Communist International
July, 1940

Leaflet of the German Communists

The following are excerpts from a leaflet circulated in Germany by the Communists*:

* Printed in the Ny Dag (Stockholm) of June 6, 1940.

...In common with the French and British Communists, the Communists of Germany have from the very outset fought against the present imperialist war and for peace. From the very start, the Communists took their stand against extending this unjust war, against involving neutral countries in it, and against the rape of small nations. The responsibility and blame for this unparalleled bloodshed and mass slaughter, for all the ghastly devastation rest on the big capitalist warmongers of both camps.

The German Communists are fighting against the imperialist aims of their “own” capitalists and exploiters, just as the British and French Communists are waging a struggle against their “own” capitalists and exploiters. From the very outset the Communists pursued an independent policy, guided solely by the interests of the working people and having an unyielding faith in the peace policy of the Soviet Union which alone stands out as a force making for peace amidst the present imperialist chaos.

German imperialism does not speak on behalf of the millions of German working people, when, under the plea of Lebensraum it seeks to establish its control over the nations of Europe and the colonies. It is deceiving the working folk when it maintains that Germany’s victory is allegedly a precondition for a radical improvement in the position of the German workers and working people in general. For many years it has used this as a pretext for systematically imposing fresh burdens and new privations on the German people. In actual fact every success in foreign policy scored by the present regime in Germany only serves to intensify the oppression and exploitation of the masses, and enhances the power of big capital, the Krupps and their ilk. Before, they maintained that it v/as a matter of securing equal rights for Germany, but gradually the avid capitalist rulers began to increase their imperialist demands more and more. The German working class and millions of working folk in town and country have suffered all too much from the inhuman conditions forced upon them by the imperialist “peace” treaty of Versailles to strive for the enslavement of other nations.

The victorious peace which the German imperialists wish to thrust upon the peoples of Europe at the price of the lives of millions of German soldiers in no way corresponds to the interests of the German working class and working people in general. Hence, it does not correspond to the real national interests of the German people. Such a peace would only be in accord with the interests of Germany’s big capitalists who would thereby strengthen their rule over the laboring people of Germany, would prolong the oppression of the people and would enslave even more foreign nations for the sake of their own profits.

We German Communists are fighting for the immediate cessation of this imperialist robber war which only imposes new gruesome sacrifices on the peoples, in particular the German people, and brings them new suffering, famine and untold hardships. Every day that this carnage continues brings only distress and plight to the working folk, leads to the ruination of economic life and to the unprecedented enslavement of the peoples by the hyenas of finance capital of both belligerent camps. It is already clear that instead of the promised improvement in the conditions of the working people, the ruling class is thrusting the entire burden of the war and of the tremendous devastation caused by it upon the people.

The German Communists express their wholehearted sympathy for the victims of imperialist violence in Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg as well as for the enslaved Czech, Polish and Austrian peoples. The German Communists feel themselves bound with the working class of these countries by bonds of solidarity and struggle. The German Communists appeal to the German workers and peasants clad in soldiers’ uniforms not to allow themselves to be used for the enslavement, terror and plunder of their fellow workers in regions occupied by the German armies. The German proletarians feel themselves at one with the workers and peasants of France, who are now bearing the brunt of the horrors of war. They feel their solidarity with their brothers in England and France in the latter’s struggle against the imperialists of their own countries....

The present imperialist war has brought out sharper than ever before the contrast between the interests and aims of the German working class and those of German big capital. The workers and peasants see the capitalists wax rich on the war and rake in millions in war profits, while unbearable burdens are imposed on the masses of the people, while rivers of blood flow at the fronts, and the battlefields are covered with the corpses of the sons of the German people. In order to make use of the masses for the predatory aims of the imperialists, the German rulers have made the demagogical claim that Germany must emerge victorious so that so-called “German Socialism” can be fully achieved. The working people of Germany remember only too well what became of similar promises made during the first World War and have themselves felt the effects of this “German Socialism” as operated by German monopoly capital.

The enrichment of war profiteers, increased power for trust directors in accordance with the compulsory regulation of economic life—designed to increase the nation’s war effort and the introduction of a brutal military-criminal code—all demonstrate to the working masses of Germany that the capitalists and landlords are using this war to intensify the savage enslavement and exploitation of the workers and working people in general. Just as Germany’s rulers have hitherto enslaved other peoples, they are now intensifying the oppression of their own people. All their demagogic phrases about “socialism” can never hide the fact that these reactionaries are, and cannot help being, the mortal enemies of socialism. The greater their conquests, the worse for the German people.

A regime which keeps behind prison bars thousands of the finest champions for peace, liberty and bread, including Ernst Thaelmann, cannot enjoy any confidence whatsoever among the workers. But even this wanton terror cannot hinder the people from giving vent to their hatred of imperialist war and from expressing their determination to fight for peace. However, the rapid achievement of peace demands fearless struggle to put an end to the oppression of the working people. When the latter are in a position to determine their own destiny they will lose no time in bringing about peace. To achieve this aim it is imperative to unite the forces of the working class, to bring about the united action of the workers and to establish an alliance of the working class with other sections of the working population with the aim in view of developing a powerful popular movement.

The German working class and the workers of all other countries are equally interested in an early termination of the present slaughter and in settling accounts with those responsible for the war. The German Communists raise aloft the banner of proletarian internationalism against the imperialist war. They are fighting for a peace that will preclude the enslavement of other nations and the plunder of other countries, a peace without indemnities, a peace among nations based on free, reciprocal agreement.

The German Communists declare that the peoples can put an end to this monstrous war and that peace along these lines can be achieved by concerted struggle of the working class of all countries, and by solidarity with the great Land of Socialism.

Click here to return to Comintern Index