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Albert Gates

The War Ends in Europe!

But the Struggle of the Peoples for Peace, Freedom and Security Still Goes On!

(May 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 20, 14 May 1945, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Five years, eight months and seven days after the Second Imperialist World War began the remnants of the once mighty and seemingly invincible German land forces capitulated to the overwhelming manpower and materiel of the Allied armies and ended the war in Europe.

But the most destructive war in all human history, a struggle which has destroyed the most important areas of the Continent and inflicted casualties to an estimated 40,000,000 soldiers and civilians from all countries, still goes on in the broad expanses of the Far East.

Nor will a triumph of Allied arms over Japanese militarism bring a lasting peace to the world. Already the seeds of a Third World War have been planted. For no sooner have the rifles and cannon ceased their fire, the tanks halted in their rumble of death, the planes ended their flights of destruction, when the victorious nations engage in the old imperialist game of reestablishing positions by which each hopes to dominate the world.

The war against Germany and Italy in Europe, and Japan in the Far East, was a conflict between rival powers. The Axis nations sought to change the world in their, own favor. By that they understood the necessity of wresting from the United Nations the economic power lodged in Great Britain, France and the United States. In simple words, what Germany, Italy and Japan sought were the colonies, markets, raw material of the Allies.

In order to win the support of their peoples to a war of expansion, i.e. imperialism, they spoke about freedom, the right to live, need for “lebensraum.” They spoke of the need to defend culture, the living standards of their people, and civilization. But they lied, like all rulers lie when they drag their peoples into war.

In defense of their own centuries-old, ill-gotten gains, the Allied rulers pretended that the war to defend. their colonies and riches was a war for the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter, a war against fascism, totalitarianism, militarism and the inhumanity of man to man.

Yet even before the war ended in Europe, but at a time when the military fortunes of the Allies had changed to the point where victory was a certainty, the “noble ideas” announced by Rosoevelt and Churchill, for which the people must give their lives, were completely forgotten.

Old Enslavement and New

Hitler had enslaved almost all of Europe on his road to the conquest of the world. He destroyed the independence of nations and enslaved their peoples. The fascist beasts ruled the Continent with naked force, destroying what they could not subject to their brutal rule.

During the early years of the war, German fascism seemed all-powerful, incapable of destruction. But its immense power could not prevent the emergence of a new force on the Continent, the mighty resistance movements in all countries fighting for their liberation from all tyrants, fighting for their national independence, fighting for free speech, free assembly, free press and free organization, and their right to choose their own governments.

The victory of the Allies in Europe, however, did not bring these things to the people. In one country after another the same struggle goes on now against the “liberators.”

Poland, the country over whose independence the war began, is now a Russian puppet state enslaved in the same way as it was under German rule. Its people live under the terror regime ot the GPU and its Lublin offspring.

Finland is completely under the domination of Russia. The Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have been incorporated into the Russian nation and the’ other United Nations have acquiesced in Stalin’s grab.

All of Eastern Europe and the Balkans are under Russian “influence.” Italy, after more than a year and a half of “liberation,” still has not achieved its national independence, nor the important freedoms promised it in the early days of the war. Belgium remains under the supervision of Great Britain. Greece is crushed under the jagged heel of British imperialism.

So far as the colonial world is concerned, Great Britain has already announced that it will brook no interference with, her empire. Stalin’s interest in Asia has already been made abundantly clear in his intervention in Iran and in remarks subtly made about Russian interests in China, and an outlet to the Indian Ocean.

In all of these conflicts, the United States pursues its own aims of preventing any single power from dominating Europe, while seeking to establish its economic weight over the entire world.

What Is Fascism?

The war in Europe did establish the fact more clearly that behind the fascist regimes in Germany and Italy stood their respective industrial and financial ruling classes. These regimes were agents of capital, fighting a war to advance the economic interests of these capitalist classes. Despite the economic power of a revived German imperialism, the fascist movement made up of the scum of society, revealed itself to be composed of cowardly mercenaries who disintegrated when defeat became inevitable. Its collapse also revealed that the leaders were in truth merely the servants of their capitalist masters.

But German fascism had accomplished its task at home only too well. In the years preceding the war and especially during, the war they succeeded in so effectively destroying the German labor movement that military collapse did not bring about a widespread national movement of revolt, such as occurred in Italy with a weaker fascist regime. The same German masses which had suffered ten years of Nazi enslavement, now face a new enslavement under the Allied victors.

The defeat of the fascist powers, moreover, does not end the danger of fascism in the world. Fascism has been revealed as the agent of imperialism, as the servant of the capitalist rulers. So long as capitalism continues to exist, so long as imperialism is triumphant, the danger of fascism remains a constant threat to the world.

No Hope for Peace

The most important fact to be borne in mind now is that the hope of the peoples for permanent peace is in vain so long as the present social order continues. The deliberations at the San Francisco Conference of the United Nations aimed at the establishment of a new world organization to maintain the peace, already demonstrate that the new world struggle for power referred to above is inescapable.

The struggle for peace is the struggle of the peoples for a new life, for a new social system, for a socialist world of peace, freedom and plenty for all.

The consequences of the European peace for America are already obvious in the widespread cutbacks and cancellation of war contracts. This means the growth of unemployment for millions of American workers.

The Struggle at Home

The war economy which was carried through on the backs of American labor will now be sharply curtailed. But the workers who have toiled throughout the war years to break all records in production and productivity under frozen wages, a no-strike pledge and a deterioration of their working conditions and standard of living, face the coming period with the threat of unemployment under conditions where they will be unable to meet it.

The government in Washington which has so faithfully served the interests of American monopoly capitalism, guaranteed its profits and enriched it beyond all expectations, has seen to it that industry will be well rewarded for its “contribution” to the war by refunds running into hundreds of millions of dollars. This will swell even more the already swollen profits of America’s economic rulers.

Yet nothing has been done by this same government for labor to help it meet the post-war situation, such as has been created by the end of the war in Europe.

The present situation dictates to labor to organize its independent forces in a struggle for its rights. It means a fight to place the burdens of reconversion upon the shoulders of industry which can more than afford it and take it off the overburdened shoulders of labor.

This is only part of the program for labor. To carry on this fight labor must organize itself now, not only on the economic field, but on the political as well, by building a party of its own to fight for this program.

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