Time for NATO to Close Its Door
The Alliance Is Too Big—and Too Provocative—for Its Own Good
AS Stalin recently reminded the Nineteenth Party Congress, Communists believe that Marxism is based on scientific laws "occurring independently of people's will." Thus, in Soviet doctrine, the revolutionary apocalypse described by Marx will come, not primarily because people want it or do not want it, but because its arrival is certified by law. And because the Party of Marx, Lenin and Stalin reads the law aright, Soviet political analysis is a science: given the correct theory, exact results are predictable.
However, the application of Soviet political science to the situation in Germany in February and March 1933, when Hitler was in the process of turning an electoral victory into a Nazi dictatorship, is no longer offered by Communists as an illustration of the beauties of this science, and for a very good reason: it led the Kremlin into what was probably the most costly political blunder of our era. The blunder was the decision to fight the German Social Democrats at this crucial hour, and thus to consolidate Hitler's power.
Pravda is the weathervane of Soviet policy, and the leaders of the Russian Communist Party, speaking through the pages of Pravda in these critical months, indicated the line which the leaders of the German Communist Party followed. The dire events taking place in Germany were totally misunderstood. As a result, the German Communist Party was utterly smashed and the revolutionary potential of the German working class was destroyed. A year or two later the implications of the Nazi dictatorship became clear to the men in the Kremlin. Then, taking the cue from the new type of anti-Fascist struggle which occurred in Paris and Vienna during 1934, they began backing the united front policy for the first time, with the idea of preserving bourgeois governments against Fascist dictatorship. No inkling of such a development, however, appeared in Pravda in the months of February and March 1933. With happy eyes it saw in Hitler's emergence a rising tide of revolution to which it supposed the Kremlin held the copyright, along with new opportunities for leadership by the German Communist Party and the eventual triumph of Communism in Germany. The laboratory notebooks of this remarkable demonstration of Marxist infallibility as printed in Pravda provide a relevant footnote to the record of Stalin's political sagacity.
To Pravda in February and March 1933 Germany looked like a ripe plum about to fall into Communist hands. The world economic depression which started in the fall of 1929 provided the backdrop for the events of the German crisis. It marked the end of the period of "relative" stabilization, predicted at the Sixth Congress of the Communist International in 1928, and the onset of a revolutionary situation. "Does not the advent of Hitler to power in Germany end the revolutionary upsurge?" asked Dimitri Manuilsky rhetorically in Pravda on March 16, 1933. And he answered with crushing confidence:
This is stupidity! German Fascism came to power not at the beginning of the capitalist stabilization and not in a moment of extreme world crisis the end of which is not seen, but in a moment of revolutionary upsurge in all capitalist lands and first of all in Germany. German Fascism means not the "stabilization" of German Fascism, but, on the contrary, it signalizes the deepening and spread of the elements of revolutionary crisis in Germany.
Manuilsky, a Russian representative of the Comintern, was delivering the main programmatic address on a grand occasion --the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Karl Marx. Before him was an audience composed of leading members of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R., including the Central Committee, the Central Executive Committee and Sovnarkom of the U.S.S.R. and the Executive Committee of the Communist International. He continued:
We are not able to give the exact period of Fascism's tenure of power but we firmly know that the hysterical speeches of the political epileptic [in Berlin] will not prevent the collapse of capitalism. Fascism also teaches the rules of civil war and revolution to the masses as the imperialist war in its time trained them. Political terror will not save classes which are doomed by history.
An editorial in Pravda (February 3) had earlier explained that the economic crisis was a foreseen and necessary development which set the stage for proletarian revolution. Caught in the grip of inexorable historical laws, the Soviet theorists insisted, political forces would have to play themselves out. Fascism was the final phase, its leaders the kindlers of civil war. The desperation and weakness of the ruling classes was evidenced when the Fascist leaders launched a Four Year Plan of recovery, they said. The Plan was merely a subterfuge to deliver the Hitler Government from the "indignation of the masses." "Whence," asked Pravda, "does the German Government think it will find the gigantic resources necessary to carry out this plan of struggle against the threat of proletarian revolution . . .?" Propounding its catechism, it said that the Hitler Government would probably resort to inflation, and this would bring in its train a contraction of foreign markets, intensifying the contradictions between the European states. But with inflation or without it, the German Government could find no way out of the crisis, "just as previous governments have been unable to find a way out." Events in the United States proved that "once again all artificial measures for the stimulation of capitalist society unavoidably end as traps." A state policy of subsidies to industry, as in the United States, meant the further impoverishment of farmers, the liquidation of unemployment by the introduction of compulsory labor service on the land, special barracks and military discipline. Even the hopes of big German industrialists for deliverance from Hitler's "political-economic nonsense" through an economic revival were specious because the capitalists lacked the knowledge through which such matters could be "known exactly."
In Marxist parlance, "objective" factors which produce revolution are supplemented by "subjective" factors--the conscious organization of Communist forces which give revolution a push. Along with the report of what it considered to be the objective aspects of the German situation in February and March 1933, Pravda gave its readers much information about the activities and prospects of the German Communists. What it seemed to see was a battle in which the terrorist Fascist offensive beat ineffectually against an invincible German proletariat unifying itself under the banner of the German Communist Party. Pravda's treatment of the German Communists was stereotyped, apparently as a matter of policy. In the introductory address at the Marx anniversary commemoration, Kaganovich, a member of the Politbureau, referred specifically to the German Party:
Our brother Communist parties organize the working masses under the leadership of the Comintern, rallying them . . . to new battles. Our brother parties, in particular our magnificent, militant brother Communist Party of Germany, face to face with the Fascist debauchery of the bourgeoisie, summons the proletariat to revolutionary struggle. The Fascists terrorize and wish to destroy our brother party in Germany, but all who attempt to do this place themselves in a ridiculous position. Russian Tsarism wished to destroy the party of the Bolsheviks and itself disintegrated under the blows of the revolution. It is impossible to destroy the party of the class to whom the future belongs. It is impossible to destroy Marxism, as it is impossible to destroy the laws of history which lead to the inevitable ruin of capitalism and the victory of Socialism.
The very woodenness of this declamation makes it significant. The rationalists in the Kremlin are constantly put to the task of bridging the gap between the requirements of their logic and the contrarities of actuality. In their efforts to mold the present into the future, the stubborn facts of political life must somehow be grafted onto the prescribed course of events. Facts that don't fit are made to fit; the real situation is what theory says it must be.
On February 16, Pravda carried a joint statement by the German, French and Polish Communist Parties (taken, oddly enough, from the French Party organ, Humanité) which arrayed "proletarian internationalism against the chauvinistic campaign of the bourgeoisie." Humanité declared that the sole way out of the crisis, and the only path to the removal of the threat of war, was the establishment of the worker's Socialist power. But calling for the establishment of the worker's Socialist power was one thing: achieving it something else again. While the German Communist Party turned energetically to the electoral struggle on March 5, the Nazis prepared to crush it with a few swift strokes.
Thus while the "vanguard party" moved to place itself at the head of the proletariat in the election struggle, the Fascist Government picked it off from the flank. Liebknecht House--party headquarters--was padlocked on the evening of February 24. At a rally at the Berlin Sports Palace on February 25, William Pieck scoffed at the Nazis. The "main problems" that lay ahead were, he explained, "the impending broad attacks by employers on wages," which had begun in the Ruhr. "Each day brings new prohibitions of workers' meetings, demonstrations. . . . The atmosphere is so charged that the press of the center and the Social Democrats . . . write that the government measures provoke civil war." However, he pointed out that there was little doubt that the Fascists would fail:
Comrade Pieck revealed the program of the Communist Party and spoke about "what the Communists would do when they [took] power." Each point was met by thunderous applause from the audience. (Pravda, February 25.)
A police officer declared the meeting closed. This was the last public meeting of the German Communist Party. The Reichstag building was burned on the night of the 27th, and a systematic roundup of Party leaders began. On this fateful day Pravda's correspondent, Lorentz, stated in his dispatch: "The present régime represents the maximum concentration of Fascist strength." The next day its information bureau sent excerpts from an address by the novelist Thomas Mann, undelivered because "police surrounded the square." His message was encouraging:
I think [the] resistance [to Fascism] is far more extensive in Germany and has far greater and stronger roots than it perhaps seems. The forces which belong to the past, forces of the counterrevolution, would have disappeared long ago and would not again have raised their heads if the German revolution was not distinguished by its purely German good-naturedness. I am deeply convinced that a social and democratic Germany may hope that the prevailing conditions are temporary and that the future belongs to it.
The Central Committee of the German Communist Party had issued a declaration exposing the "provocative communications of the press" and warning that the Reichstag was burned so that it "would never again be convened." An order for the arrest of the Committee came out on March 1. For Pravda, however, the Reichstag fire meant much more than an assault against the working class or a device to turn the masses against the Communist Party in the election. It represented the dawn of victory. "The fire in the German Reichstag has a deep symbolic significance," Pravda wrote on March 1. "The burned building in the center of Europe no sooner represented the successful blooming of German bourgeois democracy than it became the stable of Fascism. In the center of Europe incendiaries scour about with lighted torches. This says everything."
Toward the end of February Pravda had begun to document its a priori conclusions on Germany's economic collapse in a dispatch from its Berlin correspondent (February 27). Unemployment had increased 33,000 in two weeks. New layoffs were hitting workers in the largest plants; wage reductions impended. Indeed, wrote Pravda on March 4, the first month of Hitler's rule had positively helped the revolution since the Nazis had "so well succeeded in acquainting the working masses with the basic contours of the Fascist four year plan of hunger, exploitation and pogroms." The Fascist substitution of demagoguery for a positive program, this editorial continued, nourished Nazi forebodings of the future, and simultaneously stimulated plans for a "march of storm units on Berlin" to knock out the Communist Party before the elections.
Pravda notified its readers (February 28) that the rank and file were fighting back on the streets of Berlin with "election posters, leaflets and banners," that a great anti-Fascist demonstration had been held in Breslau, and that in Hamburg Communists who were attracted to a Social-Democratic meeting had been dispersed with clubs upon the order of the Social-Democratic police president. On the day before, a National Socialist demonstration had not been "especially well attended."
On the day before the elections (March 4) Pravda blustered that: "It was possible to arrest a few thousand Communists and revolutionary workers," but, that in such a country as Germany, it was impossible to "destroy the advance units of the working class; to destroy the party for which 6,000,000 workers voted (November 1932) in conditions of savage terror."
It turned out that the election of March 5 was anything but a reverse for the Fascist régime, but Pravda's rosy blinkers were not damaged. More important was the "music which accompanies the 'victorious march' of German reaction," the collapse of the dollar--a "financial catastrophe exceptional in its extent, in the force of its consequences for all the world." The vote had no significance. By losing an election campaign and most of the party apparatus to the Nazis, the German Communist Party had won a great triumph. Pravda's editorial on the election (March 7) was entitled, "Huge Political Victory of the German Communist Party." Actually, its figures on the election, published in the issue of March 6, had shown that the Communist vote fell by nearly 1,250,000.
An infusion of metaphysics was evident in the reasoning by which the Soviet political scientists harmonized this discrepancy: the Nazis had won their votes by deception and by terror, and this was a step toward their defeat, for they had exposed their true nature to those they had deceived and frightened. The March 5 elections were hailed on March 7 as the opening of a "new epoch in the class struggle of the German proletariat." The German Communist Party had "raised millions of the masses in the struggle with Fascism," had "broken the attack of Fascism and maintained its position . . ."
The echo of Lenin's stubborn beliefs in the prowess of German revolutionary workers reverberated strongly in Pravda's issue of March 16. Germany possessed, it said:
the best proletariat of the capitalist countries, which had created the most powerful Communist Party after the Russian Communist Party. Those who wish to break it will break their own teeth first. Five million votes which have been gathered by the Communist Party amid orgies of Fascist terror are the best proof of the strength of the resistance of the German proletariat.
Four days later Pravda again claimed that the German Communist Party had "broken the frontal attack of Fascism . . . and led its forces out from under the blows, preserved its cadres, and continued the struggle under new conditions." Within a few days, however, more sober estimates began to appear. The fact of defeat had to be acknowledged, and Piatnitskii, the Secretary of the Comintern, who was later purged, did so in an article on March 25 called "Achievements, Shortcomings and Tasks of the Communist Parties." He was rather indignant that the Fascists had not behaved as expected:
The Communist Party of Germany . . . had expected suppression. Long ago it has gone half underground. But many of the responsible workers of the Communist Party did not expect that the destruction would immediately take such scope . . . activities of the Fascists went so far in pursuit of responsible workers of the Communist Party that they encircled whole workers' districts . . . From house to house they ransacked all apartments in search of Communist workmen. Each who was not inscribed on the book was given over to the police. Fascists broke into apartments of Communists and revolutionary workers and shot them. They shot arrested Communists, occupied party and trade union quarters. They burned books . . . For such unheard-of mass repressions the majority of the members of the Communist Party of Germany were unprepared.
Even this acknowledgment of damage to the party forces led only to the conclusion that "new conditions" had been created in Germany demanding new methods of work. Now, Piatnitskii said, the German Party must transfer its efforts to the factories, where its work would have special significance and where the united front of workers of all shades of political outlook could be more easily established. Oral agitation was especially necessary because German workers would be forced to read the Social-Democratic and left-bourgeois press in the absence of Communist newspapers. Party work among the unemployed had to be strengthened to protect their social insurance and thus preserve wage standards, and for the added reason that "a certain part of the unemployed believed Fascist promises and voted for them." The party organization must be quickly rebuilt on an illegal basis.
When Pravda directed its inverted view toward the Fascist enemy, it could see nothing but weaknesses and the approaching collapse of Hitler. By March 20 it had discovered that by "unveiling before the masses all the mechanism of Fascist rule," the Nazis had "pushed millions of fighters into the camp of revolution." The burning of the Reichstag, the shooting of workers, higher customs duties in the interests of landowners, new armaments--all, in Pravda's view, showed that the new government was precarious, unstable and about to be swept away by a growing revolution. The magic word "contradictions" would bring it down.
On March 24 Pravda printed a declaration of the Central Committee of the German Communist Party, addressed to all members of the Party, which said:
In numerous cities workers' demonstrations have occurred . . . If Hitler's Fascism also succeeded in strengthening the nationalist movement and in using the 14-year-old Social-Democratic policy to save capitalist rule, then the civil war of the Hitler Government against the toiling masses is testimony of the weakness of the government. The bourgeoisie can no longer guarantee, by the old means of state power, the interests and profits of finance capital and the landlords. The Hitler Government is not able to give people bread or work.
Toward the end of March, Pravda thought itself abundantly confirmed in its point of view, as a result of the mounting tension between the Hugenberg and Hitler factions in the German Government. On the occasion of the suppression of the Stahlhelm and its affiliated organizations in the province of Braunschweig by the provincial Minister of the Interior, Pravda commented editorially on March 29:
The dissolution of the organization and the arrest of members of the Stahlhelm in Braunschweig testifies that the efforts of the National Socialists to preserve a monopoly of power acquires a more pronounced character.
Pointing out that the Stahlhelm was a political as well as military organization of nationalists which competed with the National Socialists for places in the government and contested the rôle of the storm troopers as the "armed guard of the Fascist régime," Pravda concluded:
It is not subject to doubt that the events in Braunschweig are a signal. The National Socialists aim to forestall the danger presented by other military organizations of nationalists. But this leads to an extreme deepening and aggravation of the contradictions within the Fascist dictatorship.
From London the Pravda correspondent telephoned on March 29 that press comment "assumed that events in Braunschweig have great political significance, appearing as a sign of an immediate split between National Socialists and Nationalists." Such reports were true enough, for Germany was being rent with conflict and Hitler was lashing out in every direction in his effort to consolidate his dictatorship. But Pravda was sure that the attempts of the "devil-possessed" ruling classes to hide their weaknesses, and the "stupidity of the contradictions which tore them apart," were merely opening the way for the Communists to place themselves at the head of gathering revolutionary forces.
By defining Fascism as a last-ditch stand of large-scale capital against the German proletariat, the Communists found a ready answer to an infinitely complex social-political phenomenon--an answer which woefully underestimated the power and danger of Fascism. It correspondingly exaggerated the strength and position of the German working class and the rôle of Communists as self-appointed leaders of this class.
A major cause of the misappraisal of the situation was the deeply-rooted hatred of the Social Democrats. Although Pravda granted that the German Communist Party had suffered a setback, the dialectic to which Soviet writers were committed forced them, as we have seen, to hail the struggle between the Party and the Hitler régime as a tremendous advance for the revolution. In this view Hitler performed a service to the proletarian revolution in Germany when he destroyed the Weimar Republic: democracy and Fascism were the two wings of bourgeoisie rule, both necessary to its continued existence. The attacks of the Fascists against the Social Democrats were therefore viewed joyfully as a form of political canabalism in which the bourgeoisie destroyed themselves.
The corollary to this was that the German Communist Party could afford to take losses in a struggle that eliminated its greatest enemy, the Social-Democratic Party. As early as February 14, Pravda had noted with pleasure that Social Democracy had been torn asunder by "contradictions between the masses who wish and who demand an active struggle with Fascism and the rapid Fascization of the Social-Democratic leadership." The disintegration of Social Democracy was a condition of victory over Fascism: "The proletarian revolution is able to liquidate the Fascist dictatorship only over the corpse of Social Democracy."
Communist efforts among the German peasants from 1918 on had, in fact, formed a monotonous record of failure, yet in the strategy of proletarian revolution there had to be a rural class struggle to back up the city proletariat. On February 22, Pravda dazzled itself with the moth-eaten legend of impoverished peasants clamoring for Socialism:
Officials more and more fear that the peasant masses will turn to Communism. Of course, for the majority of these officials, faithful servants of capital, this means the failure, the ruin of the village economy. They are not able to hide the fact that the impoverished peasants think quite otherwise, that the eyes of the laboring peasants more and more turn to the social revolution with hopes and passion for struggle.
Doctrine also made it impossible for the Russians to believe that there could be any real opposition to Fascism save under Communist leadership. The formation of a united front interested them only to the degree that it led to the conquest of the German working class by the German Communist Party. They never for a moment entertained the idea of a pooling of interests and resources by the prospective victims of Fascism. The struggle against Fascism was carried on for the purpose of defending and advancing exclusive working class interests in a struggle for proletarian revolution; neither national interests nor the interests of other groups within Germany had the slightest validity for the Soviet strategists.
Pravda assailed the German Social-Democratic leaders remorselessly. They had, it said, attempted to merge openly with the Fascist Government, and also secretly by "left manœuvres concerning the creation of a united front on the basis of a pact of nonaggression" with the Communists. Such leaders "wanted a 'united front' without action" in order to "give Fascism the possibility of strengthening itself." (Pravda, February 27.)
The establishment of the Fascist dictatorship and the "open turning of whole groups from the Social-Democratic leadership to Fascism" had led to the crisis of Social Democracy--"the crisis at the top," Pravda explained on March 1. And it concluded that the process of Social-Democratic disintegration had been completed by the events of the revolutionary crisis, plus the work of the Communist Party and the growing desire of the masses for a united front with the Communists.
Social-Democratic leaders could not possibly be given credit for honorable motives, even if Pravda was forced (March 6) to impeach its own estimate of the German working class in order to make the point. If Social-Democratic leaders made overtures to the Communists with proposals for "pacts of nonaggression" in order to oppose Fascism, they were merely making hypocritical gestures under pressure from the broad masses of the working class. By these declarations favoring a united front, wrote Pravda, "the Social Democrats, who conducted and who now conduct a policy of collaboration with the bourgeoisie and who did not want and do not want to carry through a struggle against the attacks of capital, Fascism and war, attempt again to deceive the working masses and to hold them under their influence."
According to Communist reasoning, two opposite influences had operated in Germany to stabilize the Weimar Republic and make it acceptable to the working class: fear of the October Revolution in Russia, and the strong revolutionary ardor of the German working class. The Weimar Republic had won the support of the broad mass of the toilers by making such concessions as the eight-hour day, factory committees, social legislation, collective agreements and so on, but the truce had been unstable, and the bankruptcy of Democratic Socialism had been shown by the cowardly capitulation of the Social Democrats to Hitler: "The defeat of the German Social Democrats is a defeat of world historic significance. It has its influence on the laboring masses of all countries, raises them with new strength in the struggle against Fascism for the dictatorship of the proletariat."
In Pravda's view little doubt remained about the ability of the working class to cope with its enemies once it was freed from the paralysis engendered by class collaboration, pacifist doctrines and reliance on legal methods. At one point, however, it was felt necessary to note that Communist attacks against the Social Democrats might backfire. On March 6 Pravda announced that ". . . in time of joint revolutionary activities, but only in this time, the Communists will refrain from 'attacks' on Social Democratic organizations." The occasion for this concession was the answer of the E.C.C.I. of the Comintern to a circular of the Second International which had suggested a joint declaration against Hitler. Pravda, echoing the Comintern, replied that no joint declaration was necessary, but added that "Communists are not at all against agreements if those agreements are directed against the bourgeoisie in the interests of the working class." The reply to the invitation was a restatement of the Communist Party's intention to destroy the Soviet Democrats:
In particular the German Social Democrats must choose whether they will come to an agreement with the National Socialists and by such a course destroy the possibility of the free existence of their organizations, or whether they will immediately fall in behind the Communists in struggle against the Fascist dictatorship . . . if the Social Democrats do not accept the proposals of the Communists, all of the working class, even its most backward strata, will know that only the Social Democrats prevent the repulsion of Fascism and the defense of the working class.
The Communists, in other words, were willing to countenance the defeat of the German proletariat if the responsibility could be pinned on the Social Democrats.
During most of March Pravda conveyed the impression that the German Communist Party was rallying from defeat and rebuilding the party. On March 24, however, the Soviet newspaper threw a revealing light on the actual revolutionary capabilities of the German Party by "summoning" it to obey party decisions and instructions. A long editorial, appearing in three daily instalments, observed that the trade unions supplied the mass basis of the Social-Democratic Parties of Germany, England and other countries, and complained that "sectarian theories" caused Communists to stay out of them; moreover, such Communists as had joined the trade unions made "opportunist" mistakes. "These Communists do not distinguish themselves in their work from reformists. They bring great damage to the Communist Party because the workers take them for actual representatives of the Communist Party."
It is characteristic that all of the Congresses of the Communist International, plenums of the E.C.C.I. and manifold decisions of the Central Committees of the sections themselves of the Comintern demanded and [now] demand work within the reformist trade unions.
Thus Pravda blandly urged the Communists to use the trade unions as arenas for attacks upon the Social Democrats at a time when the German Communist Party, the German Social-Democratic Party and the German trade unions were all being smashed to bits.
Throughout all of the articles on the German situation during these two months, Pravda insisted that although the Communist Party was making every effort to achieve unity, any real coöperation with the Social Democrats was "impossible." It wrote, for example, on March 25:
The proposal of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany and revolutionary trade unions of the opposition concerning joint struggle against Fascism which was made on January 30 and March 1, 1933, to the Social-Democratic Party and to the central union of the All-German trade unions, just as the proposals which were made by the Central Committee of the German Communist Party on July 20 concerning the declaration of a general political strike, were rejected.
In Communist eyes, the National Socialists were a "party of powerful capitalists" which "directed the dissatisfaction of the petty bourgeois mass in the first place against the Communist Party" (Pravda, March 25). Not a word in any of the statements on the united front showed an awareness that there were other groups in the community with a stake in the fight against Fascism. It was exclusively a working-class affair. The day before (March 24), Pravda had printed the declaration of the Central Committee of the German Communist Party which stated that the "leadership of the Social-Democratic Party and the administration of the reformist all-German united trade unions declined the proposal concerning a united front." Again, the Soviet leaders seized an occasion to point out that a fight against Fascism could be carried on only under Communist leadership. The appeal stated:
The creation of a fighting united front of workers is the demand of the moment and the vital question of the German working class. Therefore organize everywhere meetings of the factory workers and unemployed for the discussion with members of trade unions and Social-Democratic workers of joint measures of struggle for the liberation of Comrade Thaelmann and all arrested workers, for the abolition of exceptional laws, of prohibitions against meetings, newspapers, demonstrations, for the liquidation of the auxiliary police.
The liberation of the Communist Thaelmann was the first and, of course the symbolic, objective.
In Pravda's articles sharp lines mark off economic classes, and these classes are supposed to respond to economic forces like automatons, driven by mutually exclusive, totally antagonistic economic interests. All social action is assumed to lead logically to proletarian revolution, and Communists are instructed to oppose bitterly any that does not do so--in other words, any that Moscow does not control. Events are set into formulas that bear little relationship to reality. At the same time that Pravda pursued the mirage of an impending proletarian revolution in the towns, it also saw signs of a nonexistent social revolution in the countryside. But it could not imagine that any men and women who were neither "proletarians" nor "peasants" could have an interest in opposing Fascism.
Everything the Communists did during these two months, as described by Pravda, tended to strengthen the onslaught of German Fascism against the German nation. Fascist blows fell from the right; the Communists hit from the left. No effort was spared to advance the supposed interests of the Communist Party--and every consideration was subordinated to that. No lesson was drawn from any defeat. In fact, it appears not to have dawned on such a responsible voice as Pravda either that a defeat had occurred, or that it was impending. The only defeat recognized was the defeat of the Social Democrats--and this was greeted with enthusiasm. In effect, the rulers in the Kremlin joined hands with Hitler's storm troopers in destroying the middle ground of German political life. Marxist-Leninist doctrine taught that this was the way to safeguard and promote Soviet interests. Some 12,000,000 Russians presently paid for the error with their lives.