Written: September 1943
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 5 no. 19 (Mid-September 1943)
Transcription: Lisi 2004
Markup/Proofread:: Emil 2006
The conflict between the Soviet Union and the Allied imperialists sharpens. The capitalists recognise that if the Red Army reaches the borders of the Balkan States the peoples will rise in revolt, whether Stalin desires this or not. Therefore the Allies are attempting to get their troops there before the Red Army. Although they have sufficient preponderance of war materials to establish a second front their attention is concentrated where their class interests are endangered.
The unparallelled victories of the Red Army constitutes a factor of world-shaking importance. It can be compared to the victories of Napoleon in the wars which France waged against Feudal Europe. The achievements of the Red Army can only be understood when it is considered that Russia has lost more territory than any of the other participants in the war.
Reynolds News of August 30th, 1943 writes:
“Her [Russia’s] losses are colossal; a third of her population gone, a third of her food supply, more than a third of her railway network and far more than a third of her coal, iron and steel.”
Yet in spite of the terrible defeats and suffering, the Red Army has rallied as no other army in the world could have done in the face of such defeats.
One of the factors of course, which has led to the changed position has been that Stalin has been compelled to remove the nonentities, and lackeys, without military merit, whom he had placed in control of the army solely because of their subservience to him. Timoshenko, Voroshilov and Budenny have been placed in unimportant positions in the rear, while new Generals have been pushed to the forefront—Rokossovsky, Zhukov, Malinovsky and others, and it is they who have gained the victories. But these victories, in the last analysis, can only be traced to the immense material and psychological advantages given by the October Revolution. Not only in peacetime economy, but in the field of battle, despite the bureaucratic leadership, nationalised industry has demonstrated its superiority over capitalism. It is here that world imperialism has completely miscalculated. Hitler and the whole world had thought that Germany, especially with the resources of all Europe at her disposal, would defeat the Soviet Union though it would require hard battles to do it.
The ruling class of Britain and America had constantly been manoeuvring in pre-war diplomacy to ensure that Hitler should attack the Soviet Union and were overjoyed when Hitler plunged into this adventure. They hoped to achieve the defeat of the Soviet Union and simultaneously to weaken their German rivals so that they would be enabled to destroy their power without too much effort. That was the programme incautiously blurted out by Moore-Brabazon and his American counterparts.
That the Allied imperialists were attempting to carry this programme into effect is demonstrated by an article in the Russian paper War and the Working Class which is now openly revealing the differences that have been developing between Russia and her Allies.
The victories of the Soviet Union have impelled Stalin to become somewhat bolder and to blurt out the truth. The Times of September 3rd, remarks in commenting on an article in War and the Working Class;
“One American commentator, the review says, was in favour of a prolonged war of exhaustion. This it declares was too reminiscent of the ‘philosophy’ of those who saw nothing bad in this gigantic conflict in which not only Germany is becoming exhausted but the Soviet Union as well.”
But here once again despite the exhaustion of the Soviet Union the calculations of the imperialists have not worked out. The Soviet armies are advancing in a series of brilliant victories and posing new problems before the imperialists. To attack the Soviet Union now would be risky because of fear of the repercussions it would have among the masses in Britain and America, and because of the complicated position of the imperialists in Europe and Asia. For the present the imperialists still regard the existence of the Soviet Union as unfinished business to be attended to in the future. Tucked away as a minor item in the Daily Worker of September 7th; appeared the following:
“A friend who is working in a Government research establishment, in which there is a department concerned with research on metals for use in gun manufacture, writes to me:
“From time to time high Army officials come down to discuss progress and arrange for particular lines of research work. Recently some more Army officials came down and were urging that a certain line of research be undertaken that would last 10 to 15 years.
“When it was suggested that it would not be of much use to the present war effort the Army officials said, quite seriously: ‘We have the Russians to take care of after this war you know.’”
As is to be expected these renegades from Socialism make no comment and draw no political conclusions from this.
But it is clear, the imperialists regard with alarm and dismay the unforeseen strength which the Soviet Union has revealed. If the Soviet Union were under a genuine revolutionary leadership, the position of world capitalism would be hopeless. The Red Army advance would prepare the way for the Socialist Revolution in Germany and Europe, and its repercussions would be felt in every country on the globe. Here it is that the counter-revolutionary role of Stalinism renders invaluable aid to the imperialists. Stalin is in mortal terror of the Socialist revolution in any country of the world, for fear of the consequences it would have on the Russian masses. Under stress of such an example the victorious Russian workers and peasants would soon move to restore the workers’ democracy of Lenin and Trotsky.
In the Daily Mail of July 16th, an article by Demaree Bess says:
“It is also not only futile but downright pernicious to imagine the United Nations as one big happy family, fighting precisely the same wars for precisely the same Objectives.”
It is this conflict of interests and its fundamental antagonism toward the Soviet Union which dictates the policy of the ruling class of Britain and America. This antagonism determines the strategy of the Allies one again confirming the Leninist axiom that war is merely the continuation of politics by forcible means. It is obvious that the Allies have now a sufficient preponderance of arms over Germany to establish a Second Front, even if at great sacrifice, in Western Europe, if their main aim had been to assist their Soviet “Allies”. But their attention is concentrated elsewhere. They are concerned over the division of interests in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. They are looking towards this area with anxiety as the Russian armies sweep on towards the Dnieper.
The ruling class of all countries recognises that if the Red Army reached the borders of the Balkan States it would inevitably provoke an uprising among the Balkan peoples, whether Stalin desires this or not, and in spite of any efforts of the Russian bureaucracy to prevent it. Therefore the “Allies” are desirous of their troops reaching this area before those of the Red Army. The gangster reactionaries in control of Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are only waiting for a suitable opportunity to do a Darlan or a Badoglio , turn themselves into “democrats” and make a deal with Anglo-American imperialism. They would regard this as a protection against their own masses and against the Soviet Union. But though the Russian bureaucracy do not desire revolution in Europe, they also do not desire an Anglo-American domination of Eastern Europe which could not but be transformed into an iron ring round the borders of Russia in preparation for a clash in the future. The Stalinist bureaucracy is insisting that Eastern Europe should become, a Soviet sphere of influence. The new prominence given to the Orthodox Church in Russia from the point of view of foreign policy is meant not only to reassure the American imperialists that Stalinism is now completely reactionary, but as a means of exerting influence on the reactionary elements among the Slav peoples in Eastern Europe, while also reassuring the ruling class in this area that Stalin is desirous of coming to an agreement with them. While constantly reiterating that they do not desire revolution, just as insistently the Russian press reveals the fear of Western Imperialism in the future.
Stalin is insisting that the Allies should abandon their opposition to the incorporation of the Baltic States, of the former Polish Ukraine, Bessarabia and Bukovina —and the positions obtained in Finland—into the Soviet Union. Not only that. But that they should cease to plot and scheme to organise Eastern Europe as an Anglo-American sphere of influence which would be directly aimed as a springboard against the Soviet Union.
At a period when the Soviet troops were hard-pressed and it appeared as if the German army would succeed in breaking through to Baku, the Russian Government apparently appealed to her “Allies” for military assistance. But instead of granting such assistance, the British proposed to place their troops in the oil region of Baku and Tiflis [Tbilisi].
Here is how the Daily Worker reports the situation in a quotation from War and the Working Class:
“In spite of repeated proposals from the Soviet side, the Allies did not at any time express a desire to keep their troops side-by-side with our army and air force on the Soviet-German frontier.”
“Last autumn a proposal was made to station Allied air forces at Baku and Tiflis, where no front existed and where no battles could be fought with the Germans.
“Is it not clear that it would have been better to station them somewhere nearer the front, where they would be in a position to help our troops?
“Also,” concludes the article, “could a proposal to transfer Soviet troops from the Trans-Caucasus to the Soviet-German front so that non-Soviet troops could be brought into this area be regarded as a desire to fight side-by-side with the Red Army?” (Daily Worker, September 3rd)
This proposed disposal of “Allied” troops was not dictated by the needs of assisting the Soviet Union but by the desire of the British ruling class to grab the rich oil areas of Russia in the event that the Red Amy was defeated.
The clash of interests, the secret intrigues and deals once again come to the surface with the sudden announcement of the Polish Government in London that “their” territory, i.e. those areas brutally seized in 1920 from Russia must remain under the domination of the Polish landlords and capitalists. This statement must have been made by prior agreement or consultation with Anglo-American imperialism.
There is also the prolonged stay of Mr. Churchill in Washington in which ceaseless military and political discussions have taken place. The capitalist press has openly stated that relations with Russia was one of the most important, if not the most important, item at the Conference. And this question must obviously loom foremost in the minds of the imperialists as the key question for the coming period. It is on this background that the Times has featured extracts from the Russian journal War and the Working Class, new unofficial organ whereby Stalinist diplomacy expresses its aims and aspirations:
“...attacks [in America] on Mr.Churchill for ‘not liquidating the British Empire’ and on the Soviet Union for ‘wanting to Bolshevise [?] Central Europe’ are cited as examples of untimely utopianism.”
Behind cringing offers of cooperation and the expression of “eagerness” [?] of the Soviet Government to collaborate with their principal allies in the post-war era; is the fear of the real plans of imperialism:
“...Plans for the establishment of an Eastern European Federation hostile to the Soviet Union can be framed, but only by renouncing the necessity for friendship and collaboration between the U.S.S.R. and the Allies in the post-war period, only if the renunciation of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty is considered.
“...None of the problems of post-war organisation can or must be settled without the direct and active participation of the Soviet Union.”
The internal reaction in Russia, the plans of world imperialism, all these demonstrate that the Soviet Union cannot be saved for Socialism by the glorious victories of the Red Army alone. It is possible that Stalin may patch up some sort of agreement with Roosevelt and Churchill, or in desperation he may attempt an agreement with German imperialism but such agreements cannot be long-lasting: The Hitler-Stalin pact did not last even two years. The Anglo-Russian past is already trembling in the balance.
Neither the safety of the Soviet Union or peace for the rest of the world can be assured if world imperialism continues to exist. Only the victory of the Socialist revolution in Europe can save the Soviet Union for Socialism and ensure peace and plenty for the tortured peoples of Europe and the world.