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Albert Gates

Power Politics Reigns!

(February 1936)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 8, 19 February 1945, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Power politics met in Yalta, Crimea. Power politics was represented by the United States, Russia and Great Britain in the persons of President Roosevelt, Dictator Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill, the great chiefs of state.

The Big Powers met to decide the fate of Europe and the whole world. The power of American arms and production, the power of Russian armies and their occupation of the eastern half of Europe, the declining power of the British Empire – these things dictated the decisions reached at Yalta. Thus these decisions, compromise or otherwise, are at best provisional.

Any change in the relationships of power and arms will accordingly change the decisions reached by the Big Three. For the time being, however, they stand as a monument to the imperialist solution of the world problems. There was not one fresh breath of the spirit of genuine democracy, peace and security. What the representatives of the great military powers of the world decided was how to reinforce their present positions and to prevent any upset in their plans to defeat their economic, political and military rivals.

The decisions Will be implemented by meetings of their several commissions, their foreign ministers and finally by the forty-five other nations regarded as members of the United Nations, although subordinate ones to be sure. For the latter purpose, a conference is called for April 25 in San Francisco, where the principal job of the “United” nations will be to ratify the decisions arrived at by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill.

What was achieved at Yalta?


The powers made decisions on the, military prosecution of the way with concerted offensives to bring the war to a speedy end. They then went on to lay their plans for the joint occupation of Germany, the destruction of its industries, its military power, the Nazi government and party, and to dismember the country. Germany will be made to jpay for the war through reparations arid through the enslavement of its people, in their majority the German working class. France, relegated to a second-rate power, was invited to help enslave Germany.

Stalin long demanded his ten million slaves. Yalta endorsed this demand.

Thus, the German workers, who have paid with their blood, sweat and tears, and their very lives for the rule of Hitler, which enslaved them with the aid of the imperialists of the world and the capitulation of the Stalin to fascism, are now to pay additional indemnities for the crimes of their rulers. Yet, the crime of their rulers are the crimes of all the ruling classes of the world.

It is doubly interesting to note that nothing whatever was said about the German financial and industrial ruling classes who financed Hitler and put him into power. No plan was devised by these three organizers of chaos about the coal, steel, chemical, munition magnates and the financial wizards of Germany who put Hitler into power to destroy the labor movement and fight this war in their interests.

No, how could they? This class in Germany is the same kind of class which rules in Britain and the United States, and the one with whom Stalin has done so much business. The capitalist rulers of the United Nations dare not punish their capitalistic partners-in-profit in Germany, lest the peoples of the world get the notion to punish profiteers of the world and achieve their real freedom.

The Big Three, however, will punish the long suffering people of Germany who have lived under the lash and knife of German fascism. Behold the liberals of England and America, the trade union leaders of the same countries and the totalitarians of Russia cheering the enslavement of the German masses, while their capitalist rulers go scot free for their crimes!

The German workers will be relieved of the slavery of fascism, only to have it replaced by the slavery of occupation and foreign rule! This is the third peace! This is the so-called democratic peace!


Poland, the nation whose independence was violated by Germany and Russia in 1939, and over whose destruction the Second World Imperialist War began, the Poland which has been fighting in the war for more than four and a half years, was doomed by the action of the Big Three.

The Conferees at Yalta decided to recognize Stalin’s demands for the dismemberment of the country. It granted to Russia all of Poland east of the Curzon line. It decided to compensate Poland with territory taken from Germany, an act which will require that the Big Three underwrite this grab of Eastern Germany and East Prussia.

The conferees recognized Stalin’s hand-picked Lublin Committee as the provisional government of the New Poland, except that it shall be broadened to include Poles from abroad! Which Poles? Naturally, no Poles who have opposed Stalin’s occupation of the country or his demands – only those who are tractable and will accept the present “compromise”.

The Big Three read out of existence the reactionary Polish Government-in-Exile, now residing in London, a government which it recognized, housed and supported up to the very eve of the conference in Crimea. This legal Polish government, insofar as Poland had one, was not consulted about the decisions. It was told what its fate would be – not directly – but through the public announcements made of the conference decisions.

“Free” Elections

Oh, yes, the conference decided to hold “free” elections to determine the future government. These elections will be supervised by the Big Three, where, as one paper put it, the Russians will be in a minority of one! What hypocrites!

The Germans have already purged Poland of its most heroic people in the territory which occupied it. Stalin has purged Poland of its most heroic people in the area under his domination. The Lublin Committee which he organized has waged a campaign of terror against all its opponents since it has been in power.

And now they will run a “free” elections to select the new government. The impartiality of the elections will be determined by the fact that the Big Three will have a commission present on which Russia will be a minority of one! This is a farce too tragic for laughter. In all of these deliberations, the people, the Poles, the White Russian and Ukranian minorities are not even consulted. The Big Powers have decided on the basis of arms and their separate interests, not the interests of the people.

N.Y. Times

Listen to how the venal and hypocritical New York Times sets aside any objections to the deal made on Poland. In an editorial of February 14, it writes:

“Meanwhile ... the Polish Government-in-Exile, functioning in London, insisted that it had no mandate from the Polish people to surrender any part of Polish territory and that Russia was attempting to force a settlement of the whole question by unilateral action.

“That was true before the Yalta conference met. It is now no longer true.”

The fact that Britain and the United States assented to Stalin’s machinations in Poland, now makes it a just and legal action, according to the great minds on the Times editorial staff.

The Times goes on to say:

“The solution proposed at Yalta is a Three-power plan, supported not only by Russia, but by Britain and the United States. To be sure, the Polish Government-in-Exile had no hand in this decision (to be sure). But the fact remains that the decision was made in the name of the three Powers which alone are capable of defending the integrity of Poland against a renewal of German aggression, and by the three Powers which will once more have to bear the brunt of the fighting in case such a threat develops.”

Thus, in a single paragraph we are told that only the big Powers can decide the fate of all small countries.

That this war, which is not yet over, is incapable of any lasting solutions, since the danger of the same war, or a similar one will arise after the close of the present.

Jugoslavia, Balkans, Baltics:

The action of the Big Three on Poland is hardly different from its actions elsewhere.

They understood the power of Tito, Stalin’s hand-made Marshal in Jugoslavia. To be sure, they made a little compromise, by agreeing on a Regent in place of King Peter, and added a few gentlemen from the London Jugoslav government, but the fact remains that it is Tito’s government, which is another way of saying this is Stalin’s stamping ground.

The conference did nothing about the Balkan situation, which Stalin dominates. This problem will presumably be solved at another time.

It was equally silent on the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) which Stalin has long since incorporated by force into the borders of Russia. Being practical, gentlemen, the Yalta traders decided to forget all about it.

Nor was anything said about Russia’s machinations in Iran, which suddenly dropped out of the news.

Atlantic Charter:

With the cynicism which characterizes all imperialists, the Big Three then announced that they re-endorsed the Atlantic Charter, that is, re-endorsed a document which has been torn to shreds, which was never applied in practice, which President Roosevelt found it possible to joke about, and which is violated every day of the war.

They re-endorsed the Atlantic Charter after the incorporation of the Baltic States into Russia without the consent of the people, after the rape of Poland and a solution to the problem without consulting the people, after the seizure of territories by Russia without consulting the people or giving them the right to decide their fate, after Churchill made clear that the document had no application to the imperialist possessions of the Empire! The hypocrisy of the imperialists has overflowed the cup long ago.

And What Else?

Up to now the three Powers have been going their separate ways in the solution of non-military problems. Stalin simply seized everything in his path. England acted more or less on its own in the concrete working out of problems in Italy, Greece and Belgium. The United States was silent most of the time, acquiesced at others, and objected from time to time. The Yalta conference decided at least this: no more unilateral actions. Henceforth the Big Three will jointly decide all questions.

It is also reported that agreement has been reached on Dumbarton Oaks, the details of which are still to come.

“Internal Peace”

But most important is the decision of the Powers to supervise the “liberation” of all countries, their governments and elections with a view to keeping “internal peace.” This is clearly a warning to the peoples of Europe that any attempt on their part to get rid of the rotten ruling classes, the capitalistic profiteers, who are responsible for the war, the mass misery, poverty and starvation on the Continent, will be met with the fury of the armed forces of the Big Three.

When they speak of “internal peace,” they mean to prevent any social and economic change that the people may desire. The importance of this action will grow the stronger become the desires of the masses for change. In this way the international counter-revolution is being organized by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill, all three of them extremely conscious and sensitive to the moods of the masses and their desires. They are the gravest danger to the working people of Europe and the whole world. They stand in the way of genuine social progress and a future world of peace, security and freedom.

And again, as in all previous conferences, not all decisions were made public. Just as the Big Three dared not reveal – and have not, to this day – the terms of the Italian armistice, they have not put before the people who are paying and dying for the War their full plans. Secret diplomacy is the partner of capitalist power politics.

If Stalin got his demands, and it is clear that he did, what if anything did England and America get out of the conference? England got little or nothing, except the assurance that the United States will become an active participant in European affairs, and bolster up. Britain as a subordinate partner of Yankee imperialism.

The United States got a foothold on the European Continent. But more than that, it obtained a letter of credit in the form of Russian participation in the Pacific struggle. There is no doubt that agreements were made for Russian assistance in the war against Japan. There is no doubt either that the division of the spoils has already been decided in principle. This will be clearer in time.

These, in brief, were the main decisions fcf the Big Three meeting in the Crimea. It was a gathering, of imperialists deciding the fate of the world. It had nothing whatever to do with the future peace, freedom or security of the world. It had a great deal to do with power politics, the divisions of the booty, future markets, territories, spheres of influence and profits. Above all, history will record that the seeds of the Third World War were planted in Yalta.

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