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Fourth International, June 1947


International Executive Committee, Fourth International

Manifesto on Germany

Addressed by the Fourth International to the Workers of Europe and America


From Fourth International, June 1947, Vol.8 No.6, pp.170-171.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.


Against the plunder plans of the Big Four!

Against annexations, reparations and the dismemberment of Germany!

For a free, united, German Republic of workers and peasants!

The resounding failure of the Moscow Conference leaves the German problem temporarily “unsolved.” But Germany is still covered with ruins, cut up into four occupation zones, under four different military dictatorships. The toiling masses are still the prey of ruin, famine, lack of clothing and of housing. Their most elementary needs are still unfulfilled after seven years of war and privation. And the most elementary democratic rights are still denied them after twelve years of Fascist dictatorship.

For all their sudden outbursts of “humanitarian” demagogy, the Marshalls and the Bevins did not go to Moscow in order to find a solution for these vital problems. While hypocritically opposing the plunder policy of the Kremlin in the form of reparations – a policy dictated by the latter’s particular requirements – the Anglo-American imperialists have clearly shown their own brigand policy by sharing out the coal of the Ruhr among their French, Belgian and Dutch satellites and by assuming complete domination of all industry in the western zones of Germany.

Each of the Big Four tries as far as possible to include Germany in its own economic and strategic sphere of influence. Each plots, from the point of view of its own interests, the future and political structure of Germany. The Stalinist agitation for a speedy centralization, like all the various plans for a “German federation,” conceals the occupation powers’ common refusal to let the German people freely decide their own fate.

The Big Four explain their policy of oppression and plunder by the myth of the “collective guilt” of the German people in starting the war. But the capitalists of the whole world, who today throw this dastardly accusation at the German masses, themselves for years economically, politically and morally fortified Hitler, whom they regarded as their “anti-Communist bulwark.” While Hitler’s concentration camps and torture chambers went on smashing the resistance of hundreds of thousands of German anti-Fascist working class fighters, the British and American capitalists continued placidly to supply German imperialism with all it needed to build up its war machine. While thousands of militant German workers were being murdered by the Nazis, the representatives of international capitalism wooed Hitler to gain his good services and made a whole series of “Friendship Pacts” with him.

The Stalinist bureaucracy has particularly “distinguished” itself in this campaign over the “collective guilt” of the German people. But this miserable lie will not make the workers forget that in 1933, Stalin turned the German working class over to Hitler without a struggle. It will not make them forget that the Pact he concluded with Hitler in 1939 precipitated the invasion of Poland. Nor will it make them forget that the ultra chauvinist wartime propaganda of the Kremlin was one of the principal elements in paralyzing the revolutionary energy of the German workers and in reinforcing Nazi chauvinism.

The reformist and Stalinist leaders, the lackeys of imperialism and of the Kremlin, also join this chorus of mudslinging against the German working class with this monstrous myth fabricated by their bosses.

But it was precisely the criminal policy of these same leaders that permitted Hitler to take power in Germany. How can we forget the constant capitulation of the Social-Democratic leaders to the advancing tide of Nazism? And their shameful vote of confidence in the Reichstag for the foreign policy of the first Hitler cabinet. How can we forget the obstinate refusal of the leaders of the KPD (German Communist Party) to make a United Front with the Social Democracy against the Hitler menace, despite the urgent appeals of Leon Trotsky? How can we forget the refusal of the two parties to issue a call for battle to the 13 million workers who were ready to fight in the decisive hours in 1933? And these charlatans, whose policy has proved to be so hopelessly bankrupt, today dare so shamelessly to throw the guilt for their own crimes onto the shoulders of the working masses worn down by decades of uninterrupted suffering!

Workers of the world!

Destroy the myth that the entire German people are collectively responsible for starting of the war! Understand that the policy of the Big Four, far from laying the foundations for a lasting peace, only prepares the starting point for the race towards the Third World War. Don’t forget that a new robbers’ treaty, just like the Versailles Treaty after the First World War, will only create very fertile ground for the rebirth of another violent wave of chauvinism in Germany.

Against the secret diplomacy of the Powers of this earth who are carving up the living flesh of the peoples, the Fourth International reaffirms the inalienable right of the German people to self-determination.

Workers of Europe!

To destroy Germany’s industry, to lower the standard of living and the productivity of labor of its masses to that of colonial slaves means condemning the entire European economy, in which German economy is the spinal column, to permanent depression. No industrial and agricultural revival of your continent is possible if Germany is transformed into a vast prison where 70 million galley-slaves toil for the production of reparations for Stalinist bureaucracy and of profits for the world capitalist class. The chains that the Big Four are forging for the German masses will only increase the weight of the chains that are crushing all of you.

Only a free, united Germany, under the leadership of its working class, can fully contribute to the swift economic reconstruction of your continent through the national exploitation of its natural wealth, the development of its industrial potentialities and the complete utilization of the technical qualifications of its workers. The Socialist unity of Germany is the indispensable condition for the establishment of the Socialist United States of Europe.

Workers of the United States!

The oppression of Germany by American imperialism, the final pauperization of the German workers, the definitive colonization of its riches by your own monopoly capitalists – the very ones against whom you have carried on such admirable strike struggles since the end of the war – all this must soon bear down heavily upon the further development of your own class struggle. The lowering of the standard of living of the German workers will give your capitalist exploiters a powerful means of pressure to use against your own standard of living. The military dictatorship that your generals want to perpetuate in Germany is a training school for future would-be dictators of the United States. The same hyenas who prepare the anti-labor laws in Washington also want to reduce the German working class to abject slavery. Your struggle against the greedy and reactionary policy of the American trusts is one and the same with the struggle for the recall of the American troops from Germany and against all the reparations plans.

Workers of Soviet Russia!

The bloody police dictatorship which weighs on your backs prevents you from openly voicing your hostility towards the bureaucratic Stalin regime. But at the same time you are more and more worried by the accelerated preparations of Yankee imperialism for the launching of a new world war. That war, far from freeing you from the yoke of the Stalinist dictatorship, would only transform you into slaves of Wall Street. The nationalist policies of the bureaucracy and its vile practice of plunder and deportation are greatly facilitating the task of the American bankers and threaten to provoke complete indifference on the part of the German workers as to the imperialist plans of transforming their country into a bulwark of the encircling chain around the USSR. To fight this menace you must show the German workers, whenever and wherever you can, that the internationalist tradition of the October Revolution still lives on among you.

Remember the appeals of Lenin and Trotsky for “Peace Without Annexations or Reparations” “For the Fraternization of the Workers of All Countries.” Show the German workers that you want to take this path once more! For, only fraternal collaboration between a Germany free of national oppression and capitalist exploitation and a Soviet Union free of its bureaucratic parasites will give a new impetus to your collectivized economy and will give you the bread, liberty and culture of which the Kremlin deprives you.

British Workers!

Your votes carried the Labor government to power because you hoped thus to find a peaceful road to Socialism. But your ministers have shown themselves, in Germany as in Great Britain, to be the faithful agents of British imperialism. Will you allow those who are supposed to be building Socialism in Britain to tie the German workers down to forced labor? Will you allow those who drew you into five years of war for “the Four Freedoms” to deny the most elementary democratic right, that of self-determination, to the German masses? The fusion of the Attlee government’s German policy with Truman’s will definitely lead you on the road towards the Third World War which, in one way or another, will certainly reduce your country to ruin. The road towards a stable peace, towards the elimination of the reactionary bureaucracy of the Labor ministers, towards the expropriation of the monopolists, towards all those goals for whose realization you so ardently hope, is the road of struggle against the continued occupation of Germany and against annexations and reparations!

French Workers!

Your capitalist employers and their reformist and Stalinist collaborators tell you that without the Ruhr coal; reconstruction of the economy of your country is impossible. In reality the obstacle to this reconstruction is the greediness of your Two Hundred Families, the sordid egoism of your capitalist masters, the rotten corruption of their government apparatus, the complete decadence of French capitalism. Those who hope to distract your attention towards the Ruhr coal only hope in that way to perpetuate their own bloody filthy rule, your own growing misery and the violent domination of the French and colonial masses. You who have, under the Nazi occupation, felt the weight of imperialist oppression cannot tolerate the extension of the same slavery over the German workers!

Communist Workers of All Countries

During the occupation of the Ruhr by Poincaré’s troops in 1923 the Communist Parties of all lands gave a magnificent example of working class solidarity and thus furnished striking proof of the realism of international united action of the working class in the face of the bloody quarrels of its imperialist masters. Today the Stalinist parties in every country carry out an ultra-chauvinist policy and oppose each other by defending the particular interests of “their” country side by side with their rulers.

The Fourth International, which fights with all its strength against the Stalinist bureaucracy’s vile prostitution of the ideas of Communism, proudly lays claim to the revolutionary tradition of Lenin’s Communist International. It calls upon you, in the spirit of that tradition, in the spirit of the militant fraternity that was forged in the concentration camps between your German comrades and yourselves, to join your efforts to those of the German workers in combatting the occupation of Germany, the annexation of its provinces and all the reparations plans.

German Workers!

This appeal of the Fourth International to the workers of the entire world is at the same time a message of hope to the German workers. It reminds you that in 30 countries there are organizations that reject with disgust the mud-slinging campaign against you, that holds higher than ever the banner of world proletarian solidarity, the banner of the revolutionary, communist, workers international.

In the spirit of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg it calls upon you, the workers of Germany, to struggle against the occupation, plunder and dismemberment of your country. You have only one enemy: the German and world exploiters. Only one ally: the oppressed masses of the entire world!

The crimes committed by the occupying powers in Germany equal those committed by Hitler in Europe. They are unanswerable proof of the sordid barbarism into which the outlived capitalist regime is dragging us. Today the struggle for elementary human dignity, for the most simple democratic rights can only succeed by the victory of the proletarian revolution. Only a Socialist Germany in a Socialist Europe can liquidate the remains of Fascism, clear away the ruins, heal the wounds, preserve and elevate human culture and technique to unprecedented levels and transform your present Calvary into a life at last worthy of man. We, the Internationalist Communists of 30 countries, have the firm conviction that with the fraternal aid of the workers of the entire world you, the workers of the country where Scientific Socialism was born, will find the road towards the Socialist revolution. Hitler threw Europe and his own country into the abyss of destruction. The German working class will show humanity that it is capable of lifting its country and the whole continent to a new and wondrous level of peace and well-being!




The International Executive Committee of the Fourth International

April 1947

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