Publication: The Economist

Full Citation

  • Title German Communist Policy
  • Publication Title The Economist
  • Collection The Economist
  • Date Saturday,  July 19, 1952
  • Volume 164
  • Issue Number 5682
  • Page Number 175
  • 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.
German Communist Policy THE five-hour survey given by Walter Ulbricht. secretary- general of the German Socialist Unity Party. at its second conference on July 9th underlined the fact that Soviet policy runs along lines which only change within narrow limits. It is not like a tram. but like a trolley bus. Sometimes it is expedient to talk about the peaceful coexistence of the two camps into which a world is divided. and sometimes it is not. Ulbricht. echoing some of the major Communist speeches of the last few years. explained the two hostile camps without mentioning peaceful coexistence. He stressed the orthodox line. that rivalry for markets inside the capitalist camp will lead to a common assault against the Socialist camp unless-to translate Communist jargon into plain termsoo -there is a revolution in Western Germany. and perhaps some other countries as well. The revolutions are. however. to be patriotic risings to overthrow pro-American governments. and Communists must sink their ideological aims in order to win allies among the middle classes. the professional military men and business circles. Communists must not imagine that the peace campaign has anything to do with pacificism. particularly in Soviet Germany. where a national army is to be set up. Stalin has declared that war is inevitable unless -the people -take matters into their own hands and overthrow the pro-American governments. Ulbricht followed this thesis closely. adding the up-to-date point that the attempt to blockade China and the Soviet bloc had been responsible for speeding-up their efforts to become independent of the western world- this in turn reduced the available markets for the big .capitalist countries and increased the internal contradictions in that camp-and so the danger of war. The chief conflict.o repeated Ulbricht. is between America and Britain. Soviet policy for Germany has changed as little as this view of world developments- Ulbricht removed the faintest doubts on this score. The Communist aim is a peace treaty and the restoration of German unity on a democratic basis.o Apart from using this revealing word democratic.o Ulbricht underlined that in the new Germany the pro-western groups. and the -bankers. estate-owners and armaments million- aires would be swept away. The social order would not be exactly the same as in the Soviet German Republic. but neither would it resemble the Adenauer regime. As to methods of achieving unity. Ulbricht indicated that the Russians will not accept the western governments invita- tion to a conference on setting up an impartial commission. as a preliminary to free elections. The policy he outlined was the same as that laid down some months ago. when the Soviet Government apparently decided that its campaign for a peace treaty would not succeed as long as Dr Adenauer remained in power. and launched its national Germany army. Ulbricht still demands that the Adenauer government shall be overthrown by mass action outside parliament. The only change is in timing. Clearly it has been an infuriating disappointment to the Communists that the Western German trade union leader. Herr Fette. called off the strikes and demonstrations that were being held in May against the new works council laws. These actions were being used by the Communists and by some Social-Democrats to protest against the treaties with the West. and it was evidently hoped that they might lead to the fall of Dr Adenauer. Now Herr Fette is branded. with Dr Schumacher. as a traitor. The overthrow of Bonn is. however. declared to be not only possible but inevitable. because a national liberation move- ment will arise against the -occupation regime.o Nevertheless. the date has been postponed. and the Com- munists have decided that active military backing may be needed to bring about the national revolution in Western Germany. Ulbricht made some very significant statements on these lines. He said This liberation struggle cannot proceed in one unbroken ascending curve. After an upswing there might be a tem- porary abatement. followed by another. yet more powerful advance. Hence the vanguard of the working class must aim at a gradual extension of the workers and the national libera- tion struggle. The Communists must look boldly ahead and prepare themselves and the masses-particularly the young people-for coming events. The series of changes in the administration of the Soviet German Republic just announced by Ulbricht do not mean that Soviet aims have changed. only that the attempt of the last few months to speed up the timetable has been aban- doned. The Soviet Republic. as he once more stressed. is simply to be-turned into a more efficient base for securing all Germany. The Soviet Union's system is to be more closely adopted. The various Laender are being retained -in principle -for the day of reunion. but are in practice abolished. Instead. the country is being divided into administrative units based on economic areas. The form of government at the centre was already changed earlier this year to tollow the Soviet model. Similarly. the Soviet svstem of justice is being adopted more faithfully than before. and the first steps towards collectivised farming are being taken. As Ulbricht said. the People's Republic is now to advance towards Socialism. and -State power is the main instru- ment -for this purpose. The State must therefore be strengthened together with the party that rules it. All these measures are intended to help the campaign to secure Western Germany. as well as to prevent further undermining of the People's Republic from the West. The Eastern German army is intended to be the national army for all liberated Germany. It will be equipped with the weapons of modem warfare. The forces must be -filled with hatred of the US. British and French-. imperialists.o and feel closely linked with the people's demo- cracies and the -colonial peoples who are fighting wars of liberation.o They must remember that wars against foreign .rule are just. Herr Ulbricht. in a revealing declaration that was repeated in a telegram to Stalin. forecast that the resist- ance-movement in the West would be encouraged by the knowledge that the national army stood ready to aid it. The only weakness in all this is the fact that. at present. despite all the opposition to rearmament. there is no resistance move- ment in Western Germany as understood by Stalin or Ulbricht.