This year marks the 65th anniversary of the defeat of fascism by the world’s peoples led by the socialist Soviet Union. This momentous victory was achieved through unparalleled heroism and sacrifices of tens of millions of women and men.
Militarist Japan agreed to surrender in August 1945 to the allied forces led by Soviet Union and US. Earlier, Nazi Germany surrendered in May 1945. The working class and peoples of the world waged a titanic struggle against the fascist occupation forces of Germany, Japan and Italy. This struggle to defeat fascism was at the same time a struggle for national liberation, and a struggle in defence of socialism. Scores of millions of lives were sacrificed, and the Soviet Union alone lost more than 28 million people.
The victory of the socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 had plunged the world wide capitalist-imperialist system, already shaken by the catastrophic events of World War I, into a general crisis. For the first time, a new system and state power had been established which was directly antagonistic to the capitalist-imperialist system, and which posed a challenge to it in every aspect. The socialist Soviet Union was a beacon to the world’s peoples struggling for national and social liberation, and a pillar of support to progressive and revolutionary movements all over the globe. The crisis of capitalism further deepened with the Great Depression and its consequences in the 1930s, exposing the bankruptcy of capitalism and leading to growing support for socialism and communism among the peoples.
Faced with this situation, the capitalist-imperialist system gave rise to fascism and militarism. Fascism was the face of the most reactionary, parasitic sections of monopoly capital, whose program was to crush with brute force the struggles of the people at home and to wage adventurist wars of aggression abroad for the conquest of new markets, resources, etc. In Germany, Japan, Italy and other countries, fascist and militarist parties came to power, raising demagogic slogans of national pride and revenge to hoodwink their peoples.
The so-called “democratic” governments in the imperialist countries of Europe and America deliberately encouraged fascism to turn its offensive against the Soviet Union, hoping that the Soviet Union would finally be decimated. However, the iron resistance put up by the Soviet Union to the invading fascist forces, together with the broadening and deepening of the struggle against fascism in their own and other countries, put paid to their cynical plans. Hitler’s Germany, militarist Japan and Mussolini’s Italy were defeated by a great anti-fascist united front of the world’s peoples, which the Soviet Union and the international communist movement had taken the lead in forging.
The strategy of imperialism after the Second World War
The defeat of fascism in World War II led to great changes on the world scale in favour of the revolution and socialism. The international prestige of the Soviet Union was higher than ever before. New socialist states and countries of people’s democracy came to power in Eastern and Southern Europe, as well as in China, Korea and Vietnam. The struggles of the peoples of the world to throw off the yoke of colonialism and imperialist domination surged ahead, resulting in the disintegration of the old colonial empires and the victory of the anti colonial national liberation struggles in Asia and Africa in particular.
At the same time, the terrible destruction wrought by the world war in Europe had greatly weakened not just the defeated imperialist powers like Germany and Japan, but also those on the winning side, like Britain and France. The discontent of the peoples in these countries was growing.
In these circumstances, the United States assumed the leadership of the imperialist camp. The US had not suffered as much damage during the War as the old colonial powers of Europe, and what was more, its economy received a great boost through the war effort as well as through its involvement in Europe’s and Japan’s “reconstruction” after the War.
In his work Imperialism and the Revolution, the Marxist-Leninist leader Comrade Enver Hoxha has pointed out that US imperialism adopted a twin-pronged strategy after the War to try and contain and crush socialism as well as democratic and progressive movements worldwide. One was through armed intervention, while the other was through planned ideological subversion of communist and workers’ parties and states.
In Greece, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran and numerous countries of Central and Latin America and Africa, the United States actively intervened to crush revolutionary struggles, set up reactionary military blocs, assassinate leaders who would not do their bidding, and establish their puppet regimes including fascist dictatorships such as those of Suharto in Indonesia, Marcos in Philippines, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet in Chile to name a few. The crimes of US imperialism in this period are too numerous to recount.
At the same time, it pressed the CIA and various agencies to subvert communist and workers parties and turn them into hollow shells incapable of and unwilling to lead the fight for revolution and socialism. The huge communist parties of Western Europe, which had gained great prestige in the struggle against fascism, were among the first to degenerate. However, the greatest victory for imperialism was the rise of Khrushchevite revisionism in the Soviet communist party after the death of the great Stalin.
Khrushchev turned the great Bolshevik party of Lenin and Stalin into a revisionist party, and the Soviet Union into a social-imperialist state which collaborated and competed with the United States for world hegemony. The Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong also followed an opportunist, anti-Marxist line which resulted in China playing a nefarious role in the international communist movement, and supporting various reactionary regimes and leaders in different countries.
The Khruscvhevites turned the countries of Eastern Europe into vassal states for plunder, and pushed the notorious theory of “limited sovereignty” to justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia. They invaded and occupied Afghanistan. In various countries of the world, they subverted the national liberation movements, using the love of people for socialism, to establish regimes which would be under their dictate. In sum, they followed the same methods of US imperialism to achieve their goal of world domination in rivalry with the US.
However, despite these setbacks, the struggle against imperialism on the world scale throughout this period did not mark time. On the contrary, the struggle against colonialism was carried forward, particularly in Africa, and the movements against US imperialism developed and surged ahead in all corners of the globe. Struggles against US-backed fascist regimes like those of the Shah in Iran, Marcos in the Philippines and Pinochet in Chile, as well as the military junta in Greece, and so on, also escalated and resulted in significant victories. One of the most significant developments in this period was the victory of the heroic Vietnamese people who, after first waging a war to throw out the French colonial regime, then continued to wage a long and protracted war against the mighty US imperialists, resulting in the defeat and total rout of the US in 1975. In Comrade Enver Hoxha’s words:
“The historic victory which the peoples of Indochina, especially the Vietnamese people, won over the US imperialists and their local landowner-bourgeois stooges, showed the entire world that imperialism, even a superpower like the United States of America, with all its mighty economic and military potential, with all the modern means of war at its disposal, which it uses to put down the liberation movements, is unable to subjugate peoples and countries, whether big or small, when they are determined to make any sacrifice and fight selflessly to the finish for their freedom and independence.”
The struggle against imperialism in the present period
The tide of revolution and anti-imperialist struggle, which was in flow in the period after the Second World War, turned with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the break up of the socialist camp.
World imperialism led by US seized the initiative from the proletariat and peoples fighting for victory of revolution, socialism and national liberation temporarily. They declared that with the collapse of the Soviet bloc, a “new” world order would be established under their dictate. This “new” world order was a return to medievalism, the law of “might is right”. The imperialists commanded that all peoples give up the struggle for revolution, socialism and national liberation. All countries must accept to be part of the world imperialist system, adopt an economic orientation and political system that suited imperialist domination and plunder, and give up all notions of national sovereignty. Those countries which refused to do so would be declared as “rogue states”, and the imperialists would use economic blockade and military force to overthrow these regimes.
The imperialists declared that the principles of upholding national sovereignty, of equality between nations big and small, enshrined in the UN Charter at the time of the formation of the UN during the anti fascist war in the 1940’s were henceforth outmoded.
The imperialists partitioned Yugoslavia through bloody military intervention. They intervened actively in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern and Southern Europe to bring to power regimes under their dictate. A wave of anti communist hysteria was unleashed and fascist and revanchist forces were encouraged in all these countries to attack all progressive ideals. These fascist and revanchist forces in their turn, turned their countries into a playground for imperialist plunder.
Led by US imperialism, various imperialist countries utilized the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York to fascise and militarise at home. US imperialism used these terror attacks to launch a bloody war of occupation in Afghanistan and later in Iraq. The US and other imperialists have targeted the peoples and countries of the Muslim faith as the source of terrorism in the manner in which Hitlerite Germany persecuted and slaughtered the people of the Jewish faith.
The proletariat and peoples of the world have refused to reconcile to the imperialist logic that revolution and socialism, freedom, independence and national sovereignty are outmoded notions. They are refusing to accept that every country must adopt the economic orientation of enabling maximum imperialist plunder, and a political system to facilitate this.
All over the world, the peoples have risen in revolt against fascism and war. The People of the Muslim faith world over are resisting the fascist onslaught on them. Both in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US-led military offensives have run up against the fierce resistance of their peoples. The Iranian people and government have not relented in the face of imperialist pressure. In Japan, a long-time ally of the US, there is mass sentiment against the US military presence there and against the military alliance with the US. In Latin America, various countries have been trying to assert their right to determine their own destiny, have their own economic and political system free from imperialist dictate.
The struggle of the working class and peoples against fascism, imperialism and imperialist wars, for the victory of revolution, socialism, and national liberation, is bound to intensify. The struggle against imperialism for national sovereignty is an integral part of the struggle for revolution and socialism.