50 Years Ago: The Communists and the small nations

The Popular Front was to include “progressives” of all parties, that is, all those who agreed with the Communist Party and their methods of “standing up to the aggressors”. They roundly abused Chamberlain for even negotiating with the untouchable Hitler . . .

And now it has all ended, suddenly and without warning. Even the wily political variety artists at Communist headquarters have been caught napping. The Russian Government changed its mind and deserted the Allied group of capitalist Powers in favour of Germany. The Nazi and Soviet gentlemen have arranged a truce in the war of loathing and abuse which they hurled at each other for years, and ingenuous Communists have now had the pleasure of gazing in rapture at the Press pictures of Stalin and Ribbentrop smiling sweetly into each others eyes. Whereas the old policy expressed itself in demands for self-determination for small nations. e g.. Czecho-Slovakia. Spam. Austria, and so on. the new one has to approve the agreement to carve up Poland and to square the “self-determination” propaganda with Russia’s efforts to acquire dominance over small nations like Latvia. Estonia and Finland, an effort which she pursued with the familiar Nazi technique of placing an army on the borders of those countries. Military force, the last word in capitalist argument, will decide the issue when Russia seeks to “protect” little nations, not conferences which will discuss democratically the “rights” of “self-determination”

(From the Socialist Standard, November 1939)