International School History - European Schools - S7 4hr option History

S7 History - Zhdanov's 'Two Camps' speech

Last update - 10 May 2023



Speech by Andrei Zhdanov (member of the Soviet Politburo) at the founding of the Cominform in September 1947

A new alignment of political forces has arisen. The more the war recedes into the past, the more distinct become two major trends in post-war international policy, corresponding to the division of the political forces operating in the international arena into two major camps: the imperialist and anti-democratic camp, on the one hand, and the anti-imperialist and democratic camp, on the other. The principal driving force of the imperialist camp is the U.S.A. Allied with it are Great Britain and France. ... The imperialist camp is also supported by colony-owning countries, such as Belgium and Holland, by countries with reactionary anti-democratic regimes, such as Turkey and Greece, and by countries politically and economically dependent on the United States, such as Near-Eastern and South American countries and China.

The cardinal purpose of the imperialist camp is to strengthen imperialism, to hatch a new imperialist war, to combat socialism and democracy, and to support reactionary and anti-democratic pro-fascist regimes and movements everywhere.

The anti-imperialist and anti-fascist forces comprise the second camp. This camp is based on the U.S.S.R. and the new democracies [of Eastern Europe]. It also includes countries that have broken with imperialism and have firmly set foot on the path of democratic development, such as Rumania, Hungary and Finland. Indonesia and Vietnam are associated with it; it has the sympathy of India, Egypt and Syria. The anti-imperialist camp is backed by the labor and democratic movement and by the fraternal Communist parties in all countries, by the fighters for national liberation in the colonies and dependencies, by all progressive and democratic forces in every country. The purpose of this camp is to resist the threat of new wars and imperialist expansion, to strengthen democracy and to extirpate the vestiges of fascism. ...

The expansionist ambitions of the United States find concrete expression in the "Truman Doctrine" and the "Marshall Plan". ... The main features of the "Truman Doctrine" as applied to Europe are as follows:

Creation of American bases in the Eastern Mediterranean with the purpose of establishing American supremacy in that area.
Demonstrative support of the reactionary regimes in Greece and Turkey as bastions of American imperialism against the new democracies in the Balkans. ...
Constant pressure on the countries of the new democracy, as expressed in false accusation of totalitarianism and expansionist ambitions, in attacks on the foundations of the new democratic regimes, in constant interference in their domestic affairs, in support of all anti-national, anti-democratic elements within these countries, and in the demonstrative breaking off of economic relations with these countries with the idea of creating economic difficulties, retarding their economic development, preventing their industrialization, and so on.
The "Truman Doctrine," which provides for the rendering of American assistance to all reactionary regimes that actively oppose the democratic peoples, bears a frankly aggressive character. ... Progressive public elements in the U.S.A. and other countries vigorously protested against the provocative and frankly imperialistic character of Truman's announcement.
The unfavorable reception with which the "Truman Doctrine" was met accounts for the necessity of the appearance of the "Marshall Plan," which is a more carefully veiled attempt to carry through the same expansionist policy.

The vague and deliberately guarded formulations of the "Marshall Plan" amount in essence to a scheme to create a bloc of states bound by obligations to the United States, and to grant American credits to European countries as a recompense for their renunciation of economic, and then of political, independence. Moreover, the cornerstone of the "Marshall Plan" is the restoration of the industrial areas of Western Germany controlled by the American monopolies.

It is the design of the "Marshall Plan" to render aid in the first place, not to the impoverished victor countries, America's allies in the fight against Germany, but to the German capitalists, with the idea of bringing under American sway the major sources of coal and iron needed by Europe and by Germany, and of making the countries in need of coal and iron dependent on the restored economic might of [West] Germany. ...

The need for mutual consultation and voluntary coordination of the action between individual [European Communist] parties has become particularly urgent at the present juncture. ... Upon the communists devolves the special historical task of leading the resistance to the American plan for the enthrallment of Europe, and of boldly denouncing all supporters of American imperialism in their own countries. ... The communists must be the leaders in enlisting all anti-fascist and freedom-loving elements in the struggle against the new American expansionist plans for the enslavement of Europe.




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