Isaacs Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

George Stern

On the War Fronts

(12 October 1940)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 4 No. 41, 12 October 1940, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

This column was formerly entitled Behind the Lines. Every succeeding day, however has rendered that title more and more archaic. The front lines are everywhere. Modern technology has rendered meaningless the distinction between the worker in the war industries – which now means all industry – and the worker who operates the products of those industries. Which countries are at peace and which at war? One can speak only of the extent of participation in the war at any given moment. Hence the new title for this column.Editors


Signature of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo alliance was followed last week by fresh Anglo-American efforts to woo the U.S.S.R. into a new war combination. Great Britain announced the Burma Road would be re-opened on Oct. 18 and Ivan Maisky, Soviet ambassador in London, was approached with a proposal that the Soviet Union buy British rubber and other goods and pay for it with arms for China. Simultaneously in Washington Summer Welles called in Soviet Ambassador Oumansky for a talk along similar lines. Steinhardt, U.S. ambassador in Moscow, went to see Foreign Commissar Molotov presumably for the same purpose.

Stalin will probably lean enough over toward the Anglo-American side to secure more speedy payment to him from the Axis for his acquiescence in the new alliance set-up. A TASS London report on Oct. 5, suddenly introducing a friendly tone about the participation of British workers in British defense, was undoubtedly part of the leaning process. But Stalin will not lean too far. The entry of German troops into Rumania on Oct. 8 opened up the prospect of establishment of German forces on the Black Sea and offered direct and clear warning to Stalin to stay within the reservation.

The winter campaign soon to open in the Mediterranean and the Near East will doubtless reveal what new part of the reservation is to be temporarily opened to Stalin as part of the Axis strategy ot dealing with first things first.

* * *

In the U.S. the new Axis alliance has produced a new and notable frankness, both official and unofficial. Secretary of the Navy Knox in a speech al Washington on Oct. 5 said:

“An adequate Navy at this time demands that we be able to meet enemies far from our own shores and defeat the in both oceans, simultaneously if necessary.” Col. Frederick Palmer, a military expert writing in the N.Y. Times, said on Oct. 6: “There are signs that we no longer shall have to depend upon the false scare of a land invasion to arouse our people to the need of preparedness... Our army ... will be freed of a lot of motion for public effect, which will be waste when war comes ... The best defense is the offensive and the ability to maintain it until victory is ours.”

In other words, we are now told that the country has been deliberately prepared by “false scares” for the real thing: i.e. preparation of this country for an offensive war in the future.

Isaacs Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 16 August 2020