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Henry Judd

“Peacemakers” Beat War Drums

Yugoslavia, Dardanelles, Greece, Poland and China
Are Focal Points of Conflict

(2 September 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 35, 2 September 1946, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Last week’s dispute between Yugoslavia and America over the shooting down of American pilots and alleged violation of frontiers has subsided from the heights of war-mongering propaganda (Daily News proposal to drop atomic bombs on Yugoslavia) to the level of diplomatic talks and discussions. But no sooner had this dispute subsided than a whole series of others, all issuing from the great struggle now on between America and Russia, were launched on their way, to feed the flames of future war.

There was a major struggle shaping up over future control of the strategic Dardanelles. Turkey, friendly to the Anglo-American allies, is now guardian of the Straits, but Stalin’s Russia proposes that this guardianship be shared by Turkey, Russia and Russia’s Balkan satellites. America and Britain have announced their absolute opposition to this.

There was another struggle coming up over the approaching September elections in Poland, a country dominated by Russian imperialism and sorely squeezed between Russian and Allied pressure.

There was the dispute over Greece, threatening once more to disrupt the already weary delegates at the impotent Paris Peace Conference, and underscoring the sharpness of the clash between England and Russia over the Near East and the Mediterranean.

There was the expanding civil war in China, between the American-backed Chungking government and the Russian-backed Hunan Stalinist government.

Yugoslavia Dispute

Against this background of worldwide clashes between America and Russia, the clash over Yugoslavia takes on its proper proportion. It was a test, an experiment carried out at a distance and by indirect means, through which imperialist-dictator Stalin hoped to probe his Anglo-American rivals in a sore spot, and see their reactions. Would they yield? Would they retreat? Would they bluff, or would they react sharply and match threat with threat, force with force?

American imperialism, in the form of a diplomatic “ultimatum,” gave its partial answer. It was that of a great imperialist power not ready or willing, at the moment, to precipitate a premature military clash and go to war. The so-called ultimatum, despite its violent writing up in the press, did nothing more than threaten to haul Marshal Tito before the United Nations.

But neither, of course, was Stalin prepared for war over such an issue. True, he is extremely anxious to establish his puppet Tito in control of Trieste (thus completing Russian domination over the Balkan peninsula and the Adriatic), but not at the cost of a premature world conflict – Russia is not prepared today for war. In this sinister game, Marshal Tito, who apes his master Stalin even to the degree of wearing a replica of the uniform of the Kremlin dictator, was only a willing tool in the hands of the latter. He too, of course, wants Trieste and Venezia Giula for his country’s expansion policy, but when Stalin gave the word to retreat and yield on the American “ultimatum,” Tito responded as a lackey always does. Now he will escort the bodies of the flyers he shot down last week!

Russia versus America; America versus Russia – one imperialist giant against another imperialist giant. This is the underlying story of the Paris Peace Conference, the Yugoslavian crisis, the Chinese civil war, and of other crises and disputes that will inevitably take place.

Will There Be War?

Will there be war now? Within the immediate future? There is little likelihood of this. Instead, in a never-ending, constantly broadening and deepening “war of nerves,” these two power-giants will dispute over every political, territorial and diplomatic issue that arises in the future.

Both powers are engaging in vast strategic maneuvers, consolidating territories already occupied or under their influence, strengthening ties and bonds with their respective puppets and agents, shifting forces and building up reserves, etc. As things stand at present, this period of pre-war preparation – that is, preparation for the Third World War – may last a long time. Nobody can predict when the actual and inevitable explosion will come, but it is already clear to most of us that come it will UNLESS ...

Unless what? Unless the workers’ movement proves able and powerful enough to call a halt to the war plans of the two leading imperialist powers. The world of imperialism cannot prevent war, as the current Paris Peace Conference clearly attests to. The world of Russian and American imperialism can only clear the way for a conflict in which these two monsters attempt to destroy the other and become the top, total Master of the entire world. This is the conflict now being prepared, this is the background of the clash with Yugoslavia.

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