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Susan Green

The Annihilation of Lidice

(22 June 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 25, 22 June 1942, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In further reprisal for the assassination of the unlamented Reinhard Heydrich, the whole Czech town of Lidice was wiped out by the Nazis in one ruthless stroke of violence.

All the men were shot. All the women were sent to concentration camps or other dreadful fate. All the children were taken to “educational institutions,” Nazi style. The town itself was “levelled to the ground.” The job of extermination was complete: The Berlin radio reported that “the name of the community was extinguished.”

The front pages of the daily press featured this frightful news and people reading shuddered at this additional act of Nazi terror. The horror of annihilating a whole town – its families and its homes – and leaving nothing but emptiness is indeed more shocking even than the cold-blooded execution in larger cities of individuals en masse – which is also a well known Nazi custom.

But such foul acts against humankind, such businesslike extermination of all opposition or suspected opposition, was not instituted by the Nazis nor is it only a Nazi custom.

For instance, the British imperialists are also well acquainted with such inhuman practices. Once upon a time – but not so long ago that the Hindus do not remember – entire villages in India were snuffed out because their inhabitants stood in the path of British imperialism, just as today a Czech town meets the same fate at the hands of the Nazis and for the same reason.

For instance, the “gentle” Belgian imperialists are likewise not strangers to the murderous methods of imperialist conquest. Native villages in Africa were inundated by the blood of the natives who were bold enough to oppose the white invaders of their land. Many an African village went up in smoke as did the Czech town of Lidice and for the same reason.

Instances can be multiplied to show that the imperialist record of the United Nations is also red with the blood of conquered peoples and black with the smoke of burned villages. Definitely imperialist terror is not solely a Nazi custom. It is a universal imperialist custom.

To label the arsenic in one bottle “poison” and the same deadly stuff in another bottle “tonic” is undeniably dangerous to human life. Similarly is it dangerous to the future of humanity to make false distinctions between the imperialist nations.

That is why the class conscious worker – wherever he is and whatever the color of his skin – looks on the Nazi extermination of the Czech town of Lidice as a symbol of international imperialist brutality. The class conscious worker responds by gritting his teeth, clenching his fists and pledging himself to the cause of world socialism.

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