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Henry Judd

The Axis: Dispatch Reveals World Strategy

(August 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 34, 24 August 1942, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

LONDON, July 22 (UP) – Germany and Japan have established economic contact, the Economic Warfare Ministry disclosed today and a ‘trickle’ of raw materials – chiefly rubber from the Far East – has reached the Reich through the British blockade.

A Ministry spokesman said the goods exchanged apparently were being sent around Cape Horn, off the southern tip of South America, and that the Germans were believed to be supplying Japan with hall bearings, machine tools and similar manufactured articles.”

The above-quoted dispatch was printed obscurely in many American papers several weeks ago. Since that time its significance has been neglected and ignored by the war leaders of the United Nations.

Now, the importance of the economic contact that has taken place and which is admitted by the British Ministry is primarily a symbolic one. The actual amount of material that has been exchanged between the two Axis partners (Germany and Japan) was probably very small and even insignificant. U-boats and submarines are not effective as cargo vessels. Yet, from a political and economic standpoint, the event was of great significance, particularly if we measure it up against the Axis objectives in the Second World War.

Illustrates Strategic Aims

The war up till now has, in simplest terms, been a struggle by the Axis imperialist powers for (1) the conquest and organization of Europe; and (2) the overthrow and seizure of the British Empire. Both of these jobs have been partially accomplished and now the two partners in plunder seek to merge them; to harmonize the fruits of their victories.

Europe is basically the great industrial heart of the Axis, producing the manufactured goods, machinery, machine tools, etc. Germany, a great industrial country in its own right, has succeeded in establishing its control over the balance of Europe’s industrial centers (Belgium, France) and the rulers of that country are already thinking of post-war economic problems. For German imperialism to benefit from the victory it thinks it will win, it must be prepared to trade on favorable terms with the balance of the world.

Asia – particularly the sections conquered by the Japanese warlords – is rich in raw materials (rice, jute, rubber, tin, iron ores, tea, etc.). The Japanese Empire now controls over 90 per cent of the world’s rubber supplies as a result of its conquest of Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, etc. It has a superabundance of these materials. It must trade, it must exchange, it must have contact with other nations in order to keep its economic life alive.

This symbolic contact described in the UP dispatch illustrates the strategic aims of the two great Axis powers – to effect a juncture so that the imperialist and economic gains of each can mutually benefit one another. The whole war strategy of the Axis is directed, in the ultimate sense, toward the effecting of this juncture, this economic contact, on a broad and substantial front, rather than furtively and secretly from hidden rendezvous in the oceans of the world.

The establishment of a common frontier between Germany and Japan (stretching from Russia down through India and the Middle East as far South as the East Coast of Africa) would mean, from the viewpoint of Axis imperialism, its victory in the war. It would symbolize the unification under militarist authority of industrial, capitalist Europe with colonial, raw material producing Asia. Europe under Hitler; Asia under Hirohito! Such is the long-range strategic aim of Hitler’s military adventures in the Caucasus and North Africa and the Mikado’s wars in Burma and the South Pacific. If the Axis were ever to achieve this objective it could confront the world with enormous strength and resources; a world which would oppose it – so to speak – from the outside looking in, since the Europe-Asia Axis Empire would have inner supply lines and communications, with a great industrial core at the center.

Why the United Nations Weakness?

The leaders of the United Nations, at any rate some of the more far-sighted leaders, recognize this strategic aim of the Axis. Naturally, they understand that its accomplishment would not end once and for all the difficulties and internal conflicts of the Axis powers, but they understand at the same time that it would be a deadly blow at the United Nations. Yet, the democracies have proved to be virtually helpless at stopping the drive toward this goal! They have failed in North Africa; they are failing in the Caucasus and (by their policy) they are facilitating an Axis victory in India. In this sense, the United Nations are steadily digging their own grave in their battle with their imperialist rivals. This is the essential point in analyzing the “strategy” of the United Nations.

Labor Action and The New International have described in detail and at length the various reasons behind the total failure of the United Nations to wage an effective war, even from the imperialist point of view of these nations. It is not necessary to repeat these points here.

But it is necessary to point out, as we have over and over again, that the disaster that such an Axis victory as we have described above would represent to the workers of the entire world cannot be prevented by pinning one’s hopes and faith upon the “democracies.” They have failed, and failed miserably. Revolutionary class action by the workers (for example, full support to the struggle of the Indian people against both “democratic” British imperialism and fascist Japanese imperialism) is what we have in mind as the only sure means of preventing an Axis victory.

A socialist India and a socialist Germany would knock the props out from under the sinister designs of the Axis powers.

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