Arbeiter und Soldat: Workers' Liberty 3/20

French Trotskyists' and German Soldiers' Underground Paper in Nazi-Occupied France: Full Text

World War Two created extremely difficult circumstances and political challenges for internationalist Marxists. In German-occupied Europe the Trotskyist Fourth International mounted a heroic struggle against national chauvinism and illusions in the democratic aspirations of Britain and the United States. Aiming to win German soldiers to a common struggle against imperialism, in summer 1943 the French Trotskyists turned to organising amongst the German troops occupying France. Given the strict discipline of the Wehrmacht and the murderous anti-communism of the Gestapo (and their French...

1943: the situation in Europe

By summer 1943 the Axis war machine was suffering heavy setbacks. Although Hitler had completed a total occupation of France in November 1942, and still held on to his conquests in the Low Countries, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and parts of western Russia, the Axis powers no longer looked able to win the war. The German defeat at Stalingrad and the subsequent loss of much of south-western Russia; the Allies’ conquest of North Africa and threatened landings in southern Italy; Japan’s defeats in the Pacific; the taking of much...

What does Arbeiter und Soldat stand for?

No. 1 July 1943 is proletarian revolution coming? Once again the spectre of communist revolution haunts the globe. In Germany Goering invites his SS and Gestapo “compatriots” to eliminate any German worker who speaks out about the coming proletarian revolution. Goebbels writes that “this war is synonymous with social revolution”. He uses exorcisms like this and others to try and escape the abyss of the now inevitable revolution. In Britain even the Tories, hoping to calm the proletarian tide, are talking of projects to improve the well-being of the masses after the war. In the United States...

On the dissolution of the Third International

The Stalinist bureaucrats have dissolved the Comintern. “Warning”, declares the Axis propaganda, “this is just a manoeuvre, a chimera, playing dead”. “Hurrah!” the Anglo-Saxon imperialist press cries with joy, “our allies are not communists, they are good Russian patriots”. “Of course, it’s just a manoeuvre” is the rationalisation the communist worker still committed to the Third International despite all the defeats uses to reassure himself; they are tricking their capitalist adversaries, folding up the flag only to unfurl it again in the future. Such manoeuvres, he tells himself as he...

The agenda of global capital

No. 2 August 1943 The outbreak of the workers’ revolution in Germany nears. Already the Italian workers are taking action; in the Balkans, in Portugal and in Spain military régimes and fascist dictatorships are collapsing. How much time can be left before the German workers and soldiers break the chains of fascism and the great struggle between the exploited and the exploiters consumes Europe? It is high time that the Anglo-American capitalists come to the aid of German and European capital. If the brothers of high finance are now determinedly and stubbornly making war with the blood of their...

We the soldiers and the events in Italy

German soldiers have received the Nazi press’s parcimonious news on events in Italy with bewilderment and with anxiety. But through the intermediary of comrades returned from Italy who report on the goings-on there, they know that they have been denied the right to know the truth about the collapse of this most pitiful of fascist régimes in case the parallel which jumps to mind might lead them to more clearly understand the situation in their own country. Fascism has collapsed because of its inherent weakness, its totally corrupt system of party chieftains which can have no objective other...

The real face of the war

The real face of the war The Wehrmacht High Command reports: “We were stationed around 50 km from Charkow. After a difficult fight we made a forward path for ourselves. One morning we took over the post office. There was a newspaper there, and to our surprise it announced in large type the seizure of Charkow [illegible]. It was only eight days later that we took Charkow.” From the front: “My brother had several frozen fingers and similarly his feet were freezing. That didn’t stop the bastards sending him back to the East. That is where he is staying...” Extract from a letter from Hamburg: “The...

Zeitung fĂĽr Soldat und Arbeiter im Westen

No. 2 Summer 1943 [Illegible] I came back from leave a few days ago and I was amazed by the situation in Germany. What I saw is not easy to describe. First off, the town where I grew up has been totally destroyed. Only very few houses are still habitable — you could count them — and only a few have been spared by bombs thus far. Next, the morale of the population. You can only imagine what has happened. Our women and daughters have been totally morally corrupted by the many workers from abroad [illegible]. And then there are the traffickers, who have set themselves up almost openly in the...

A day of significance for the German workers

May 1944 The SPD leadership’s treachery in the First World War left the German working class disarmed. Talk of revolution was smothered by the state of emergency. Therefore it was liberating when on 1 May 1916 Karl Liebknecht organised a demonstration in Potsdamer Platz with the support of thousands of workers from Berlin, to remind the workers and particularly the German workers that: this war is not our war. It had to be transformed into a proletarian revolution. The enemy was in our own country. Of course, Liebknecht was thrown in jail by the capitalist state’s machinery of repression. But...

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