Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

The German Defeat

A statement issued by Netaji as broadcast by the Provisional Government of Azad Hind Radio, Singapore

The war situation in Europe developed with dramatic suddenness during the last week of April and the first week of May. Though it was apparent to every observer since the beginning of this year that the German armed forces would not be able to hold out for an indefinite period nobody could predict how and when that end would come.

The courage, tenacity, and fortitude with which the armed forces of Germany fought till the moment of Herr Hitler's death must have evoked the admiration of the whole worId. In my own view, the defeat of Germany was not a military, but a political one. It was the foreign policy of Germany, vis-à-vis Soviet Russia and other countries that was fundamentally responsible for the military disaster which has now overtaken the German nation. One of the blunders committed by the German Government in the realm of foreign policy was its total disregard of Bismarck’s advice to the German nation, 'Never to fight on two fronts.' The turning point in European affairs came in 1940, when M Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, visited Berlin. That was the hour when German statesmanship should have risen to its fullest height and reached an understanding with Soviet Russia by any means. If Bismarck had been alive he would have done that. But unfortunately for the German nation, just as faulty statesmanship was responsible for its defeat in the First World War, so also has it been responsible for its defeat in the present war.

The problem that should now engage the attention of every student of international affairs, is, as to what will happen to Europe in the future? On this point my views are perfectly clear, and I firmly adhere to what I have consistently said in the past, namely, that the collapse of Germany will be the signal for the outbreak of an acute conflict between the Soviet and Anglo-Americans. The whole world knows that the war aims of Soviet Russia are quite different from those of the Anglo-Americans. The Soviet Government knows that the defeat of Germany has been due first and foremost to the heroism, tenacity and sacrifice of the people and armed forces of the Soviet Union. Consequently, the Soviet Government, being conscious of its own strength, will never give in to the Anglo-American Powers in the post-war reconstruction of Europe. The truth of this remark has beenalready exemplified at San Francisco, where the conference virtually resulted in a fiasco, when M Molotov left that city.

The San Francisco Conference is only a precursor of the events that are to follow in the domain of European affairs. Europe now stands at the crossroads of history. Prior to the outbreak of the present war the affairs of Europe were in a chaotic condition, with the Big Powers pulling in different directions. Germany, however, had a plan for the reorganisation of Europe, and during the last five years she endeavoured to work out that plan. Now, with the collapse of Germany that plan has come to naught. In post-war Europe there is only one other power that has a plan which is worth giving a trial, and that power is Soviet Russia. The only plan, if we call it a plan, which Britain can have is to maintain the balance of power in Europe in her own selfish interest, with the help of France and possibly of the United States. That plan will never be accepted by the European nations. So far as the United States areconcerned, however keen and ambitious they may be to establish the 'American Century' in the world, they will never succeed in controlling the affairs of Europe from across the Atlantic. Moreover, neither Britain nor the United States of America who are capitalist imperialist countries, can produce a plan of total reconstruction which will be acceptable to the nations of Europe.

Consequently, we come to the conclusion that there is no other alternative for the nations of Europe than to give a trial to the experiment that has proved so eminently successful within the Soviet Union. No doubt Britain and America, and Britain even more than America, will do everything in their power to stop and frustrate Soviet plans for the reconstruction of Europe. But these attempts are bound to fail, primarily because during the last five years public opinion all over Europe has swung so violently to the left that after the collapse of National-Socialist Germany no Government and no social order can endure, which is not predominantly Leftist in character. So far as Germany's future is concerned, we have to remember that the National-Socialist Government, during a period of twelve years, virtually destroyed the old capitalist regime. The only alternative before the German people, therefore, seems to be to establish a Socialist order in preference to a radical type, which will be on friendly terms with the Soviet Union. But how far this development will actually materialise depends on how Germany will be treated by the Allied Powers.

If Germany is not humiliated, and is not made to nurse a desire for national revenge, it is inevitable that there will be a peaceful transition from National-Socialism to Socialism, ofa radical type. If on the other hand, the German people are humiliated and persecuted, the Socialist trend among the German people will be drowned for the time being and we shall see once again the seed of an ultranationalist revival, which will prove to be the starting point of another European war and perhaps of World War number three.

If there is one man in Europe today, who holds in his hands the destinies of the European nations for the few decades, that man is Marshal Stalin. The whole world and above all Europe, will, therefore follow with the greatest anxiety the moves of the Soviet Union in the days to come. In this hour of Germany's sorrow I cannot help reiterating on behalf of the Indian people and myself, our heartfelt gratitude to the German people and nation for the sympathy and support that they gave us in our struggle for freedom.