Hitler, Stalin and the Trotskyist split of 1939-40: Workers' Liberty 3/41

Problems of Trotskyist history

Published on: Wed, 28/08/2013 - 16:21

Problems of Trotskyist history: introduction to Shachtman's Where is the petty-bourgeois opposition?

George Santanyana’s aphorism, “Those who do not learn from history are likely to repeat it”, is not less true for having become a cliché. And those who do not know their own history cannot learn from it.

Take the history of the Trotskyist movement — that is, of organised revolutionary Marxism for most of the 20th century. To an enormous extent the received history of that movement is not “history” but the all-too-often mendacious, and always tendentious, folklore generated by competing sects

March 1939: Stalin offers an olive branch to Hitler

Published on: Wed, 28/08/2013 - 16:15

Max Shachtman

The text of Stalin’s report to the 18th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is as yet available only in abridged form and there has not, at this writing, been enough time to give the report the detailed and thoroughgoing analysis it merits.

Even the condensed version, however, is important and clear enough for a number of preliminary observations, both with reference to what it omits as well as to what it contains.

1. On the eve of one of the most catastrophic defeats ever suffered by the policy of the Communist International — which is another way of saying the Political

September 1939: Behind the Stalinazi pact

Published on: Wed, 28/08/2013 - 16:05

Max Shachtman

I: 5 September 1939

The Hitler-Stalin pact is the most sensational news to come out of Moscow in many years.

Up to yesterday, it was the general belief that Stalin was moving heaven and earth in an earnest attempt to establish a “peace front” of the “democracies” against the “fascist aggressors”, especially against Fascist Germany.

The friends and supporters of the Stalin regime said this repeatedly, and in so many plain words. Suddenly, right in the midst of the Anglo-French-Russian military discussions in Moscow, came the news that Hitler and Stalin had made a very important trade agreement.

April 1940: the USSR and and the World War

Published on: Wed, 28/08/2013 - 15:55

Max Shachtman

The outbreak of the Second World War has once more put prominently at the top of the order of the day the “Russian question”. The signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact was followed by the joint invasion of Poland; by the reduction of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to the state of vassals of the Kremlin; by the invasion and seizure of part of Finland by the Red Army; and by speculation and prediction of coming events which, a year ago, would have been waved aside as preposterous.

In bourgeois-democratic circles, these events furnished the occasion for more pious homilies about the identity of

1948: Flashback on 1939

Published on: Wed, 28/08/2013 - 15:44

Flashback on the “Russian Question”. The 1939 dispute in the light of new documents, by Ernest Erber: New International February 1948.

The captured German archives bearing on German-Russian relations during the period of the Hitler-Stalin pact, published by the US State Department, are of special interest to our movement.

The captured German archives bearing on German-Russian relations during the period of the Hitler-Stalin pact, published by the US State. Department, are of special interest to our movement. The infamous pact and the train of political and military events it set in motion were

1940: Max Shachtman's reply to Leon Trotsky - A “petty bourgeois” opposition?

Published on: Wed, 28/08/2013 - 15:18

Where Is the Petty Bourgeois Opposition? A Repeated Challenge Remains Unanswered.

In his open letter to Comrade Trotsky, Comrade Shachtman, repeating the challenge issued by the Minority since the moment it was accused of representing a petty-bourgeois tendency in the party, declared:

“... it is first necessary to prove (a) that the Minority represents a deviation from the proletarian Marxian line, (b) that this deviation is typically petty-bourgeois, and (c) that it is more than an isolated deviation — it is a tendency. That is precisely what has not been proved.”

Comrade Trotsky has been

1940: the Mensheviks split

Published on: Wed, 28/08/2013 - 14:43

Russian Mensheviks in split over attitude toward Soviet Union, by John G Wright. Socialist Appeal, 6 April 1940 (the issue for the SWP convention of 5-8 April 1940).

The “Foreign Delegation” of the Russian Mensheviks, that is, their leading center, has split on the question of the attitude toward Stalin’s regime.

Theodore Dan has resigned as chairman and left his post as one of the two editors of Sotsialisticheskii Vestnik (Socialist Courier), the Menshevik organ published in Paris. Yugov has resigned as secretary. Abramovich is now provisional chairman and sole editor, B. Dvinov the new

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