central control board must go the complete mobilization of the available population for active military duty. It is not enough that the army and the navy will be quantitatively expanded to unprecedented size; there still remains the military organization of the rear under the conditions that Total War has created. This military organization of the rear can best be accomplished only by the formation of another new department of government, the Civilian War Department.
The Civilian War Department must stress the policy that there is no longer any distinction between front and rear in the military sense and must have as one of its functions the intimate fusion of the army with the people. Standing between the war and navy departments, on the one hand, and the industrial and labor boards, on the other hand, the Civilian War Department will have as its object neither the drilling of soldiers nor the training of mechanics for the war industries, but rather the active participation of the civilian forces in the regular support of the military and the integration of the entire population of the country in the conduct of national defense.
The Civilian War Department may be headed by a new cabinet officer to be selected by the President, and by a general department staff to be composed of prominent members of the military, educational, scientific, social-welfare, political, and labor fields.
One of the chief functions of the department will be the mass training of the entire civilian population in activities vital in war time. There will be organized a People’s War Training Association with sections functioning in every county and municipal center throughout the country, having, perhaps, the following chief divisions:
1. Mass Training in the use of bombs, grenades, and explosives.
2. Mass Training in the use of the rifle and the machine gun.
3. Mass Training in the use of gas masks and in gas protection.
4. Mass Training in first aid work, in war nursing, and in emergency hospitalization.
5. Mass Training in parachute jumping.
6. Mass Training in anti-parachutist work; Mass Training in airplane “spotting.”
7. Mass Training in fire-control and in chemical fire-fighting.
8. Mass Training in black-outs.
9. Mass Training in war communication work: signaling, codes, telephone and telegraph work, radio sending and receiving, electrical repair work, etc.
10. Mass Training in emergency bridge construction and demolition, in tank traps, and in barricade fighting.
11. Mass Training in construction and functioning underground shelters.
12. Mass Training for municipal emergencies.
13. Mass Training in principles of guerilla warfare.
14. Mass Training for combat of Fifth Columns.
15. Mass Training in Propaganda Methods.
Each of these sections should have distinctive uniforms, badges, parade’s, demonstrations, and outings. The members should have their own leaders. Above all must the sections draw in the great mass of the people and make them feel that the associations formed are really theirs.
The second chief task of the new Civilian War Department will be the training of specially qualified civilian groups for their specific duties in time of war and for solving special war society problems in a nationally coordinated manner. This can best be done by the formation of a Civilian War Institute which can be divided into the following National Schools and Divisions:
1. The National School for Training of Government Officials in Civilian War Work.
2. The National School of Social Science of War.
3. The National School of Technology of War.
4. The Extension Work of the Civilian War Institute.
5. Supervisory Divisions of the Civilian War Institute.
The Civilian War Institute should have its center and its principal buildings in the nation’s capitol. It should have general branches in the capitol of every state and in every county and city of over five thousand inhabitants. The Civilian War Institute should be the counterpart to West Point and Annapolis and should be the central scientific institute for the carrying on of the war. The reader will better appreciate its functions if we take up the work and some suggested courses for each of the schools and divisions belonging to it.
1. The National School for Training of Government Officials in Civilian War Work will give short practical training courses for mayors, chiefs of police, district attorneys, fire-chiefs, and for those officials who are now the regional heads of health, sanitation, hospitals, social-welfare, education, and labor-relations departments. Together with this there will go special lectures and meetings for governmental subordinates and also special concentrated conferences for the department heads of the several states to be held in Washington.
It must be kept in mind that the country mobilized for war will not be able to utilize the old election machinery and will not longer choose old fashioned officials whose sole training for office consisted in kissing babies, handing out cigars, mouthing a few platitudes, and so forth. As we have suggested in another place, elections must be through functional organizations.
Furthermore, when the entire nation will be united straining every nerve for the winning of the war, it is but natural that the governmental functions of the present municipal, county, and state officials will be drastically modified to suit the different needs of the hours. The National School for the Training of Government Officials in Civilian War Work will train these government men for their new tasks so as to enable them to coordinate activities of the entire population through their departments.
2. The National School of Social Science of War will concentrate on the new problems in economics, in politics, and in social science generally that a war society must solve in order to win the ordeal.
The courses in War Economics may well deal with the following topics, among others:
a. War Taxation and War Finance.
b. Reorganization of Economy in War Time Society.
c. Studies in Industrial Efficiency (special studies to be made for each important industry so that definitive legislative recommendations may be made)
d. Studies in Agricultural Efficiency.
e. Waste in War Time Democratic Society.
f. Price Structures and the Cost of Living in War Time.
g. Reorganization of Trade Relations in War Time.
h. Comparative Survey of War Economies Elsewhere and in the Past.
The courses in War Government and Political Science may include the following subjects:
a. The Reorganization of Government and State Functionings in Time of War: reorganization of the municipality and county; reorganization of the various state government structures and government divisions of the union; reorganization of federal relations between the states and the national government in war time, etc.
b. Necessary changes in the Law and its Practice in War Time.
c. Methods of Government Economy in War Time.
d. Methods of Responsible Executive Practice in War Time Democracy.
e. Comparative Survey of Governmental Organization in War Time Society in the Past and in Other Countries.
The courses in Combatant Social Science may handle the following important subjects:
a. Methods of Civilian-Military Fusion: social activities in the armed forces of the state; civilian methods of improving morale in the war; methods of participation in army life by civilians, etc.
b. Control of Alien and Hostile Activities.
c. Reorganization of Education and of Educational Methods in War Time.
d. Instruments of Social Control in War Time.
e. Labor Relations in War Time.
f . Methods of War Propaganda.
g. Comparative Survey of Social Organization Elsewhere and in the Past for National Defense and Conduct of War.
3. The National Institute of War Technology may embrace the following studies;
a. The Technical Needs of the Nation in War Time.
b. Transportation Problems in War Time.
c. Studies in Rationalization (special studies to be made for each industry and important branch of agriculture.)
d. Problems of Physical Power.
e. War Chemistry.
f. National Resources.
g. Aviation Problems.
h. Problem of Production Techniques.
4. We come now to the Extension Work of the Civilian War Institute which will have to do with the training of special groups for special work. A large number of such groups may be mentioned, but the reader can see the scope of this activity if we merely enumerate two examples: Women’s Extension Work and Alien Extension Work.
a. The Women’s Extension Work of the Civilian War Institute will embrace special training for women in hospitalization, in nursing, in home economics, and in child care in time of war. Other subjects will no doubt arise as the work progresses.
b. The Alien Extension Work will undertake special Americanization projects and carry through special plans for the mobilization of aliens for the war on the side of the American people. Here, too, a detailed plan can only be given by the practical activity itself.
5. Under the heading of the Supervisory Division of the Civilian War Institute we take up the definite supervision of all educational activities in war time. There must be distinct supervisory departments to cover the elementary schools, the high schools, and the colleges, universities, and higher institutions of learning. In every case there will be given to the Supervisory Division control over the reorganization of the courses, of the administration and of the teaching staffs as well as authority over the proper training and mobilization of the children and youth of the nation in the schools.
Under our plan, the Civilian War Institute will be the central agency also for the dissemination of all information concerning the activity of the people in war time. Thus there would be formed a special Publications Division to issue popular brochures and pamphlets on every matter of importance dealing with the training of the whole population for war.
War Publicity would be placed in the hands of a special committee, the War Publicity Bureau, in contact with newspapers, magazines, radio outlets, and institutional agencies throughout the land. The Bureau may be placed under the supervision of the Civilian War Department directly rather than under the Civilian War Institute of the department.
To the Civilian War Department there should also go the formation of a National Research Council and National Board of Inventions and Discoveries. The National Board of Inventions and Discoveries should be the organization of all the prominent practical scientists in the country with their activities centrally coordinated so that pressing problems can be solved by the best scientific brains of the nation working together. Naturally, the archives and records of the United States Patent Board should be entirely open to this National Board of Inventions and Discoveries.
To the Civilian War Department there should also belong the administration over the control of alien and hostile activities and the establishment of various instruments of social control for more effective defense in war time.
Let us briefly recapitulate the principal functions of that our planned Civilian War Department would undertake. They are:
1. The creation of a National People’s War Training Association for the mass training of the entire civilian population for participation in Total War.
2. The formation of the Civilian War Institute with its various National Schools and Extension and Supervisory Departments.
3. The issuance of war publications.
4. The task of war publicity.
5, The establishment of a National Research Council and of a National Board of Inventions and Discoveries.
6. The control over alien and hostile activities.
7. Supervision over laws concerning government and administrative reorganization.
8. Establishment of norms of civilian-military cooperation and morale and supervision over such matters.
9. Supervision over education and educational institutions.
10. Legislative—preparation of bills for advice to Congress and to the President.
(Parenthetically, again let us contrast what has to be done with the superficial, extremely amateurish efforts now being launched under the banner of the Civilian Defense Commission. Far worse than the fact that the Civilian Defence Commission barely scratches the surface of the basic problems of mobilizing and training the American people is the fact that most of our “leaders” in this Civilian defense do not even know what these problems really are and cannot even make a professional attempt to solve them. Such efforts as have been made up to now by American defense Agencies are as effective as trying to stop canon balls with a table ping-gong set!)
Naturally, the formation of such a new national department of government as the Civilian War Department, can not be injected into our national government as an isolated event. Its establishment must go hand in hand with a reorganization of the other national departments in order to meet more adequately the coming war events. Once the people of this country understand that war society will be our normal milieu for a long period to come, they will agree completely that the mobilization of our forces can best be done not by multifarious independent special boards or extraordinary bodies, but only by a thorough reorganization of the normal processes of government itself to incorporate the basic tasks of unification of front and rear into one organic whole.
Nor is the mere reorganization of the structure of government enough; the personnel also must be entirely changed so that the administration of affairs will be in the hands of a new generation of thinkers and doers, a generation that will completely comprehend the new needs of the hour and will act accordingly. It is unthinkable, for example, that the War and the Navy departments should be under the direction of the old staid elements that conceived of America fighting merely by means of specialized organs of struggle far removed from the people. Fresh people will also have to be placed in charge of the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Interior, the Department of State, and all along the line. Only new cadres can gear up the machinery of the country to the new tasks and the new ideals of America’s struggles.
By this time the reader who has followed the course of our argument so far must have asked himself: How could we possibly bring about such a tremendous internal reorganization of our forces without a great upheaval of our people and without the formation of an entirely new political party? Our answer is plainly and flatly: It cannot be done: Unless we have this political upheaval and unless the active and advanced elements in our country form such a new party, the country will muddle along in the old chaotic way, with grave danger of our ultimate defeat. The very purpose of this book is to ring the alarm bell now, when there is still the time to prepare.
After what we have already said, we need not elaborate the point that the new party to be formed must be an entirely different one from the old vote-getting machines of the past. On the contrary, our new party must be modeled along the lines that have proved so successful in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, that is, it must be a party of devoted elements who are ready to give up their lives for their convictions, who will train themselves for leadership, and who surpass in understanding, courage, and devotion. Only such a party, made up of members devoting their whole lives to the cause and who are firmly convinced of their patriotism and their general historic mission can possibly succeed in unifying the nation so that our People’s War will be victorious.
Chapter VI—International Strategy and Perspectives
There is one point that will be undisputed by every American, and that is the positive necessity of America wresting world initiative from Hitler and keeping that initiative in her own hands. Although all the factors in the international arena are by no means known and the exact course of that future development is uncertain, we can safely affirm that securing world initiative can never be accomplished by a negative, passive policy of isolation and defensive watchful waiting. Initiative can be obtained only by our positive participation in the war, forestalling its previous directions and shunting affairs onto the track operating under our schedule.
The sooner the people of America enter the war, the better. It is not necessary for the United States, in advance of the war, to be prepared to the last button, to mobilize completely all its forces within the county and in Latin America, although this should be undertaken as speedily as possible. As we have seen, it is only when America is actually in the struggle that that giant will begin to know its strength. Once the United States enters the war, it will quickly enough function along efficient lines.
From our basic point of view it makes little difference whether the war is first against Hitler, first against Japan, or against both simultaneously. In any eventuality, our entrance into the war now must collapse the entire Hitler-Japanese front and blow it to pieces. America, with or without the aid of Britain, with or without the aid of Russia, can, if she engages in the struggle at this moment, so weaken and exhaust her fateful opponents as to ruin them. On the other hand, no single force can destroy America more than the inertia of delay.
Of course, this does not mean that we have no choice of selection of time and place of battle, that we should not consider carefully whether we can not maneuver to attack Germany or Japan separately rather than together, whether we should not form alliances with both Britain and the Soviet Union and upon what grounds, and similar questions. On the contrary, once the basic problem of initiative is solved, we must concentrate all the more upon the strategy of our undertaking. On every side we are faced with a multitude of unknown quantities that must be carefully analyzed in their permutations and combinations and weighed in relation to the whole.
Let us suppose that America enters the war on the side of Britain against Germany. We can surely assume that this would mean a prolonged struggle. In the course of this conflict several developments are bound to occur: First, Germany would have no opportunity firmly to reorganize the continent and to mobilize it against the United States. Second, the British people would be induced to fight on to a finish. Third, Hitler would be forced to press more and more heavily upon his enchained workers, thus inevitably bringing on internal friction and revolt. Fourth, America would grow stronger day by day and gradually draw in larger forces behind her.
There is no reason why the United States would not be able to bring in line the republics of the Western Hemisphere. In order to mobilize her Western Hemisphere resources to the full, our country need but make one magnanimous offer: the opening of the doors of the united States to any Latin American nation that wants to enter on a statehood basis.
Is there any reason why such countries as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Nicaragua, and even Mexico should not be invited to join the union of states within the United States and to receive the same rights and privileges as do all of us here at home? Only two possible factions could resist such a move: First, a group of racial reactionaries at home who will be interested in carrying out Hitler’s tactics of racial and religious conflicts to divide this country and hemisphere; and second, the ruling cliques of the Latin American countries in question who fear that their own power may come to an end. But, certainly, the people of Latin America can only rejoice if the United States should offer to share its wealth and wonderful technique to advance the standards of the masses there to the physical levels obtained here.
Up to now the advances of the United states in Latin America have been received with the coldness that comes from the belief that all the Yankees want is the further enslavement and colonial oppression of the Indian and Negro masses of these countries. We must eradicate the basis for this belief as completely and as definitively as we can. In inviting these countries to become regular states of the union we must make plain to the people of these nations the enormous advantages that will be theirs in every way, economic, political, and social. We can also make it plain, if we must, that we will help the people to get rid of the few Fifth Columnists who stand in their way. Internal revolution aided by American arms can quickly win the day.
Not only portions of Latin America, but also the French, Dutch, and British possessions in the Western Hemisphere must be urged to join this organic union. We can no longer be respecters of the Dutch and French empires dominated by Germany. Whether we be allied to Britain desperately fighting with her back to the wall, or whether we arrive after Britain surrenders, the British Empire in the West can have but one destiny: fusion with the United States. Canada, especially, must be induced to join organically the United States of which she is already in fact an integral part. Such a step would be a tremendous boon to the people of Canada, greatly accelerating the development of their economy and opening the land for the most rapid productive expansion. There is, indeed, no other course for Canada to follow; her future is irrevocably bound with ours.
For the Latin American countries which can not immediately join the United States, such countries as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, for example, there can be offered a people’s plan for a close Pan-American Union organized along lines of a federated union with autonomy to each region far greater than that given to any state of the United States. The Pan-American Union, however, can have but one foreign policy in economics and in politics, and but one general army and navy.
It might be said that we are contemplating forming in this hemisphere precisely what Hitler has done in Europe and that our plans are no better than those that would be carried out by an aggressive American Fascist movement. Certainly, an American Fascist party would undertake, sooner or later, the conquest of Latin America to bring these peoples under the direct sway of American imperialism. But such a program is just the opposite to what the American people themselves would want.
We can not approach the Latin Americans with conquest and economic subjugation, but we can win their heart and hand with a program of help and emancipation. We must give them far more than they can possibly give to us in return; we must aid them in their general development and must raise the levels of living of the masses to our standards. The Fascist way is the deeper enslavement of the Latin Americans and their exploitation as tools for our own imperialist interests; our way is to make them partners in a growing world union that will liberate the world from Fascist terror and dictatorship.
There is no doubt that in the countries of South America where a small handful dictatorially control the vast mass of illiterate and oppressed peons making up the population, there will be a most violent opposition to this program of liberation. Some of the camarillas may actually run to Hitler and to Japan for help. No mercy should be shown to these elements. We cannot afford to tolerate in the Western Hemisphere the ruthless conquistador methods of a Franco who would despoil a whole continent for the avarice of a few. Our policy will be speedily realized if the people of the United States take a hand in the proceedings.
Once we enter the war against Germany we must, for our own interests, make every effort to stimulate revolution against Hitler from within Europe. Our course will depend entirely on our leadership. Under Liberal or Fascist leadership we will identify our aims with those of British imperialism and call for the reconstitution of a Balkanized Europe. Should we do this, there may be a few remnants of former nationalist bodies who may here and there conspire on our side, but the great bulk of the people of Europe will never be aroused by such propaganda to risk their lives in insurrection. Should the United States, however, really engage in a People’s War and use as its slogan the free unity of Europe, a great response can be expected. We do not believe that there will be insurrection at once, but each blow given Hitler in a prolonged struggle will bring the day of mass uprising for our support ever nearer.
Especially would this be so should the English themselves change their leadership, renounce their own imperialism, and relinquish their colonies. Should the English also begin to conduct a People’s War for a free united Europe our cause would be greatly helped.
We can accelerate this process by insisting that the British state clearly what are their war aims. After all, it is they who declared war upon Germany and it is only fair to ask them what is their plan for peace. Are they fighting to destroy the German people and to prevent their unity? Are they fighting to maintain their own world supremacy forever?, Are they fighting for the eternal right to control the destinies of colonial peoples many times greater to them in number? Are they fighting to reconstitute a defunct Czecho-Slovakia, a defunct Latvia, a defunct Poland, etc.? It will be hard to make either Englishmen or Americans give up their lives for such a cause and America must strive to change this whole program.
Such a change will not prove so difficult to effectuate as it may seem. The British imperialists already are desperately on the defensive. They did not want this war but were really shoved into it on the side of Poland because of the pressure of their people. They must be aware that their empire is doomed in any eventuality and that even their defense of England is wholly inadequate. No doubt they are considering the possibility that they may be forced to turn over the regime to the Labor Party and to the working people of England whenever matters become really impossible. Under such conditions, the one thing to place the English people really in control of their war will be America’s entrance with the new war aims we have given above.
As we have already pointed out, the tasks of America are infinitely lightened now that Russia is also on our side. To cement this collaboration with Russia all secondary quarrels this country may have with the Soviets must be dropped. The aid of Russia is invaluable in smashing through at Hitler from all sides. The exhaustion of the Nazis is now considerably quickened. In return for this aid, we must naturally help the Russians on our part. We cannot complain if they attempt to build up again their Communist parties from within the Fascist gates and raise the banner of a Soviet United States of Europe.
Strangely enough, there have come bitter protests and resistance to such an alliance from both sides of the water. A great hue and cry has arisen from American business men excoriating any policy that might aid in spreading Sovietism; but as the war continues this cry will not be heard so loud, especially as Americans will want to get all the help they possibly can. Certainly, if Europe is to be exhausted by war and torn by revolution, even the most backward reactionary will find it hard to believe the spread of Communism can be prevented as the European workers strike on their own account.
It will be another matter once Hitlerism should be destroyed. Then the powers that will have charge in America will have another problem to solve, the question of world Communism. A Soviet or Communist United States of Europe will be bound to lead to titanic reverberations throughout the world. The people of America will be brought up sharply to consider the question of war, this time against the Communist system of society. But, so far as the immediate relations of America are concerned, they can not depend upon such eventualities but only upon the pressing needs of the hour.
From the side of Russia, the Stalinists have also argued that precisely because the war must be a long drawn-out affair, there was no reason why Russia, which would be most heavily punished by the armies of Hitler, and of Japan, should enter too quickly if at all. Let Hitler first become greatly weakened, let Russia remain in the position to play off one side against the other, let the pressure of war first force the toilers and soldiers in Europe to protest and to revolt against Fascism, then, Stalin argued, would there be ample time for Russia to take a hand. Let us always remember, too, that Stalin has been in no hurry to incorporate the workers of the West into his Soviet system where his whole nationalist policy would be overthrown and his bureaucracy liquidated.
But now that Russia has been forced into the conflict by Hitler’s declaration of war against her, all these considerations must be relegated to second place. Until Hitlerism is destroyed both America and Russia must strike together. Such a policy will defeat the machinations of American reactionaries at home as well as help destroy Stalinism through collaboration with the American people.
Nothing can better defeat the growth of incipient American Fascism than America’s alliance with Russia. Nothing will better aid the aspirations of labor and of the common man nor assure a progressive people’s program than such an alliance. On the other hand, nothing will be more fatal to Stalinism than the intimate contact of the Russian with the American worker and soldier!
There can be no better time for America to enter the war than now, when Britain still is in the ring and when the Soviet Union has thrown her huge army against the Axis. The present offers a conjuncture of events most favorable for American victory that could be imagined.
America now should seize Greenland, Iceland, the islands in the Atlantic (such as the Azores, the Canaries, the Verde), and Dakar. She should now send a huge force to the Philippines, to the Dutch Indies, to Egypt and the Near East. She should now begin a shipment of troops to Alaska to be transferred later to the Siberian mainland. America now should concentrate her fleet and air force for destruction of Japan’s rulers.
There are many reasons why America should prefer Japan for her immediate war enemy rather than Germany. To start with, Japan represents by far the weakest link of the German-Japanese alliance so fateful to the United States. No other major country has such a lop-sided and weak economy, has been so exhausted by wars in Asia, has such a rigid anachronistic political regime as has Japan. Victory in war against Japan should be a relatively easy matter for the United States, especially should she get the aid of the Asiatic masses in China and elsewhere as she would be bound to do.
It has always been assumed that war against Japan must be conducted by America only through naval and air forces. Such would not be the case should the United States secure the aid of Russia. On the contrary, it would not at all be a difficult task for America to move several million troops to Asia speedily and safely. The key to the situation here is Alaska. Ships can convoy large numbers of troops to Alaska without the slightest real danger of attack. From Alaska, with the same safety, they could be moved to Siberia and to the fields of Korea and Manchuria. Although few appreciate the fact, the United States, with the support of Russia, could place an invincible army in Asia far more easily than Japan could move her forces across the Yellow Sea into the same battle ground.
In any event, and under all circumstances, Alaska is destined to play a decisive role in events in the Far East. No time should be lost in the construction of hangars and landing fields capable of handling whole armadas of planes and in the preparation of facilities on land and sea for the accommodation of major military and naval forces there. It is time that we take advantage of this great bridge-head to Asia for our own aims in the coming war.
War by the United States against Japan could have only the most progressive results. It would bring about a people’s revolution within Japan and would rearm and awaken the people of Asia. But, above all, it would smash forever Hitler’s plots for annihilating the United States by his Totalitarian alliance. The end of Japanese imperialism is the end of Hitler’s Eastern front; it spells the bursting of his dreams for world mastery. And once Hitler loses the possibility of winning the world, he will not be able to hold on even to Germany!
The struggle against Japan must be welcomed by the people of the entire world. Nothing else more than this will wrest the historic initiative away from Hitler and give ultimate victory to the enemies of Nazi-Fascism. Here is the chief reason why the American people must insist on the utmost firmness in dealing with Japanese aggressions and must demand the launching of physical struggle against the Nipponese militarists at the earliest opportunity.
In her struggle with Japanese imperialism, America must help the Chinese people in every way, with arms, munitions, equipment supplies, industrial materials, and means of production, whether they can pay for this stuff or not. A close alliance can also be formed with Australasia and the Philippines. The awakening of Asia, in turn, can react on American internal politics to assure the enunciation of such war aims by the United States as would bring in their train the progressive weakening of the entire imperialist structure in Asia. And to the Chinese masses cannot help but further improve American politics and unleash popular democratic forces.
It is hard to believe that the Soviet Union can possibly refrain from joining the United States in tearing to pieces Japanese imperialism. The Soviet Union has really everything to gain by the destruction of her Eastern enemy. The possibilities for Stalinism are immense. And should Russia be induced to join forces with the United States in the East, it may be possible to help with military means in the West. The dynamics of both fronts can be made to work together.
Let us note, in this connection, that it is by no means inevitable that war by America against Japan must automatically entrain with it war by Hitler against America. Especially should Britain be still unconquered, Hitler may well utilize the diversion in the East to concentrate all the more on European problems. He can avoid action against America until Britain and Russia be really destroyed and his own position become consolidated. Should the Japanese-American struggle by any chance be prolonged, Hitler at his leisure will be in a position to study the advantages of the various alternatives open to him; should American victory be quick, Hitler might yet hope that the United States would be willing to grant him more time.
Even assuming America was not prepared to aid the Soviets by a military alliance, what possible argument could there be for the United States not destroying Japanese imperialism now? We have already sharply stressed the point that America could not possibly afford to wait until Russia was destroyed and German troops physically linked with the Japanese.
Should America wait, there is always the possibility of Hitler winning a crushing victory in the West and, thanks to the crimes of Stalinism, inducing a Rightist revolution within the Soviet Union that would make peace with Hitler and immensely add to his strength. Then it would be too late to isolate Japan or to prevent the encirclement and destruction of the United States. We do not at all say that this is the more likely possibility; we do say this alternative is the one Hitler is gambling on. And precisely for this reason we can not afford to gamble that Hitler may be wrong! We must destroy the Japanese Empire now!
Once Japanese imperialism is eliminated, the United States then becomes the decisive world power, whether Hitler has crushed the Soviets, whether the war between Hitler and the Soviets is still raging, or whether Communism has blown Hitler to pieces and has captured Europe for itself.
Should Hitler be conquering Russia speedily, America could always rush aid to the embattled Russians until Hither was exhausted, provided of course, Japanese militarism was put out of the way in time. Should America’s victory over Japan come too late to help Russia, and should Russia succumb, Nazism would still be doomed. For without the aid of the far East Hitler can never conquer America.
Even the complete fascization of Russia by the Nazis and the organic fusion of that country into the European system would not be enough for Hitler to destroy the United States. America, strongly entrenched in the Western Hemisphere, with strong forces under her influence in the far East, could, in the long run, break the back of the Totalitarian alliance formed against her.
This estimation of the relation of forces is by no means the boasting of American jingoism but stems directly from a realistic appreciation of the industrial and military power that would be at the command of each side. The addition of Asiatic hordes might add numbers but not quality to Hitler’s army. And it is only by an appreciable improvement in quality that the German war machine could possibly surpass and overcome America’s potential military might.
There is also the third possibility that Communism may take hold of all Europe and after destroying Nazism call for the end of all imperialist wars for power and for a Soviet Union or Peoples’ United States of the world on a Communist basis. Whether the American people would join this movement or try to crush it and win empire over the whole world would depend entirely upon what leadership emerged within America.
An American Fascist leadership would want to destroy Japan but not aid the Soviet Union in her fight against Hitler. An American Fascist leadership might be forced to aid the Soviets but keep that aid on a mere economic level merely to prolong the struggle between Nazism and Communism so as to exhaust both sides and to enter Europe with a positive policy of conquest. An American Fascist leadership might be forced to send troops to help Russia fight Hitler but would do so only on the political terms that Russia would return to capitalist-imperialism as a vassal of the United States. An American Fascist leadership, after seeing a victory of the Soviets and Communism against Nazism might actually throw in its forces behind European Nazism to crush the Soviets and become the arbiter of the world.
Thus it is not enough to pose the question: Can America defeat Hitler? There is another question just as vital before the American people: With what program and upon what basis shall Hitler be defeated? The American people have the future of the world in their hands. It is for them to speak!
1. America must take the initiative out of the hands of the Hitler-Japanese alliance.
2. Unless it does so Hitler will undoubtedly unite with Japan to liquidate the Soviet Union and then to subjugate America.
3. America can wrest the initiative from Hitler and Japan only by abandoning the old policy of renunciation and isolation and by entering into a positive program of world reorganization. Such a policy must coincide with active military measures—War.
4. In this war, America should aim for an alliance with Great Britain, while changing the aims of the war to meet the need for a united people’s Europe.
5. In this war, America, above all, should aim for an alliance with the Soviet Union as the counter-bloc against the Japanese-Nazi combination and as the most effective ally under the circumstances.
6. The American people themselves should take command of the war for their own interests and mobilize all their resources in the rear regardless of the profit motive or of the personal interests of the privileged few.
7. War started now must doom both Hitler and Japanese imperialism. Should the people of the United States take the helm, a new social order ending war forever is within the realm of practicality at last.