From Roter Morgen
Organ of the Communist Party of Germany
August, 1991


The German Mark Advances

Yugoslavia is breaking apart. The unity of Yugoslavia could not and can not be maintained by the Great Serb chauvinists, who are enriching themselves from the other nationalities and who have forcibly suppressed them. This is the basic reason for the centrifugal forces that are breaking up Yugoslavia. The wish of the peoples of Yugoslavia to be independent from the oppression of Belgrade is justified.

It is also not in the first place the interference of Germany or Austria that is leading to the division of Yugoslavia, as is claimed by the Serbian chauvinists. But of course this interference exists. Germany is openly promoting the division of Yugoslavia, in the continuation of its old policies, for this division can serve its interests.

For the Right of Self-Determination

"Unity" can also not be maintained by military means. What the military skirmishes are about is the speed of dissolution, and where the new borders between Greater Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia are being drawn. And this is the source of new inflammatory material, when Yugoslavia will be broken up. In particular, the areas that are predominantly inhabited by Serbs will be "connected" to Serbia.

The national problems takes predominance in the multi-national state of Yugoslavia at the moment over all other questions, although the social problems are the most important. We are for the right to separation, for the self-determination of nations, for the amalgamation of various nationalities in a united state can only be based on voluntary foundations. The struggle against exploitation and for democracy, also against the exploiters of ones own nation, stands at the center of the interests of the workers of whatever nationality.

The Slovenians and Croatians have spoken out in their immense majority for separation. We respect that. But the leaderships of the Croats and Slovenians are also reactionaries. They want to place their peoples under the command of the European Community, particularly Germany and Austria. "When the climate for investment calms down again," said the head of the Slovenian National Bank, Arhar, "Germans and Austrians will certainly again become active as the most important partners." (Economic Weekly, 7/5/91)

There are certainly also strong connections between all the Croatian circles and the USA.

Croatia and Slovenia were a part of Austria-Hungary until 1918. In World War II Germany, which in 1938 had swallowed up Austria, also annexed Slovenia. The Croatian fascist Ustashi regime fought on the side of Hitlerite fascism. These traditional bands are now being revived. Not for nothing was Genscher the chief of negotiations for the mediation. That shows the increased influence.

The Role of Austria

Slovenia is "leaning" towards its neighbor Austria. But the latter is today economically heavily dependent on Germany. A third of Austrian capital is under German control. Official direct investment in 1987 already amounted to about 6 billion marks, almost as much as in Italy. In the wake of the reprivatization of Austrian state enterprises, German enterprises are expanding their position. About half the imports come from Germany.

It is also not surprising, that the [Austrian] schilling is linked to the mark, as the Austrian economy is to the German. And Austria is inevitably striving to enter the European Community, as she already belongs to the European free trade zone EFTA. That means that the strong German monopolies can also force their way into Austria with complete freedom. The ties of Slovenia to Austria are therefore also direct ties to a strengthened Germany.

Why did Germany hesitate to recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia? Quite simply, because it could have cost money. Recognition of these two states could have cut them off from their markets in Yugoslavia. In order to maintain the economic ties between Slovenia and Serbia, a united Yugoslavian state is more favorable. A separation could increase the pressure for the integration of Slovenia into the European Community. But this would have ruined Slovenian industry, just as it did the industry in the GDR. It is essentially only competitive in Yugoslavia itself. And it would have been also on the East European market, which is however now collapsing. As a part of the European Community Slovenia, which is economically wealthy in relation to Serbia, would be transformed into a subsidized poorhouse. That explains the interest of German imperialism in gaining time and not yet recognizing the Slovenian and Croatian states.

In addition, German monopoly capital wanted for the time being to have peace in southeast Europe, in order to be able to concentrate more on Eastern Europe and to digest the GDR. But that does not in any way change the fact that the recognition will definitely take place sooner or later.

On the Role of Croatia

On April 8, 1941, the Independent State of Croatia was established, which comprised two fifths of the former kingdom of Yugoslavia. The north of Yugoslavia, that is, Slovenia, Germany had annexed and incorporated into the German empire, which thus reached to 20 kilometers from Zagreb. Croatia was "independent," because Italy and Germany (or Hitler and Mussolini as well as Pope Pius) were competing over its territory. Croatia was tied to both of them.

When in April a military coup took place in Belgrade that did not correspond to Germany's interests, Hitler declared war on Yugoslavia and smashed it. Certainly, he stressed, "the German people" have no cause "to fight against Croatia and Slovenia," and gave orders for the bombardment of Belgrade by the "glorious" air force (according to Karlheinz Deschner, With God and the Fuhrer, Cologne, 1988, p. 273).

And so began a merciless campaign for the re-Catholicization of Croatia, which ended with a medieval-sadistic genocide of hundreds of thousands of Serbs. The Croatian alliance of the current Croatian president Tudjman bears the old Croatian coat-of-arms of the fascist Ustashi on its party banner (Spiegel, #28, 1991) and carries on the fascist-nationalist traditions.

The Role of Serbia

Oppressed by the Austrian monarchy, the Serbs in World War I carried on a just war for their independence. "For Serbia," wrote Lenin, "that means, for about a one-hundredth part of the participation in the current war, the war is the 'continuation of the politics' of the bourgeois freedom movement." (Lenin, The Collapse of the Second International, Works, Vol. 21, p. 230).

Without German imperialism, Austria would not have declared war on Serbia in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, a war whose goal Kaiser Franz Joseph announced to be "the shutting off of Serbia as a power factor in the Balkans" (Joachim Streisand, German History from the Beginning to the Present, Cologne, 1976, p. 252).

During the Second World War, the cause of Serbia, which fought against fascist occupation, was also just. However, the new Yugoslavia fell under the leadership of Greater Serbia. The control of the Tito clique and its successors over the state was the source of its riches and the means to divert the riches of the other parts of the country to Belgrade.

On the basis of its position in the state apparatus, it is advantageous for the Yugoslav, that is, the Serbian revisionist party to cover itself with a "communist" appearance, in contrast to the Croatian and Slovenian leaders, who are betting on privatization and therefore on foreign capital. Thus the renewed national divisions and the and the old zones of influence in the Balkans have inevitably been revived.

There are also very close relations between the Serb chauvinists and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is trying to prevent a further shrinking of its spheres of influence. For after Yugoslavia come Bulgaria and Romania, countries which until now are still strongly under Soviet influence.

The Standpoint of Communists

The spheres of influence in Yugoslavia are being newly redrawn. We communists do not take sides either for "the Serbs" or for "the Slovenians" or "the Croats," but rather for the working class, whose interest is in a life without exploitation and national oppression. And we take sides against German imperialism, which has re-conquered its old sphere of rule in Europe on soft shoes.

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