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The New International, June 1944

Notes of the Month

Russia, Poland and Germany


From The New International, Vol. X No. 6, June 1944, pp. 168–170.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


While Stalin-Stein already openly approve the policy of dismemberment, and the other Allied spokesmen make it dear enough with their hints and “semi-official” reports, the policy is already pretty specific at one point, the point where Poland is the pivot.

The Polish Empire was a creation of the Versailles map-makers. It was intended at once as a European breakwater against the Bolshevik storm-wave and a staging area for an imperialist assault upon the young Soviet republic. In 1920 it was almost conquered by the revolution – almost, but not quite. The Red Army broke through Pilsudski’s legions to the very gates of Warsaw. The bourgeois world agonizedly held its breath: a Red victory in Poland meant the end of the old all over the continent, for it would be followed in a minute by the proletarian revolution in Germany. A consolidated workers’ power from Vladivostok to the Rhine would be a certain guarantee of international victory. Pilsudski plus Weygand held; the Bolsheviks were thrown back. The end of the first big post-war revolutionary wave in Europe really dates back to this moment.

The attempt to turn the successful defensive against the Greater-Polish imperialists into a revolutionary offensive against Poland herself shattered not so much against the wall of the Legionnaires as against the political unreadiness of the Polish masses; more simply, against the prevalence of social-democratic and even nationalistic ideology among them. The attempt was one of Lenin’s gravest political miscalculations, and Trotsky and Radek warned against it in vain. But it was a miscalculation made within the framework, so to speak, of the struggle for socialist freedom. In the van of the Red Army marched the Polish Revolutionary Committee, headed by revolutionists like Dzerzhinsky, Unschlicht and Felix Kon.

Who is in the van of the Russian army as it now marches into Poland? The Union of Polish Patriots, whose real name should be Union of Stalinist Mamelukes In and For Poland. At its head stands not a revolutionist but a handmaiden of the GPU, Wanda Wassilewska. She is the creature who stood by coolly while the GPU murdered three successive leaderships of Polish communism, from Domski, Sophia Unschlicht, Kostezewa to Joseph Leitski, to say nothing of the Polish socialists, Ehrlich and Alter. A fit candidate for Stalin’s viceroy in Poland!

Does Stalin plan to subjugate Poland to the new Russian Empire? That he can succeed, may be questioned; that it is his plan, is beyond question. Has he not expressed himself solemnly in favor of a “strong Poland,” as we have been assured by authorities of no meaner stature than Father Orlemanski and Prof. Oskar Lange? He has, and he may well be believed. He is also in favor of a strong Georgia, a strong Ukraine, a strong White Russia, a strong Finland – all incorporated within a very strong Russia, and all enjoying the limitless liberties which the Moscow police regime accords the “freely federated republics of the Soviet Union.”

Then what is the meaning of the dispute over the Curzon Line which is to be the frontier between Russia and Poland? The dispute is a fraud from A to Z, a smokescreen. Stalin is not interested in inches, but in miles. In “exchange” for a “rectification” of the Curzon Line, Stalin and Molotov have indicated their readiness to “compensate” Poland by annexing East Prussia. The first step in the dismemberment of Germany is to give Poland dominated by Stalin territory which is overwhelmingly German in its national composition.

Down with Fascism! Long Live Its Principles!

It will be remembered that the partition of Germany for the purpose of military occupation will bring Stalin to the Oder, that is, as far west as Stettin. Of that area, cables the Times correspondent from London (February 12): “Russia might be willing, it was indicated, to see Polish territory extend not only to Stolpmünde but all the way to the Oder River. But Russia has apparently emphasized that she has no intention of backing such claims on German territory so long as the Polish government is constituted as it is at present.” At present, nota bene, the Polish government is not constituted by Wassilewska-Korneichuck-Stalin. The correspondent continues:

It is becoming increasingly clear that Russia will have little hesitation about dismembering Germany. In the first place, she evidently wants part of East Prussia herself; she has long wanted a port much further west than Leningrad or even Memel. Consequently, she has indicated that she would like to keep Königsberg for herself.

If this plan were executed, would it not create a somewhat embarrassing situation for the sworn protagonists of the Atlantic Charter? What about the German minority that would then exist within the boundaries of “strong and independent Poland”? Here surely is an example of what the Charter, in its second point, calls “territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned.”

The eminent authors of the Charter, who have already agreed, to the Stalin plan (this fact is confirmed by Raymond Daniell in the Times of March 28), have a veritable Gordian knot before them. How shall it be undone? Obviously, our Allies, democrats and anti-fascists to the lymph and marrow, every one of them, cannot and will not resort to the barbarous method by which Hitler solved so many of Europe’s national problems – uprooting millions of families from home, soil and workshop, and shipping them to new territories like so many sides of beef! It is against such bestiality, is it not, that we are fighting? And, again obviously, we could not and would not be so barbarous and bestial with the German inhabitants of annexed East Prussia. Obviously? Why obviously? As a matter of fact, it is not obvious at all. The Times correspondent reports:

Russia has suggested that, in view of the German policy of transferring people across Europe by hundreds of thousands, the Allies should not hesitate to accept the principle of transfer to bring about sound ethnographical boundaries after the war.

The Gordian knot is cut by “accepting the principle” of the Nazis! Down with fascism! Long live its principles!

Poland is to be subjugated and annexed by the modern Suvorovs (how perfectly proper that Empress Catherine’s General Suvorov, who quelled the Polish insurrection of 1794, and carried out the second and third partitions of Poland, should now be the military icon and model for Stalin’s army!). The annexation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, so far as Moscow is concerned, is an accomplished fact which requires only military confirmation; and this too has been conceded by the other Allies. Finland, too, is to be subjugated, for the “generous” peace terms offered by Stalin would place such a crushing financial burden upon the Finns as to reduce them to economic servitude to Russia, to be followed, if not accompanied, by occupation of the country. As far off, in Eastern Europe, as Yugoslavia, Russia not only has a firm foothold through her agent, Tito, but the country has been substantially recognized as falling within her “sphere of influence” by the other Allies, notably by Churchill. If the freedom and independence of the crucified Yugoslavian peoples depends upon the Stalinist bureaucracy, it hangs by a thread; more accurately, it hangs from a noose.

There are other countries in the Eastern half of Europe. There are numerous aspects to the problem and future of that area which cannot or need not be dealt with here. There are especially countries like Greece, which touch the Mediterranean, which England seeks to hold with an obduracy that matches Stalin’s toward Bessarabia; and countries like Czechoslovakia, whose fate still hangs in the balance. But, by and large, so far as Russia is concerned, Eastern Europe is henceforward to be under her rule or domination, “united” by her into an even vaster prison than she now presides over. And so far as England is concerned, this division of power on the continent has already been accepted in principle by the responsible spokesmen for British imperialism: Eden, Beaver-brook, Churchill, the London Times. What is still lacking for the successful and unobstructed execution of the plan is the consent of American imperialism.

One other thing is lacking: the consent of the millions of workers and peasants involved!

England and Western Europe

Western Europe? If it is not to be ruled by England, it is to be dominated by her. There are many reasons why England cannot even think of subjecting the Western European countries in the same way that Germany took over Poland or Russia aims to take her over. The most important reasons have already been mentioned. In order to maintain the British Empire, England must be a strong power on the European continent. This power is to have its bases in countries representing an arc whose upper point begins in the Scandinavian countries, bows back through the Low Countries, France, Portugal and Spain, and runs eastward along the imperial lifeline through the lands on both sides of the Mediterranean, North Africa and Italy, Greece and Egypt and the Near East. All of England’s diplomatic, political and economic policies in Europe today are aimed, first of all, at welding this arc firmly and keeping a firm grip upon it.

Hence the attempts to consolidate the British “sterling bloc” out of the North and Low Countries. Hence the attempt to cement an alliance with France (England on top, France on bottom) directed not so much against defeated Germany as against victorious United States. (This is the nub of the conflict between Churchill and Roosevelt over the notorious “de Gaulle question,” about which more later.) Hence England’s plan to squeeze out of her share of the German spoils all she can squeeze, so that her post-war financial-economic dependence upon the United States is reduced to the minimum, with a consequent ability to reduce the Western European countries to a state of dependence upon her for their “post-war reconstruction.” Hence Churchill’s open support of the monarchy in Greece, as contrasted to his magnanimous cession of Yugoslavia to Russia. Hence England’s intrigues in the Near Eastern possessions of France, which are to be liberated from French rule in the British manner, i.e., by having good British rulers imposed upon them.

Most important, however, from the standpoint of Europe’s salvation, is the fact that England will act as gendarme over that part of Germany – and it is not an inconsequential part – allotted to her in the division of the loot. Gendarme over Germany means gendarme over Europe – in this case, of half of Europe. Can or will England police France as she will Germany? Of course not. But to the degree that she makes the “liberated” countries financially-economically dependent upon her the road is open to their loss of political dependence. The one follows the other, as we say, like the flag follows the dollar.

A gloomy outlook for Europe – if the plan for “uniting” it under two (or three) masters ruling a multitude of servants is realized in life.

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