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Hugo Oehler

America’s Role in Germany

Wall Street’s Stake in Germany

(February 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 10, 20 February 1933, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“The problem of the mutual relations between the United States and Europe was very intimately bound up with the question of Fascism and social democracy. Only the defeat of the German revolution of 1923 made it possible for American capital to begin the realization of its plans for the (momentarily) peaceful subjugation of Europe. Under these circumstances, the American problem should have been considered in its full magnitude. Instead, the leadership of the Fifth Congress simply passed it by.” (Trotsky – Strategy of the World Revolution)

Such an analysis as early as the Fifth Congress would have enabled the Comintern to consider properly the role of American imperialism, and also the changing and developing new class relationships in Germany – both of which problems are not understood by the Comintern even to this day.

The defeat of the German revolution in 1923 made possible the “Americanization” of Europe through the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, etc. Upon this defeat and the triumph of Stalinism in the Comintern, the necessary base for a new alignment of class relations in Germany was established. The propping up of the structure with American capital laid the objective base for capitalist stabilization. The triumph of Stalinism, upon the wave of revolutionary regress, laid the subjective base for the “return” of social democracy as a crutch for crippled German capitalism Meanwhile capitalism nurtured the Fascist force for the coming showdown with the “Marxian swine”.

In this period, while capitalist Germany was walking upon the crutches of social democracy and the American dollar, the main task of American imperialism was the problem of preventing the extension of the October revolution, of propping up decaying capitalism, and of maintaining thereby the dominating imperialist position and the super-profits that go with it.

Around Germany and its reparation problem in this post war period revolves the complex of capitalist contradictions. Today around Germany and its Fascist hordes the same thing is seen in a higher form. The key to the international situation, as Trotsky has said, is Germany.

American investments in Germany are tremendous.

Their protection is a major concern of our imperialists. In the past, every mark Germany paid in reparations was more than equalled by loans from American imperialism. But to keep this up indefinitely is not possible to American profits. From this flowed the new problem of the Hoover moratorium, the reparation “settlement” and the war debt question.

The moratorium and reparation settlement were frantic attempts to hold in check the inevitable civil war in Germany. These moves were not successful. But they were able to strengthen the reactionary forces of Fascism against the proletariat. Between he contradictory problem of profits and the prevention of the extension of the October revolution, the American imperialists have been jumping, in the hope that a parallel line of march can be obtained for these two factors in the decay of capitalism.

Normal bourgeois rule in Germany is desired. But American imperialism knows enough to change its attitude when the time demands it. The German capitalists were slow and by no means unanimous in changing from social democracy, to coalition, to Bonapartism and now – to Fascism. The American imperialists will show these same contradictions in their change of position, and a slower tempo. Already a growing section of the American capitalists are in favor of “Hitler and Hindenburg – since the Bonapartist attempts have been dislodged by the sharpening class relations.”

In South America, American imperialism has supported in turn reactionary, liberal, and “revolutionary” governments and has resorted to armed intervention – depending in each case upon the class relations and imperialists relations, according to the profit interest of American capital. Germany will be no exception. The only difference is that the explosive class relations in Germany are at a far higher stage than in South America, where the flames of revolt can be far easier held in check. Therefore, far more precaution has been shown by ruthless American imperialism.

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Last updated: 17 April 2015