French Communist Party 1939

Long Live Peace

By Louis Aragon

Source: Ce Soir, July 23, 1939;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.

A new fact: Berlin announces that the governments of the Reich and the USSR, after having concluded a trade treaty, will soon sign a non-aggression pact. M. von Ribbentrop is leaving for Moscow.

This fact, occurring at a moment of extreme tension in Europe, is above all a victory for peace. Who is fascism, the professional aggressor, forced to deal with? With the very power that it has always declared to be its implacable enemy. M. Hitler can now longer present himself as the paladin of anti-Bolshevism. And how can he now justify his regime and its policies in the eyes of its international allies (I mean avowed and non-avowed)?

The USSR, the country whose diplomacy has never ceased calling for disarmament as long as this has been possible, that gave the world the policy of collective security, shows yet again, and strikingly so, its desire for peace with all. The non-aggression pact with Germany, imposed on M. Hitler, who had no other possibility than either thus capitulating or making war, is a triumph for this Soviet desire for peace.

This triumph of Stalinist politics is at the same time the double crushing of the anti-Soviet and anti-communist crusade undertaken with great noise by Berlin, Rome and Tokyo, and hypocritically supported in Paris, London and elsewhere by the Munichois allies of M. Hitler, the very ones who, in order to protect themselves, pointed out to the Fuhrer the road to the Ukraine. The anger of the Munichois this morning is explained by this, as are their insults of the USSR.

As was excellently written in “Le Matin” (which is not usually the case):

“On February 11, 1937 they were slightly roused by a vehement harangue made by good Dr. Goebbels where he roughly handled the men from Moscow. ‘Between them and us,’ he proclaimed, ‘there is nothing in common. It’s no longer possible to remain neutral. It is an established fact that Moscow threatens European culture. As for us, we will not allow this.’

“And now on August 20, 1939 the good Dr. Goebbels’ service take the trouble to announce to the world that Germany has just signed an agreement with Soviet Russia ‘ in order to intensify the exchanges between the two countries.’ Said agreement calls for a credit of 200 million marks (3 billion francs) opened by Germany to the Soviets in view of the exchanges. So it can be assumed that if Berlin opens its cash register to Moscow, it’s that Berlin is convinced that Moscow no longer threatens European culture...”

Yes, my dear associate, Berlin had to recognize that Moscow doesn’t threaten, never threatened, European culture. And this is not a success for fascism, for when a professional aggressor signs a non-aggression pact it hampers him, and not those who condemn, have always condemned, and will always condemn aggression. And, if I remember correctly, were once the only ones to propose a coherent definition of aggressor at the League of Nations.

Also a victory for peace is the collapse of the “anti-Comintern” pact, whose transformation into a military alliance dragged on in Tokyo, because the Japanese remember the severe lesson it received just a year ago at Lake Khasan. And the lesson of Lake Khasan wasn’t lost on M. Hitler either. He understood the price of rubbing against the USSR. He has not only recognized that “Moscow no longer threatens European culture,” he’s recognized the strength of Moscow. And he says to his little friends from Munich: “ No, sirs, not for me...You offered me the Ukraine, you told me that if I wanted colonies there were new ones in the east. But I'm not falling for this; I don’t want to take a beating.”

And this non-aggression pact is a lesson for some other people, some other governments. What, you are crying after seeing in a space of only three days a trade treaty, the non-aggression pact, and M. von Ribbentrop’s arrival in Moscow?

Well, you've been stalling for five months. Five months that you invent reasons not to sign something with the USSR. But you still have time. But instead of sending underlings to Moscow, do like M. Hitler: send ministers. It was beneath the dignity of Lord Halifax to do so, not to mention M. Bonnet...Fine, but M. Chamberlain has already shown us that he knows how to take a plane.

In Paris and London there are flights to Moscow. I respectfully offer the schedule to the president of the Council. And he'll even find French officers and diplomats in Moscow at the ready, to whom he only has to give orders. Sign, and sign quickly: it’s still possible. The people of France and England have been asking for this for months and months.

The tri-partite pact (which isn’t a simple non-aggression pact, but a real alliance that remains the key element in the Peace Front) would marvelously complete a German-Soviet non-aggression pact. For the tripartite pact was never seen by the peoples of France, England and the USSR as a war weapon, but as a peace weapon, as a weapon against aggression, against the denial of their signature by the specialists in aggression.

And let no one compare the German-Soviet non aggression pact — which doesn’t presuppose any abandonment on the part of the USSR — with the “friendship” treaties that the governments still in place in France and England signed with M. Hitler: these “friendship” treaties had as their basis the Munich capitulation and the betrayal and abandonment of Czechoslovakia. As a consequence they had the pogroms of last winter, March 15 in Prague, the annexation of Albania, the strangulation of Spain, the anti-French demands of M. Mussolini, the capitulation of Tientsin.

The USSR has never and will never accept such international crimes. Let the anti-Soviet mob be quiet! We have arrived at the day of the collapse of their hopes. We have arrived at the day where we must recognize that something has changed in he world. Because there is a USSR war can’t be made at will.