70 years ago: the signification of the murder of Ernst Thälmann
On the express orders of Hitler and Himmler, Ernst Thälmann was murdered on August 18, 1944, after more than eleven years of solitary confinement. He had previously been brought from the Bautzen prison to the concentration camp of Buchenwald near Weimar, where his body was burned after the murder, so he gets no grave. This action was so secret that the Nazi newspaper “Völkischer Observer” reported that Thälmann was killed on 24 August “by terror bombs” of the Allies.
Why were the Nazis so afraid to publish the truth? Because Ernst Thälmann embodied an attitude, an action, a culture, an ideology. Ernst Thälmann, that meant getting out of National-Socialism, getting out of the war, by the Popular Front, for the People’s Democracy!
National-Socialism claimed to establish true socialism, to have found the right line for Germany. War, poverty and destruction were the result, and also the moral bankruptcy, all of this as a product of an anti-capitalist romanticism, where the goal was to unite the society, to remove the “parasites”, which meant in reality to establish “the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and most imperialist elements of finance capital”.
Ernst Thälmann had warned of the impending disaster. He was since 1924 Chairman of the Communist Party of Germany, a party which was founded by Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht. He has made every effort to mobilize the broad masses, masses who were paralyzed by the Social democracy, because the leaders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) were neither for the socialist revolution, nor for the authentic anti-fascist struggle.
The Communist Party has, on his side, tried everything, so that the struggle against capitalism and against fascism becomes a mass movement; therefore also were established the Red Front Fighters’ Alliance, the Anti Fascist Action. It was fought not against the workers of Social democracy, but against the surrender line of the SPD leaders. The Communist Party of Germany has defended the line of the united front, and paved the way for the line of the Popular Front, like in Spain and France.
The masses who were imprisoned in the Nazi ideology were also never forgotten. As Ernst Thälmann explained it in January 1933:
“The Communist Party addresses itself also to the broad masses of national-socialist supporters.
There is a violent difference between those SA and SS columns, trying provocative break into the working-class neighborhood or which do raids on workers’ houses and workers’ places, and the broad masses of by the misery of the crisis tormented workers, employees, SMEs, artisans and small traders or even the toiling peasants in the village, who gave or give support to National-Socialism, because they gave faith to the demagogic clamor and the fraudulent promises of Hitler, Goebbels and Strasser (…).
We have to show these masses, in patient educational work, the real role of the Hitler party in the service of finance capital, the trust kings, the big landowners, the officers and princes.” (The Nazi provocation in front of the Karl-Liebknecht-House and some lessons, 26 January, 1933)
It is also to know that at the November 1932 general election, there was a substantial loss of votes for the Nazi Party. Although more than eleven million people had voted for the Nazis, it was still two million fewer votes than in July. The Nazi movement began to wane, that’s why Hitler was then so quickly placed in power: it was not just a takeover, but a transfer of power.
As Ernst Thälmann understood it in October 1932, before the elections yet:
“The huge growth of the fascist mass movement of the Nazis because of the chauvinistic wave allowed the fascist rulers to seize power.
The policy of finance capital, which currently rejects the exercise of governmental power by the fascist terrorist organization of Hitler, arises on the one hand from the fear of the too abrupt tightening of internal and external conflicts, on the other hand from the desire of the bourgeoisie to keep the reserves of the fascist mass movement as intact as possible and at the same time to “marshal” them, i.e. to make of them a completely safe instrument of fascist dictatorship by overcoming the disturbing factors.
The uplift until now of the national-socialist movement came to a still and left space for a decline, due to the growing revolutionary uplift of the proletariat, the rising radicalization of the toiling middle class due to their impoverishment through the politics of Papen, the non-realization of the no-limits election promises of Hitler, the stronger progresses of the antifascist mass struggle of the Communist Party of Germany.
The role of the Hitler party as support of unfettered exploitation, its position of aid provision for the government of capitalists, junkers and generals and the Lausanne tribute Pact, the role of fascist murder terror against the revolutionary workers – all of this initiated the beginning of a disappointment of the toiling followers masses of National-socialism (…).
In the struggle against Hitler’s fascism, it is important, due to the beginning decomposition in the ranks of the NSDAP and the incipient decline of the national-socialist wave at all, to carry out with the greatest energy the break-in the ranks of the national-socialist followers, through the development of an ideological offensive.
The Communists and revolutionary workers must win the proletariat and toiling followers of National-socialism to take joint action against wage and help cutbacks and against the Papen dictatorship, and convince them of the role of Hitler’s party as the terror and strike-breaking organization of finance capital.
Facing the chauvinist incitement of the masses, the imperialist policy of war and militaristic arming of the German bourgeoisie, it comes to develop proletarian internationalism in the struggle against the Versailles system, closely linked with the struggle of the French Communists and revolutionary workers against the French bourgeoisie.
The Communist Party of Germany fights against the militaristic arming and imperialist war policy of the Papen government, for the use of the billions of the Reichswehr for the benefit of the victims of war and unemployed peoples, for the disarming of the bourgeoisie and the entire counter-revolution, for the full transfer of power and all the means of power to the proletariat, for social and national liberation of the working German people.” (Ernst Thälmann, party conference of the Communist Party of Germany, resolution on the XII. plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International and the Tasks of the Communist Party of Germany, October 17, 1932)
Ernst Thälmann was therefore the living proof that National-Socialism was only an obstacle to save capitalism, through imperialist war, through fascism. Its existence showed that National-socialism was just there precisely to fight against real socialism.
His life was the antithesis of National-socialism, and the Nazis have known that their own defeat would bring the victory of Thälmann. Ernst Thälmann could be a scientific inspiration, he could produce a “guiding Thought”, as a scientific reflection of reality; Thälmann, that meant a line that directs democratically the German society, after so many years of anti-democratic suffering.
It is also noteworthy that Julien Lahaut was murdered in front of his home in Belgium, on August 18, 1950, six years after the murder of Thälmann. He was an important figure in the struggle for the Republic, against the monarchy: he was the chairman of the Communist Party of Belgium, had led the great strike of 1941 with 100,000 workers, and was then sent by the Nazis to a concentration camp, where he was also tortured, and where he always resisted.
Julien Lahaut also embodied the revolutionary line, the revolutionary perspective, an understanding of its own country. Therefore are Lahaut and Thälmann immortal.
70 years later – Ernst Thälmann is not forgotten!
Ernst Thälmann and Julien Lahaut are living in the struggle for communism!
Long live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, long live Maoism!
People’s war until communism!
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