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Acute Crisis Shakes Germany and Central European Lands

Whole Communist Movement of Europe Now Put to the Test

(July 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 15, 18 July 1931, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The latest reports arriving from Germany Indicate that the adoption of the Hoover plan has not achieved the task it proclaimed for itself. The internal situation, instead of being relieved has been greatly aggravated. The delay brought about by the negotiations between the Americans and the French has called forth an unprecedented flight of capital from Germany, nearly $500,000,000 leaving the country within the period of the last few weeks. The collapse of the Danat Bank, the financial institution most intimately bound up with the rise of German imperialism and the subsequent bank holiday have brought in their wake something resembling a little earthquake in central European finances. The mark is not being quoted at all on several exchanges. In Belgium, Hungary and other European countries, especially in Central Europe where national banks are also crashing, German currency is not accepted for payment. What the adoption of the Hoover plan did perhaps achieve, is the postponement of the formal and immediate downfall of the Young Plan which would have brought into sharp view a whole series of international entanglements of a catastrophic nature. As matters stand at present, the Bruening government, feeling that for the time being its external hardships are over, is preparing for an intensified campaign on the internal front. The relief brought about by the suspension of reparation payments, has been amply offset by the withdrawal of foreign private credits and by the continued export of capital. The situation in the Reich is even more serious than it was a month ago.

All hope of foreign aid is gone. The government is concentrating every effort towards the exploitation of internal “resources” by extending the already existing emergency decrees. Despite the promises made on the basis of the moratorium, the decree reducing the last crumbs of Unemployed Insurance stands and a whole string of even more outrageous anti-working class political measures are being contemplated, involving all round wage cuts, more indirect taxation and more reduction of social benefits. In view of all these planned steps, the Bruening government has already, within the last few days suspended all Communist publications, according to dispatches, and prohibited all open air meetings. The reactionary Hjalmar Schacht, the former president of the Reichsbank and an avowed representative of the Hugenberg-Hitler National Bloc is being mentioned for the post of extraordinary Finance Commissioner, to be especially created for him. That this means a decisive step toward a dictatorship cannot be disputed. Whether the United States capitalists would consent to the establishment of a German Fascist dictatorship, with all the neo-imperialist German ambitions that it involves and all the unrest that would inevitably follow it on the scale of the entire continent, is another question entirely.

In the meantime, the crisis is tearing on at a high pitch. All the political factions are re-arming feverishly in the contest for state power. While the government is steering to the Right, the population as a whole is moving toward the Left. The fascists are devoid of any stable mass basis, the social democracy, which has followed at the tail of the reactionary Bruening government for the past sixteen months, is regarded with suspicion by broad sections of the working class. The Communists who, according to the admissions of the capitalist press itself, are the only political group with a definite plan of action, are once again, as several times in the past, facing the test: Can they make their program, the program of the proletarian dictatorship that means an end to all imperialist treaties and agreements, that institutes the socialized planning of industry and abolishes crises and unemployment – can they make this program the program of the oppressed and disinherited masses?

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