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(1930 - 1934)


While in the U.S.S.R. important progress had been made in the Socialist industrialization of the country and industry was rapidly developing, in the capitalist countries a devastating world economic crisis of unprecedented dimensions had broken out at the end of 1929 and grew steadily more acute in the three following years. The industrial crisis was interwoven with an agrarian crisis, which made matters still worse for the capitalist countries.

In the three years of economic crisis (1930-33), industrial output in the U.S.A. had sunk to 65 per cent, in Great Britain to 86 per cent, in Germany to 66 per cent and in France to 77 per cent of the 1929 output. Yet in this same period industrial output in the U.S.S.R. more than doubled, amounting in 1933 to 201 per cent of the 1929 output.

This was but an additional proof of the superiority of the Socialist economic system over the capitalist economic system. It showed that the country of Socialism is the only country in the world which is exempt from economic crises.

The world economic crisis condemned 24,000,000 unemployed to starvation, poverty and misery. The agrarian crisis brought suffering to tens of millions of peasants.

The world economic crisis further aggravated the contradictions between the imperialist states, between the victor countries and the vanquished countries, between the imperialist states and the colonial and dependent countries, between the workers and the capitalists, between the peasants and the landlords.

In his report on behalf of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Party Congress, Comrade Stalin pointed out that the bourgeoisie would seek a way out of the economic crisis, on the one hand, by crushing the working class through the establishment of fascist dictatorship, i.e., the dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, most imperialistic capitalist elements, and, on the other hand, by fomenting war for the re-division of colonies and spheres of influence at the expense of the poorly defended countries.

That is just what happened.

In 1932 the war danger was aggravated by Japan. Perceiving that, owing to the economic crisis, the European powers and the U.S.A. were wholly engrossed in their domestic affairs, the Japanese imperialists decided to seize the opportunity and bring pressure to bear on poorly defended China, in an attempt to subjugate her and to lord it over the country. Unscrupulously exploiting "local incidents" they themselves had provoked, the Japanese imperialists, like robbers, without declaring war on China, marched their troops into Manchuria. The Japanese soldiery seized the whole of Manchuria, thereby preparing a convenient place d'armes for the conquest of North China and for an attack on the U.S.S.R. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in order to leave her hands free, and began to arm at a feverish pace.

This impelled the U.S.A., Britain and France to strengthen their naval armaments in the Far East. It was obvious that Japan was out to subjugate China and to eject the European and American imperialist powers from that country. They replied by increasing their armaments.

But Japan was pursuing another purpose, too, namely, to seize the Soviet Far East. Naturally, the U.S.S.R. could not shut its eyes to this danger, and began intensively to strengthen the defences of its Far Eastern territory.

Thus, in the Far East, thanks to the Japanese fascist imperialists, there arose the first seat of war.

But it was not only in the Far East that the economic crisis aggravated the contradictions of capitalism. It aggravated them in Europe too. The prolonged crisis in industry and agriculture, the huge volume of unemployment, and the growing insecurity of the poorer classes fanned the discontent of the workers and peasants. The discontent of the working class grew into revolutionary disaffection. This was particularly the case in Germany, which was economically exhausted by the war, by the payment of reparations to the Anglo-French victors, and by the economic crisis, and the working class of which languished under a double yoke, that of the home and the foreign, the British and French, bourgeoisie. The extent of this discontent was clearly indicated by the six million votes cast for the German Communist Party at the last Reichstag elections, before the fascists came to power. The German bourgeoisie perceived that the bourgeois-democratic liberties preserved in Germany might play them an evil trick, that the working class might use these liberties to extend the revolutionary movement. They therefore decided that there was only one way of maintaining the power of the bourgeoisie in Germany, and that was to abolish the bourgeois liberties, to reduce the Reichstag to a cipher, and to establish a terrorist bourgeois-nationalist dictatorship, which would be able to suppress the working class and base itself on the petty-bourgeois masses who wanted to revenge Germany's defeat in the war. And so they called to power the fascist party—which in order to hoodwink the people calls itself the National-Socialist Party—well knowing that the fascist party, first, represents that section of the imperialist bourgeoisie which is the most reactionary and most hostile to the working class, and, secondly, that it is the most pronounced party of revenge, one capable of beguiling the millions of the nationalistically minded petty bourgeoisie. In this they were assisted by the traitors to the working class, the leaders of the German Social-Democratic Party, who paved the way for fascism by their policy of compromise.

These were the conditions which brought about the accession to power of the German fascists in 1933.

Analysing the events in Germany in his report to the Seventeenth Party Congress, Comrade Stalin said:

"The victory of fascism in Germany must be regarded not only as a symptom of the weakness of the working class and a result of the betrayals of the working class by the Social-Democratic Party, which paved the way for fascism; it must also be regarded as a symptom of the weakness of the bourgeoisie, of the fact that the bourgeoisie is already unable to rule by the old methods of parliamentarism and bourgeois democracy, and, as a consequence, is compelled in its home policy to resort to terroristic methods of rule. . . ." (J. Stalin, Seventeenth Congress of the C.P.S.U., "Report on the Work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.[B.]," p. 17.)

The German fascists inaugurated their home policy by setting fire to the Reichstag, brutally suppressing the working class, destroying its organizations, and abolishing the bourgeois-democratic liberties. They inaugurated their foreign policy by withdrawing from the League of Nations and openly preparing for a war for the forcible revision of the frontiers of the European states to the advantage of Germany.

Thus, in the centre of Europe, thanks to the German fascists, there arose a second seat of war.

Naturally, the U.S.S.R. could not shut its eyes to so serious a fact, and began to keep a sharp watch on the course of events in the West and to strengthen its defences on the Western frontiers.
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