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George Stern

On the War Fronts

(8 March 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 10, 8 March 1941, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The question of “war aims” is raised but little these days. Somebody writes a letter about it to the New York Times. Or an isolationist senator grasps at it for a moment in his search for telling arguments.

What are “war aims” anyway?

The Nazi war aims are made plain enough. German imperialism has embarked upon a drive to master the continent of Europe and, eventually, the colonies of Asia and Africa, and all the world’s seaways and market places.

Britain’s war aims are likewise quite clear. There is a half-truth in Churchill’s answer that Britain’s aim is to save itself. For the British Empire, the world’s most powerful military-economic-political unit up to the present generation, is passing from the scene. The British rulers of the world are trying desperately to hold on to their slipping power. They know they must cede and they prefer to cede to the United States rather than to Germany.

The war aims of American imperialism are necessarily the counterpart of Germany’s – for American finance and industry intends for itself the crown of world dominion. the German challenge to that intention has to be taken up and removed and the U.S. has to embark more “planfully” upon its career as No. 1 power in the world.

This, in brief, is the “case” of American imperialism. Henry Luce, editor of Life magazine, wrote last week that America must “exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit.”

The “we”, of course, means the rulers of American capitalism who, in Luce’s version, are to make America “the principal guarantor of the freedom of the seas” and the “dynamic leader of world trade.” This is the entrancing vision for which we are to go forward and die, with brave smiles through the gore, in the coming battles.

All the “war aims” of the capitalist powers add up to the same thing – they take us into war to secure new scope for THEIR exploitative activities or to defend the zone of exploitation which they already have.

OUR war aim, on the other hand, is to erase all exploitation. That pits us against all of them. That also is what gives us the certainty of victory for our war aim is identical with the deepest strivings of the vast majority uf all men.

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