request for information

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at
Sat Apr 6 20:33:14 MST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>

> It was just as wrong as it was during WWI. The only response to
> Hitlerism that made sense was abolition of the system that created
> it.

See, I know this is technically (or orthodoxically?) correct. As well, I can
pretty much guartantee this would have been my response had I been a British Red
in 1939 as well, but with the 20-20 hindsight of history, I can also state-
without reservation-- that I do look at the soldiers in Europe (from the "west
imperial countries" such as Britain) differently. Obviously one does not look to
the situation in India (et al) as anything other than a decolonising struggle-
but so far as a struggle between the occupiers in Vichy France and the De Gaulle
type resistance (in other words, the  bourgeois-loyal French underground) I do
think it the correct choice to fight. No, it wasn't a straight up class conflict
where the workers had a `side' outside of the USSR- but are we seriously saying
that the war effort historically is another cynical betrayal by the Comintern?
The betrayals were in how they reacted while fascism was jockeying for power-
not in their reaction to the fascistic attempt to conquer massive resources and
exterminate whole peoples.

After WWII, the USA recruited Nazi operatives to head up their
> new crusade against the USSR. The allies had been just as cruel to
> their colonial subjects as the Axis were to Eastern Europeans under
> their rule. If you were Irish, Egyptian or Indian, the Union Jack was
> just as hated a symbol as the swastika was to the Pole or the
> Yugoslav.

Absolutely- no doubt there, and this wasn't to question the retrograde and
anti-human nature of the imperialists- the Union Jack is arguably a far more
hated symbol than the Swastika- and that is well-earned. Again, looking at the
immediate results of a defeatist position, are we really willing to second guess
history and suggest that we could have done better?

> On the other hand, the war between the USSR and the Nazis had a
> different character entirely. It was a war in defense of socialised
> property relations, even if Stalin defended people in the name of the
> Russian motherland.
Agreed- but did not victory on the western Front- pathetic though it was- speed
up the victory on the East? Rather than taking some sideline position, shouldn't
we have had the same position as the Soviet war effort by 1944: that is, that
they wanted a much higher and heavy effort- not a defeated one-on the Western
front to relieve pressure on the Red Army?

> Finally, between the USA and Japan there were no differences to speak
> of. The war in the Pacific was ripped from the pages of WWI with
> Okinawa and Iwo Jima a new version of Verdun or Gallipoli.

I would say, again with the help of hindsight only, that a Japanese-American
stalemate would have been better for the anti-imperialist movement and that the
American Empire was born in the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki and Hiroshima. One
of the greatest war crimes in history. That was only to foreshadow the future.

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