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Henry Keller

Libyan Front Is of No Use
to Defense of USSR

It Serves Interests of British Empire,
Not the Workers State

(29 November 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 48, 29 November 1941, pp. 1 & 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Nazi offensive against Moscow, Rostov and the Caucasus goes relentlessly forward. With utter disregard of the cost in human lives the Hitlerite high command throws millions of men into the conflict to gain even the smallest ground in their advance. Hitler is ready to incur these losses to achieve the conquest of Moscow, even though it may not be decisive for winning the war, because he hopes that the hated swastika flying over the spires of the Kremlin will have a demoralizing effect on the Soviet population.

For more than two months the Red Army and the Soviet workers before Moscow and Leningrad have stayed the march of a military machine that routed and dispersed the forces of the great western powers, France, Britain and Belgium in less than two months. The Soviet workers have been building a barricade of human bodies to keep the arch-representative of world capitalist reaction out of Moscow. It is not for want of courage or valor or stamina or any of the fighting qualities that constitute the morale of an army of victory, that the Red Army has been beaten back for the Soviet soldiers have exhibited these qualities in superabundance. The Soviet workers lack qualified leadership and allies – to these glaring defects, the fruits of Stalin’s policy. Hitler owes his victories.

Imperialists Will Not Save USSR

Even today, as the war approaches a fatal climax, Stalin’s policy is one of dependence on the treacherous capitalist rulers of the British and American Empires, on Roosevelt and Churchill. It was a foregone conclusion that the chiefs of Anglo-American imperialism would promise much and give little, that they wanted not a Soviet victory but a new battlefront to give them a respite to prepare their military forces for the next stage of the war. For months Stalin and his flunkeys have pleaded with Churchill to create a military diversion for the harassed Red Army – to open up a “western front.”

Churchill politely declined: it did not Conform to the tasks or the policy of the British Empire. The very conference on the high seas between Roosevelt and Churchill, hailed by the Stalinists as an inspiring and liberating event for the masses of the world, was reported to have considered the question of opening a Western Front and to have turned it down. Only two weeks ago, Churchill announced that nothing need be expected in the way of decisive overseas action until 1943.

Now when the Nazis hammer at the very gates of Moscow, we learn that the British have opened a “new front” – on the desert sands of North Africa! What is this “new front”? By no stretch of the imagination can a revival of the whip-saw situation in North Africa be considered a military diversion for the Red Army. Hitler’s campaign in the Soviet Union can drive to a successful conclusion without regard for the shifting tides of war in North Africa. The conquest of Russia is Hitler’s main business today – to win this war Hitler can well afford a British victory in the desert.

This is no diversion for the Red Army and Churchill knows it. It is rather a “diversion” for the British masses whose sympathies are ardently with the embattled Soviet masses, who have been clamoring for real assistance to the Soviet Union. The new desert war is Churchill’s reply to this clamor. By this diversion, Churchill quiets his easily-quieted loyal Laborite opposition and disconcerts the Stalinists.

Moreover, the war in Libya is a necessary part of the war for the preservation of the British Empire, and for the Churchills this is a thousand times more important than saving the Red capitals of Moscow and Leningrad.

Stalin’s Policy

Only Stalin and his bureaucracy, concerned primarily with saving their skins and their jobs, could picture the Churchills and the Roosevelts as interested or capable of assisting in the defense of Leningrad and Moscow. It will be small consolation for the defenders of the USSR to hear from these bureaucrats that Churchill has opened a front in Libya and that – victory of victories! – British tanks have driven over a hundred miles of sand.

That the workers of the Soviet Union and the world should be victims of the cynical duplicity of a Churchill, is due to no other reason than Stalin’s desertion and betrayal of the real allies of the Soviet Union, the workers of Germany, Europe and the world. Imperialists cannot and will not create any new front except a front for imperialism – the military and political interests of British and American imperialism have nothing in common with the real defense of the Soviet Union.

Who Can Save the USSR?

Only the workers of the world can create a new front for the Soviet Union. That front today is in Berlin, Rome. Paris and London, it is in the workers’ poetical struggle at home against their capitalist masters.

The defense of the Soviet Union rests only in the hands of the international working class. Those who say differently, those who turn over this defense to Churchill and Roosevelt prepare the road for defeat or capitulation to Hitler.

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