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Fourth International, March 1941


The Editors

Stalin’s Gift to Imperialism


From Fourth International, Vol. II No. 4, May 1941, p. 99.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


In addition to still secret commitments from Hitler and Mussolini, Foreign Minister Matsuoka returned to Tokyo with a gift from Stalin bearing the ironic label: “Treaty of Neutrality.” In the crooked atmosphere which envelopes such diplomatic doings, nothing appears as it really is, and the most important matters often appear as their opposites. Thus, when Izvestia declares that the pact “promises to yield good fruits,” we need only indicate the immediate consequences to see how rotten to the core these fruits really are.

The mere announcement of the agreement struck a terrible blow at the Chinese people and their prolonged struggle against the Japanese invaders. Just as he tossed in the lives and liberties of the Poles and Ukrainians as part of his deal with Hitler, so Stalin has sold out the Chinese to the Japanese brigands.

According to Izvestia, the pact was concluded in accordance with the Stalinist “policy of peace.” Far from assuring peace, this new pact is more likely to pave the way for an extension of the inter-imperialist conflict in the Pacific, just as the pact with Hitler precipitated the war in Europe. By clearing away their biggest obstruction in the rear, the pact enables the Japanese militarists to drive further southward and thereby hastens their impending clash with American imperialism.

Despite the Daily Worker’s statement that the pact is a boon to the Chinese people, not the slightest credence can be given to the official Stalinist assurances that there will be no changes in the attitude toward the Chungking regime. We can only guess what secret clauses form part of this treaty. Agreements of this kind are like icebergs: what appears in full view is far less dangerous than what remains hidden below the surface.

Neither Stalin’s virtual recognition of Manchukuo as part of the Japanese empire nor additional commercial agreements exhaust the content of the pact. What about the rest of China? Are there provisions for the partition of its remaining territory, as in the pact with Hitler? What agreement has been reached regarding the division of territory and allotment of spheres of influence elsewhere in Asia, provided the British Empire crumbles under Hitler’s assaults? The answers to these, and other equally important questions, await the unfolding of the consequences of the pact in the coming months.

Imperialism has no better servant than Stalin; the workers have no more perfidious enemy. The Japanese conquerors command virtually no popular support. Stalin’s move serves to prop up this grotesque juggernaut just when it begins to exhibit signs of internal disintegration. Stalin not only strengthens Japanese imperialism: he divides the forces which alone can overthrow it. His pact has erected a wall between the Chinese and the Russian people and between the Chinese people and the Japanese masses.

All this has been done in the name of defending the USSR and hailed by the Stalinist press as another victory for the peace policy of Stalin. In reality, the pact grew out of the internal weakness of the Stalinist regime and its helplessness in the face of its enemy-allies, and has already resulted in a further weakening of the position of the Soviet Union.

Stalin’s Dependence on Hitler

If we should believe Izvestia’s explanation, “The USSR pursues her own policy and never will permit anybody to impose their alien will on her.” It is more than likely, however, that Stalin signed the pact at Hitler’s instigation and insistence, as part payment to Japan for signing the Three-Power Pact and cooperating against the Anglo-American bloc. Fearing Hitler and fearing to be drawn into the war, Stalin hoped by this stroke to placate Hitler. At the same time Stalin moves with an eye to the prospective menace of an attack from Hitler in the West. He needs no warnings from Churchill to know that Hitler has not forgotten, but simply postponed, his long-cherished plan of taking European Russia.

Stalin’s subservience to Hitler was underlined by the editorial in Pravda declaring that the pact was directed not against Germany but against London and Washington politicians who were conspiring to hurl the USSR against Germany and Japan. As usual, Stalin’s mouthpieces unmask the intrigues of the one imperialist bloc, the better to cover up the equally vicious plans of the other with whom he is in league.

Why ask a host of journalists in the Anglo-American camp, does not Stalin turn toward Great Britain and the United States? The Kremlin autocrat has as low an opinion of the power of the democratic imperialists as he has an extremely exaggerated regard for the strength of the Fascist war-machine. Having long since banished the use of the revolutionary proletarian power and program, Stalin, weakened within and without, sees no alternative but to lean upon the apparently stronger of the contending imperialist orders. But all his maneuvers, compromises and double-dealings will not suffice to save his regime from involvement in the war nor himself from destruction.

This is the ultimate crime of the pact: the fact that it further alienates the good-will of the working masses toward the workers’ state. Not only the Chinese people but the masses everywhere feel keenly the reactionary nature of the pact and its consequences. It has further shaken their confidence in the USSR and their desire and ability to rally to its defense in case of imperialist attack.

Stalin’s new pact demonstrates once more that the defense of the USSR demands, above all, that the workers overthrow Stalin and his degenerate clique.

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Last updated on 27 February 2016