Trotsky predicts and calls for the defeat of the USSR in war

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Trotskyism or Leninism
By Harpal Brar

Trotsky predicts and calls for the defeat of the USSR in war

Since Trotsky, driven by a combination of egotistical factionalism and bourgeois subjectivism, always referred to the Leninist leadership of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state as a "Stalinist bureaucracy", "caste of usurpers", "totalitarian Regime", etc., it can hardly be denied that the purpose and intention behind Trotsky's demented vituperations was to malign the Soviet regime by attempting to convince workers all over the world that this regime, indistinguishable according to Trotsky from fascism, was not deserving of their support. Such an attitude is only the prelude to wishing, and calling, for the defeat of this regime in any war against fascism by spreading demoralisation. That Trotskyism took this step not only secretly but also openly is clear from the following disgusting pronouncements concerning the then impending Second World War. In these pronouncements Trotsky predicts with malicious glee the military defeat of the USSR in the coming war. Indeed he goes even further, asserting that a protracted war without a military defeat "would have to lead to a bourgeois-Bonapartist revolution." Here are Trotsky's very words:

"Can we, however, expect that the Soviet Union will come out of the coming great war without defeat? To this frankly posed question we will answer as frankly; if the war should only remain a war, the defeat of the Soviet Union will be inevitable. In a technical economic, and military sense, imperialism is incomparably more strong. If it is not paralysed by revolution in the west; imperialism will sweep away the regime which issued from the October Revolution" (Revolution Betrayed, p. 216).

What would be the case if the Soviet Union managed to survive the fate assigned to it by Trotsky? Well, the destruction of the Soviet state would ensue just the same. Turn or twist as we may – military defeat or not – the Soviet Union could not survive the war:

"The protracted nature of the war," Trotsky wrote, "will reveal the contradictions of the transition economy of the USSR with its bureaucratic planning.... [I]n the case of a protracted war accompanied by the passivity of the world proletariat the internal social contradictions of the USSR not only might lead but would have to lead to a bourgeois-Bonapartist revolution." (The Fourth International and the War).

In 1940, nearing the end of his life – a life full of irreconcilable hostility towards Leninism – Trotsky, with a zeal worthy of a better cause, again predicted the defeat of the USSR and the triumph of Hitlerite Germany:

"We always started from the fact that the international policy of the Kremlin was determined by the new aristocracy's... incapacity to conduct a war.

"...the ruling caste is no longer capable of thinking about tomorrow. Its formula is that of all doomed regimes 'after us the deluge'...

"The war will topple many things and many individuals. Artifice, trickery, frame-ups and treasons will prove of no avail in escaping its severe judgment" (Statement to the British capitalist press on Stalin – Hitler's Quartermaster).

"Stalin cannot make a war with discontented workers and peasants and with a decapitated Red Army" (German-Soviet Alliance).

"The level of the USSR's productive forces forbids a major war... The involvement of the USSR in a major war before the end of this period would signify in any case a struggle with unequal weapons.

"The subjective factor, not less important than the material has changed in the last years sharply for the worse...

"Stalin cannot wage an offensive war with any hope of victory.

"Should the USSR enter the war with its innumerable victims and privations, the whole fraud of the official regime, its outrages and violence will inevitably provoke a profound reaction on the part of the people, who have already carried out three revolutions in this century…

"The present war can crush the Kremlin bureaucracy long before revolution breaks out in some capitalist country..." (The Twin Stars: Hitler-Stalin).

Trotsky's predictions refuted by the epic victory of the USSR in World War II

As usual, and happily for humanity, all Trotsky's predictions were totally belied. After initial reverses in the first few weeks of the war, attributable in the main to the Nazi surprise attack, the Soviet defences stiffened. Before long they struck back. The rest of the world, like Trotsky, had given the USSR only a few weeks before collapsing in the face of the onslaught of the allegedly invincible Nazi war machine. The Red Army and Soviet people, united as one under the leadership of the CPSU and their Supreme Commander Joseph Stalin, exploded this myth of Nazi invincibility. Soviet Victories in the titanic battles of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and Leningrad will forever be cherished not only by the peoples of the former, great and glorious Soviet Union, but also by all progressive humanity.

"The Battle of Moscow had been an epic event... It had involved more than 2 million men; 2,500 tanks, 1,800 aircraft, and 25,000 guns. Casualties had been horrifying in scale. For the Russians it had ended in victory. They had suffered the full impact of the German 'Blitzkrieg' offensive and, notwithstanding their losses... they had been able to mount an effective counterattack. They had begun to destroy the myth of German invincibility…" (Ian Grey, Stalin – Man of History, Abacus, p. 344).

The surrender on 1 February 1943 at Stalingrad, by the fascist general Von Paulus and 23 other generals, mesmerised the world. The victory of the Red Army at Stalingrad was incredible as it was heroic. The Nazi losses in the Volga-Don-Stalingrad area were 1.5 million men, 3,500 tanks, 12,000 guns and 3,000 aircraft. Never before had the Nazi war machine, which was accustomed to running over countries in days and weeks, suffered such a humiliating defeat, a defeat "in which the flower of the German army perished. It was against the background of this battle... that Stalin now rose to almost titanic stature in the eyes of the world" (Deutscher, Stalin, p. 472). From now on nothing but defeat stared the Germans in the face, leading all the way to the entry of the Red Army into Berlin and the storming by it of the Reichstag on 30 April 1945 – the same day that the Fuhrer committed suicide. Six days later, Field- Marshall Wilhelm Keitel, acting on behalf of the German High Command, surrendered to Marshall Zhukov.

Stalin and the Great Patriotic War

Although the credit for the victory must correctly be given to the Soviet armed forces and the heroic efforts of the Soviet people, no narrative of these fateful years is complete without a reference, indeed a fulsome tribute, to the undisputed leader of the CPSU(B), the Soviet people, and the Supreme commander of the Soviet forces Joseph Stalin. Even a renegade like Gorbachev is obliged, apropos the Soviet victory in the Second World War, to admit that: "A factor in the achievement of victory was the tremendous political will purposefulness and persistence, ability to organise and discipline people, displayed in the war years by Joseph Stalin." (Report at the Festive Meeting on the 70th Anniversary of the Great October Revolution held in Moscow on 2 November 1987, p. 25).

Ian Grey, who is a bourgeois but honest writer, has this to say on this score:

"The massive setbacks and the immediate threat to Moscow would have unnerved most men, but the impact on Stalin was to strengthen his grim determination to fight. No single factor was more important in holding the nation from disintegration at this time." (Ibid. p. 335).


"It was in a real sense his [Stalin's] victory. It could not have been won without his industrialisation campaign and especially the intensive development of industry beyond the Volga. Collectivisation had contributed to the victory by enabling the government to stockpile food and raw materials to prevent paralysis in industry and famine in the towns. But also collectivisation with its machine-tractor stations, had given the peasants their first training in the use of tractors and other machines." (Ibid. p. 419).

Quoting Isaac Deutscher, who is far from being friendly to Stalin, approvingly, Ian Grey continues:

"'Collectivised farming had been 'the peasants' preparatory school for mechanised warfare'…

"It was his victory, too, because he had directed and controlled every branch of Russian operations throughout the war The range and burden of his responsibilities were extraordinary, but day by day without a break for the four years of the war he exercised direct command of the Russian forces and control over supplies, war industries, and government policy, including foreign policy." (Ibid. pp. 419-420)-

Finally the same writer says:

"It was his victory, above all because it had been won by his genius and labors, heroic in scale The Russian people had looked to him for leadership, and he had not faded them. His speeches of July 3 and November 6, 1941, which had steeled them for the trials of war, and his presence in Moscow during the great battle of the city, had demonstrated his will to victory. He... inspired them and gave than positive direction. He had the capacity of Wending to detail and keeping in mind the broad picture and, while remembering the past and immersed in the present; he was constantly looking ahead to the future"(p. 424).

Innately hostile as he is to Stalin, Deutscher is nevertheless obliged to Paint this Picture of Stalin's role during the war:

"Many allied visitors who called at the Kremlin during the war were astonished to see on how many issues, great and small military, political or diplomatic, Stalin personally took the final decision. He was in effect his own Commander-in-Chief, his own minister of defence, his Own quartermaster, his Own minister of supply, his own foreign minister, and even his own chef de protocole. The stavka, the Red Army's GHQ, was in his offices in the Kremlin. From his office desk; in constant and direct touch with the commands of the various fronts, he watched and directed the campaigns in the field From his office desk, too, he managed another stupendous operation, the evacuation of 1,360 plants and factories from western Russia and the Ukraine to the Volga, the Urals and Siberia, an evacuation that involved not only machines and installations but millions of workmen and their families Between one function and the other he bargained with, say, Beaverbrook and Harriman over the quantities of aluminium or the calibre of rifles and anti-aircraft guns to be delivered to Russia by the western allies; or he received leaders of the guerrillas – -- from German occupied territory and discussed with them raids to be carried out hundreds of miles behind the enemy's lines At the height of the battle of Moscow, in December 1941, when the thunder of Hitler's guns hovered ominously over the streets of Moscow, he found time enough to start a subtle diplomatic game with the Polish General Sikorski who had come to conclude a Russo-Polish treaty... He entertained them [foreign envoys and visitors] usually late at night and in the small hours of the morning. After a day filled with military reports operational decisions, economic instructions and diplomatic haggling he would at dawn pore over the latest dispatches from the commissariat of Home Affairs, the NKVD... Thus he went on, day after day, throughout four years of hostilities – a prodigy of patience tenacity, and vigilance, almost omnipresent almost omniscient." (Isaac Deutscher, Stalin, pp. 456-457).

And further.

" ...[T]here is no doubt that he was their [the Soviet troops] real Commander-in-Chief .His leadership was by no means confined to the taking of abstract strategic decisions, at which civilian politicians may excel The and interest with which he studied the technical aspects of modern warfare, down to the minute details, shows him to have been anything but a dilettante. He viewed the war primarily from the angle of logistics ... To secure reserves of manpower and supplies of weapons, in the right quantities and proportions, to allocate them and transport them to the right points at the right time, to amass a decisive strategic reserve and to have it ready for intervention at decisive moments – these operations made up nine-tenths of his task" (Ibid. p. 459).

Deutscher also dispels any notion of popular hostility to the Soviet regime:

"It should not be imagined that a majority of the nation was hostile to the government If that had been the case no patriotic appeals, no prodding or coercion, would have prevented Russia's political collapse, for which Hitler was confidently hoping The great transformation that the county had gone through before the war had... strengthened the moral fibre of the nation. The majority was imbued with a strong sense of its economic and social advance, which it was grimly determined to defend against danger from without." (Ibid. p. 473)

So much then for the Trotskyist drivel about the "new aristocracy's incapacity to conduct a war," the "discontented workers and peasants and a decapitated army" making it impossible to make a war, the alleged inferiority of the weapons of the Red Army, Stalin being unable to "wage an offensive war with any hope of victory," and the war crushing "the Kremlin bureaucracy."

Far from being crushed, the Soviet regime emerged from the war much strengthened. Far from crushing the Soviet regime by its war against the USSR, the Nazi regime itself was crushed, as was Germany. What is more, the Soviet victory demonstrated beyond measure the correctness the policies of industrialisation. and collectivisation pursued, in the teeth of Trotskyist and imperialist opposition, by the Soviet regime before the war.

"The new appreciation of Stalin's role did not spring only from after-thoughts born in the flush of victory. The truth was that the war could not have been wan without the intensive industrialisation of Russia; and of her eastern provinces in particular. Nor could it have been won without the collectivisation of large numbers of farms. The muzhik of 1930, who had never handled a tractor or any other machine, would have been of little use in modern war. Collectivised farming with its machine-tractor stations, had been the peasants' preparatory school for mechanised warfare. The rapid raising of the average standard of education had also enabled the Red Army to draw on a considerable reserve of intelligent officers and men. We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us – so Stalin had spoken exactly ten years before Hitler set out to conquer Russia. His words, when they were recalled now, could not but impress people as a prophesy brilliantly fulfilled as a most timely call to action. And, indeed a few yesrs' delay in the modernisation of Russia might have made all the difference between victory and defeat. " (Deutscher, Ibid. p. 535).

This is how Deutscher captures the victory parade in Red Square at the end of the war.

"On 24 June 1945 Stalin stood at the top of the Lenin Mausoleum and reviewed a great victory parade of the Red Army which marked the fourth anniversary of Hitler's attack. By Stalin's side stood Marshall Zhukov, his deputy the victor of Moscow, Stalingrad, and Berlin. The troops that marched past him were led by Marshall Rokossovsky. As they marched rode, and galloped across the Red Square regiments of infantry cavalry, and tanks swept the mud of its pavement – it was a day of torrential rain – with innumerable banners and standards of Hitler's army At the Mausoleum they threw the banners at Stalin's feet .The allegorical scene was strangely imaginative...

"The next day Stalin received the tribute of Moscow for the defence of the city in 1941. The day after he was acclaimed as 'Hero of the Soviet Union' and given the title of Generalissimo." (Ibid. p. 534)

In "these days of undreamt-of triumph and glory," continues Deutscher: "Stalin stood at the full blaze of popular recognition and gratitude. These feelings were spontaneous, genuine not engineered by official propagandists slogans about the 'achievements of the Stalinist era' now conveyed fresh meaning not only to young people, but to sceptics and malcontents of the older generation…" (Ibid. p. 534).

Thus, at the end of the war Trotskyism stood thoroughly discredited -thoroughly bankrupt – and regarded as no more than an information bureau and anti-communist ally of imperialism in particular during the US-led war of aggression against the Korean people, during which most Trotskyists, consumed by their genetical hatred of the Soviet Union, effectively sided with US imperialism and against the forces of national liberation and socialism

The cold war – Imperialism's response to the prestige of victorious socialism