From Fourth International, October 1946, Vol.7 No.10, pp.292-293.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.
No one who has followed press reports of the daily proceedings of the Conference of Paris can possibly entertain the illusion that this is a genuine peace conference. From the very first, the conference was split into two major power blocs – the Soviet Union and its satellites versus the Anglo-American imperialists and their satellites. Because of its greater strength and its superior international position, the Anglo-American bloc has been able to utilize the Paris Conference as a forum from which to mobilize world public opinion against the USSR in preparation for a third world war.
The conflict between the two power blocs, the New York Times noted in an editorial on September 4, has become “the dominant factor in the whole international situation.” Hope for a common program of peace, declared this organ of the American moneybags, “have been dimmed to the vanishing point.” Everywhere it is recognized that the period in which we are now living is merely an interval between wars. Neither the imperialists nor the Kremlin gang expects to avert an armed conflict for very long. Both are preparing for a showdown at arms.
Byrnes and Bevin have displayed extraordinary skill in converting the Paris Conference into a medium for the ideological preparation of the coming war. In every dispute that has arisen they have been able to portray the Soviet Union in an unfavorable light, as an obstructionist force engaged in devious and sinister maneuvers, holding up the peace, seeking world domination. Themselves they represent as paragons of international virtue, without any sordid motives, seeking the establishment of a just and durable peace.
In this work of ideological preparation for war, the Anglo-American imperialists are helped at every turn by the Kremlin oligarchy. The Bolsheviks in the days of Lenin and Trotsky would have exposed and denounced this dirty imperialist conclave before the international working class, as they exposed world imperialism even at the Brest-Litovsk conference. Stalin’s reactionary policies impel him to become a full-scale participant in the sordid business. And as a participant, he must follow the established rules and try to beat the imperialists at their own game. Thus he sullies the reputation of the USSR, destroys what remains of its prestige with the world working class, and thereby makes the task of the imperialists that much easier.
With the experience of Versailles behind them, the Anglo-American imperialists have astutely refrained from making heavy reparations claims against the defeated Axis countries. But Stalin rushes in to claim $10,000,000,000 from ruined Germany and $600,000,000 from bankrupt Italy. Stalin’s Yugoslav puppet, Tito, levies an additional preposterous reparations claim against Italy. The Soviet Union appears as a rapacious bandit intent on slitting the throats of helpless victims, or a heartless Shylock determined to get his pound of flesh. In addition, the Kremlin gang has carried out a campaign of shameless loot. ing in the countries occupied by the Red Army, thus deepening the economic ruin and rendering more difficult the recovery of those countries. Austria in Europe and Manchuria in the Far East have been stripped of their industrial plants. The imperialists have had a field day making full propaganda use of these facts to discredit and isolate the Kremlin.
While the bickerings at Paris, the disputes and disagreements, the snarling language, mark the development of the antagonism of the two big power blocs on the diplomatic level, the conference was punctuated by a real international incident indicating how tenuous is the “peace” which was won at the sacrifice of millions of lives. The shooting down of American planes over Stalinist-dominated Yugoslavia, and the US ultimatum to Belgrade which followed, enabled the imperialists to portray the Soviet Union as a violator of the peace, a danger to “world order.”
Also in the midst of the conference, the Kremlin served a demand on Turkey for a change in the status of the Dardanelles. Stalin wants to confine the control of the Straits to the Black Sea powers and to acquire Soviet bases on Turkish soil. It is by such pitiful measures that the Kremlin seeks safety for the Soviet Union! Britain and the United States openly backed Turkey in its rejection of the Soviet demand. Once again the Soviet Union appeared in an unfavorable light – as a state which is bent on territorial expansion, a state with warlike intentions, a state which does not respect the independence of its neighbors. The whole world imperialist press took up the hue and cry against Russia.
Shortly thereafter, on September 6, Secretary of State Byrnes took the diplomatic offensive against the Kremlin in his much publicized Stuttgart speech. This concerned the future of Germany, heart and nerve-center of Europe, where the aims of the two big power blocs clash most sharply. Byrnes declared it was American policy to make peace with a central German government and to establish a unified Germany by amalgamating the four separate occupation zones. American troops, he announced, would be kept in Germany as long as the other occupying powers maintained forces there.
The Kremlin has every reason to fear a Germany unified under Anglo-American control, a Germany that would become a satellite of the imperialist foes of the Soviet Union. Lenin and Trotsky would have sought a way out of this danger by encouraging and helping the German working class to take power, expel the imperialists, and join their country to the Soviet Union, thereby weakening the whole world front of imperialism by extending the revolution. Stalin, fearing the proletarian revolution at least as much as he fears imperialism, seeks safety in a divided and lacerated Germany. By this reactionary, anti-socialist policy he repels the German masses and drives them into the imperialist camp. He facilitates the work of Byrnes and Bevin.
Through diplomatic maneuvers and struggles over boundaries, strategic areas, corridors and bases, Stalin strives to keep the imperialists as far away as possible from the Soviet borders. This is the only kind of “defense” he can engage in. But what bankruptcy – in this era of rocket planes and the atomic bomb! It was without doubt to impress Stalin with the futility of such methods that the Bikini atom bomb tests were staged in the very midst of the Paris “peace” conference and the films flown to the French capital for the edification of the conferees.
The imperialists are not yet ready for war with the Soviet Union. First comes the ideological preparation. That is now going forward apace through such ostensibly idealistic enterprises as the Paris Conference and the United Nations, and by intensive campaigning in the world press. The imperialists are now busy persuading the world that the Soviet Union is the source of all the difficulties and troubles. That without Stalin the world would bloom like a garden!
Destruction of the Soviet Union would not only open an immense new market to capitalism. It would deliver a jolting blow to the revolutionary aspirations of the working class and the colonial peoples. That is why class conscious workers continue to defend the Soviet Union, in any military conflict between the USSR and imperialism. With the growing world hegemony of Wall Street, and the consequent contraction of the Kremlin’s possibilities for maneuvering between the rival imperialist groups, the Kremlin is becoming more and more isolated on a world scale. That is why the development of the socialist movement, and the preparations for decisive revolutionary struggles – now more than ever before-constitute the only hope for tortured humanity, and by the same token, the most effective protection and defense for the USSR.
This is the true lesson of the Paris “Peace” Conference.
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