Full Citation

  • Title Confusion In Germany Over Eastern Frontier
  • Author From Our Special Correspondent
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Monday,  Sept. 23, 1946
  • Issue Number 50563
  • Page Number 4
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
CONFUSION IN GERMANY OVER EASTERN FRONTIER SOCIALIST UNITY PARTY'S DILEMMA The Socialist Unity Party-the Communist-controlled party of the Russian zone-has issued a statement in which it refers to efforts by " reactionaries " to kindle a nationalist agitation over the question of the German frontier with Poland. DELAY IN MAKING EXPLANATION LITTLE INFLUENCE ON SOVIET POLICY From Our Special Correspondent BERLIN, SEPT. 22 The Communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party, which the Russians created in April in their zone of Germany by the fusion of Communists and Social Democrats and which has its headquarters in Berlin, is now trying to extricate itself from the quandary in which it was placed by Mr. Molotov's recent pronouncement on Germany's eastern frontier. A week ag6 the leaders of the party were saying publicly, presumably with the approval of the Russian authorities here, that the eastern frontier was only provisional and, as Mr. Byrnes pointed out at Stuttgart, a matter for determination at the peace conference. This assurance was rudely shaken by Mr. Molotov's abrupt statement that the Poles are to have the territories they now hold in eastern Germany. The extent of the Socialist Unity Party's confusion may be judged from the fact that not until yesterday did it issue a statement of its attitude to the frontier question. The statement is a cunning appeal to prejudice rather than a reasoned explanation why the limb on which the party was sitting so confidently should have been cut from under it. A NAZI SOLUTION Instead of introducing into the whole of Germany the land reform which would assure the livelihood of tens of thousands of refugees and food for millions of people, it goes on, reactionaries have revived the old aggressive Nazi solution of Lebensraram. To raise this question serves both to conceal Federal and Separatist tendencies and to divert attention from the newly planned territorial transfers in western Germany. The same reactionary circles which are preparing the ground for the idea of revenge in the east are wilfully silent on the defeat they want to inflict on the new democratic Germany by the cess*n of the Saar region. The Socialist Unity Party, the statement says finally, seeks a bearable peace treaty for Germany and will do all it can to ensure that the voice of the German people is heard in questions of Germany's future frontiers also at the peace conference. The eastern question is only one of the issues over which Russian policy has placed the Socialist Unity Party in a difficult position recently. Another is the Russian action in taking under Soviet control and probably Soviet ownership a nunmber of important factories in the eastern zone. This development augurs a Russian policy towards the Germans wliich is difficult to reconcile wvitl the recent plebiscite for the nationalization of Nazi undertakings in Saxony, for which the Unity Party took the credit, and with the party's general line as the guardian of Socialist reconstruction. On both major issues of frontiers and industry the Unity Party stands revealed as having little real influence on Russian policy in the eastern zone when direct Russian interests are concerned. It might be suspected that the Russians find the Unity Party something of an embarrassment. The local elections in the Russian zone which were concluded a week ago showed majorities in all Liinder for the Unity Party on a simple addition of votes. But even this misleading assessment of the position of the parties, which ignores the majorities of the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Democrats in individual communities, cannot be stretched to make it appear that the Unity Party has been resoundingly successful. The spoiled voting papers and the large number of votes cast for the middle-class parties are eloquent of the widespread dislikc and mistrust of the Unity Party which found expression in these devious ways in spite of the weight of propaganda in favour of the Unity Party and the obstacles placed in the way of the two other parties. MUNICIPAL CONTESTS The political picture of thefBritish zone wyas left incompletc by last Sunday's local elections. which touched only the small towns and the country districts. The elections on October 13 for county councils and for municipal councils in the large towns will show whether the Social Democrats haye actually lost ground to the Christian Democrats and whether the success of. the Independents can be maintained in places where the political parties are properly organized. It will also be possible to see whether there is a real trend away from Conrmunism. Momentarily it is impossible to say how the October elections in fihe British zone might be affected by a new development in the Social Democratic Party. During the past week there have been grumblings from the party because of its belief that the British intend to. support the American proposal for a federal structure of Germany. The matter will be discussed at the party conference at Cologne this week, and 'there is the possibility that the Social Democrats may decide then to withdraw their representatives from governmental and administrative posts in the British zone, where they preponderate, particularly in administrative posts, because they were the first among the parties to be organized and in the early days appeared to have the 'widest public backing. The Social Democrats are worried by the fear that a federal structure would give undue influence to the right wing in the American zone, particularly in Bavaria. A fuller explanation of the British attitude, which is not one of whole-hearted acceptance of the American ideas, may help to allay the Social Democrats' fears.