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Sam Gordon

Aftermath of Lausanne

European Powers Seek United Front Against United States

(July 1932)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 29 (Whole No. 125), 16 July 1932, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Contrary to expectations, the European powers did manage to come to at least a temporary agreement on reparations at Lausanne. Faced with tho perspective of a bankrupt and politically tottering capitalist Germany, the Allied vultures have agreed for the time being to release their claw’s grasp from the throat of their Teuton competitor.

The German Junker delegation at Lausanne spoke hard words and came off with a sigh of relief. The governments of Great Britain, France, Italy and Belgium have decided to give German capitalism a breathing spell on the external front so as better to be able to entrench reaction within the country and to prepare the crushing of the internal enemy – the awakening German proletariat.

What the Agreement Consists of

The agreement arrived at by the diplomats in the conference reduces the original reparations sum demanded of the Reich – $33,000,000,000 – to a mere $750,000,000. $8,000,000,000 of the original sum had already been paid under the Dawes and the Young plans. The payment of the remaining $750,000,000 is to take the form of bond issues which are not to be redeemed for more than three years. The Germans are thereby granted a greater concession than ever before. A new alignment of the imperialist forces is in the offing.

It is well known that American pressure had a great deal to do with the accord finally achieved. Herriot, the leader of the French delegation has admitted as much in his report before the Chamber of Deputies. American private capital has some $6,000,000,000 dollars at stake in Germany not counting various trade advantages, concessions, etc. The action of the European powers was, in this sense, a gesture to draw out of the Wall St. government a compromise with regard to their own war debts, amounting to some $10,000,000,000 at this date.

But the continental imperialists do not restrict themselves to gestures, nor do they store great hopes in the good faith of their American creditor. Perhaps even more sensational and more important than the settlement made at Lausanne is the new entente that has been formed or rather, reformed by Great Britain and France “in the spirit which has inspired the Lausanne agreement”. The entente provides for coordination in the efforts of each country to obtain a favorable deal on war debts from Washington. It further proposes to find a common “solution for the disarmament question which will be beneficial and equitable for all the powers concerned”. That is, it advances the idea of a united front of European governments in opposition to the hypocritically pacifist (for the other powers) plans of the Hoover administration. Finally, the official statement announcing the entente expresses the “hope that other governments will join them in adopting their procedure”, an obvious feeler extended to the Germans, considering that this organized cooperation will also preoccupy itself with the “practical preparation of the world economic conference”.

The Significance of the New Entente

Just how serious this newest step of the diplomats actually is, can be gathered from the manner in which they proceeded. Immediately after the adjournment of the Lausanne gathering, rumors of a Franco-British accord began to spread. At first, there were vigorous denials by both parties concerned. Things went so far that even the parliamentary bodies of the two powers were not informed of the affair. Only one hour before Parliament was dissolved for the summer period did Sir John Simon, the British Foreign Minister inform the House of Commons of the action taken, so that no debate would be possible. Immediately after Sir John’s announcement, all sorts of “interpretations” came pouring in from Downing Street. In Paris, a similar atmosphere was created.

All these indications point to the conclusion that the European front is being organized against the American ration master. As a confirmation of this conclusion can be considered the fact that the official announcement of the new Franco-British entente followed only after the American Secretary of State had denied any and every sort of participation of the Washington administration in the agreement accomplished at Lausanne. It was really Stimson’s statements that called forth the publication of the treaty.

It is altogether unlikely that the European united front against Yankee capital will reach the point of realization. The conflicts on the continent are too deep-rooted and much too dependent upon national consideration for a solid international front to be established. The American colossus still holds the fate of many of the lesser countries in the balance. An agreement like the present can be prompted merely by temporary necessities. The Lausanne accord still remains tenative to decision by the various national legislative organs. It is only the threat of proletarian uprising, with Germany as the power house, that forces the imperialist robbers to bring their heads together in parley. The German working class has gained nothing by Lausanne. There is not a thought in the minds of the German reaction to release their stranglehold on Germany’s workers. The lease of life which German capitalism has received on the international front will surely instigate an even harder drive than before to push Fascism into power.

The struggle of the German working class against the Fascist menace is a struggle of international significance. The victory of the German working class alone will open the road for a solution of the impasse on the continent by paving the way for a Soviet United States of Europe. Only a Soviet United States of Europe can help the old world to ward off the shackles of Wall Street domination and save it from degeneration into barbarism.

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