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America Intervenes in European Conflict

Hitler Dances to Roosevelt’s Tune
Orgy of “Peace” Talk Prepares New Slaughter and Attack on U.S.S.R.!
Mobilize for Defense of the Workers Fatherland!

(May 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 27, 20 May 1933, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The past week was marked by a hectic development of the political tension on the European continent and by whirlwind American intervention to allay it. The surprisingly easy and rapid consolidation of the Nazi power in Germany while France and the rest of the entente had expected a prolonged period of internal strife to keep the German nationalists tied to their strings – led to increasing boldness on the part of Hitler on the foreign front and served, as the cause of something which is being described by the universal press as a “war hysteria comparable to that of 1914.”

As long as the fate of Germany was undecided, as long as it was not certain that the proletariat of that country would not rise against the Fascist monster and institute its own rule, the ruling classes of France, England, etc., not only had no objections to the Nazi Storm Troops but regarded them as warriors in the defense of “civilization.”

But the moment when it became clear that class struggle in Germany had for the time being, decided by the passive submission of the workers – betrayed by the socialists and kept divided by the Stalinist bureaucracy – the allied capitalists immediately saw the menace of German “rearmaments” in these same Brown Shirt formations.

It had been the original intention of the Versailles victors to solve the German crisis by maintaining their stranglehold on Germany on a new plane – showing a Fascist Germany to the forefront of war for the extermination of Soviet Russia, where it could make gains only as an agent of all of the powers of Western Europe and only to the degree to which they consented. Civil war in Germany would have left Hitler no other choice.

With the inexpensive triumph over his internal enemy, the Nazi chieftain naturally gained inspiration to drive for a much better bargain – for a place among the equals in the family of robber capitalist nations. Now, if he is to attack Soviet Russia, he wants to make sure that he will have the force behind him to dictate his own terms and to turn the balance in favor of Nazi Germany in any case. The lack of proletarian resistance within Germany itself facilitates his devilish game of flirtation with the U.S.S.R., which is a club in his hands for the purpose of shaking the positions of the Western powers.

Hitler’s excursions into Austria, and growing Fascist strength there, only served to further alarm his Allied opponents, whose aim is, of course, to hold on to that balance of power which they have held so tightly ever since Versailles. Therein lay the reasons for all the talk about “sanctions and preventative war” that so swiftly threw all of Europe into a frenzy last week.

It was at this point that Wall Street’s “New Deal” president interfered. The heavy billions of American capital investments, of war debts and private contracts which constitute the economic basis of America’s world hegemony were at stake. “Isolation” policy, which under the pressure of financial and economic intervention (Dawes Plan, Young Plan) had shrunk to the size of a flimsy formality, was definitely thrown overboard.

Retaining the traditional hypocrisy of imperialist U.S. “pacifism,” President Roosevelt addressed himself to the nations of Europe with something that amounts to a political ultimatum. Money talked and all the high and low politicians of Europe listened.

The Washington administration had been careful beforehand to make clear that it would definitely oppose all “sanction” (the occupation of the Ruhr, etc.) but dropped a gentle hint to Berlin to bide its time. Roosevelt did, to be sure, tell the Nazis that he would not stand for German “rearmament.” But at the same time, he just as categorically demanded French disarmament as a precondition for holding Germany in check.

Hitler’s Reichstag Speech

The Roosevelt message was a bitter pill for the Western powers to swallow but they had no alternative. It takes finances to impose “sanctions” and to insure against possible consequences. Hitler’s Reichstag speech, on the other hand, while indicating a turn to a slower tempo in the reestablishment of armed equality with the other powers, nevertheless showed that this was to be done only by bowing to Wall Street’s wishes and not at all on the basis of French or British pressure.

America was to be considered as “guarantor of European peace,” as a sort of super-arbiter. All in all, a handsome victory for United States imperialism and another strong twist of the American noose around Europe’s neck.

It is not strange that the capitalist press in this country has welcomed Hitler’s kowtowing to Washington. It is not strange that it now goes into peons of praise for Hitler, the pacifist. It is only somewhat ludicrous, part of the general comedy of armed pacifism.

That France and England will disarm – is hardly likely. That Hitler will, therefore, continue equipping German military forces up to France’s level – gradually, to be sure, and on the “MacDonald plan” – is just as sure. The tension has only been temporarily allayed. The race of armaments will go on as fiercely as before. The final word will, however, rest with Washington.

Hitler and the Mussolini Pact

Significantly also, Hitler reiterated his determination to stand by the Four Power Pact of Mussolini. The direction of this pact – against the Soviet Union – has been made clear before this. The danger of war against the workers’ fatherland is just as imminent as before. Only the preponderance in this looming attack against the fortress of the world revolution remains to be decided.

No amount of pacifist talk, no amount of flirtation with the USSR – by Hitler or by Roosevelt – can cover up that danger. To gloat – as the Stalinist Daily Worker does – over the fact that Litvinoff’s definition of “aggressor nation” has been accepted by Geneva, can only have one meaning: To support all the illusions of bourgeois pacifism and to help prepare the slaughter of the working class.

For workers there are no “aggressor” and “defender” nations. For workers there can only be imperialist wars and revolutionary wars. If the Soviet Union is to exist as the workers’ fatherland, the preparations for imperialist war must be mercilessly exposed. If the workers are to be forewarned against the coming butchery, it is criminal to play around with nonsensical dabblings on “aggressor” nations” and “partial disarmaments”.

Finally, if the murderous aim of the capitalists are to be defeated, the working class of the world must be rallied into a solid, compact fighting mass by the Leninist tactic of the united front, step by step in their everyday struggles, and up to the unified struggle against imperialist war. The role of the American workers in this task is, in view of the world position of American capitalism, doubly great.

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