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CPUSA - Anti-War - 1939-41

In Sepember 1939, the foreign policy of the Soviet Union changed. Instead of allying itself with the powers opposed to Hitler, the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression pact with him. The Russians chose the course of allying themselves with the power which previously had seemed to it a great threat.

Once Stalin and Hitler became allies, communists everywhere had to abandon their anti-war campaign ­ until the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, two years later in June 1941.

The war between Germany and the Western Powers began immediately thereafter. This shift in Soviet tactics was immediately echoed by a shift in the program of the Communist Party of the United States. The evils of fascism were no longer important to the American Communist Party. The threat to American labor, the party said, was the "imperialist war." As the United States slowly developed toward a program giving aid to the enemies of Hitlerism, the party became more and more certain that this developing program was an imperialist program and was opposed to the interests of America. Roosevelt, whose policy of quarantining the aggressors had been praised so loudly in 1937 and 1938 was now a Fascist warmonger, while Senator Wheeler truly expressed the interests of American labor.

The CP through the Young Communist League and its campus arm, the National Student League, was a major force in the pacifist and isolationist movements on college campuses in the pre—World War Two era. Pamphlets such as Fix Bayonets Against Whom (1933), Students Fight War (1935), and Youth Fight For Peace, Jobs and Civil Rights (1940) reflect the CP’s attempt to create a militant student body to oppose war, ROTC on campus, and conscription.

The party said the defense program of the United States was a program fostered by Wall Street. The draft was an instrument by which Wall Street intended to impose a dictatorship upon America. The lend-lease bill was a "war powers bill." The party tried, through the mechanism of such movements as the American Peace Mobilization mid such slogans as "The Yanks are not coming," to capitalize upon the isolationist-pacifist sentiment in the United States and to defeat every measure intended to aid the powers that were opposing Hitler.

The US Government had grown concerned about reputed fascist and Communist subversion in the late 1930s. The war in Europe--and the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact of 1939--gave J. Edgar Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation an opportunity to move against individuals and organizations suspected of working with the Russians. Tipped by a State Department probe that had uncovered American and foreign Communists traveling on fraudulent American passports, FBI Special Agents in 1939 raided the facilities of several organizations linked to the CPUSA and found sufficient evidence to arrest General Secretary Earl Browder on charges of passport fraud.

Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo defended the Soviet-Nazi pact and was aggressively pro-Soviet. As Gerald Horne recounts, “Dalton Trumbo recounts with typical sarcasm and precision that in the welter of attention devoted to the Soviet-German non-aggression pact of 1939, lost in the discussion were the French-Italian agreement of 1935, the Anglo-Nazi treaty of 1935, the British Italian accord of 1938, and the Anglo-Nazi and French Nazi non-aggression pacts of 1938 - all of which preceded and considerably affected the one pact they cherish and recall.”

The American Peace Mobilization and the Committee to Defend America by Keeping Out of War were organizations set up by the Communists during the period of the Stalin-Hitler Pact. On 22 June 1941 Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, and the American Peace Mobilization dropped its anti-war stance and changed its name to the American People's Mobilization. It was led by the Rev.John B. Thompson is dean of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago.

Most American peace advocates were ready to go to war when the United States was attacked; the APM and Communist Peace advocates were already eager to go to war when their beloved Soviet Union was attacked. Ten weeks before Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, the APM, under John Thompson's chairmanship, declared: "This is not a war to to wipe out the evils of Hitlerism and tyranny. It is a war to line the pockets of corporate interests at the expense of the peoples of the World."

When Hitler, on 22 June 1941, attacked the Soviet Union, then, of course, this period ended abruptly. The Soviet Union needed help. And so a new period for the American Communist Party was ushered in. Roosevelt's "war program" now became "the people's program of struggle for the defeat of Hitlerism."

In 1984, the world is at perpetual war among Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, the super-states emerged from the atomic global war.

"On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns ­ after six days of this, when the great orgasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces ­ at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.

There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy. .... There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy. Winston was taking part in a demonstration in one of the central London squares at the moment when it happened. .... The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker’s hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia! The next moment there was a tremendous commotion. The banners and posters with which the square was decorated were all wrong! Quite half of them had the wrong faces on them. It was sabotage! The agents of Goldstein had been at work! ...

"Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports and records of all kinds, newspapers, books, pamphlets, films, sound-tracks, photographs--all had to be rectified at lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was known that the chiefs of the Department intended that within one week no reference to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in existence anywhere. "

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Page last modified: 01-11-2017 19:29:10 ZULU