Marxism and the second world war

Eighty years ago, the major powers plunged humanity into the horror of world war. Despite the contending claims this was, at root, a struggle for markets, and economic and political dominance. In a shortened version of an article first published in Socialism Today No.131, PETER TAAFFE looks at the background to the war and the responsibility of socialists in wartime.

The total number of victims of the second world war dwarfed even the carnage of the first. Estimates of the number of casualties suggest some 60 million died, 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians. Many civilians died of disease, starvation, massacres, bombing and deliberate genocide. The now-disappeared ‘Soviet Union’ lost around 27 million, just under half of all the casualties in the war.

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