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John G. Wright

Stalinists Have Revived
Plea For ‘Second Front’

(14 March 1942)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 11, 14 March 1942, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Stalinists are reviving their campaign for the opening of a “second front” in Europe to engage Hitler’s armies. It is not difficult to understand what this means.

The slogan for the “second front” was first raised by the Stalinists at the height of the Nazi drive into the USSR last autumn. At the time Stalin tried to explain away the defeats of the Red Army by the failure on the part of Britain to open up such a. front. In November 1941 he promised the Soviet people that the second front would materialize shortly. This campaign, however, was dropped as suddenly as it had been launched when the Red Army began scoring its first successes and beat back the German armies;

During the winter mouths the Soviet masses were then told that in 1942 the invaders would be driven out of the occupied territories by the unaided forces of the country itself. The previous defeats were minimized and explained away as having been entirely due to the element of surprise. After the Germans had lost this initial advantage they would never regain it. The Red Army, it was confidently predicted, would not surrender the initiative again.

New Change of Tune

Now with the approach of spring and the threat of another offensive by Hitler, the Kremlin has changed its tune. The danger is self-evident.

Despite the heroic efforts of the Red Army, the Nazis have succeeded in retaining their positions in the Ukraine. They still hold the approaches to Leningrad and are within striking distance of Moscow. During the winter months they have suffered heavy blows. But these are far exceeded by the losses suffered by the Soviet Union in terms of territory, resources, manpower and. equipment. The official Moscow request for food shipments under the Lease-Lend provisions is a grave symptom of the strain on Soviet economy.

The reports of the last six weeks are clear indication that the Germans have succeeded in stabilizing their lines in the most important sectors of the front. This means that they have been able to proceed unhindered with preparations behind the lines. With the industrial and technological resources at his disposal, Hitler has undoubtedly been able to reorganize and replenish his military machine. The Kremlin’s only answer is to plead once again for a. diversion elsewhere. If that is done, boasts Moscow, Hitler can be defeated in 1942.

So far as London and Washington are concerned, they do not even dream of being able to terminate the conflict in the near future. The British imperialists rejected the plan for a “second front” last year when Churchill was talking confidently of forcing military decision by 1943.

At Most a Minor Diversion

But let us assume that they will accede this time, despite the fact that their attention is fixed on the Pacific where the British colonial empire is tottering under the blows of the Japanese and the impact, of the Indian crisis. Any move on their part would be in the nature of a minor diversion. The main brunt of the Nazi offensive would still fall on the USSR. Meanwhile Japan’s hands are completely free. The Japanese imperialists can strike at the Soviet Far East whenever they choose.

With Stalin’s policies the only perspective for the Soviet Union is to continue waging a defensive struggle against great odds since it cannot gain decisive victory with its own unaided forces. How long can the USSR withstand such a terrific strain? What will happen even if after many years of bitter warfare, it does emerge in the camp of the victors?

Stalin with his hand to mouth politics foresees nothing. The fact is that the fate of the Soviet Union is by no means safeguarded in the event of the most favorable military outcome of the war.


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