740.00119 Control (Germany)/11–545

Mr. Donald R. Heath, Chargé of Mission, Office of the United States Political Adviser for Germany, to the Secretary of State

No. 1246

Sir: I have the honor to report that there has been in recent days a considerable increase in the amount of public discussion, particularly in Berlin, of the “united front” or political bloc formed by the four political parties which exist in Berlin and in the Soviet zone of occupation. The Communists are prosecuting a vigorous campaign for the retention and extension of this device throughout Germany.

The current discussion appears to have been touched off by the statement on page 3 of Monthly Report No. 2 of the Military Governor, U.S. Zone, that “The device of a political bloc will not be encouraged in the U.S. Zone, as it runs contrary to traditional American concepts of political activity and vigorous political life in a democratic sense”. (Reference is made to my Despatch No. 1054 of October [Page 1070] 4, 1945.86) This sentence was given a considerable amount of publicity in the American press and was accepted by the German Communists as an attack on the united front in Berlin. The Berlin press has recently contained numerous editorials and statements praising the united front as the only acceptable instrument of democratic political life and condemning those who oppose it as friends of Fascism and enemies of democracy. This campaign is clearly inspired by the Communists. The Allgemeine Zeitung, which is the overt American newspaper, has responded to these attacks by various indirect references to the defects and questionable value of the united front.

As illustrative of the Communist tactics and arguments, there is attached a copy of the Berlin Press Review for, October 30, 1945,87 which is issued by the Information Services Control Section of the Headquarters, Berlin District Command. Attention is invited first to the editorial from the Tägliche Rundschau (overt Soviet newspaper) as summarized on pages 1 and 2. Particularly in the last three paragraphs the editorial discusses and defends the Soviet one party system as having its basis in the classless nature of Soviet society which permits the Communist Party to represent the interests of the entire nation. The article refers to the “limited conception of the western people of a true democracy”. It is apparent that the pressure for a united front is only an interim tactic designed to pave the way ultimately for a one-party system in Germany. It is not difficult to foresee which party is expected to succeed the united front.

Attention is also invited to the first item from the Deutsche Volkszeitung (Communist Party newspaper) summarized on pages 2 and 3 of the enclosure. This item describes a front-page editorial by Walter Ulbricht, the foremost German Communist leader. Ulbricht strongly champions the united front as a fundamental necessity for the final overthrow of Fascism. He openly asserts the desirability of influencing the “anti-fascistic democratic powers” to a realization of the need for establishing a united front. He characterizes as reactionaries those elements within the parties who are against the united front. Rather significantly, he threatens those parties who might disassociate themselves from the united front with “unavoidable” defeat in the coming elections. These tactics naturally have their effect upon the other political parties in an area in which Communist leaders can count upon more than mere persuasion for the support of their demands. They would be less effective in other areas.

Attention is invited finally to the item on page 4 of the enclosure which summarizes a speech made at a political rally of the Communist Party (apparently in Berlin). This speech was reprinted by the Deutsche Volkszeitung. Two interesting points were made by [Page 1071] the speaker, Fred Oelssner (possibly identical with Alfred Oelssner, former Communist Party secretary in Breslau). First he cleverly attacks the statement quoted from General Eisenhower’s report, without in any way referring to the report but asserting that “it should be a self-evident law of democracy for any democrat not to force one’s own conception upon others.” He thus diverts attention from the fact that the united front in fact represents a method of forcing one’s conceptions upon others. Secondly, he asserts that whoever opposes the unity of the democratic forces in Germany, “seeks to rescue German imperialism and militarism, and acts against democracy and peace”. He naturally again omits mention of General Eisenhower in this connection.

A further illustration of the Communist campaign in favor of the united front may be drawn from a front-page editorial in the Berliner Zeitung (organ of the Berlin Magistrat, Communist dominated) on October 27, 1945, which repeats most of the foregoing assertions and arguments.

The occupation authorities in the U.S. Zone are continuing both formally and informally to discourage and prevent the formation in the U.S. Zone of a “United Front” of the German political parties.

Respectfully yours,

Donald R. Heath
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not reprinted.