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Proclamation by the Central Committee of the German Communist Party (June 11, 1945)

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The task now is to learn the lessons of the past, thoroughly and forever. We must break completely new ground! Every German must become aware that the path our people took previously was a false path, the wrong track, one that led to guilt and shame, to war and ruin. Not only the rubble of destroyed cities, but also the reactionary rubble of the past must be thoroughly cleared away. May the rebuilding of Germany take place on a solid foundation, so that a third instance of the catastrophic policy of imperialism will become impossible. With the destruction of Hitlerism, it is also important to complete the democratization of Germany, that bourgeois-democratic transition that began in 1848, to completely remove the last vestiges of feudalism and of reactionary, old-Prussian militarism, with all its economic and political offshoots. We are of the opinion that forcing the Soviet system onto Germany would be the false path, for this path does not suit the present conditions of German development. Rather, we are of the opinion that the most compelling interests of the German people in the present situation call for Germany to take a different path, the path of establishing an anti-fascist, democratic regime, a parliamentary, democratic republic with all the democratic rights and liberties for the people. At this present historic transition, we Communists call for all working people, for all democratic and progressive forces to join together to fight for the democratic renewal of Germany, for the rebirth of our country!

Presently, the most pressing and immediate tasks on this path are:

1. The complete elimination of all vestiges of the Hitler regime and of Hitler’s party; securing the help of all honest Germans in tracking down Nazi leaders, Gestapo agents, and SS bandits in hiding. The complete purging of active Nazis from all public offices. In addition to the punishment of major war criminals, who will stand trial before the courts of the United Nations, the harshest punishment by German courts of all those Nazis who are guilty of crimes and of participating in Hitler’s betrayal of the German people. The swiftest and toughest measures against all attempts to continue pursuing criminal and Nazi activity illegally, against all attempts to interfere with the establishment of peace and order and a normal life for the population.

2. The fight against hunger, unemployment, and homelessness. All-around active support for the organs of self-government in their efforts to quickly secure normalcy in day-to-day life and to get manufacturing up and running again. The completely unhindered development of free trade and private enterprise on the basis of private property. Effective measures to rebuild destroyed schools, living quarters, and workplaces. Strict economy in (government) administration and in all public expenditures. The restructuring of the tax system in accordance with the basic principles of a progressive income tax. Guaranteeing the complete harvest of all crops by providing laborers to farmers. The fair and just allocation of food and key consumables; a vigorous fight against speculation.

3. The establishment of democratic rights and liberties for our people. The legalization of free trade unions for blue-collar workers [Arbeiter], white-collar workers [Angestellte], and civil servants, and of anti-fascist democratic parties. The reconstruction of the court system in accordance with our people’s new democratic way of life. The equality of all citizens before the law regardless of race, and the harshest punishment for all expressions of racial hatred. The purging of all fascist and reactionary refuse from the entire educational system. The fostering of a genuinely democratic, progressive, and liberal spirit in all schools and educational institutions. Systematic education about the barbaric character of Nazi racial theory, the mendacity of the “doctrine of living space,” and the catastrophic consequences of Hitler’s policies for the German people. Freedom of scientific research and artistic expression.

4. The resurrection of democratic organs of self-government in communities and districts as well as in provincial and state administrations and in their corresponding parliaments [Landtage].

5. The protection of workers against arbitrary measures by employers and against excessive exploitation. The free democratic election of employee representatives for all blue-collar workers, white-collar workers, and civil servants in all factories, offices, and public administrations. Agreed regulation of wage and working conditions. Public assistance for the victims of fascist terror, for orphans, invalids, and the sick. Special protection for mothers.

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