German soldiers have received the Nazi press’s parcimonious news on events in Italy with bewilderment and with anxiety. But through the intermediary of comrades returned from Italy who report on the goings-on there, they know that they have been denied the right to know the truth about the collapse of this most pitiful of fascist régimes in case the parallel which jumps to mind might lead them to more clearly understand the situation in their own country.
Fascism has collapsed because of its inherent weakness, its totally corrupt system of party chieftains which can have no objective other than to exploit the Italian people, above all the Italian workers.
When the British and Americans landed in Italy tens of thousands of fascist militiamen threw down their weapons and fled. Is this all there is to the fascist force so often trumpeted by Mussolini?
German soldiers in Sicily have to suffer and spill their blood in the interests of the Nazis who sent them down there and the fascists who have betrayed them. But what exactly is going on in Italy? Can we hold the Italian workers responsible? As the lamentable failure of the “fascist art of governance” and the repugnant corruption of the bloody party bureaucracy became ever more obvious, an ever-stronger resistance grew among the Italian workers. As popular discontent became ever more sharply posed, finally resulting in strikes which gave it its clearest and most determined expression, the army and the King acted to stave off revolution and save what could be saved at the last minute. The strikes were drowned in blood and a state of emergency was declared. But while these measures could for a while postpone the just victory over fascism and imperialisms of all stripes, in the long run this victory is inevitable.
Knowing what happened in Italy, and the speed with which Mussolini’s clique broke up, it is easy to understand the sombre discretion of the Nazi press’s reports on Italy. German soldiers must not be allowed to draw parallels. They must be bombarded with propaganda, filling his head every day and stopping him from thinking. They know well enough in Berlin that such thoughts can become, and have been proven to become, dangerous for the leading Nazi party dignitaries. Although some of you talk of untrustworthy allies, it is not the Italian people who are to blame. Fascism is at fault. The whole world is today the victim of the folly of the fascist powers and capital’s quest for profit. Stalin, who betrayed the proletarian revolution, is the right-hand-man of this imperialist-capitalist clique.
But the current war, in its terrible absurdity, lays the ground for the future workers’ revolution in every country. The Fourth International will lead it to victory.
By an infantryman
We wholeheartedly agree with the comrade’s letter. But we would go even further. There can be no question of the ‘blame’ of the Italian people, but only its merit. If in this war — fought not in the interest of the workers but in the interests of capital — the proletariat revolts, whether that be in Britain or America as in Germany, or in Russia as in Italy, there can hardly be any talk of betrayal. We must not talk about the faults of the Italian workers but rather the weakness of the German workers who are still letting themselves go under the butcher’s knife in the name of Hitler and in the interests of the Krupps and Borsigs of this world.
All of you who are in contact with our comrades, tell Arbeiter und Soldat about your opinions and your experiences. It is your paper!