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Jack Weber

Hopkins Covers Stalin
and the Moscow Trials

(August 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 35, 30 August 1941, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Hopkins Investigates Russia

The significant meeting between Roosevelt arid Churchill was preceded by the sudden trip of Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt’s present alter ego, to Moscow. Hopkins stayed in Russia just long enough to have one of those intimate chats with Stalin – and then returned completely enlightened concerning the whole situation in Soviet Russia. Since the wording of the three points in his report to Roosevelt, as given in the press, has not been in any way denied, and especially since it fits in so well with the needs of the “Allies,” we can accept the widespread accounts as fairly accurate.

First of all Hopkins reported that the Red Army was still intact as a fighting force. The High Command of the Russian army was still functioning well, and this command was in uninterrupted communication with the Soviet government in Moscow. That is all to the good, of course. This item in the report was intended to reassure those reactionaries who were using the argument that any aid given to Stalin would not only be useless, but actually harmful since what was sent might soon fall into the hands of the victorious Hitler.

Even the more recent retreats of the Red Army, particularly from the Ukraine, and the threat to Leningrad, are not looked upon as menacing the continuance of Russian resistance to Hitler. The seizure of the Ukraine by the German army and the possible fall of the great industrial district about and in Leningrad, will be very grave blows at the Red Army and at Soviet Russia, but they will not be immediately fatal. It seems quite certain by now that the war in Russia will continue during the coming winter.

The second point in the Hopkins report is also all to the good. It is certainly clear that Hitler had banked on two false premises. First of all, he had underestimated the strength of the Red Army and its power of resistance. In this he was not alone. The enemies of Russia hoped that the purges of the commanding staffs of the Red Army carried out by Stalin solely as a preventive measure to maintain himself in power, had so undermined the Red Army and so beheaded it that it would prove an easy victim for the fascists.

But Hitler had not only miscalculated concerning the strength of the Red Army. He had also miscalculated concerning the strength of the reactionary forces in the Soviet Union waiting for the chance to strike a blow at the USSR. Hitler had banked on the possibility of a counter-revolution directed against Stalin for the restoration of capitalism. Hopkins therefore brings the reassurance that no such Fifth Column movement materialized and that the whole Soviet Union is united in the courageous struggle against the fascist foe.

Hopkins and the Purges

Had Hopkins stopped there, we might not have taken the trouble to comment on what is obvious. But the second point is tied up with a third. The third one is an attempt to “explain” the others. It is also an attempt to lend political aid to Stalin – for a return in kind! What brought about the “unity” of the Soviet Union in the desperate struggle against the fascists? Hopkins tells us that it was Stalin’s remarkable foresight in ridding himself of all “dissident”’ and oppositional elements in the period before Hitler’s march into Russia.

In this fashion Hopkins tries to uphold Stalin’s hand in regard to all the purges and all the infamous Moscow trials. The Stalinists brazenly asserted after every purge that Stalin had strengthened the Soviet Union, not weakened it. They resorted to the fakery of amalgams, classing together the revolutionists with the counter-revolutionists. All opposition to the murderous Stalin was made to appear as opposition to the Soviet Union.

Hopkins wants us at this late ate to accept this long-exposed Stalinist version. He wants us to believe that the present unity of the Soviet workers and peasants against Hitler, is the same’ thing as complete support of Stalin, past and present. Nothing could be more false.

The Soviet masses understand very well that the hordes of Hitler are the worst and most dangerous enemy to the Soviet Union. Their fight is now directed against this fascist imperialist that threatens to deprive them of the last, most fundamental conquests of the October Revolution – the nationalized property and the monopoly of foreign trade. For the time being, until this fight against the main enemy is settled, or is near completion, the masses continue to tolerate Stalinism.

Hopkins Hates October Too

Evidently Stalin does not believe his own lies about the nature of the unified struggle against Hitler. For he is preparing betimes, while the attention of the workers is completely taken up by the life-and-death struggle against Hitler, to take all measures against any later attempts at his own removal. That is shown by the establishing of the war dictatorship and the renewed attempt to set up GPU control of the armed forces.

Why did Hopkins give Salin this political support? Because he and Stalin have a common enemy – the October Revolution, the revolution of the working class. Roosevelt-Churchill have made it clear that they intend exacting from Stalin the promise (as though that were in his power!) that he will not attempt to foster any western European revolution during or after the present war. Clearly also the “Allies” fear any possibility of the resurgence of the revolution in Soviet Russia itself. They know very well that they can rely on Stalin to do everything possible to prevent this. Thus Roosevelt and Stalin are showing a united purpose to aim blows not only against Hitler but against the revolutionary workers. Stalin has already given evidence that he will continue his “purges” of revolutionists even during the present war. In this he will have the full support of the “Allies.”

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