Zhdanov on the International Situation

Andrei Zhdanov

New Aspects of World Conflict: The International Situation. September 22, 1947

By 1947 the Communist international line had become aggressively anti-Western. A new international Communist center, the so-called “Communist Information Bureau,” was organized to link the Communist parties of the Soviet Union and the East European states together with the two powerful Western Communist parties, the French and Italian. Speaking at the founding conference of the Cominform, Zhdanov recast the Communist view of World War II and represented the current world situation as a bitter contest between the “socialist camp” and “American imperialism.”

I. The Postwar World Situation

The end of the Second World War brought with it big changes in the world situation. The military defeat of the bloc of fascist states, the character of the war as a war of liberation from fascism, and the decisive role played by the Soviet Union in the vanquishing of the fascist aggressors sharply altered the alignment of forces between the two systems-the Socialist and the Capitalist-in favor of Socialism.

What is the essential nature of these changes?

The principal outcome of World War II was the military defeat of Germany and Japan-the two most militaristic and aggressive of the capitalist countries. The reactionary imperialist elements all over the world, notably in Britain, America and France, had reposed great hopes in Germany and Japan, and chiefly in Hitler Germany: firstly as in a force most capable of inflicting a blow on the Soviet Union in order to, if not having it destroyed altogether, weaken it at least and undermine its influence; secondly, as in a force capable of smashing the revolutionary labor and democratic movement in Germany herself and in all countries singled out for Nazi aggression, and thereby strengthening capitalism generally. This was the chief reason for the prewar policy of “appeasement” and encouragement of fascist aggression, the so-called Munich policy consistently pursued by the imperialist ruling circles of Britain, France, and the United States.

But the hopes reposed by the British, French, and American imperialists in the Hitlerites were not realized. The Hitlerites proved to be weaker, and the Soviet Union and the freedom-loving nations stronger than the Munichists had anticipated. As the result of World War II the major forces of bellicose international fascist reaction had been smashed and put out of commission for a long time to come.

This was accompanied by another serious loss to the world capitalist system generally. Whereas the principal result of World War I had been that the united imperialist front was breached and that Russia dropped out of the world capitalist system, and whereas, as a consequence of the triumph of the Socialist system in the USSR, capitalism ceased to be an integral, world-wide economic system, World War II and the defeat of fascism, the weakening of the world position of capitalism and the enhanced strength of the anti-fascist movement resulted in a number of countries in Central and Southeastern Europe dropping out of the imperialist system. In these countries new, popular, democratic regimes arose. The impressive lesson given by the Patriotic War of the Soviet Union and the liberating role of the Soviet Army were accompanied by a mass struggle of the freedom-loving peoples for national liberation from the fascist invaders and their accomplices. In the course of this struggle the pro-fascist elements, the collaborators with Hitler-the most influential of the big capitalists, large landowners, high officials and monarchist officers-were exposed as betrayers of the national interests. In the Danube countries, liberation from German fascist slavery was accompanied by the removal from power of the top bourgeoisie and landlords, compromised by collaborating with German fascism, and by the rise to power of new forces from among the people who had proved their worth in the struggle against the Hitlerite conquerors. In these countries, representatives of the workers, the peasants and the progressive intellectuals took over power. Since the working class had everywhere displayed the greatest heroism, the greatest consistency and implacability in the struggle against fascism, its prestige and influence among the people have increased immensely.

The new democratic power in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Albania, backed by the mass of the people, was able within a minimum period to carry through such progressive democratic reforms as bourgeois democracy is no longer capable of effecting. Agrarian reform turned over the land to the peasants and led to the elimination of the landlord class. Nationalization of large-scale industry and banks, and the confiscation of the property of traitors who had collaborated with the Germans radically undermined the position of monopoly capital in these countries and redeemed the masses from imperialist bondage. Together with this, the foundation was laid of state, national ownership, and a new type of state was created-the people’s republic, where the power belongs to the people, where large-scale industry, transport and banks are owned by the state, and where a bloc of the laboring classes of the population, headed by the working class, constitute a leading force. As a result, the peoples of these countries have not only torn themselves from the clutches of imperialism, but are paving the way for entry onto the path of Socialist development.

The war immensely enhanced the international significance and prestige of the USSR. The USSR was the leading force and the guiding spirit in the military defeat of Germany and Japan. The progressive democratic forces of the whole world rallied around the Soviet Union. The socialist state successfully stood the strenuous test of the war and emerged victorious from the mortal struggle with a most powerful enemy. Instead of being enfeebled, the USSR became stronger.

The capitalist world has also undergone a substantial change. of the six so-called great imperialist powers (Germany, Japan, Great Britain, the USA, France and Italy), three have been eliminated by military defeat (Germany, Italy and Japan). France has also been weakened and has lost its significance as a great power. As a result, only two great imperialist world powers remain-the United States and Great Britain. But the position of one of them, Great Britain, has been undermined. The war revealed that militarily and politically British imperialism was not so strong as it had been. In Europe, Britain was helpless against German aggression. In Asia, Britain, one of the biggest of the imperialist powers, was unable to retain hold of her colonial possessions without outside aid. Temporarily cut off from colonies that supplied her with food and raw materials and absorbed a large part of her industrial products, Britain found herself dependent militarily and economically, upon American supplies of food and manufactured goods. After the war, Britain became increasingly dependent, financially, and economically, on the United States. Although she succeeded in recovering her colonies after the war, Britain found herself faced there with the enhanced influence of American imperialism, which during the war had invaded all the regions that before the war had been regarded as exclusive spheres of influence of British capital (the Arab East, Southeast Asia). America has also increased her influence in the British dominions and in South America, where the former role of Britain is very largely and to an ever increasing extent passing to the United States.

World War II aggravated the crisis of the colonial system, as expressed in the rise of a powerful movement for national liberation in the colonies and dependencies. This has placed the rear of the capitalist system in jeopardy. The peoples of the colonies no longer wish to live in the old way. The ruling classes of the metropolitan countries can no longer govern the colonies on the old lines. Attempts to crush the national liberation movement by military force now increasingly encounter armed resistance on the part of the colonial peoples and lead to protracted colonial wars (Holland-Indonesia, France-Viet Nam).

The war-itself a product of the unevenness of capitalist development in the different countries-still further intensified this unevenness. of all the capitalist powers, only one-the United States-emerged from the war not only unweakened, but even considerably stronger economically and militarily. The war greatly enriched the American capitalists. The American people, on the other hand, did not experience the privations that accompany war, the hardship of occupation, or aerial bombardment; and since America entered the war practically in its concluding stage, when the issue was already decided, her human casualties were relatively small. For the USA, the war was primarily and chiefly a spur to extensive industrial development and to a substantial increase of exports (principally to Europe).

But the end of the war confronted the United States with a number of new problems. The capitalist monopolies were anxious to maintain their profits at the former high level, and accordingly pressed hard to prevent a reduction of the wartime volume of deliveries. But this meant that the United States must retain the foreign markets which had absorbed American products during the war, and moreover, acquire new markets, inasmuch as the war had substantially lowered the purchasing power of most of the countries. The financial and economic dependence of these countries on the USA had likewise increased. The United States extended credits abroad to a sum of 19,000 million dollars, not counting investments in the International Bank and the International Currency Fund. America’s principal competitors, Germany and Japan, have disappeared from the world market, and this has opened up new and very considerable opportunities for the United States. Whereas before World War II the more influential reactionary circles of American imperialism had adhered to an isolationist policy and had refrained from active interference in the affairs of Europe and Asia, in the new, postwar conditions the Wall Street bosses adopted a new policy. They advanced a program of utilizing America’s military and economic might, not only to retain and consolidate the positions won abroad during the war, but to expand them to the maximum and to replace Germany, Japan and Italy in the world market. The sharp decline of the economic power of the other capitalist states makes it possible to speculate on their postwar economic difficulties, and, in particular, on the postwar economic difficulties of Great Britain, which makes it easier to bring these countries under American control. The United States proclaimed a new frankly predatory and expansionist course.

The purpose of this new, frankly expansionist course is to establish the world supremacy of American imperialism. With a view to consolidating America’s monopoly position in the markets gained as a result of the disappearance of her two biggest competitors, Germany and Japan, and the weakening of her capitalist partners, Great Britain and France, the new course of United States policy envisages a broad program of military, economic and political measures, designed to establish United States political and economic domination in all countries marked out for American expansion, to reduce these countries to the status of satellites of the United States and to set up regimes within them which would eliminate all obstacles on the part of the labor and democratic movement to the exploitation of these countries by American capital. The United States is now endeavoring to extend this new line of policy not only to its enemies in the war and to neutral countries, but in an increasing degree to its wartime allies.

Special attention is being paid to the exploitation of the economic difficulties of Great Britain, which is not only America’s ally but also a long-standing capitalist rival and competitor. It is the design of America’s expansionist policy not only to prevent Britain from escaping from the vise of economic dependence on the United States in which she was gripped during the war, but, on the contrary, to increase the pressure, with a view of gradually depriving her of control over her colonies, ousting her from her spheres of influence, and reducing her to the status of a vassal state.

Thus the new policy of the United States is designed to consolidate its monopoly position and to reduce its capitalist partners to a state of subordination and dependence on America.

But America’s aspirations to world supremacy encounter an obstacle in the USSR, the stronghold of anti-imperialist and anti-fascist policy, and its growing international influence, in the new democracies, which have escaped from the control of Britain and American imperialism, and in the workers of all countries, including America itself, who do not want a new war for the supremacy of their oppressors. Accordingly, the new expansionist and reactionary policy of the United States envisages a struggle against the USSR, against the labor movements in all countries, including the United States, and against the emancipationist, anti-imperialist forces in all countries.

Alarmed by the achievements of Socialism in the USSR, by the achievements of the new democracies, and by the postwar growth of the labor and democratic movement in all countries, the American reactionaries are disposed to take upon themselves the mission of “saviors” of the capital system from Communism.

The frank expansionist program of the United States is therefore highly reminiscent of the reckless program, which failed so ignominiously, of the fascist aggressors, who, as we know, also made a bid for world supremacy.

Just as the Hitlerites, when they were making their preparations for piratical aggression, adopted the camouflage of anti-Communism in order to make it possible to oppress and enslave all peoples and primarily and chiefly their own people, America’s present-day ruling circles mask their expansionist policy, and even their offensive against the vital interests of their weaker imperialist rival, Great Britain, by fictitious considerations of defense against Communism. The feverish piling up of armaments, the construction of new military bases and the creation of bridgeheads for the American armed forces in all parts of the world is justified on the false and pharisaical grounds of “defense” against an imaginary threat of war on the part of the USSR. With the help of intimidation, bribery and chicanery, American diplomacy finds it easy to extort from other capitalist countries, and primarily from Great Britain, consent to the legitimization of America’s superior position in Europe and Asia-in the Western Zones of Germany, in Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Japan, and so forth.

The American imperialists regard themselves as the principal force opposed to the USSR, the new democracies and the labor and democratic movement in all countries of the world, as the bulwark of the reactionary, anti-democratic forces in all parts of the globe. Accordingly, literally on the day following the conclusion of World War II, they set to work to build up a front hostile to the USSR, and world democracy, and to encourage the anti-popular reactionary forces-collaborationists and former capitalist stooges-in the European countries which had been liberated from the Nazi yoke and which were beginning to arrange their affairs according to their own choice.

The more malignant and unbalanced imperialist politicians followed the lead of Churchill in hatching plans for the speedy launching of a preventive war against the USSR and openly called for the employment of America’s temporary monopoly of the atomic weapon against the Soviet people. The new warmongers are trying to intimidate and browbeat not only the USSR, but other countries as well, notably China and India, by libelously depicting the USSR as a potential aggressor, while they themselves pose as “friends” of China and India, as “saviors” from the Communist peril, their mission being to “help” the weak. By these means they are seeking to keep India and China under the sway of imperialism and in continued political and economic bondage.

II. The New Postwar Alignment of Political Forces and the Formation of Two Camps: the Imperialist and Anti-democratic Camp, and the Anti-imperialist and Democratic One

The fundamental changes caused by the war on the international scene and in the position of individual countries has entirely changed the political landscape of the world. A new alignment of political forces has arisen. The more the war recedes into the past, the more distinct become two major trends in postwar international policy, corresponding to the division of the political forces operating on the international arena into two major camps; the imperialist and anti-democratic camp, on the one hand, and the anti-imperialist and democratic camp, on the other. The principal driving force of the imperialist camp is the USA Allied with it are Great Britain and France. The existence of the Atlee-Bevin Labor Government in Britain and the Ramadier Socialist Government in France does not hinder these countries from playing the part of satellites of the United States and following the lead of its imperialist policy on all major questions. The imperialist camp is also supported by colony-owning countries, such as Belgium and Holland, by countries with reactionary anti-democratic regimes, such as Turkey and Greece, and by countries politically and economically dependent on the United States, such as the Near-Eastern and South American countries and China.

The cardinal purpose of the imperialist camp is to strengthen imperialism, to hatch a new imperialist war, to combat Socialism and democracy, and to support reactionary and anti-democratic pro-fascist regimes and movements everywhere.

In the pursuit of these ends the imperialist camp is prepared to rely on reactionary and anti-democratic forces in all countries, and to support its former adversaries in the war against its wartime allies.

The anti-fascist forces comprise the second camp. This camp is based on the USSR and the new democracies. It also includes countries that have broken with imperialism and have firmly set foot on the path of democratic development, such as Rumania, Hungary and Finland. Indonesia and Viet Nam are associated with it; it has the sympathy of India, Egypt and Syria. The anti-imperialist camp is backed by the labor and democratic movement and by the fraternal Communist parties in all countries, by the fighters for national liberation in the colonies and dependencies, by all progressive and democratic forces in every country. The purpose of this camp is to resist the threat of new wars and imperialist expansion, to strengthen democracy and to extirpate the vestiges of fascism.

The end of the Second World War confronted all the freedom-loving nations with the cardinal task of securing a lasting democratic peace sealing victory over fascism. In the accomplishment of this fundamental task of the postwar period the Soviet Union and its foreign policy are playing a leading role. This follows from the very nature of the Soviet Socialist state, to which motives of aggression and exploitation are utterly alien, and which is interested in creating the most favorable conditions for the building of a Communist society. One of these conditions is external peace. As embodiment of a new and superior social system, the Soviet Union reflects in its foreign policy the aspirations of progressive mankind, which desires lasting peace and has nothing to gain from a new war hatched by capitalism. The Soviet Union is a staunch supporter of the liberty and independence of all nations, and a foe of national and racial oppression and colonial exploitation in any shape or form. The change in the general alignment of forces between the capitalist world and the Socialist world brought about by the war has still further enhanced the significance of the foreign policy of the Soviet state and enlarged the scope of its activity on the international arena.

All the forces of the anti-imperialist and anti-fascist camp are united in the effort to secure a just and democratic peace. It is this united effort that has brought about and strengthened friendly cooperation between the USSR and democratic countries on all questions of foreign policy. These countries, and in the first place the new democracies-Yugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Albania, which played a big part in the war of liberation from fascism, as well as Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary and to some extent Finland, which have joined the anti-fascist front-have proved themselves in the postwar period staunch defenders of peace, democracy and their own liberty and independence against all attempts on the part of the United States and Great Britain to turn them back in their course and to bring them again under the imperialist yoke.

The successes and the growing international prestige of the democratic camp were not to the liking of the imperialists. Even while World War II was still on, reactionary forces in Great Britain and the United States became increasingly active, striving to prevent concerted action by the Allied powers, to protract the war, to bleed the USSR, and to save the fascist aggressors from utter defeat. The sabotage of the Second Front by the Anglo-Saxon imperialists, headed by Churchill, was a clear reflection of this tendency, which was in point of fact a continuation of the Munich policy in the new and changed conditions. But while the war was still in progress British and American reactionary circles did not venture to come out openly against the Soviet Union and the democratic countries, realizing that they had the undivided sympathy of the masses all over the world. But in the concluding months of the war the situation began to change. The British and American imperialists already manifested their unwillingness to respect the legitimate interests of the Soviet Union and the democratic countries at the Potsdam tripartite conference, in July 1945.

The foreign policy of the Soviet Union and the democratic countries in these two past years has been a policy of consistently working for the observance of the democratic principles in the postwar settlement. The countries of the anti-imperialist camp have loyally and consistently striven for the implementation of these principles, without deviating from them one iota. Consequently, the major objective of the post-war foreign policy of the democratic states has been a democratic peace, the eradication of the vestiges of fascism and the prevention of a resurgence of fascist imperialist aggression, the recognition of the principle of the equality of nations and respect for their sovereignty, and general reduction of all armaments and the outlawing of the most destructive weapons, those designed for the mass slaughter of the civilian population. In their efforts to secure these objectives Soviet diplomacy and the diplomacy of the democratic countries met with the resistance of Anglo-American diplomacy, which since the war has persistently and unswervingly striven for the rejection of the general principles of the postwar settlement proclaimed by the Allies during the war, and to replace the policy of peace and consolidation of democracy by a new policy, a policy aiming at violating general peace, protecting fascist elements, and persecuting democracy in all countries.

of immense importance are the joint efforts of the diplomacy of the USSR and that of the other democratic countries to secure a reduction of armaments and the outlawing of the most destructive of them-the atomic bomb.

On the initiative of the Soviet Union, a resolution was moved in the United Nations calling for a general reduction of armaments and the recognition, as a primary task, of the necessity to prohibit the production and use of atomic energy for warlike purposes. This motion of the Soviet government was fiercely resisted by the United States and Great Britain. All the efforts of the imperialist elements were concentrated on sabotaging this decision by erecting endless and fruitless obstacles and barriers, with the object of preventing the adoption of any effective practical measures. The activities of the delegates of the USSR and the other democratic countries in the agencies of the United Nations bear the character of a systematic, stubborn day-to-day struggle for democratic principles of international cooperation, for the exposure of the intrigues of the imperialist plotters against the peace and security of the nations.

This was openly demonstrated, for example, in the discussion of the situation on Greece’s northern frontiers. The Soviet Union and Poland vigorously objected to the Security Council being used as a means of discrediting Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, who are falsely accused by the imperialists of aggressive acts against Greece.

Soviet foreign policy proceeds from the fact of the coexistence for a long period of the two systems-capitalism and socialism. From this it follows that cooperation between the USSR and countries with other systems is possible, provided that the principle of reciprocity is observed and that obligations once assumed are honored. Everyone knows that the USSR has always honored the obligations it has assumed. The Soviet Union has demonstrated its will and desire for cooperation.

Britain and America are pursuing the very opposite policy in the United Nations. They are doing everything they can to renounce their commitments and to secure a free hand for the prosecution of a new policy, a policy which envisages not cooperation among the nations, but the hounding of one against the other, violation of the rights and interests of democratic nations, and the isolation of the USSR.

Soviet policy follows the line of maintaining loyal, good-neighbor relations with all states that display the desire for cooperation. As to the countries that are its genuine friends and allies, the Soviet Union has always behaved, and will always behave, as their true friend and ally. Soviet foreign policy envisages a further extension of friendly aid by the Soviet Union to these countries.

Soviet foreign policy, defending the cause of peace, discountenances a policy of vengeance towards the vanquished countries.

It is known that the USSR is in favor of a united, peace-loving, demilitarized and democratic Germany. Comrade Stalin formulated the Soviet policy towards Germany when he said: “In short, the policy of the Soviet Union on the German question reduces itself to the demilitarization and democratization of Germany. The demilitarization and democratization of Germany is one of the most important guarantees for the establishment of a solid and lasting peace.” However, this policy of the Soviet Union towards Germany is being encountered by frantic opposition from the imperialist circles in the United States and Great Britain.

The meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow in March and April 1947 demonstrated that the United States, Great Britain and France are prepared not only to prevent the democratic reconstruction and demilitarization of Germany, but even to liquidate her as an integral state, to dismember her, and to settle the question of peace separately.

Today this policy is being conducted under new conditions, now that America has abandoned the old course of Roosevelt and is passing to a new policy, a policy of preparing for new military adventures.

III. The American Plan for the Enthrallment of Europe

The aggressive and frankly expansionist course to which American imperialism has committed itself since the end of World War II finds expression in both the foreign and home policy of the United States. The active support rendered to the reactionary, anti-democratic forces all over the world, the sabotage of the Potsdam decisions which call for the democratic reconstruction and demilitarization of Germany, the protection given to Japanese reactionaries, the extensive war preparations and the accumulation of atomic bombs-all this goes hand in hand with an offensive against the elementary democratic rights of the working people in the United States itself.

Although the USA suffered comparatively little from the war, the vast majority of the Americans do not want another war, with its accompanying sacrifices and limitations. This has induced monopoly capital and its servitors among the ruling circles in the United States to resort to extraordinary means in order to crush the opposition at home to the aggressive expansionist course and to secure a free hand for the further prosecution of this dangerous policy.

But the crusade against Communism proclaimed by America’s ruling circles with the backing of the capitalist monopolies, leads as a logical consequence to attacks on the fundamental rights and interests of the American working people, to the fascization of America’s political life, and to the dissemination of the most savage and misanthropic “theories” and views. Dreaming about preparing for a new, a third world war, American expansionist circles are vitally interested in stifling all possible resistance within the country to adventures abroad, in poisoning the minds of the politically backward and unenlightened American masses with the virus of chauvinism and militarism, and in stultifying the average American with the help of all the diverse means of anti-Soviet and anti-Communist propaganda-the cinema, the radio, the church, and the press. The expansionist foreign policy inspired and conducted by the American reactionaries envisages simultaneous action along all lines:

1) strategic military measures,

2) economic expansion, and

3) ideological struggle.

Realization of the strategic plans for future aggression is connected with the desire to utilize to the utmost the war production facilities of the United States, which had grown to enormous proportions by the end of World War II. American imperialism is persistently pursuing a policy of militarizing the country. Expenditure on the US army and navy exceeds 11,000 million dollars per annum. In 1947-48, 35 per cent of America’s budget was appropriated for the armed forces, or eleven times more than in 1937-1938.

On the outbreak of World War II the American army was the seventeenth largest in the capitalist world; today it is the largest one. The United States is not only accumulating stocks of atomic bombs; American strategists say quite openly that it is preparing bacteriological weapons.

The strategic plans of the United States envisage the creation in peacetime of numerous bases and vantage grounds situated at great distances from the American continent and designed to be used for aggressive purposes against the USSR and the countries of the new democracy. America has built, or is building, air and naval bases in Alaska, Japan, Italy, South Korea, China, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Austria, and Western Germany. There are American military missions in Afghanistan and even in Nepal. Feverish preparations are being made to use the Arctic for purposes of military aggression.

Although the war has long since ended, the military alliance between Britain and the United States and even a combined Anglo-American military staff continue to exist. Under the guise of agreement for the standardization of weapons the United States has established its control over the armed forces and military plans of other countries, notably of Great Britain and Canada. Under the guise of joint defense of the Western Hemisphere, the countries of Latin America are being brought into the orbit of America’s plans of military expansion. The United States government has officially declared that it has committed itself to assist in the modernization of the Turkish army. The army of the reactionary Kuomintang is being trained by American instructors and armed with American material. The military circles are becoming an active political force in the United States, supplying large numbers of government officials and diplomats who are directing the whole policy of the country into an aggressive military course.

Economic expansion is an important supplement to the realization of America’s strategic plan. American imperialism is endeavoring like a usurer, to take advantage of the postwar difficulties of the European countries, in particular of the shortage of raw materials, fuel and food in the Allied countries that suffered most from the war, to dictate to them extortionate terms for any assistance rendered. With an eye to the impending economic crisis, the United States is in a hurry to find new monopoly spheres of capital investment and markets for its goods. American economic “assistance” pursues the broad aim of bringing Europe into bondage to American capital. The more drastic the economic situation of a country is, the harsher are the terms which the American monopolies endeavor to dictate to it.

But economic control logically leads to political subjugation to American imperialism. Thus the United States combines the extension of monopoly markets for its goods with the acquisition of new bridgeheads for its fight against the new democratic forces of Europe. In “saving” a country from starvation and collapse, the American monopolies at the same time seek to rob it of all vestige of independence. American “assistance” automatically involves a change in the policy of the country to which it is rendered: parties and individuals come to power that are prepared, on directions from Washington, to carry out a program of home and foreign policy suitable to the United States, (France, Italy, and so on).

Lastly, the aspiration to world supremacy and the anti-democratic policy of the United States involve an ideological struggle. The principal purpose of the ideological part of the American strategic plan is to deceive public opinion by slanderously accusing the Soviet Union and the new democracies of aggressive intentions, and thus representing the Anglo-Saxon bloc in a defensive role and absolving it of responsibility for preparing a new war. During the Second World War the popularity of the Soviet Union in foreign countries was enormously enhanced. Its devoted and heroic struggle against imperialism earned it the affection and respect of working people in all countries. The military and economic might of the Socialist state, the invincible strength of the moral and political unity of Soviet society were graphically demonstrated to the whole world. The reactionary circles in the United States and Great Britain are anxious to erase the deep impression made by the Socialist system on the working people of the world. The war-mongers fully realize that long ideological preparation is necessary before they can get their soldiers to fight the Soviet Union.

In their ideological struggle against the USSR, the American imperialists, who have no great insight into political questions, demonstrate their ignorance by laying primary stress on the allegation that the Soviet Union is undemocratic and totalitarian, while the United States and Great Britain and the whole capitalist world are democratic. On this platform of ideological struggle-on this defense of bourgeois pseudo-democracy and condemnation of Communism as totalitarian-are united all the enemies of the working class without exception, from the capitalist magnates to the Right Socialist leaders, who seize with the greatest eagerness on any slanderous imputations against the USSR suggested to them by their imperialist masters. The pith and substance of this fraudulent propaganda is the claim that the earmark of true democracy is the existence of a plurality of parties and of an organized opposition minority. On these grounds the British Laborites, who spare no effort in their fight against Communism, would like to discover antagonistic classes and a corresponding struggle of parties in the USSR. Political ignoramuses that they are, they cannot understand that capitalists and landlords, antagonistic classes, and hence a plurality of parties, have long ceased to exist in the USSR. They would like to have in the USSR the bourgeois parties which are so dear to their hearts, including pseudo-socialistic parties, as an agency of imperialism. But to their bitter regret these parties of the exploiting bourgeoisie have been doomed by history to disappear from the scene …

The Soviet Union unswervingly holds the position that political and economic relations between states must be built exclusively on the basis of equality of the parties and mutual respect for their sovereign rights. Soviet foreign policy and, in particular, Soviet economic relations with foreign countries are based on the principle of equality, on the principle that agreements must be of advantage to both parties. Treaties with the USSR are agreements that are of mutual advantage to both parties, and never contain anything that encroaches on the national independence and sovereignty of the contracting parties. This fundamental feature of the agreements of the USSR with other states stands out particularly vividly just now, in the light of the unfair and unequal treaties being concluded or planned by the United States. Unequal agreements are alien to Soviet foreign trade policy. More, the development of the Soviet Union’s economic relations with all countries interested in such relations demonstrates on what principles normal relations between states should be built. Suffice it to recall the treaties recently concluded by the USSR with Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland. In this way the USSR has clearly shown along what lines Europe may find the way out of its present economic plight. Britain might have had a similar treaty, if the Labor Government had not, under outside pressure, frustrated the agreement with the USSR, the agreement which was already on its way to conclusion.

The exposure of the American plan for the economic enslavement of the European countries is an indisputable service rendered by the foreign policy of the USSR and the new democracies.

It should be borne in mind that America herself is threatened with an economic crisis. There are weighty reasons for Marshall’s official generosity. If the European countries do not receive American credits, their demand for American goods will diminish, and this will tend to accelerate and intensify the approaching economic crisis in the United States. Accordingly, if the European countries display the necessary stamina and readiness to resist the enthralling terms of the American credit, America may find herself compelled to beat a retreat.

IV. The Tasks of the Communist Parties in Uniting the Democratic, Anti-fascist, Peace-loving Elements to Resist the New Plans of War and Aggression

The dissolution of the Comintern, which conformed to the demands of the development of the labor movement in the new historical situation, played a positive role. The dissolution of the Comintern once and for all disposed of the slanderous allegation of the enemies of Communism and the labor movement that Moscow was interfering in the internal affairs of other states, and that the Communist parties in the various countries were acting not in the interests of their nations, but on orders from outside.

The Comintern was founded after the first world war, when the Communist parties were still weak, when practically no ties existed between the working classes of the different countries, and when the Communist parties had not yet produced generally recognized leaders of the labor movement. The service performed by the Comintern was that it restored and strengthened the ties between the working people of the different countries, that it elaborated theoretical questions of the labor movement in the new, postwar conditions of development, that it established general standards of propaganda of the ideas of Communism, and that it facilitated the preparation of leaders of the labor movement. This created the conditions for the conversion of the young Communist parties into mass labor parties. But once the young Communist parties had become mass labor parties, the direction of these parties from one center became impossible and inexpedient. As a result, the Comintern, from a factor promoting the development of the Communist parties began to turn into a factor hindering their development. The new stage in the development of the Communist parties demanded new forms of contact among the parties. It was these considerations that made it necessary to dissolve the Comintern and to devise new forms of connection between the parties.

In the course of the four years that have elapsed since the dissolution of the Comintern, the Communist parties have grown considerably in strength and influence in nearly all the countries of Europe and Asia. The influence of the Communist parties has increased not only in Eastern Europe, but in practically all European countries where fascism held sway, as well as in those which were occupied by the German fascists-France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, etc. The influence of the Communists has increased especially in the new democracies, where the Communist parties are among the most influential parties in the state.

But the present position of the Communist parties has its shortcomings. Some comrades understood the dissolution of the Comintern to imply the elimination of all ties, of all contact, between the fraternal Communist parties. But experience has shown that such mutual isolation of the Communist parties is wrong, harmful and, in point of fact, unnatural. The Communist movement develops within national frameworks, but there are tasks and interests common to the parties of various countries. We get a rather curious state of affairs: the Socialists, who stopped at nothing to prove that the Comintern dictated directives from Moscow to the Communists of all countries, have restored their Inter. national; yet the Communists even refrained from meeting one another, let alone consulting with one another on questions of mutual interest to them, from fear of the slanderous talk of their enemies regarding the “hand of Moscow.” Representatives of the most diverse fields of endeavor-scientists, cooperators, trade unionists, the youth, students-deem it possible to maintain international contact, to exchange experience and consult with one another on matters relating to their work, to arrange international congresses and conferences; yet the Communists, even of countries that are bound together as allies, hesitate to establish friendly ties. There can be no doubt that if the situation were to continue it would be fraught with most serious consequences to the development of the work of the fraternal parties. The need for mutual consultation and voluntary coordination of action between individual parties has become particularly urgent at the present juncture when continued isolation may lead to a slackening of mutual understanding, and at times, even to serious blunders.

In view of the fact that the majority of the leaders of the Socialist parties (especially the British Laborites and the French Socialists) are acting as agents of United States imperialist circles, there has devolved upon the Communists the special historical task of leading the resistance to the American plan for the enthrallment of Europe, and of boldly denouncing all co-adjutors of American imperialism in their own countries. At the same time, Communists must support all the really patriotic elements who do not want their countries to be imposed upon, who want to resist enthrallment of their countries to foreign capital, and to uphold their national sovereignty. The Communists must be the leaders in enlisting all anti-fascist and freedom-loving elements in the struggle against the new American expansionist plans for the enslavement of Europe.

It must be borne in mind that a great gulf lies between the desire of the imperialists to unleash a new war and the possibility of engineering such a war. The peoples of the world do not want war. The forces that stand for peace are so big and influential that if they are staunch and determined in defense of peace, if they display fortitude and firmness, the plans of the aggressors will come to grief. It should not be forgotten that all the hullabaloo of the imperialist agents about the danger of war is designed to frighten the weak-nerved and unstable and to extort concessions to the aggressor by means of intimidation.

The chief danger to the working class at this present juncture lies in underrating its own strength and overrating the strength of the enemy. Just as in the past the Munich policy untied the hands of the Nazi aggressors, so today concessions to the new course of the United States and the imperialist camp may encourage its inspirers to be even more insolent and aggressive. The Communist parties must therefore head the resistance to the plans of imperialist expansion and aggression along every line-state, economic and ideological; they must rally their ranks and unite their efforts on the basis of a common anti-imperialist and democratic platform, and gather around them all the democratic and patriotic forces of the people.

A special task devolves on the fraternal Communist parties of France, Italy, Great Britain and other countries. They must take up the standard in defense of the national independence and sovereignty of their countries. If the Communist parties firmly stick to their position, if they do not allow themselves to be intimidated and blackmailed, if they act as courageous sentinels of enduring peace and popular democracy, of the national sovereignty, liberty and independence of their countries, if, in their struggle against the attempts to economically and politically enthrall their countries, they are able to take the lead of all the forces prepared to uphold the national honor and independence, no plans for the enthrallment of Europe can possibly succeed.

Source: The Strategy and Tactics of World Communism (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1948).

Fuentes:

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1947-2/cold-war/cold-war-texts/zhdanov-on-the-international-situation/