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Jack Weber

March of Events

(23 March 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 14, 23 March 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Hitler Unmasks German Rearmament

That disquieting open “secret” of European diplomacy, the rearmament of Germany contrary to the Versailles Treaty, has finally become the accomplished fact (fait accompli) that Hitler planned from the start. The acquiescent attitude, however grudging and unwilling, revealed by the British and French governments in the recent negotiations, created for Hitler the proper atmosphere in which to practice his fascist foreign diplomacy. Hitler weighed carefully the consequences of outright denunciation of the Versailles Treaty in regard to the arms clauses at this particular time. No doubt he would have preferred a less open break with the other Western powers, even to the extent of rejoining the League of Nations for equality of armaments.

But the string attached to the negotiations of his signing an Eastern Locarno Pact “guaranteeing” peace with Soviet Russia, was diametrically at variance with the avowed objective of Nazism to expand eastward at the expense of the Soviet Union – at the same time acting as the spearhead of capitalism to crush the workers’ state. Hence Hitler cut the Gordian knot – and saved the English and French diplomats the onus of “permitting” this impetus to the speeding-up of European arming – and decided to call the bluff of the victors of the last war.

The comment on this unmasking of fascist Germany’s preparations for the coming war, particularly in the English press, proves that Hitler judged the situation correctly. Nobody thinks of sending troops into Germany to enforce the terms of a treaty that now goes by default. On the contrary, Hitler meets with distinct encouragement from the reactionaries who draw the same sharp distinction between a Locarno for the West and an Eastern Locarno. Thus the situation becomes ever more ominous for the Soviet Union.

* * *

Stalinism in France

Internally and externally Stalinism pursues the politics of the “lesser evil”; that is to say, the politics of meeting reaction half way. Even before Hitler’s casting off of all hounds that prevented the formation of a conscript army to be hurled against the Soviet Union, Soviet diplomacy strained every nerve to achieve a military alliance with France to maintain the status quo. French capitalism entered conditionally into this alliance as a guarantee against its external foe. German capitalism, and also its internal foe, the French proletariat. The C.P. of France is thus used to uphold the Flandin government as the “lesser evil” to fascism. The French fascists would instantly break off friendly relations with Soviet Russia.

The Stalinists pose the struggle basis to maintain bourgeois democracy. In this popular front – intended to diffuse and weaken the too dangerous united front of the proletarian forces leading the masses – the Stalinists include the bourgeois radical and radical socialist parties in direct alliance with Flandin. The truce government of this shrewd politician meantime pursues a policy, copied from Roosevelt, of constant promises to and just as constant betrayals of the workers. So flagrant have become the extreme right policies of the Stalinists that the left centrist current in the SFIO (French Socialist Party) have begun to sharply criticize them from the left. The Trotskyist fraction in the SFIO are beginning to gain ground and to exert some influence, tending to clarify issues for the militant socialists. In this process the Trotskyists come into greater and greater conflict not only with the right wing of the S.P. but with the Stalinist bureaucracy.

* * *

Danger of a French Amalgam

There can be no clearer explanation for the denunciation heaped on the Trotskyists as police agents by the Stalinists. Where the former call openly, in view of the dangerous situation in France, for the arming of the working class to combat and disarm fascist forces, the Stalinists lead the socialists into the trap of calling on the Flandin government to disarm the fascist bands.

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