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Carl Davis

Potsdam Decisions Guarantee
New Wars

(13 August 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 33, 13 August1945, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The new Big Three (Truman, Attlee and Stalin), but the old one in terms of its aims, finally concluded its meeting at Potsdam held for the purpose of implementing and working out the decisions made by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in their successive meetings at Teheran and Yalta.

There was nothing new that came out of the meeting. Everything that we said about the meeting turned out to be true. The big powers met for the purpose of destroying the most advanced economic nation of Europe and to complete the division of spoils among them. The most important decision of the conference is the one which aims at the destruction of the industrial might of Germany and the transformation of the country into a primarily agrarian nation.

The other matters dealt with at Potsdam fade in significance when compared to the decisions on Germany. The fact that the foreign ministers of the United States, Great Britain, Russia and France would meet and work out the peace treaties for the other ex-Axis nations was actually decided at Yalta. But no report was made on the planned measures for these countries.

Obviously they are still far away from agreement on the question of Russia’s demands on Turkey, the Middle East situation, or how to divide up the Far East. While nothing was said about the Far East at the conference, there is no question but that this was fully discussed. The Big Three are equally interested in the Far East and the demands of each are commonly known. Great Britain, even under the Labor government, wants a retention of her colonial possessions. The United States is eager to advance her interests (domination of China) in that part of the world. And Russia has already made known her demands: re-establishment of her interests in Manchuria in line with the old Czarist treaty of 1904; re-establishment of her interests in the railroad passing through Manchuria, and possession of Port Arthur.

Stalin’s agreement to permit reporters from Allied nations into Poland to observe conditions and events in that country, as well as in other countries under the domination of Russia means little. The work of transforming these nations into puppet states of Russia was accomplished already in the months when Stalin’s army occupied these lands and moved in the secret police (NVKD) along with a host of experts and functionaries of the defunct Communist International.

The decision on Germany, however, is the real purpose of the Berlin meeting. The “peace” treaty was a revenge treaty. The powers proceeded on the principle that the German people were responsible for the war alongside of the Nazi leaders and party.

Little or nothing was said about the German financial and industrial ruling class which was responsible for the very existence of the Nazi Party and which put that party of fascist beasts into power. It was this class, the capitalists of Germany, which really ran the country, prepared for and prosecuted the war. But these enemies of the German people and all humanity remain untouched as a class.

It would be folly to think that the capitalist governments of the United States and Great Britain, and the counter-revolutionary government of Russia would do anything that might lead to establishment of a workers’ government, that is, a truly peoples’ government in Germany that would reorganize the country in the interests of the workers, poor middle classes, and poor farmers of the nation.

Germany will remain divided into three zones, say the Big Three. Each of the powers will rule for an indefinite period of time in their respective areas. There will be no national unified government to rule over the whole of Germany. Naturally, each of the powers will rule their respective zones differently.

In the British and American zones, fascists, ex-fascists, reactionaries of all kinds are employed by the occupying authorities to administer the country. No political activities of the people are permitted, No real measures are being taken against the remnants of the old regimes, or the monopoly capitalists of their areas.

In the Russian zone, there is only an apparent revival of political activity. In the Berlin area the old, corrupt Communist Party which helped the fascists into power has been re-established with the aid of Stalin. The aim of the Communist Party of Germany is to prevent the rise of socialism. It has already officially stated that it does not seek the establishment of a “soviet republic” in Germany. Why this should occasion surprise is difficult to understand when it is remembered that the soviet system was long ago wiped out in Russia. What Stalin’s aim in his part of Germany is should be clear from the actions taken by him in other countries. It is to make a puppet state of the section of the country under his control.

True, there is political activity in the Berlin area, but it is political activity in behalf of the occupying Russian forces and completely supervised by them. In other words, the political activities in the Russian zone will be Stalinist activity which is another way of saying it will be anti-socialist, anti-working class activities.

While a great deal is said about retaining the identity of Germany as a nation, the fact is that a partition of the country has already taken place. France will occupy a western zone and will annex a part of Germany. Poland has been given outright German territory and Russia has already taken East Prussia and annexed it. A mass deportation of German people is now taking place. That this time itis carried out by Stalin and not Hitler, does not make the crime any less. Thus, what we have in Germany is the “Hitler plan” carried out by the Allies in a revenge peace which is directed in the first place against the mass of people. The lofty democratic principles for which the war was fought have been quickly forgotten.

On top of all this, heavy reparations have been adopted for Germany. The plan calls for $20,000,000,000 payment to the Allies, half of which is to go to Russia, $4,000,000,000 each to Great Britain and the United States, and the remaining $2,000,000,000 to be divided among the other United Nations. How Germany is to pay this, that is, how the people are to pay this is not detailed.

In addition to the huge reparations bill, industry will be split up, with machinery and plants going to Russia in the main and to other countries. The aim of the powers is to reduce the Germany to a farming country – if not completely, then in large measure.

This treaty, if carried into effect, will not serve to stop war, but will serve to lower the living standards, not only of Germany, but of the whole of Europe.

The reactionary nature of the Potsdam decisions is reflected in the fact that what Europe needs is unification. It needs a planned economy based upon the industry and agriculture of the whole continent? It needs to break down the borders of the many countries which militate against an orderly and prosperous economy. It needs a socialist continent based upon the common interests of all humanity, where production and distribution is carried on the interests of the people. It needs an end to the profit system.

What the Potsdam Conference has done is turned the clock back. Its decisions are not based on the rights of the people to govern themselves and decide their own governments and economies.

The Potsdam decisions are those of conquerors seeking revenge. It will hurl Europe back to pre-war conditions of insecurity for the mass of people, new inter-state conflicts, new wars.

One thing is certain, however, Europe cannot and will not live under the conditions created by the Allies any more than it could or would have continued to live under the same conditions created by a Hitler. The struggle of the masses for a new life, for a socialist society of plenty for all, will go on until victory is won.

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