Written: July 18, 1936
Source: Dimitrov, Georgi Selected Works, volume 2, Sofia Press 1972, pp. 176-18
Transcription/HTML Markup: Mathias Bismo
Two years ago, in August 1935, the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, in analyzing the international Situation and seeking ways and means whereby the working class could carry on the struggle against the offensive of fascism, pointed to the indissoluble connection between the struggle against fascism and the struggle for peace. Fascism is war, declared the Congress. Coming to power against the will and interests of its own countrymen fascism seeks a way out of its growing domestic difficulties in aggression against other countries and peoples, in a their redivision of the globe by unleashing a world war. As far as, fascism is concerned, peace is certain ruin The preservation of international peace renders it possible for the enslaved masses in the fascist countries to gather their forces together and to prepare for the overthrow of the hated fascist dictatorship, and to enable the international proletariat to win time for the establishment of unity tit its ranks, to rally together the supporters of peace, and to establish an insurmountable barrier against the outbreak of war.
When the Seventh Congress characterized fascism as the firebrand of war, when it pointed to the growing danger of a new imperialist war and to the need for establishing a powerful united fighting front against fascism, there were very few people even in the labour movement who did not hesitate to accuse us Communists of deliberately ascribing this role to fascism, for purely propagandist purposes and of exaggerating the war danger. Some did this consciously, in the interests of the ruling classes, while others did so out of political shortsightedness. The past two years however, have provided a sufficiently clear demostration of the complete Absurdity of such accusations. Now both the friends and fees of peace are openly speaking of the menace of a new world war which has come upon us. And it would be difficult to find seriousminded people who at all doubt that it is precisely the fascist governments that are foremost in the desire for war. In actual fact, war is already raging in a number of countries. For one year now, both the Italian and the German interventionists have been carrying on a war against the Spanish people before the eyes of the whole world. After having accomplished the seizure of Manchuria, the Japanese fascist militarists are now again attacking the Chinese people and are waging a new war in North China.
Manchuria, Ethiopia, Spain, North China - these are stages towards the new great robber war of fascism. These are not isolated acts. There exists a bloc of fascist aggressors and warmongers - Berlin, Rome, Tokyo. The German-Japanese 'anti-Comintern' Pact, an agreement which, as is well known, is of a military nature and to which Mussolini has in fact also linked himself, is already being applied in practice. Under the flag of a struggle against the Communist International, against the 'Red menace', the German, Italian and Japanese aggressors are trying by means of partial wars to seize military-strategic positions, key positions on land and naval routes, and sources of raw materials for their war supplies with a view to the further unleashing of an imperialist war.
There is no need to be under any illusions, there is no need to wait for a formal declaration of war, to see that war is now on. As far back as March 1936, Comrade Stalin, in his interview with Roy Howard, said:
'War may break out unexpectedly. Nowadays wars are not declared. They simply break out.'
All events of recent years serve as a glaring confirmation of this thesis. Without officially declaring war, Japan started military operations against China and seized Manchuria, Italy attacked the Ethiopian people and seized Ethiopia, and Germany and Italy are waging a war against the Spanish Republic.
It is well known that the people have no desire for war, and that a number of non-fascist states are, in the present conditions, interested in maintaining peace. On what, then do the fascist war-makers base their calculations? The entire experience following the robber drive by the Japanese imperialists into Manchuria and by Italian fascism into Ethiopia shows unquestionably that the bandit bloc of the rulers of Germany, Japan and Italy, in order to carry out their military plans in practice, are striving:
first of all, to hinder united action by the states interested in the maintenance of peace,
secondly, to prevent unity of action by the international labour movement, the establishment of a mighty united world front against fascism and war;
thirdly, to carry on undermining diversionist and espionage work in the Soviet Union, which is the foremost bulwark of peace.
It is on this chiefly that the fascists base their calculations.
And in actual fact the fascist aggressors and warmongers are working strenuously and jointly in these three directions. They are blackmailing the Western European states by threatening their territorial interests. They are preparing an onslaught on the USSR. They are making extensive use of the appeasement of the ruling circles of Britain, France and the United States. While making proposals for an agreement on the plundering of the small countries, Spain and China, they are striving in every possible way to win the good graces of the British Tories and a number of Liberal and Labour leaders, so as to wean Britain away, from France and other democratic countries.
Holding out a similar lure, the fascists are exerting incredible efforts to come to an agreement with the French reactionaries so as to induce France to renounce the Franco-Soviet pact, thus isolating it from the Soviet Union. The fascist states left the League of Nations to get a free hand for their aggression. They terrorize the weak states by threatening attacks from outside, and by organizing conspiracies and rebellions within these countries. The fascist warmongers make use of traitors, and particularly of the Trotskyites, to carry on disruptive, disorganizing work in the ranks of the labour movement, to disrupt the People's Front in Spain and France. The recent putsh in Barcelona gave a particularly clear demonstration of how the fascists make use of Trotskyist organizations to stab the People's Front in the back. The fascist firebrands also make splendid use of the work of the opponents of international proletarian unity in the ranks, of the Second International and the International Federation of Trade Unions, and assiduously recruit their agents everywhere.
On more than one occasion the Soviet Union has upset the war plans of the fascist aggressors by its consistent and resolute peace policy. It can be asserted without any exaggeration that mankind would long ago have been plunged into the most terrible war in history had not the Soviet Union been insistent and unswerving in carrying through its peace policy, had there been no glorious Red Army in existence.
But while the fascist aggressor, meet with necessary rebuffs from the Soviet Union, which is acting in the interests not only of the Soviet people but also of the whole of toiling mankind, this cannot be said of the countries of bourgeois democracy. Here, as is being demonstrated with particular clearness by the examples of Spain and China, we meet with the overt and concealed assistance being given to the fascist bloc by the ruling circles of the most important Western non-fascist states.
Was it not support for the fascist warmongers when the seizure of Manchuria by, the Japanese militarists was met with appeasement? Was not the lacks of resolute resistance to the bloody campaign of Mussolini against the people of Ethiopia encouragement to the fascist aggressor? Take the entire farce of non-intervention in Spanish affairs, which has already been carried on for a year under the leadership of the 'British government, and the negotiations going on regarding the recognition of Franco as a 'belligerent' - are they not in fact an encouragement to the war being waged by the fascist states against the Spanish Republic Is not the present complacent attitude towards the brazen marauders in North China the most scandalous encouragement to the unbridled Japanese militarists, who wish to enslave the great Chinese people? How can the people of Great Britain, France, the United States and the other non-fascist countries look on calmly at these things? Flow can they put up with this, systematic appeasement and encouragement of fascist aggression, which facilitates the foul work of the fascist firebrands of a new world war?
In the face of these things, it becomes still clearer how great is the historic responsibility which lies on those circles and leaders of the Socialist Labour International and the International Federation of Trade Unions which are stubbornly resisting the establishment of united action by the international proletariat, of action by its organization on the basis of a united, co-ordinated policy against the fascist makers of the establishment of a mighty international front of peace.
When the Japanese militarists seized Manchuria, there were people claiming to be leading lights in the labour movement who assured the workers in their organizations that Manchuria was a long way off and the Japanese invasion did not touch on the interests of the international labour movement. When Mussolini's fascist hordes crushed the Ethiopian people, these functionaries asserted that the events in Ethiopia were a local colonial conflict and that the international proletariat ought not to interfere. When later on the fascist aggressors brazenly attacked the Spanish Republic and started a war within Europe itself, it was only after many months of tormenting vacillations that the leaders of the Second International agreed to a joint conference with the delegation of the Communist International at Annemasse, and yet not for the purpose of actually bringing about united action between the international workers' organizations, but only to recognize the advisability of joint action 'wherever possible.'
Since then the fascist intervention in Spain has been considerably intensified. And now there has been added the new aggression of the Japanese militarists in North China which, according to Japanese plans, is to become a second Manchukuo and the basis for a further amputation of China.
Is it not clear that at this moment, when the Spanish people are exerting all their efforts to beat off the onslaught of the fascist interventionists, when the Chinese people are rising up against the Japanese militarists who have attacked them the international workers' organizations should at last unite their efforts and come to the defence of international peace, resolutely and fully prepared for action?
The situation is now developing in such a way that to maintain peace throughout the world means first and foremost to bring about the defeat of the fascist invaders of Spain and China. They must be taught a good lesson, they must be really made to feel that the international proletariat and all progressive and civilized mankind will not tolerate their military aggression and acts of robbery, and are ready to do everything to prevent them from fulfilling their plans of igniting the flames of a new world war.
Can it be that the Socialist Labour International and the International Federation of Trade Unions will rest content now with general wordy declarations and incantations in favour of peace, while in deeds they shun joint action by all organizations of the international labour movement which is so vitally needed? Surely it is clear that joint action by the international workers' organizations in each separate country and on an international scale is alone capable of mobilizing the forces of progressive mankind for a struggle against war, to bar the road to the warmongers, and also to exert pressure on the official policy of the most important non-fascist states so as to curb fascist aggressors who have thrown off all restraint.
It is impossible to wage a serious struggle for the preservation of world peace unless first and foremost all necessary steps are taken to establish a united front of the working class in each country and united action by the international workers' organizations. It is impossible to carry on a serious fight for peace unless the forces of the labour movement and of the wide masses of the people are mobilized to drive the fascist usurpers out of Spain and China as rapidly as possible.
The balance of the forces of war and the forces of peace is not what is was in 1914. Major world-historic changes have taken place since that time. The imperialists succeeded m hurling millions of people into the inferno of a world slaughter under circumstances when neither a powerful proletarian state nor its Red Army existed, when there was no Popular Front in France and 'Spain, when the Chinese people were not in a position to defend their national independence, when the masses of the people had not had the experience of an imperialist war and a great proletarian revolution, when the international working class did not as yet possess such a world organization as the Communist International.
The international labour movement has sufficient forces and means at its disposal to bring about the cessation of the intervention of German and Italian fascism in Spain, the onslaught of the Japanese militarists in China, and to secure international peace.
This, however, requires that the tremendous forces and means at the disposal of the international labour movement be united and directed towards an effective and unyielding struggle against fascism and war.