Publication: The Economist

Full Citation

  • Title Berlin Votes Against Russia
  • Publication Title The Economist
  • Collection The Economist
  • Date Saturday,  Oct. 26, 1946
  • Volume 151
  • Issue Number 5383
  • Page Number 660
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The Economist Newspaper Limited
  • Copyright Statement © The Economist Newspaper Limited.
Berlin Votes Against Russia In recent months Russia has suffered one political reverse after another in Germany. In the series of elections in Western Germany only tiny minorities voted for the Communist Parties. Even in the Russian zone the so-called Socialist Unity Party has not been able to obtain any clear-cut majority. In last Sunday's municipal elections in Berlin the metropolitan electorate has con- firmed this trend. The pro-Russian Socialist Unity Party gained only about 20 per cent of the votes. The dissident -Social Democrats. who have desperately resisted Russian pressure and just escaped absorption by the Socialist Unity Party. gained nearly 50 per cent of the vores. The remaining thirty per cent of votes were cast for the Christian and the Liberal Democrats. The defeat of Communism in Berlin is the more striking because the capital of the Reich used to be a stronghold of Communist influence before 1933- The ebb of Communism in Germany. and especially in Berlin. is not surprising. The undisciplined behaviour of the Soviet Army in the first months of the occupation. the Russian reparations policy. and. quite recently. M. Molotov's determined stand against any revision of the Oder-Neisse frontier have combined to defeat Russian influence in Germany. What is surprising is the extraordinary success of the Social Democrats. Even the most confident among the Socialist leaders in Berlin did not expect to poll more than 30 or 35 per cent of the votes. This result is generally interpreted as a vote for the West and against the East. The anti-Russian eloquence of the heavy Social Democratic vote is very real indeed. The Russians had tried to suppress the Social Democratic Party and so the Social Democrats in Berlin came to voice the anti-Russian feeling. so widespread in Germany. in its most extreme form. Among those who have cast their votes for the Social Democrats very many have done so not because they like the Socialist programme. but because they follow the anti-Russian battle-cry that has come from Social Democratic headquarters. Moreover. the Social Democrats have voiced more vigorously than any other party in Berlin the demand for a return of the Polish- held eastern provinces to Germany. They have become the real spokesmen of a new revisionism already stirring under the surface of German apathy and prostration. Will the Russians swallow the affront Or will they draw the conclusion that wooing Germany does not pay them and resort to retaliation If the Russians decide on retaliation. they will not be lacking means to carry it out. as the recent unex- plained removal of skilled workers illustrates. The elections may yet have a profound influence on the whole Russian attitude towards Germany.