Leon Trotsky on World War Two

Trotsky

Author: 

Leon Trotsky

Introduction

For the AWL, promoting and fighting for the political independence of the workers’ movement from ruling class ideology is what revolutionary socialism is all about. This is never more true than in times of war and conflict between groups of big capitalist powers.

We argue for working-class political independence from the ruling class of our “own” country and also the ruling class of the “enemy” country. We should recall that as September 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

The longstanding Marxist policy on war which involve clashes between big powers could be summarised in very simple terms as “my enemy’s enemy is not my friend”. But to that idea we have to add another. We also say “we do not suspend the class struggle against the ruling class while a war is on”, “the main enemy is at home”. If that means difficulties, or even defeat in war, for “our” ruling class, so be it; our job is to overturn the system which creates wars.

The Marxist policy on big-power “imperialist” wars is often called “defeatism”. Whether that is the right term is another question*. Trotsky uses it in this article, while rejecting the (common) definition of it as “actions aimed to bring about defeat”. It is the opposite of “social-patriotism”: being “patriotic” for your own country’s ruling class, but using socialistic language to do it.

Trotsky recognises the huge difference between bourgeois democracy and fascism but argues that there is no reason to be sure that the war line-up would be “democracies against fascism”; or that democracies would remain democracies in the war; or that fascism would better be overthrown by foreign conquest than by internal revolt.

Against Palestinian Trotskyists who suggest that revolutionaries should side with Britain, France and the USA against Germany and Italy, Trotsky replies:

“If there were any grounds for believing that a new victory of the familiar and slightly senile Entente (minus Italy) can work miraculous results, i.e. those counter to social-historical laws, then it is necessary not only to ‘desire’ this victory but to do everything in our power to bring it about. Then the Anglo-French social patriots would be correct.”

On the face of it, history gave Trotsky the lie.

The victory of the “democracies”, Britain and the US, did in western Europe lead to the restoration or installation of bourgeois democratic systems. But democracy was not restored without mass working-class struggles in Italy, Belgium and France. And the western democracies were allied with Stalinist Russia which, ruling through puppet states, was to crush the working class in Eastern Europe, as thoroughly as fascism did, for another half century.

Above all: could the Trotskyists possibly have been right to bank on that outcome in advance? Democratic France would vote full powers to the fascistic regime of Philippe Pétain in June 1940: were the Trotskyists wrong to warn against the danger of similar moves in Britain?

In fact, the policy of most Trotskyists in the war — developed by James P Cannon, basing himself on some ideas from Trotsky — was not even-handed. In Britain and the USA, they argued for workers’ control and a workers’ government as the best way to beat Hitler and fascism.

But they opposed imperialism on all sides. They argued for militant continuation of the working-class struggle. They gave no political support to the lesser-evil capitalist governments of Britain and the USA.

Their explanations were skewed by mistaken expectations. They thought Britain and the USA were sure to move to police state regimes during the war. They discounted the possibility of any stable bourgeois democracy after the war. But their principles were right.

Would victory for the allies free the workers of the British and French colonies? No. Only the struggles of the oppressed peoples of Asia and Africa could do that.

By the time the Second World War began Hitler had been in power for six years, nationalist China was at war with the militaristic Japanese Empire, fascist Italy had invaded Albania, General Franco had won a civil war in Spain against the “Popular Front” government, which in turn had crushed a workers’ revolution. Hitler had already began an expansionist drive for German capitalism. In March 1938 Germany annexed Austria. In March 1939 the German army invaded Czechoslovakia (Hitler had already been “allowed” to take the Sudetenland where there was a majority ethnic German population). When in May 1939 France and Britain pledged support for Poland, should German invade, it was only a matter of time before a “world war” would begin. On 1 September Hitler invaded western Poland.

Leon Trotsky and the revolutionary socialists who identified as “Trotskyists” had been writing about the prospect of world war for years, since Hitler had taken power. The main article we publish here was written in March 1939, i.e., before the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland. It was also before Stalin reversed his diplomatic orientation towards France and Britain and signed a pact with Hitler (23 August 1939). Trotsky flags up a Hitler-Stalin pact as a possibility in the article.

The Palestinian socialists also assumed that the USSR would oppose Germany in the war (as it did from June 1941). For them, the Soviet Union, having been the historical product of the Bolshevik-led workers’ revolution, and retaining the nationalised property, was still a “workers’ state”, albeit one which had largely “degenerated”.

Trotsky himself still adhered to that formula, though he was reshaping his views. Under the terms of the Stalin-Hitler pact, Stalin invaded eastern Poland. On the back of fascist Germany’s invasions and expansions into Europe, the USSR also annexed a number of territories: parts of Finland (November 1939), Romanian territory, and the Baltic states (1940). There was a debate among Trotskyists about what attitude to take to those moves, but that is another story.


Our Palestinian friends have made an obvious and extremely dangerous concession to the social-patriots, even though their point of departure is opposed to that of social-patriotism.

We maintain that in the quarter of a century that has elapsed since the outbreak of the last war, imperialism has come to rule even more despotically over the world; its hand weighs more heavily on events during peacetime as well as wartime; and finally, that under all of its political masks, it has assumed an even more reactionary character. In consequence, all the fundamental rules of proletarian “defeatist” policy in relation to imperialist war retain their full force today. This is our point of departure, and all the conclusions that follow are determined by it.

As regards this point of departure, the authors of the document hold a different position. They differentiate qualitatively between the coming war and the last war and, what is more, in two respects. In the last war only imperialist countries presumably participated: the role of Serbia, they say, was far too insignificant to place its stamp on the war (they forget about the colonies and China). In the coming war, they write, one of the participants will certainly be the USSR, a magnitude far greater than Serbia. On reading these lines, the reader tends to conclude that the subsequent reasoning of the authors of the letter will revolve precisely around the participation of the USSR in the war. But the authors drop this idea very quickly, or to put it more correctly, it is relegated to the background by another, namely, the world menace of fascism.

Monarchist reaction in the last war, they state, was not of an aggressive historical character, it was rather a survival, whereas fascism nowadays represents a direct and immediate threat to the whole civilized world. The struggle is therefore the task of the international proletariat as a whole in peacetime as well as wartime. It is only natural if we become suspiciously wary: such a narrowing down of revolutionary tasks — replacing imperialism by one of its political masks, that of fascism — is a patent concession to [Stalinist international front] the Comintern, a patent indulgence of social-patriots of the “democratic” countries.

Let us first of all establish that the two new historical factors which presumably dictate a change in policy during wartime — namely, the USSR and fascism — need not necessarily operate in one and the same direction.

The possibility is not at all excluded that Stalin and Hitler, or Stalin and Mussolini may be found in one and the same camp during a war, or, at all events, that Stalin may buy a brief, unstable neutrality at the price of an agreement with the fascist governments, or one of them. For some unknown reason, this variant drops out completely from the field of vision of our authors. Yet they state justly that our principled position must arm us for any possible variant.

However, as we have already stated, the question of the USSR does not play any real role in the entire trend of reasoning of our Palestine comrades. They focus their attention on fascism, as the immediate threat to the world working class and the oppressed nationalities. They hold that a “defeatist” policy is not applicable in those countries which may be at war with fascist countries.

Again, such reasoning over-simplifies the problem, for it depicts the case as if the fascist countries will necessarily be found on one side of the trenches while the democratic or semi-democratic are on the other. In point of fact, there is absolutely no guarantee for this “convenient” grouping. Italy and Germany may, in the coming war as in the last, be found in opposing camps. This is by no means excluded. What are we to do in that case? Indeed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to classify countries in accordance with purely political features : where would we assign Poland, Rumania, present-day Czechoslovakia, and a number of other second-rate and third-rate powers?

The main tendency of the authors of this document is apparently the following: to hold that “defeatism” is obligatory for the leading fascist countries (Germany, Italy), whereas it is necessary to renounce defeatism in countries even of doubtful democratic virtue, but which are at war with the leading fascist countries. That is approximately how the main idea of the document may be worded. In this form, too, it remains false, and an obvious lapse into social-patriotism.

Let us recall that all the leaders of the German social democracy in emigration are “defeatists” in their own fashion. Hitler has deprived them of their sources of influence and income. The progressive nature of this “democratic”, “anti-fascist” defeatism is exactly zero. It is bound up not with revolutionary struggle but with pinning hopes on the “liberating” role of French or some other imperialism. The authors of the document, obviously against their own will, have taken, alas, a step in this very direction.

In the first place, they have in our opinion given far too nebulous, and especially far too equivocal a definition of “defeatism” as of some special and independent system of actions aimed to bring about defeat. That is not so.

Defeatism is the class policy of the proletariat, which even during a war sees the main enemy at home, within its particular imperialist country.

Patriotism, on the other hand, is a policy which locates the main enemy outside one’s own country.

The idea of defeatism signifies in reality the following: conducting an irreconcilable revolutionary struggle against one’s own bourgeoisie as the main enemy, without being deterred by the fact that this struggle may result in the defeat of one’s own government; given a revolutionary movement, the defeat of one’s own government is a lesser evil. Lenin did not say nor did he wish to say anything else. There cannot even be talk of any other kind of “aid” to defeat. Should revolutionary defeatism be renounced in relation to non-fascist countries? Herein is the crux of the question; upon this issue, revolutionary internationalism stands or falls.

For instance, should the 360,000,000 Hindus renounce any attempt to utilize the war for their own liberation? The uprising of Hindus in the midst of a war would undoubtedly aid strongly in the defeat of Great Britain. Furthermore, in the event of a Hindu uprising (despite all “theses”) should the British workers support them? Or, on the contrary, are they duty-bound to pacify the Hindus, and lull them to sleep — for the sake of a victorious struggle of British imperialism “against fascism” ? Which way for us?

“Victory over Germany or Italy is at present (on the morrow the case may be different) tantamount to the downfall of fascism.” Our attention is first of all struck by the qualification “at present (on the morrow the case may be different)”. The authors do not elucidate just what they mean to say by this. But they do in any case indicate that — even from their own viewpoint —their position is episodic, unstable and uncertain in character; it may already prove useless on the “morrow”. They do not take sufficiently into account the fact that in the epoch of decaying capitalism shifts and semi-shifts of political regimes occur quite suddenly and frequently without altering the social foundation, without checking capitalist decline.

On which of these two processes must our policy be based in such a fundamental question as war: on the shifts of political regimes, or on the social foundation of imperialism, common to all political regimes and unfailingly uniting them against the revolutionary proletariat? The fundamental strategic question is our attitude toward war, which it is impermissible to subordinate to episodic tactical considerations and speculations.

But even from the purely episodic standpoint, the above-cited idea of the document is incorrect. A victory over the armies of Hitler and Mussolini implies in itself only the military defeat of Germany and Italy, and not at all the collapse of fascism.

Our authors admit that fascism is the inevitable product of decaying capitalism, in so far as the proletariat does not replace bourgeois democracy in time. Just how is a military victory of decaying democracies over Germany and Italy capable of liquidating fascism, even if only for a limited period? If there were any grounds for believing that a new victory of the familiar and slightly senile Entente (minus Italy) can work such miraculous results, i.e., those counter to socio-historical laws, then it is necessary not only to “desire” this victory but to do everything in our power to bring it about.

Then the Anglo-French social-patriots would be correct. As a matter of fact they are far less correct today than they were 25 years ago, or to put it more correctly, they are playing today an infinitely more reactionary and infamous role.

If there are chances (and there indubitably are) that the defeat of Germany and Italy — provided there is a revolutionary movement — may lead to the collapse of fascism, then, on the other hand, there are more proximate and immediate chances that the victory of France may deal the final blow to corroded democracy, especially if this victory is gained with the political support of the French proletariat.

The entrenchment of French and British imperialism, the victory of French military-fascist reaction, the strengthening of the rule of Great Britain over India and other colonies, will in turn provide support for blackest reaction in Germany and Italy. In the event of victory, France and England will do everything to save Hitler and Mussolini, and stave off “chaos”. The proletarian revolution can of course rectify all this. But the revolution must be helped and not hindered. It is impossible to help revolution in Germany otherwise than by applying in action the principles of revolutionary internationalism in the countries warring against her.

The authors of the document come out flatly against abstract pacifism, and in this they are of course correct. But they are absolutely wrong in thinking that the proletariat can solve great historical tasks by means of wars which are led not by themselves but by their mortal enemies, the imperialist government.

One may construe the document as follows: during the crisis over Czechoslovakia our French or English comrades should have demanded the military intervention of their own bourgeoisie, and thereby assumed responsibility for the war — not for war in general, and of course not for a revolutionary war, but for the given imperialist war. The document cites Trotsky’s words to the effect that Moscow should have taken the initiative in crushing Hitler as far back as 1933, before he became a terrible danger (Bulletin of the Russian Opposition, March 21, 1933). But these words merely mean that such should have been the behaviour of a real revolutionary government of a workers’ state. But is it permissible to issue the same demand to a government of an imperialist state?

Assuredly, we do not assume any responsibility for the regime they call the regime of peace. The slogan “Everything For Peace!” is not our slogan, and none of our sections raises it. But we can no more assume responsibility for their war than we assume for their peace. The more resolute, firm and irreconcilable our position is on this question all the better will the masses understand us, if not at the beginning then during the war.

“Could the proletariat of Czechoslovakia have struggled against its government and the latter’s capitulatory policy by slogans of peace and defeatism?” A very concrete question is posed here in a very abstract form. There was no room for “defeatism” because there was no war (and it is not accidental that no war ensued). In the critical twenty-four hours of universal confusion and indignation, the Czechoslovak proletariat had the full opportunity of overthrowing the “capitulatory” government and seizing power. For this only a revolutionary leadership was required.

Naturally, after seizing power, the proletariat would have offered desperate resistance to Hitler and would have indubitably evoked a mighty reaction in the working masses of France and other countries. Let us not speculate on what the further course of events might have been. In any case the situation today would have been infinitely more favourable to the world working class.

Yes, we are not pacifists; we are for revolutionary war. But the Czech working class did not have the slightest right to entrust the leadership of a war “against fascism” to Messrs. Capitalists who, within a few days so safely changed their coloration and became themselves fascists and sub-fascists. Transformations and recolorations of this kind on the part of the ruling classes will be on the order of the day in wartime in all “democracies”. That is why the proletariat would ruin itself if it were to determine its main line of policy by the formal and unstable labels of “for fascism” and “against fascism”.

We consider as erroneous to the core the idea of the document that of the three conditions for “defeatist” policy enumerated by Lenin, the third is presumably lacking nowadays, namely, “the possibility of giving mutual support to revolutionary movements in all warring countries”. Here the authors are obviously hypnotized by the reported omnipotence of the totalitarian regime. As a matter of fact, the immobility of the German and Italian workers is determined not at all by the omnipotence of the fascist police but by the absence of a program, the loss of faith in old programs and old slogans, and by the prostitution of the Second and Third Internationals. Only in this political atmosphere of disillusionment and decline can the police apparatus work those “miracles” which, sad to say, have produced an excessive impression also on the minds of some of our comrades.

It is naturally easier to begin the struggle in those countries where the workers’ organisations have not yet been destroyed. But the struggle must be begun against the main enemy who remains as hitherto, at home. Is it conceivable that the advanced workers of France will say to the workers of Germany:

“Inasmuch as you are in the toils of fascism and cannot emancipate yourselves we will help our government to smash your Hitler, i.e., strangle Germany with the noose of a new Versailles treaty and then ... then we shall build socialism together with you.”

To this the Germans can well reply:

“Pardon us, but we have already heard this song from the social-patriots during the last war and know very well how it all ended ...”

No, in this way we shall not help the German workers to rouse themselves from their stupor. We must show them in action that revolutionary politics consists in a simultaneous struggle against the respective imperialist governments in all the warring countries. This “simultaneity” must not of course be taken mechanically. Revolutionary successes, wherever they may originally erupt, would raise the spirit of protest and uprisings in all countries. Hohenzollern militarism was overthrown completely by the October Revolution. For Hitler and Mussolini the success of a socialist revolution in any one of the advanced countries of the world is infinitely more terrible than the combined armaments of all the imperialist “democracies”.

That policy which attempts to place upon the proletariat the unsolvable task of warding off all dangers engendered by the bourgeoisie and its policy of war is vain, false, mortally dangerous. “But fascism might be victorious!” “But the USSR is menaced!” “But Hitler’s invasion would signify the slaughter of workers!” And so on, without end. Of course, the dangers are many, very many. It is impossible not only to ward them all off, but even to foresee all of them.

Should the proletariat attempt at the expense of the clarity and irreconcilability of its fundamental policy to chase after each episodic danger separately, it will unfailingly prove itself a bankrupt. In time of war, the frontiers will be altered, military victories and defeats will alternate with each other, political regimes will shift. The workers will be able to profit to the full from this monstrous chaos only if they occupy themselves not with acting as supervisors of the historical process but by engaging in the class struggle. Only the growth of their international offensive will put an end not alone to episodic “dangers” but also to their main source: the class society.

pinning hopes on the “liberating” role of French or some other imperialism. The authors of the document, obviously against their own will, have taken, alas, a step in this very direction.

In the first place, they have in our opinion given far too nebulous, and especially far too equivocal a definition of “defeatism” as of some special and independent system of actions aimed to bring about defeat. That is not so.

Defeatism is the class policy of the proletariat, which even during a war sees the main enemy at home, within its particular imperialist country.

Patriotism, on the other hand, is a policy which locates the main enemy outside one’s own country.

The idea of defeatism signifies in reality the following: conducting an irreconcilable revolutionary struggle against one’s own bourgeoisie as the main enemy, without being deterred by the fact that this struggle may result in the defeat of one’s own government; given a revolutionary movement, the defeat of one’s own government is a lesser evil. Lenin did not say nor did he wish to say anything else. There cannot even be talk of any other kind of “aid” to defeat. Should revolutionary defeatism be renounced in relation to non-fascist countries? Herein is the crux of the question; upon this issue, revolutionary internationalism stands or falls.

For instance, should the 360,000,000 Hindus renounce any attempt to utilize the war for their own liberation? The uprising of Hindus in the midst of a war would undoubtedly aid strongly in the defeat of Great Britain. Furthermore, in the event of a Hindu uprising (despite all “theses”) should the British workers support them? Or, on the contrary, are they duty-bound to pacify the Hindus, and lull them to sleep — for the sake of a victorious struggle of British imperialism “against fascism” ? Which way for us?

“Victory over Germany or Italy is at present (on the morrow the case may be different) tantamount to the downfall of fascism.” Our attention is first of all struck by the qualification “at present (on the morrow the case may be different)”. The authors do not elucidate just what they mean to say by this. But they do in any case indicate that — even from their own viewpoint —their position is episodic, unstable and uncertain in character; it may already prove useless on the “morrow”. They do not take sufficiently into account the fact that in the epoch of decaying capitalism shifts and semi-shifts of political regimes occur quite suddenly and frequently without altering the social foundation, without checking capitalist decline.

On which of these two processes must our policy be based in such a fundamental question as war: on the shifts of political regimes, or on the social foundation of imperialism, common to all political regimes and unfailingly uniting them against the revolutionary proletariat? The fundamental strategic question is our attitude toward war, which it is impermissible to subordinate to episodic tactical considerations and speculations.

But even from the purely episodic standpoint, the above-cited idea of the document is incorrect. A victory over the armies of Hitler and Mussolini implies in itself only the military defeat of Germany and Italy, and not at all the collapse of fascism.

Our authors admit that fascism is the inevitable product of decaying capitalism, in so far as the proletariat does not replace bourgeois democracy in time. Just how is a military victory of decaying democracies over Germany and Italy capable of liquidating fascism, even if only for a limited period? If there were any grounds for believing that a new victory of the familiar and slightly senile Entente (minus Italy) can work such miraculous results, i.e., those counter to socio-historical laws, then it is necessary not only to “desire” this victory but to do everything in our power to bring it about.

Then the Anglo-French social-patriots would be correct. As a matter of fact they are far less correct today than they were 25 years ago, or to put it more correctly, they are playing today an infinitely more reactionary and infamous role.

If there are chances (and there indubitably are) that the defeat of Germany and Italy — provided there is a revolutionary movement — may lead to the collapse of fascism, then, on the other hand, there are more proximate and immediate chances that the victory of France may deal the final blow to corroded democracy, especially if this victory is gained with the political support of the French proletariat.

The entrenchment of French and British imperialism, the victory of French military-fascist reaction, the strengthening of the rule of Great Britain over India and other colonies, will in turn provide support for blackest reaction in Germany and Italy. In the event of victory, France and England will do everything to save Hitler and Mussolini, and stave off “chaos”. The proletarian revolution can of course rectify all this. But the revolution must be helped and not hindered. It is impossible to help revolution in Germany otherwise than by applying in action the principles of revolutionary internationalism in the countries warring against her.

The authors of the document come out flatly against abstract pacifism, and in this they are of course correct. But they are absolutely wrong in thinking that the proletariat can solve great historical tasks by means of wars which are led not by themselves but by their mortal enemies, the imperialist government.

One may construe the document as follows: during the crisis over Czechoslovakia our French or English comrades should have demanded the military intervention of their own bourgeoisie, and thereby assumed responsibility for the war — not for war in general, and of course not for a revolutionary war, but for the given imperialist war. The document cites Trotsky’s words to the effect that Moscow should have taken the initiative in crushing Hitler as far back as 1933, before he became a terrible danger (Bulletin of the Russian Opposition, March 21, 1933). But these words merely mean that such should have been the behaviour of a real revolutionary government of a workers’ state. But is it permissible to issue the same demand to a government of an imperialist state?

Assuredly, we do not assume any responsibility for the regime they call the regime of peace. The slogan “Everything For Peace!” is not our slogan, and none of our sections raises it. But we can no more assume responsibility for their war than we assume for their peace. The more resolute, firm and irreconcilable our position is on this question all the better will the masses understand us, if not at the beginning then during the war.

“Could the proletariat of Czechoslovakia have struggled against its government and the latter’s capitulatory policy by slogans of peace and defeatism?” A very concrete question is posed here in a very abstract form. There was no room for “defeatism” because there was no war (and it is not accidental that no war ensued). In the critical twenty-four hours of universal confusion and indignation, the Czechoslovak proletariat had the full opportunity of overthrowing the “capitulatory” government and seizing power. For this only a revolutionary leadership was required.

Naturally, after seizing power, the proletariat would have offered desperate resistance to Hitler and would have indubitably evoked a mighty reaction in the working masses of France and other countries. Let us not speculate on what the further course of events might have been. In any case the situation today would have been infinitely more favourable to the world working class.

Yes, we are not pacifists; we are for revolutionary war. But the Czech working class did not have the slightest right to entrust the leadership of a war “against fascism” to Messrs. Capitalists who, within a few days so safely changed their coloration and became themselves fascists and sub-fascists. Transformations and recolorations of this kind on the part of the ruling classes will be on the order of the day in wartime in all “democracies”. That is why the proletariat would ruin itself if it were to determine its main line of policy by the formal and unstable labels of “for fascism” and “against fascism”.

We consider as erroneous to the core the idea of the document that of the three conditions for “defeatist” policy enumerated by Lenin, the third is presumably lacking nowadays, namely, “the possibility of giving mutual support to revolutionary movements in all warring countries”. Here the authors are obviously hypnotized by the reported omnipotence of the totalitarian regime. As a matter of fact, the immobility of the German and Italian workers is determined not at all by the omnipotence of the fascist police but by the absence of a program, the loss of faith in old programs and old slogans, and by the prostitution of the Second and Third Internationals. Only in this political atmosphere of disillusionment and decline can the police apparatus work those “miracles” which, sad to say, have produced an excessive impression also on the minds of some of our comrades.

It is naturally easier to begin the struggle in those countries where the workers’ organisations have not yet been destroyed. But the struggle must be begun against the main enemy who remains as hitherto, at home. Is it conceivable that the advanced workers of France will say to the workers of Germany:

“Inasmuch as you are in the toils of fascism and cannot emancipate yourselves we will help our government to smash your Hitler, i.e., strangle Germany with the noose of a new Versailles treaty and then ... then we shall build socialism together with you.”

To this the Germans can well reply:

“Pardon us, but we have already heard this song from the social-patriots during the last war and know very well how it all ended ...”

No, in this way we shall not help the German workers to rouse themselves from their stupor. We must show them in action that revolutionary politics consists in a simultaneous struggle against the respective imperialist governments in all the warring countries. This “simultaneity” must not of course be taken mechanically. Revolutionary successes, wherever they may originally erupt, would raise the spirit of protest and uprisings in all countries. Hohenzollern militarism was overthrown completely by the October Revolution. For Hitler and Mussolini the success of a socialist revolution in any one of the advanced countries of the world is infinitely more terrible than the combined armaments of all the imperialist “democracies”.

That policy which attempts to place upon the proletariat the unsolvable task of warding off all dangers engendered by the bourgeoisie and its policy of war is vain, false, mortally dangerous. “But fascism might be victorious!” “But the USSR is menaced!” “But Hitler’s invasion would signify the slaughter of workers!” And so on, without end. Of course, the dangers are many, very many. It is impossible not only to ward them all off, but even to foresee all of them.

Should the proletariat attempt at the expense of the clarity and irreconcilability of its fundamental policy to chase after each episodic danger separately, it will unfailingly prove itself a bankrupt. In time of war, the frontiers will be altered, military victories and defeats will alternate with each other, political regimes will shift. The workers will be able to profit to the full from this monstrous chaos only if they occupy themselves not with acting as supervisors of the historical process but by engaging in the class struggle. Only the growth of their international offensive will put an end not alone to episodic “dangers” but also to their main source: the class society.