Main FI Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Fourth International, August 1946


Review of the Month

“Hemisphere Defense” and US Preparations For World War III


From Fourth International, August 1946, Vol.7 No.8, pp.227-228.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Einde O’Callaghan in 2009 for ETOL.


Preparations For A New World War

In the widely ramified policies and activities of the United States Government it is impossible to discover a scrap of real evidence that would support the myth that World War II – any more than World War I – was a war to end war. Just the contrary is true. In every branch of government, in every sphere of its activity, a growing body of evidence points to the inescapable conclusion that American imperialism, far from organizing peace, is preparing for a new and more horrible war.

Emphasizing this fact was the action of the House and Senate on June 21 in passing Army and Navy appropriation bills exceeding $11,000,000,000 for the fiscal year which started on July 1. The appropriation for the Army was $7,091,034,700 – the largest in all the peacetime history of the country. In neither house was a single voice raised against this colossal waste of wealth in a period when the standard of living of the masses is being steadily undermined and driven downward. The managers of the legislature did not even deem it necessary to hold a roll-call vote. A perfunctory voice vote sufficed.

During the recently-concluded war, the United States established military bases throughout the world in order to secure its strategic ascendancy. Some of these are permanent installations, others of a temporary character. The appropriations carry funds for permanent construction at bases now held in Alaska, the Mariannas, the Philippines, Hawaii and Okinawa.

More than this, the American imperialists are now at work on plans to convert the entire Western Hemisphere – two whole continents-into a single armed camp under their own exclusive control. This scheme, which has been given the euphemistic title of “Hemisphere Defense,” was announced by President Truman on May 6. A bill to implement it (the Inter-American Military Cooperation Bill) is before Congress. The measure is described in a Foreign Policy Association bulletin (May 17, 1946) as one which “seeks to create in the New World a bloc of states which would act as a military unit and whose power would be so great as to eliminate the possibility of successful challenge from any quarter.” Not only the countries of South and Central America are to be drawn into this grandiose military scheme, but also Canada.

The plan envisages standardization of military equipment, military doctrine and training to the specifications and models employed by the armed services of the United States. Standardization of the equipment is to be achieved by scrapping that presently used by other members of the Hemisphere Bloc and replacing it with equipment of the types furnished to the United States armed services by arsenals and factories in this country. The United States, moreover, will undertake the maintenance and repair of the equipment it supplies. Standardization of military doctrine and training will be effected by detailing US military training staffs to the countries composing the bloc and by training officers for those countries in US military, naval and air academies.

As the Foreign Policy Association bulletin discloses, the US Army, spearhead and driving force of American imperialism, has for some time “informally been going about the task of standardizing the training and equipment of the armed forces of the American Republics” without awaiting the passage of legislation by Congress. Specific Congressional authority is needed, however, to sell or transfer military equipment other than a few “surplus” items.

The New World Power

If the plan is ever realized in its entirety, it is not difficult to see what a powerfully enhanced commanding position American imperialism will occupy in relation to its rivals, both actual and potential. It will have a gigantic base of military operations sprawled over two large continental areas. Each of the separate countries will be closely knit into a single military system dominated by the United States. Because of its hegemony in the bloc, and the technical dependence of all the lesser countries, the United States will become a “Hemispheric Power” to a degree never before anticipated or equalled.

To whip the Latin American countries into line, American imperialism is employing the powerful economic and financial weapons at its disposal. Wherever opposition is encountered, pressure is applied. The governments of those countries, representing the semi-colonial bourgeoisie, have no stomach for a real struggle against Yankee imperialism. They are too afraid of the revolutionary consequences of a mass upheaval which such a struggle would entail. And so they tend always to submit. Besides, their own rule being somewhat shaky, they are glad to have adequate and efficient armed forces at their disposal for quelling internal unrest. The policy-makers in Washington are also very much alive to this aspect of the matter. Discussing the “Hemisphere Defense” plan in a dispatch from Washington last October 17, Thomas F. Reynolds, correspondent of the Chicago Sun, wrote: “Certain War Dept. circles have not hesitated to voice fears of ‘Communism’ in South America and steadfastly have argued in favor of arming existing regimes, even though some of them might have serious difficulty in establishing their democratic character.”

Plan Springboard For World Mastery

The “Hemisphere Defense” plan, to the extent that it is realized, will “do more than help Wall Street tighten its imperialist stranglehold on Latin America, exercised mainly in the economic and financial domains. Control of Latin America, as a prerequisite to the exploitation of its peoples and its wealth, is of course vital to American imperialism. But this control is essential, too, as an indispensable part of the greater world aims of the Wall Street brigands, aims which are leading inexorably to a third world war.

This, the most important aspect of “Hemisphere Defense,” was succinctly outlined by an official spokesman of Yankee imperialism, in the person of George S. Messersmith, who recently was transferred from Mexico to become US ambassador to Argentina. In a farewell speech to the American colony in Mexico City on May 11, Messersmith not only told his audience that war was coming. He even indicated who the enemy would be. The policy of the Soviet Union, he declared, was similar to that of Germany during 1933-38, the implication being that war with the Soviet Union was inevitable. Therefore, he added, there must be “complete collaboration in the Western Hemisphere – political, military, strategic and economic. Today I know that we have nothing better than an armed truce.”

Pravda Analyzes “Hemisphere Defense”

Stalin understands very well what is going on. His organ, Pravda, June 29, discussing the “Hemisphere Defense” plan, declared that the United States is “transforming the Monroe Doctrine into a general offensive on the Latin-American countries. This offensive pursues the aim of completely, or almost completely, eliminating competitors, and provides an indivisible monopolistic domination by the United States in all countries of Latin America without exception and based on political, economic and military levers. It is thus proposed to turn Latin America into a military-strategic bridgehead of the United States. Giant propaganda machines have been put in motion. They are called upon to cover up naked imperialistic business with discussions of the ‘noble aims’ of United States policy on Pan-American solidarity.” (New York Times, June 30, 1946).

What Pravda says is completely true. But mere exposure and denunciation of the new war plans of American imperialism will not prevent a third world war in which the Soviet Union will be the target of attack by the dominant imperialist powers. Only the world working class, taking to the road of the socialist revolution, can foil the plans of the war-makers and at the same time save the Soviet Union from destruction. Stalin long ago abandoned the program of the socialist revolution, which represents a mortal threat to his reactionary regime, and so cannot base the defense of the Soviet Union on the international working class. Nor is it possible any longer for Stalin to engage in long-term maneuvering between the imperialist foes of the Soviet Union, for the war destroyed the old balance of power beyond any possibility of its restoration. Hence Stalin must limit himself to efforts to build a safety corridor around the Soviet Union and a counter-bloc to that being organized by American imperialism. In this latter field, all Stalin can get is a miserable handful of small and enfeebled capitalist states in Europe. This bankrupt policy naturally furnishes no real defense for the Soviet Union. It only encourages the American imperialists to speed up their preparations for wiping out the USSR and thus accelerates the drive toward a third world war.

Top of page

Main FI Index | Main Newspaper Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Last updated on 10.2.2009