Under the pressure of the non-aggression pact, signed by Hitler and Stalin on August, 23, 1938, most of the communist movement, including the Communist Party, USA, kept its distance from the widening war between Hitler’s remilitarized Germany and other European states. With its signing, the military clash became overnight no more than a fight between imperialist states with no democratic or anti-fascist content in the eyes of the communists. In the U.S. Roosevelt, not Hitler, became the party’s target of criticism and vitriol. Much the same, albeit with different particulars, happened elsewhere. It was’t until June 22, 1941 when Hitler’s invaded of the first land of socialism did this policy change.
Overnight, the inter-imperialist conflict in the political imagination of the communists turned into an existential, all class fight for democracy and against fascism. In the U.S., it would be led in the U.S. by none other than FDR.
In today’s circumstances, I can see echoes of this mistaken policy once again insofar as the democratic, anti-imperialist content of the war between Russia and Ukraine shows up on a much lower register of the communist movement than the clash between NAT0 and Putin’s Russia. As is said, past is prologue to the future.