Written: 1 October 1938.
First Published: Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 43, 8 October 1938, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2015. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.
As a military power Czechoslovakia is disappearing from the map of Europe. The loss of three and a half million deeply hostile Germans would be an advantage in the military sense if it did not signify the loss of natural boundaries. The stanchions of the Bohemian fortress are collapsing at the sound of the fascist horn. Germany acquires not only three and a half million Germans, but also a firm boundary. If until now Czechoslovakia was considered a military bridge for the U.S.S.R. into Europe, it now becomes a bridge for Hitler into the Ukraine. The international “guarantee” of the independence of the remnants of Czechoslovakia will signify immeasurably less than the same guarantee for Belgium before the World War.
The collapse of Czechoslovakia is the collapse of Stalin’s international policy of the last five years. Moscow’s idea of “an alliance of democracies” for a struggle against fascism is a lifeless fiction. No one wants to fight for the sake of an abstract principle of democracy: all are fighting for material interests. England and France prefer to satisfy the appetites of Hitler at the expense of Austria and Czechoslovakia rather than at the expense of their colonies.
The military alliance between France and the U.S.S.R. from now on loses 75% of its value and can easily lose the entire 100%. Mussolini’s old idea of a four-power pact of European powers, under the baton of Italy and Germany, has become a reality, at least until a new crisis.
The terrific blow at the international position of the U.S.S.R. is the pay-off for the continuous bloody purge which beheaded the army, disrupted economy and revealed the weakness of the Stalinist regime. The source of the defeatist policy rests in the Kremlin. We may now expect with certainty Soviet diplomacy to attempt rapprochement with Hitler at the cost of new retreats and capitulations which in their turn can only bring nearer the collapse of the Stalinist oligarchy.
The compromise over the corpse of Czechoslovakia does not guarantee peace in the least but only creates a more favorable basis for Hitler in the coming war. Chamberlain’s flights in the sky will enter into history as a symbol of those diplomatic convulsions which divided, greedy, and impotent imperialist Europe passed through on the eve of the new slaughter which is about to drench our whole planet in blood.
Last updated on: 12 September 2015