Page 2, 20th May 1949

20th May 1949
Page 2
Page 2, 20th May 1949 — NAZISM AND MARXISM

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Locations: Cambridge


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SIR,-Emilie Dow denies that there ie a difference between Nazism and Marxism. May I attempt to explain ?

The two creeds are both Godless, immoral and cruel, ignoring the nature of man and his ultimate end, and therefore depend on totalitarian methods for their enforcement. There their similarity ends.

Nazism was born of imperialism. the child of capitalism, whose other offspring are exploitation and oppression of the workers. It was brought into being and kept in power by Big Business, which exploited the legitimate grievances of the German nation; it did not seek to raise the status of the worker by giving him a voice in the conduct of his affairs, but offered him sops in the form of social insurance and empty promises, to keep him obedient to the dictatorship of the financial and military classes who governed him. It preached a doctrine of race hatred and the conquest of the world by the, Master Racemilitarism was the bread and butter of the German people.

Marxism, on the other hand, was born of the realisation that the misery of the workers was due to that same capitalism-cum-imperialism-cum-militarism of which Nazism has so far been the most menacing example and the recent war the inevitable outcome. Whatever its errors, Marxism seeks the destruction of those conditions and the social and economic enfranchisement of the worker; its ultimate goal is a society in which each shall give according to his ability and receive according to his needs-a society in which social justice and economic order shall prevail throughout the world and there shall be no more war. Utopia certainly, and impossible of realisation without the grace of God, which has no place in Marxism, but nevertheless, that is its aim, a distinctly different one from that of Nazism.

As for the methods to be employed in achieving the ideal, it is a common error to suppose that the exponents of Marxism preach violence at all times and at all costs. It is true that Dialectical Materialism, which is an interpretation of life expressed. in terms of conflict, teaches that no change can be wrought without warfare (but not necessarily bloodshed. Marx and Engels thought that in the state of the world in their day, bloodshed on a large scale was inevitable in the birth of the proletarian Statebloodshed, however provoked or started by the oppressors, the capitalists-and a quarter of a century later Lenin experienced and enlarged on this theory. But in those days, the scale of modern warfare was scarcely imagined and the atombomb an undreamed-of horror. Stalin, in his interpretation of Marxism, as his writings show, has other ideas about the development of the Communist State. lle realises that science has provided means unknown to Engels and Lenin of spreading Communist doctrine, and that modern warfare is .to be avoided since its inevitable result would be, not the destruction of twothirds of the human race and the survival of the Communist onethird, bat the destruction of the whole world, in that victors and vanquished alike would suffer unimaginable horrors both during and after the war, even were all the atom-bombs in the hands of the Communists! I would plead with Emilie Dow to be careful in her use of terms. Imperialism is usually taken to mean the annexation of territory for the purpose of the economic development of the annexing Power-it can be extended to the realm of finance

and world-markets. It is in this sense that Germany was imperialist and the U.S.S.R. is not, Finally, has it occurred to your correspondent that the RussoGerman non-aggression pact and the subsequent sharing of loot " was an attempt by the U.S.S.R. to mark time and to consolidate her frontiers against the attack which she knew was coming? What has she to say of the earlier Franco-Russian pact? Did that have no influence on Hitler? Surely some other people besides myself need to learn from events--that international " pacts" (presupposing war) always breed war!


61, Glisson Road. Cambridge.

[To prevent an endless correspondence the following points should he noted:

The propaganda of the Communists should not be confused with the real aims and practice of Com

munism. The Communists themselves are rarely guilty of such confusion and. when they fall into this error it is quickly recognised and corrected (compare Questions of the Week, "Catholic Herald," May 13, " The Truth in Hungary").

Stalin has not yet modified or toned down the Marxist teaching on the need for violent revolution. His contribution has been to discourage the nubile discussion of the necessity for violence as a tactic. And the measure of its success may be fudged by the fact that even some Catholics appear to have been taken In by it, whilst Communists everywhere continue to study the art of insurrection.

Soviet imperialism answers to our correspondent's own definition of imperialism. The countries of Eastern Europe have for all practical purposes been "annexed for the purpose of the economic development Of the annexing Power" and also for its political and mili tary purposes as well. The only difference between Soviet and Nazi Imperialism is that the one is more subtle and. incidentally, more successful than the other. Editor, C.H.1

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