International Communist Party Against Capitalist Wars

In the Network of Imperialism
The German Proletariat and the Responsibilities of the War

(from La Sinistra Proletaria, 24 December 1944)

Since the war seems to have reached its final stages and the balance of its epilogue to the disadvantage of the so-called “tripartite”, at least in Europe, to the clear disadvantage of Germany, the “Atlantic Charter” of good memory, gets increasingly clear, through the White House, Moscow, Teheran, in the projects of Dumbarton Oaks. Therefore, one hears more and more voices in the camp of the workers’ and socialist parties, too, attuning on an increasingly precise responsibility of Germany for the unleashing of the war and for its cannibalistic conduct. And this, as far as the condemnation of Nazism as a predominant factor in the game of responsibility for this second imperialist war is concerned, could also appear justified and therefore understandable, just as the attempt and the intention of the representatives of the working classes of England, America and Russia to involve the German, Italian and Japanese proletariat in the responsibility appears neither justified nor understandable.

And yet in London, in Blackpool, the Trade-Unions, Labour and the representative of the Russian trade unions proclaim in their motions that Germany is responsible for the war and “will have to pay damages and compensate the victims” as well as “in view of the broad support given by the majority of the German people to the Nazi war, all must be held indiscriminately guilty” and “no more distinction must be made between the Nazis and the people”.

In Moscow, in the official speeches of the heads of state and members of the government, it is not at all hidden that, “after its defeat, Germany will be disarmed economically as well as militarily and politically”, as the Soviet journalist Zarlavzki lets us know in an article in the Pravda issue of November 23, where he argues that “the punishment will be severe, just and thorough”. And, “this punishment will have to remove from the heads of the Germans, and also from other heads, the idea that crimes committed during a war can go unpunished”. And it also states that the international organization of the United Nations “has been constituted for the defense of peace, civilization, world security, the triumph of love over fascist oppression. And this organization must be endowed with the necessary strength to be able to stifle from its embryo any attempt to attract new misfortunes on mankind”, and to be used, a new Holy Alliance, as Roosevelt affirms, not only to repress any and all aggressions, but also to placate any economic and social unrest in the world. As is already the case in Belgium and specifically in Greece.

This is where we can see the basis on which the politics of the working masses are attempted to be anchored; what approach these falsely proletarian leaders are attempting to take to the problems of war today, as yesterday, and of peace tomorrow; how the solidarity of the working masses is conceived, and the position of the working classes themselves in the face of the criminal imperialist and warmongering bourgeois classes.

In the network of imperialism, and therefore of the most pronounced chauvinism, in the most selfish nationalism, they want to cheat again and again the proletariat of every country.

They want to cover up the responsibility of their own governments and bourgeoisies; they try to hide the fundamental truths:
     - that of this war as of all wars only the capitalist classes and the governments of all countries bear the blame and responsibility;
     - that this is an imperialist war for the conquest of new and larger markets and the division and sharing of the wealth of the earth;
     - that the peace of Versailles, like future peace, was not, and is not intended to be, an act of justice and democracy, but only an imperialist act of violence;
     - that in all capitalist States imperialist appetites and ambitions persist and will persist and increase in the victorious States;
     - that treaties and alliances, through the intrigues of diplomacy, have been and will always be the basis and preliminaries of new wars;
     - that as long as capitalism, by now decadent, remains alive, national frictions will persist and therefore wars will become more and more deadly;
     - that the proletariat and the working masses of every country have suffered and will always suffer the costs of every war, and that only the solidarity, in intentions and actions, of the international proletariat will be able, by eliminating capitalism, to establish true peace and true justice in the world.

For this reason we say, in opposition to the Labor leaders of America and England and to the Stalinists of every country, that the German workers as well as the Italian and Japanese workers are responsible for the war, for fascism and Nazism, to the same extent, if at all, of the workers of the United Nations. This is due to the fact that neither the ones nor the others have been able to oppose the war, the preparation for war; that the American, English, French workers, etc. have not been able to offer the necessary active solidarity to the efforts of the Italian workers first and then of the German workers against the rising and dominant fascism and Nazism. And all this not because of inability and lack of class sense, because of the absence of generous solidarity impulses of the working masses themselves, but because of the inability and, worse, because of the betrayal, of their leaders and their political parties allied to the imperialist rulers, doubly linked to their national policy.

Nazism and Fascism, imperialist phenomena, are capitalist and bourgeois facts, which the working masses have ceaselessly fought, as their long martyrology clearly shows. In order to refute the legend of the collective responsibility of the entire German people in this war, we would like to quote some second-hand data provided by comrade Silone in one of his articles: 600,000 years of imprisonment in the early days of Nazism; from 1933 to 1938, 12,000 death sentences; in 1939: 302,562 political prisoners in Nazi jails; 2 million people registered in the Gestapo records; an average of 10 death sentences per day in 1942. In 1943, a single trial in Berlin resulted in 310 death sentences for anti-Nazi activity.

With the “surrender at discretion”, with the alleged joint responsibility of all classes and social classes in Germany; with this machinery of peace, apparently highly moralizing and inspired by high senses of justice, there is an attempt and a desire to stifle every generous impulse of true justice of the German masses, there is an attempt to stifle every impulse of true and just revenge of the workers against their mortifying yoke, Nazism, there is a desire to prevent the logical and necessary solution that the working masses of Germany will have to give to their problem, and, in close unity with the other proletarians, to the European problem.

To the socialists of the residual groups of the Second International who are meeting in London for the first time since the outbreak of the war; to the English and American Labor in particular we say: if you really want to render a service to the working classes of the whole world, you have nothing else to ask and impose on your bourgeoisies and your governments that they leave the German, Italian and European workers free and masters of their own destinies, that even the remotest shadow of suspicion of responsibility for the war and the insubstantial accusation of complicity with Nazi-fascism be dispelled. If there is a real desire for peace, it will not be achieved in any other way than through the organization of the United Socialist States of Europe, which only the working classes will be able to establish.