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Fourth International, August 1946


Resolution on the Withdrawal of Occupation Troops

Adopted Unanimously by the International Executive Committee, June 1946


From Fourth International, August 1946, Vol.7 No.8, pp.254-255.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.


Held one year after the end of the second world war, the Big Four conference at Paris in May 1946 has again clearly shown the inability of the victors of this war to establish a stable peace and to enable Europe to rise up again from its ruins, to make progress and to live in freedom.

The complexity of the antagonisms between the American and British imperialist interests and the interests of the Soviet bureaucracy, as well as the opposition between these interests and the elementary needs of the masses, are such that the victors fear public discussion before world opinion and prefer to engage in the greatest secrecy in sordid deals made arbitrarily and cynically concerning the fate of millions of human beings in ruined Europe and the oppressed colonial countries.

The Paris Conference was not able to solve any of the principal questions concerning the peace treaty with Italy and the other satellite countries nor above all the essential questions of Austria and Germany. Its failure has just brought about the breaking of the Potsdam agreements concluded between the defeat of Germany and that of Japan. More than ever the partitioning of Germany and Austria into zones continues with disastrous results for the workers of all Europe.

At the Paris Conference American diplomacy for the first time undertook a strong offensive against Soviet diplomacy and declared itself ready to call the latter before the United Nations Organization.

If the servants of American imperialism have once again been able to pose as the champions of peace, of the right of self-determination of peoples, etc. ... despite their policy of looting both in Europe and in the Far East, it is because the spokesmen of the Soviet bureaucracy have been seen not only to abstain from taking positions, even platonically, for the right of free self-determination of peoples, but on the contrary, become the “realistic” defenders of reparations, annexations, of the military occupation of Europe and the imperialist guardianship over the colonial countries and engage in bartering among the claims of the different powers at the expense of the vanquished.

If the champions of Wall Street have been able to brandish the threat of calling on the UNO, it is because the Soviet bureaucracy is in practice unable to win over to its cause, as the foreign policy of the October revolution did, the sympathy of the oppressed masses of the imperialist nations, and the small nations, victims of the imperialists.

In this period of tension, in which compromises ensuing from the recent world war are adjusted, the military occupation of spheres of influence in Europe and in the world serves the imperialists and the Soviet bureaucracy as pledges in their current policy of a trial of strength. Meanwhile, the reactionary effects of this occupation are becoming more and more obvious.

The military-occupied countries, already ruined by the war, are growing even more exhausted, crushed under the weight of the occupation costs and of foreign control over their resources and their economy; at the same time the free development of the mass movement is fettered by the reactionary military apparatus of the imperialists and the Soviet bureaucracy. The continuation of military occupation entails an accentuation of the economic decomposition of Europe and the colonial countries and the strangling of their revolutionary movements.

Moreover, prolonged military occupation results, within the victor countries themselves, in the maintenance of a burdensome and costly military apparatus and permits the building and selection of cadres and troops designed to be used eventually against the workers of those countries.

The maintenance of important military forces, the occupation of territories in Europe and throughout the world, and the holding of millions of Japanese and German workers as prisoners of war, utilized as an extra-cheap labor force, are the direct continuation of the war. Consequently the continuation of the struggle which the Fourth International and its sections have carried on throughout the war for the disintegration of the armed forces of capitalism, for the fraternization of the workers of all countries, “Allied” or “Enemy” in uniform or out of uniform, must find its expression in a struggle against the maintenance of the military apparatus, against military occupation, for the liberation of all prisoners of war, and for the international solidarity of the proletariat.

In this struggle the Fourth International denounces any and all pretexts which cover up this reactionary policy of the imperialists and of the Soviet bureaucracy. In opposition to the machinations of their secret diplomacy, it sets up the slogan of the right to self-determination of the peoples of the European and colonial countries.

The Fourth International demands the withdrawal of all foreign armies, including the Red Army, from all occupied territories. It opposes all annexations, reparations, forced transfers of populations and the detention of millions of German and Japanese workers as prisoners of war, either by the imperialists or by the Soviet bureaucracy. The Fourth International recognizes no other frontiers than those drawn by the culture and freely expressed preferences of the populations concerned.

To the impasse into which the policy of the imperialists and of the Stalinist bureaucracy has led, to the bankruptcy of the peace conference and of the UNO and to the threat of the Third World War, the Fourth International counterposes the revolutionary struggle of the exploited masses of all countries for the triumph of the world socialist revolution and the Federation of the Socialist United States of Europe and of the world.

In demanding the withdrawal of the Red Army from the territories it occupies, the Fourth International nowise abandons its slogan of unconditional defense of the USSR. The Fourth International likewise defends the progressive economic measures carried out in the territories occupied by the Red Army. But the defense of the planned state economy of the USSR as well as that of the progressive reforms carried out in Eastern Europe cannot be assured by purely military means, and especially not by the occupation of territories for a strategical purpose. Real defense is based first of all on the free revolutionary activity of the masses which must assure the total victory of the proletarian revolution. The masses of the countries at present must feel absolutely free, without any pressure, to determine their own fate. The occupation of these countries by the Red Army, the burdens imposed upon them, their treatment as defeated countries, can only harm the fundamental interests of the world socialist revolution and dangerously compromise in the eyes of the masses the defense of the USSR against imperialist attacks. Examples in this sense are already numerous (elections in Hungary, Austria, Germany).

Consequently, the unconditional defense of the USSR cannot, in the zone occupied by the Red Army, lead to any policy of support even provisional or temporary, with this or that bourgeois or petty-bourgeois clique or organization which banks on the bureaucracy, as against bourgeois or petty-bourgeois parties which bank on imperialism. It can be applied only by an energetic carrying out of uncompromising class struggle of the proletariat against its own bourgeoisie. That is why the slogan “immediate departure of the occupation troops” and an energetic campaign against the barbarous methods of the bureaucracy are alone capable of rehabilitating the policy of the defense of the USSR by clearly indicating that the defense of the USSR nowise justifies the crimes of Stalin.

Where, however, reactionary movements arise which, with the backing of the imperialists, attempt to overthrow the more or less statified economy and restore landlordism in order to establish a base for attack against the Soviet Union, we oppose such a movement and fight alongside the Red Army for the defeat of the imperialists and their agents, until the workers in that country are able to stand alone against the bourgeois counter-revolution.

In the application of this general policy, the sections of the Fourth International will emphasize it differently according to the position of their own country.

The British and French sections as well as the American Trotskyist put forward the slogan of the withdrawal of the troops of their own imperialism from all the countries which they occupy (Europe, India, Indonesia, etc., etc. ... for England; Europe and the colonies, for France; Europe, Philippines, China, etc., for the USA). The Bolshevik-Leninists of the USSR denounce the anti-working class policy of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the occupied countries and demand the withdrawal of Soviet troops, but the sections in the occupied countries will emphasize especially internationalist and revolutionary fraternization with the soldiers of the occupying armies, fraternizations to which they will subordinate the campaign for the withdrawal of these troops. Our comrades in all zones of occupation must present the policy in such a way that it cannot be used against the Soviet Union to the advantage of the imperialists.

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