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Washington Whips Up War Hysteria

Truman and Militarists Drive to Impose UMT and Peacetime Draft

(22 March 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 12, 22 March 1948, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Washington is deliberately whipping up a war hysteria.

The events in Czechoslovakia have provided Truman, the State Department and the Big Brass with the pretext for a warmongering drive unparalleled in the peacetime history of the country.

Every major capitalist newspaper and all the radio stations have been screaming war incitements. Each new headline in the past three weeks has blazoned further provocative statements by the top government officials and militarists.

This campaign was climaxed on March 17 by Truman’s speech to a special joint session of Congress – a speech that left no doubt that the Administration is definitely committed to war.

How soon the nation will be plunged into another imperialist blood-bath no one, of course, can say. But there can be no doubt whatsoever that American imperialism intends to go to war, that war is the end-object of its international strategy.

Wall Street’s course, as Truman made plain in his address to Congress, is toward the speediest preparation of public opinion and the military machine for a world conflict of atomic annihilation.

Truman’s Demands

Truman attacked Russia in the most savage terms, accusing it of sole responsibility for endangering the peace. He called for universal compulsory military training, establishment of peacetime conscription and huge expansion of the armed forces. He demanded immediate passage of the so-called European Recovery Program as the direct implementation of the West European military alliance against Russia.

“Measures for economic rehabilitation alone are not enough,” he said, hailing the Five-Power Military Paect signed that very day and pledging “full support” by the United States.

He bemoaned the “tragic death” of Czechoslovakia, which Roosevelt and Churchill themselves, at Yalta, had tossed into Stalin’s “sphere of influence.” The U.S. Army, on orders from the State Department halted 50 miles from Prague in 1945 to permit occupation by the Russian army.

Truman’s demonstrative action in calling the joint session followed a series of statements and actions by State Department and military officials designed to arouse public war fever and stampede Congress into speedy passage of the demanded war measures.

Secretary of State Marshall issued an alarmist press statement terming the international situation! “very, very serious.” Secretary of National Defense Forrestal hastily called a secret conference of the General Staffs of all the armed services in Key West, Florida. “It’s no secret,” said the Scripps-Howar newspaper chain on March 13, “that Mr. Forrestal and joint chiefs of staff are worried sick at imminent threat of war” and are “thinking in terms of immediate mobilization.”

Use Armed Forces

Former Secretary of State Byrnes, author of the “get-tough-with-Russia” policy, demanded that the United States “act” if the Communist Party wins the April 18 election in Italy and use U.S. armed forces to preserve the “status quo.”

The whole sequence of events establishes pretty definitely that Truman and the militarists now in control of U.S. foreign policy are deliberately pushing toward war.

Prior to his Czechoslovakia coup, it has now leaked out, Stalin made a direct bid to Washington for another deal. Stalin’s offer to meet with Truman was made “late in January” and was “turned down,” the Mar. 5 U.S. News disclosed. Business Week of Mar. 6 revealed that “official Washington – and that means the State department and the military – has brushed aside Russia’s January peace feelers.”

This news was suppressed. The American people were kept in the dark while Wall Street’s agents in Washington developed their campaign to force matters to a showdown. Stalin’s subsequent move to consolidate his grip on Czechoslovakia provided the pretext for the long-planned campaign of war hysteria.

This is now being stirred to a more frenzied pitch over the coming elections in Italy.

Brazen Attempt

Rarely has there been so brazen an attempt by a foreign power to interfere with an election in another country, as Washington is engaged in. The State Department has threatened to cut off any economic aid to Italy if the Communist Party (Stalinists) gain a majority in an election run by the Italian capitalist government. Speaker of the House Martin has called on Italians in this country to write their relatives to vote against the Communist Party.

As the war scare grew, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the ERP bill and the House is being whipped into line for quick action.

Then Marshall, on Mar. 15, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the situation in Greece has become “worse” despite the 250 million dollars in U.S. military supplies given the Greek monarchists. He complained that Turkey was so strained by military preparations that its economy is in dire straits. He urged that more money and arms be poured into these countries.

U.S. imperialism finds it cannot prop up capitalist reaction anywhere by purely economic means. The regime of Chiang Kai-shek is in dire straits and China is in a state of hopeless chaos. Now the clamor is going up for more military aid to Kuomintang China.

Thus, the Marshall Plan is becoming more and more a scheme to arm the military entente which U.S. imperialism is building. The nucleus of that entente is the 50-year military alliance between England, France, Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. Other countries – 14 in number so far – are being lined up through the ERP conference now in progress in Paris.

Even the Western Zone of Germany, under British, U.S. and French occupation, has been invited into the ERP. Wall Street is now seeking to build up and integrate a capitalist Western Germany into its military bloc.

“New Concept”

The chief of the Decartelization Branch staff of the U.S. occupation government in Germany, Richard Bronson, informed his staff in Berlin on Mar. 15 that General Clay has a “new concept of industrial decentralization.” War industry cartels will not be decentralized because “we have got to think about the war.”

All these developments unmistakably mark the drive of Truman and the militarists toward war. The war hysteria campaign is designed to prepare public opinion for a military adventure any time America’s rulers see fit to begin armed hostilities. The program of war preparations is being pushed aggressively, with plans for new huge increases in the military budget. Now the draft and UMT have been put at the top of the Administration’s agenda to regiment the nation under military rule.

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