April 1942

Communist International


April 1942




World News and Views, xxii, 18, p. 217, 2 May 1942

This year May Day is more than a day when the working class reviews its forces.

It is a day of the mobilization of every force of the nations embattled against Hitler in a life and death struggle.

May Day, 1942 comes in a year of greatest historic decisions. This year May Day is more than a day when the working class reviews its forces. It is a day of the mobilization of every force of the nations embattled against Hitler in a life and death struggle. This year, 1942, the peoples address their first May Day greetings to the Red Army, to the great Soviet people upon whom their eyes are fixed, to the people which holds the outposts in this war of liberation against the mechanized savagery of the Nazi murderers. The issue at stake is not only the destiny of any one nation or any one class. The liberty and independence of all nations are at stake. It is a question of saving them from the mortal foes who are thrown into fury at the very sound of such words as the rights of man, liberty, and democracy. This struggle for the very foundations of human development is forging a new and powerful realization of the solidarity of all nations.

In the past when the workers demonstrated on May Day for the ideal of international solidarity, when their call to the unity of all toilers rang across the frontiers, this idea often evoked misunderstanding and indeed hostility among other sections of the population. Today the idea of the world front of struggle for liberty and progress is beginning to penetrate the most remote corner of the earth. The worker who is tending the machine, the scientist secluded in his study or the research worker in the laboratory, the peasant and writer, the teacher and handicraftsman, the physician and artist—all are beginning to realize with growing clarity that Hitler imperils their very lives and existence, and that it is a question of saving from the barbarity of German fascism the fruits of their labour, the free spirit and progress in all fields of human endeavour. On the shores of the Seine and Mississippi, the Yangtse and the Thames, the people are becoming ever more aware that the air they breathe can only be purified, and man rejoice in life, when German fascism is utterly destroyed and reduced to nought. In their own vital interests the peoples must do everything within human power to achieve victory. . . .

The interests of all nations imperatively demand that 1942 become the year of the final decision. The militancy of the working class on May Day will serve as a message to all who still wait and hesitate. 1942 must become the year of the debacle of Hitlerism. The nations must enter 1943 without Hitler and without Hitler's war. The time of waiting is past and the hour for action has struck. We must say to all cautious calculators who are for ever counting up the reserves of man-power and resources, concocting all manner of combinations in time and space only to come to the conclusion that Hitler is doomed anyway, so why should we precisely at this moment risk our lives, to all those past-masters of passivity we must say: certainly the reserves of man-power and raw materials are of enormous importance and indeed space and time are vital factors, and as far as Hitler is concerned the war is hopeless.

But do not forget:

if the reserves are kept back too long and space and time are not utilized for struggle, all these factors may well lose their importance. And those who are repelled at the thought of sacrifices entailed in the struggle, those who place all their hopes on dragging out the war, may themselves turn out to be the victims of this procrastination, of the famine, mounting hardships, and endless torment of the harassing war. Lessons should be drawn from the example of the Red Army and the great Soviet Union. The vast and inexhaustible reserves have indeed greatly helped the Soviet people in the struggle and have proved fatal to Hitler, but only because the Soviet people, under any circumstances and in any situation, never gave up the fight, only because every minute was used for bold and dauntless, skilful and heroic battle with the enemy. . . .

No one doubts that the American and British workers will, on May Day, pledge themselves to vie with their Soviet comrades in war production, to produce more tanks, aircraft, and weapons against Hitler. No one doubts that they will strive for the highest degree of organization and unity in order to mobilize every section of the working people and every section of the population for victory over Hitler. No one doubts that they will affirm their resolution not only to produce arms but to use them against the foe, not only to forge arms, but also to bear arms in their people's cause. The workers in the Hitler-occupied countries will affirm their determination to fulfil their proletarian and national duty. Every ounce of energy and every bit of skill will be concentrated by them to disrupt war production and the transport of military supplies for their malignant foe. By diverse means, including fires and explosions, they will destroy machinery and equipment working for the invaders. They are aware that the time has come for active struggle of the masses, for the organization of a powerful strike movement against the fascist enslavers. They will realize, lastly, the need and real possibility of the masses offering armed resistance to the enemy.

In Yugoslavia the guerrilla struggle is assuming the character and scope of a real popular war. In Northern Norway guerrilla detachments have undertaken a series of successful operations.

A guerrilla movement is arising in France, particularly in the Seine and Loire departments. Thus reality itself is clearly refuting the totally incorrect assertion that a guerrilla war allegedly requires definite natural conditions—woods, bogs, impassable mountains, and that guerrilla warfare in densely-populated sections of Europe is unthinkable. This contention is all too similar to the treacherous lies of French capitulator generals who would have the people think that an open city like Paris cannot be defended.

Yet the Soviet people have demonstrated to the world that every open city becomes a powerful buttress if its defenders are stout-hearted and brave. The same is true of guerrilla warfare which in every occupied land can greatly undermine the power of the enemy by opening the way for the armed insurrection of the people. The tempo and scope of the armed resistance of the people to Hitler's butchers will, to a large extent, depend on the working class of the occupied lands. . . .

This year there is a special message to the German working class. Let the German workers on this May Day hear the voice of their class brothers, let them hear the constantly repeated warning, the burning question which comes from all corners of the world: where is the German working class, where are the German workers? There was a time when you marched in the foremost ranks, when you reflected the great ideas of Marx and Engels. Among your leaders were Bebel and Liebknecht. In your mighty hands we felt the proletarian force and solidarity.

But today?

With your hands Hitler is waging war against the socialist State of the workers and peasants. With your hands you are manufacturing the weapons for the bloodthirsty murderers of the workers. Can it be that you German workers deem it compatible with your honour, your conscience, and your vital interests to tolerate the system of Gestapo, concentration camps, and the degradation of the working class to the status of mute cattle, obediently following the criminal Fiihrer and his avid and rapacious adventurists. . . .

It is both necessary and possible that the German workers, carrying with them the widest sections of the German people, enter the path of decisive struggle against Hitler's war and against the Hitler regime. It is both necessary and possible that the German workers refuse to bear this tormenting servitude for the sake of war, that they work slower every day and sabotage production. It is both necessary and possible that they utilize the shortage of raw materials and wear of machinery to cause hundreds and thousands of stoppages in the work, that they organize militant action and strikes in industry. Terror is not an insurmountable obstacle. No one would dare to claim that the Nazi terror is milder in Norway and France than in Germany proper. Yet the Norwegian and French workers find the courage to wage by every means the struggle against the Nazi executioners.

If the German workers really understand to what a doom Hitler is dragging the German nation with such feverish haste, they must come to their senses. They will come to their senses and show the German people the path to salvation, to the termination of war, to a new and happy Germany. The German workers and the German people can be confident that Hitler's defeat and the overthrow by the German people of the shameful fascist tyranny will spell Germany's salvation. The workers of the whole world and the nations are determined once and for all to win a lasting and durable peace and seek only to destroy Hitler fascism. The workers of all countries await and desire to see Germany enter the commonwealth of the world's nations, which see their salvation and the salvation of the German nation not in war and destruction but in constructive labour. May Day 1942 will recall to the German workers the glorious days of the past struggles and will serve to call the German working class to resolute combat against Hider's war and Hitler's slavery. . . .

For a whole generation May Day was a day when the worker fortified his faith in his own strength and felt himself at one with the millions of his class brothers, a day when he felt conscious of belonging to a mighty militant body.

The significance of May Day 1942 is incomparably greater: this year it is a day of rallying all people, of uniting all honest men who cherish freedom for the struggle in defence of their decent existence, for the sacred liberation war against fascism, for the cause of all mankind. On this day the sense of human dignity, courage, and determination of every fighter must overcome all apprehensions. The magnificence of the common task must relegate to the background all petty egoistic motives. Unity of all progressive and freedom-loving forces must lead to the supreme determination to act. Unity of the working class, unity of the peoples uniting the struggle of the peoples with the unparalleled struggle of the Soviet people and its Red Army

such is the battle cry and the slogan of May Day 1942.