Arbeiter und Soldat: Workers' Liberty 3/20

French Trotskyists' and German Soldiers' Underground Paper in Nazi-Occupied France: Full Text

Author: 

David Broder

World War Two created extremely difficult circumstances and political challenges for internationalist Marxists. In German-occupied Europe the Trotskyist Fourth International mounted a heroic struggle against national chauvinism and illusions in the democratic aspirations of Britain and the United States. Aiming to win German soldiers to a common struggle against imperialism, in summer 1943 the French Trotskyists turned to organising amongst the German troops occupying France.

Introduction to Workers Liberty Translation of "Arbeiter und Soldat" (Worker and Soldier)

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1943: the situation in Europe

By summer 1943 the Axis war machine was suffering heavy setbacks. Although Hitler had completed a total occupation of France in November 1942, and still held on to his conquests in the Low Countries, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and parts of western Russia, the Axis powers no longer looked able to win the war.

Snapshot of the situation in Europe in 143 to give historical context to the following articles

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On the dissolution of the Third International

The Stalinist bureaucrats have dissolved the Comintern. “Warning”, declares the Axis propaganda, “this is just a manoeuvre, a chimera, playing dead”. “Hurrah!” the Anglo-Saxon imperialist press cries with joy, “our allies are not communists, they are good Russian patriots”. “Of course, it’s just a manoeuvre” is the rationalisation the communist worker still committed to the Third International despite all the defeats uses to reassure himself; they are tricking their capitalist adversaries, folding up the flag only to unfurl it again in the future.

The Stalinist bureaucrats have dissolved the Comintern. “Warning”, declares the Axis propaganda, “this is just a manoeuvre, a chimera, playing dead”. “Hurrah!” the Anglo-Saxon imperialist press cries with joy,

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We the soldiers and the events in Italy

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.

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,

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The future is in our hands!

Soldiers! Comrades! A new and decisive phase of the Second World War has begun. Anglo-American capital has launched its troops on the offensive on the European continent. With 4,000 warships, 13,000 planes and half a million soldiers they have begun landings on the French Atlantic coast.

Special issue June 1944

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