From Workers’ International News, Vol.5 No.7, December 1944, pp.12-14.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
We print below extracts from a leaflet issued illegally in France under the Nazi occupation by our European comrades. While all the other organisations of the working class have succumbed to nationalism and chauvinism, the Fourth Internationalists alone have carried on the traditions of socialist internationalism.
All over the world the forces of the Fourth International refuse to allow the outworn frontiers and boundaries to divide them, but stand united against the capitalists of all countries.
Under great difficulties and at the risk of their lives, our comrades have carried on the struggle against the Nazis. News has just reached us that more than 100 members of the Trotskyist Party in France were annihilated by tile Gestapo as well as 30 German soldiers who were won to our position and were shot by the Gestapo. Our comrades published a special paper for the German army called Arbeiter Und Soldat (Worker and Soldier).
But despite these blows, our comrades continue in their heroic work. 70 issues of the paper of our French comrades La Verité were produced illegally throughout the German occupation of France.
This leaflet, issued by the European Secretariat of the Fourth International is an annihilating indictment of the Vansittart policies of the Labour and Stalinist leaders in this and other countries. Had Stalin continued this policy which is the policy of Lenin and Trotsky, Hitler would have been destroyed by the German workers and all Europe would today be socialist. But despite the sell-out of Stalinism, the ideas of international working class solidarity live and will be victorious in Europe and the world.
The battles that will decide the issue of the war in Europe have begun. The Western part of the continent has once again become the theatre of monstrous massacres, of untold devastation and suffering for the people.
The accumulated forces of the British and American imperialists, for long intentionally kept inactive in order to weaken both Germany and Soviet Russia, and render exhausted Europe incapable of resisting their domination, are now being thrown with extreme violence into the assault for final victory.
The Yankee and British financiers, the big bankers and industrialists have long fed the Nazi war machine, permitting it to obtain via the “neutrals”, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Sweden and Argentine, oil, wolfram, chronic, manganese, and other materials essential for modern war, to be used against the Soviet Union. They happily looked on while the peoples of Europe were being crushed beneath the Hitlerite boot, while the continent was being drained of all its wealth and its undernourished populations physically weakened. They destroyed the most populous towns by heavy bombardments. They now think the time has come to consolidate their gains.
The main aims which the big financiers of New York and London have in Europe are:
- To drive the Soviet Union out of Europe;
- To break the expansive power of German imperialism;
- To open the way, in the whole of Europe to their capital and goods;
- Having eliminated all other competitors, to put the populations of the continent on short rations, so that by their intensive labour they may be able to pay the enormous debts which the capitalist states have contracted during the war, as well as the sums which they owe to the British and American armament manufacturers to whom they owe their “liberation”.
The advance of the Red Army and the increasing ferment among the masses in all the occupied countries, Norway and Greece, Poland and France, endangered the realisation of these rapacious plans. They had to act, and act quickly.
For five years you have endured great sufferings under the Hitlerite tyranny. You have experienced terror, hunger, cold and death. Your organisations have been destroyed, your most elementary liberties have been trampled under foot.
Crowded in the war factories, you have toiled day and night, without rest, underfed, bullied and exposed to the gravest dangers, in order to make the weapons which the Nazi dictatorship has used against the peoples of Europe and the German people themselves.
You have been uprooted from your native soil, you have been deported, you have been used as beasts of burden, as if you were not human. Hundreds and thousands of your brothers have fallen at the hands of the Gestapo and the SS.
The prisons and concentration camps are crammed with the innumerable victims of the Hitlerite tyranny.
The extent of the fascist terror has merely given an indication of the terrible situation which the workers can expect if they do not succeed in, destroying capitalism, the cause of fascism and war. But the fate that awaits you under the rule of the British and American imperialists will be no better.
It is a monstrous lie to say that those who in their colonies oppress more than 500 million people, who refuse freedom for Ireland, who starve India and drench her with blood, who covet China, who wish to re-impose their yoke upon the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines, who for their own profit deprive the “enemy” imperialism of Italy and the “allied” imperialism of France of their colonies, that they can bring liberty to the peoples of Europe.
It is a monstrous lie to say that those who fight their own workers, when they strike, with the police, army and prison, can ensure democratic “liberties” for the European workers.
It is a monstrous lie to say that Churchill and Roosevelt, who openly defend Franco, the sinister hangman of the Spanish proletariat, who embraced the fascist Badoglio and the reactionary Giraud, who maintain friendly relations with the most reactionary representatives of the Vichy gang, are fighting for “democracy” and against “fascism”.
Their own statements and their own actions have already exposed their real face, even before they have succeeded in occupying Europe and establishing their rule.
Roosevelt and Churchill, these champions of “democracy”, who proclaim that they have taken up arms for the sole purpose of crushing the “Hitlerite dictatorship, now deny you the right to choose your own government and your own municipal representatives.
In place of Hitler, of the Quislings and the Lavals, their Gestapo, their SS, their police and their militia, they are sending you Eisenhower and his generals who intend to assume for a whole period the powers of government in the “liberated” countries. De Gaulle himself has been compelled to protest against the humiliating treatment meted out to him by his ungrateful “allies”. Your action alone can force them to retreat.
You are hoping for immediate Peace and Freedom.
They are preparing to mobilise you under the colours and orders of Eisenhower, to fight against their enemies.
You are hoping to breathe at last after five years of oppression under the fascist yoke and to resume your struggles to improve your social conditions.
They are preparing to set against you the same police apparatus which is oppressing you to-day, and praetorian hordes as ferocious at the Hitlerite SS.
You are hoping for a lower cost of living, normal food supplies, adequate wages, and a considerable reduction in the hours of work.
Their first answer is the introduction of inflation by means of the fake money which they are printing in their banks in order to make you pay the cost of your “liberation” yourselves.
You want a stable peace, a united, free and prosperous Europe.
They plan the Balkanisation of Europe by a new Versailles Treaty which will split up, Germany, multiply artificial frontiers, oppose any understanding between the peoples, excite national hatreds and antagonisms.
They plan a new super-League of Nations, the armed police of Yankee and British imperialism on the continent.
You understand by now what your immense labours and sufferings will lead to if you give the imperialist a free hand. You can see by now that this “liberation” is a gigantic fraud.
In this critical hour, when the fate of Europe and of humanity is being decided for several decades at least, the eyes of the workers of the whole world are anxiously turned towards the USSR and the Red Army.
What game is the USSR, the workers’ state which emerged from the first victorious socialist revolution in 1917, playing in this robbers’ war?
What resistance is it offering to the imperialist plans of robbery and enslavement of the, working masses?
The workers should regard the Soviet masses and the Red Army as their best allies in their struggle against world imperialism, but they should have no confidence in the policy of the Stalinist bureaucracy in this war.
It is it policy of submission and retreat before the menacing advance of Yankee imperialism.
It is a policy of betrayal of the working masses of the capitalist world and/or the USSR itself.
In spite of the brilliant victories of the fled Army, this policy of retreats and concessions to imperialism, with the blows which it deals to the revolutionary movement by dissolving the Communist International and leading the Communist Parties of the capitalist countries on the road of class collaboration and chauvinism, stands every day more clearly opposed to the proletarian Revolution in Europe and the world. The defeat of the Revolution would inevitably mean the destruction of the last Socialist conquests in the USSR.
To allow Yankee and British imperialism to triumph in Europe would mean tightening the noose around the USSR in a much shorter time than it took capitalism after the last war to launch the assault against it.
At the moment when the war between the imperialists is entering upon its last phase in Europe, the so-called workers’ parties, reformist and Stalinist, have nothing better to tell you that to line up behind the Yankee and British brigands in order to achieve your liberation”.
For years the Communist Parties endeavoured to gain your confidence by their fidelity to the Revolution.
But now, at the decisive moment when the power of the bourgeoisie, undermined and corroded by live years of war, is decomposing, the Communist Parties are entering into the bourgeois governments of de Gaulle and Bonomi and placing their authority at the service of the exploiters.
You have other tasks to fulfil than to play the miserable role which the cynical agents of the bourgeoisie and the despicable Stalinist bureaucrats propose to you.
Your task is to oppose the imperialist solution of the war by your the solution which will give you Peace, Liberty, Bread by the victory off the Socialist Revolution and the Socialist United States of Europe and the World.
This War which has destroyed millions of human lives and tremendous material wealth, which has marked the climax of barbarism in human history, should never have taken place. Only the impotence of the workers’ movement allowed it. If you leave the capitalist regime intact once again, you will experience a short period of “peace”, with economic crises, unemployment, poverty and fascist oppression, and then very soon the horrors of the third imperialist world war, already mentioned by Wallace, the recognised spokesman of Yankee imperialism.
Only the victorious proletarian revolution can release you from the hell of capitalism.
Dragging out the imperialist war will only bring you new sufferings, death and devastation. We must put an end to the war and Nazism.
Overthrow Hitler by your own action through the German Socialist Revolution, open the road to the European and World Socialist Revolution!
Fraternise with the working masses in the occupied countries!
Fraternise with the “allied” soldiers!
The financiers of London and New York have sent you, not in order to “liberate” bruised, ruined and devastated Europe, but in order to subject it to their exploitation.
Refuse to serve their plans of robbery and enslavement of the working; masses of Europe.
Fraternise with them in all their struggles for their social emancipation!
Fraternise with the German soldiers!
Enough blood, ruins and death.
An end to the imperialist war, to the fratricidal struggle of the workers.
Unite in a powerful class Front against your common enemy: capitalism!
In the factories, districts, villages and the army, form your committees of representatives democratically elected by the mass of the workers, peasants and soldiers! Oppose them to the power of the bourgeoisie!
With the slogans of “liberation’’, “peace” and “democracy” on their lips, the capitalist criminals disarm you and try to crush the revolution of the European proletariat with their military machine and their pretorian guards.
The bourgeoisie itself has placed the class war on the order of the day.
Arm yourselves, form your Workers’ Militias, disarm the reactionary forces, meet arms with arms, force with force!
The imperialists are waging their last battles for the robbery and enslavement of Europe and the World.
The workers are taking up the struggle:
The European Executive Committee of the IVth International
Last updated on 23.11.2005