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Reva Craine

World Politics

(14 May 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 20, 14 May 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Enough” Is To Much

ILYA EHRENBURG, until recently the official Kremlin hate-monger against the German people, has fallen from grace. He has been taken to task for over-reaching himself in an article entitled Enough in which he attempted to explain why the German people fled from the advancing Russian army instead of welcoming it as a liberator.

We need only recall that it was Ehrenburg who said, with official sanction, that the Russians were coming to Germany, not as liberators but as conquerors, and that those Germans who would welcome the advancing Russian army would be the “first people we would shoot.”

In his latest article, he states that all Germans are the same, that is, fascists and murderers, and that they must all be held equally responsible for the crimes of Hitler. He writes that the German people are a “huge gang which is scattering and fleeing now that the time has come to answer for their-deeds.”

They Came as Conquerors

For these statements, Ehrenburg, who was merely carrying out orders, is now being reprimanded in the Russian press. That the German masses did not enthusiastically welcome the armies of Stalin cannot be denied, not even in Stalin’s official press, which has been able to create all kinds of fables. The German masses, no matter what they may think about the nature of Russia itself, know one thing: Stalin’s armies are not coming as liberators, but as conquerors.

They know this from the pens of all the Ehrenburgs, and they know this from the past deeds of Stalin’s armies as they occupied one country after another. They know it from the proposal of tfte Russian ruling class to take at least ten million German workers into slavery. And they have not forgotten that Stalin is the ex-partner of Hitler and has his own system of concentration camps, torture chambers, frame-ups and confession trials.

The Russian press is now trying to explain away the fact that the German people fled upon the approach of the Russian armies. The Stalinist writers have been instructed to say that all this has happened as a result of a plot on the part of the Nazis who tried to sow intrigue and dissension among the Allies by frightening the German masses about the Russians and making them less apprehensive about the western Allies.

Ehrenburg is how repudiated for having lumped all the Germans into one mass. No, he is now told, not all the Germans will be punished or exterminated. That is all a Nazi lie, you see. And Ehrenburg is helping the Nazis by writing as he does. The reason for this change should be sought in the increasing difficulties of the Big Three.

Nothing in the criticism of Ehrenburg, however, repudiates the Russian proposal for ten million German slaves. There is no indication of who the “good” Germans are, except a passing reference that those “who behave loyally toward the Allied armies are not threatened.”


Changing the Line

How serious may be the differences between Russia, on the one hand, and Britain and the United States on the other, is reflected in the as yet cautious words of Earl Browder, American mouthpiece for Joseph Stalin. The San Francisco conference is daily revealing these deep-seated conflicts among the Big Three in their desire to dominate the European continent. The dispute over Poland may well be the crucial question.

Should a break occur between Russian and American policies, the Communist Party in this country will again “change the line.” And Earl Browder, in his capacity of leader of that party, is the official line-changer.

His recent piece in the Daily Worker is preparing for any change that might be called in Moscow. From an all-out endorsement of the foreign policy of the United States, there are now squeezed in cautious words of criticism. As yet, it is not an all-out break and condemnation. Browder utilizes Roosevelt’s death to say that the latter’s policy of collaboration with Russia is now being distorted by the U.S. delegation at San Francisco and questions whether it is not Vandenburg who is making U.S. foreign policy.

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