For lasting peace, the imperialist system, which is the source of imperialist wars, needs to be overthrown, and replaced by socialism
77 years ago, on May 9, 1945, Nazi Germany signed the instrument of surrender before the representatives of the Red Army of the Soviet Union, in the German capital Berlin. This act of surrender brought an end to the Second World War in Europe. Earlier, on May 2, the flag of the Red Army was hoisted over the Reichstag (German parliament), signalling the liberation of Europe and the world from Nazi fascism.
Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and militarist Japan had together unleashed one of the most brutal wars in the history of humankind against the world’s peoples, in order to expand their markets and spheres of influence through the re-division of the world. They committed unspeakable crimes, including genocide of entire peoples based on their religion and race.
Led by communists, the peoples of the occupied countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa rose up in powerful struggle against the occupation forces, for freedom and independence. The people of the Soviet Union made enormous sacrifices in the epic struggle, forever remembered by all anti-fascists and anti-imperialists of the world as the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet peoples.
However, the defeat of Germany and its allies 77 years ago did not bring an end to fascism or imperialist wars for re-division of the world. Following the end of the Second World War, US imperialism took on the mantle of Hitlerite fascism. Having emerged stronger at the end of the war, it deployed its gigantic resources to undermine and destroy socialism in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, crush the struggles of the working class and peoples for revolution and socialism, and establish itself as the leader of the imperialist camp. Notorious war criminals, guilty of carrying out the most bestial crimes against humanity, were granted US citizenship in order to play a key role in the war against communism launched by US imperialism.
US imperialism signalled its intentions in the post war period by dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki towards the end of the war. This was a threat to the Soviet Union and world’s peoples that it would not hesitate to destroy anyone who dared to come in its way. Trampling the right of nations to self-determination in the mud, it brutally interfered in their internal affairs, propping up fascist regimes and conniving in the massacre of communists and revolutionaries. It unleashed a ferocious onslaught on the revolutionary struggles of the people of Greece, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran and other countries. Within the US, it unleashed a fascist witch-hunt against all democratic and progressive people, in the name of crushing the “red menace”.
Following the destruction of the Soviet Union 31 years ago, the imperialists of the world led by US imperialism have launched an unprecedented attack on communism, and the striving of the working class and people for emancipation from capitalism and imperialism. In order to crush the struggles of the working class, and with the aim of establishing a unipolar world under its dictate, US imperialism is deploying all the weapons in its enormous arsenal. These include biological weapons and terrorism, carrying out regime change in various countries in the name of “defence of democracy” and “war against terrorism”, and deploying its military might and the supremacy of the dollar as currency of international financial system to allegedly defend a “rules based order”.
US imperialism is relentlessly expanding NATO eastwards in Europe, bringing Europe completely under its jackboots, and threatening the very existence of Russia. In Asia, the US is building a military strategic alliance to dominate the sea routes in the Asia Pacific and encircle China.
The capitalist imperialist system is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis. US imperialism and its allies are seeking ways out of this crisis, at the expense of the working class and peoples of the world.
US imperialism is carrying on relentless propaganda to befuddle people about the source of fascism and imperialist wars. They hide the crucial role of the biggest monopoly capitalists of the US, Britain and other imperialist countries in giving birth to fascism as a weapon to crush the struggle of workers for socialism. Not only was US imperialism and its allies instrumental in the unleashing of the Second World War, but the course it is pursuing today, aimed at establishing its domination over the whole world, is threatening to plunge the world into a new world war.
In order to defeat the plans of US imperialism and save humanity from the scourge of another imperialist world war, it is important for the peoples to learn appropriate lessons from the Second World War.
The role of US, Britain and France in the lead up to the Second World War
The most important outcome of the First World War (1914-1918), a war for the re-division of the world between two groups of imperialist powers, was the workers and peasants of Russia overthrowing their own bourgeoisie, and pulling Russia out of the war and out of the imperialist system.
Terrified at the prospect of workers of their own and other countries following the example of Russia, the imperialist powers — US, Britain, France, and others — hurled their armies against Russia to overthrow the newly established workers’ and peasants’ rule and restore the capitalist order. They were decisively defeated by the revolutionary workers and peasants of the Soviet Union.
The imperialists never gave up their aim of preventing the workers from rising up in revolution in their own countries, and destroying socialism in the Soviet Union. As the capitalist countries of Europe and North America plunged into a deep economic recession, the imperialist bourgeoisie gave rise to social democracy as a method of rule in various countries. Illusions were spread amongst workers that the contradiction between capital and labour could be resolved peacefully, and that the state was above classes and could serve both the proletariat and bourgeoisie. There was no need, they claimed, for the proletariat to rise up in revolution. This illusion mongering was accompanied with the prettifying of capitalist democracy, and attacking the Soviet Union.
The imperialist bourgeoisie resorted to open fascism to crush the communist and workers movement in various countries, when social democracy failed to keep the revolutionary workers in check. In the name of “defending the fatherland” from the threat of communism, it launched the most bestial attacks on the working class and people and their rights, to avert the threat of revolution.
US imperialism played a very important role in assisting the rise of Nazi Germany. Rockefeller, Warburg, Montague Norman, Osborn, Morgan, Harriman, Dulles and other monopoly capitalists and bankers, financed as well as provided technology to carry out the arming of Germany. IBM worked closely with the German government in preparing the data base of citizens, used to carry out genocide. General Motors and Ford built the tanks and armoured cars used by Germany. The biggest stock holders of Standard Oil were Rockefeller and the German company IG Farben, which played a major role in supporting the Nazi regime. Standard Oil transferred technology to Germany to enable it to produce fuel for its tanks and planes from coal. Top US bankers joined hands with British and French bankers to create a Central Bank in Switzerland to finance the Nazi war machine. Time Magazine carried Italian fascist Benito Mussolini’s picture many times on its cover, and propagated fascism as a way out of the economic crisis in the US and Europe.
A new imperialist war began in the 1930s for the re-division of markets and spheres of influence. Germany, Japan and Italy were striving to expand their markets and spheres of influence. The old colonial powers, Britain and France pursued a deliberate policy of inciting Germany against the Soviet Union, Japan against China and the Soviet Union, etc., so that all these countries would get mutually weakened. Britain and France planned to join the battle later and emerge as the winners.
The US strategy was to watch and enter the war after all the other powers had exhausted themselves, so that it could emerge as the undisputed leader.
The cynical US strategy was enunciated clearly by Senator Harry Truman. Immediately following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Truman said (The New York Times 24 June, 1941): “If we see that Germany is winning the war we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible.” Truman became US President in April 1945, in the closing days of the war in Europe, following the death of President Franklin Roosevelt.
Knowing the intentions of US, Britain and France, the Soviet Union, under the far sighted leadership of JV Stalin, prepared to defend itself from any aggression. It bought itself crucial time by signing a non-aggression treaty with Germany. Germany attacked and occupied most of Europe, including France, and began the bombardment of Britain, before deploying its massive military force against the Soviet Union in June 1941. Japan followed up its invasion of China with the conquest of British, French, Dutch and other colonies in South East Asia.
The US joined the war against Germany and Japan only in December 1941, after Japan attacked the US Naval Base in the Pacific known as Pearl Harbour.
The US viewed the Second World War from the prism of destroying the socialist Soviet Union, and advancing its own imperialist interests in the post war period. Even after it joined the war against Nazi Germany, it refused to heed the call of JV Stalin and the Soviet Union for opening a Second Front in Western Europe to fight the Nazis. It wanted Germany to deploy all its armed might on the eastern front, against the Soviet Union, so that the two countries were mutually weakened.
The Soviet Union was forced to bear the full brunt of the war against Nazi Germany. Over 28 million people of the Soviet Union sacrificed their lives in this war. Nazi Germany lost 73 per cent of its military personnel and 75 per cent of its weapons systems on the Soviet-German front. The Red Army of the Soviet Union liberated not only the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, it marched right into Germany liberating all the occupied countries on the way.
Only when it became clear that the Red Army would single handedly liberate the whole of Europe from the jackboots of Nazi fascism, did the Anglo American imperialists open a second front in Europe in the summer of 1944. The strategy of the US was to bring peoples of Germany and other countries of Europe under its own domination, and prevent them from breaking out of the imperialist system.
Towards this end, the Anglo American imperialists carried out separate secret negotiations with Nazi Germany in March 1945, even as the Red Army was nearing the borders of Germany. According to the terms of the negotiations, Germany was to concentrate its forces on fighting the Red Army, while allowing the armies of the Anglo American imperialists to advance without a fight from Western and Southern Europe. In this way, US imperialism wanted to establish its military stranglehold over as much of Europe as it could.
The victory of the Soviet Union and the world’s peoples in the Second World War paved the way for the liberation of many countries of Europe and Asia from the fascist yoke and the imperialist system. A rising tide of revolutionary and liberation struggles began to sweep across the world. The old colonial powers such as Britain and France were greatly weakened and anti-colonial national liberation struggles began raging in Asia and Africa, putting an end to the colonial system. An anti-imperialist, anti-fascist, socialist camp, with the socialist Soviet Union at the head, came into being.
The propaganda machinery of Anglo American imperialism has created a false narrative about the Second World War. According to this false narrative, the US, Britain and France participated in the war with the aim of defeating fascism and safeguarding peace, democracy and the rights of nations. In fact, they participated with self-serving aims of expanding their markets and spheres of influence on the one hand, and destroying socialism, on the other.
The source of destructive wars is the imperialist system. The uneven development of capitalist states under imperialism inevitably leads to clashes amongst rival imperialist powers for the re-division of markets, sources of raw materials and spheres of influence.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union thirty one years ago has not led to a period of peace, as was promised by the imperialists. US imperialism has been aggressively pursuing its aim of establishing a unipolar world under its dictate, plunging the world into one war after another, in the name of fighting against “rogue states” and “terrorism”.
US imperialism, which claims to be upholding a “rules based order”, and accuses others of violating rules, is in fact the biggest violator of agreed upon international rules. It is the biggest danger to world peace.
The struggle raging in the world today is between two systems — the capitalist imperialist system which threatens to destroy humanity, and the socialist system, which is the future of humanity.
As long as imperialism exists, the danger of wars will exist. The only way to secure lasting peace is through a second round of proletarian revolutions. The imperialist system needs to be overthrown and replaced with socialism.