Macdonald Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Dwight Macdonald

Sparks in the News

(29 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 63, 29 August 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Business Is Business”

The great nations are today helping one another to be ready to fight, quite possibly with each other, as never before. From their principal ports hundreds of ships are streaming over the seas with the finished products and the materials which war must have. “Business is business,” and in no business today is there more intense competition than there is in this great business. All perfectly legal, of course; yet, for example, it cannot be exactly pleasant, just now, for an Englishman to learn that Britain is sending 300,000 tons of coal to Germany every month; that Italy has just arranged for 1,000,000 tons of that necessity, from British mines; that during 1938 Germany received from Britain, France and Belgium ten million metric tons of imports largely of a character of potential assistance to her in preparation for war; that during 1938 Germany’s imports of pig iron and scrap were nearly five times greater than they were two years before; that Britain, France and Belgium sent to Germany 45 per cent of that nation’s recently imported supplies of iron ore and ore containing manganese. And the great supplies of oil that Britain has sent to Germany are, of course, a matter of common knowledge.

Britain’s aircraft factories are producing large quantities of planes for export as well as those for her own defense. The United States’ exports to Japan have been, and are being, of enormous assistance to that country. The Netherlands East Indies are practically defenseless, and the jittery mood of those important islands is evidenced by the wiring of oil wells for destruction. Yet the Netherlands were one of the three countries which supplied Japan with 75 per cent of her war necessities last year. Russia, of course, has sent vast supplies to China, but Germany’s deep affection for Japan has not interfered with her also entering the rich Chinese market. Indeed, Tokyo believes that Germany has aided China in this respect more than has any other nation. In the World War thousands of German soldiers perished before Verdun on barbed wire “made in Germany” which France received, through Switzerland, shortly before the war began, and many a British soldier met his death through an agency that was the product of his homeland. So it would be again.

Krupps still find business satisfaction in the fact that at Jutland both the British and German fleets carried their products. Before Hitler, Krupps employed 46,000; today, 105,000. Business is excellent. A recent annual report of Krupps ended thus:

In conclusion, the committee desires to report that it has taken full cognizance of reports that a conference designed to bring to pass a reduction of armaments is to be held, and that it has definitely established that these reports are baseless. The industry may, therefore, be assured that the coming year will be a period of undisturbed activity and steadily increasing prosperity. Makers of armaments in other lands also see few evidences of any depression.

* * *

NOTE: What you have just read is the full text, reprinted without addition or alteration, of an editorial which appeared in the N.Y. Times for August 21, 1939. Just what was in back of the mind of the editors of the Times in printing such an editorial, I don’t know. But anyway, they have my thanks for doing a job I couldn’t have done (much) better myself. – D.M.

Macdonald Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 4 March 2016