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Issue #1931      September 7, 2020

Communist policy on the war for the defeat of Hitler

War profiteering must be prevented by the government – freedom menaced by Menzies

This statement originally appeared in Tribune September, 1939

Men and women of Australia!

The savage German fascists have launched a new aggression against Poland and the British Empire and France are at war with Germany.

This war, launched for the purpose of the conquest of Poland and its subjection to the fascist empire of Hitler, of Krupp and Thyssen, the German monopoly capitalists, is an act of stark aggression, without justification of any kind whatever.

Therefore, lovers of justice and liberty throughout the entire world will support the struggle of the Polish people for their independence and against enslavement to a foreign power.

What has brought the world to this dreadful pass, where it is faced with a repetition of the inferno that raged from 1914 to 1918? In the first place the responsibility lies with German fascism.

The Nazi pestilence set itself the task of destroying German democracy and the German labour movement.

To this end, it launched a wave of terror against everything decent and progressive in German society unprecedented since the dark ages.

German fascism set itself the task of realising the aims of German imperialism, of realising the objectives of the German capitalists, of the enslavement of small nations and the domination of the world.

But that is not the whole of the picture. Since the accession of Hitler to power in the German Reich, we Communists, as well as other anti-fascists and peace-lovers, consistently pointed out that “fascism means war,” that the German fascists are “the organisers and incendiaries of a new world war” (Dimitrov, 7th World Communist Congress, 1934).

We Communists demanded that Hitler be stopped before he became too strong; that he be confronted with a mighty front of democratic and peace-desiring nations headed by Britain, the Soviet Union and France; that collective security be organised through the machinery provided by the League of Nations.

Ruinous “appeasement”

Instead of this, the policy of so-called “appeasement” was followed by the British and French governments; the League of Nations was torpedoed; the friendly democracy of Republican Spain was strangled by “non-intervention”; the Czech democracy was sacrificed to the aggressor at Munich; China was not assisted against aggression and Abyssinia, Albania, and Austria were left to their fates. In addition, economic and financial aid was extended to Hitler, which assisted to maintain his tyrannical rule over the German people.

All this enormously strengthened the fascist powers.

Instead of listening to the demands of the Soviet government for common action against the fascist aggressors, the capitalist class of Britain saw in Hitler a “bulwark against Bolshevism” and encouraged Hitler to arm, at the same time inciting him to attack the Soviet Union.

This anti-Soviet policy was pursued to the very end.

Soviet peace proposals

The Soviet Union desired a mutual, reciprocal pact, equally binding on all parties. The representatives of the so-called democracies, on the other hand, wanted a pact that would bind the Soviets but would leave themselves the opportunity, as Molotov stated, to “wriggle out” and leave the Soviet Union to shoulder the burden of war with the fascist powers alone.

The Chamberlain government were not sincere in seeking to conclude a pact with the Soviet Union. Although political and military missions visited Moscow, they were given no power to come to any agreement with the Soviet authorities. Negotiations dragged out for months and ended in a fiasco when the Polish government refused to allow Soviet troops on Polish soil, hereby making it impossible for Soviet troops to meet the German fascist armies.

In this attitude, they were supported by the British and French governments. This was convincing evidence that their fear that they might strengthen the prestige of the Soviet Union led them to reject a mutual assistance pact with the land of Socialism.

Meantime, the Soviet Union was able to break up the fascist “triangle,” the “anti-Comintern Pact,” between Germany, Japan and Italy by means of a non-aggression pact with Germany.

Non-aggression pact

This pact has brought about the neutrality of Japan, which is of the utmost importance to Australia, and, in the event of war, can mean that British and French forces do not have to fight in the Pacific as well as in Europe, at the same time. The non-aggression pact has forced also the neutrality of Franco Spain, and, to a considerable degree, that of Italy also.

The pact of non-aggression with Germany has considerably added to the security of the Socialist Fatherland against the machinations of all the imperialist powers, a fact of the first importance to the working class of the whole world.

The working class, whilst supporting the measures necessary to resist the aggressor and the war of Poland for its independence, demands if such a war has to be fought, that its aims be just, that there be no new Versailles imposed upon the German masses who have been forced along the path of aggressive war by the Hitler dictatorship.

There must be no annexations of territory or paralysing indemnities placed upon the German people; they must be assisted to overthrow the fascist dictatorship and to restore democracy and freedom in Germany. The Austrians, Czechs and Slovaks must have their national rights and independence restored. It is only on the basis of justice to all that a new and lasting peace can be established among the nations and necessary confidence in each other be established.

While supporting the struggle against foreign fascism, the Australian working class and the defenders of Democracy must keep an alert eye on their own democratic liberties. The Emergency Regulations announced by Menzies give to the Commonwealth government dictatorial powers that could strangle our Australian freedom. The suppression of the legitimate rights of free speech and press, of the right of the masses to organise and voice their grievances, must not be allowed to be smuggled in under any pretext whatever.

Australian democracy

It is not much of a gain to defeat foreign fascism only to find that a dictatorship has been established in our own land. To fight fascism demands that democratic liberties be extended and broadened among the people opposed to fascist war and dictatorship. Neither must military measures against German fascist aggression be used as pretext by the capitalists to reduce the standards of living of the Australian people.

All such attempts must be resisted to the end by the labour movement.

To prevent profiteering, extortionate prices for necessary commodities and high rents, price control tribunals must be established at once. Nor can a people fighting for freedom, tolerate that profits be made by great monopolies out of the production of arms supplies and war materials. The democratic movement has long demanded the ending of the coining of profits from the blood of our people. The government should proceed at once to nationalise the war industries of the country.

Labour unity

In this dreadful emergency, the unity of the labour movement becomes of greater urgency than ever before. The Communist Party. which has inscribed the sign of unity upon its banners, again declares its readiness for a united front agreement with the ALP for the defence of democracy and of the living standards of the people. The Communist Party will strengthen its efforts to establish great, united people’s mass movement for the defence of democracy and the restoration of world peace.

The Menzies government, a reactionary government allied with the rich, sympathising with fascism, cannot be trusted to defend democracy against fascism from within or without. We must strive for its removal from office and its replacement by a government of the Labor Party, pledged to a democratic peace, to defend our living standards and liberties.

Unite against fascism!

For a Democratic Peace!

Finally, the Communist Party has always taught that, while capitalism lasts, there will always be wars and danger of wars. Capitalist competition for markets and “spheres of interest,” for raw materials and cheap colonial labour will again and again end in armed struggles between capitalistic states.

It is only when Socialism has triumphed that the national hates, rivalries and wars engendered by the rule and profit-making interests of the capitalist class will be ended and the era of universal peace and brotherhood be firmly established.

Working men of all countries, unite!

Central Executive, CPA
3rd September, 1939

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