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Henry Judd

Germany the Pawn in Big Four Game

(7 April 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 14, 7 April 1947, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Big Four, assembled at Moscow, are now getting down to brass tacks and discussing their serious and sharp differences on concrete issues – what level of productivity for German industry; what form of government for the new Germany; how shall assets available for reparations in Austria be defined, etc. The preliminaries are over and now the rival powers bargain over the table in terms of dollars and property. A vast nation, with its resources and people, are on the block.

As the conference has proceeded, various documents have come to light. These documents, covering secret arrangements and deals between the great powers, are now being published, as a result of the conflicts and antagonisms between the very same partners who concluded the secret deals. Most of those published so far contain clauses whose contents have either been previously known, through other sources, or widely guessed. No one knows how many other secret agreements have yet to see the light, but everyone knows that they will. The disputes are far more likely to grow than to be glossed over. The content of all these agreements spell one word in common. Reduction of Germany to a state of pauperdom, a free hand in the exploitation of its wealth and man-power by the victors.

Concurrent with these revelations has come the third report of the Hoover Commission sent to the British-American combined zone for the purpose of examining that territory and making recommendations. This Hoover Report is, in effect, a damning indictment of the entire Allied policy, a wholesale criticism of the Roosevelt-Morgenthau policy toward Germany (reduction of the nation to a pastoral state), and another significant step in the evolving American, imperialist policy of junking all that Roosevelt stood for, with respect to Germany, and reversing previous policy by permitting the revival of German economic and industrial life, under close American supervision. So sharply does the Hoover Report fly in the face of past and even current policy that it is worth summarizing:

“There is only one path to reconstruction in Europe. That is production ... The productivity of Europe cannot be restored without ‘the restoration of Germany as a contributor to that productivity’.” (Hoover Report, No. 3)

This is the theme of Hoover’s Report, a condemnation, even though it is not acknowledged as such, of everything the Allies (including America) have hitherto done in that country. Hoover goes on to list the various ways in which this vital productivity has been lowered and partly destroyed. War plants, easily convertible to peace time, consumers’ goods production, have been destroyed. An unknown percentage of factory and equipment removals have taken place in. the Russian and French zones, including light and heavy industries. The Potsdam Accord was based on the “pastoral state conception,” as Hoover himself acknowledges. He then lists for us the specific percentages by which the productivity of various German industries have been lowered.

Food Imports Double

Today, says Hoover, Britain and America must spend $600,000,000 annually for food imports (despite this, the wave of hunger riots and demonstrations began by the heroic Ruhr coal miners is on the increase). Why is this? Because Allied policy has deliberately lowered Germany’s pre-war 85 per cent food sufficiency down to a present 64 per cent (based upon the new, that is, semi-hunger rations). The food deficiency that must be imported has, in other words doubled from 15 per cent to 36 per cent. Further, the policy of deliberately restricting fertilizer production may bring the food sufficiency percentage down to “below 60 per cent.” (All figures are Hoover’s.)

Hoover lists various “illusions,” typical of Allied policies: (1) A “pastoral state” can be created in Germany. Hoover indicates this would mean the extermination of 25 million German people. (2) Germany can exist without any heavy industry. Hoover points out that the idea of a drastic distinction between “war” and “non-war” industries is a myth. (3) Germany and Europe can recover economically and socially without a rebuilding and resetting in motion of all of German industry.

So sternly does Hoover dismiss all these illusions (we are not concerned at the moment with his motives) that he proposes to set the whole apparatus in motion in an exactly opposite direction! All German industrial factories and plants, light and heavy, must be set going once more. This, and nothing less, is what the Hoover Report proposes.

Catastrophic State

Everything done, up until this point, has had the opposite effect upon German and European life. It has brought the Continent to its present catastrophic state of affairs. This policy is familiar in various agreements and accords well known to the world (Yalta, Potsdam, etc.) The secret aspects of these agreements, now published for the first time, are only reinforcements of public policies:

“The United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics shall possess supreme authority with respect to Germany. In the exercise of such authority they will take such steps, including the complete disarmament, demilitarization and dismemberment of Germany as they deem requisite for future peace and security." (Secret clause of Yalta Agreement.)

“Removals within two years ... (equipment, machine tools, ships, rolling stock, German investments abroad, shares of Industrial, transport and other enterprises in Germany).&rdquot (Secret protocol on reparations.)

“Annual deliveries of goods from current production for a period to be fixed.”

“Use of German labor.”

“... the total sum of the reparation in accordance with ... should be 20 billion dollars and that 50 per cent of it should go to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”

This is the nature of the secret clauses. Now that circumstances have changed, and the “democratic” British and Americans wish to reverse the trend, they hypocritically deny what has now become public knowledge and property. They share, together with Russian imperialism, full responsibility for the state of Germany today. They gave the Russians leeway to do what they did. This is the only meaning one can attach to the secret agreements now revealed to us.

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