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Ria Stone

Censorship Hides Truth About Europe

(September 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 38, 20 September 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Anglo-American coalition waited five days before announcing to the people of Italy, Germany, the rest of Europe and the world that they had negotiated an armistice with the Badoglio government. There were obvious military reasons for this delay. But there were even more important political reasons, based on their fear of the independent action of the European masses.

For weeks there had been a strict censorship on news from Italy. The Italian workers, who had been out in the streets of Milan and Turin, vigorously demonstrating for peace, suddenly dropped out of the news. The last we heard of them they were protesting Badoglio’s protection of himself by declaring Rome, an open city, while up North the Allied bombs devastated Italian cities and mercilessly killed Italian workers. We heard too that Badoglio trembled because the refugees flocking into Rome from the bombed areas included revolutionary political elements who threatened his rule.

The Secret Armistice

The armistice between Badoglio and Eisenhower was kept secret for five days so that the American and British armies would have time to occupy Italian cities, and hold in check these revolutionary elements whom Badoglio himself could not handle. Badoglio feared their wrath as much as he feared that of the Germans and much more than he feared that of the Anglo-Americans. To save himself and the Italian ruling class, he was willing to permit the bombing of Italian cities and the killing, of Italian soldiers to continue for five days until Anglo-American armies, could arrive on the spot, and he himself could escape safely to Sicily.

The cowardice and impotence of the European capitalists are here dramatically revealed against the courage and power of the working masses. Badoglio is safely wined and dined in Sicily in a manner befitting a member of the ruling class, while in Turin, Milan and other Italian cities the workers desperately man anti-aircraft guns, wipe out German shock troops and carry on organized guerrilla warfare in the streets.

The secret deal between Badoglio and Eisenhower indicates the shape of things to come throughout occupied Europe and in Germany itself. Thus, the Italian armistice sets a pattern. Even the liberal press has asked whether it may not be employed elsewhere. This time it was only five days before the announcement of the armistice. Next time weeks may elapse after the conclusion of an armistice between the German ruling class and the Allies.

Will It Be Repeated?

The German ruling class, fearing the explosive anti-fascist wrath of the German masses and soldiers, may agree with Churchill-Roosevelt to keep secret an armistice until such time as enough of the Allied forces can arrive in Paris, Munich, Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg to keep the French, Austrian and German masses in hand. The European ruling class fears its own workers and peasants more than it fears the Anglo-American ruling class. So a bloody war can be continued until the moment that their safety is guaranteed by a pre-arranged military occupation.

The American workers have a personal stake in the revolutionary events taking place in Europe and in the conspiracies being perpetrated and plotted. They have a right to know the heroic steps that the German, Italian and other European workers are taking against Hitler. They have a right to know what deals the Allies are ready to make with fascists and collaborationists who have been converted by the fear of Hitler’s defeat.

They are not interested in protecting the lives and property of the Badoglios, Thyssens, Petains, etc., from the pent-up wrath of the oppressed European masses. They are not interested in preserving these elements for a, peaceful public trial by the Anglo-American-Soviet rulers after the war. Let the European masses dispose of their own oppressors and betrayers – they will do it with the dispatch and thoroughness required.

“Open Covenants, Openly Arrived At”

The American labor movement must make it its business to find out what independent anti-Hitler steps are being taken by the European masses all over Europe, and especially in Germany, and let the European masses know! It must make it its business to find out what counter-revolutionary steps the Anglo-American bloc is taking all over Europe and for Germany itself, and let the European masses know!

It must insist that the censorship be lifted, that secret diplomacy be abolished, that the news of invasions and surrenders be immediately broadcast to France, to Norway, to Greece, to Germany, so that the misery of these people, starving and dying under Hitler’s oppression, may continue not a minute longer, and so that they may have time to deal with their betrayers and oppressors themselves.

The pretensions of the Administration that it is following in the footsteps of Woodrow Wilson – open covenants, openly arrived at – is not borne but by the succession of events. A shroud of mystery and a veil of secrecy surround Allied action far in excess of that required by military needs.

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Last updated: 13 June 2015