It Depends on You!
Background: World War II did not officially end until after the collapse of the German Democratic Republic. During the Cold War, the signing of a peace treaty, or of seperate peace treaties, was a constant source of friction. This pamphlet from the GDR was released in 1954 during one period of crisis. It is a good example of the GDR propaganda line for the period.
The EVG, or European Defense Community, or Paris Treaty (EDC in English), was proposed by France in 1952 as a plan for establishing a Pan-European defense without admitting Germany to NATO. The “General Treaty,” or Bonn Treaty, of the same year was between West Germany and the Western Allies, and proposed ending the status of West Germany as an occupied territory. The EDC ultimately failed when the French parliament failed to ratify it later in 1954, with the result that West Germany joined the NATO alliance. The General Treaty went into effect in 1955. The Soviets, as is clear from what followed, vehemently opposed both. I translate the full text, but do not include four illustrations of happy GDR citizens.
This pamphlet was released in 1954 as lead-up to a referendum the GDR held on 27-29 June. 93.6% voted for the referendum, according to GDR sources.
The source: Auf Dich kommt es an! (Berlin: Büro des Präsidiums des Nationalrates der Nationalen Front des demokratischen Deutschland, 1954).
It’s up to You!
It’s up to you!
You will vote on two fateful questions.
For a peace treaty and the withdrawal of occupation troops? Or for the EDC treaty and for occupation troops to remain for 50 years? To vote, put an “X” in the appropriate circle.
You love peace!
You want to work and build and have a prosperous life. You want to be happy and be on the sunny side of life. You want to vacation in the most beautiful parts of our homeland. You want to learn and have pure art. You do not want to be like the chained serfs of the past, not a degraded mercenary, but rather to be and remain the master of your own life, the master in your father’s house.
That is why we need a peace treaty! That is why the occupation troops should withdraw!
The Soviet Union proposed such a peace treaty with Germany in March 1952, and has repeatedly offered it again, most recently at the Berlin conference of foreign ministers in January 1954. Once again, in the interests of the German people, the Soviet delegation proposed that all occupation troops be withdrawn within six months of concluding a peace treaty.
This peace treaty would eliminate the unfortunate separation of our fatherland and remove the danger than threatens us by eliminating the strength of the warmongering imperialist and militarist forces in West Germany.
This peace treaty frees West Germany from the disgrace of the EDC Treaty and the General Treaty, and guarantees German sovereignty.
This peace treaty guarantees the right of all citizens in the whole of Germany to justice and jobs because it creates a democratic Germany. This peace treaty sweeps away the danger that threatens our youth, the future of our people, of becoming part of mercenary legions.
This peace treaty will allow our whole fatherland to become a flowering garden in which happy and free people can work, in which the happy sound of children’s laughter resounds under a bright sky and a new spring, in which the German people are masters, not American colonial lords and their degenerate taskmasters. But all this will be hindered by the warmongers and their treaties of Bonn and Paris.
A storm flood threatens you and our people!
It is the EDC Treaty! It is the General Treaty! It is like the waves of the pounding sea that crash against the dike, then suddenly break through it. These disgraceful treaties help to resurrect German militarism and imperialist intervention troops. Our homeland is threatened by the deadly teeth of beasts of prey really to attack from the West of our homeland, by the barrels of American atomic cannons. You, your family, and our entire people are to be the victims!
The Lie of the “European Defense Community”
There are 32 states in Europe, of which only 5 ½ will be members of this so-called defensive community. It cannot, therefore, be called “European.” The Americans behind the EDC do not want to defend Europe, but rather only their own greedy plans aimed against the security of all the peoples of Europe. The EDC is a community of monopolists and militarists opposing Europe’s security and peace! The peoples can never build a community with monopolists and militarists!
Europe’s security can be assured only when resurgent German militarism is eliminated, when the idea of collective security for all the European peoples replaces the aggressive EDC, which is what the Soviet delegation proposed at the Berlin conference of foreign ministers!
The General Treaty is a War Treaty!
It is a treaty of generals and monopolists who want to enslave the European peoples — and above all the German people — with American intervention troops and atomic bombs.
Adenauer gave up all the German people’s rights with this disgraceful treaty. With it, he wants to sell German youth to an American foreign legion, where they will meet the same fate as the 46,000 German Foreign Legionnaires who fell in Vietnam.
This treaty of the generals and monopolists burdens the West German population with unbearable occupation costs and the huge burden of pre-war, war, and post-war debts incurred by German imperialists. It perpetuates the occupation of West Germany by imperialist intervention troops, sanctions the burning down of German forests, the destruction of fruitful farmland, and American terror against the West German population, as well as their steadily increasing misery.
That is why the EDC Treaty and the General Treaty are the main barriers to the peaceful reunification of Germany!
The EDC and General Treaties — they are preparation for a third world war, for destruction and the murder of peoples!
Deadly Danger Threatens Each of Us,
because the warmongers want these disgraceful treaties to extend to all of Germany. They are not stopped by the soaring cathedrals, by the hum of labor in our factories, by the happy homes of our families!
But the united strength of our people is sufficient to meet this danger!
You increase this strength when you vote against the disgraceful treaties of Bonn and Paris, and against continued occupation for 50 years! You weaken this strength if you keep silent!
One drop of water has no effect on a raging fire — but a powerful stream can extinguish any conflagration!
You Must Decide!
Would you stand idly by as the storm flood threatened to break through the dike, sweeping away you, your family, and everyone else into the turmoil of destruction? Surely not. You would work with everyone else who faced the same danger to strengthen the dike until the danger was past.
You German Worker!
The strength of your arm and your good sense has done great things for the good of the whole people. That which the German working class dreamed of for decades, and for which it fought for decades, has been realized in the German Democratic Republic, and will be realized in all of Germany through a peace treaty. The power of our state is above all in your strong hands! You are the master of your own fate, not others! Unemployment has been eliminated! The doors of knowledge are open to you! Art serves you! Your prosperity is increasing! No one can force you into mercenary service on behalf of enemy interests!
The EDC and General Treaties want to take all that away from you! A peace treaty with Germany guarantees all that for you, and will also lead to a peace treaty for your class brothers in West Germany!
If you do not wish to betray your own interests, the interests of the working class, that are so dependent on peace, you can only be for a peace treaty and for the withdrawal of occupation troops!
You German Farmer!
The land belongs to you, not to the Junkers. Alongside the working class, you lead our state in an intelligent way. The state and the working class support you. Your prosperity is increasing. Your children no longer need to fear that they will lead a miserable life as serfs or will be forced into certain death as mercenaries!
You want to drive the disgraceful treaties of Bonn and Paris, and American intervention troops from your farm! A peace treaty assures you and your family of happiness and prosperity!
Vote for a peace treaty and the withdrawal of occupation troops! That is your only choice, for only in peace can seed ripen for good bread!
Craftsman and Business Owner!
Your work and skill will lead to a happy future only if the people is free and sovereign, but never if monopolists and militarists disregard the rights of the people, which is what is happening in West Germany today.
You want a happy and worry-free life for you and your family. That is why you must vote for a peace treaty and the withdrawal of occupation troops!
German Scientist! German Artist!
Only when the people rule, and peace prevails, will your creativity serve humanity, not the enemies of humanity. German arts and sciences will enjoy a good reputation in the world only in a free, peace-loving, democratic Germany. Only in such a Germany is the future open to science and the arts. The EDC Treaty and the General Treaty want to reduce you to slaves of inhumanity, turning art and science into the whores of greedy profiteers.
That is why you must vote for a peace treaty and the withdrawal of occupation troops!
Think about the 46,000 young Germans who were senselessly murdered in Vietnam by the defenders of the EDC and General Treaties! Think of the hundreds of thousands of young Germans who are driven to the gates of a terrible death in the disgraceful Foreign Legion! The disgraceful treaties of Bonn and Paris are also reaching for your young life. Defend yourself! Fight so that all the youth of Germany will have the possibilities found in the German Democratic Republic. Your life should be filled with happiness and peaceful work, with genuine patriotism and honorable labor. That is why you must be for a peace treaty. There is no other choice for you if you wish to avoid death!
And You German Woman and Mother!
Each pain your child feels is your pain. Each time he laughs, you laugh, too. You do not want to give up either your child or your husband. You want to stand by their side in full equality, helping to build a bright, worry-free life for your people. You do not want to be robbed of the right to life, love, and the joy of motherhood! You are strong because you bear in your womb eternally renewing life, because the love of women and mothers is invincible. The fiery hatred of a mother against the enemies of her child and its happiness is hotter than any torch of war!
Your children will curse you, should you not decide in favor of peace!
They will love and honor you into the sunset of your life if you throw your love of peace and your hatred of war onto the scales!
Hundreds of Millions of Fighters of Peace Stand with Us
Our successes in the German Democratic Republic have been possible only because who have brought together all the strength of our people into a powerful river of peaceful construction, and because the friendship of all peace-loving peoples, above all the Soviet Union, strengthens that river.
We do not stand alone in our fight against the EDC and General Treaties, and for a peace treaty with Germany. Two hundred million Soviet people stand with us, the 500 million Chinese, and the 128 million other people in the people’s republics of Europe and Asia. There are also hundreds of millions of fighters for peace in the capitalist countries. They have hindered the use of atomic weapons in Korea and opposed American aggressive war there. They have forced the Western powers to the negotiating table, putting an end to the war in Vietnam, and are more and more isolating the cries of the warmongers for a new massacre of the peoples. Their voices have become a powerful force against the enemies of humanity and their devilish plans.
Your Fate is in Your Hands!
Knowing about this support does not release you from making a decision. He who wants to walk through death’s door cannot be saved by a friend. The most generous help will not prevent destruction.
But you want to live! You want peace! You love your homeland and your people! You want all of Germany to flourish!
You have it within your power to protect our people from threatening danger, because your love of your people and homeland and peace give you enormous strength!
For the peace treaty and the withdrawal of the occupation troops!
That is the only choice you can make!
A visitor to the site provided me with this image from the campaign — a rubber-stamped message on an envelope that translates as: “Vote in the referendum for a peace treaty and the withdrawal of occupation troops!”
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Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.