Yugoslavia Moves Closer to Moscow

SETON-WATSON, HUGH

Yugoslavia Moves Closer to Moscow Did Khrushchev order East German recognition? By Hugh Seton-Watson Author, "The East European Revolution' The condemnation of Milovan Djilas to seven more years...

...The Yugoslav leaders cannot be so childish as to believe their own cant phrases about the militarism of Adenauer and the peace-loving character of the Deutsche Demokratische Re-publik...
...Is President Tito so impressed by Soviet armed strength that he believes that, so oder so, Khrushchev will have subdued all Europe within the foreseeable future, and that he had better be on the winning side...
...Djilas takes some pains to stress ihe differences between Yugoslavia and Russia, and to give credit for the reforms introduced into the former since 1948...
...For some years, Yugoslavia's relations with the West have been deteriorating...
...With this feeling, too, Stojadinovic would have sympathized...
...That Djilas should be punished for his opposition to the Communist regime may at first sight not appear remarkable...
...But it has always been possible to find arguments to minimize the extent of her re-entry into the Soviet orbit...
...They know perfectly well that the DDR is the chosen instrument for the forcible Bolshevization of Germany, and that its territory is a Soviet-armed base directed equally against Poland and Western Europe...
...It is they, not President Tito, who have to fear the impact of Djilas...
...It was at this moment that the Yugoslav Government struck...
...including the present writer, were desperately anxious to give the Yugoslav leaders the benefit of every conceivable doubt...
...Most Western observers of Yugoslavia...
...It is difficult to resist the conclusion that the new and savage sentence imposed on him was decided not in Belgrade but in Moscow...
...Perhaps President Tito would be wise to remember that the greater freedom and prosperity of the last years have made such people stronger and bolder than they were in 1948...
...This lamentable situation was caused not by any tactlessness in Bonn, but by a deliberate provocation by the Yugoslavs...
...But even this could lie explained away as a regrettable mistake of judgment...
...Soviet policy has made great efforts to turn Turkey's flanks, in the east and in the west...
...Now we may expect that Yugoslav influence will be used to persuade Greece to associate herself directly with the campaign of political warfare against Turkev...
...He no longer needed to pay much attention to the expellee pressure group...
...All that has happened since then is that his manuscript, completed before his arrest, has appeared abroad, with an analysis, in Marxist terms, of the class structure of the Communist totalitarian state...
...On one point at least, there should be no misunderstanding in the West...
...In the autumn of 1956, the Polish desire for relations with West Germany was made very clear...
...The conclusion is inescapable that this action, like the condemnation of Djilas, was planned and timed not in Belgrade but in Moscow...
...No doubt his predecessor Milan Stojadinovic, from the era of Hitler, would approve this motive...
...The weakening of the Balkan Alliance was due to British and Greek policies about Cyprus, not to any action by Belgrade or Moscow...
...Poland and West Germany have, of course, always been divided by the question of the Oder-Neisse frontier, but they have also had a common interest in defense against the DDR, which is a Soviet weapon against both...
...For their part, many Germans know well that normal relations with Poland are essential to their own security...
...But at that time the West German leaders, faced with a forthcoming general election, could not make any overtures to Poland which would antagonize the expellee vote...
...The Soviet leaders are extremely sensitive to any criticism in Marxist terms...
...Iraq has hitherto withstood pressure, but how long it will be able to hold out remains doubtful...
...It was common knowledge that his Foreign Secretary, Heinrich von Brentano, strongly desired a rapprochement with Poland...
...Deliberately it forced West Germany to reprisals, of which not only Yugoslavia but the whole world had long been forewarned...
...Or is he so afraid of the pressures for change within his own country that he feels he can only resist them by enlisting Moscow's support at any price...
...It is not likeb that his analysis will do much harm to his former comrades in Belgrade...
...There can be no possible explanation except subservience to Moscow...
...If it had failed to react strongly, the uncommitted countries would quickly have followed the Yugoslav example...
...His book, The New Class, published in August, is less sharp in lone than his famous article of January 1954 about the ruling bureaucracy of Yugoslavia...
...By recognizing the DDR, they are consciously associating themselves with Moscow's aims of conquest...
...Marshal Tito's cooperation with Nehru and Nasser in their anti-Western schemes could be interpreted as "non-alignment...
...Meanwhile, partly from disappointment, partly from a desire to conciliate Moscow, and partly perhaps because this was Gomulka's own view, the Polish press poured forth denunciations of the Adenauer regime as the willing heir to Prussian militarism and to Hitler...
...The recognition of the Ulbricht regime is a still more serious matter...
...But Belgrade's subservience to Moscow in the Djilas affair placed an impossible strain on our wishful thinking...
...Western governments should not forget that not only the people of Yugoslavia, but also many members of the state and party machines, have no desire for enmity with the West...
...No serious Western observer, after all, believed that Yugoslavia was not ruled by a dictatorship...
...Though this applies to some extent to Yugoslavia, it is primarily concerned with the Soviet Union...
...refusal to make any concessions and so helped to bring about the first derisive bloodshed...
...Most Poles understand that they can never be independent of Russia until they have come to terms with Germany, and that Germany means not the puppet DDR but the Federal Republic...
...By this act Yugoslavia has proclaimed solidarity with the Soviet Government in the German question, the most important single issue affecting the peace and security of Europe...
...Turkey is the one strong Western position in the whole eastern Mediterranean...
...It can hardly be a coincidence that the Yugoslav move came at a lime when Soviet threats to Turkey had reached a new intensity...
...Whatever the Marshal's motives, if he decides to behave as the enemy of the West he can only expect to be treated as an enemy...
...In September, however, Adenauer won his election...
...The West German Government had no choice but to reply to this calculated insult by severing diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia...
...The Yugoslav decision is extremely useful to the Soviet Union, and extremely harmful to European peace and security, in two distinct directionsóin Poland and in the Balkans...
...If President Tito has decided to return to the satellite fold, this will also have its effect in the Balkans...
...In Syria, it has been successful...
...Anglo-Greek prestige-mon-gering in the Cyprus question has been a gift of fortune to Khrushchev...
...Whatever the cancellation of Marshal Tito's visit to Moscow and the momentary softening of Soviet attacks on Turkey may mean, the situation is indeed a last challenge to the few remnants of sanity in London and Athens...
...When last autumn he published an article in The New Leader bitterly denouncing Yugoslav official attitudes to the Hungarian Revolution, he was sent to prison on a mild sentence...
...No doubt it will be distributed in large quantities in Asia, and efforts will be made to bring it to the knowledge of the people of the Soviet Union and of the more remote and "loyal" East European satellitesóRumania and Bulgaria...
...By Hugh Seton-Watson Author, "The East European Revolution' The condemnation of Milovan Djilas to seven more years in prison was followed, within a few weeks, by the decision of the Belgrade Government to recognize the East German Communist regime...
...As such, it has long been one of Moscow's priority targets...
...It raises the question whether in foreign policy Yugoslavia is still a sovereign state...
...The two events were probably connected, and both have alarming implications for Western policy...
...In her isolation, Greece has counted a good deal on the friendship of Yugoslavia...
...Immediately the propaganda machine of the whole Soviet bloc, including Gomulka's Poland, took up the theme of Adenauer's "aggression," and the hope of better German-Polish relations has been killed stone dead...
...One can only wonder why Yugoslavia should now have decided to render such signal service to Moscow...
...Tito has a very grave moral responsibility for the Hungarian tragedy, for the moral encouragement he gave to Gero on the eve of the Budapest demonstrations undoubtedly strengthened Gero...
...But for ihe Soviet public, especially for the younger generation of the Soviet intelligentsia, Djilas's theory has explosive qualities...
...But Djilas had already been punished, first by the loss of his official positions and then by imprisonment...
...But its inevitable and justifiable reaction will make it extremely hard to establish diplomatic relations between Bonn and Warsaw...

Vol. 40 • December 1957 • No. 48


 
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