Stalin

On War and Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Documents collected and arranged

by Wolfgang Eggers

01. 08. 2014

 

 

 

"Peace will be kept and strengthened if the people take the holding of peace into their own hands and defend it to the utmost.

War could be unavoidable if the arsonists of war succeed in trapping the masses with their lies, in deceiving them and in drawing them into a new war."

(Interview with a "Pravda" Correspondent 17 February, 1951, Works, Volume 16)

 

 

 

Economic Problems of the USSR

(excerpt)

Inevitability of Wars

Between Capitalist Countries

 

Some comrades hold that, owing to the development of new international conditions since the Second World War, wars between capitalist countries have ceased to be inevitable. They consider that the contradictions between the socialist camp and the capitalist camp are more acute than the contradictions among the capitalist countries; that the U.S.A. has brought the other capitalist countries sufficiently under its sway to be able to prevent them going to war among themselves and weakening one another; that the fore-most capitalist minds have been sufficiently taught by the two world wars and the severe damage they caused to the whole capitalist world not to venture to involve the capitalist countries in war with one another again - and that, because of all this, wars between capitalist countries are no longer inevitable.

These comrades are mistaken. They see the outward phenomena that come and go on the surface, but they do not see those pro

 

found forces which, although they are so far operating imperceptibly, will nevertheless determine the course of developments.

Outwardly, everything would seem to be "going well": the U.S.A. has put Western Europe, Japan and other capitalist countries on rations; Germany (Western), Britain, France, Italy and Japan have fallen into the clutches of the U.S.A. and are meekly obeying its commands. But it would be mistaken to think that things can continue to "go well" for "all eternity," that these countries will tolerate the domination and oppression of the United States endlessly, that they will not endeavour to tear loose from American bondage and take the path of independent development.

Take, first of all, Britain and France. Undoubtedly, they are imperialist countries. Undoubtedly, cheap raw materials and secure markets are of paramount importance to them. Can it be assumed that they will endlessly tolerate the present situation, in which, under the guise of "Marshall plan aid," Americans are penetrating into the economies of Britain and France and trying to convert them into adjuncts of the economy, and American capital is seizing rawmaterials in the British and French colonies nd and thereby plotting disaster for the high profits of the British and French capitalists? Would it not be truer to say that capitalist Britain, and, after her, capitalist France, will be compelled in the end to break from the embrace of the U.S.A. and enter into conflict with it in order to secure an independent position and, of course, high profits?

Let us pass to the major vanquished countries, Germany (Western) and Japan. These countries are now languishing in misery under the jackboot of American imperialism. Their industry and agriculture, their trade, their foreign and home policies, and their whole life are fettered by the American occupation "regime." Yet only yesterday these countries were great imperialist powers and were shaking the foundations of the domination of Britain, the U.S.A. and France in Europe and Asia. To think that these countries will not try to get on their feet again, will not try to smash the U.S. "regime," and force their way to independent development, is to believe in miracles.

It is said that the contradictions between capitalism and socialism are stronger than the contradictions among the capitalist countries. Theoretically, of course, that is true. It is not only true now, today; it was true before the Second World War. And it was more or less realized by the leaders of the capitalist countries. Yet the Second World War began not as a war with the U.S.S.R., but as a war between capitalist countries. Why? Firstly, because war with the U.S.S.R., as a socialist land, is more dangerous to capitalism than war between capitalist countries; for whereas war between capitalist countries puts in question only the supremacy of certain capitalist countries over others, war with the U.S.S.R. must certainly put in question the existence of capitalism itself. Secondly, because the capitalists, although they clamour, for "propaganda" purposes, about the aggressiveness of the Soviet Union, do not themselves believe that it is aggressive, because they are aware of the Soviet Union's peaceful policy and know that it will not itself attack capitalist countries.

After the First World War it was similarly believed that Germany had been definitely put out of action, just as certain comrades now believe that Japan and Germany have been definitely put out of action. Then, too, it was said and clamoured in the press that the United States had put Europe on rations; that Germany would never rise to her feet again, and that there would be no more wars between capitalist countries. In spite of this, Germany rose to her feet again as a great power within the space of some fifteen or twenty years after her defeat, having broken out of bondage and taken the path of independent development. And it is significant that it was none other than Britain and the United States that helped Germany to recover economically and to enhance her economic war potential. Of course, when the United States and Britain assisted Germany's economic recovery, they did so with a view to setting a recovered Germany against the Soviet Union, to utilizing her against the land of socialism. But Germany directed her forces in the first place against the Anglo-French-American bloc. And when Hitler Germany declared war on the Soviet Union, the Anglo-French-American bloc, far from joining with Hitler Germany, was compelled to enter into a coalition with the U.S.S.R. against Hitler Germany.

Consequently, the struggle of the capitalist countries for markets and their desire to crush their competitors proved in practice to be stronger than the contradictions between the capitalist camp and the socialist camp.

What guarantee is there, then, that Germany and Japan will not rise to their feet again, will not attempt to break out of American bondage and live their own independent lives? I think there is no such guarantee.

But it follows from this that the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries remains in force.

It is said that Lenin's thesis that imperialism inevitably generates war must now be regarded as obsolete, since powerful popular forces have come forward today in defence of peace and against another world war. That is not true.

The object of the present-day peace movement is to rouse the masses of the people to fight for the preservation of peace and for the prevention of another world war. Consequently, the aim of this movement is not to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism - it confines itself to the democratic aim of preserving peace. In this respect, the present-day peace movement differs from the movement of the time of the First World War for the conversion of the imperialist war into civil war, since the latter movement went farther and pursued socialist aims.

It is possible that in a definite conjuncture of circumstances the fight for peace will develop here or there into a fight for socialism. But then it will no longer be the present-day peace movement; it will be a movement for the overthrow of capitalism.

What is most likely is that the present-day peace movement, as a movement for the preservation of peace, will, if it succeeds, result in preventing a particular war, in its temporary postponement, in the temporary preservation of a particular peace, in the resignation of a bellicose government and its supersession by another that is prepared temporarily to keep the peace. That, of course, will be good. Even very good. But, all the same, it will not be enough to eliminate the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries generally. It will not be enough, because, for all the successes of the peace movement, imperialism will remain, continue in force - and, consequently, the inevitability of wars will also continue in force.

To eliminate the inevitability of war, it is necessary to abolish imperialism.

 

 

1941 - 1945

The GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR

Collection of Works

 

 

J. V. STALIN

History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

( Bolsheviks )

 

Short Course 

- EXCERPT -


THEORY AND TACTICS OF THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY ON THE QUESTION OF WAR, PEACE AND REVOLUTION

    The Bolsheviks were not mere pacifists who sighed for peace and confined themselves to the propaganda of peace, as the majority of the Left Social-Democrats did. The Bolsheviks advocated an active revolutionary struggle for peace, to the point of overthrowing the rule of the bellicose imperialist bourgeoisie. The Bolsheviks linked up the cause of peace with the cause of the victory of the proletarian revolution, holding that the surest way of ending the war and securing a just peace, a peace without annexations and indemnities, was to overthrow the rule of the imperialist bourgeoisie.

    In opposition to the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary renunciation of revolution and their treacherous slogan of preserving "civil peace" in time of war, the Bolsheviks advanced the slogan of "converting the imperialist war into a civil, war." This slogan meant that the labouring people, including the armed workers and peasants clad in soldiers' uniform, were to turn their weapons against their own bourgeoisie and overthrow its rule if they wanted to put an end to the war and achieve a just peace.

    In opposition to the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary policy of defending the bourgeois fatherland, the Bolsheviks advanced the policy of "the defeat of one's own government in the imperialist war." This meant voting against war credits, forming illegal revolutionary organizations in the armed forces, supporting fraternization among the soldiers at the front, organizing revolutionary actions of the workers and peasants against the war, and turning these actions into an uprising against one's own imperialist government.

    The Bolsheviks maintained that the lesser evil for the people would be the military defeat of the tsarist government in the imperialist war, for this would facilitate the victory of the people over tsardom and the success of the struggle of the working class for emancipation from capitalist slavery and imperialist wars. Lenin held that the policy of working for the defeat of one's own imperialist government must be pursued not only by the Russian revolutionaries, but by the revolutionary parties of the working class in all the belligerent countries.

    It was not to every kind of war that the Bolsheviks were opposed. They were only opposed to wars of conquest, imperialist wars. The Bolsheviks held that there are two kinds of war:

    a) Just wars, wars that are not wars of conquest but wars of liberation, waged to defend the people from foreign attack and from attempt to enslave them, or to liberate the people from capitalist slavery, or, lastly, to liberate colonies and dependent countries from the yoke of imperialism; and

    b) Unjust wars, wars of conquest, waged to conquer and enslave foreign countries and foreign nations.

    Wars of the first kind the Bolsheviks supported. As to wars of the second kind, the Bolsheviks maintained that a resolute struggle must be waged against them to the point of revolution and the overthrow of one's own imperialist government.

    Of great importance to the working class of the world was Lenin's theoretical work during the war. In the spring of 1916 Lenin wrote a book entitled 'Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism'. In this book he showed that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, a stage at which it has already become transformed from "progressive" capitalism to parasitic capitalism, decaying capitalism, and that imperialism is moribund capitalism. This, of course, did not mean that capitalism would die away of itself, without a revolution of the proletariat, that it would just rot on the stalk. Lenin always taught that without a revolution of the working class capitalism cannot be overthrown. Therefore, while defining imperialism as moribund capitalism, Lenin at the same time showed that "imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat."

    Lenin showed that in the era of imperialism the capitalist yoke be comes more and more oppressive, that under imperialism the revolt of the proletariat against the foundations of capitalism grows, and that the elements of a revolutionary outbreak accumulate in capitalist countries. Lenin showed that in the era of imperialism the revolutionary crisis in the colonial and dependent countries becomes more acute, that the elements of revolt against imperialism, the elements of a war of liberation from imperialism accumulate.

    Lenin showed that under imperialism the unevenness of development and the contradictions of capitalism have grown particularly acute, that the struggle for markets and fields for the export of capital, the struggle for colonies, for sources of raw material, makes periodical imperialist wars for the redivision of the world inevitable.

    Lenin showed that it is just this unevenness of development of capitalism that gives rise to imperialist wars, which undermine the strength of imperialism and make it possible to break the front of imperialism at its weakest point.

    From all this Lenin drew the conclusion that it was quite possible for the proletariat to break the imperialist front in one place or in several places, that the victory of Socialism was possible first in several countries or even in one country, taken singly, that the simultaneous victory of Socialism in all countries was impossible owing to the unevenness of development of capitalism, and that Socialism would be victorious first in one country or in several countries, while the others would remain bourgeois countries for some time longer.

    Here is the formulation of this brilliant deduction as given by Lenin in two articles written during the imperialist war:

    1) "Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of Socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country, taken singly. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organized its own Socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries. . . ." (From the article, The United States of Europe Slogan“, written in August, 1915. -- Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 141.)
2) "The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in the various countries. It cannot be otherwise under the commodity production system. From this it follows irrefutably that Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously
in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time. This must not only create friction, but a direct striving on the part of the bourgeoisie of other countries to crush the victorious proletariat of the Socialist country. In such cases a war on our part would be a legitimate and just war. It would be a war for Socialism, for the liberation of other nations from the bourgeoisie." (From the article,War Program of the Proletarian Revolution', written in the autumn of 1916. -- Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XIX, p. 325.)

    This was a new and complete theory of the Socialist revolution, a theory affirming the possibility of the victory of Socialism in separate countries, and indicating the conditions of this victory and its prospects, a theory whose fundamentals were outlined by Lenin as far back as 1905 in his pamphlet, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution“.

    This theory fundamentally differed from the view current among the Marxists in the period of pre-imperialist capitalism, when they held that the victory of Socialism in one separate country was impossible, and that it would take place simultaneously in all the civilized countries. On the basis of the facts concerning imperialist capitalism set forth in his remarkable book, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin displaced this view as obsolete and set forth a new theory, from which it follows that the simultaneous victory of Socialism in all countries is impossible, while the victory of Socialism in one capitalist country, taken singly, is possible.

    The inestimable importance of Lenin's theory of Socialist revolution lies not only in the fact that it has enriched Marxism with a new theory and has advanced Marxism, but also in the fact that it opens up a revolutionary perspective for the proletarians of separate countries, that it unfetters their initiative in the onslaught on their own, national bourgeoisie, that it teaches them to take advantage of a war situation to organize this onslaught, and that it strengthens their faith in the victory of the proletarian revolution.

    Such was the theoretical and tactical stand of the Bolsheviks on the questions of war, peace and revolution.

    It was on the basis of this stand that the Bolsheviks carried on their practical work in Russia.

    At the beginning of the war, in spite of severe persecution by the police, the Bolshevik members of the Duma -- Badayev, Petrovsky, Muranov, Samoilov and Shagov -- visited a number of organizations and addressed them on the policy of the Bolsheviks towards the war and revolution. In November 1914 a conference of the Bolshevik group in the State Duma was convened to discuss policy towards the war. On the third day of the conference all present were arrested. The court sentenced the Bolshevik members of the State Duma to forfeiture of civil rights and banishment to Eastern Siberia. The tsarist government charged them with "high treason."

    The picture of the activities of the Duma members unfolded in court did credit to our Party. The Bolshevik deputies conducted themselves manfully, transforming the tsarist court into a platform from which they exposed the annexationist policy of tsardom.

    Quite different was the conduct of Kamenev, who was also tried in this case. Owing to his cowardice, he abjured the policy of the Bolshevik Party at the first contact with danger. Kamenev declared in court that he did not agree with the Bolsheviks on the question of the war, and to prove this he requested that the Menshevik Jordansky be summoned as witness.

    The Bolsheviks worked very effectively against the War Industry Committees set up to serve the needs of war, and against the attempts of the Mensheviks to bring the workers under the influence of the imperialist bourgeoisie. It was of vital interest to the bourgeoisie to make everybody believe that the imperialist war was a people's war. During the war the bourgeoisie managed to attain considerable influence in affairs of state and set up a countrywide organization of its own known as the Unions of Zemstvos and Towns. It was necessary for the bourgeoisie to bring the workers, too, under its leadership and influence. It conceived a way to do this, namely, by forming "Workers' Groups" of the War Industry Committees. The Mensheviks jumped at this idea. It was to the advantage of the bourgeoisie to have on these War Industry Committees representatives of the workers who would urge the working class masses to increase productivity of labour in the factories producing shells, guns, rifles, cartridges and other war material. "Everything for the war, all for the war" -- was the slogan of the bourgeoisie. Actually, this slogan meant "get as rich as you can on war contracts and seizures of foreign territory." The Mensheviks took an active part in this pseudo-patriotic scheme of the bourgeoisie. They helped the capitalists by conducting an intense campaign among the workers to get them to take part in the elections of the "Workers' Groups" of the War Industry Committees. The Bolsheviks were against this scheme. They advocated a boycott of the War Industry Committees and were successful in securing this boycott. But some of the workers, headed by a prominent Menshevik, Gvozdev, and an agent-provocateur, Abrosimov, did take part in the activities of the War Industry Committees. When, however, the workers' delegates met, in September 1915, for the final elections of the "Workers' Groups" of the War Industry Committees, it turned out that the majority of the delegates were opposed to participation in them. A majority of the workers' delegates adopted a trenchant resolution opposing participation in the War Industry Committees and declared that the workers had made it their aim to fight for peace and for the overthrow of tsardom.

    The Bolsheviks also developed extensive activities in the army and navy. They explained to the soldiers and sailors who was to blame for the unparalleled horrors of the war and the sufferings of the people; they explained that there was only one way out for the people from the imperialist shambles, and that was revolution. The Bolsheviks formed nuclei in the army and navy, at the front and in the rear, and distributed leaflets calling for a fight against the war.

    In Kronstadt, the Bolsheviks formed a "Central Collective of the Kronstadt Military Organization" which had close connections with the Petrograd Committee of the Party. A military organizatiOn of the Petrograd Party Committee was set up for work among the garrison. In August 1916, the chief of the Petrograd Okhrana reported that "in the Kronstadt Collective, things are very well organized, conspiratorially, and its members are all taciturn and cautious people. This Collective also has representatives on shore."

    At the front, the Party agitated for fraternization between the soldiers of the warring armies, emphasizing the fact that the world bourgeoisie was the enemy, and that the war could be ended only by converting the imperialist war into a civil war and turning one's weapons against one's own bourgeoisie and its government. Cases of refusal of army units to take the offensive became more and more frequent. There were already such instances in 1915, and even more in 1916.

    Particularly extensive were the activities of the Bolsheviks in the armies on the Northern Front, in the Baltic provinces. At the beginning of 1917 General Ruzsky, Commander of the Army on the Northern Front, informed Headquarters that the Bolsheviks had developed intense revolutionary activities on that front.

    The war wrought a profound change in the life of the peoples, in the life of the working class of the world. The fate of states, the fate of nations, the fate of the Socialist movement was at stake. The war was therefore a touchstone, a test for all parties and trends calling themselves Socialist. Would these parties and trends remain true to the cause of Socialism, to the cause of internationalism, or would they choose to betray the working class, to furl their banners and lay them at the feet of their national bourgeoisie? -- that is how the question stood at the time.

    The war showed that the parties of the Second International had not stood the test, that they had betrayed the working class and had surrendered their banners to the imperialist bourgeoisie of their own countries.

    And these parties, which had cultivated opportunism in their midst, and which had been brought up to make concessions to the opportunists, to the nationalists, could not have acted differently.

    The war showed that the Bolshevik Party was the only party which had passed the test with flying colours and had remained consistently faithful to the cause of Socialism, the cause of proletarian internationalism.

    And that was to be expected: only a party of a new type, only a party fostered in the spirit of uncompromising struggle against opportunism, only a party that was free from opportunism and nationalism, only such a party could stand the great test and remain faithful to the cause of the working class, to the cause of Socialism and internationalism.

    And the Bolshevik Party was such a party.

 

 



    Lenin had time and again warned against the opportunism of the Second International and the wavering attitude of its leaders. He had always insisted that the leaders of the Second International only talked of being opposed to war, and that if war were to break out they would change their attitude, desert to the side of the imperialist bourgeoisie and become supporters of the war. What Lenin had foretold was borne out in the very first days of the war.

    In 1910, at the Copenhagen Congress of the Second International, it was decided that Socialists in parliament should vote against war credits. At the time of the Balkan War of 1912, the Basle World Congress of the Second International declared that the workers of all countries considered it a crime to shoot one another for the sake of increasing the profits of the capitalists. That is what they said, that is what they proclaimed in their resolutions.

    But when the storm burst, when the imperialist war broke out, and the time had come to put these decisions into effect, the leaders of the Second International proved to be traitors, betrayers of the proletariat and servitors of the bourgeoisie. They became supporters of the war.

    On August 4, 1914, the German Social-Democrats in parliament voted for the war credits; they voted to support the imperialist war. So did the overwhelming majority of the Socialists in France, Great Britain, Belgium and other countries.

    The Second International ceased to exist. Actually it broke up into separate social-chauvinist parties which warred against each other.

    The leaders of the Socialist parties betrayed the proletariat and adopted the position of social-chauvinism and defence of the imperialist bourgeoisie. They helped the imperialist governments to hoodwink the working class and to poison it with the venom of nationalism. Using the defence of the fatherland as a plea, these social-traitors began to incite the German workers against the French workers, and the British and French workers against the German workers. Only an insignificant minority of the Second International kept to the internationalist position and went against the current; true, they did not do so confidently and definitely enough, but go against the current they did.

    Only the Bolshevik Party immediately and unhesitatingly raised the banner of determined struggle against the imperialist war. In the theses on the war that Lenin wrote in the autumn of 1914, he pointed out that the fall of the Second International was not accidental. The Second International had been ruined by the opportunists, against whom the foremost representatives of the revolutionary proletariat had long been warning.

    The parties of the Second International had already been infected by opportunism before the war. The opportunists had openly preached renunciation of the revolutionary struggle; they had preached the theory of the "peaceful growing of capitalism into Socialism." The Second International did not want to combat opportunism; it wanted to live in peace with opportunism, and allowed it to gain a firm hold. Pursuing a conciliatory policy towards opportunism, the Second International itself became opportunist.

    The imperialist bourgeoisie systematically bribed the upper stratum of skilled workers, the so-called labour aristocracy, by means of higher wages and other sops, using for this purpose part of the profits it derived from the colonies, from the exploitation of backward countries. This section of workers had produced quite a number of trade union and co-operative leaders, members of municipal and parliamentary bodies, journalists and functionaries of Social-Democratic organizations. When the war broke out, these people, fearing to lose their positions, became foes of revolution and most zealous defenders of their own bourgeoisies, of their own imperialist governments.

    The opportunists became social-chauvinists.

    The social-chauvinists, the Russian Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries among their number, preached class peace between the workers and the bourgeoisie at home and war on other nations abroad. They deceived the masses by concealing from them who was really responsible for the war and declaring that the bourgeoisie of their particular country was not to blame. Many social-chauvinists became ministers of the imperialist governments of their countries.

    No less dangerous to the cause of the proletariat were the covert social-chauvinists, the so-called Centrists. The Centrists -- Kautsky, Trotsky, Martov and others -- justified and defended the avowed social chauvinists, thus joining the social-chauvinists in betraying the proletariat; they masked their treachery by "Leftist" talk about combating the war, talk designed to deceive the working class. As a matter of fact, the Centrists supported the war, for their proposal not to vote against war credits, but merely to abstain when a vote on the credits was being taken, meant supporting the war. Like the social-chauvinists, they demanded the renunciation of the class struggle during the war so as not to hamper their particular imperialist government in waging the war. The Centrist Trotsky opposed Lenin and the Bolshevik Party on all the important questions of the war and Socialism.

    From the very outbreak of the war Lenin began to muster forces for the creation of a new International, the Third International. In the manifesto against the war it issued in November 1914, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party already called for the formation of the Third International in place of the Second International which had suffered disgraceful bankruptcy. (underlined by the Comintern).

    In February 1915, a conference of Socialists of the Entente countries was held in London. Comrade Litvinov, on Lenin's instructions, spoke at this conference demanding that the Socialists (Vandervelde, Sembat and Guesde) should resign from the bourgeois government of Belgium and France, completely break with the imperialists and refuse to collaborate with them. He demanded that all Socialists should wage a determined struggle against their imperialist governments and condemn the voting of war credits. But no voice in support of Litvinov was raised at this conference.

    At the beginning of September 1915 the first conference of internationalists was held in Zimmerwald. Lenin called this conference the "first step" in the development of an international movement against the war. At this conference Lenin formed the Zimmerwald Left group. But within the Zimmerwald Left group only the Bolshevik Party, headed by Lenin, took a correct and thoroughly consistent stand against the war. The Zimmerwald Left group published a magazine in German called the Vorbote (Herald ), to which Lenin contributed articles.

    In 1916 the internationalists succeeded in convening a second conference in the Swiss village of Kienthal. It is known as the Second Zimmerwald Conference. By this time groups of internationalists had been formed in nearly every country and the cleavage between the internationalist elements and the social-chauvinists had become more sharply defined. But the most important thing was that by this time the masses themselves had shifted to the Left under the influence of the war and its attendant distress. The manifesto drawn up by the Kienthal Conference was the result of an agreement between various conflicting groups; it was an advance on the Zimmerwald Manifesto.

    But like the Zimmerwald Conference, the Kienthal Conference did not accept the basic principles of the Bolshevik policy, namely, the conversion of the imperialist war into a civil war, the defeat of one's own imperialist government in the war, and the formation of the Third International. Nevertheless, the Kienthal Conference helped to crystallize the internationalist elements of whom the Communist Third International was subsequently formed.

    Lenin criticized the mistakes of the inconsistent internationalists among the Left Social-Democrats, such as Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, but at the same time he helped them to take the correct position.


 

The War

March 16, 1917

Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917

 

The other day General Kornilov informed the Pet-rograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies that the Germans were planning an offensive against Russia.

Rodzyanko and Guchkov took advantage of the opportunity to appeal to the army and the people to prepare to fight the war to a finish.

And the bourgeois press sounded the alarm: "Liberty is in danger! Long live the war!" Moreover, a section of the Russian revolutionary democracy took a hand in raising the alarm. . . .

To listen to the alarmists, one might think that the situation of Russia today resembles that of France in 1792, when the reactionary monarchs of Central and Eastern Europe formed an alliance against republican France with the object of restoring the old regime in that country.

And if the external situation of Russia today really did correspond to that of France in 1792, if we really were faced with a specific coalition of counter-revolutionary monarchs whose specific purpose it was to restore the old regime in Russia, there can be no doubt that the Social-Democrats, like the French revolutionaries of that period, would rise up as one man in defence of liberty. For it is self-evident that liberty won at the price of blood must be safeguarded by force of arms against all counter-revolutionary assaults, from whatever quarter they may proceed. But is this really the case?

The war of 1792 was a dynastic war fought by absolute feudal monarchs against republican France, because they were terrified of the revolutionary conflagration in that country. The aim of the war was to extinguish the conflagration, restore the old order in France, and thus guarantee the scared monarchs against the spread of the revolutionary contagion to their own countries. It was for this reason that the French revolutionaries fought the armies of the monarchs so heroically.

But this is not the case with the present war. The present war is an imperialist war. Its principal aim is the seizure (annexation) of foreign, chiefly agrarian, territories by capitalistically developed states. The latter need new markets, convenient communications with these markets, raw materials and mineral wealth, and they endeavour to secure them everywhere, regardless of the internal regimes in the countries they seek to annex.

This explains why, generally speaking, the present war does not, and cannot, lead necessarily to interference in the internal affairs of the territories annexed, in the sense of restoring their old regimes.

And precisely for this reason the present situation of Russia provides no warrant for sounding the alarm and proclaiming: "Liberty is in danger! Long live the war!"

It would be truer to say that the present situation of Russia resembles that of the France of 1914, the France of the time of the outbreak of the war, of the time when war between Germany and France had become inevitable.

Just as in the bourgeois press of Russia today, so in the bourgeois camp of France at that time the alarm was sounded: "The Republic is in danger! Fight the Germans!"

And just as in France at that time the alarm spread to many of the Socialists (Guesde, Sembat, etc.), so now in Russia quite a number of Socialists are following in the footsteps of the bourgeois bellmen of "revolutionary defence."

The subsequent course of events in France showed that it was a false alarm, and that the cries about liberty and the Republic were a screen to cover up the fact that the French imperialists were lusting after Alsace-Lorraine and Westphalia.

We are profoundly convinced that the course of events in Russia will reveal the utter falsity of the immoderate howling that "liberty is in danger": the "patriotic" smoke screen will disperse, and people will see for themselves that what the Russian imperialists are really after is—The Straits and Persia. . . .

The behaviour of Guesde, Sembat and their like was duly and authoritatively assessed in the anti-war resolutions of the Zimmerwald and Kienthal Socialist Congresses (1915-16). 1

Subsequent events fully proved the correctness and fruitfulness of the Zimmerwald and Kienthal theses.

It would be deplorable if the Russian revolutionary democracy, which was able to overthrow the detested tsarist regime, were to succumb to the false alarm raised by the imperialist bourgeoisie and repeat the mistakes of Guesde and Sembat. . . .

What should be our attitude, as a party, to the present war?

What are the practical ways and means capable of leading to the speediest termination of the war?

First of all, it is unquestionable that the stark slogan, "Down with the war!" is absolutely unsuitable as a practical means, because, since it does not go beyond propaganda of the idea of peace in general, it does not and cannot provide anything capable of exerting practical influence on the belligerent forces to compel them to stop the war.

Further, one cannot but welcome yesterday's appeal of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies to the peoples of the world, urging them to compel their respective governments to stop the slaughter. This appeal, if it reaches the broad masses, will undoubtedly bring back hundreds and thousands of workers to the forgotten slogan—"Workers of all countries, Unite!" It must be observed, nevertheless, that it does not lead directly to the goal. For even assuming that the appeal becomes widely known among the peoples of the warring countries, it is hard to believe that they would act on it, seeing that they have not yet realized the predatory nature of the present war and its annexationist aims. We say nothing of the fact that, since the appeal makes the "cessation of the terrible slaughter" dependent upon the preliminary overthrow of the "semi-absolute regime" in Germany, it actually postpones the "cessation of the terrible slaughter" indefinitely, and thereby tends to espouse the position of a "war to a finish"; for no one can say exactly when the German people will succeed in overthrowing the "semi-absolute regime," or whether they will succeed at all in the near future. . . .

What, then, is the solution?

The solution is to bring pressure on the Provisional Government to make it declare its consent to start peace negotiations immediately.

The workers, soldiers and peasants must arrange meetings and demonstrations and demand that the Provisional Government shall come out openly and publicly in an effort to induce all the belligerent powers to start peace negotiations immediately, on the basis of recognition of the right of nations to self-determination.

Only then will the slogan "Down with the war!" not run the risk of being transformed into empty and meaningless pacifism; only then will it be capable of developing into a mighty political campaign which will unmask the imperialists and disclose the actual motives for the present war.

For even assuming that one of the sides refuses to negotiate on a given basis—even this refusal, that is, unwillingness to renounce annexationist ambitions, will objectively serve as a means of speeding the cessation of the "terrible slaughter," for then the peoples will be able to see for themselves the predatory character of the war and the bloodstained countenance of the imperialist groups in whose rapacious interests they are sacrificing the lives of their sons.

But unmasking the imperialists and opening the eyes of the masses to the real motives for the present war actually is declaring war on war and rendering the present war impossible.

 

Pravda, No. 10, March 16, 1917

_________

Note:

[1.] The International Conference of Internationalists was held in Zimmerwald on September 5-8, 1915. It issued a manifesto characterizing the world war as an imperialist war, condemning "Socialists" who voted war credits and joined bourgeois governments, and calling upon the workers of Europe to campaign against the war and for a peace without annexations or indemnities. The Internationalists held a second conference on April 24-30, 1916, in Kienthal. Its manifesto and resolutions represented a further advance in the international revolutionary movement against the war. But, like the Zimmerwald Conference, it did not endorse the Bolshevik slogans: conversion of the imperialist war into a civil war, defeat of one's own imperialist government, organization of a Third International.

 

 

Lagging Behind the Revolution

May 4, 1917

Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917

 

The revolution is advancing, growing deeper and wider, spreading from one sphere to another, and revolutionizing the whole social and economic life of the country from top to bottom.

Invading industry, it is raising the demand for control and regulation of production by the workers (Donets Basin).

Spreading to agriculture, it is giving an impetus to the collective cultivation of unused land and the supplying of implements and livestock to the peasantry (Schlus-selburg Uyezd).

Exposing the ulcers of the war and the economic disruption produced by the war, it is bursting into the sphere of distribution and is raising the question, on the one hand, of the supply of food to the towns (food crisis), and, on the other, of the supply of manufactures to the rural districts (goods crisis).

The solution of all these and similar urgent problems calls for a maximum display of initiative on the part of the revolutionary masses, the active intervention of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies in the work of building the new life, and, lastly, the transfer of full power to the new class which is capable of leading the country on to the broad road of revolution.

The revolutionary masses in the localities are already taking this road. In some places the revolutionary organizations have already taken power into their own hands (Urals, Schlusselburg), ignoring the so-called Committees of Public Salvation.

Yet the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, which should be leading the revolution, is helplessly marking time, lagging behind and drifting away from the masses; and for the cardinal question of assuming full power it is substituting the trivial question of "candidates" to the Provisional Government. By lagging behind the masses, the Executive Committee is lagging behind the revolution and impeding its progress.

Before us lie two documents of the Executive Committee: "Notes for Workers' Delegates at the Front" who are carrying presents to the soldiers, and an "Appeal to the Soldiers at the Front." And what do they show? Why, this same backwardness of the Executive Committee. For on the most important questions of the day the Executive Committee, in these documents, gives the most revolting, the most anti-revolutionary replies!

The Question of the War

While the Executive Committee was wrangling with the Provisional Government over annexations and indemnities, while the Provisional Government was manufacturing "Notes" and the Executive Committee was gloating in the role of "victor," and in the meantime the war of conquest was continuing as of old, life in the trenches, the real life of the soldiers, had developed a new means of struggle—mass fraternization. Unquestionably, in itself, fraternization is only a spontaneous manifestation of the desire for peace. Nevertheless, if carried out deliberately and in organized fashion, fraternization may become a mighty instrument of the working class for revolutionizing the situation in the warring countries.

And what is the attitude of the Executive Committee towards fraternization? Listen :

"Soldier comrades, you will not get peace by fraternization. . . . Those who tell you that fraternization is the way to peace are leading you to your doom, and to the doom of Russian liberty. Don't believe them" (see the "Appeal").

Instead of fraternization, the Executive Committee urges the soldiers "not to reject the offensive operations which the military situation may demand" (see the "Appeal"). It transpires that "defence in the political sense does not preclude strategical offensives, the occupation of new sectors, etc. In the interests of defence . . . it is absolutely necessary to conduct an offensive, to occupy new positions" (see the "Notes").

In short, in order to achieve peace it is necessary to start an offensive and capture "sectors" of enemy territory.

That is how the Executive Committee argues.

But what is the difference between these imperialist arguments of the Executive Committee and General Alexeyev's counter-revolutionary "order of the day," which declares fraternization at the front to be "treason," and orders the soldiers "to fight the enemy unmercifully"?

Or again: what is the difference between these arguments and Milyukov's counter-revolutionary speech at the conference in the Mariinsky Palace, in which he demanded "offensive operations" and discipline from the soldiers in the interests of a "united front"?

 

 

 

Yesterday and Today

(Crisis of the Revolution)

June 13, 1917

Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917

 

Before resigning from the Provisional Government, Guchkov and Milyukov presented three demands: 1) restoration of discipline, 2) proclamation of an offensive, 3) curbing of the revolutionary internationalists.

The army is disintegrating, order no longer exists in it; restore discipline, curb the propaganda for peace, otherwise we resign—thus Guchkov "reported" to the Executive Committee at the conference in the Mariin-sky Palace (April 20).

We are bound to our allies, they demand our assistance in the interests of a united front; call upon the army to start an offensive, curb the opponents of the war, otherwise we resign—thus Milyukov "reported" at the same conference.

That was in the days of the "crisis of power."

The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries on the Executive Committee pretended they would not yield.

Thereupon Milyukov published a document "explaining" his "Note"; the orators of the Executive Committee proclaimed this a "victory" for "revolutionary democracy," and—"passions subsided."

But the "victory" proved an imaginary one. A few days later a new "crisis" was announced; Guchkov and Milyukov "had" to resign; endless conferences took place between the Executive Committee and the Ministers and— "the crisis was resolved" by representatives of the Executive Committee entering the Provisional Government.

Credulous onlookers sighed with relief. At last Guchkov and Milyukov were "vanquished"! At last peace would come, peace "without annexations and indemnities"! The fratricidal slaughter was going to end!

But what happened? The tally of the "victories" of the so-called "democracy" had scarcely been counted, the "obsequies" over the retired Ministers had scarcely been read, when the new Ministers, the "socialist" Ministers, began to talk in a tone soothing to the ear of Guchkov and Milyukov!

Verily, "the dead have laid hold on the living"!

Judge for yourselves.

In his very first speech, at the Peasant Congress, the new War Minister, citizen Kerensky, declared that he intended to restore "iron discipline" in the army. What sort of discipline he meant is definitely indicated in the "Declaration of Rights of the Soldier,"signed by Kerensky, which lays down that under "battle conditions" commanders have "the right to employ armed force . . . against subordinates who refuse to obey orders" (see clause 14 of the "Declaration").

That which Guchkov dreamed of but did not dare to execute, Kerensky has "executed" at one stroke, under cover of high-sounding, phrases about liberty, equality and justice.

What is it needed for, this discipline?

The first Minister to enlighten us on this point was Minister Tsereteli. "We are striving to end the war," he told post-office employees, "not by means of a separate peace, but by a joint victory with our Allies over the enemies of liberty" (see Vechernaya Birzhovka, May 8).

If we disregard the word "liberty," which was stuck in simply for effect, if we translate this ministerially-nebulous speech into plain language, it can mean only one thing: in the interests of peace we must, in alliance with Britain and France, smash Germany, and for this, in turn, we must have an offensive.

That is what "iron discipline" is needed for—in order to prepare an offensive in the interests of a united front for a joint victory over Germany.

That which Milyukov so timidly but so persistently strove for, Minister Tsereteli has proclaimed his own program.

That was in the early days following the "resolving" of the crisis. Later the "socialist" Ministers became bolder and more outspoken.

On May 12 Kerensky issued his "order of the day" to the officers, soldiers and sailors:

". . . You will march forward, to where your leaders and your government lead you. . . . You will march . . . bound by the discipline of duty. . . . It is the will of the people that you purge our country and the world of tyrants and invaders. That is the heroic feat I call upon you to perform" (see Rech, May 14).

Is it not obvious that, essentially, Kerensky's order differs very little from the imperialist orders of the tsarist government, like the one that said: "We must fight the war to a victorious finish, we must drive the insolent enemy from our land, we must deliver the world from the yoke of German militarism . . ." and so on.

And as it is easier to talk about an offensive than to conduct one, and as some of the regiments of the Seventh Army (four of them), for example, did not deem it possible to obey the "offensive" order, the Provisional Government, together with Kerensky, passed from words to "deeds," and ordered the "insubordinate" regiments to be disbanded immediately and threatened the culprits with "deportation to penal servitude with forfeiture of all property rights" (see Vecherneye Vremya, June 1). And as all that too proved inadequate, Kerensky delivered himself of another "order," this time expressly directed against fraternization, threatening to have the "culprits" "tried and punished with the utmost rigour of the law," that is, penal servitude again (see Novaya Zhizn, June 1).

In short, the purport of Kerensky's "orders" is: attack immediately, attack at all costs, otherwise we send you to penal servitude, or put you before a firing squad.

And this at a time when the tsarist treaties with the British and French bourgeoisie remain in force, when on the basis of these treaties "we" are being definitely forced actively to support the annexationist policy of Britain and France in Mesopotamia, in Greece, in Alsace-Lorraine!

Well, but what about a peace without annexations and indemnities? What about the pledge given by the new Provisional Government to take all "resolute measures" to achieve peace? What has become of all these promises made at the time of the "crisis of power"?

Oh, our Ministers have not forgotten about peace, about peace without annexations and indemnities; they t-a-l-k about it very volubly, talk and write, write and talk. And not only our Ministers. Only the other day, in reply to the request of the Provisional Government to declare their war aims, the British and French governments announced that they, too, were opposed to annexations, but . . . only to the extent that this did not militate against the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, Mesopotamia, etc. And the Provisional Government, in its Note of May 31 in reply to this declaration, stated in its turn that "remaining unswervingly loyal to the common cause of the Allies," it proposed "a conference of representatives of the Allied Powers to be convened in the near future, as soon as conditions permit," for the purpose of revising the agreement on war aims (see Rabochaya Gazeta, No. 72). Well, as nobody knows yet when "conditions will permit," and as this so-called "near future" will at any rate not be soon, it follows that, in fact, the "resolute struggle" for a peace without annexations is being postponed indefinitely, is degenerating into hollow and hypocritical prating about peace. But an offensive, it appears, cannot be postponed for a single moment, and all "resolute measures" are being taken to launch it, up to and including threats of penal servitude and firing squads. . . .

There is no possible room for doubt. The war has been and remains an imperialist war. The talk about peace without annexations in the face of the actual preparations for an offensive is only a mask to conceal the predatory character of the war. The Provisional Government has definitely taken the path of active imperialism. That which only yesterday seemed impossible has become possible today, thanks to the entry of "Socialists" into the Provisional Government. By masking the imperialist nature of the Provisional Government with their socialist phrasemongering they have strengthened and broadened the positions of the rising counter-revolution.

The position now is that "socialist" Ministers are being successfully utilized by the imperialist bourgeoisie for their counter-revolutionary purposes.

It is not the naive "revolutionary democrats" who are victorious, but those old hands at the imperialist game, Guchkov and Milyukov.

But lining up with the Right in foreign policy must inevitably lead to a similar turn in home policy; for in the midst of a world war foreign policy is the basis for all other policy, the hub of the whole life of the state.

And, indeed, the Provisional Government is more and more definitely taking the path of a "resolute struggle" against the revolution.

Only very recently it launched an offensive against the Kronstadt sailors, and at the same time prevented the peasants of the Petrograd Uyezd and the Penza, Voronezh and other gubernias from applying the elementary principles of democracy.

And several days ago Skobelev and Tsereteli made themselves famous (in the Herostratian sense!) by deporting Robert Grimm from Russia, without trial, it is true, and simply by police order, but to the glee of the Russian imperialists.

But the Provisional Government's new line of home policy has been most graphically reflected by Minister Pereverzev ("also" a Socialist!). He demands nothing more nor less than the "speedy enactment of a law concerning crimes against the tranquility of the state." Under this law (Article 129) "any person guilty of inciting publicly or in printed matter, letters or graphic representations distributed or publicly displayed 1) to the commission of any felony, 2) to the commission of acts of violence by one section of the population against another, or 3) to disobedience of or resistance to the law or mandatory decisions or lawful orders of the authorities shall be liable to confinement in a house of correction for a period of up to three years," and "in time of war . . . to a term of penal servitude" (see Rech, June 4).

Such is the creative effort in the realm of penal legislation of this allegedly "socialist" Minister.

Obviously, the Provisional Government is steadily slipping into the embrace of the counter-revolutionaries.

That is also evident from the fact that in this connection that old hand at counter-revolution, Milyukov, is already smacking his lips at the prospect of another victory. "If the Provisional Government," he says, "has after long delay at last understood that the authorities possess other means besides persuasion, those very means they have already begun to employ—if it takes this path, then the conquests of the Russian revolution" (don ‘t laugh!) "will be consolidated." . . . "Our Provisional Government has arrested Kolyshko and deported Grimm. But Lenin, Trotsky and their comrades are still at large. . . . Our wish is that at some time or other Lenin and his comrades will be sent to the same place" . . . (see Rech, June 4).

Such are the "wishes" of that old fox of the Russian bourgeoisie, Mr. Milyukov.

Whether the Provisional Government will meet these and similar "wishes" of Milyukov, to whose voice it generally lends an attentive ear, and whether such "wishes" are now realizable at all, the near future will show.

But one thing is beyond doubt: the Provisional Government's home policy is entirely subordinated to the requirements of its active imperialist policy.

There is only one conclusion.

The development of our revolution has entered a period of crisis. The new stage in the revolution, which is forcing its way into all spheres of economic life and revolutionizing them from top to bottom, is rousing all the forces of the old and the new world. The war and the economic disruption resulting from it are intensifying class antagonisms to the utmost. The policy of compromise with the bourgeoisie, the policy of zigzagging between revolution and counter-revolution, is becoming obviously unfeasible.

One thing or the other :

Either forward against the bourgeoisie, and for transfer of power to the working people, termination of the war and economic disruption, and organization of production and distribution;

Or backward with the bourgeoisie, for an offensive and prolongation of the war, against resolute measures for elimination of economic disruption, for anarchy in production, and for a frankly counter-revolutionary policy.

The Provisional Government is definitely taking the path of outright counter-revolution.

It is the duty of revolutionaries to close their ranks and drive the revolution forward.

 

Soldatskaya Pravda, No. 42, June 13, 1917

 

 

 

Speeches Delivered at an Emergency Conference of the Petrograd Organization of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks)

July 16-20, 1917

Source : Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917

 

2. Report on the Current Situation

July 16, 1917

 

The third factor which revealed and intensified the crisis of power was the defeat of our armies at the front. The war is now the basic issue, on which all other issues in the home and foreign affairs of the country hinge. And on this basic issue the government has failed. It was clear from the very first that the offensive at the front was a gamble. There are rumours that hundreds of thousands of our men have been taken prisoner and that the soldiers are fleeing in disorder. To attribute the "disruption" at the front exclusively to Bolshevik agitation is to exaggerate the influence of the Bolsheviks. No single party can carry so much weight. How our Party, which has about 200,000 members, could "demoralize" the army, when the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, which represents 20,000,000 citizens, could not retain its influence over the army would want some explaining. The fact is that the soldiers do not want to fight, because they don't know what they are fighting for; they are weary, they are worried by the question of the distribution of the land, and so on. To hope that the soldiers could be led into action under these circumstances was to hope for a miracle. The Central Executive Committee of the Soviets was in a position to carry on far more extensive agitation in the army than we, and it did; nevertheless, the great spontaneous resistance to the war carried the day. It is not we who are to blame; it is the revolution that is "to blame," inasmuch as it gave every citizen the right to demand an answer to the question: what is the war being fought for?

Hence, the crisis of power is due to three factors:

1) The dissatisfaction of the workers and soldiers with the government, whose policy they regarded as being too Right;

2) The dissatisfaction of the bourgeoisie with the government, whose policy they regarded as being too Left; and

3) The reverses at the front.

These are the surface forces which brought about the crisis of power.

 

 

 

Speech Delivered at the Sixth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks)

July 26-August 3, 1917

3. Report of the Political Situation
July 30

Comrades, to discuss the political situation of Russia is to discuss the development of our revolution, its victories and defeats in the midst of an imperialist war.

As early as February it was apparent that the main forces of our revolution were the proletariat and the peasants whom the war has put into soldier's uniform.

It so happened that in the struggle against tsarism there were in the same camp as these forces, and as though in alliance with them, other forces — the bourgeois liberals and Allied capital.

The proletariat was, and remains, the mortal foe of tsarism.

The peasants put their faith in the proletariat and, seeing that they would not receive land unless tsarism was overthrown, followed the proletariat. The bourgeois liberals were disillusioned in tsarism and turned their backs on it, because it had not only failed to win them new markets but was even unable to retain the old ones, having surrendered fifteen gubernias to Germany.

Allied capital, the friend and well-wisher of Nicholas II, was also "compelled" to betray tsarism, because the latter had not only failed to ensure the "united front" it desired, but was clearly preparing to conclude a separate peace with Germany into the bargain.

Tsarism thus found itself isolated.

This indeed explains the "amazing" fact that tsar-ism so "silently and imperceptibly passed away."

But the aims pursued by these forces differed completely.

The bourgeois liberals and British and French capital wanted to make a little revolution in Russia similar to that of the Young Turks, in order to rouse the ardour of the masses and exploit it for a big war, while the power of the capitalists and landlords at bottom remained unshaken.

A little revolution for the sake of a big war! The workers and peasants, on the other hand, were out for a thorough break-up of the old order, for what we call a great revolution, in order to overthrow the landlords and curb the imperialist bourgeoisie so as to put an end to the war and ensure peace. A great revolution and peace!

It was this fundamental contradiction that underlay the development of our revolution and of each and every "crisis of power."

The "crisis" of April 20 and 21 was the first open manifestation of this contradiction. If in this series of "crises" success so far has on every occasion been with the imperialist bourgeoisie, it is to be attributed not only to the high degree of organization of the counter-revolutionary front, headed by the Cadet Party, but primarily to the fact that the compromising parties, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, which vacillate in favour of imperialism, and which so far have the following of the broad masses, every time broke the front of revolution, deserted to the camp of the bourgeoisie, and so gave the front of counter-revolution the advantage.

So it was in April.

So it was in July.

The "principle" of coalition with the imperialist bourgeoisie advocated by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries has proved in practice to be a most pernicious weapon, with the help of which the party of the capitalists and landlords, the Cadets, isolating the Bolsheviks, step by step consolidated its position with the helping hand of these same Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. . . .

The lull which set in at the front in March, April and May was taken advantage of to develop the revolution further. Spurred on by the general disruption in the country, and encouraged by the possession of liberties which not a single one of the belligerent countries enjoys, the revolution drove deeper and deeper and began to put forward social demands. It invaded the economic sphere, demanding workers' control in industry, nationalization of the land and supply of farm implements to the poor peasants, organization of proper exchange between town and country, nationalization of the banks and, lastly, the assumption of power by the proletariat and the poorer strata of the peasantry. The revolution came squarely up against the necessity for socialist changes.

Some comrades say that since capitalism is poorly developed in our country, it would be utopian to raise the question of a socialist revolution. They would be right if there were no war, if there were no economic disruption, if the foundations of the capitalist organization of the national economy were not shaken. The question of intervening in the economic sphere is arising in all countries as something essential in time of war. This question has also arisen of sheer necessity in Germany, where it is being settled without the direct and active participation of the masses. The case is different here in Russia. Here the disruption has assumed more ominous proportions. On the other hand, nowhere is there such freedom in time of war as in our country. Then we must bear in mind the high degree of organization of our workers; for instance, 66 per cent of the metalworkers of Petrograd are organized. Lastly, the proletariat in no other country has, or has had, such broad organizations as the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. Possessing the maximum liberty and organization, the workers naturally could not, without committing political suicide, abstain from actively interfering in the economic life of the country in favour of socialist changes. It would be rank pedantry to demand that Russia should "wait" with socialist changes until Europe "begins." That country "begins" which has the greater opportunities. . . .

Inasmuch as the revolution had advanced so far, it could not but arouse the vigilance of the counter-revolutionaries; it was bound to stimulate counter-revolution. This was the first factor which mobilized the counter-revolution.

A second factor was the adventurous gamble started by the policy of an offensive at the front and the series of breaches of the front, which deprived the Provisional Government of all prestige and fired the hopes of the counter-revolutionaries, who launched an attack on the government. There are rumours that a phase of broadly conceived provocations has begun in our country. Delegates from the front are of the opinion that both the offensive and the retreat—in a word, all that has happened at the front—were planned in order to discredit the revolution and overthrow the Soviets. I do not know whether these rumours are true or not, but it is noteworthy that on July 2 the Cadets resigned from the government, on the 3rd the July events began, and on the 4th came the news of the breach of the front. An amazing coincidence! It cannot be said that the Cadets resigned because of the decision regarding the Ukraine, because the Cadets did not object to the decision on the Ukrainian question. There is another fact which indicates that a phase of provocation has really begun—I am referring to the shooting affray in the Ukraine. In the light of these facts it should be clear to the comrades that the breach of the front was one of the factors in the plan of the counter-revolutionaries which were to discredit the idea of revolution in the eyes of the broad masses of the petty bourgeoisie.

There is a third factor which has helped to strengthen the counter-revolutionary forces in Russia—Allied capital. If, when it saw that tsarism was working for a separate peace, Allied capital betrayed Nicholas' government, there is nothing to prevent it breaking with the present government should it prove incapable of preserving the "united" front. Milyukov said at one of the sittings that Russia was valued in the international market as a supplier of manpower, and received money for this, and that if it should turn out that the new governmental authority, in the shape of the Provisional Government, was incapable of supporting the united front of attack on Germany, it would not be worth subsidizing such a government. And without money, without credits, the government was bound to fall. That is the secret why the Cadets became a big force at the time of the crisis, while Kerensky and all the Ministers were mere puppets in the hands of the Cadets. The strength of the Cadets lay in the fact that they were supported by Allied capital.

Russia was faced with two courses:

Either the war was to be ended, all financial ties with imperialism severed, the revolution advanced, the foundations of the bourgeois world shaken, and an era of workers' revolution begun;

Or the other course, that of continuing the war, continuing the offensive at the front, obeying every command of Allied capital and the Cadets—and then complete dependence on Allied capital (there were definite rumours in the Taurida Palace that America would give 8,000 million rubles for the "rehabilitation" of the economy) and the triumph of counterrevolution.

There was no third course.

The attempt of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks to make out that the demonstration of July 3 and 4 was an armed revolt is simply absurd. On July 3 we proposed a united revolutionary front against counter-revolution. Our slogan was "All power to the Soviets!" and, hence, a united revolutionary front. But the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries feared to break with the bourgeoisie, turned their backs on us, and thereby broke the revolutionary front in deference to the counter-revolutionaries. If those responsible for the victory of the counter-revolution are to be named, it was the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Menshe-viks. It is our misfortune that Russia is a country of petty bourgeois, and that it still follows the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who are compromising with the Cadets. And until the masses become disillusioned with the idea of compromise with the bourgeoisie, the revolution will go haltingly and limpingly.

The picture we have now is a dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie and the counter-revolutionary generals. The government, while ostensibly combating this dictatorship, is actually carrying out its will, and is only a shield protecting it from the wrath of the people. The policy of endless concessions pursued by the weakened and discredited Soviets only supplements the picture, and if the Soviets are not being dispersed, it is because they are "needed" as a "necessary" and very "convenient" screen.

Hence the situation has changed fundamentally.

Our tactics must likewise change.

Formerly we stood for the peaceful transfer of power to the Soviets, and we assumed that it would be sufficient for the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets to decide to take power, and the bourgeoisie would peacefully clear out of the way. And, indeed, in March, April and May every decision of the Soviets was regarded as law, because it could always be backed by force. With the disarmament of the Soviets and their (virtual) degradation to the level of mere "trade union" organizations, the situation has changed. Now the decisions of the Soviets are disregarded. To take power now, it is first necessary to overthrow the existing dictatorship.

Overthrow of the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie—that is what the immediate slogan of the Party must be.

The peaceful period of the revolution has ended. A period of clashes and explosions has begun.

The slogan of overthrowing the present dictatorship can be realized only if there is a powerful new political upsurge on a country-wide scale. Such an upsurge is inevitable; it is dictated by the country's whole trend of development, by the fact that not a single one of the basic issues of the revolution has been decided, for the questions of the land, workers' control, peace and governmental power have remained unsettled.

Repressive measures only aggravate the situation without settling a single issue of the revolution.

The main forces of the new movement will be the urban proletariat and the poorer strata of the peasantry. It is they that will take power in the event of victory.

The characteristic feature of the moment is that the counter-revolutionary measures are being implemented through the agency of "Socialists." It is only because it has created such a screen that the counter-revolution may continue to exist for another month or two. But since the forces of revolution are developing, explosions are bound to occur, and the moment will come when the workers will raise and rally around them the poorer strata of the peasantry, will raise the standard of workers' revolution and usher in an era of socialist revolution in Europe.

6. Reply to Preobrazhensky on Clause 9 of the Resolution "On The Political Situation"
August 3

Stalin reads clause 9 of the resolution :

9. "The task of these revolutionary classes will then be to bend every effort to take the state power into their hands and, in alliance with the revolutionary proletariat of the advanced countries, direct it towards peace and towards the socialist reconstruction of society."

Preobrazhensky : I propose a different formulation of the end of the resolution: "to direct it towards peace and, in the event of a proletarian revolution in the West, towards socialism." If we adopt the formulation proposed by the commission it will contradict Bukharin's resolution which we have already adopted.

Stalin : I am against such an amendment. The possibility is not excluded that Russia will be the country that will lay the road to socialism. No country hitherto has enjoyed such freedom in time of war as Russia does, or has attempted to introduce workers' control of production. Moreover, the base of our revolution is broader than in Western Europe, where the proletariat stands utterly alone face to face with the bourgeoisie. In our country the workers are supported by the poorer strata of the peasantry. Lastly, in Germany the state apparatus is incomparably more efficient than the imperfect apparatus of our bourgeoisie, which is itself a tributary to European capital. We must discard the antiquated idea that only Europe can show us the way. There is dogmatic Marxism and creative Marxism. I stand by the latter.

 

 

 

More on the Subject of Stockholm[1]

August 9, 1917

Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917

 

The war goes on. Its bloodstained chariot is advancing grimly and inexorably. From a European war it is turning step by step into a world war, enmeshing more and more countries in its evil toils.

And with it the significance of the Stockholm Conference is declining and diminishing.

The "fight for peace" and the tactics of "bringing pressure to bear" upon the imperialist governments proclaimed by the conciliators have turned out to be but an "empty sound."

The attempts of the conciliators to speed the termination of the war and to restore the workers' International by means of an agreement between the "defenc-ist majorities" in the various countries have ended in utter fiasco.

The Stockholm scheme of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, around which a close web of imperialist intrigue is being woven, is bound to become either a futile parade or a pawn in the hands of the imperialist governments.

It is now clear to all that the European tour of the delegates of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets 2 and the "socialist" diplomacy of the defencists, with its official luncheons for representatives of British and French social-imperialism, are not the way to restore the international brotherhood of the workers.

Our Party was right when already at the April Conference it dissociated itself from the Stockholm Conference.

The development of the war and the whole world situation are inevitably aggravating class antagonisms and ushering in an era of great social conflicts.

In this, and in this alone, is the democratic way of ending the war to be sought.

They talk about an "evolution" in the views of the British and French social-patriots, about their decision to go to Stockholm and so on.

But does this really alter anything? Did not the Russian and the German and Austrian social-patriots also decide (and even before the British and French!) to participate in the Stockholm Conference? But who will assert that this decision of theirs has helped to hasten the ending of the war?

Has Scheidemann's party, which has agreed to participate in the Stockholm Conference, ceased to support its government, which is waging an offensive and seizing Galicia and Rumania?

Are not Renaudel's and Henderson's parties, which talk so much about the "fight for peace" and about the Stockholm Conference, at the same time supporting their governments, which are seizing Mesopotamia and Greece?

In the face of these facts, of what value can their talk in Stockholm be from the point of view of ending the war?

Who does not know that pious talk of peace, as a camouflage for resolute support of a policy of war and conquest, is one of the old, old imperialist methods of deceiving the masses?

It is said that circumstances have changed compared with what they used to be, and that accordingly we ought to change our attitude towards the Stockholm Conference.

Yes, circumstances have changed, but they have changed not in favour but absolutely against the Stockholm Conference.

The first change is that the European war has turned into a world war, and has extended and deepened the general crisis to an extreme degree.

Consequently, the chances of an imperialist peace and of a policy of "pressure" on the governments have declined to the very minimum.

The second change is that Russia has taken the path of an offensive at the front and has adapted the internal life of the country to the requirements of the offensive policy by putting a curb on liberty. For, surely, it must be understood that that policy is incompatible with "maximum liberty," that the turning point in the development of our revolution was already reached in June. And the Bolsheviks "find themselves sitting in jail," while the defencists, having transformed themselves into offensivists, are playing the part of the jailers.

Consequently, the position of the advocates of a "fight for peace" has become untenable, for whereas before it was possible to talk of peace without fearing to be exposed as a liar, now, after the adoption of the policy of the offensive with the support of the "defencists," talk of peace coming from the lips of "defencists" sounds like mockery.

What does all this show?

It shows that "comradely" talk about peace at Stockholm and bloody deeds at the front have proved to be absolutely incompatible, that the contradiction between them has become glaring, self-evident.

And that makes the failure of the Stockholm Conference inevitable.

In view of this, our attitude towards the Stockholm Conference had also changed somewhat.

Before, we exposed the Stockholm scheme. Now it is hardly worth exposing, because it is exposing itself.

Before, it had to be condemned as playing at peace, which was deceiving the masses. Now it is hardly worth condemning, because one does not hit a man when he is down.

But from this it follows that the road to Stockholm is not the road to peace.

The road to peace lies not through Stockholm but through the revolutionary struggle of the workers against imperialism.

 

Rabochy i Soldat, No. 15, August 9, 1917

_______

Notes

1. The idea of convening a conference in Stockholm to discuss the question of peace had been mooted in April 1917. Borg-bjerg, a Danish Social-Democrat, had come to Petrograd on behalf of the Joint Committee of the labour parties of Denmark, Norway and Sweden to invite the Russian socialist parties to take part in the conference. The Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik Executive Committee and the Petro-grad Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies resolved to participate in the conference and to take the initiative in convening it. The Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference of the Bolshevik Party exposed the imperialist character of the projected Stockholm Conference and resolutely declared against participating in it. When the question of the conference was discussed at a meeting of the Central Executive Committee on August 6, Kamenev spoke urging participation. The Bolshevik members of the Central Executive Committee dissociated themselves from Kamenev's statement. The Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party condemned his attitude and resolved that the views of the Party on the question should be expounded in the Central Organ. On August 9, Rabochy i Soldat printed Stalin's article "More on the Subject of Stockholm," and on August 16 Proletary published a letter from V. I. Lenin entitled "Kamenev's Speech in the Central Executive Committee on the Stockholm Conference."

2. The Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies had decided in April 1917 to send a delegation to neutral and allied countries to make arrangements for the Stockholm Conference, The decision was confirmed by the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The delegation visited England, France, Italy and Sweden and negotiated with representatives of various socialist parties. The Stockholm Conference never took place.

 

 

 

Two Courses

August 15, 1917

Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917

 

The fundamental issue in the present situation is the war. The economic disruption and the food problem, the question of the land and political liberty are all component parts of the one general problem of the war.

What is the cause of the disruption of the food supply?

The prolonged war, which has disorganized transport and left the towns without bread.

What is the cause of the financial and economic disruption?

The unending war, which is draining Russia's energies and resources.

What is the cause of the repressive measures at the front and in the rear?

The war and the policy of the offensive, which demands "iron discipline."

What is the cause of the triumph of the bourgeois counter-revolution?

The whole course of the war, which demands ever new thousands of millions, while our native bourgeoisie, supported by the Allied bourgeoisie, refuses to grant credits unless the principal gains of the revolution are annulled.

And so on, and so forth.

In view of this, the way to settle all the various "crises" which are now strangling the country is to settle the question of the war.

But how is this to be done?

Two courses lie before Russia.

Either continuation of the war and a further "offensive" at the front, in which case power must inevitably be transferred to the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, in order that money may be obtained by internal and foreign loans.

"Saving" the country in that case would mean defraying the cost of the war at the expense of the workers and peasants (indirect taxes!) to suit the Russian and Allied imperialist sharks.

Or transfer of power to the workers and peasants, declaration of democratic terms of peace and cessation of the war, in order to advance the revolution further by transferring the land to the peasants, establishing workers' control over industry and restoring the collapsing national economy at the expense of the profits of the capitalists and landlords.

Saving the country in this case would mean delivering the workers and peasants from the financial burden of the war at the expense of the imperialist sharks.

The first course would lead to the dictatorship of the landlords and capitalists over the toilers, to the imposition of crushing taxation on the country, to the gradual bartering away of Russia to foreign capitalists (concessions!), and to the conversion of Russia into a colony of Britain, America and France.

The second course would usher in an era of workers' revolutions in the West, snap the financial ties that bind Russia, shake the very foundations of bourgeois rule and pave the way for the real emancipation of Russia.

These are the two courses. They reflect the interests of two opposite classes—the imperialist bourgeoisie and the socialist proletariat.

There is no third course.

To reconcile these two courses is as impossible as it is to reconcile imperialism and socialism.

The course of compromise (coalition) with the bourgeoisie is doomed to inevitable failure.

"Coalition on the basis of a democratic platform— such is the solution," write the defencist gentry in connection with the Moscow Conference (Izvestia 1)

Not true, Messieurs the compromisers!

Three times have you arranged coalitions with the bourgeoisie, and each time you have landed in a new crisis of power."

Why?

Because coalition with the bourgeoisie is a false course, one that would cover up the evils of the present situation.

Because coalition is either an empty word, or else a means by which the imperialist bourgeoisie can strengthen its power with the helping hand of the "Socialists."

Did not the present coalition government, which tried to seat itself between the two camps, eventually go over to the side of imperialism?

Why has the "Moscow Conference" been convened, if not to consolidate the position of the counter-revolutionaries and receive sanction (and credits!) for this step from the "men of the land"?

What does Kerensky's speech at the "conference" appealing for "sacrifice" and "class self-denial" in the interests, of course, of the "country" and the "war" amount to, if not to an appeal for the consolidation of imperialism?

And what about Prokopovich's statement that the government "will not tolerate interference of the workers (workers' control!) in the management of the factories"?

What about the statement by the same Minister that "the government will not introduce any radical reforms in the sphere of the land question"?

What about Nekrasov's statement that "the government will not consent to confiscation of private property"?

What is all this, if not directly serving the cause of the imperialist bourgeoisie?

Is it not obvious that coalition is only a mask suitable and profitable to the Milyukovs and Ryabu-shinskys?

Is it not obvious that the policy of compromise and manoeuvring between the classes is a policy of deceiving and fooling the masses?

No, Messieurs the compromisers, the time has come when there can be no place for vacillation and compromise. There is already definite talk in Moscow of a counter-revolutionary "conspiracy." The bourgeois press is resorting to the tried and tested method of intimidation by spreading rumours about the "surrender of Riga." 2 At such a moment you have to choose:

Either with the proletariat, or against it.

By boycotting the "conference," the Petrograd and Moscow proletarians are urging the course that will really save the revolution.

Heed their voice, or get out of the way!

 

Proletary, No. 2, August 15, 1917

 

____

Notes

1. Izvestia (Gazette) of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies was a newspaper which began publication on February 28, 1917. It became the organ of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers'Deputies when the latter was constituted at the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and, beginning with its 132nd issue (August 1, 1917), appeared under the name of Izvestia of the Central Executive Committee and Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The paper was controlled by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries and conducted a bitter fight against the Bolshevik Party, but on October 27, 1917, after the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, it became the official organ of the Soviet Government. In March 1918 its editorial offices were transferred from Petrograd to Moscow when the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars removed to the latter city.

2. On August 19, 1917, the German army began operations for piercing the Russian front at Riga. The Russian troops put up vigorous resistance, but the supreme command, represented by Kornilov, ordered a retreat, and on August 21 Riga was occupied by the Germans. The city was surrendered by Kornilov in order to create a threat to revolutionary Petrograd, secure the withdrawal of the revolutionary army units from that city, and thus facilitate the plot against the revolution.

 

 

 

SPEECH AT THE MEETING OF THE CENTRAL
COMMITTEE OF THE R.S.D.L.P.(B.)

ON THE
QUESTION OF PEACE WITH THE GERMANS

January 11, 1918
(Summary Record in the Minutes)


Comrade Stalin considers that if we accept the slogan of a revolutionary war we shall be playing into the hands of imperialism. Trotsky’s position cannot be called a position at all. There is no revolutionary movement in the West, there is no evidence of a revolutionary movement. It exists only in potential, and in our practical activities we cannot rely merely on potentials.
If the Germans begin to advance, it will strengthen the hand of counter-revolution here at home. Germany can advance, because she has her own Kornilov troops—her “Guards.” In October, we talked of a sacred war against imperialism because we were told that the mere word “peace” would be enough to start a revolution in the West. But that has not proved correct. Our socialist reforms are stirring up the West, but we need time to carry them out. If we accept Trotsky’s policy we shall
create the worst possible conditions for a revolutionary movement in the West. Comrade Stalin therefore recommends the adoption of Comrade Lenin’s proposal for the conclusion of peace with the Germans.
First published in
Minutes of the Central Committee,
R.S.D.L.P.,
August 1917-February 1918,
Moscow and Leningrad, 1929

 

 

THE UKRAINIAN KNOT


At the end of February, before the conclusion of the peace with Germany, the People’s Secretariat of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic sent a delegation to Brest with a declaration that it was prepared to sign the treaty concluded by the former Kiev Rada with the German
coalition.
The notorious Hoffmann, representative of the German command in Brest, refused to receive the delegation of the People’s Secretariat, declaring that he saw no necessity for peace negotiations with the latter.
Simultaneously, German and Austro-Hungarian shock troops, in conjunction with Petlura-Vinnichenko Haydamak detachments, began the invasion of the Soviet Ukraine.
Not peace, but war with the Soviet Ukraine—that was the meaning of Hoffmann’s reply.
Under the treaty signed by the former Kiev Rada, the Ukraine was to release 30 million poods of grain to Germany by the end of April. We say nothing of the “free export of ores” which Germany demanded.
The People’s Secretariat of the Soviet Ukraine was undoubtedly aware of this provision of the treaty and knew what it was doing when it officially consented to
sign the Vinnichenko peace.
Nevertheless, the German Government, represented by Hoffmann, declined to enter into peace negotiations with the People’s Secretariat, which is recognized by all the Soviets of the Ukraine, urban and rural. It preferred an alliance with corpses, an alliance with the deposed and expelled Kiev Rada, to a peace treaty with the People’s Secretariat, which is recognized by the Ukrainian
people and is alone capable of providing the “necessary quantity” of grain.
This means that the object of the Austro-German invasion is not only the securing of grain, but, and chiefly, the overthrow of Soviet power in the Ukraine and the restoration of the old bourgeois regime.
It means that the Germans not only want to pump millions of poods of grain out of the Ukraine, but are also trying to rob the Ukrainian workers and peasants of their rights by taking from them the power they have won at the cost of their blood and turning it over to the landlords and capitalists.
The Austrian and German imperialists are bringing on their bayonets a new and shameful yoke which is not a whit better than the old, Tatar yoke. Such is the meaning of the invasion from the West.
This, apparently, is realized by the Ukrainian people, and they are feverishly preparing to resist. Formation of a peasant Red Army, mobilization of a workers’ Red Guard, a number of successful skirmishes with the “civilized” bandits after the first outbreaks of panic, recapture of Bakhmach, Konotop, Nezhin and an approach to Kiev, mounting enthusiasm of the masses, who are marching in their thousands to give battle to the enslavers—that is how the people’s Ukraine is retaliating
to the bandit invasion.
To counter the foreign tyranny advancing from the West, the Soviet Ukraine is raising a war of liberation, a patriotic war—such is the meaning of the developments in the Ukraine.
This means that every pood of grain and scrap of metal the Germans get they will have to take in battle, in a desperate conflict with the Ukrainian people.
It means that the Germans will have to conquer the Ukraine outright before they can secure grain and put Petlura and Vinnichenko on the throne.
The “swift blow” with which the Germans reckoned to kill two birds with one stone (secure grain and smash the Soviet Ukraine) stands every chance of developing into a protracted war of the foreign enslavers against the Ukraine’s twenty millions, whose bread and liberty they want to take away.
Need it be added that the Ukrainian workers and peasants will not spare their energies in their heroic struggle against the “civilized” bandits?
Need it be demonstrated that the patriotic war begun in the Ukraine has every reason to count on the utmost support of all Soviet Russia?
And what if the war in the Ukraine assumes a protracted character and turns in the end into a war of all that is upright and noble in Russia against the new tyranny from the West?
And what if the German workers and soldiers come to realize at last in the course of this war that the rulers of Germany are governed not by the aim of “defending the German Fatherland,” but simply by the insatiable appetite of a bloated imperialist beast, and, having realized this, draw the appropriate practical conclusions?
Is i t not clear from this that in the Ukraine the major knot of the whole existing international situation is now being tied—the knot of the workers’ revolution begun in Russia, on the one hand, and the imperialist counter-revolution advancing from the West on the other?
The bloated imperialist beast meeting its doom in Soviet Ukraine—will this not be the outcome of the
exorable logic of events? . . .


Izvestia, No. 47,
March 14, 1918
Signed: J. Stalin

 

 

THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS
WITH THE UKRAINE


Izvestia Interview


Interviewed by our correspondent, Comrade Stalin, Chairman of the Soviet peace delegation, whom the Council of People’s Commissars has called from Kursk to Moscow to report, stated the
following:


CONCLUSION OF AN ARMISTICE


The first objective of the Soviet peace delegation was to establish an armistice at the front, on the Ukrainian border. It was on these lines that our peace delegation began negotiations with the German-Ukrainian command. We have succeeded in securing a truce on the Kursk, Bryansk and Voronezh fronts. The next question is to secure a truce on the Southern Front.
Thus, the conclusion of an armistice and the establishment of a demarcation line constitute, in our opinion, the first stage of the peace negotiations.


SUBSEQUENT NEGOTIATIONS


Our next objective—the opening of the peace negotiations themselves—was complicated by the fact that we had to wait a long time for the arrival of the delegation from the Central Rada. When it did at last arrive in Vorozhba, news was received of the coup d’état and the abolition of the Small and Grand Radas in the Ukraine, which, of course, hampered the establishment of an armistice and the preliminary arrangements for determining the time and place for opening the negotiations.
For the latter purpose, we have sent a special parliamentary to Konotop, the place proposed by the Ukrainian-German command, and where its general headquarters is located. Our delegate has been given wide powers in the matter of arranging the place of negotiations.


EFFECT OF THE COUP D’ÉTAT IN THE UKRAINE


It is difficult to say definitely what effect the coup d’état in the Ukraine will have on the peace negotiations, since we do not know the attitude of the new Ukrainian Government towards the peace negotiations. Nothing was said on this point in Hetman Skoropadsky’s manifesto.
Before the coup we had a definite peace programme of the Ukrainian Rada. But what the territorial programme of the new Ukrainian Government is, we do not know.
In general, however, the Ukrainian coup has so far had no adverse effect on the peace negotiations. On the contrary, there is reason to believe that the coup does not preclude the possibility of peace being arranged between the Soviet Government and the Ukrainian Government.
It should be observed that since the coup the vacillations and delays of the Ukrainians in respect to the preliminary arrangements for the peace negotiations have ceased.

 

CAUSES OF THE COUP D’ÉTAT


At the end of the interview Comrade Stalin touched on the causes of the coup d’état in the Ukraine.
In my opinion, the coup was inevitable. The reasons for it lay in the self-contradictory position of the Central Rada: on the one hand, it played with socialism; on the other, it called in foreign troops to fight the Ukrainian workers and peasants. The Central Rada made itself dependent financially and militarily on Germany, and at the same time it handed out a heap of promises to the Ukrainian workers and peasants, with whom it was soon waging determined warfare. By this last step the Ukrainian Rada placed itself in a position in which, at the critical moment of the assault of the bourgeois and landlord elements, it had nobody to rely on.
And, in fact, the Central Rada could not have remained in power long by virtue of the law of the class struggle, since in the process of a revolutionary movement only such elements can firmly establish themselves in power as are supported by one class or another. Only two possible outcomes were therefore conceivable in the Ukraine: either a dictatorship of the workers and peasants, which the
Central Rada could not help to bring about owing to its petty-bourgeois nature; or a dictatorship of the bourgeois and landlord elements, to which also the Rada could not consent. It preferred a half-way position, and thereby signed its own death warrant.


Izvestia, No. 90,
May 9, 1918

 

 

Letter to V I Lenin

July 10, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Comrade Lenin, Just a few words.

1) If Trotsky is going to hand out credentials right and left without thinking—to Trifonov (Don region), to Avtonomov (Kuban region), to Koppe (Stavropol), to members of the French Mission (who deserve to be arrested), etc.— it may be safely said that within a month everything here in the North Caucasus will go to pieces, and we shall lose this region altogether. Trotsky is behaving in the way Antonov did at one time. Knock it into his head that he must make no appointments without the knowledge of the local people, otherwise the result will be to discredit the Soviet power.

2) If you don't let us have aeroplanes and airmen, armoured cars and 6-inch guns, the Tsaritsyn Front cannot hold out and the railway will be lost for a long time.

3) There is plenty of grain in the South, but to get it we need a smoothly-working machine which does not meet with obstacles from troop trains, army commanders and so on. More, the military must assist the food agents. The food question is naturally bound up

4) with the military question. For the good of the work, I need military powers. I have already written about this, but have had no reply. Very well, in that case I shall myself, without any formalities, dismiss army commanders and commissars who are ruining the work. The interests of the work dictate this, and, of course, not having a paper from Trotsky is not going to deter me.

J. Stalin

Tsaritsyn,

July 10, 1918

 

 

 

Letter to V I Lenin

August 4, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

 

The situation in the South is no easy one. The Military Council inherited a state of utter disruption, caused partly by the inertness of the former commander, and partly by a conspiracy on the part of persons appointed by him to the various divisions of the Military Area. Everything had to be started afresh: we got the supply services properly organized, instituted an operations division, established contact with all sectors of the front, rescinded the old and, in my opinion, criminal orders, and only after this launched an offensive on Kalach and southward towards Tikhoretskaya. We launched the offensive in the hope that Mironov's and Kikvidze's sectors in the North, including the Povorino sector, were securely guaranteed against defeat. But it turned out that these sectors were the weakest and the least secure. You know of the retreat of Mironov and the others to the North-East, of the capture of the whole railway line from Lipki to Alexikovo by the Cossacks, and of the dispatch of Cossack guerilla groups to the Volga and their attempts to cut communication along the Volga between Kamyshin and Tsaritsyn.

Furthermore, the Rostov Front and Kalnin's groups generally lost their stamina owing to lack of shells and cartridges and have surrendered Tikhoretskaya and Torgovaya, and are apparently in process of complete disintegration (I say "apparently," because we have still been unable to receive accurate information about the Kalnin group).

I say nothing about the critical position of Kiz-lyar, Bryanskoye and Baku. The pro-British orientation is definitely discredited, but the situation on that front is anything but favourable. Kizlyar, Prokhladnaya, Novo-Georgievskoye and Stavropol are in the hands of Cossack insurgents. Only Bryanskoye, Petrovsk, Mineral-niye Vody, Vladikavkaz, Pyatigorsk and, I believe, Yekaterinodar are still holding out.

Thus, a situation has been created in which communications with the food areas of the South have been severed, and the Tsaritsyn area itself, which connects the centre with the North Caucasus, has in its turn been cut off, or practically cut off, from the centre.

It was in view of this that we decided to call off the offensive in the direction of Tikhoretskaya, to take up a defensive position, withdraw the combat units from the Tsaritsyn Front and from them form a northern striking force of about six thousand men, and direct them along the left bank of the Don as far as the Khoper River. The aim of this move is to clear the Tsaritsyn-Povorino line, turn the enemy's flank, disorganize him and hurl him back. We have every reason to believe that we shall be able to execute this plan in the very near future.

The unfavourable situation described above is to be attributed :

1) To the fact that the front-line soldier, the "competent muzhik," who in October fought for the Soviet power, has now turned against it (he heartily detests the grain monopoly, the fixed prices, the requisitions and the measures against bag-trading).

2) To the Cossack make-up of Mironov's troops (the Cossack units which call themselves Soviet are unable and unwilling to wage a resolute fight against the Cossack counter-revolutionaries; the Cossacks came over in whole regiments to Mironov in order to receive weapons, acquaint themselves with the disposition of our forces on the spot, and then desert to Krasnov, carrying whole regiments along with them; the Cossacks surrounded Mironov three times, because they knew every inch of his sector, and, of course, utterly routed him).

3) To the fact that Kikvidze's units are built on the detachment principle, which makes liaison and coordinated action impossible.

4) To the isolation, because of all these reasons, of Sievers' forces, which have lost their support on the left flank.

One favourable factor on the Tsaritsyn-Gashun Front is the complete elimination of the muddle due to the detachment principle, and the timely removal of the so-called experts (staunch supporters either of the Cossacks or of the British and French), which has made it possible to win the sympathy of the military units and establish iron discipline in them.

Now that communications with the North Caucasus have been cut, the position as regards food has become hopeless. Over seven hundred wagon-loads are standing on rail in the North Caucasus, and over a million and a half poods are ready for dispatch, but it is quite impossible to get the freight out because of the interruption of communications both by rail and by sea (Kizlyar and Bryan-skoye are no longer in our hands). There is quite a lot of grain in the Tsaritsyn, Kotelnikovo and Gashun districts, but it has to be harvested, and Chokprod is not adapted for this work, and has been unable to adapt itself to this day. The crop must be gathered and hay must be pressed and accumulated in one spot, but Chok-prod has no presses. The grain harvest must be organized on a large scale, but Chokprod's organizers are utterly incompetent. The result is that food deliveries are in a bad way.

With the capture of Kalach we secured several tens of thousands of poods of grain. I have sent twelve lorries to Kalach, and as soon as we can get it to the railway I shall send it to Moscow. Good or bad, harvesting is proceeding. I hope to secure several tens of thousands of poods of grain in the next few days and send it to you also. We have more cattle here than we need, but there is very little hay, and without hay dispatch of cattle in large quantities is impossible. It would be well to organize at least one canning factory, establish a slaughter-house, etc. But, unfortunately, so far I have been unable to find men of knowledge and initiative. I ordered the Kotelnikovo agent to arrange for the salting of meat on a large scale; the work has begun and there are already results, and if the business develops there will be enough meat for the winter (40,000 head of cattle have accumulated in the Kotelnikovo district alone). There is no less cattle in Astrakhan than in Kotelnikovo, but the local food commissariat is doing nothing. The representatives of the Perishable Foods Procurements Board are fast asleep, and it may be confidently prophesied that they will procure no meat. I have sent an agent named Zalmayev there to procure meat and fish, but I have had no word from him yet.

The Saratov and Samara gubernias are far more promising as far as food is concerned: there is plenty of grain there, and I believe Yakubov's expedition will be able to get out half a million poods or even more.

In general, it should be said that until communications with the North Caucasus are restored, we cannot count (very much) on the Tsaritsyn area (as far as food is concerned).

Yours,

J. Stalin

Tsaritsyn, August 4, 1918

 

Letter to V.I. Lenin

J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 129.

Dear Comrade Lenin,

The fight is on for the South and the Caspian. In order to keep all this area (and we can keep it!) we need several light destroyers and a couple of submarines (ask Artyom about the details). I implore you, break down all obstacles and so facilitate the immediate delivery of what we request. Baku, Turkestan and the North Caucasus will be ours (unquestionably!), if our demands are immediately met.

Things at the front are going well. I have no doubt that they will go even better (the Cossacks are becoming completely demoralized).

Warmest greetings, my dear and beloved Ilyich.

Yours, Stalin

 

 

 

Telegram to Sverdlov, Chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee

Soldat Revolutsii (Tsaritsyn), No. 21, September 1, 1918
J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, page 130.

Having learned of the villainous attempt of the hirelings of the bourgeoisie on the life of Comrade Lenin, the world's greatest revolutionary and the tried and tested leader and teacher of the proletariat, the Military Council of the North Caucasian Military Area is answering this vile attempt at assassination by instituting open and systematic mass terror against the bourgeoisie and its agents.

Stalin
Voroshilov
Tsaritsyn,
August 31, 1918.

 

 

 

Telegram to the Council of People's Commissars

1939 in the magazine Proletarskaya No. 1
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, page 131.

The offensive of the Soviet troops of the Tsaritsyn area has been crowned with success: Ilovlya Station has been captured in the North, Kalach, Lyapichevand th'e Don bridge in the West, and Lashki, Nemkovsky and Demkin in the South. The enemy has been utterly routed and hurled back across the Don. Tsaritsyn is secure. The offensive continues.

People's Commissar
Stalin

 

 

Telegram to Vorishilov, Commander of the Front, Tsaritsyn

Moscow, September 18, 1918
First Published: ,Izvestia No 205, September 21, 1918
J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 132.

Convey our fraternal greetings to the heroic flotilla crews and all the revolutionary troops on the Tsaritsyn Front, who are selflessly fighting to establish firmly the power of the workers and peasants. Tell them that Soviet Russia notes with admiration the heroic exploits of Kharchenko's and Kolpakov's communist and revolutionary regiments, Bulatkin's cavalry, Alyabyev's armoured trains and the Volga naval flotilla.

Hold high your Red banners, carry them forward fearlessly, mercilessly root out the counter-revolution of the landlords, generals and kulaks, and show the whole world that Socialist Russia is invincible.

Chairman of the Council of Peoples' Commissars
V. Ulyanov-Lenin

Peoples Commissar &
Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Southern Front
J. Stalin

 

 

 

The Southern Front

Izvestia Interview

Izvestia, No. 205, September 21, 1918
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 133 - 135.

 

Before returning to the Southern Front, People's Commissar for the Affairs of Nationalities Comrade Stalin gave our correspondent his impressions of the situation on the Tsaritsyn Front

First of all, Comrade Stalin said, two gratifying facts should be noted: one is the promotion to administrative posts in the rear area of working men with an ability not only for agitating in favour of Soviet power, but also for building the state on a new, communist basis; the second is the appearance of a new corps of commanders consisting of officers promoted from the ranks who have had practical experience in the imperialist war, and who enjoy the full confidence of the Red Army men.

Mobilization is proceeding splendidly, thanks to the radical change of sentiment among the population, who have realized the necessity of taking up arms against the counter-revolutionary bands. Firm discipline prevails in all our units. Relations between Red Army men and commanders leave nothing to be desired.

What about the food problem in the army?

Strictly speaking, we have no such problem in the army. Thanks to a well-organized system of 'supply bases, established by the battle sectors themselves, the front is experiencing no shortage of food. The daily ration of a Red Army man today consists of two pounds of bread, and meat, potatoes and cabbage.

The food supply at the front is entirely in the hands of the Army Food Commission of the Supreme Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic. It is this Commission that has organized the proper supply of the units at the front.

Agitation at the front, Comrade Stalin said, is carried on through the newspapers Soldat Revolutsii(1) and Borba,(2) and through pamphlets, leaflets, etc. The troops are cheerful and confident.

A big defect in the equipment of our army is the lack of a standard uniform for the soldiers. It would be desirable to design a new uniform as quickly as possible and introduce it at the front at once. The recent decree of the Central Executive Committee introducing incentives for heroic action on the part of individual Red Army men and whole units, in the shape of special insignia for the former and standards for the latter, is a measure of great importance, said Comrade Stalin.

Even before the issue of this decree, he said, units which had been awarded revolutionary standards then fought like lions. As to the state of the enemy units opposing us, ninety per cent of their effectives consist of so-called inogorodnie, most of them Ukrainians, and volunteer officers. The Cossacks constitute no more than ten percent. The enemy has the advantage of possessing a mobile cavalry, which with us is still in embryo.

I want to remark in conclusion, Comrade Stalin said, that whereas our combat units are being welded and cemented, the enemy is undergoing complete disintegration.

_____

Notes

(1) 'Soldier of the Revolution' - army newspaper of the Tsaritsyn Front, started on J.V.Stalin's initiative. From August 7^th 1918, it appeared as the organ of the Military Council of the North Caucasian Military Area, from September 26 (no.42) as the organ of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Southern Front, and from October 29 (No.69) until it ceased publication, as the organ of the Revolutionary Council of the 10th Army

(2) 'Struggle' - began publication in May 1917 as the organ of the Tsaritsyn Committee of the RSDLP(B), and towards the end of 1917 became the organ of the Tsaritsyn Soviet of Workers Soldiers, Peasants and Cossacks' Deputies. It continued publication until March 1933.

 

 

 

 

The Logic of Facts

(In Reference to the "Theses" of the Central Committee of the Mensheviks)

October 29, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

We have received a document entitled "Theses and Resolution of the Central Committee" of the Menshevik Party (October 17-21, 1918). This document sums up the activities of the Soviet Government since October 1917 and formulates certain future prospects which are apparently of great moment for the development of the Menshevik Party. But the most valuable thing in the document is the conclusions it draws, for they refute the whole practical activity of the Mensheviks in the year of revolution. We consider it necessary here and now to give the reader certain of our impressions, postponing an analysis of the "Theses and Resolution" to another occasion.

I
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION

Exactly a year ago, the country was languishing in the throes of imperialist war and economic disruption. The armies at the front, weary and exhausted by suffering, were no longer capable of fighting. Meanwhile, the British imperialists (Buchanan!) were more and more getting the country into their toils and trying in every way to keep it in the imperialist war. Riga had been sur-rendered 1 and preparations were being made to surrender St. Petersburg too, merely in order to prove the necessity of the war and of a military dictatorship. The bourgeoisie realized all this, and were openly working for a military dictatorship and the crushing of the revolution.

What were the Bolsheviks doing at that time?

The Bolsheviks were preparing for revolution. They considered that the only way out of the blind alley of war and economic disruption was for the proletariat to take power. They considered that without such a revolution, a break with imperialism and the deliverance of Russia from its clutches was inconceivable. They convened a Congress of Soviets, as the sole heir to power in the country.

First revolution, then peace!

What were the Mensheviks doing at that time?

They stigmatized the Bolsheviks' "undertaking" as "counter-revolutionary adventurism." They considered the Congress of Soviets unnecessary and tried to prevent its convocation, and dubbed the Soviets themselves "antiquated huts" which were doomed to be broken up. Instead of these Soviet "huts," they proposed a "permanent building" of the "European" type—the Pre-parliament, 2 where they, in conjunction with Mi-lyukov, elaborated plans for "radical agrarian and economic reforms." Instead of a break with imperialism, they proposed an Allied conference in Paris as a possible way out of the war. To them, a "consistent peace policy" meant the attendance of Menshevik Skobelev at this conference and the dubious efforts of Menshevik Axelrod to convene a congress of the Scheidemanns, Renaudels and Hyndmans.

Since then a year has passed. The "Bolshevik revolution" has succeeded in sweeping away the crafty machinery of the home and foreign imperialists. For Russia, the old imperialist war has become a memory. She has thrown off the yoke of imperialism. She is conducting, and hopes to continue conducting, an independent foreign policy. It is now clear to all that, without the October Revolution, Russia would not have extricated herself from the blind alley of imperialist war, the peasants would not have received land, and the workers would not be managing the mills and factories.

What do the Mensheviks, their Central Committee, say now? Listen to them:

"The Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 was a historical necessity, since, by breaking the links between the labouring masses and the capitalist classes, it expressed the desire of the labouring masses to subordinate the trend of the revolution wholly to their own interests, without which the deliverance of Russia from the clutches of Allied imperialism, the pursuance of a consistent peace policy, the introduction of radical agrarian reform, and the regulation by the state of the entire economic life in the interests of the masses would have been inconceivable, and since this stage of the revolution has had the tendency to enlarge also the scope of the influence which the Russian revolution had on the course of world developments" (see "Theses and Resolution").

That is what the Menshevik Central Committee says now.

Incredible, but a fact. The "Bolshevik revolution was," it appears, "a historical necessity," "without which the deliverance of Russia from the clutches of Allied imperialism," the "pursuance of a consistent peace policy," the "introduction of radical agrarian reform" and the "regulation by the state of the entire economic life in the interests of the masses" "would have been inconceivable."

But that is just what the Bolsheviks affirmed a year ago, and what the Menshevik Central Committee opposed so fiercely!

Yes, just that.

Life, you see, teaches and corrects the most incorrigible. It is all-powerful and gets its way in spite of everything. . . .

II
THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT

Some ten months ago the Constituent Assembly was about to meet, and the utterly routed bourgeois counterrevolutionaries were again mustering their forces and rubbing their hands in glee in anticipation of the "downfall" of Soviet power. The foreign imperialist (Allied) press hailed the Constituent Assembly. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries were arranging "private" conferences and elaborating a plan for the transfer of power from the Soviets to the Constituent Assembly, the "master of the land of Russia." Regeneration of the "honest coalition" and correction of the Bolsheviks' "blunders" loomed in the offing.

What were the Bolsheviks doing at that time?

They were continuing the work already begun of establishing the power of the proletariat. They considered that the "honest coalition" and its organ, the bourgeois-democratic Constituent Assembly, were doomed by history, because they were aware that a new force had appeared on the scene—the power of the proletariat, and a new form of government—the Republic of Soviets. In the early part of 1917 the slogan of a Constituent Assembly was a progressive one, and the Bolsheviks supported it. At the end of 1917, after the October Revolution, the slogan of a Constituent Assembly became reactionary, because it ceased to correspond to the altered relative strength of the contending political forces in the country. The Bolsheviks considered that in the circumstances of the imperialist war in Europe and the victorious proletarian revolution in Russia, only two kinds of power were conceivable: either a dictatorship of the proletariat, in the shape of a Republic of Soviets, or a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, in the shape of a military dictatorship—and that any attempt to steer a middle course and resurrect the Constituent Assembly would inevitably lead to a return to the old, reactionary regime, the liquidation of the October conquests. The Bolsheviks had no doubt that bourgeois parliamentarism and a bourgeois-democratic republic represented a past stage of the revolution....*

Since then ten months have elapsed. The Constituent Assembly, which attempted to put an end to Soviet power, was dissolved. The peasants in the country did not even notice its dissolution, while the workers acclaimed it with jubilation. One section of supporters of the Constituent Assembly went to the Ukraine and called in the aid of the German imperialists against the Soviets. Another section of supporters of the Constituent Assembly went to the Caucasus and found consolation in the arms of the Turkish and German imperialists. Still another section of supporters of the Constituent Assembly went to Samara and, in conjunction with the British and French imperialists, waged war on the workers and peasants of Russia. The slogan of a Constituent Assembly was thus turned into a bait for political simpletons and a screen for the fight of the home and foreign counterrevolutionaries against the Soviets.

How did the Mensheviks behave at that time?

They fought the Soviet power and consistently supported the now counter-revolutionary slogan of a Constituent Assembly.

What do the Mensheviks, their Central Committee, say now? Listen to them:

It "rejects all political collaboration with classes hostile to the democracy, and refuses to have any part in government combinations, even though hidden behind a democratic flag, that are based upon ‘countrywide' coalitions of the democracy and the capitalist bourgeoisie or upon dependence on foreign imperialism and militarism" (see the "Theses").

And further:

"All attempts by the revolutionary democracy, with the backing of the urban non-proletarian masses and the labouring masses of the countryside, to re-establish a democratic republic by means of an armed struggle against the Soviet Government and the masses which support it, have been and are being accompanied, owing to the character of the international situation and the political immaturity of the Russian democratic petty bourgeoisie, by such a re-grouping of social forces as tends to undermine the very revolutionary significance itself of the struggle for the re-establishment of a democratic system, and involves a direct threat to the fundamental socialist gains of the revolution. The desire for agreement with the capitalist classes at all costs and for the utilization of foreign weapons in the struggle for power deprives the policy of the revolutionary democracy of all independence and converts it into a tool of these classes and imperialist coalitions" (see "Theses and Resolution").

In a word, coalition is "rejected" emphatically and unreservedly, and the fight for a democratic republic and a Constituent Assembly is recognized as counterrevolutionary, since it "involves a direct threat to the fundamental socialist gains of the revolution."

There can be only one conclusion: Soviet power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is the only conceivable revolutionary power in Russia.

But that is just what the Bolsheviks have been of-firming all along, and what the Mensheviks were only yesterday opposing!

Yes, just that.

The logic of facts, you see, is stronger than all other logic, the Menshevik not excluded. . . .

III
PETTY-BOURGEOIS MUDDLE

And so:

It is a fact that after a year of fighting against Bolshevik "adventurism," the Menshevik Central Committee is forced to admit that the "Bolshevik revolution" of October 1917 was a "historical necessity."

It is a fact that after a long fight for a Constituent Assembly and an "honest coalition," the Men-shevik Central Committee, although unwillingly and reluctantly, is forced to recognize as unsuitable a "countrywide" coalition and as counter-revolutionary the struggle for the "re-establishment of the democratic system" and the Constituent Assembly.

True, this recognition comes a year late, after the counter-revolutionary character of the Constituent Assembly slogan and the historical necessity of the October Revolution have become commonplace truths — a tardiness utterly unbefitting the Menshevik Central Committee, which lays claim to a leading role in the revolution. But such is the fate of the Mensheviks: this is not the first time they are lagging behind events, and not the last time, we presume, that they are parading in old Bolshevik breeches. . . .

It might be thought that after such an admission on the part of the Menshevik Central Committee, there should be no more room for serious differences. Nor would there be, if we were dealing not with the Menshe-vik Central Committee, but with consistent revolutionaries capable of thinking things out to their conclusion and knowing what follows from what. But the whole trouble is that we are dealing here with a party of petty-bourgeois intellectuals who are for ever vacillating between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between revolution and counter-revolution. Hence the inevitable contradictions between the word and the deed, the perpetual uncertainty and mental waverings.

Just listen to this! The Menshevik Central Committee, you see:

"Continues to regard popular rule, unlimited democracy, as the political form in which alone the social emancipation of the proletariat can be worked for and realized. It looks upon a democratic republic, organized by a freely-elected and sovereign Constituent Assembly, and upon universal and equal suffrage, etc., not only as a means of politically educating the masses and uniting the proletariat as a class in support of its own interests, a means for which no substitute has been found, but also as the only soil on which a socialist proletariat can carry on its work of social creation" (see "Theses and Resolution").

Incredible, but a fact. On the one hand, a "struggle for the re-establishment of a democratic system," it appears, "involves" a "direct threat to the fundamental socialist gains of the revolution," in view of which it is proclaimed counter-revolutionary; on the other, the Menshevik Central Committee "continues" to declare itself for the already buried "sovereign Constituent Assembly"! Or perhaps the Menshevik Central Committee thinks that a Constituent Assembly can be achieved without an "armed struggle"? But in that case, what about the "historical necessity of the Bolshevik revolution," which discarded the "sovereign Constituent Assembly"?

Or further. The Menshevik Central Committee demands nothing more nor less than:

"The abolition of extraordinary agencies of police repression and extraordinary tribunals" and "the cessation of political and economic terror" (see "Theses and Resolution").

On the one hand, it recognizes the "historical necessity" of the dictatorship of the proletariat, whose function it is to suppress the resistance of the bourgeoisie, and, on the other, it demands the abolition of certain very important instruments of power without which this suppression is inconceivable! But in that case, what about the gains of the October Revolution, which the bourgeoisie is combating by every means, including the organization of terrorist actions and criminal conspiracies? How can one recognize the October Revolution as a "historical necessity," without recognizing the results and consequences that inevitably follow from it?!

Will the Menshevik Central Committee ever extricate itself from this involved petty-bourgeois muddle?

IV
WHAT NEXT?

Incidentally, it does try to extricate itself from it. Listen to this:

Standing for the re-establishment of a united and independent Russia on the basis of the gains of the revolution won by the efforts of the democracy itself, and repudiating, therefore, all interference on the part of foreign capitalists in Russia's domestic affairs," the Menshevik Party "is in political solidarity with the Soviet Government, inasmuch as the latter stands for the liberation of the territory of Russia from occupation, in particular foreign occupation, and opposes these attempts of the non-proletarian democracy to extend or preserve the area of occupation. But this political solidarity in the matter of imperialist intervention could lead to direct support of the military actions of the Soviet Government for the liberation of the occupied territories of Russia only if this Government were to display a real readiness to build its relations with the non-Bolshevik democracy in the border regions on a basis of mutual agreement, and not of suppression and terror" (see "Theses and Resolution").

Thus, instead of fighting the Soviet power—"agreement" with it.

"Political solidarity with the Soviet Government." . . . We do not know how complete this solidarity is, but need it be said that the Bolsheviks will not object to the solidarity of the Menshevik Central Committee with the Soviet power? We are fully alive to the difference between solidarity with the Soviet Government and solidarity, say, with the "Constituent Assembly" members in Samara.

"Direct support of the military actions of the Soviet Government." . . . We do not know how many troops the Menshevik Central Committee could place at the disposal of the Soviet power, what military forces it could contribute to the Soviet army. But need it be said that the Bolsheviks would only welcome military support of the Soviet power? We are fully alive to the profundity of the difference between military support of the Soviet Government and participation of the Men-sheviks, say, in the "Defence Conference" 3 during the imperialist war under Kerensky.

All that is so. But experience has taught us not to take people at their word; we are accustomed to judge parties and groups not only by their resolutions, but, and chiefly, by their deeds.

And what are the deeds of the Mensheviks?

The Mensheviks in the Ukraine have to this day not broken with Skoropadsky's counter-revolutionary government and are fighting the Soviet elements in the Ukraine with every means in their power, thus supporting the rule of the home and foreign imperialists in the South.

The Mensheviks in the Caucasus long ago formed an alliance with the landlords and capitalists, proclaimed sacred war on the supporters of the October Revolution, and called in the aid of the German imperialists.

The Mensheviks in the Urals and Siberia have made common cause with the British and French imperialists and have given, and are continuing to give, practical help in abolishing the gains of the October Revolution.

The Mensheviks in Krasnovodsk have opened the gate of the Transcaspian area to the British imperialists, helping them to suppress Soviet power in Turkestan.

Lastly, a section of the Mensheviks in European Russia preaches the necessity of "active" "struggle" against the Soviet power and organizes counter-revolutionary strikes in the rear of our army, which is shedding its blood in a war for the liberation of Russia, thus making the "support of the military actions of the Soviet Government" advocated by the Menshevik Central Committee a practical impossibility.

All these anti-socialist and counter-revolutionary Men-shevik elements in the centre and in the border regions of Russia continue to this day to consider themselves members of the Menshevik Party, whose Central Committee now solemnly proclaims its "political solidarity" with the Soviet power.

We ask :

1) What is the attitude of the Central Committee of the Menshevik Party to the above-mentioned counterrevolutionary Menshevik elements?

2) Does it intend to break with them emphatically and irrevocably?

3) Has it taken even the first step in this direction?

All these are questions to which we do not find answers either in the "resolution" of the Menshevik Central Committee or in the practical activities of the Mensheviks.

Yet it is unquestionable that only by emphatically breaking with the counter-revolutionary Menshevik elements could the Menshevik Central Committee further that "mutual agreement" which it is now advocating.

Pravda, No. 234, October 29, 1918

Signed : J. Stalin

__________

Notes

1.Riga was surrendered to the Germans by General Kornilov on August 21, 1917.

2.The Pre-parliament, or Provisional Council of the Republic, was a consultative organ of the bourgeois Provisional Government formed from members of the Democratic Conference held in Petrograd, September 14-22, 1917. It was created by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks with the idea of stopping the spread of the revolution and switching the country from the path of Soviet revolution to bourgeois parliamentarism.

3.The "Defence Conference" was convened in Petrograd on August 7, 1917, by the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik Central Executive Committee of the Soviets with a view to mobilizing the forces and resources of the population for the continuation of the imperialist war.

 

 

 

Speech Delivered at a Plenary Meeting of the Moscow Soviet of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies on the Situation on the Southern Front

October 29, 1918 (Newspaper Report)

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

There is no need to prove that the strength of Soviet Russia is growing, Comrade Stalin said. Its successes are sufficient proof of that. But never before have the enemies of Soviet Russia tried so stubbornly to break us. The plan of the enemies of Soviet Russia is to wrest her richest grain regions from her and compel her to capitulate without a fight. Five or six months ago, Samara and Siberia were selected for the execution of this plan. The past two months have made it clear to our enemies that this plan is unfeasible. Now they are trying to repeat the adventure in the South. The South exercises a great attractive power. There are no less than 150 million poods of available grain there. There are also hundreds of thousands of poods of coal. South Russia is even more important strategically. A new international knot is being tied in this region. This can be seen from the activity going on there. A new government has been formed in Yekaterinodar, headed by Krasnov. Three armies have united there. In their effort to seize possession of the South, the counter-revolutionaries are aiming their main blow at Tsaritsyn. In August, Krasnov issued an order for the capture of Tsaritsyn. The order was not carried out, and Krasnov's army had to seek safety in flight. In October, Krasnov issued another order: to capture Tsaritsyn by October 15 at any cost and link up with the Czechoslovaks. No less than forty regiments of the combined armies of a number of generals were thrown into action. However, the generals had to seek safety in flight—so that one of them even lost his boots. (Laughter.)

Only then did the generals realize that our army represents a real and growing force, too powerful for them to cope with.

Wherein lies the strength of our army? Why is it beating its enemies so effectively?

The strength of our army lies in its political consciousness and discipline. Political consciousness and proletarian discipline—these are among the reasons for our success on the Southern Front.

Another reason is the appearance of a new corps of Red officers. They are mostly former privates who received their baptism of fire in a number of engagements and well understand the job of fighting. They are leading our troops to victory.

These are the chief factors determining the successes of our army. That is why I think that the blackguard bands will never succeed in vanquishing our army in the South.

Izvestia, No, 237, October 30, 1918

 

 

 

 

The South of Russia

Pravda Interview

October 30, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

People's Commissar Stalin, who recently returned from his mission in the South, gave our correspondent his impressions of the situation on the Southern Front.

IMPORTANCE OF THE SOUTHERN FRONT

Its strategical position alone, situated as it is between the Don counter-revolutionaries and the Astrakhan-Ural-Czechoslovak bands, shows how important the Southern Front is. The proximity of the British sphere of influence (Enzeli, Krasnovodsk) only adds to its importance. South Russia's rich resources (grain, oil, coal, cattle, fish) are in themselves enough to inflame the voracious appetites of the imperialist wolves who are striving to wrest this important area from Russia. Furthermore, it is certain that with the approach of autumn and the liquidation of the Samara adventure the centre of military operations will shift to the South. That, in fact, explains the "feverish" activity which the southern counter-revolutionaries are now displaying in hastily forming a new (brand new!) "all-Russian government" composed of those tsarist menials Shipov, Sazonov and Lukomsky, in uniting Krasnov's, Denikin's and Skoropadsky's bands into one army, in appealing for help to Britain, and so on.

TSARITSYN THE MAIN TARGET

It is on Tsaritsyn that the enemy is concentrating his heaviest fire. That is understandable, because the capture of Tsaritsyn and the severance of our communications with the South, would ensure the achievement of all the enemy's objectives: connection would be established between the Don counter-revolutionaries and the Cossack top sections of the Astrakhan and Ural troops and a united counter-revolutionary front stretching from the Don to the Czechoslovaks would be created; the counter-revolutionaries, domestic and foreign, would secure a firm hold of the South and the Caspian; the Soviet forces in the North Caucasus would be in a helpless plight. . . .

That is the chief reason for the stubborn efforts of the southern whiteguards to capture Tsaritsyn.

Krasnov issued an order for the capture of Tsaritsyn as far back as August. His bands hurled themselves with frenzy against our front and tried to break it, but were beaten off by our Red Army and thrown back beyond the Don.

A fresh order to capture Tsaritsyn was issued in the early part of October, this time by the counter-revolutionary Cossack Assembly in Rostov. The enemy massed no less than forty regiments gathered from the Don, Kiev (Skoropadsky's officer regiments!) and the Kuban (Alexeyev's "volunteers"!). But this time, too, Krasnov's bands were repulsed by the iron hand of our Red Army. A number of the enemy's regiments were surrounded by our troops and wiped out, leaving their guns, machine guns and rifles in our hands. Generals Mamontov, Anto-nov, Popov and Tolkushkin and a whole pack of colonels were forced to seek safety in flight.

WHEREIN LIES THE STRENGTH OF OUR ARMY?

The successes of our army are due in the first place to its political consciousness and discipline. Krasnov's soldiers are amazingly obtuse and ignorant and are completely isolated from the outside world. They do not know what they are fighting for. "We had to fight because we were ordered to," they say on being interrogated when taken prisoner.

Not so our Red Army man. He proudly calls himself a soldier of the revolution; he knows that he is fighting not to protect capitalist profits but for the emancipation of Russia, and knowing this he goes into battle boldly and with his eyes open. The yearning for order and discipline among our Red Army men is so strong that not infrequently they themselves punish "disobedient" and ill-disciplined comrades.

A no less important factor is the appearance of a regular corps of Red officers who have been promoted from the ranks and who received their baptism of fire in a number of engagements. These Red officers are the chief cementing force of our army, welding it into a single disciplined organism.

But the strength of the army is not due to its personal qualities alone. An army cannot exist for long without a strong rear. For the front to be firm, it is necessary that the army should regularly receive replenishments, munitions and food from the rear. A great role in this respect has been played by the appearance in the rear of expert and competent administrators, chiefly consisting of advanced workers, who conscientiously and indefatigably attend to the duties of mobilization and supply. It may be safely said that without these administrators Tsaritsyn would not have been saved.

All this is converting our army into a formidable force capable of smashing any resistance on the part of the enemy.

Everything is tending towards the tying of a new international knot in the South. The appearance in Yekaterinodar of a "new" "all-Russian government" composed of British proteges, the combining of the three counter-revolutionary armies (Alexeyev's, Skoropad-sky's and Krasnov's), which have once already been beaten by our forces at Tsaritsyn, the rumours that Britain is contemplating intervention, the fact that Britain is supplying the Terek counter-revolutionaries from Enzeli and Krasnovodsk—all these are not just chance happenings. Their abortive adventure in Samara they are now trying to resume in the South. But they will not have—will certainly not have—that without which victory is unthinkable, namely, an army which has its heart in the foul work of counter-revolution and is capable of fighting to the end. One powerful assault will be sufficient, and the counter-revolutionary adventure will collapse like a house of cards. The earnest of this is the heroism of our army, the demoralization in the ranks of the Krasnov-Alexeyev "armies," the growing unrest in the Ukraine, the increasing might of Soviet Russia, and, lastly, the steady spread of the revolutionary movement in the West. The southern adventure will meet with the same fate as the Samara adventure.

 

 

 

The October Revolution

(October 24 and 25, 1917, in Petrograd)

November 6, 1918
Pravda, No. 241
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 155-157.

The most important of the events which hastened the October uprising were: the intention of the Provisional Government (after having surrendered Riga) to surrender Petrograd, the Kerensky Government’s preparations to remove to Moscow, the decision of the command of the old army to dispatch the entire Petrograd garrison to the front and leave the capital undefended, and, lastly, the feverish activity of the Black Congress33 in Moscow, headed by Rodzyanko — activity for organizing the counter-revolution. All this, coupled with the growing economic disruption and the unwillingness of the men at the front to continue the war, made a swift and efficiently organized uprising inevitable as the only way out of the existing situation.

The Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party had already in the closing days of September decided to mobilize all the forces of the Party for the organization of a successful uprising. With that in view, the Central Committee resolved to set up a Revolutionary Military Committee in Petrograd, to secure the retention of the Petrograd garrison in the capital, and to convene an All-Russian Congress of Soviets. Only such a congress could succeed to power. The preliminary winning of the Moscow and Petrograd Soviets, the most influential in the rear and at the front, was an indispensable part of the general plan of organization of the uprising.

Acting on the instructions of the Central Committee, Rabochy Put, the Central Organ of the Party, began openly to call for an uprising, preparing the workers and peasants for the decisive battle.

The first open clash with the Provisional Government arose over the banning of the Bolshevik newspaper, Rabochy Put. It was shut down by order of the Provisional Government. It was re-opened in revolutionary fashion, by order of the Revolutionary Military Committee. The seals were removed and the commissars of the Provisional Government were sent off. That was on October 24.

On October 24, commissars of the Revolutionary Military Committee forcibly ejected the representatives of the Provisional Government from a number of major government institutions, which resulted in the latter coming under the control of the Revolutionary Military Committee and the disorganization of the whole machinery of the Provisional Government. That same day (October 24) the entire garrison, all the regiments in Petrograd, decisively went over to the Revolutionary Military Committee, with the sole exception of some of the military cadet schools and an armoured car battalion. The Provisional Government showed signs of irresolution. Only in the evening did it dispatch shock battalions to occupy the bridges and succeeded in raising some of them. The Revolutionary Military Committee countered this by sending sailors and Vyborg Red Guards, who removed and dispersed the shock battalions and occupied the bridges themselves. With this, the open uprising began. A number of our regiments were dispatched with orders to cordon off the whole area around the Staff Headquarters and the Winter Palace. In the Winter Palace the Provisional Government was in session. The passing of the armoured car battalion to the side of the Revolutionary Military Committee (late at night on October 24) hastened the success of the uprising.

On October 25 the Congress of Soviets opened, and to it the Revolutionary Military Committee turned over the power it had won.

Early in the morning of October 26, after the bombardment of the Winter Palace and the Staff Headquarters by the Aurora, and after skirmishes between Soviet troops and military cadets in front of the Winter Palace, the Provisional Government capitulated. The moving spirit of the revolution from beginning to end was the Central Committee of the Party, headed by Comrade Lenin. Vladimir Ilyich was then living in hiding in Petrograd, in the Vyborg District. On the evening of October 24 he was called to the Smolny to take charge of the movement. A

An outstanding role in the October uprising was played by the sailors of the Baltic Fleet and the Red Guards from the Vyborg District. Owing to their extraordinary courage, the role of the Petrograd garrison was confined chiefly to rendering moral and to some extent military support to the vanguard fighters.

J. Stalin

_______________

Notes

A.  Transcriber's Note  Here the Moscow editors have omitted the concluding part of this paragraph in the original article, where Stalin mentions the Trotsky role in the revolution. The last complete English translation of this article was published 1936 by Lawrence and Wishart in the book The October Revolution, from which we cite the rest of the paragraph (op. cit p 30):

"All practical work in connection with the organization of the uprising was done under the immediate direction of Comrade Trotsky, the president of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be stated with certainty that the Party is indebted primarily and principally to Comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the efficient manner in which the work of the Military-Revolutionary Committee was organized. The principal assistants of Comrade Trotsky were Comrades Antonov and Podvoisky."

Trotsky mentions this omission in his The Stalin School of Falsification published 1937 (se the section "4. Letter to the Bureau of Party History (Part I)").

The old Stalinist Molotov comments the matter in his conversations with Felix Chuev, published in english translation 1993 under the title Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. There we read (page 166):

"The talk switched to Trotsky, and about Stalin's assessment of his acitivity in the article 'The October Revolution'. It turned out that a whole paragraph had been omitted from Stalin's collected works — Molotov brought his own volume, in which he had written in the margin what had appearrd in Stalin's original version — how Trotsky managed to win over the Petrograd garrison."

 

 

 

The October Revolution and
the National Question

November 6 and 19, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The national question must not be regarded as something self-contained and fixed for all time. Being only part of the general question of the transformation of the existing order, the national question is wholly determined by the conditions of the social environment, by the kind of power in the country and by the whole course of social development in general. This is being strikingly borne out in the period of revolution in Russia, when the national question and the national movement in the border regions of Russia are rapidly and obviously changing their character in accordance with the course and outcome of the revolution.

I
THE FEBRUARY REVOLUTION AND THE NATIONAL QUESTION

In the period of the bourgeois revolution in Russia (February 1917) the national movement in the border regions bore the character of a bourgeois liberation movement. The nationalities of Russia, which for ages had been oppressed and exploited by the "old regime," for the first time felt their strength and rushed into the fight with their oppressors. "Abolish national oppression"—such was the slogan of the movement. "All-national" institutions sprang up overnight throughout the border regions of Russia. The movement was headed by the national, bourgeois-democratic intelligentsia. "National Councils" in Latvia, the Estonian region, Lithuania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the North Caucasus, Kirghizia and the Middle Volga region; the "Rada" in the Ukraine and in Byelorussia; the "Sfatul Tsarii" in Bessarabia; the "Kurul-tai" in the Crimea and in Bashkiria; the "Autonomous Government" in Turkestan—such were the "all-national" institutions around which the national bourgeoisie rallied its forces. It was a question of emancipation from tsarism—the "fundamental cause" of national oppres-sion—and of the formation of national bourgeois states. The right of nations to self-determination was interpreted as the right of the national bourgeoisies in the border regions to take power into their own hands and to take advantage of the February Revolution for forming "their own" national states. The further development of the revolution did not, and could not, come within the calculations of the above-mentioned bourgeois institutions. And the fact was overlooked that tsarism was being replaced by naked and barefaced imperialism, and that this imperialism was a stronger and more dangerous foe of the nationalities and the basis of a new national oppression.

The abolition of tsarism and the accession to power of the bourgeoisie did not, however, lead to the abolition of national oppression. The old, crude form of national oppression was replaced by a new, refined, but all the more dangerous, form of oppression. Far from abandoning the policy of national oppression, the Lvov-Milyukov-Kerensky Government organized a new campaign against Finland (dispersal of the Diet in the summer of 1917) and the Ukraine (suppression of Ukrainian cultural institutions). What is more, that Government, which was imperialist by its very nature, called upon the population to continue the war in order to subjugate new lands, new colonies and nationalities. It was compelled to this not only because of the intrinsic nature of imperialism, but also because of the existence of the old imperialist states in the West, which were irresistibly striving to subjugate new lands and nationalities and threatening to narrow its sphere of influence. A struggle of the imperialist states for the subjugation of small nationalities as a condition for the existence of these states—such was the picture which was revealed in the course of the imperialist war. This unsightly picture was in no way improved by the abolition of tsarism and the appearance of the Milyukov-Kerensky Government on the scene. Since the "all-national" institutions in the border regions displayed a tendency to political independence, naturally they encountered the insuperable hostility of the imperialist government of Russia. Since, on the other hand, while establishing the power of the national bourgeoisie, they remained deaf to the vital interests of "their own" workers and peasants, they evoked grumbling and discontent among those. What were known as the "national regiments" only added fuel to the flames: they were impotent against the danger from above and only intensified and aggravated the danger from below. The "all-national" institutions were left defenceless against blows from without and explosions from within. The incipient bourgeois national states began to fade before they could blossom.

Thus, the old bourgeois-democratic interpretation of the principle of self-determination became a fiction and lost its revolutionary significance. It was clear that under such circumstances there could be no question of the abolition of national oppression and establishing the independence of the small national states. It became obvious that the emancipation of the labouring masses of the oppressed nationalities and the abolition of national oppression were inconceivable without a break with imperialism, without the labouring masses overthrowing "their own" national bourgeoisie and taking power themselves.

That was strikingly borne out after the October Revolution.

II
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE NATIONAL QUESTION

The February Revolution harboured irreconcilable inner contradictions. The revolution was accomplished by the efforts of the workers and the peasants (soldiers), but as a result of the revolution power passed not to the workers and peasants, but to the bourgeoisie. In making the revolution the workers and peasants wanted to put an end to the war and to secure peace. But the bourgeoisie, on coming to power, strove to use the revolutionary ardour of the masses for a continuation of the war and against peace. The economic disruption of the country and the food crisis demanded the expropriation of capital and industrial establishments for the benefit of the workers, and the confiscation of the landlords' land for the benefit of the peasants, but the bourgeois Milyukov-Kerensky Government stood guard over the interests of the landlords and capitalists, resolutely protecting them against all encroachments on the part of the workers and peasants. It was a bourgeois revolution, accomplished by the agency of the workers and peasants for the benefit of the exploiters.

Meanwhile, the country continued to groan under the burden of the imperialist war, economic disintegration and the breakdown of the food supply. The front was falling to pieces and melting away. Factories and mills were coming to a standstill. Famine was spreading through the country. The February Revolution, with its inner contradictions, was obviously not enough for "the salvation of the country." The Milyukov-Be-rensky Government was obviously incapable of solving the basic problems of the revolution.

A new, socialist revolution was required to lead the country out of the blind alley of imperialist war and economic disintegration.

That revolution came as a result of the October uprising.

By overthrowing the power of the landlords and the bourgeoisie and replacing it by a government of workers and peasants, the October Revolution resolved the contradictions of the February Revolution at one stroke. The abolition of the omnipotence of the landlords and kulaks and the handing over of the land for the use of the labouring masses of the countryside; the expropriation of the mills and factories and their transfer to control by the workers; the break with imperialism and the ending of the predatory war; the publication of the secret treaties and the exposure of the policy of annexations; lastly, the proclamation of self-determination for the labouring masses of the oppressed peoples and the recognition of the independence of Finland—such were he basic measures carried into effect by the Soviet power in the early period of the Soviet revolution.

That was a genuinely socialist revolution.

The revolution, which started in the centre, could not long be confined to that narrow territory. Once having triumphed in the centre, it was bound to spread to the border regions. And, indeed, from the very first days of the revolution, the revolutionary tide spread from the North all over Russia, sweeping one border region after another. But here it encountered a dam in the shape of the "National Councils" and regional "governments" (Don, Kuban, Siberia) which had been formed prior to the October Revolution. The point is that these "national governments" would not hear of a socialist revolution. Bourgeois by nature, they had not the slightest wish to destroy the old, bourgeois order; on the contrary, they considered it their duty to preserve and consolidate it by every means in their power. Essentially imperialist, they had not the slightest wish to break with imperialism; on the contrary, they had never been averse to seizing and subjugating bits and morsels of the territory of "foreign" nationalities whenever opportunity offered. No wonder that the "national governments" in the border regions declared war on the socialist government in the centre. And, once they had declared war, they naturally became hotbeds of reaction, which attracted all that was counter-revolutionary in Russia. Everyone knows that all the counter-revolutionaries thrown out of Russia rushed to these hotbeds, and there, around them, formed themselves into whiteguard "national" regiments.

But, in addition to "national governments," there are in the border regions national workers and peasants. Organized even before the October Revolution in their revolutionary Soviets patterned on the Soviets in the centre of Russia, they had never severed connections with their brothers in the North. They too were striving to defeat the bourgeoisie; they too were fighting for the triumph of socialism. No wonder that their conflict with "their own" national governments grew daily more acute. The October Revolution only strengthened the alliance between the workers and peasants of the border regions and the workers and peasants of Russia, and inspired them with faith in the triumph of socialism. And the war of the "national governments" against the Soviet power brought the conflict of the national masses with these "governments" to the point of a complete rupture, to open rebellion against them.

Thus was formed a socialist alliance of the workers and peasants of all Russia against the counter-revolutionary alliance of the bourgeois national "governments" of the border regions of Russia.

The fight of the border "governments" is depicted by some as a fight for national emancipation against the "soulless centralism" of the Soviet regime. But that is quite untrue. No regime in the world has permitted such extensive decentralization, no government in the world has ever granted to the peoples such complete national freedom as the Soviet power in Russia. The fight of the border "governments" was, and is, a fight of bourgeois counter-revolution against socialism. The national flag is tacked on to the cause only to deceive the masses, as a popular flag which conveniently conceals the counterrevolutionary designs of the national bourgeoisie.

But the fight of the "national" and regional "governments" proved an unequal one. Attacked from two sides — from without by the Soviet power of Russia, and from within by "their own" workers and peasants — the "national governments" were obliged to retreat after the very first engagements. The uprising of the Finnish workers and torppari 1 and the flight of the bourgeois "Senate"; the uprising of the Ukrainian workers and peasants and the flight of the bourgeois "Rada"; the uprising of the workers and peasants in the Don, Kuban, and Siberia and the collapse of Kaledin, Kornilov and the Siberian "government"; the uprising of the poor peasants of Turkestan and the flight of the "autonomous government"; the agrarian revolution in the Caucasus and the utter impotence of the "National Councils" of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan — all these are generally known facts which demonstrated the complete isolation of the border "governments" from "their own" labouring masses. Utterly defeated, the "national governments" were "obliged" to appeal for aid against "their own" workers and peasants to the imperiaIists of the West, to the agelong oppressors and exploiters of the nationalities of the world.

Thus began the period of foreign intervention and occupation of the border regions — a period which once more revealed the counter-revolutionary character of the "national" and regional "governments."

Only now did it become obvious to all that the national bourgeoisie was striving not for the liberation of "its own people" from national oppression, but for liberty to squeeze profits out of them, for liberty to retain its privileges and capital.

Only now did it become clear that the emancipation of the oppressed nationalities was inconceivable without a rupture with imperialism, without the overthrow of the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nationalities, without the transfer of power to the labouring masses of these nationalities.

Thus, the old, bourgeois conception of the principle of self-determination, with its slogan "All power to the national bourgeoisie," was exposed and cast aside by the very course of the revolution. The socialist conception of the principle of self-determination, with its slogan "All power to the labouring masses of the oppressed nationalities," entered into its own and it became possible to apply it.

Thus, the October Revolution, having put an end to the old, bourgeois movement for national emancipation, inaugurated the era of a new, socialist movement of the workers and peasants of the oppressed nationalities, directed against all oppression—including, therefore, national oppression—against the power of the bourgeoisie, "their own" and foreign, and against imperialism in general.

III
THE WORLD-WIDE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION

Having triumphed in the centre of Russia and embraced a number of the border regions, the October Revolution could not stop short at the territorial borders of Russia. In the atmosphere of the imperialist world war and the general discontent among the masses, it could not but spread to neighbouring countries. Russia's break with imperialism and its escape from the predatory war; the publication of the secret treaties and the solemn renunciation of the policy of annexations; the proclamation of the national freedom and recognition of the independence of Finland; the declaring of Russia a "federation of Soviet national republics" and the battle cry of a determined struggle against imperialism issued to the world by the Soviet Government —all this could not but deeply affect the enslaved East and the bleeding West.

And, indeed, the October Revolution is the first revolution in world history to break the age-long sleep of the labouring masses of the oppressed peoples of the East and to draw them into the fight against world imperialism. The formation of workers' and peasants' Soviets in Persia, China and India, modelled on the Soviets in Russia, is sufficiently convincing evidence of this.

The October Revolution is the first revolution in world history to provide the workers and soldiers of the West with a living, salvation-bringing example and to impel them on to the path of real emancipation from the yoke of war and imperialism. The uprising of the workers and soldiers in Austria-Hungary and Germany, the formation of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the revolutionary struggle of the subject peoples of Austria-Hungary against national oppression is sufficiently eloquent evidence of this.

The chief point is not at all that the struggle in the East and even in the West has not yet succeeded in shedding its bourgeois-nationalist features; the point is that the struggle against imperialism has begun, that it is continuing and is inevitably bound to arrive at its logical goal.

Foreign intervention and the occupation policy of the "external" imperialists merely sharpen the revolutionary crisis, by drawing now peoples into the struggle and extending the area of the revolutionary battles with, imperialism.

Thus, the October Revolution, by establishing a tie between the peoples of the backward East and of the advanced West, is ranging them in a common camp of struggle against imperialism.

Thus, from the particular question of combating national oppression, the national question is evolving into the general question of emancipating the nations, colonies and semi-colonies from imperialism.

The mortal sin of the Second International and its leader, Kautsky, consists, incidentally, in the fact that they have always gone over to the bourgeois conception of national self-determination, that they have never understood the revolutionary meaning of the latter, that they were unable or unwilling to put the national question on the revolutionary footing of an open fight against imperialism, that they were unable or unwilling to link the national question with the question of the emancipation of the colonies.

The obtuseness of the Austrian Social-Democrats of the type of Bauer and Renner consists in the fact that they have not understood the inseparable connection between the national question and the question of power, that they tried to separate the national question from politics and to confine it to cultural and educational questions, forgetting the existence of such "trifles" as imperialism and the colonies enslaved by imperialism.

It is asserted that the principles of self-determination and "defence of the fatherland" have been abrogated by the very course of events under the conditions of a rising socialist revolution. Actually, it is not the principles of self-determination and "defence of the fatherland" that have been abrogated, but the bourgeois interpretation of these principles. One has only to glance at the occupied regions, which are languishing under the yoke of imperialism and are yearning for liberation; one has only to glance at Russia, which is waging a revolutionary war for the defence of the socialist fatherland from the imperialist robbers; one has only to reflect on the present events in Austria-Hungary; one has only to glance at the enslaved colonies and semi-colonies, which have already organized their own Soviets (India, Persia, China)—one has only to glance at all this to realize the whole revolutionary significance of the principle of self-determination in its socialist interpretation.

The great world-wide significance of the October Revolution chiefly consists in the fact that:

1) It has widened the scope of the national question and converted it from the particular question of combating national oppression in Europe into the general question of emancipating the oppressed peoples, colonies and semi-colonies from imperialism;

2) It has opened up wide possibilities for their emancipation and the right paths towards it, has thereby greatly facilitated the cause of the emancipation of the oppressed peoples of the West and the East, and has drawn them into the common current of the victorious struggle against imperialism;

3) It has thereby erected a bridge between the socialist West and the enslaved East, having created a new front of revolutions against world imperialism, extending from the proletarians of the West, through the Russian revolution, to the oppressed peoples of the East.

This in fact explains the indescribable enthusiasm which is now being displayed for the Russian proletariat by the toiling and exploited masses of the East and the West.

And this mainly explains the frenzy with which the imperialist robbers of the whole world have now flung themselves upon Soviet Russia.

Pravda, Nos. 241 and 250, November 6 and 19, 1918

____

Notes

1.Torppari—landless peasants in Finland, who were forced to rent land from the big proprietors on extortionate terms.

 

 

 

Partition Wall

November 17, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Between socialist Russia and the revolutionary West a partition wall has been erected in the shape of the occupied regions.

Whereas in Russia the Red flag has been waving for over a year now, and in the West, in Germany and Austria-Hungary, outbreaks of proletarian uprisings are multiplying daily and hourly, in the occupied regions, in Finland, Estland, Latvia, Lithuania, Byelorussia, Poland, Bessarabia, the Ukraine and the Crimea, bourgeois nationalist "governments" continue to drag out a wretched existence by the grace of the imperialists of the West whose time is coming to an end.

Whereas in the East and in the West "great" mon-archs and "sovereign" imperialists have already been relegated to the nether regions, in the occupied areas petty kinglets and puny robbers continue to rule, committing lawlessness and violence against the workers and peasants, arresting and shooting them.

More, these out-of-date "governments" are feverishly organizing their "national" whiteguard "regiments," are preparing for "action," are conspiring with the not yet abolished imperialist governments and laying plans for the "expansion" of "their" territories.

These shadows, rotting alive, of already overthrown "great" monarchs, and these puny "national" "governments" which have been placed by the will of fate between the two tremendous conflagrations of revolution, in the East and in the West, are now dreaming of extinguishing the general fire of revolution in Europe, of perpetuating their ludicrous existence, of turning back the wheel of history! . . .

That which the "sovereign" monarchs of "great" Germany and Austria-Hungary failed to accomplish, these petty "kinglets" dream of accomplishing "at one stroke," with the help of a couple of disorganized white-guard "regiments."

We do not doubt that the mighty waves of revolution in Russia and the West will ruthlessly sweep away the counter-revolutionary dreamers in the occupied regions. We do not doubt that the hour is near when the "kinglets" of these regions will follow in the footsteps of their former "sovereign" patrons in Russia and Germany.

We have no reason to doubt that the counterrevolutionary partition wall between the revolutionary West and socialist Russia will in the end be swept away.

The first signs of revolution in the occupied regions have already appeared. The strikes in Estland, the demonstrations in Latvia, the general strike in the Ukraine, the universal revolutionary ferment in Finland, Poland and Latvia—all these are the first signs. Needless to say, revolution and Soviet governments in these regions are matters of the very near future.

Proletarian revolution, awe-inspiring and mighty, is on the march through the world. The old "lords" of the earth in the East and the West bend their heads before it in fear and trembling, and their old crowns are falling. The occupied regions and their petty "kinglets" can be no exception.

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 2, November 17, 1918

Editorial

Signed: J. Stalin

 

 

 

Don't Forget the East

November 24, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

At a time when the revolutionary movement is rising in Europe, when old thrones and crowns are tumbling and giving place to revolutionary Soviets of Workers and Soldiers, and the occupied regions are ejecting the creatures of imperialism from their territories, the eyes of all are naturally turned to the West. It is there, in the West, that the chains of imperialism, which were forged in Europe and which are strangling the whole world, must first of all be smashed. It is there, first of all in the West, that the new, socialist life must vigorously develop. At such a moment one "involuntarily" tends to lose sight of, to forget the far-off East, with its hundreds of millions of inhabitants enslaved by imperialism.

Yet the East should not be forgotten for a single moment, if only because it represents the "inexhaustible" reserve and "most reliable" rear of world imperialism .

The imperialists have always looked upon the East as the basis of their prosperity. Have not the inestimable natural resources (cotton, oil, gold, coal, ores) of the East been an "apple of discord" between the imperialists of all countries? That, in fact, explains why, while fighting in Europe and prating about the West, the imperialists have never ceased to think of China, India, Persia, Egypt and Morocco, because the East was always the real point at issue. It is this that chiefly explains why they so zealously maintain "law and order" in the countries of the East—without this, imperialism's far rear would not be secure.

But it is not only the wealth of the East that the imperialists need. They also need the "obedient" "man power" which abounds in the colonies and semi-colonies of the East. They need the "compliant" and cheap "labour power" of the Eastern peoples. They need, furthermore, the "obedient" "young lads" of the countries of the East from whom they recruit the so-called "coloured" troops which they will not hesitate to hurl against "their own" revolutionary workers. That is why they call the Eastern countries their "inexhaustible" reserve.

It is the task of communism to break the age-long sleep of the oppressed peoples of the East, to infect the workers and peasants of these countries with the emancipatory spirit of revolution, to rouse them to fight imperialism, and thus deprive world imperialism of its "most reliable" rear and "inexhaustible" reserve.

Without this, the definite triumph of socialism, complete victory over imperialism, is unthinkable.

The revolution in Russia was the first to rouse the oppressed peoples of the East to fight imperialism. The Soviets in Persia, India and China are a clear symptom that the age-long sleep of the workers and peasants of the East is becoming a thing of the past.

Revolution in the West will undoubtedly give a new spur to the revolutionary movement in the East, will infuse it with courage and faith in victory.

And no little help in revolutionizing the East will be rendered by the imperialists themselves, with their new annexations, which are drawing new countries into the fight against imperialism and extending the base of world revolution.

It is the duty of the Communists to intervene in the growing spontaneous movement in the East and to develop it further, into a conscious struggle against imperialism.

From that standpoint, the resolution of the recent Conference of Moslem Communists, 1 calling for more intense propaganda in the East—in Persia, India and China—is undoubtedly of profound revolutionary significance.

Let us hope that our Moslem comrades will carry out-their highly important decision.

For the truth must be grasped once and for all that whoever desires the triumph of socialism must not forget the East.

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 3,

November 24, 1918

Editorial

____

Notes

1.The reference is to the First Congress of Moslem Communists held in Moscow in November 1918. It elected a Central Bureau of Moslem Organizations of the R.C.P.(B.).

 

 

 

The Ukraine is Liberating Itself 1

December 1, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The Ukraine with its natural wealth has long been an object of imperialist exploitation.

Before the revolution the Ukraine was exploited by the Western imperialists quietly, so to speak, without "military operations." French, Belgian and British imperialists organized huge enterprises in the Ukraine (coal, metal, etc.), acquired the majority of the shares and proceeded to suck the blood out of the Ukrainian people in the usual, "lawful" and unobtrusive way.

After the October Revolution the picture changed. The October Revolution snapped the threads of imperialism and proclaimed the land and the factories the property of the Ukrainian people, making it impossible for the imperialists to exploit in the "ordinary," "unobtrusive" way. Imperialism was thus expelled from the Ukraine.

But imperialism had no desire to yield and positively refused to reconcile itself to the new situation. Hence the "necessity" for the forcible enslavement of the Ukraine, the "necessity" for its occupation.

The Austro-German imperialists were the first to undertake the occupation of the Ukraine. The "Rada" and the "Hetmanship," with their "independence," were only playthings and a convenient screen for this occupation, giving outward "sanction" to the exploitation of the Ukraine by the Austro-German imperialists.

Who is not familiar with the endless humiliations and tribulations undergone by the Ukraine during the Austro-German occupation, the destruction of workers' and peasants' organizations, the complete disruption of industry and railway transport, the hangings and shootings, which were such commonplace features of Ukrainian "independence" under the aegis of the Austro-German imperialists?

But the defeat of Austro-German imperialism and the victory of the German revolution have fundamentally changed the situation in the Ukraine. The road is now open for the liberation of labouring Ukraine from the imperialist yoke. The ruination and enslavement of the Ukraine are coming to an end. The fires of revolution now spreading in the Ukraine will consume the last remnants of imperialism and its "national" hangers-on. The "Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government" 2 which has risen on the tide of revolution will build a new life based on the rule of the Ukrainian workers and peasants. The "Manifesto" of the Ukrainian Soviet Government, which restores the landlords' land to the peasants, the mills and factories to the workers, and full liberty to the labouring and exploit-ed—this historic "Manifesto" will reverberate like thunder through the Ukraine, striking fear into the hearts of its enemies, and ring out like a joyful peal of bells, gladdening and consoling the oppressed sons of the Ukraine.

But the struggle is not yet over, the victory is not yet secure. The real struggle in the Ukraine has only just begun.

At a time when German imperialism is at its last gasp and the "Hetmanship" in its death agony, British and French imperialism is massing forces and preparing to land troops in the Crimea for the occupation of the Ukraine. They, the Anglo-French imperialists, want to fill the place left vacant by the German invaders of the Ukraine. At the same time, a "Ukrainian Directory" 3 is appearing on the scene, headed by the adventurer Petlura, with the slogan of the old "independence" in a "new" form—as a new screen, one more convenient than the "Hetmanship," for the new, Anglo-French, occupation of the Ukraine!

The real struggle in the Ukraine is still to come.

We have no doubt that the Ukrainian Soviet Government will be able to administer a fitting rebuff to the new uninvited guests—the would-be enslavers from Britain and France.

We have no doubt that the Ukrainian Soviet Government will be able to expose the reactionary role of the adventure-seekers of the Vinnichenko-Petlura camp who, willingly or unwillingly, are paving the way for the incursion of the Anglo-French enslavers.

We have no doubt that the Ukrainian Soviet Government will be able to rally around itself the workers and peasants of the Ukraine and lead them with credit to battle and victory.

We call upon all loyal sons of the Soviet Ukraine to come to the aid of the young Ukrainian Soviet Government and help it in its glorious fight against the stranglers of the Ukraine.

The Ukraine is liberating itself. Hasten to its aid!

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 4 December 1, 1918

____

Notes

1.This article, with certain alterations, was also published as an editorial in Pravda, No. 261, December 1, 1918.

2. The Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Ukraine was set up in the latter part of November 1918, its seat being first Kursk, and then Sudja. K. E. Voroshilov and F. A. Sergeyev (Artyom) were among its members. On November 29, 1918, the Ukrainian Soviet Government issued a manifesto announcing the overthrow of the Hetman and the establishment of Soviet power in the Ukraine.

3.The Ukrainian Directory—a counter-revolutionary nationalist government formed in Kiev at the close of 1918 by Ukrainian nationalists headed by Petlura and Vinnichenko. It was overthrown by an insurrection of the Ukrainian workers and peasants in February 1919.

 

 

 

Light from the East 1

December 15, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Slowly but surely, the tide of the liberation movement is rolling from east to west, into the occupied regions. Slowly but just as surely, the "new" bourgeois-republican "governments" of Estland, Latvia, Lithuania and Byelorussia are receding into oblivion and making way for the power of the workers and peasants. The partition wall between Russia and Germany is crumbling and disappearing. The slogan of bourgeois nationalism "All power to the national bourgeoisie" is being superseded by the slogan of proletarian socialism "All power to the labouring masses of the oppressed nationalities."

A year ago, after the October Revolution, the liberation movement advanced in the same direction and under the same slogan. The bourgeois-national "governments" that were formed at that time in the border regions sought to hold back the tide of the socialist movement advancing from Russia and declared war on the Soviet power. They wished to establish separate bourgeois states in the border regions in order that the national bourgeoisie might retain power and privileges in its hands. The reader will recall that this counter-revolutionary scheme failed: attacked from within by "their own" workers and peasants, these "governments" were forced to retreat. The occupation by German imperialism which followed interrupted the process of emancipation of the border regions and tipped the scales in favour of the bourgeois-national "governments." Now, after the rout of German imperialism and the expulsion of the forces of occupation from the border regions, the process of the struggle for emancipation has been resumed with fresh vigour and in new and more salient forms.

The Estland workers were the first to raise the standard of revolt. The Estland Labour Commune 2 is victoriously advancing, shattering the foundations of the Estland bourgeois-republican "government" and rousing to struggle the labouring masses of the Estland towns and villages. In reply to the request of the Est-land Soviet Government, the Russian Soviet Government has solemnly recognized the independence of the Estland Socialist Republic. Need it be demonstrated that this act was the duty and obligation of the Russian Soviet Government? Soviet Russia has never looked upon the Western regions as its possessions. It has always considered that these regions are the inalienable possession of the labouring masses of the nationalities inhabiting them, that these labouring masses have the full right freely to determine their political destiny. Naturally, this does not exclude, but rather presumes the rendering of every assistance by Soviet Russia to our Estland comrades in their struggle for the emancipation of the working people of Estland from the bourgeois yoke.

The workers of Latvia have likewise set to work to liberate their martyred fatherland. The re-establishment of Soviets in Verro, Valka, Riga, Libau and other parts of Latvia, the attempts of the Riga workers to secure the necessary political liberties by revolutionary means, the swift advance of the Latvian Riflemen on Riga —all this indicates that the same fate awaits the bourgeois-republican "government" in Latvia as in Estland. We have information that the establishment of a Provisional Soviet Government is to be officially proclaimed in Latvia within the next few days. 3 Needless to say, this act, if it really occurs, will expedite and give constitutional shape to the emancipation of Latvia from imperialism.

The workers and peasants of Lithuania are following in the footsteps of the Latvian workers. The formation of Soviets — as yet only semi-legal, it is true — in Vilna, Shauli, Kovno and other parts of Lithuania; the unparalleled revolutionary activity displayed by the Lithuanian agricultural workers in preventing the big farms from being pillaged by the landlords; the rapid advance of the Lithuanian Riflemen into the heart of Lithuania; and, lastly, the projected establishment, as we are informed, of a Provisional Soviet Government of Lithuania—all this indicates that the notorious Lithuanian Tariba4 will not escape the fate of its counterparts in Latvia and Estland.

The ephemeral nature of the national "governments" in the occupied regions is due not only to the fact that they are bourgeois in character and alien to the interests of the workers and peasants, but also, and chiefly, to the fact that they are mere appendages of the occupation authorities, which could not but rob them of all moral prestige in the eyes of the mass of the population.

Looked at from this standpoint, the occupation period undoubtedly played a beneficial part in the development of the border regions, as it thoroughly exposed the rottenness and treachery of the national bourgeoisie.

The trend is obviously such that any day now the Western regions and their labouring masses, which until now were the victims of the fraudulent machinations of the imperialists, will seize their freedom and at long last stand on their own feet. . . .

In the North, in Finland, things are still "quiet." But beneath this surface quietness deep internal work is undoubtedly proceeding, on the part of the workers and torppari, on the one hand, who are straining for emancipation, and of the Svinhufvud Government, on the other, which keeps changing its Ministers with suspicious frequency and is continually conspiring with British imperialist agents. The withdrawal of the occupation forces from Finland will undoubtedly hasten the liquidation of Svinhufvud's band of criminals, who have quite deservedly earned the profound contempt of the broad mass of the population of Finland.

In the South, in the Ukraine, things are not so quiet as in Finland. Far from it! The insurrectionary troops are gathering strength and organizing as they advance southward. After an exemplarily organized three days' strike, 5 Kharkov has passed under the control of the Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies. The Pet-lurites, the German invaders and Skoropadsky's agents are forced to reckon with the will of the workers. In Yeka-terinoslav, a Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies is functioning openly. The celebrated Manifesto of the

Ukrainian Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government was printed openly and posted up in the streets of Yekaterinoslav. The "authorities" were powerless to prevent this "audacious act." We say nothing of the powerful insurrectionary movement of the Ukrainian peasants, who look upon the Manifesto of the Ukrainian Soviet Governmentastheirgospel.

And in the far South, in the North Caucasus, even the Ingushes, Chechens, Ossetians and Kabardinians are passing over in whole groups to the Soviet power and, arms in hand, are freeing their land from the hired bands of British imperialism.

Need it be said that all this is bound to have its effect on the oppressed peoples of the West, and above all on the peoples of Austria-Hungary, who are still passing through the period of the bourgeois-national liberation movement, but who have already, by virtue of the logic of facts, entered the phase of struggle against imperialism?

At the centre of all these stupendous developments is the standard-bearer of world revolution, Soviet Russia, inspiring the workers and peasants of the oppressed peoples with faith in victory, and supporting their liberation struggleforthebenefitofworldsocialism.

Of course, the other camp—the camp of the imperialists—is not dozing either. Its agents are prowling through all countries, from Finland to the Caucasus and from Siberia to Turkestan, supplying the counter-revolutionaries, hatching criminal conspiracies, organizing a crusade against Soviet Russia, and forging chains for the peoples of the West. But it is surely obvious that the imperialist gang have already lost all moral prestige in the eyes of the oppressed peoples, that they have lost forever their former halo of standard-bearers of "civilization" and "humanitarianism," and that they are prolonging their predatory existence with the help of bribery and hired bands, and by keeping the so-called "coloured" peoples of Africa in darkness and slavery. . . .

Light is coming from the East!

The West, with its imperialist cannibals, has become a breeding ground of darkness and slavery. The task is to destroy this breeding ground, to the joy and comfort of the working people of all countries.

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 6, December 15, 1918

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Notes

1.This article was simultaneously published in Pravda. (No. 273, December 15, 1918) as an unsigned editorial.

2.Estland Labour Commune—the Estland Soviet Republic, established on November 29, 1918, after the Red Army had liberated Narva from German occupation. On December 7, 1918, the Council of People's Commissars endorsed a decree, drafted by J. V. Stalin, recognizing the independence of the Estland Soviet Republic.

3.Soviet power in Latvia was proclaimed in the middle of December 1918. On December 17 the Provisional Soviet Government of Latvia issued a manifesto to the working people announcing the transfer of state power to the Soviets. It stated: "We know that on this difficult path, in this strenuous struggle, we are not alone. Behind us stands the R.S.F.S.R., with which we shall continue to be closely bound, and not by external ties alone."

4.The Lithuanian Tariba (bourgeois National Council) was set up in September 1917 under the control of the German occupation authorities.

5.The three days' strike in Kharkov in the early part of December 1918 was provoked by the arrest of the presidium of the Kharkov Soviet by the Petlurites. The strike embraced all the factories, the tramway service and the power station. The Petlura authorities were forced to release the arrested men, after which the Soviet called off the strike.

 

 

 

Things are Moving

December 22, 1918

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The process of liberation of the Western regions goes forward. The tide of revolution is steadily mounting, breaking down all obstacles in its path. The agents of the old world and the arch-reactionaries of Estland, Latvia and Lithuania are fleeing before it like the devil from holy water.

The Estland Riflemen are already surrounding Taps, an important junction. Acting on the orders of the Council of People's Commissars, our navy is guarding Soviet Estland against possible surprises from the sea. The Red flag of socialism is waving over Estland. The labouring masses of Estland are jubilant. The liberation of Revel is not far off. Needless to say, if British forces attempt to enter Estland and occupy it, they will encounter the solid resistance of the entire Estonian people.

In Lithuania, the revolutionary conflagration is growing. Vilna is already in the hands of the Soviet of Workers' and Landless Peasants' Deputies. The recent impressive demonstrations in Vilna1 have thoroughly demoralized the Tariba, that creature of the Kaiser. The ardent greetings sent by the Vilna Soviet to the Council of People's Commissars and the Red Army 2 speak eloquently enough of the character of the liberation movement in Lithuania. The fact that in Kovno, Shauli and other towns, and in villages and rural areas, Soviets are functioning under the very nose of the hangman

General Hoffmann shows how strong the onslaught of the Soviet revolution is. With its fiery manifesto, the Lithuanian Workers' Government 3 formed in Vileika will undoubtedly constitute a reliable rallying centre for the revolutionary forces of Lithuania. The Lithuanian Red Riflemen will bring liberation to their country. The recognition of the Lithuanian Workers' Government by the Soviet Government of Russia 4 will strengthen their faith in final victory.

The revolution is mounting swiftly and irresistibly in Latvia. The glorious Latvian Red Riflemen have already captured Valka and are victoriously surrounding Riga. The recently formed Soviet Government of Latvia is leading the Latvian workers and landless peasants to victory with a sure hand. Exposing the equivocal policy of the Berlin Government and the German occupation authorities, it declares unreservedly in its Manifesto :

"We emphatically reject all intervention on behalf of our feudal and bourgeois enemies, even if such intervention is threatened by a government that calls itself socialist."

The Latvian Soviet Government relies only on the assistance of the revolutionary proletariat of all countries, and of Russia first and foremost. It says:

"We call for aid and expect it from the genuinely revolutionary proletariat of the whole world, and especially of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic."

Need it be said that the Soviet Government of Russia will render every possible assistance to Latvia now in process of liberation and to its heroic Riflemen?

In the North, in Finland, all is still "quiet." But beneath the surface of quiet and tranquility the counterrevolutionaries are not slumbering and are preparing for new battles. Svinhufvud's resignation and the appointment of Mannerheim imply the renunciation of internal "reforms" and indicate that Britain is planning an attack on Petrograd, through Finland. And that, of course, is bound to intensify the revolutionary crisis which is ripening in Finland.

In the Ukraine, the smoothly staged flight of Skoro-padsky and the recognition of Vinnichenko's Directory by the Entente reveal a new picture, a picture of the new "work" of Entente diplomacy. Evidently, Mr. Petlura, who only yesterday was brandishing the sword of "independence," is today inclining in favour of the forces of the Entente, that is, of Krasnov and Denikin, which are "coming" to his aid. The insurrectionary troops and the Soviets are proclaimed to be the chief enemy of the Ukraine. And the chief friend is the "welcome guest"—the Entente and its friends, the Krasnov and Denikin white-guards, who have already occupied the Donets Basin. Having sold the Ukraine once to the Germans, Mr. Petlura is now selling it again to the British imperialists. Needless to say, the Ukrainian workers and peasants will take account of this new act of treachery on the part of Vinnichenko and Petlura. The rapidly growing revolutionary movement in the Ukraine and the process of disintegration which has already begun in the ranks of Petlura's army are sufficiently convincing evidence of this.

Things are moving. . . .

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 7, December 22, 1918

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Notes

1. Demonstrations and a general political strike were held in Vilna and other Lithuanian cities on December 16 1918, at the call of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania and Byelorussia in protest against the policy of the bourgeois Tariba and the German occupation authorities. The slogan of the Vilna demonstration, in which some 20,000 workers and the poorer elements of the city took part, was "All power to the Soviets!" The demonstrators also demanded that the Germans should cease removing railway equipment and other property from Lithuania and should release political prisoners.

2.The greetings to the Council of People's Commissars and Red Army were adopted by the Vilna Soviet on December 16, 1918. The greetings to the C.P.C. said: "The Council of People's Commissars, headed by the tried and tested leader of the world proletariat, Comrade Lenin, is the guiding star of the working class of Lithuania in the struggle now developing for its complete emancipation."

The greetings to the Red Army stated: ". . . We, the workers of Lithuania, observe with the deepest admiration the heroic gallantry you are displaying in the struggle against the armed forces of counter-revolution. We also greet the worker and peasant sons of Lithuania who have joined the Red Army and are sacrificing their lives for the general emancipation of the working class and, in particular, of their brothers who are groaning under the yoke of brutal occupation. . ."

3.The Provisional Revolutionary Workers' Government of Lithuania was formed in the early part of December 1918, with the Bolshevik V. S. Mickevic ius-Kapsukas at its head. On December 16, 1918, it issued a manifesto declaring: "1. All power in the country is transferred to the Soviets of Workers' and Landless and Small Peasants' Deputies. 2. The power of the German occupation authorities is abolished. 3. The Kaiser's Tariba in Lithuania with its Council of Ministers is deposed and outlawed."

4.The independence of the Lithuanian Soviet Republic was recognized by a decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R. signed by Lenin on December 22, 1918. A resolution of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, adopted on the report of J. V. Stalin on December 23, 1918, stated: "Now that the Soviet Republics of Estland, Latvia and Lithuania have been established as a result of the revolutionary struggle of the proletarian and peasant masses, the Central Executive Committee re-affirms that the fact that these countries formerly belonged to the old tsarist empire does not impose any obligations upon them. At the same time the Central Executive Committee expresses the firm confidence that only now, with the recognition of full liberty of self-determination and with the transfer of power to the working class, will a free, voluntary and indestructible union of the working people of all the nations inhabiting the territory of the former Russian Empire be created. . . ."

 

 

 

 

Measures Taken to Strengthen the Front

January 31, 1919, Moscow
Pravda, No. 16, January 16, 1935
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 230-231.

By January 15, 1,200 bayonets and sabres who could be relied on had been sent to the front; two squadrons of cavalry were dispatched two days later, and the 62nd Regiment of the 3rd Brigade (after thorough sifting) on the 20th. These units made it possible to halt the enemy's advance, wrought a complete change in the morale of the Third Army, and opened our advance on Perm, which so far is proceeding successfully. The 63rd Regiment of the same brigade (after having undergone a month's purge) will be sent to the front on January 30. The 61st Regiment cannot be sent before February 10 (it needs very thorough sifting). In view of the weakness of the extreme left flank, open to the danger of being turned by the enemy, the ski battalion in Vyatka was reinforced with volunteers (1,000 in all), sup­plied with quick-firing guns and sent from Vyatka on January 28 in the direction of Cherdyn to link up with the extreme left flank of the Third Army. Another three reliable regiments must be sent from Russia to support the Third Army if its position is to be really strengthened and if it is to be able to exploit its successes.

In the rear of the army a thorough purging of So­viet and Party institutions is under way. Revolutionary Committees have been formed in Vyatka and the uyezd towns. A start has been made in forming strong revo­lutionary organizations in the countryside, and this work is continuing. All Party and Soviet work is being re-organized. on new lines. The military control agencies have been purged and re-organized. The Gubernia Extraordinary Commission has been purged and reinforced with new Party workers. The congestion on the Vyatka railway line is being relieved. Experienced Party workers need to be sent and prolonged socialist work will be required before the rear of the Third Army is thor­oughly strengthened.

Concluding their report, the Commission considers it necessary to stress once again the absolute neces­sity for the establishment of a Control and Inspection Commission under the Council of Defence for the investi­gation of so-called "defects in the machinery" of the People's Commissariats and their local departments in the rear and at the front.

In correcting shortcomings in the work of the centre and the localities the Soviet power usually resorts to the method of disciplining and punishing offending officials. While recognizing that this method is abso­lutely necessary and fully expedient, the commission, however, considers it insufficient. Shortcomings in work are due not only to the laxity, negligence and irrespon­sibility of some of the officials, but also to the inexpe­rience of others. The Commission has found in the local­ities quite a number of absolutely honest, tireless and devoted officials who, nevertheless, committed a number of blunders in their work owing to insufficient experience. If the Soviet power had a special apparatus to accumu­late the experience gained in the work of building the socialist state and to pass it on to the already existing young officials who are ardently desirous of helping the proletariat, the building of a socialist Russia would proceed much faster and less painfully. This body should be the above-mentioned Control and Inspection Commission under the Council of Defence. The activ­ities of this Commission might supplement the work of the centre in tightening discipline among officials.

The Commission:
J. Stalin
F. Dzerzhinsky

 

 

 

Report to V. I. Lenin

January 19, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

To Comrade Lenin.

We have received your ciphered telegram. We have already informed you of the reasons for the catastrophe as revealed by the investigation: 1 an army with fatigued units and with no reserves nor a firm command, and, moreover, occupying a flank position open to envelopment from the North—such an army could not but collapse in the face of a serious assault of superior and fresh enemy forces. In our opinion, the trouble lay not only in the weakness of the Third Army agencies and the immediate rear, but also

1) In the General Staff and the Area Military Commissariats, which formed and sent to the front units which were patently unreliable;

2) In the All-Russian Commissars Bureau, which supplied the units being formed in the rear with callow youths, not commissars;

3) In the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, whose so-called instructions and orders disorganized the control of the front and the armies. Unless the necessary changes are made at central headquarters, there can be no guarantee of success at the fronts.

Here are our replies to the military.

1. The two regiments. Two regiments surrendered: the 1st Soviet and a regiment of sailors from Petro-grad. They did not begin any hostile actions against us. It was the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the 10th Division stationed in the village of Ilyinskoye, which had been formed by the Ural Area Military Commissariat, that started hostile actions. Further, we managed to forestall a mutiny of the 10th Regiment of Engineers, stationed at Ochersky Zavod, which had also been formed by the Area Military Commissariat. The reason for the desertions to the enemy, as well as for the hostile actions, was the counter-revolutionary spirit of the regiments, which is to be attributed to the old methods of mobilization and formation, under which no preliminary sifting was made of the men called up for service, and also to the absence of even a minimum of political educational work in the regiments.

2. Motovilikha. The machinery of the plant and the equipment of the electrical shop were dismantled and inventorized in proper time and loaded on rail; but they were not moved out, nor were they destroyed. The responsibility lies with the Central Collegium, 2 the chief transportation officer and the Revolutionary Military Council of the army, which displayed incredible mismanagement. Five-sixths of Motovilikha's workers were left behind in Perm, as also were the entire technical staff of the plant and its raw materials. According to available information, the plant can be restarted in about a month and a half. Rumours of a revolt of the Motovilikha workers on the eve of the fall of Perm are not confirmed; there was only serious unrest due to bad food supply.

3. Demolition of the bridge and valuable installations. The bridge, etc., were not blown up owing to mismanagement on the part of the Revolutionary Military Council of the army and lack of liaison between the retreating units and army headquarters. It is asserted that the comrade whose duty it was to blow up the bridge could not accomplish his mission because he was killed by whiteguards a few minutes before the charge was to be fired. It has been impossible so far to verify this version because of the flight of the bridge guards and the departure of a whole number of "Soviet" officials "no one knows whereto."

4. Reserves at Perm. The reserves consisted of one still weak and unreliable "Soviet regiment," which upon its arrival at the front immediately went over to the enemy. There were no other reserves.

5. Losses of materiel and men. It is still impossible to construct a full picture of the losses because of the disappearance of a number of documents and the desertion to the enemy of a number of the "Soviet" specialists concerned.

According to the scanty data available, our losses were: 297 locomotives (of which, 86 in disrepair), about 3,000 railway wagons (probably more), 900,000 poods of oil and paraffin, several hundred thousand poods of caustic soda, two million poods of salt, five million rubles' worth of medical supplies, the storehouses of the Motovilikha plant and the Perm railwayshops with the vast amount of materials they contained, the machinery and parts of the Motovilikha plant, the machinery of the steamers of the Kama flotilla, 65 wagon-loads of leather, 150 wagon-loads of food belonging to the army supply division, the huge warehouse of the District- Water Transport Board containing cotton wool, textiles, mineral oil, etc., ten cars of wounded, the axle stores of the railways which included large stocks of American axles, 29 guns, 10,000 shells, 2,000 rifles, 8 million cartridges; over 8,000 men killed, wounded or missing in the period December 22 to 29. The railway specialists and practically all the supply specialists have remained in Perm. The counting of losses continues.

6. Present fighting strength of the army. The Third Army consists at present of two divisions (29th and 30th), with 14,000 bayonets and 3,000 sabres, 323 machine guns and 78 guns. Reserves: a brigade of the 7th Division sent from Russia which has not yet been sent into action because of its unreliability and need of thorough sifting. The three regiments promised by Vatsetis have not yet arrived (and will not, because yesterday, it appears, they were redirected to Narva). 3 The units in action are battered and worn out and are holding their positions with difficulty.

7. Control system of the Third Army. Outwardly, the system of control seems the usual one and "according to the manual." Actually, there is no system at all—the administration is utterly incompetent, has no liaison with the combat area, and the divisions are virtually autonomous.

8. Have adequate measures been taken to halt the retreat? Of the measures taken, the following may be considered of serious value: 1) advance of the Second Army towards Kungur, which is undoubtedly of great support to the Third Army, and 2) the dispatch to the front, thanks to the efforts of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky, of 900 fresh and fully reliable bayonets with the object of raising the fallen morale of the Third Army. Within a couple of days we shall dispatch to the front two squadrons of cavalry and the 62nd Regiment of the 3rd Brigade (already sifted). Another regiment will be leaving in ten days. The front of the Third Army knows this and sees the solicitude of the rear, and its morale is stiffening. Without a doubt, the situation is better than it was a fortnight ago. In places the army is even assuming the offensive, and not without success. If the enemy allows us another couple of weeks' respite, that is, if he does not bring up fresh forces to the front, there is hope that a stable situation will be created in the Third Army's area.

We are at present engaged in liquidating a northern enveloping movement of several enemy detachments in the direction of Vyatka, along the road that runs through Kaigorod. One reason, incidentally, why we have come to Vyatka is to send a ski detachment to Kaigorod, which we shall do. As to other measures (for strengthening the rear), we are mobilizing personnel, rank-and-file and otherwise, and appointing them to the army units in the rear, and are purging the Glazov and Vyatka Soviets. But, of course, the results of this work will not make themselves felt for some time.

This exhausts the measures taken. They can by no means be considered adequate, because the weary units of the Third Army cannot hold on for long without at least partial replacement. It is therefore necessary to send us at least two regiments. Only then may the stability of the front be considered guaranteed. Apart from this, it is necessary:

1) To replace the army commander;

2) To send three efficient political workers;

3) To dissolve immediately the Regional Party Committee, Regional Soviet, etc., with a view to the speedy mobilization of the evacuated officials.

J. Stalin
F. Dzerzhinsky

Vyatka, January 19, 1919

P. S. We shall be returning to Glazov in a few days to complete the investigation.

_____

Notes

1. On January 13, 1919, J. V. Stalin and F. E. Dzerzhinsky sent V. I. Lenin and the Party Central Committee a "Brief Preliminary Report" on the progress of the inquiry into the reasons for the Perm disaster. It also outlined the measures proposed by the commission for restoring the situation in the Third Army sector and to enable the army to pass to the offensive. In response to the report, V. I. Lenin, on January 14, sent the following telegram:

"To Stalin and Dzerzhinsky at their address in Glazov.

"Have received and read your first ciphered dispatch. Earnestly request both of you personally to supervise the carrying out of the proposed measures on the spot, otherwise there will be no guarantee of success.—Lenin."

2. Central Collegium—the local agency of the All-Russian Evacuation Commission.

3. This refers to the three regiments which were to be sent to the Third Army by the Commander-in-Chief in response to the request of J. V. Stalin and F. E. Dzerzhinsky. When for- warding this report to the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, V. I. Lenin wrote in the margin: ". . . In my opinion it is simply outrageous that Vatsetis ordered the three regiments to Narva. Countermandit! !" (see Lenin Miscellany, XXXIV, p. 90).

 

 

 

Speech Delivered at a Joint Meeting of Party and Soviet Organisations in Vyatka

January 19, 1919 (Record in the Minutes)

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

As to the general situation, it should be said that for the immediate future a certain stability at the front is assured and it is just now that a Revolutionary Military Committee of the Vyatka Gubernia must be formed. If the enemy advances, he will have the aid of counter-revolutionary revolts from within, which can only be coped with by a small and mobile organization such as the Revolutionary Military Committee should be.

It is necessary at once to form a new centre, comprising representatives of:

1) The Gubernia Executive Committee;

2) The Regional Soviet;

3) The Gubernia Party Committee;

4) The Extraordinary Commission;

5) The Area Military Commissariat.

All forces and resources must be concentrated in the hands of the Vyatka Revolutionary Military Committee. However, the current work of the Soviet bodies should not be suspended; on the contrary, it must be intensified.

Similar organs must be formed in the uyezds, on the same pattern as the gubernia centre.

Given such a network of revolutionary committees, contact with the localities will be assured.

And only then shall we be ready for a new offensive.

Comrade Stalin formulated his proposal as follows:

With the object of strengthening and securing the rear and uniting the activities of all the Soviet and Party organizations of the Vyatka Gubernia, a Vyatka Revolutionary Military Committee shall be set up, the decisions of which, as the highest organ of Soviet power in the gubernia, shall be binding on the above-mentioned institutions and organizations.

First published in the newspaper Gorkovskaya Kommuna, No. 290, December 18, 1934

 

 

 

 

Report to Comrade Lenin by the Commission of the Party Central Committee and the Council of Defence on the Reasons for the Fall of Perm in December 1918

January 31, 1919
First Published: Pravda, No. 16, January 16, 1935
J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 202-232.

 

GENERAL PICTURE OF THE DISASTER

That disaster was inevitable was already apparent towards the end of November, when the enemy, after having surrounded the Third Army in a semi-circle along a line stretching from Nadezhdinsky, through Verkhoturye, Baranchinsky, Kyn, Irginsky and Rozhdestvensky, to the left bank of the Kama, and making strong demonstrations on his right flank, launched a fierce attack on Kushva.

The Third Army at that time consisted of the 30th Division, the 5th Division, a Special Brigade, a Special Detachment and the 29th Division, totalling about 35,000 bayonets and sabres, with 571 machine guns and 115 guns (see "Order of Battle").

The morale and efficiency of the army were deplorable, owing to the weariness of the units, the result of six months of continuous fighting without relief. There were no reserves whatever. The rear was totally insecure (a series of demolitions of the rail way track in the rear of the army). The food supply of the army was haphazard and uncertain (at the most difficult moment, when a furious assault was launched against the 29th Division, its units were in action for five days literally without bread or other food).

Although it occupied a flank position, the Third Army was not secured against envelopment from the North (no measures were taken to post a special group of units on the army's extreme left flank to guard it against envelopment). As to the extreme right flank, the neighbouring army, the Second, being immobilized by a vague directive from the Commander-in-Chief (not to involve the Second Army in action after the capture of Izhevsk and Votkinsk, because it was to be given another assignment), and compelled to remain immobile for ten days, was not in a position to render timely support to the Third Army by advancing at the most crucial moment, before the surrender of Kushva (close of November).

Thus, left to its own devices (in the South) and open to enemy enveloping operations (in the North), weary and battered, without reserves and without the rear being at all secure, poorly fed (29th Division) and abominably shod (30th Division) at a time when the temperature stood at 35 degrees below zero, drawn out along a vast line stretching from Nadezhdinsky to the left bank of the Kama south of Osa (over 400 versts), and with a weak and inexperienced army headquarters, the Third Army could not, of course, withstand the onslaught of the enemy's superior and fresh forces (five divisions), which, in addition, were led by experienced commanders.

On November 30 the enemy occupied Viya Station, severing our left flank from the centre, and annihilated practically the entire 3rd Brigade of the 29th Division (only the brigade commander, the chief of staff and the commissar escaped; armoured train No.9 fell into the enemy's hands). On December 1 the enemy occupied Krutoy Log Station in the Lysva sector and captured our aimoured train No.2. On December 3 the enemy occupied Kushvinsky Zavod (Verkhoturye and the whole northern area, being cut off from the centre, were evacuated by our forces). On December 7 the enemy occupied Biser. On December 9 - Lysva. Between December 12 and 15 - Chusovskaya, Kalino and Selyanka Stations, the 1st Soviet Replacements Battalion going over to the side of the enemy. On December 20 the enemy occupied Valezhnaya Station. On December 21 - Gori and Mostovaya, the 1st Soviet Rifle Regiment deserting to the enemy. The enemy approached Motovilikha, with our forces in general retreat. On the night of the 24th-25th the enemy occupied Perm without a fight. The so-called artillery defence of the city proved a farce, leaving 29 guns in the enemy's hands.

Thus, in twenty days, the army in its disorderly retreat retired more than 300 versts, from Verkhoturye to Perm, losing in this period 18,000 men, scores of guns and hundreds of machine guns. (After the fall of Perm the Third Army consisted only of two divisions, with a total of 17,000 bayonets and sabres instead of 35,000, with 323 machine guns instead of 571, and 78 guns instead of 115. See "Order of Battle.")

Strictly speaking, it was not a retreat, still less could it be called an organized withdrawal of units to new positions; it was an absolutely disorderly flight of an utterly routed and completely demoralized army, with a staff which was neither capable of realizing what was happening nor of foreseeing the inevitable disaster, incapable, too, of adopting timely measures to preserve the army by withdrawing it to prepared positions, even at the price of territory. The noisy laments of the Revolutionary Military Council and Third Army headquarters that the disaster was a "surprise" only prove that these institutions were out of touch with the army, had no inkling of the fatal significance of the events at Kushva and Lysva, and were incapable of directing the army's actions.

All these factors account for the unparalleled confusion and inefficiency which characterized the absolutely disorderly evacuation of a number of towns and places in the area of the Third Army, the shameful affair about the demolition of the bridge and destruction of the abandoned property, and, lastly, the matter of the guarding of the city and of its so-called artillery defence. Although talk of evacuation had already begun in August, nothing, or nearly nothing, was done for its practical organization. Nobody, not a single organization, attempted to call to order the Central Collegium, which got in the way of the institutions, engaged in endless debates on a plan of evacuation, but did nothing, absolutely nothing, to arrange for the evacuation (it did not even prepare a list of "its own freight").

Nobody, not a single institution, attempted to establish effective control over the Ural Railway Administration, which proved suspiciously incapable of combating the skilfully organized sabotage of railway personnel.

The appointment of chief transportation officer Stogov as chief of evacuation on December 12 did not advance the work of evacuation one iota, because, despite his solemn pledge to evacuate Perm without delay ("I pledge my head that everything will be evacuated "), Stogov had no plan of evacuation, no evacuation staff, and no military force with which to curb the disorderly and unauthorized attempts at "evacuation" on the part of individual institutions and disorganized military units (seizure of locomotives, wagons, etc.). The result was that all sorts of rubbish - broken chairs and similar lumber were evacuated, while trains already loaded with machinery and parts of the Motovilikha plant and the Kama flotilla, trains carrying wounded soldiers or precious American axles, and hundreds of sound locomotives and other valuables remained un-evacuated.

The Regional Party Committee, the Regional Soviet, and the Revolutionary Military Council and army headquarters could not but know all this, but evidently they "refrained from interfering," since the investigation reveals that these institutions did not exercise systematic control over the activities of the evacuation agencies.

Already in October army headquarters began to talk of arranging an artillery defence of Perm. But it went no farther than talk, because 26 guns (plus another 3 which were not in proper working order), with all their horses and harness were left to the enemy without a single shot having been fired. The investigation shows that if headquarters had taken the trouble to check what the brigade commander was doing in regard to placing the guns, it would have realized that, in view of the disorderly retreat of the military units and the general state of disorganization on the eve of the fall of Perm (December 23), and in view of the fact that the brigade commander, in disobedience of orders, had postponed the emplacement of the guns until the 24th (this brigade commander deserted to the enemy on the 24th), the only thing to be done was to save the guns themselves by removing them, or at least to put them out of action, but that there certainly could be no question of an artillery defence. That neither of these things was done can only be attributed to the negligence and inefficiency of headquarters.

1) Whether (as some assert) Medvedyev really was killed by whiteguard agents just before the charge was to be fired, when the bridge guards fled "no one knows whereto";

2) Whether Medvedyev himself ran away because he did not want to blow up the bridge;

3) Or whether, perhaps, Medvedyev did all in his power to blow up the bridge, but it was not blown up because the wiring was defective, or the charges were damaged, perhaps by the fire of the enemy, who was shelling the bridge, or perhaps before the shelling, Medvedyev being killed maybe later when the enemy arrived on the scene.

Further, the Revolutionary Military Council and army headquarters had made no attempt to assign to any precise and definite agency or individual the task of destroying the un-evacuated property. More, these institutions were not found to have formal (written) orders making compulsory the destruction or demolition of the abandoned installations and property. This explains why property mostly of minor value (railway wagons, for instance) was destroyed (burned), on the initiative of individuals, while very valuable property (textiles, uniforms, etc.) was left untouched. Moreover, the burning or blowing up of un-evacuated property was forbidden by certain official persons, ostensibly in order to "prevent panic" (these persons have not been found).

To this picture of general disruption and disorganization of the army and the rear, and mismanagement and irresponsibility on the part of army, Party and Soviet institutions, must be added the incredible, almost wholesale desertion of responsible officials to the enemy. Banin, the engineer in charge of the defence works, and all his staff, railway engineer Adrianovsky and all the experts of the area railway administration, Sukhorsky, chief of army transportation, and his staff, Bukin, chief of mobilization of the Area Military Commissariat, and his staff, Ufimtsev, commander of the guard battalion, Valyuzhenich, commander of the artillery brigade, Eskin, chief of special formations, the commander of the engineer battalion and his second-in-command, the commandants of Perm I and Perm II Stations, the entire accountant's division of the army supply department, hall the members of the Central Collegium - all these and many others remained in Perm and went over to the side of the enemy.

All this could not but increase the general panic that seized not only the retreating units but even the Revolutionary Committee which had been set up on the eve of the fall of Perm and which had failed to maintain revolutionary order in the city, and the Gubernia Military Commissariat, which lost contact with the various parts of the city, resulting in the non-withdrawal from Perm of two companies of the guard battalion, who were afterwards massacred by the Whites, and the loss of a ski battalion, who were also slaughtered by the Whites. The provocative firing skillfully organized by White agents in various parts of the city (December 23 and 24) added to and enhanced the general panic .

***

THE THIRD ARMY AND THE RESERVES

The weariness of the Third Army (six months of continuous fighting without relief) and the lack of any reliable reserves were the immediate causes of the defeat. Drawn out in a thin line 400 versts long, and liable to envelopment from the North, which compelled it to extend the line still further northward, the Third Army presented a most convenient target for enemy penetration at any point. All this, as well as the lack of reserves, was known to the Revolutionary Military Councils of the Eastern Front and the Republic already in September (see, in the "Appendix," the telegrams of responsible officers of the Third Army demanding "replacements" and "reserves," reporting the weariness of the Third Army's units, etc.), but Central Headquarters either sent no reserves at all, or sent small contingents of worthless troops. The demands for replacements and references to the weariness of the army became particularly frequent after the loss of Kushva in the early part of December. On December 6 Lashevich (army commander) appealed to the Eastern Front for reserves, pleading the hopelessness of the situation, but Smilga (Eastern Front) replied: "Unfortunately, reinforcements cannot be sent." On December 11 Trifonov, member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Third Army, informed Smilga (Eastern Front) over the direct wire: "It is very probable that we shall be forced to abandon Perm in the next few days. All we need is two or three firm regiments. Try to secure them from Vyatka or some nearby point." Reply of Smilga (Eastern Front): "Reinforcements cannot be sent. Commander-in-Chief declines to help. " (See "Appendix."). In the period August-December 13,153 men in all, with 3,388 bayonets, 134 machine guns, 22 guns and 977 horses, arrived as reinforcements for the Third Army on orders from the centre. Of these, the 1st Kronstadt Regiment of Marines (1,248 men) surrendered to the enemy, the 11th Separate Marines Battalion (834 men) deserted, the 5th Field Battery of the Kronstadt Fortress were placed under arrest for brutally killing their commander, and the Finns and Estonians (1,214 men) were recalled to the West. As to the indents for 22 companies promised by the centre, the latter simply did nothing about them. And the 3rd Brigade of the 7th Division (three regiments) promised by the centre arrived in Glazov only in the early part of January, when Perm had already fallen. Moreover, the very first acquaintance with the brigade was enough to show that it had no place in the Red Army (a distinctly counter-revolutionary attitude, disaffection towards the Soviet power, existence within the brigade of a solid group of kulak elements, threats to "surrender Vyatka," etc.). Furthermore, the brigade was not ready for action (no firing skill, baggage train of the summer type), the commanders were unacquainted with their regiments, and political educational work was negligible. Only towards the end of January, after three or four weeks of purging and thorough sifting of the brigade and strongly reinforcing it with Communists as rank-and-file Red Army men, and after intensive political educational work, was it converted into a competent fighting unit (of its three regiments, one was sent to the front on January 20, the second can be sent not earlier than January 30, and the third not earlier than February 10). Further evidence of these same shortcomings in our system of formation is the case of the l0th Cavalry Regiment and the 10th Regiment of Engineers stationed at Ochersky Zavod (they were both formed by the Ural Area Military Commissariat), the first of which attacked our units in the rear, and the second tried to do so too, but unsuccessfully, because of the precautionary measures taken.

The shortcomings in the system of formation are due to the following circumstances: down to the end of :May the Red Army was formed on the voluntary principle (under the direction of the All-Russian Formation Board), enlistment being confined to workers and peasants who did not exploit the labour of others (see "Certificate Card" and "Personal Card" drawn up by the All-Russian Formation Board). This, possibly, is one of the reasons for the staunchness of the formations of the volunteer period. When the All-Russian Formation Board was dissolved at the end of May and the work of formation turned over to the All-Russian General Staff, the picture changed for the worse. The All-Russian General Staff took over in its entirety the system of formation which prevailed in tsarist days, and enrolled for Red Army service all mobilized men regardless of their property status. The points concerning the property status of mobilized men contained in the "Personal Card" of the All-Russian Formation Board were not included in the "Personal and Record Card" drawn up by the All-Russian General Staff (see "Personal and Record Card" of the All-Russian General Staff). True, on June 12, 1918, the Council of People's Commissars issued the first decree on the mobilization of workers and peasants who do not exploit the labour of others, but it was evidently not reflected in the practical work of the All-Russian General Staff, nor in its orders, nor in the "Personal and Record Card." This chiefly explains why it was that the result of the work of our formation agencies was not so much a Red Army as a "popular army." Only in mid-January, when the Commission of the Council of Defence pressed the Ural Area Military Commissariat to the wall and demanded all documents and orders of the General Staff relative to methods of formation-only then did the All-Russian General Staff find time to give serious thought to the system of formation and it issued the telegraphic order to all Area Military Commissariats: "Fill in points 14, 15, and 16 of the personal and record cards, indicating party affiliation (of the recruit), whether he exploits the labour of others, and whether he has been through a general training course" (this telegraphic order of the General Staff was sent out on January 18,1919. See "Appendix"). And this after eleven divisions were considered formed already by December 1, and part of them, already dispatched to the front, had displayed all the signs of being whiteguard formations.

The defects in the system of formation were aggravated by the amazing negligence of the Area Military Commissariat in regard to the maintenance of the new formations (wretched food and clothing, no bathhouses, etc. See "Testimony of the Commission of Inquiry of the Vyatka Party Committee"), and by the absolutely indiscriminate appointment of unverified officers as commanders, many of whom lured their units over to the enemy.

Lastly, the General Staff did not see to it that men mobilized in one locality should be transferred for formation to another locality (in a different military area), which would have substantially checked mass desertion. We say nothing about the absence of any satisfactory political educational work in the units (weakness and incompetence of the All-Russian Commissars Bureau).

It is quite understandable that such semi-whiteguard reserves, as far as the centre sent them at all (half of them usually deserted on the way), could not be of any material support to the Third Army. Yet the units of the Third Army were so fatigued and worn out that during the retreat soldiers would lie down in whole groups in the snow and beg their commissars to shoot them: "We can't stand on our feet, let alone march. We're worn out. Put us out of our misery, comrades." (See" Testimony of Divisional Commissar Mrachkovsky.")

CONCLUSIONS

This practice of fighting without reserves must be stopped. A system of permanent reserves must be introduced, otherwise it will be impossible either to maintain present positions, or to exploit successes. Without this, disaster will be inevitable.

But reserves can be of value only if the old system of mobilization and formation practised by the General Staff is radically amended, and the composition of the General Staff itself is changed.

It is necessary, firstly, that mobilized men be divided strictly into propertied men (unreliable) and non-propertied men (who are alone suitable for Red Army service).

It is necessary, secondly, that men mobilized in one locality should be transferred for formation to another locality, and that the principle in dispatching men to the front should be: "the further from their home gubernia, the better" (abandonment of the territorial principle).

It is necessary, thirdly, to discard the practice of forming large, unwieldy units (divisions), which are unfitted for conditions of civil war, and to lay down that the maximum combat unit should be the brigade.

It is necessary, fourthly, to establish strict continuous control over those Area Military Commissariats (first replacing their personnel), which evoke indignation among the Red Army men (mass desertion at the best) by their criminal negligence in the matter of billeting, victualling and outfitting the units under formation.

It is necessary, lastly, to replace the personnel of the All-Russian Commissars Bureau, which supplies the military units with whipper-snapper "commissars" who are quite incapable of organizing political educational work on any satisfactory basis.

As a result of non-observance of these conditions, what our formation agencies are sending to the front is not so much a Red Army as a "popular army," and the word "commissar" has become a term of opprobrium.

In particular, if the fighting efficiency of the Third Army is to be preserved, it is absolutely essential to supply it at once with reserves to the extent of at least three reliable regiments.

CONTROL SYSTEM OF THE ARMY AND INSTRUCTIONS OF THE CENTRE

The Revolutionary Military Council of the Third Army consists of two men, one of whom (Lashevich) commands, and as to the other (Trifonov), we have failed to discover either what his functions are, or what he is actually doing: he does not look after supply, he does not look after the political education services of the army, and generally he does not seem to be doing anything whatever. In point of fact, there is no Revolutionary Military Council at all.

Army headquarters has no contact with its combat area; it has no special representatives in the divisions and brigades to keep it informed and to see to it that the orders of the army commander are strictly obeyed by the commanders of divisions and brigades; army headquarters contents itself with the official reports (often inaccurate) of the division and brigade commanders; it is completely in their hands (they behave like feudal princes). This accounts for army headquarters' lack of liaison with its combat area (it knows nothing about the real state of affairs there) and the lack of centralized control within the army (constant wailing of army headquarters regarding the weakness of the junctions between the army's combat units). Centralized control is lacking not only within the army, but also between the various armies of the front (Eastern). It is a fact that from the 10th. to the end of November, when the Third Army was shedding its blood in unequal combat, its neighbour, the Second Army, remained immobile for two whole weeks. Yet it is clear that if the Second Army, which had completed the Izhevsk-Votkinsk operation on November 10, had advanced (which it could have done quite easily, because at that time there were no enemy forces opposing it, or practically none), the enemy could not even have started any serious operation against Perm (since his rear would have been threatened by the Second Army), and the Third Army would have been saved.

The investigation has revealed that the lack of coordination between the Second and Third Armies was due to the isolation of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic from the front and the ill-considered instructions of the Commander-in-chief Front Commander Kamenev, when interrogated by us, had the following to say in this connection:

"Before the capture of Izhevsk and Votkinsk, in the early part of November, not later than the 10th, we had received instructions that after the capture of these points the Second Army was to be transferred to another front, the exact location not being specified. Having received such an instruction, the army could not be adequately used; it could not be brought into contact with the enemy, otherwise it would have been impossible to disengage it in time. The situation meanwhile was very serious, yet the army confined itself to clearing the area of whiteguard bands. It was not before Shternberg and Sokolnikov interceded and went to Serpukhov that the instruction was rescinded. But this took ten days. Ten days were thus wasted, during which the army was forced to remain immobile. Then the sudden summons of Shorin, commander of the Second Army, to Serpukhov paralysed the Second Army, which was linked with his personality, and forced it to remain immobile for another five days. In Serpukhov, Shorin was received by Kostyaev, who asked him whether he was a General Staff officer, and on learning that he was not, dismissed him, saying that it had been intended to appoint him assistant commander of the Southern Front but they 'had thought better of it'" (see "Statement of the Commander of the Eastern Front").

It is necessary in general to draw attention to the unpardonable thoughtlessness with which the Commander-in-Chief issues instructions. Gusev, member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Eastern Front, states (December 26): "Recently the Eastern Front received three telegraphic instructions in the space of five days: 1) Main direction-Orenburg. 2) Main direction- Yekaterinburg. 3) Go to the support of the Third Army" (see Gusev's letter to the C.C., R.C.P.). Bearing in mind that evory new instruction requires a certain amount of time to execute, it will be easily seen how light-minded was the attitude of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic and the Commander-in-Chief towards their own instructions.

It should be stated that the third member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Eastern Front, Smilga, fully associates himself with the statements of the other two members, Kamenev and Gusev. (See "Smilga 's Testimony," January 5.)

CONCLUSIONS

The army cannot do without a strong Revolutionary Military Council. Its Revolutionary Military Council should consist of at least three members, one of whom supervises the army's supply services,' the second its political education services, and the third commands. Only in this way can the army function properly.

Army headquarters must not content itself with the official reports (not infrequently inaccurate) of the commanders of divisions and brigades; it must have its representatives-agents who keep it regularly informed and are keenly alert to see that the orders of the army commander are strictly observed. Only in this way can contact between headquarters and army be assured, the virtual autonomy of divisions and brigades abolished, and effective centralized control of the army established.

.

An army cannot operate as a self-contained and absolutely autonomous unit. In its operations it is entirely dependent on the armies adjacent to it, and above all on the instructions of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic. Other things being equal, the most efficient army may suffer disaster if the instructions of the centre are faulty and if effective contact. with the adjacent armies is lacking. It is necessary to establish on the fronts, and on the Eastern Front in the first place, a system of strictly centralized control of operations of the various armies for the execution of a definite and thoroughly thought-out strategic directive. Arbitrary or ill-considered defining of instructions, and failure to pay serious heed to all the factors involved, with the consequent rapid change of instructions and the vagueness of the instructions themselves, as is the case with the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, makes it impossible to direct the armies, results in loss of effort and time, and disorganizes the front. The Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic must be reformed into a narrow group, closely connected with the fronts and consisting, say, of five persons (two of them being experts, a third exercising supervision over the Central Supply Department, a fourth over the General Staff, and the fifth over the All-Russian Commissars Bureau), sufficiently experienced not to act arbitrarily and light-mindedly in the control of the armies.

INSECURITY OF THE REAR AND WORK OF THE PARTY AND SOVIET INSTITUTIONS

The investigation reveals that the rear of the Third Army was completely disrupted. The army was forced to fight on two fronts: against the enemy, whom it at any rate knew and could see, and against elusive inhabitants in the rear who, under the direction of whiteguard agents, blew up railway tracks and created all sorts of difficulties, so much so that the railway in the rear of the army had to be guarded by a special armoured train. All the Party and Soviet institutions are unanimous in affirming that the population of the Perm and Vyatka gubernias are "solidly counter-revolutionary. " The Regional Party Committee and Regional Soviet, as well as the Perm Gubernia Executive Committee and Gubernia Party Committee assert that the villages in this area are "solidly kulak." When we remarked that there were no such things as solidly kulak villages, that the existence of kulaks without exploited is inconceivable, since kulaks must have somebody to exploit, the above mentioned institutions shrugged their shoulders and declined to give any other explanation. Further and more thorough investigation has revealed that the Soviets contain unreliable elements, that the Committees of Poor Peasants are controlled by kulaks, that the Party organizations are weak, unreliable and isolated from the centre, that Party work is neglected, and that the local functionaries endeavour to compensate for the general weakness of the Party and Soviet institutions by intensifying the activities of the Extraordinary Commissions, which, in view of the general breakdown of Party and Soviet work, have become the sale representatives of Soviet power in the provinces. Only the wretchedness of the work of the Soviet and Party organizations, which lacked even a minimum of guidance from the Central Executive Committee (or the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs) and the Central Committee of the Party, can explain the amazing fact that the revolutionary decree on the extraordinary tax,(1) which was designed to drive a wedge in the countryside and rouse the poor peasants in support of Soviet power, was turned into a most dangerous weapon of the kulaks, used by them to unite the countryside against the Soviet power (as a rule, on the initiative of the kulaks ensconced in the Committees of Poor Peasants, taxes were levied on a per capita instead of a property basis, which infuriated the poor peasants and facilitated the agitation of the kulaks against taxes and. the Soviet power). Yet all the functionaries without exception confirm that the "misunderstandings" arising in connection with the extraordinary tax were one of the principal factors, if not the only important one, which made the countryside counter-revolutionary. No guidance of the current work of the Soviet organizations on the part of the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs or the Central Executive Committee is to be observed (it is characteristic that by January 26 the re-election of the Committees of Poor Peasants, in the Perm and Vyatka gubernias had not yet begun). Nor is any guidance of the current work of the Party organizations to be observed on the part of the Central Committee. All the time we have been at the front we have succeeded in unearthing only one document from the Central Committee of the Party. It orders the transfer of Comrade Korobovkin from Perm to Penza, and is signed by a "secretary" by the name of Novgorodtseva. (This order was not carried out because of its manifest inexpediency.)

The result of all these circumstances was that the Party and Soviet institutions were deprived of backing in the villages, lost contact with the poor peasants and began to place all their reliance in the Extraordinary Commissions and in repressive measures, under which the countryside is groaning. The Extraordinary Commissions themselves, inasmuch as their work was not supplemented by and conducted parallel with positive agitational and constructive work by the Party and Soviet institutions, fell into a state of complete and utter isolation, to the detriment of the prestige of the Soviet power. An ably conducted Party and Soviet press might have promptly brought the disease spots of our institutions to light; but the Perm and Vyatka Party and Soviet press is not distinguished either by ability in organizing its work or by its understanding of the current tasks of Soviet power (nothing but empty talk about a "world social" revolution is to be found in it; the concrete tasks of Soviet power in the countryside, the re-election of the volost Soviets, the extraordinary tax, the aims of the war against Kolchak and the other whiteguards - all these are "low" themes which the press proudly shuns). Consider the significance, for example, of the fact that of the 4,766 officials and employees of the Soviet institutions in Vyatka, 4,467 occupied the same posts in the gubernia rural administration in tsarist times; or, to put it plainly, the old tsarist Zemstvo institutions have been simply re-named Soviet institutions (do not forget that these "Soviet officials" control the entire leather-producing area of the Vyatka Gubernia). This striking fact was revealed by our questionnaire in mid - January. Did the Regional Party Committee and Regional Soviet, the local press and the local Party officials know about it? Of course, not. Did the Central Committee of the party, the Central Executive Committee and the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs know about it? Of course not. But how can the centre direct if it has no idea of the chief disease spots not only in the provinces generally, but even in our provincial Soviet institutions?

CONCLUSIONS

A severe handicap to our armies is the instability of the rear, which is mainly to be explained by neglect of Party work, inability of the Soviets to carry out the directives of the centre, and the abnormal (almost isolated) position of the local Extraordinary Commissions.

In order to strengthen the rear it is necessary:

1. To institute a strict system of regular reports from the local Party organizations to the Central Committee; to send regular circular letters of the Central Committee to the local Party organizations; to set up a press department of the Central Organ to direct the provincial Party press; to organize a school for training Party officials (mainly from workers) and arrange for the proper distribution of officials. All these measures should be entrusted to a Secretariat of the Party Central Committee to be organized within the Central Committee.

2. Strictly to delimit the sphere of jurisdiction of the Central Executive Committee and the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs in the direction of the current work of the Soviets; to merge the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission with the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs; (2) to make it the duty of the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs to see that the decrees and orders of the central authority are correctly and promptly carried out by the Soviets; to make it the duty of the gubernia Soviets to present regular reports to the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs; to make it the duty of the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs to issue the necessary regular instructions to the Soviets; to institute a press department of the Izvestia to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (3) to direct the provincial Soviet press.

3. To set up a Control and Inspection Commission under the Council of Defence to investigate "defects in the machinery" of the People's Commissariats and their corresponding local departments both in the rear. and at the front.

SUPPLY AND EVACUATION AGENCIES

The chief malady in the sphere of supply is the incredible overlapping of supply agencies and the lack of co-ordination between them.

The army and the population of Perm received their food supplies from Ural Supply, Gubernia Supply, City Supply, the Uyezd Supply Boards and the Supply Department of the Third Army. For all that, the work of supply proceeded very badly, for the army (29th Division) starved and the population of Perm and the Motovilik workers went hungry, the bread ration having been systematically reduced until it dropped to starvation level (1/4 lb.).

The confusion in supplying the army, due to lack of co-ordination among the above-mentioned supply agencies, is aggravated by the fact that the People's Commissariat of Food takes no account of the loss of the Perm Gubernia and still issues its indents for supplies to the Third Army on the Perm and other remote gubernias instead of transferring them to Vyatka. It should also be mentioned that the People's Commissariat of Food has not yet proceeded to haul grain to the river wharves, nor the Waterways Board to repair its steamers, and this undoubtedly may create serious complications in the matter of supply in the future.

The supply of the army with munitions is suffering even more severely from the overlapping of agencies and from bureaucratic red tape. The Central Supply Department, the Control Ordnance Department, the Extraordinary Supply Commission and the Ordnance Division of the Third Army are continually getting into each other's way, hampering and preventing the active work of supply. In illustration, we consider it appropriate to quote some excerpts from a telegram sent by the Commander of the Third Army to the Commander of the Front (with a copy to Trotsky) on December 17,1918, just before the fall of Perm:

"Chief of Supply, Eastern Front, stated in his telegram No. 3249 that an indent for six thousand Japanese rifles had been issued on the Yaroslavl Area. This indent, as may be seen from telegram No. 493 of Chief of Staff of the Military Council of the Republic Kostyaev, was endorsed by the Commander-in-Chief. A month ago Third Army headquarters sent an agent to receive the rifles. On his arrival at the Yaroslavl Area Ordnance Department he wired that nothing was known there about the matter, since no order had been received from the Central Ordnance Department (C.O.D.). The agent proceeded to the C.O.D. in Moscow, and wired from there that the rifles could not be issued without the consent of the Commander-in-Chief. Yesterday we received a wire from the agent stating that C.O.D. categorically refused to issue the rifles and that he had returned. In his telegram No. 208 Chief of Supply of the Revolutionary Military Council stated that the Second Army had been ordered to deliver six thousand rifles to the Third Army, and Commander Second Army in his telegram No. 1560 requested that an agent be urgently sent to Izhevsk to receive the rifles. The agent was sent to Izhevsk, but he was not issued the rifles on the plea that no order had been received. Commander Second Army in his telegram No. 6542 and Chief of Supply Eastern Front in his telegram No. 6541 requested that the Izhevsk factory be ordered to release the rifles. Down to the 16th of this month no order had been sent to 1he factory, and according to information received from the agent all available rifles in Izhevsk are to be dispatched to the centre on Monday. Ten thousand rifles have thus been lost to the army on these two indents. The state of the army is well known. Replenishments cannot be sent to the front without rifles, and because. of lack of replenishments the front is melting away, leading to the results with which you are familiar. The indent for rifles was issued to the Yaroslavl Area Ordnance Department with the consent of the Commander-in-Chief, and Commander Third Army therefore officially accuses the C.O.D. of sabotage and insists upon an inquiry."

The substance. of this telegram is fully corroborated by Front Commander Kamenev. (See "Statements of the Commander of the Front.")

Similar confusion and overlapping of agencies reigned in the sphere of evacuation. The Area Chief of Railways proved totally incapable of checking the skilfully organized sabotage of railway personnel. Frequent train accidents, traffic jams and mysterious disappearances of freight needed by the army took the area administration by surprise at the most trying moments of the evacuation, yet it did nothing, or was incapable of doing anything, to put an effective stop to the evil. The Central Collegium "worked," that is, debated, but took absolutely no measures for the orderly evacuation of freight. The chief transportation officer of the Third Army, who was also chief of evacuation, did absolutely nothing to get out the most valuable freight (machinery and parts of the Motovilikha plant, etc.). All sorts of rubbish was evacuated, and all organizations without exception had a finger in the work of evacuation, and the result was confusion and chaos.

CONCLUSIONS

In order to improve the supply of the army, it is necessary:

1. To put an end to the overlapping of central army supply agencies (Central Supply Department, Extraordinary Supply Commission, Central Ordnance Department - each of which acts as it sees fit) and to reduce them to one, which should be held strictly accountable for the prompt fulfilment of indents.

2. To instruct the army supply division to maintain a fortnight's supply of rations in reserve with each division.

3. To instruct the People's Commissariat of Food to issue indents for the armies on gubernias in their immediate vicinity-in particular, to transfer (promptly) its indents for the Third Army to the Vyatka Gubernia.

4. To instruct the People's Commissariat of Food to proceed immediately to haul grain to the river wharves, and the Waterways Board to proceed to repair its steamers.

In order to ensure efficient evacuation, it is necessary:

1. To abolish the local Central Collegiums.

2. To set up under the Supreme Council of National Economy a single evacuation agency, with the right to allocate evacuated property.

3. To instruct this agency, in case of need, to send special agents to direct the work of evacuation on the spot, always, as an indispensable condition, enlisting the co-operation of representatives of the military authorities and railway administration of the given area.

4. To appoint to the various area railway administrations, especially of the Ural Area (in view of the unsatisfactory nature of its personnel) responsible agents of the People's Commissariat of Railways who will be capable of commanding the obedience of the railway experts and breaking the sabotage of railway personnel.

5. To instruct the People's. Commissariat of Railways to proceed immediately to transfer locomotives and wagons from areas where they are in abundance to the grain-growing areas, as well as to repair damaged locomotives.

TOTAL LOSSES OF MATERIEL AND MEN

It is impossible to establish an exhaustive picture of the losses in view of the "disappearance" of a number of documents and the desertion to the enemy of a whole number of Soviet officials and experts concerned. According to available data, our losses are: 419,000 cubic sazhens of wood fuel and 2,383,000 poods of coal, anthracite and peat; 66,800,000 poods of ore and other raw materials; 5,000,000 poods of basic materials and products (cast iron, aluminium, tin, zinc, etc.); 6,000,000 poods of open-hearth and Bessemer ingots, bars and slabs; 8,000,000 poods of iron and steel (structural steel, sheet iron, wire, rails, etc.); 4,000,000 poods of salt; 255,000 poods of caustic and calcined soda; 900,000 poods of oil and paraffin; 5,000,000 rubles worth of medical supplies; the storehouses of the Motovilikha plant and the Perm railway shops; the railway axle stores, including large stocks of American axles; the warehouses of the District Water Transport Board, containing cotton wool, textiles, mineral oil, nails, carts, etc.; 65 wagonloads of leather; 150 wagon-loads of food belonging to the army supply division; 297 locomotives (86 out of order); over 3,000 railway wagons; some 20,000 killed, captured and missing soldiers and 10 cars of wounded; 37 guns, 250 machine guns, over 20,000 rifles, over 10,000,000 cartridges, over 10,000 shells.

We say nothing of the loss of the entire railway network, valuable installations, etc.

MEASURES TAKEN TO STRENGTHEN THE FRONT

By January 15, 1,200 bayonets and sabres who could be relied on had been sent to the front; two squadrons of cavalry were dispatched two days later, and the 62nd Regiment of the 3rd Brigade (after thorough sifting) on the 20th. These units made it possible to halt the enemy's advance, wrought a complete change in the morale of the Third Army, and opened our advance on Perm, which so far is proceeding successfully. The 63rd Regiment of the same brigade (after having undergone a month's purge) will be sent to the front on January 30. The 61st Regiment cannot be sent before February 10 (it needs very thorough sifting). In view of the weakness of the extreme left flank, open to the danger of being turned by the enemy, the ski battalion in Vyatka was reinforced with volunteers (1,000 in all), supplied with quick-firing guns and sent from Vyatka on January 28 in the direction of Cherdyn to link up with the extreme left flank of the Third Army. Another three reliable regiments must be sent from Russia to support the Third Army if its position is to be really strengthened and if it is to be able to exploit its successes.

In the rear of the army a thorough purging of Soviet and Party institutions is under way. Revolutionary Committees have been formed in Vyatka and the uyezd towns. A start has been made in forming strong revolutionary organizations in the countryside, and this work is continuing. All Party and Soviet work is being re-organized. on new lines. The military control agencies have been purged and re-organized. The Gubernia Extraordinary Commission has been purged and reinforced with new Party workers. The congestion on the Vyatka railway line is being relieved. Experienced Party workers need to be sent and prolonged socialist work will be required before the rear of the Third Army is thoroughly strengthened.

Concluding their report, the Commission considers it necessary to stress once again the absolute necessity for the establishment of a Control and Inspection Commission under the Council of Defence for the investigation of so-called "defects in the machinery" of the People's Commissariats and their local departments in the rear and at the front.

In correcting shortcomings in the work of the centre and the localities the Soviet power usually resorts to the method of disciplining and punishing offending officials. While recognizing that this method is absolutely necessary and fully expedient, the commission, however, considers it insufficient. Shortcomings in work are due not only to the laxity, negligence and irresponsibility of some of the officials, but also to the inexperience of others. The Commission has found in the localities quite a number of absolutely honest, tireless and devoted officials who, nevertheless, committed a number of blunders in their work owing to insufficient experience. If the Soviet power had a special apparatus to accumulate the experience gained in the work of building the socialist state and to pass it on to the already existing young officials who are ardently desirous of helping the proletariat, the building of a socialist Russia would proceed much faster and less painfully. This body should be the above-mentioned Control and Inspection Commission under the Council of Defence. The activities of this Commission might supplement the work of the centre in tightening discipline among officials.

The Commission:
J. Stalin
F. Dzerzhinsky

____

notes

(1) The decree of the All-Russian Executive Committee on the extraordinary tax to be imposed once for all on the wealthier sections of town and country was published on November 2, 1918. It ordered the fill weight of the tax to be imposed on the kulaks, the middle peasants to be taxed moderately, and the poor peasants to be exempted altogether.

(2) On the question of merging the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission with the People's Commissariat of Home Affairs Comrade Dzerzhinsky expresses a dissenting opinion]

(3) Izvestia of the A.R.C.E.C. (Gazette of the All-Russian Central Executive) - a daily newspaper first published on February 28, 1917, as the Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. On August 1, 1917, after the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets, it became the organ of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies and began to appear under the title of the Izvestia of the Central Executive Committee and the Petrograd Soivet of the Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. On October 27, 1917, after the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, it became the official organ of the Soviet Government. On March 12, 1918 its place of publication was transferred to Moscow and its title was changed to Izvestia of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Peasants' Workers' Soldiers' and Cossacks' Deputies. On June 22 1918, it became the organ of the ARCEC and the Moscow Soviet, and alter the organ of the CEC of the USSR and the CEC of the RSFSR.

 

 

 

The Government's Policy on
the National Question

January 31, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

A year ago, and even before the October Revolution, Russia, as a state, presented a picture of disintegration. Side by side with the old "boundless Russian Empire" there were a whole series of new small "states" all pulling in different directions—such was the picture.

The October Revolution and the Brest Peace deepened and furthered the process of disintegration. People no longer spoke of Russia, but of Great Russia. The bourgeois governments formed in the border regions were imbued with hostility towards the socialist Soviet Government in the centre and declared war on it.

Parallel with this, there was undoubtedly a very strong urge on the part of the workers' and peasants' Soviets in the border regions for unity with the centre. But this urge was swamped, and later suppressed, by the counter-trend of the foreign imperialists who had begun to interfere in our internal affairs.

The Austro-German imperialists took the lead in this and skilfully exploited the disintegration of the old Russia, plentifully supplying the border governments with all they needed for their fight against the centre, occupying the border regions in certain parts, and generally contributing to the complete disintegration of Russia. The Entente imperialists had no wish to lag behind the Austro-Germans and adopted a similar course.

The enemies of the Bolshevik Party of course (of course!) laid the blame for the disintegration on the Soviet Government. But it will be easily understood that the Soviet Government could not, and had no wish to, counteract the inevitable process of temporary disintegration. The Soviet Government realized that the unity of Russia, forcibly maintained with imperialist bayonets, was bound to break down with the downfall of Russian imperialism. The Soviet Government could not maintain unity with the methods used by Russian imperialism without being false to its own nature. The Soviet Government was aware that not any sort of unity was needed for socialism, but only fraternal unity, and that such unity could come only in the shape of a voluntary union of the labouring classes of the nationalities of Russia, or not at all....

The rout of Austro-German imperialism changed the whole picture. On the one hand, there developed in the border regions which had experienced the horrors of occupation a powerful gravitation towards the Russian proletariat and its forms of state structure which overwhelmed the separatist efforts of the border governments. On the other, there was no longer that foreign armed force (Austro-German imperialism) which had prevented the labouring masses of the occupied regions from manifesting their own political complexion. The mighty revolutionary upsurge which followed in the occupied regions, and the formation of a number of worker and peasant national republics, left no doubt regarding the political aspirations of the occupied regions. To the requests for recognition made by the Soviet national governments, the Soviet Government of Russia replied by unreservedly recognizing the full independence of the newly-formed Soviet republics. In acting thus the Soviet Government was adhering to its old and tried policy, which rejects all coercion against nationalities and demands full freedom of development for their labouring masses. The Soviet Government realized that only on a basis of mutual confidence could mutual understanding arise, and that only on a basis of mutual understanding could a firm and indestructible union of the peoples be built.

Again the enemies of the Soviet Government did not fail to accuse it of making "another attempt" to dismember Russia. The more reactionary of them, realizing how powerfully the border regions were gravitating to the centre, proclaimed a "new" slogan: re-establishment of "Greater Russia"—by fire and sword, by the overthrow of the Soviet Government, of course. The Krasnovs and Denikins, the Kolchaks and Chaikovskys, who only yesterday had been trying to break Russia up into a number of separate counter-revolutionary hotbeds, now suddenly conceived the "idea" of an "all-Russian state." The agents of British and French capital, whose political instinct cannot be denied, and who only yesterday were gambling on the disintegration of Russia, now changed their play so abruptly that they formed not one, but two "all-Russian" governments simultaneously (in Siberia and in the South). All this speaks convincingly of the irrepressible gravitation of the border regions to the centre, which the home and foreign counter-revolutionaries are now trying to exploit.

It need scarcely be said that, after the year and a half of revolutionary work of the labouring masses of the nationalities of Russia, the counter-revolutionary appetites of the would-be restorers of the "old Russia" (together with the old regime, of course) are doomed to disappointment. But the more utopian the plans of our counter-revolutionaries, the more realistic is seen to be the Soviet Government's policy, which is entirely based upon the mutual and fraternal confidence of the peoples of Russia. What is more, in the present state of international affairs, this policy is the only realistic and the only revolutionary one.

This is eloquently attested, for example, by the recent declaration of the Congress of Soviets of the Byelorussian Republic 1 establishing a federal connection with the Russian Soviet Republic. The fact is that the Byelorussian Soviet Republic, whose independence was recently recognized, has now, at its Congress of Soviets, voluntarily proclaimed its union with the Russian Republic. In its declaration of February 3, the Byelorussian Congress of Soviets affirms that "only a free and voluntary union of the working people of all the now independent Soviet Republics can ensure the triumph of the workers and peasants in their struggle against the capitalist world."

"A voluntary union of the working people of all the independent Soviet Republics." . . . This is precisely the course the Soviet Government has consistently advocated for uniting the peoples, and which is now yielding its beneficent fruits.

The Byelorussian Congress of Soviets decided, furthermore, to unite with the Lithuanian Republic, and recognized the necessity for a federal tie between the two republics and the Russian Soviet Republic. Telegraphic dispatches state that the Soviet Government of Lithuania holds the same view, and, it appears, a conference of the Lithuanian Communist Party, the most influential of all the Lithuanian parties, approves the attitude of the Soviet Government of Lithuania. There is every reason to hope that the Congress of Soviets of Lithuania 2 now being convened will follow the same course.

This is one more confirmation of the correctness of the Soviet Government's policy on the national question.

Thus, from the breakdown of the old imperialist unity, through independent Soviet republics, the peoples of Russia are coming to a new, voluntary and fraternal unity.

This path is unquestionably not of the easiest, but it is the only one that leads to a firm and indestructible socialist union of the labouring masses of the nationalities of Russia.

Izvestia, No. 30, February 9, 1919

_____

Notes

1.The First Byelorussian Congress of Soviets, which opened on February 2, 1919, in Minsk and was attended by 230 delegates, proclaimed Byelorussia an independent Soviet Socialist Republic, adopted the Constitution of the Byelorussian S.S.R. and elected a Central Executive Committee. Recognition of the independence of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee was announced by the latter's Chairman, Y. M. Sverdlov, who took part in the work of the congress.

2. The First Congress of Soviets of Lithuania, which met in Vilna from February 18 to 20, 1919, and was attended by 220 delegates, examined, among other matters, the report of the Lithuanian Provisional Workers' and Peasants' Government, the question of union with Byelorussia. The congress recognized the necessity for the union of the Lithuanian and Byelorussian Soviet Republics and their federation with the Russian Soviet Republic and declared in its resolution: "Keenly conscious of our inseparable bond with all the Soviet Socialist Republics, the congress instructs the Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Lithuania and Byelorussia to inaugurate negotiations forthwith with the workers' and peasants' governments of the R.S.F.S.R., Latvia, the Ukraine and Estland with a view to constituting all these republics into a single R.S.F.S.R."

 

 

To the Soviets and
the Party Organisations of Turkestan

February 12, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

With the liberation of the Eastern border regions, it becomes the task of Party and Soviet officials to draw the labouring masses of the nationalities of these regions into the common work of building a socialist state. It is necessary to raise the cultural level of the labouring masses and to educate them in a socialist way, to promote a literature in the local languages, to appoint local people who are most closely connected with the proletariat to the Soviet organizations and draw them into the work of administering the territory.

Only in that way can Soviet power become near and dear to the working people of Turkestan.

It should be borne in mind that Turkestan, because of its geographical position, is a bridge connecting socialist Russia with the oppressed countries of the East, and that in view of this the consolidation of Soviet power in Turkestan may exert a supreme revolutionizing influence on the entire East. The above-mentioned task is therefore of exceptional importance to Turkestan.

The People’s Commissariat for the Affairs of Nationalities draws attention to a series of decisions of the Central Committee of the Party, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Soviets and the Council of People’s Commissars couched in the spirit of the circular letter, and expresses its full conviction that the Party and Soviet officials of Turkestan, and, first and foremost, the national departments of the Soviets, will discharge with credit the task entrusted to them.

Member of the Bureau of the Party Central Committee,

People’s Commissar

J. Stalin

Moscow, February 12, 1919

 

 

 

Two Camps

February 22, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The world has definitely and irrevocably split into two camps: the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism.

Over there, in their camp, are America and Britain, France and Japan, with their capital, armaments, tried agents and experienced administrators.

Here, in our camp, are Soviet Russia and the young Soviet republics and the growing proletarian revolution in the countries of Europe, without capital, without tried agents or experienced administrators, but, on the other hand, with experienced agitators capable of firing the hearts of the working people with the spirit of emancipation.

The struggle between these two camps constitutes the hub of present-day affairs, determines the whole substance of the present home and foreign policies of the leaders of the old and the new worlds.

Estland and Lithuania, the Ukraine and the Crimea, Turkestan and Siberia, Poland and the Caucasus, and, finally, Russia itself are not aims in themselves. They are only an arena of struggle, of a mortal struggle between two forces: imperialism, which is striving to strengthen the yoke of slavery, and socialism, which is fighting for emancipation from slavery.

The strength of imperialism lies in the ignorance of the masses, who create wealth for their masters and forge chains of oppression for themselves. But the ignorance of the masses is a transient thing and inevitably tends to be dispelled in the course of time, as the dissatisfaction of the masses grows and the revolutionary movement spreads. The imperialists have capital—but who does not know that capital is powerless in the face of the inevitable? For this reason, the rule of imperialism is impermanent and insecure.

The weakness of imperialism lies in its powerlessness to end the war without catastrophe, without increasing mass unemployment, without further robbery of its own workers and peasants, without further seizures of foreign territory. It is a question not of ending the war, nor even of victory over Germany, but of who is to be made to pay the billions spent on the war. Russia emerged from the imperialist war rejuvenated, because she ended the war at the cost of the imperialists, home and foreign, and laid the expense of the war on those who were directly responsible for it by expropriating them. The imperialists cannot do this; they cannot expropriate themselves, otherwise they would not be imperialists. To end the war in imperialist fashion, they are "compelled" to doom the workers to starvation (wholesale unemployment due to the closing down of "unprofitable" plants, additional indirect taxation, a terrific rise in prices of food); they are "compelled" to plunder Germany, Austria-Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, the Caucasus, Turkestan, Siberia.

Need it be said that all this broadens the base of revolution, shakes the foundations of imperialism and hastens the inevitable catastrophe?

Three months ago imperialism, drunk with victory, was rattling the sabre and threatening to overrun Russia with its armed hordes. How could "poverty-stricken" and "savage" Soviet Russia hold out against the "disciplined" army of the British and French, who had smashed "even" the Germans, for all their vaunted technical equipment? So they thought. But they overlooked a "trifle," they failed to realize that peace, even an "indecent" peace, would inevitably undermine the "discipline" of their army and rouse its opposition to another war, while unemployment and high living costs would inevitably strengthen the revolutionary movement of the workers against their imperialists.

And what did we find? The "disciplined" army proved unfit for purposes of intervention: it sickened with an inevitable disease—demoralization. The boasted "civil peace" and "law and order" turned into their opposite, into civil war. The hastily concocted bourgeois "governments" in the border regions of Russia proved to be soap bubbles, unsuitable as a camouflage for intervention, which had been undertaken, of course (of course!), in the name of "humanitarianism" and "civilization." As to Soviet Russia, not only did their hope for a "walk over" fail; they even deemed it necessary to retreat a little and invite her to a "conference," on the Princes' Islands. 1 For the successes of the Red Army, the appearance of new national Soviet republics which were infecting neighbouring countries with the spirit of revolution, the spread of revolution in the West and the appearance of Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets in the Entente countries were arguments that were more than persuasive. What is more, things have reached a point where even Clemenceau the "implacable," who only yesterday refused to issue passports to the Berne Conference 2 and who was preparing to devour "anarchistic" Russia, is today, having been rather mauled by the revolution, not averse to availing himself of the services of that honest "Marxist" broker, the old Kautsky, and wants to send him to Russia to negotiate—that is to say, "investigate."

Truly:

"Where are they now, the haughty words, The lordly strength, the royal mien?" 3

All these changes took place in the space of some three months.

We have every ground for affirming that the trend will continue in the same direction, for it has to be admitted that in the present moment of "storm and stress" Russia is the only country in which social and economic life is proceeding "normally," without strikes or anti-government demonstrations, that the Soviet Government is the most stable of all the existing governments in Europe, and that the strength and prestige of Soviet Russia, both at home and abroad, are growing day by day in direct proportion to the decline of the strength and prestige of the imperialist governments.

The world has split into two irreconcilable camps: the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism. Imperialism in its death throes is clutching at the last straw, the "League of Nations," trying to save itself by uniting the robbers of all countries into a single alliance. But its efforts are in vain, because time and circumstances are working against it and in favour of socialism. The tide of socialist revolution is irresistibly rising and investing the strongholds of imperialism. Its thunder is re-echoing through the countries of the oppressed East. The soil is beginning to burn under the feet of imperialism. Imperialism is doomed to inevitable destruction.

Izvestia, No, 41, February 22, 1919

_____

Notes

1. The Council of the Entente, with the professed aim of establishing peace in Russia, decided to invite the Soviet Government and the Kolchak, Denikin and other counter-revolutionary governments to send representatives to a conference to be held in February 1919 on the Princes' Islands, in the Sea of Marmora. The conference did not take place.

2.Berne Conference — a conference of social-chauvinist and Centrist parties of the Second International held in Berne, Switzerland, February 3-10, 1919.

3.From A. V. Koltsov's poem, "The Forest" (See A. V. Koltsov, Complete Collection of Poems, Leningrad 1939, p. 90).

 

 

 

Our Tasks in the East

March 2, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

With the advance of the Red Army eastward and the opening of the road to Turkestan, a number of new tasks confront us.

The population of the eastern part of Russia is characterized neither by the homogeneity of the central gubernias, which facilitates socialist construction, nor by the cultural maturity of the western and southern border regions, which made it possible swiftly and painlessly to clothe the Soviet power in appropriate national forms. In contrast to these border regions and the centre of Russia, the eastern regions—the Tatars, Bashkirs, Kirghiz, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Tajiks and a whole number of other ethnic groups (a total of about thirty million inhabitants) — present a great diversity of culturally backward peoples who either have not yet emerged from medievalism, or have only recently entered the phase of capitalist development.

This circumstance undoubtedly complicates and somewhat handicaps the tasks of Soviet power in the East.

In addition to the complications of a purely internal character connected with the manner of life, there are complications of a "historical" character, introduced, so to speak, from without. We are referring to the tsarist government's imperialist policy aimed at crushing the peoples of the East, the insatiable greed of the Russian merchants who acted as masters in the eastern regions, and, also, the Jesuitical policy of the Russian priests, who strove by fair means or foul to drag the Moslem peoples into the bosom of the Orthodox Church—circumstances which aroused in the eastern peoples a feeling of distrust and hatred of everything Russian.

It is true that the triumph of the proletarian revolution in Russia and the Soviet Government's policy of emancipating the oppressed peoples have undoubtedly helped to eliminate the atmosphere of national enmity and have won for the Russian proletariat the confidence and respect of the peoples of the East. More, there is every ground for asserting that the peoples of the East, their more enlightened representatives, are beginning to regard Russia as the bulwark and banner of their liberation from the chains of imperialism. Nevertheless, restricted culture and backward manner of life cannot be done away with at one stroke and they still make (and will continue to make) their influence felt in the building of Soviet power in the East.

It is these handicaps that the Programme Drafting Commission of the Russian Communist Party 1 has in mind when it says in its draft that as regards the question of national freedom "the R.C.P. upholds the historical and class standpoint, giving consideration to the stage of historical development in which the given nation finds itself—whether it is on the way from medievalism to bourgeois democracy, or from bourgeois democracy to Soviet democracy," and that "the proletariat of those nations which were oppressor nations must exercise particular caution and be particularly heedful of the survivals of national sentiment among the labouring masses of the oppressed or unequal nations." Our task is:

1) In every way to raise the cultural level of the backward peoples, to build a broad system of schools and educational institutions, and to conduct our Soviet agitation, oral and printed, in the language which is native to and understood by the surrounding labouring population.

2) To enlist the labouring masses of the East in the building of the Soviet state and to render them the utmost assistance in forming their volost, uyezd and other Soviets comprised of people who support the Soviet power and are closely connected with the local population.

3) To do away with all disabilities, formal and actual, whether inherited from the old regime or arisen in the atmosphere of civil war, which prevent the peoples of the East from displaying the maximum independent activity in emancipating themselves from the survivals of medievalism and of the national oppression which has already been shattered.

Only in this way can Soviet power become near and dear to the enslaved peoples of the boundless East.

Only in this way can a bridge be erected between the proletarian revolution of the West and the anti-imperialist movement of the East, thus forming an all-embracing ring around dying imperialism.

The task is to build a citadel of Soviet power in the East, to plant a socialist beacon in Kazan and Ufa, in Samarkand and Tashkent, which will light the path to emancipation for the tormented peoples of the East.

We have no doubt that our devoted Party and Soviet officials, who bore the whole brunt of the proletarian revolution and of the war with imperialism, will discharge with credit this further duty which is laid upon them by history.

Pravda, No. 48, March 2, 1919

_____

Notes

1.The commission for drafting the programme of the R.C.P.(B.), of which V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin were members, was set up by the Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) on March 8, 1918. The commission's draft was taken as the basis of the programme adopted by the Eighth Congress.

The passages from the draft quoted in this article were embodied in the final text of the programme without alteration (see Resolutions and Decisions of C.P.S.U.(B.) Congresses, Conferences and Central Committee Plenums, Part 1, 6th ed., 1940, p. 287).

 

 

TWO YEARS

March 9, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

February-March 1917

The bourgeois revolution in Russia. The Milyukov-Kerensky Government. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries are the dominant parties in the Soviets. Out of the 400-500 members of the Petrograd Soviet, barely 40-50 are Bolsheviks. At the First Conference of Soviets of Russia,1 the Bolsheviks with difficulty muster 15-20 per cent of the votes. At this time the Bolshevik Party is the weakest of the socialist parties in Russia. Its organ, Pravda, 2 is everywhere abused as "anarchistic." Its speakers, when they call for a fight against the imperialist war, are dragged from the platform by soldiers and workers. Comrade Lenin's famous theses on Soviet power 3 are not accepted by the Soviets. For the defencist parties of the social-patriotic brand— the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries — it is a period of complete triumph.

Meanwhile, the imperialist war does not stop and continues to do its deadly work, disrupting industry, undermining agriculture, dislocating the food supply and the transport system, and devouring fresh tens and hundreds of thousands of lives.

February-March 1918

The proletarian revolution in Russia. The Kerensky-Konovalov bourgeois government is overthrown. Power is in the hands of the Soviets in the centre and in the provinces. The imperialist war is liquidated. The land becomes the property of the people. Workers' control is established. A Red Guard is formed. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries fail in their attempt to turn over "all power" to the Constituent Assembly in Petrograd. The Constituent Assembly is dismissed and the attempt at bourgeois restoration fails. Successes of the Red Guards in the South, the Urals, Siberia. The utterly routed Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries retire to the border regions, where they unite with the counter-revolutionaries, conclude an alliance with imperialism and declare war on Soviet Russia.

The Bolsheviks are now the strongest and most united of all the parties in Russia. Already at the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets in October 1917 the Bolshevik Party commanded an absolute majority of the votes (65-70 per cent). The subsequent development of the Soviets is unswervingly in favour of the Bolsheviks. This applies not only to the Workers' Soviets, where 90 per cent of the members are Bolsheviks, and not only to the Soldiers' Soviets, where 60-70 per cent of the members are Bolsheviks, but also to the Peasants' Soviets, where, too, the Bolsheviks have won a majority.

But the Bolshevik Party is now not only the strongest, it is the only socialist party in Russia. For the Men-sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who hobnobbed with the Czechoslovaks and Dutov, with Krasnov and Alexeyev, with the Austro-German and the Anglo-French imperialists, have lost every vestige of moral prestige among the proletarian strata of Russia.

However, this exceptionally favourable situation within the country is offset and counteracted by the fact that Russia still has no foreign allies, that socialist Russia represents an island surrounded by a sea of belligerent imperialism. The workers of Europe are exhausted, bleeding . . . but they are occupied with the war and have no time to ponder over the socialist order in Russia, the road of salvation from war, and so on. As to the European "socialist" parties, how can they, who have sold their sword to the imperialists, do otherwise than revile the Bolsheviks—those "restless" people who are "subverting" the workers with their "costly," "dangerous experiments"?

It is not surprising, therefore, that there is in this period a particularly strong tendency in the Bolshevik Party to widen the base of the proletarian revolution, to draw the workers of the West (and also of the East) into the revolutionary movement against imperialism, to establish permanent ties with the revolutionary workers of all countries.

February-March 1919

Further consolidation of Soviet power in Russia. Extension of its territory. Organization of the Red Army. Red Army successes in the South, North, West and East. Establishment of Soviet republics in Estland,

Latvia, Lithuania, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. Defeat of Austro-German imperialism, and proletarian revolutions in Germany, Austria, Hungary. The Scheidemann-Ebert Government and the German Constituent Assembly. A Soviet republic in Bavaria. Political strikes all over Germany with the slogan "All power to the Soviets!" and "Down with Ebert and Scheidemann!" Strikes and Workers' Soviets in Britain, France, Italy. Demoralization of the old armies and the appearance of Soldiers' and Sailors' Soviets in the Entente countries. The Soviet system becomes the universal form of proletarian dictatorship. Strengthening of Left-wing communist elements in the European countries and the formation of Communist Parties in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland. They arrange contact and coordinated action. Disintegration of the Second International. International conference of revolutionary socialist parties in Moscow 4 and foundation of a common militant organ of the militant workers of all countries— the Third, Communist International. The isolation of the proletarian revolution in Russia comes to an end: Russia now has allies. The imperialist "League of Nations" in Paris and its auxiliary, the social-patriotic conference in Berne, try to bar the European workers from the "Bolshevik contagion," but fail in their object: Soviet Russia has become, as it was bound to become, the standard-bearer of the world proletarian revolution, the centre of attraction for the advanced revolutionary forces of the West and the East. From a "purely Russian product," Bolshevism becomes a formidable international force which is shaking the very foundations of world imperialism.

That is now admitted even by the Mensheviks, who, having "laid aside their concern" for the Constituent Assembly, and having lost their "army," little by little pass over into the camp of the Republic of Soviets.

Nor is it now denied even by the Right-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries, who, having lost the Constituent Assembly to the Kolchaks and Dutovs, are compelled to seek safety in the Land of Soviets.

Summing up

These two years of proletarian struggle have fully confirmed what the Bolsheviks foresaw: the bankruptcy of imperialism and the inevitability of a world proletarian revolution; the rottenness of the Right-wing "socialist" parties and the decay of the Second International; the international significance of the Soviet system and the counter-revolutionary character of the Constituent Assembly slogan; the world significance of Bolshevism and the inevitable creation of a militant Third International.

Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 8, March 9, 1919

_____

Notes

1. The reference is to the All-Russian Conference of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies convened by the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet and held in Petrograd, March 29 to April 3, 1917.

2. Pravda (Truth)—a daily Bolshevik workers' newspaper founded on the instructions of V. I. Lenin and on the initiative of J. V. Stalin, and published in St. Petersburg from April 22, 1912, to July 8, 1914. It resumed publication after the February Revolution, on March 5, 1917, as the Central Organ of the Bolshevik Party. On March 15, 1917, J. V. Stalinn was appointed a member of its editorial board. On his return to Russia in April 1917, V. I. Lenin took over the direction of Pravda. V. M. Molotov, Y. M. Sverdlov, M. S. Olminsky and K. N. Samoilova were among the newspaper's regular contributors. At the period referred to in the article, Pravda, in spite of the vilification and persecution to which it was subjected, contributed immensely to rallying the workers and revolutionary soldiers and peasants around the Bolshevik Party, exposed the imperialist bourgeoisie and its hangers-on, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, and worked for a transition from the bourgeois-democratic revolution to a socialist revolution.

3.V. I. Lenin's April Theses — see "The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution" (V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 24, pp. 1-7).

4. The international conference of revolutionary socialist parties was held in Moscow, March 2-6, 1919, and was attended by 52 delegates from the major countries of Europe and America. V. I. Lenin, J. V. Stalin and V. V. Vorovsky were among the delegates from the Russian Communist Party. The conference proclaimed itself the First Congress of the Communist International. The central item of the agenda was V. I. Lenin's report on bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The congress elected the Executive Committee of the Third, Communist International.

 

 

 

Imperialism Reserves

March 16, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The war between imperialism and socialism continues. National "liberalism" and "patronage" of "small" nations; the "peaceableness" of the Entente and its "renunciation" of intervention; the call for "disarmament" and the "readiness" for negotiation; the "concern" for the "Russian people" and "desire" to "assist" it with all "available means"—these and much else of a like nature are only a screen for the intensified supply of tanks and munitions to the enemies of socialism, an ordinary diplomatic manoeuvre designed to veil the "search" for new forms, "acceptable" to "public opinion," of strangling socialism, of strangling the "small" nations, colonies and semi-colonies.

Some four months ago Allied imperialism, having vanquished its Austro-German rivals, was emphatically and categorically insisting on armed interference (intervention!) in "Russian affairs." No negotiations with "anarchistic" Russia! The plan of the imperialists was to transfer part of their "released" forces to the territory of Russia, incorporate them in the whiteguard units of the Skoropadskys and Krasnovs, the Denikins and Bicherakhovs, the Kolchaks and Chaikovskys, and constrict the seat of revolution, Soviet Russia, in an "iron ring." But that plan was wrecked by the tide of revolution. The workers of Europe, swept by the revolutionary movement, launched a fierce campaign against armed intervention. The "released forces" proved to be manifestly unsuited for an armed fight against revolution. More, on coming in contact with the insurrectionary workers, they themselves became "infected" with Bolshevism. Very eloquent proof of this was the capture by the Soviet forces of Kherson and Nikolayev, where the Entente troops refused to wage war on the workers. As to the projected "iron ring," it not only did not prove "deadly" but, what is more, itself developed a number of fissures. The plan of outright and undisguised intervention thus turned out to be clearly "inexpedient." It is this that explains the recent statements of Lloyd George and Wilson on the "permissibility" of negotiating with the Bolsheviks and on "non-interference" in Russia's internal affairs, the proposal to send the Berne commission to Russia, 1 and, lastly, the projected invitation (the second!) of all the "de facto" governments in Russia to a "peace" conference. 2

But it was not only this factor that dictated the renunciation of undisguised intervention. It is also to be attributed to the fact that in the course of the struggle a new scheme, a new, disguised form of armed intervention was conceived, one more complicated, it is true, than open intervention, but on the other hand more "convenient" for the "civilized" and "humane" Entente. We are referring to the alliance of the bourgeois governments of Rumania, Galicia, Poland, Germany and Finland hastily concocted by imperialism against Soviet Russia. It is true that only yesterday these governments were at each other's throats on the plea of "national" interests and national "liberty." It is true that only yesterday cries went up from all the housetops about a "patriotic war" of Rumania against Galicia, of Galicia against Poland, of Poland against Germany. But what did the "fatherland" count for in comparison to the financial wealth of the Entente, once the latter had ordered the cessation of "internecine warfare"! Once the Entente had ordered the establishment of a united front against Soviet Russia, could they, the hirelings of imperialism, do anything but "spring to attention"! Even the German Government, reviled and trampled in the mud as it was by the Entente, even it lost all sense of self-respect and begged to be allowed to take part in the crusade against socialism in the interests . . . of the Entente! Clearly, the Entente has every reason to rub its hands in glee as it prates about "non-interference" in Russia's affairs and "peace" negotiations with the Bolsheviks. What is the sense of undisguised intervention, which is "dangerous" to imperialism and moreover demands costly sacrifices, when there is a possibility of organizing at the expense of others, of "small" nations, "absolutely safe" intervention disguised under a national flag? A war of Rumania, Galicia, Poland and Germany against Russia? But, surely, this is a war for "national existence," for the "protection of the eastern frontier," a war against Bolshevik "imperialism," a war waged by the Rumanians, Galicians, Poles and Germans "themselves." What has the Entente got to do with it? True, the Entente is supplying them with money and arms, but that is simply a financial operation hallowed by the international law of the "civilized" world. Is it not clear that the Entente is as innocent as a dove, that it is "against" intervention?. . .

Thus, imperialism has been compelled to pass from a policy of sabre-rattling, a policy of open intervention, to a policy of masked intervention, a policy of drawing dependent nations, small and big, into the fight against socialism.

The policy of open intervention failed because of the growth of the revolutionary movement in Europe, because of the sympathy entertained by the workers of all countries for Soviet Russia. That policy was utilized to the full by revolutionary socialism to expose imperialism.

There can be no doubt that in the end the policy of calling on the last reserves, the so-called "small" nations, the policy of drawing the latter into the war against socialism, will similarly fail. And not only because the growing revolution in the West is, despite everything, sapping the foundations of imperialism, and not only because the revolutionary movement is steadily swelling within the "small" nations themselves, but also because contact of the "armed forces" of these nations with the revolutionary workers of Russia is bound to "infect" them with the virus of Bolshevism. Socialism will avail itself of every opportunity to open the eyes of the workers and peasants of these nations to the predatory character of imperialism's "paternal concern."

The inevitable result of the imperialist policy of masked intervention will be that it will draw the "small" nations into the sphere of the revolution and extend the base of socialism.

Izvestia, No. 58, March 16, 1919

Signed: J. Stalin

_____

Notes

1.The Berne commission — a commission consisting of Kautsky, Hilferding, Longuet and others, appointed by the social-chauvinist conference in Berne "to investigate social and political conditions in Russia." In reply to a request to allow the commission to enter Russia, the Soviet Government stated on February 19, 1919, that although it did not regard the Berne Conference as a socialist conference, or as representing the working class in any way, it nevertheless had no objection to allowing the commission to enter Soviet Russia. However, the visit of "the eminent inspectors from Berne," as V. I. Lenin called the commission, did not take place.

2.It was reported in the British press at the close of February 1919 that the Council of the Entente intended to renew the invitation to a conference on the Princes' Islands.

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from a Speech on the
Mlitary Question Delivered at the
Eight Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) 1

March 21, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

All the questions touched upon here boil down to one: is Russia to have, or not to have, a strictly disciplined regular army?

Six months ago, after the collapse of the old, tsarist army, we had a new, a volunteer army, an army which was badly organized, which had a collective control, and which did not always obey orders. This was at a time when an Entente offensive was looming. The army was made up principally, if not exclusively, of workers. Because of the lack of discipline in this volunteer army, because it did not always obey orders, because of the disorganization in the control of the army, we sustained defeats and surrendered Kazan to the enemy, while Krasnov was successfully advancing from the South. . . . The facts show that a volunteer army cannot stand the test of criticism, that we shall not be able to defend our Republic unless we create another army, a regular army, one infused with the spirit of discipline, possessing a competent political department and able and ready to rise at the first command and march against the enemy.

I must say that those non-working-class elements— the peasants—who constitute the majority in our army will not voluntarily fight for socialism. A whole number of facts bear this out. The series of mutinies in the rear and at the fronts, the series of excesses at the fronts show that the non-proletarian elements comprising the majority of our army are not disposed to fight for communism voluntarily. Hence our task is to re-educate these elements, infusing them with a spirit of iron discipline, to get them to follow the lead of the proletariat at the front as well as in the rear, to compel them to fight for our common socialist cause, and, in the course of the war, to complete the building of a real regular army, which is alone capable of defending the country.

That is how the question stands.

. . . Either we create a real workers' and peasants' army, a strictly disciplined regular army, and defend the Republic, or we do not, and in that event our cause will be lost.

. . . Smirnov's project is unacceptable, because it can only undermine discipline in the army and make it impossible to build a regular army.

First published in: J. Stalin, On the Opposition. Articles and Speeches (1921-27), Moscow and Leningrad, 1928

____

Notes

1.The Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) met in Moscow on March 18-23, 1919. Its agenda included the following items: 1) Report of the Central Committee; 2) Programme of the R.C.P.(B.); 3) The Communist International; 4) Military situation and military policy; 5) Work in the countryside; 6) Organizational questions; 7) Election of the Central Committee. The report of the Central Committee and the reports on the Party Programme and on the work in the countryside were made by V. I. Lenin.

The military question was discussed at plenary meetings of the congress and in a military section. There was a so-called "Military Opposition" at the congress, comprising former "Left Communists" and some Party workers who had not formerly participated in any opposition grouping but who were dissatisfied with Trotsky's leadership of the army. They attacked Trotsky for his distortions of the Party's military policy and for his anti-Party practices, but at the same time they defended the survivals of guerilla mentality in the army and other incorrect views on questions concerning the building of the army. V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin spoke against the "Military Opposition." The congress, while rejecting a number of the proposals of the "Military Opposition" (Smirnov's project), condemned Trotsky's position as harmful. The Military Commission appointed by the congress, of which Stalin and Yaroslavsky were members, drafted a resolution on the military question which was adopted by the congress unanimously.

For the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) and its decisions on military and other questions, see the History of the C.P.S.U.(B.), Short Course, Moscow 1952, pp. 358-63.

 

 

 

The Shooting of the Twenty-Six Baku Comrades by Agents of British Imperialism

First Published: Izvestia No. 85, April 23, 1919
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 261-268.

We present for the attention of our readers two documents(1) which testify to the savage murder of responsible officials of Soviet power in Baku by the British imperialists in the autumn of last year. These documents are taken from the Baku Socialist-Revolutionary newspaper Znamya Truda(2) and the Baku newspaper Yedinaya Rossiya (3), that is to say from the very same circles which only yesterday called in the aid of the British and betrayed the Bolsheviks, and which are now forced by the course of events to denounce their allies of yesterday.

The first document tells of the barbarous shooting without trial of 26 Soviet officials of the city of Baku (Shaumyan, Djaparidze, Fioletov, Malygin and others) by the British Captain Teague-Jones on the night of September 20, 1918, on the road from Krasnovodsk to Ashkhabad, to which he was convoying them as war prisoners. Teague-Jones and his Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik partners hoped at first to hush up the matter, intending to circulate false testimony to the effect that the Baku Bolsheviks had died a "natural" death in prison or hospital. But evidently this plan fell through, for it turns out that there exist eye-witnesses who refuse to keep silent and who are ready thoroughly to expose the British savages. This document is signed by Chaikin, a Socialist-Revolutionary.

The second document recounts a conversation that the author of the first document, Chaikin, had with the British General Thomson towards the close of March 1919. General Thomson demanded that Chaikin should name the eye-witnesses of the savage murder of the 26 Baku Bolsheviks by Captain Teague-J ones. Chaikin was prepared to present the documents and to name the witnesses on condition that a commission of inquiry were set up composed of representatives of the British command, the population of Baku and the Turkestan Bolsheviks. Chaikin furthermore demanded a guarantee that the Turkestan witnesses would not be assassinated by British agents. Since Thomson refused to agree to the appointment of a commission of inquiry and would give no guarantee of the personal safety of the witnesses, the conversation was broken off and Chaikin left. The document is interesting because it indirectly confirms the barbarity of the British imperialists, and not merely testifies but cries out against the impunity and savagery of the British agents who vent their ferocity on Baku and Transcaspian "natives" just as they do on Negroes in Central Africa.

The story of the 26 Baku Bolsheviks is as follows. In August 1918, when the Turkish forces had come within a short distance of Baku and the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik members of the Baku Soviet, against the opposition of t he Bolsheviks, had secured the support of the majority of the Soviet and had called in the aid of the British imperialists, the Baku Bolsheviks, headed by Shaumyan and Djaparidze, being in the minority, resigned their authority and left the field clear for their political opponents. The Bolsheviks decided, with the consent of the newly-formed British, Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik authority in Baku, to evacuate to Petrovsk, the nearest seat of Soviet power. But on the way to Petrovsk the steamer carrying the Baku Bolsheviks and their families was shelled by British ships which had followed in pursuit and was convoyed to Krasnovodsk. This was in August.

The Russian Soviet Government applied on several occasions to the British command, demanding the release of the Baku comrades and their families in exchange for British prisoners, but the British command invariably refrained from replying. Already in October information began to come in from private persons and organizations to the effect that the Baku comrades had been shot. On March 5, 1919, Astrakhan received a radio message from Tiflis stating that "Djaparidze and Shaumyan are not in the hands of the British command; according to local information, they were killed last September near Kizyl-Arvat by the arbitrary act of a group of workers." This, apparently, was the first official attempt on the part of the British assassins to lay the blame for their atrocious act on the workers, who were boundlessly devoted to Shaumyan and Djaparidze. Now, after the publication of the above-mentioned documents, it must be taken as proven that our Baku comrades, who had quitted the political arena voluntarily and were on thier way to Petrovsk as evacuees, actually were shot without trial by the cannibals from "civilized" and "humane" Britain.

In the "civilized" contries it is customary to talk about Bolshevik terror and Bolshevik atrocities, and the Anglo-French imperialists are usually depicted as foes of terror and shooting. But is it not clear that the Soviet Government had never dealt with its opponenets so foully and basely as the "civilized" and "humane" British, and that only imperialist cannibals who are corrupt to the core and devoid of all moral integrity need to resort to murder by night, to criminal attacks on unarmed political leaders of the opposing camp? If there are any who sitll doubt this, let them read the documents we print below and call things by their proper names.

When the Baku Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries invited the British to Baku and betrayed the Bolsheviks, thye thought they would be able to "use" the British "guests" as a force; they believed that they would remain the masters of the country and the "guests" would eventually go back home. Actually, the reverse happened: it was the "guests" that became the absolute masters, while the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks became direct accessories to the foul and villainous murder of the 26 Boshevik commissars. And the Socialist-Revolutionaries were compelled to go into opposition, cautiously exposing their new mssters, while the Mensheviks are compelled to advocate in their Baku newspaper Iskra (4)a bloc with the Bolsheviks against the "welcome guests" of yesterday.

Is it not clear that the alliance of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks with the agents of imperialism is an "alliance" of slaves and menials with thier masters? If there are still any who doubt this, let them read the "conversation" between General Thomson and Mr.Chaikin reproduced below and honestly say whether Mr. Chaikin resembles a master, and General Thomson a "welcome guest".

Signed J.Stalin.

_____

notes

(1) The two documents - "execution of the Twenty-Six Commissioners" and "Conversation Between General Thomson and Mr Chaikin, March 23, 1919" - were appended to the article (Izvestia, April 23, 1919)

(2) 'Banner of Labour' - a newspaper published by the Socialist-Revoltuionary Committee in Baku from January 1918 to Novmeber 1919

(3) 'United Russia' - a newspaper of Cadet trend published by the so-called Russian National Committee of Baku from December 1918 to July 1919

(4) Iskra (Spark) - a newspaper published by the Menshevik Committee in Baku from November 1918 to April 1920

 

 

 

Note to V.I. Lenin from Petrograd by Direct Wire

Written: May 25, 1919 (1)
First Published: in the symposium Documents on the Heroic Defence of Petrograd in 1919, Moscow, 1941
J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, page 268-270.

The dispatch of units is undoubtedly better organized now than it was some three months ago, but it is also clear to me that neither the Commander-in-Chief nor his chief of staff know anything about the units which are being sent to Petrograd. Hence such surprises as the arrival of mere handfuls of men under the guise of regiments of the 2nd Brigade or the Cavalry Brigade from Kazan. At any rate, Petrograd has received so far only six hundred men from military schools who are really fit for action.

But the chief thing, of course, is not the quantity, but the quality of the units. All we need to drive the whole pack beyond Narva is three infantry regiments — fit for action, of course — and at least one cavalry regiment. If you could have seen your way to meet this small request in time, the Estonians would have been driven back before now.

However, there is no cause for alarm, since the situation at the front has become stable, the front line has stiffened, and in places our forces are already advancing.

Today I inspected our Karelian fortifications and on the whole found the situation tolerable. The Finns are maintaining a stubborn silence and, strangely enough, have not taken advantage of the opportunity. But this is to be attributed to the fact that their own position at home is growing more and more unstable, as we are assured by Finnish comrades familiar with the state of affairs.

I was shown today a proposal of the Commander-in-Chief to cut down the navy on account of the fuel crisis. I conferred on this subject with all our naval men and have arrived at the conviction that the Commander-in-Chief's proposal is absolutely incorrect. Reasons: first, if big units are to be converted into floating rafts it will be impossible to operate their guns, that is, the latter will simply not shoot, because there is a direct connection between the movement of a ship and the action of its guns; secondly, it is not true that we have no large-calibre shells - the other day twelve barge-loads of shells were "discovered"; thirdly, the fuel crisis is passing, because we have already succeeded in accumulating four hundred and twenty thousand poods of coal, apart from mazut, and are receiving a trainload of coal daily; fourthly, I have convinced myself that our navy is being turned into a real navy, with well-disciplined sailors who are prepared to defend Petrograd might and main.

I do not want to mention here the number of battle units already fit for action, but I consider it my duty to say that with the naval forces available we could defend Petrograd with credit against any attack from the sea.

In view of this, I, and all the Petrograd comrades, insist that the Commander-in-Chief's proposal be rejected. Further, I consider it absolutely essential that coal deliveries be increased to two trainloads a day for a period of three or four weeks. This, our naval men assure us, will enable us to put our submarine and surface fleet definitely in fighting trim.

Stalin

____

note

(1) In connection with Yudenich's offensive of May 1919 and the threat of encirclement and capture of Petrograd by the Whites, J.V.Stalin was sent to the Petrograd Front as plenipotentiary of the Council of Defense, which furnished him with a mandate, dated May 17th 1919, stating that he was being sent on a mission to the Petrograd and other areas of the Western Front for "the adoption of all urgent measures necessitated by the situation on the Western Front." J.V.Stalin arrived in Petrograd on May 19, 1919.

 

 

 

Telegram to V.I. Lenin

Pravda No. 301, December 21,1929
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, page 271.

Following the capture of Krasnaya Gorka, Seraya Loshad(1) has been taken. Their guns are in perfect order. A rapid check of all the forts and fortresses is under way.

Naval experts assert that the capture of Krasnaya Gorka from the sea runs counter to naval science. I can only deplore such so-called science. The swift capture of Gorka was due to the grossest interference in the operations by me and civilians generally, even to the point of countermanding orders on land and sea and imposing our own.

I consider it my duty to declare that I shall continue to act in this way in future, despite all my reverence for science.

Stalin

June 16, 1919

_____

note

(1) Succumbing to the counter-revolutionary agitation of white guards connected with the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, the garrisons of Krasnya Gorka and Seraya Loshad, two forts near Petrograd, mutinied against the Soviet Government on June 13 1919. That day, on J.V.Stalin's orders, vessels of the Baltic Fleet put out to sea to take action against the mutineers., At the same time a core, was formed in Oranienbaum. On June 14, J.V. Stalin arrived in Oranienbaum, and conferred with representatives of the naval and army commands and commanders and commissars of units and detachments. The plan he proposed for the capture of Krasnaya Gorka by a simultaneous blow from sea and land was adopted. The attack was launched on June 15 by the Coastal Group and other units, supported by vessels of the Baltic Fleet, the operation being personally directed by J.V.Stalin from the battle lines. The mutineers were overwhelmed at the approaches to Kranaya Gorka, and at 0.30 am on June 16 the fort was captured. Seraya Loshad was taken a few hours later.

 

 

 

Note to V. I. Lenin from Petrograd by Direct Wire

June 18, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

I consider it necessary to draw your attention to the following questions.

First. Kolchak is the most serious enemy, because he has sufficient space for retreat, sufficient man power for his army, and a rear abounding in food. Compared with Kolchak, General Rodzyanko is a mere gnat, because he has neither food in his rear, nor space for retreat, nor sufficient man power. The mobilization of twenty age classes, to which he is now compelled to resort in his two or three uyezds owing to lack of man power, will mean the end of him, since the peasants cannot stand mobilization on such a scale and are bound to turn away from him. Consequently, under no circumstances should forces be withdrawn from the Eastern Front for the Petrograd Front in such numbers as might compel us to halt our offensive on the Eastern Front. In order to force Rodzyanko back to the Estland frontier (there is no point in our going any further) one division will be sufficient, and its removal will not involve halting the offensive on the Eastern Front. Please give this your special attention.

Second. We have unearthed a big conspiracy in the Kronstadt area. The battery commanders of all the forts in the entire Kronstadt fortified area are implicated. The aim of the conspiracy was to seize possession of the fortress, take control of the fleet, open fire on the rear of our troops, and clear the road to Petrograd for Rodzyan-ko. The relevant documents have fallen into our hands.

It is now clear to me why Rodzyank, with his relatively small forces, advanced so brazenly on Petro-grad. The insolence of the Finns is now also understandable. Understandable, too, are the wholesale desertions of our combat officers. So is the strange fact that at the moment of the betrayal of Krasnaya Gorka the British warships vanished from the scene; the British, obviously, considered that direct interference on their part (intervention!) would not be "convenient," and preferred to turn up after the fortress and the fleet had fallen into the hands of the Whites, with the object of "helping the Russian people" to establish a new, "democratic system."

Obviously, Rodzyanko and Yudenich (to the latter can be traced all the threads of the conspiracy, which was financed by Britain through the Italian, Swiss and Danish embassies) based their whole scheme on the expectation of a successful issue of the conspiracy, which, I hope, we have nipped in the bud (all persons implicated have been arrested and the investigation is proceeding).

My request: make no relaxations in regard to the arrested embassy officials, keep them in strict confinement until the completion of the investigation, which is revealing a host of new threads.

I shall give you a more detailed account within three or four days, by which time I hope to come to Moscow for a day, if you have no objection.

I am sending the map. I could not do so until now simply because I was away all the time on front-line business, mostly at the front itself.

Stalin

June 18, 1919, 3 a. m.

First published in Pravda, No. 53, February 23, 1941

 

 

 

Note to V. I. Lenin from Petrograd by Direct Wire

June 18, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

I consider it necessary to draw your attention to the following questions.

First. Kolchak is the most serious enemy, because he has sufficient space for retreat, sufficient man power for his army, and a rear abounding in food. Compared with Kolchak, General Rodzyanko is a mere gnat, because he has neither food in his rear, nor space for retreat, nor sufficient man power. The mobilization of twenty age classes, to which he is now compelled to resort in his two or three uyezds owing to lack of man power, will mean the end of him, since the peasants cannot stand mobilization on such a scale and are bound to turn away from him. Consequently, under no circumstances should forces be withdrawn from the Eastern Front for the Petrograd Front in such numbers as might compel us to halt our offensive on the Eastern Front. In order to force Rodzyanko back to the Estland frontier (there is no point in our going any further) one division will be sufficient, and its removal will not involve halting the offensive on the Eastern Front. Please give this your special attention.

Second. We have unearthed a big conspiracy in the Kronstadt area. The battery commanders of all the forts in the entire Kronstadt fortified area are implicated. The aim of the conspiracy was to seize possession of the fortress, take control of the fleet, open fire on the rear of our troops, and clear the road to Petrograd for Rodzyan-ko. The relevant documents have fallen into our hands.

It is now clear to me why Rodzyank, with his relatively small forces, advanced so brazenly on Petro-grad. The insolence of the Finns is now also understandable. Understandable, too, are the wholesale desertions of our combat officers. So is the strange fact that at the moment of the betrayal of Krasnaya Gorka the British warships vanished from the scene; the British, obviously, considered that direct interference on their part (intervention!) would not be "convenient," and preferred to turn up after the fortress and the fleet had fallen into the hands of the Whites, with the object of "helping the Russian people" to establish a new, "democratic system."

Obviously, Rodzyanko and Yudenich (to the latter can be traced all the threads of the conspiracy, which was financed by Britain through the Italian, Swiss and Danish embassies) based their whole scheme on the expectation of a successful issue of the conspiracy, which, I hope, we have nipped in the bud (all persons implicated have been arrested and the investigation is proceeding).

My request: make no relaxations in regard to the arrested embassy officials, keep them in strict confinement until the completion of the investigation, which is revealing a host of new threads.

I shall give you a more detailed account within three or four days, by which time I hope to come to Moscow for a day, if you have no objection.

I am sending the map. I could not do so until now simply because I was away all the time on front-line business, mostly at the front itself.

Stalin

June 18, 1919, 3 a. m.

First published in Pravda, No. 53, February 23, 1941

 

 

 

The Petrograd Front

Pravda Interview

July 8, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Comrade Stalin, who returned from the Petrograd Front a few days ago, gave our correspondent his impressions of the situation at the front.

1. THE APPROACHES TO PETROGRAD

The approaches to Petrograd are those points, proceeding from which the enemy, if he is successful, may surround Petrograd, cut it off from Russia and finally take it. These points are: a) the Petrozavodsk sector, with Zvanka as the line of advance; objective—to envelop Petrograd from the East; b) the Olonets sector, with Lo-deinoye Polye as the line of advance; objective—to turn the flank of our Petrozavodsk forces; c) the Karelian sector, with Petrograd as the direct line of advance; ob-jective—to seize Petrograd from the North; d) the Narva sector, with Gatchina and Krasnoye Selo as the line of advance; objective—to capture Petrograd from the SouthWest, or, at least, to capture the Gatchina-Tosno line and envelop Petrograd from the South; e) the Pskov sector, with Dno-Bologoye as the line of advance; objective—to cut Petrograd off from Moscow; and, lastly, f) the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga, which offer the enemy the possibility of landing forces west and east of Petrograd.

2. THE ENEMY'S FORCES

The enemy's forces in these sectors are a motley lot and of various strengths. In the Petrozavodsk sector, Serbs, Poles, British, Canadians and a group of Russian white-guard officers are operating, all of them maintained with funds supplied by the so-called Allies. The Olonets sector is held by White Finns, hired on two or three months' contract by the Finnish Government and commanded by German officers who remained behind after the German occupation. The Karelian sector is manned by so-called regular Finnish units. The Narva sector is manned by Russian units, recruited from Russian war prisoners, and by Ingermanland units recruited from the local inhabitants. These units are commanded by Major-General Rodzyanko. The forces in the Pskov sector also consist of Russian units made up of war prisoners and local inhabitants, and are commanded by Balakhovich. Operating in the Gulf of Finland are destroyers (5 to 12) and submarines (2 to 8)—British and Finnish, according to available information.

To judge by all the evidence, the enemy's forces on the Petrograd Front are not large. The Narva sector, where the enemy is most active, suffers no less from a shortage of "man power" than the other, less active, though no less important, sectors.

This, indeed, explains why, in spite of the fact that already two months ago The Times 1 was jubilantly predicting the fall of Petrograd "within two or three days," the enemy, far from having attained his general objective—the surrounding of Petrograd—has not in this period scored even a single partial success on any one of the sectors, in the sense of capturing some decisive point.

Apparently, the vaunted "North-West Army" commanded by General Yudenich from his vantage ground in Finland, the army on which that old fox Guchkov reposed his hopes in his report to Denikin, has so far not even been hatched.

3. THE ENEMY'S CALCULATIONS

Judging by all the evidence, the enemy reckoned not only, or, rather, not so much, on his own forces as on the forces of his supporters, the whiteguards in the rear of our forces, in Petrograd and at the fronts. These were, firstly, the so-called embassies of bourgeois states which continued to exist in Petrograd (French, Swiss, Greek, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Rumanian, etc.), which financed the whiteguards and engaged in espionage on behalf of Yude-nich and the British, French, Finnish and Estonian bourgeoisie. These gentry scattered money right and left, buying everyone in the rear of our army who was open to be bought. Next, the venal elements among the Russian officers, who have forgotten Russia, have lost all sense of honour and are ready to desert to the enemies of workers' and peasants' Russia. Lastly, the have-beens, the bourgeois and landlords who had suffered at the hands of the Petrograd proletariat and who, as it later appeared, had accumulated weapons and were waiting for a suitable moment to stab our forces in the back. These were the forces upon which the enemy reckoned when he marched on Petrograd. To capture Krasnaya Gorka, the key to Kronstadt, and thus put the fortified area out of action, raise revolt in the forts and shell Petrograd, and then, combining a general offensive at the front with a revolt within Petrograd at the moment of general confusion, surround and capture the centre of the proletarian revolution—such were the enemy's calculations.

4. THE SITUATION AT THE FRONT

However, the enemy miscalculated. Krasnaya Gorka, which the enemy managed to occupy for twenty-four hours thanks to internal treachery on the part of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, was swiftly restored to Soviet Russia by a powerful blow struck from sea and land by the Baltic sailors. The Kronstadt strongpoints, which at one moment had begun to waver owing to the treachery of the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Menshevik defencists and the venal section of the officer class, were promptly brought to order by the iron hand of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Baltic Fleet. The so-called embassies and their spies were arrested and removed to less troublesome places. In some of the embassies, moreover, machine guns, rifles (in the Rumanian Embassy even one gun), secret telephone exchanges, etc., were discovered. A sweeping search carried out in the bourgeois quarters of Petrograd unearthed four thousand rifles and several hundred bombs.

As to the enemy's general offensive, far from being crowned with success, as The Times had loudly proclaimed, it never even succeeded in getting started. The Finnish Whites at Olonets, who were trying to occupy Lodeinoye Polye, have been overwhelmed and driven back into Finland. The enemy's Petrozavodsk group, which was stationed only a few versts from Petrozavodsk, is now rapidly retreating under the onslaught of our units, which have turned its flank. The enemy's Pskov group has lost the initiative, is making no headway, and in places is even retreating. As to the enemy's Narva group, the most active, far from having attained its objective, it is continuously retiring under the onslaught of our units and is disintegrating and melting away on the roads to Yamburg under the blows of the Red Army. The Entente's jubilations thus appear to have been premature. The hopes of Guchkov and Yudenich have been disappointed. The Karelian sector is still passive and nothing yet can be said about it, because the Finnish Government, after its reverses at Vidlitsa Zavod, 2 has noticeably moderated its tone and dropped its shrill abuse of the Russian Government, and, what is more, the so-called incidents on the Karelian Front have practically ceased.

Whether this is the calm before the storm, only the Finnish Government knows. At all events, it may be said that Petrograd is prepared for all possible surprises.

5. THE NAVY

I cannot refrain from saying a few words about the navy. It is a subject for congratulation that the Baltic Fleet, which was believed to be non-existent, is being most effectively regenerated. This is admitted by our enemies as well as our friends. Equally gratifying is the fact that the scourge of venality with which a section of the Russian officer class is afflicted has least of all contaminated the commanding personnel of the navy.

Here we have men who, to their honour be it said, prize the dignity and independence of Russia higher than British gold. Even more gratifying is the fact that the Baltic sailors have become their old selves again, and by their valorous deeds have revived the finest traditions of the Russian revolutionary navy. Had it not been for these factors Petrograd would not have been safeguarded against the most dangerous surprises from the sea. A most typical illustration of the regeneration of our navy was the unequal engagement fought in June by two of our destroyers against four enemy destroyers and three submarines, from which, thanks to the gallantry of our sailors and the skilful direction of the commander of the detachment, our destroyers emerged victorious, having sunk one of the enemy's submarines.

6. SUMMING UP

Rodzyanko is often compared with Kolchak as a menace to Soviet Russia, being regarded as no less dangerous than Kolchak. The comparison is incorrect. Kolchak really is dangerous, because he has space to which to retire, he has the man power with which to replenish his units, and he has the food with which to feed his army. The misfortune of Rodzyanko and Yude-nich is that they have not enough space, man power, or food. Finland and Estland, of course, do to some extent represent a base for the formation of whiteguard units from Russian war prisoners. But, firstly, war prisoners cannot provide either sufficient or fully reliable men for the whiteguard units. Secondly, because of the mounting revolutionary unrest in Finland and Estland, the conditions in these countries themselves are not favourable for the formation of whiteguard units. Thirdly, the territory seized by Rodzyanko and Balakhovich (in all about two uyezds) is being gradually and systematically narrowed, and the vaunted "North-West Army," if it is destined to be born at all, will soon have no room for deployment and manoeuvre. Because— and this must be acknowledged—neither Finland nor Estland, for the present at least, are placing "their own territory" at the disposal of Rodzyanko, Balakhovich and Yudenich. The "North-West Army" is an army without a rear. It goes without saying that such an "army" cannot exist for long, unless of course some new and weighty international factor favourable to the enemy interferes with the chain of developments—which, however, to judge by all the signs, he has no grounds to anticipate.

The Red Army at Petrograd should win.

Pravda, No. 147, July 8, 1919

____

Notes

1.The Times—a London daily, founded in 1788, influential organ of the British big bourgeoisie. It urged support of Yudenich's offensive.

2.Vidlitsa Zavod, on the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga, was the major base of the Finnish whiteguards operating in the Olonets sector of the Petrograd Front. On June 27, 1919, units of the Red Army, supported by vessels of the Onega Flotilla and the Baltic Fleet, launched a surprise attack and captured Vidlitsa Zavod, destroyed the headquarters of the so-called Olonets Volunteer Army and seized rich stores of ammunition, equipment and victuals. The Finnish whiteguards were driven back into Finland.

 

 

 

Letter to V. I. Lenin about the Situation on the Western Front 1

August 11, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

To Comrade Lenin.

The situation on the Western Front is becoming more and more ominous.

The old, battered and weary units of the Sixteenth Army, which is being hard pressed by the most active enemy on the Western Front—the Poles—are not only unable to withstand the onslaught, are not only unable to defend themselves, but have even become incapable of covering the retreat of their batteries, which are, naturally, falling into the hands of the enemy. I am afraid that, with its units in such a state, the Sixteenth Army in its retreat to the Berezina will find itself without guns or baggage trains. There is also the danger that the battered and absolutely demoralized cadres of the majority of the regiments may soon be incapable of assimilating replenishments, which moreover — it must be said — are arriving with preposterous delay.

The enemy is driving towards the Berezina along two main directions: towards Borisov, and towards Slutsk and Bobruisk. And he is driving successfully, for he has already advanced some thirty versts in the direction of Borisov, and in the South, with the capture of Slutsk, he has seized possession of the key to Bobruisk—the splendid highway, the only one in the area.

If Borisov is captured, and if, as is likely, the severely battered 17th Division of the Sixteenth Army rolls back as a result, the Fifteenth Army will be in jeopardy, and Polotsk and Dvinsk will be directly menaced. And if Bobruisk is captured and the enemy strikes at Rechitsa (which is his direct aim), the entire Pripyat group of the Sixteenth Army, that is, the 8th Division, will automatically suffer disaster, Gomel will be directly threatened, and the flank of the Twelfth Army will be laid bare.

In brief, if we allow the enemy to knock out our Sixteenth Army, and he is already doing it, we shall be letting down the Fifteenth and Twelfth Armies, and we shall then have to repair not only the Sixteenth Army but the whole front, and at a far heavier cost.

Evidently, we are approximately in the same position as that of the Eastern Front last year, when Va-tsetis and Kostyaev allowed Kolchak to knock out first our Third Army, then the Second and then the Fifth, thereby quite unnecessarily wrecking the work of the whole front for a good half year.

On the Western Front, this prospect has every chance of becoming a reality.

I have already written before that the Western Front represents a threadbare garment which cannot be patched up without trained reserves, and that the enemy has only to deliver one serious blow at one of the important points to make the whole front reel, or rather, shake.

Unfortunately, these apprehensions of mine are now beginning to be borne out.

Yet the enemy in the West, who is united under a single command, has not yet brought into action those Russian corps which he has ready, or nearly ready, in Riga, Warsaw and Kishinev.

About three weeks ago I believed that one division would be enough to enable us to launch an offensive and occupy the Molodechno and Baranovichi junctions. Now one division may not be enough even to enable us to hold the Borisov-Bobruisk-Mozyr line.

A successful offensive is not even to be thought of, because for this we should now (August 11) need at least two or three divisions.

Now decide yourself: can you let us have one division, if only in successive brigades, or are you going to allow the enemy to smash the already crumbling Sixteenth Army? But decide without delay, because every hour is precious.

Yours,

J. Stalin

P. S. This letter has been read and approved by all the members of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Western Front, not excluding the Front Commander. A similar statement will be sent in a day or two to the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic.

J. St.

Smolensk, August 11, 1919

_____

Notes

1.At the beginning of July 1919 the Polish whiteguards launched a general offensive and created a direct threat to the Soviet Republic from the West. J. V. Stalin was instructed by the Central Committee of the Party to take over personal direction of the Western Front. He was appointed a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Western Front, and he arrived at front headquarters in Smolensk on July 9, 1919.

 

 

 

Letter to TO V. I. Lenin
from the Southern Front 1

October 15, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Comrade Lenin,

About two months ago General Headquarters did not object in principle to the main blow being delivered from west to east, through the Donets Basin. And if it rejected it nevertheless, it was on the plea of the "legacy" left by the retreat of the southern troops in the summer, that is, the haphazard grouping of troops in the area of the present South-Eastern Front, the reforming of which (the grouping) would entail considerable loss of time, to Denikin's advantage. It was only for this reason that I did not object to the officially adopted direction of the blow. But now the situation has radically changed, and with it the grouping of forces: the Eighth Army (the major army on the former Southern Front) has moved into the area of the Southern Front and is directly facing the Donets Basin; Budyonny's Cavalry Corps (another major force) has likewise moved into the Southern Front area; and a new force has been added—the Latvian Division, which within a month will have been replenished and will again represent a formidable force to Denikin.

You see that the old grouping (the "legacy") no longer exists. What then induces General Headquarters to insist on the old plan? Nothing, apparently, but obstinacy — if you like, factionalism, factionalism of the most obtuse kind and most dangerous to the Republic, which is cultivated in General Headquarters by that "strategic" bantam cock Gusev. The other day General Headquarters issued instructions to Shorin to advance from the Tsaritsyn area on Novorossiisk through the Don steppe by a line along which it may be convenient for our aviators to fly, but along which our infantry and our artillery will find it quite impossible to plod. It does not need to be proved that this insane (projected) campaign through a hostile environment and where there are absolutely no roads threatens us with utter disaster. It should not be difficult to understand that such a campaign against Cossack villages, as recent experience has shown, can only rally the Cossacks around Denikin and against us in defence of their villages, can only serve to set up Denikin as the saviour of the Don, can only create a Cossack army for Denikin, that is, can only strengthen Denikin.

Precisely for this reason it is essential at once, without loss of time, to change the old plan, which has already been abolished in practice, and replace it by a plan under which the main blow will be directed from the Voronezh area, through Kharkov and the Donets Basin, on Rostov. Firstly, here we shall have an environment that is not hostile, but on the contrary, sympathetic to us, which will facilitate our advance. Secondly, we shall secure a most important railway network (Donets) and the major supply artery of Denikin's army—the Voronezh-Rostov line (the loss of which will leave the Cossack army without supplies in the winter, because the Don River, by which the Don Army is supplied, will have frozen over, and the East Donets Railway, Likhaya-Tsaritsyn, will be cut). Thirdly, by this advance we shall be cutting Denikin's army in two, one part of which, the Volunteer Army, we shall leave to Makhno to devour, while the Cossack armies we shall threaten with the danger of being outflanked. Fourthly, we shall be in a position to set the Cossacks at loggerheads with Denikin, who, if our advance is successful, will endeavour to move the Cossack units westward, to which the majority of the Cossacks will not agree, if, of course, by that time we put before them the issue of peace, of negotiations for peace, and so on. Fifthly, we shall secure coal, and Denikin will be left without coal.

This plan must be adopted without delay, since General Headquarters' plan of transfer and distribution of regiments threatens to nullify our recent successes on the Southern Front. I say nothing of the fact that General Headquarters is ignoring, and; has virtually rescinded, the recent decision of the Central Committee and the Government—"Everything for the Southern Front."

In short, the old plan, which has already been abolished in reality, must under no circumstances be galvanized into life. That would be dangerous to the Republic; it would most certainly improve Denikin's position. It must be replaced by another plan. Conditions and circumstances are not only ripe for such a change, they imperatively dictate it. In that event the distribution of regiments will also proceed on different lines.

Without this, my work on the Southern Front will become meaningless, criminal and futile, which will give me the right, or rather will force me, to go anywhere, even to the devil himself, only not to remain on the Southern Front.

Yours,

Stalin

Serpukhov, October 15, 1919

First published in Pravda, No. 301, December 21, 1929

_____

Notes

1.By decision of the C.C., R.C.P.(B.) of September 26, 1919, J. V. Stalin was sent to the Southern Front to organize the defeat of Denikin. He arrived at front headquarters on October 3. The plan he proposed for routing Denikin was approved by the Central Committee of the Party.

 

 

Telegram to V. I. Lenin

October 26, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The Cavalry Corps of Shkuro and Mamontov, created after such long effort by the Entente and Denikin as the backbone of the counter-revolution, have been utterly routed at Voronezh by Comrade Budyonny’s Cavalry Corps. Voronezh is in the hands of the Red heroes. A mass of trophies has been captured and is now being counted. It is already ascertained that all the enemy’s personally named armoured trains have been captured, the General Shkuro Armoured Train first among them. Pursuit of the routed enemy continues. The halo of invincibility created around the names of Generals Mamontov and Shkuro has been shattered by the valour of the Red heroes of Comrade Budyonny’s Cavalry Corps.

Revolutionary Military Council of the Southern Front

Stalin

October 25, 1919

Petrogradskaya Pravda, No. 244, October 26, 1919

 

 

 

 

Speech at the Opening of the Second All-Russian
Congress of Communist Organizations
of the Peoples of the East

Date: November 22, 1919
First Published: Zhizn Nationalnostei No. 46, December 7, 1919
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 4, pages 290-292.

Comrades,

On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party I have been charged with opening this Second Congress of representatives of the Moslem communist organizations of the East.(1)

Since the First Congress, a year has elapsed. This interval has been marked by two important events in the history of socialism. The first is the revolutionizing of Western Europe and America and the birth of Communist Parties over there, in the West; the second is the awakening of the peoples of the East, the growth of the revolutionary movement in the East, among the oppressed peoples of the East. Over there, in the West, the proletarians are threatening to demolish the vanguard of the imperialist powers and to take power into their own hands. Here the proletarians are threatening to disrupt imperialism's rear, the East, the source of its wealth, because the East is the basis on which the wealth of imperialism is built; it is from there that it derives its strength, and it is to there that it proposes to retire if it is beaten in Western Europe.

A year ago, in the West, world imperialism was threatening to surround Soviet Russia with a tight ring. It now turns out that it is itself surrounded, because it is being struck at both on the flanks and in the rear. When, a year ago, the delegates to the First Moslem Congress of the Peoples of the East were about to leave for their homes, they vowed to do everything in their power to rouse the peoples of the East from their slumber and to erect a bridge between the revolution in the West and the oppressed peoples in the East. Reviewing this work now, we may note with satisfaction that this revolutionary activity has not been in vain, that a bridge has been erected against those who strangle the liberty of all the oppressed peoples.

Lastly, if our forces, our Red forces, have advanced eastward so swiftly, not the least factor contributing to this, of course, has been your work, comrade delegates. If the road to the East is now open, that too the revolution owes to the supreme efforts of our comrades, the delegates here, in the work they have latterly accomplished.

Only the solidarity of the Moslem communist organizations of the peoples of the East — and, first and foremost, of the Tatars, Bashkirs, Kirghiz and the peoples of Turkestan — can explain those rapid developments which we observe in the East.

I have no doubt, comrades, that this Second Congress, which is more comprehensive both quantitatively and qualitatively than the First, will be able to continue the work already begun of awakening the peoples of the East, the work of strengthening the bridge erected between West and East, the work of emancipating the working masses from the age-long yoke of imperialism.

Let us hope that the banner raised at the First Congress, the banner of the emancipation of the labouring masses of the East, the banner of the destruction of imperialism, will be borne with honour to the goal by the militants of the Moslem communist organizations. (Applause.)

___

note

(1) The Second All-Russian Congress of Communist Organizations of the Peoples of the East met in Moscow from November 22 to December 3, 1919. It was attended by some 80 delegates representing Moslem communist organizations of Turkestan, Azerbaijan, Khiva, Bukhara, Kirghizia, Tataria, Chuvashia, Bashkiria, the Caucasus and individual towns (Perm, Vyatka, Orenburg, etc.). V. I. Lenin gave a report to the congress on current affairs. The congress heard a report on the activ- ities of the Central Bureau of the Moslem organizations of the R.C.P.(B.), discussed the Eastern question and other ques- tions, and outlined the tasks of Party arid Soviet organizations in the East.

 

 

Greetings to Petrograd
from the Southern Front

December 18, 1919

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The Revolutionary Military Council of the Southern Front expresses comradely thanks for your greetings and for the Red banners which you have promised the regiments of the Southern Front.

The Revolutionary Military Council of the Southern Front will not forget that Petrograd was the first to come to the assistance of the Southern Front by sending thousands of advanced and battle-steeled workers, who inspired our divisions with faith in victory and completely transformed our front.

It is above all to those workers, the worthy sons of Red Petrograd, that the Southern Front owes its latest successes.

Rest assured, comrades, that the troops of the Southern Front will justify the expectations of the Russian proletariat, and will with honour bear forward the banners presented to them until complete victory is won.

Kiev and Kupyansk are already in our hands, and the moment is not far off when the Red banners will be unfurled over Rostov and Novocherkassk.

Greetings to the workers of Petrograd! Greetings to the glorious sailors of the Baltic Fleet!

Stalin

Petrogradskaya Pravda, No. 289, December 18, 1919

 

 

 

The Military Situation in the South

January 7, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

I
ABORTIVE PLANS OF THE ENTENTE

In the spring of 1919 a combined Kolchak-Denikin-Yudenich campaign was conceived against Soviet Russia. The main blow was to be delivered by Kolchak, with whom Denikin hoped to link up in Saratov for a joint advance on Moscow from the East. Yudenich was to strike an auxiliary blow, at Petrograd.

The aim of the campaign, as formulated in Guch-kov's report to Denikin, was "to crush Bolshevism at one stroke, by depriving it of its basic vital centres — Moscow and Petrograd."

The plan of the campaign was sketched by Denikin in a letter to Kolchak which fell into our hands when we seized Grishin-Almazov's headquarters in the spring of 1919. "The main thing," Denikin wrote to Kolchak, "is not to stop at the Volga, but to drive forward to the heart of Bolshevism, Moscow. I hope to meet you in Saratov. . . . The Poles will do their work, and as to Yudenich, he is ready, and will strike at Petrograd without loss of time. . . ."

That is what Denikin wrote in the spring, when Kol-chak's offensive on the Volga was in full swing.

However, that plan failed. Kolchak was thrown back beyond the Urals. Denikin was halted on the River Seim-Liski-Balashov line. Yudenich was pressed back beyond Yamburg.

Soviet Russia remained safe and sound.

But the Entente cannibals did not lose heart. By the autumn of 1919 a plan for a new crushing campaign was conceived. Kolchak, naturally, was ruled out. The centre of operations was transferred from the East to the South, whence Denikin was to strike the main blow. As in the spring, Yudenich was to deliver an auxiliary blow — another march on Petrograd. General Mai-Mayevsky, the former commander of the Volunteer Army, stated in a speech on the day after Orel was captured that he would be in Moscow with his troops "not later than the end of December, by Christmas 1919."

The Denikinites were so self-confident that already in October Donets capitalists were offering a prize of one million rubles (in tsarist money) to the regiment of the Volunteer Army which first entered Moscow. . . .

But it was the will of fate that this plan, too, should fail. Denikin's troops were hurled back beyond the Poltava-Kupyansk-Chertkovo line. Yudenich was routed and thrown back beyond the Narva. As to Kolchak, after his defeat at Novo-Nikolayevsk, nothing but a memory had remained of his army.

This time, too, Russia remained safe and sound.

The failure of the counter-revolutionaries this time was so unexpected and sudden that the vanquishers of imperialist Germany, the old wolves of the Entente, were obliged publicly to declare that "Bolshevism cannot be conquered by force of arms." The confusion of the imperialist fakirs was such that they lost the faculty of discerning the real causes of the defeat of the counter-revolution, and began to compare Russia, now with "shifting sands" where even the "very best general" was sure to fail, now with a "boundless desert" where even the "best armies" were sure to perish.

II
CAUSES OF THE DEFEAT OF THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION

What are the causes of the defeat of the counterrevolution, and of Denikin in the first place?

A) The instability of the rear of the counter-revolutionary forces. No army in the world can be victorious without a stable rear. Well, Denikin's rear (and Kol-chak's too) is quite unstable. This instability of the rear of the counter-revolutionary forces is due to the social character of the Denikin-Kolchak government which mustered these forces. Denikin and Kolchak bring with them the yoke not only of the landlords and capitalists, but also of British and French capital. The victory of Denikin and Kolchak would mean the loss of Russia's independence, would turn her into a milch cow of the British and French plutocrats. In this respect the Denikin-Kolchak government is a supremely anti-popular, anti-national government. In this respect the Soviet Government is the only popular and only national government, in the best sense of the words, because it brings with it not only the emancipation of the working people from capitalism, but also the emancipation of the whole of Russia from the yoke of world imperialism, the conversion of Russia from a colony into an independent and free country.

Is it not obvious that the Denikin-Kolchak government and its armies cannot command either the respect or the support of the broad strata of the Russian population?

Is it not obvious that the Denikin-Kolchak armies cannot possess that passionate desire for victory and that enthusiasm without which victory is altogether impossible?

The Denikin-Kolchak rear is falling to pieces, and is sapping the foundations of the front, because the Denikin-Kolchak government is a government which spells bondage for the Russian people, a government which arouses the maximum distrust among the broad strata of the population.

The rear of the Soviet armies grows stronger and stronger and nourishes the Red front with its sap because the Soviet Government is a government which is emancipating the Russian people and which enjoys the maximum confidence of the broad strata of the population.

B) The peripheral position of the counter-revolution. Even at the beginning of the October Revolution a certain geographical demarcation between the revolution and the counter-revolution was to be observed. As the civil war developed, the areas of revolution and counter-revolution became sharply defined. Inner Russia, with its industrial and cultural and political centres, Moscow and Petrograd, and with its nationally homogeneous population, principally Russian, became the base of the revolution. The border regions of Russia, however chiefly the southern and eastern border regions, which have no major industrial or cultural and political centres, and whose inhabitants are nationally heterogeneous to a high degree—consisting, on the one hand, of privileged Cossack colonizers, and, on the other, of subject Tatars Bashkirs and Kirghiz (in the East) and Ukrainians, Chechens, Ingushes and other, Moslem, peoples—became the base of counter-revolution.

It will be easily understood that there is nothing unnatural in this geographical distribution of the contending forces in Russia. For, indeed, who else could constitute the base of the Soviet Government, if not the proletariat of Petrograd and Moscow? Who else could constitute the backbone of the Denikin-Kolchak counterrevolution, if not that ancient tool of Russian imperialism, the Cossacks, who are privileged and organized as a military caste, and who have long exploited the non-Russian peoples of the border regions?

Is it not clear that no other "geographical distribution" was possible?

But the consequence of this was (and is) a number of fatal and inevitable disadvantages for the counter-revolution, and an equal number of inevitable advantages for the revolution.

For the success of troops operating in a period of bitter civil war it is absolutely essential that the human environment whose elements nourish and whose sap sustains them should be solid and united. This unity may be national (especially in the early phase of civil war), or class (especially in the developed phase of civil war). Without such unity, prolonged military success is inconceivable. But the fact of the matter is that for the armies of Deni-kin and Kolchak, the border regions of Russia (eastern and southern) do not, and cannot, either from the national or the class standpoint, represent even that minimum unity of the human environment without which (as I have already said) serious victory is impossible

For, indeed, what national unity can there be between the national aspirations of the Tatars, Bashkirs and Kirghiz (in the East) and the Kalmyks, Chechens, In-gushes and Ukrainians (in the South), on the one hand, and the essentially-Russian autocratic administrations of Kolchak and Denikin, on the other?

Or again: what class unity can there be between the privileged Cossacks of the Urals, Orenburg, the Don and the Kuban, on the one hand, and, on the other, all the other inhabitants of the border regions, not excepting the Russian "inogorodnie," who have always been oppressed and exploited by their neighbours, the Cossacks?

Is it not obvious that armies composed of such heterogeneous elements are bound to break up under the first serious blow of the Soviet armies, that every such blow is bound to increase the gravitation of the non-Cossack elements of the border regions of Russia towards the Soviet Government, which categorically rejects dominant-nation ambitions and willingly meets their national aspirations?

In contradistinction to the border regions, inner Russia presents an entirely different picture. Firstly, it is nationally united and solid, because nine-tenths of its population consist of Great Russians. Secondly, achievement of the class unity of the human environment which nourishes the front and the immediate rear of the Soviet armies is facilitated by the fact that this environment includes the proletariat of Petrograd and Moscow, which is popular among the peasants and is rallying them solidly around the Soviet Government.

This, incidentally, explains that striking contact in Soviet Russia between rear and front, a contact of which the Kolchak-Denikin government has never been able to boast. The Soviet Government has only to issue a call for assistance to the front for Russia instantly to put up a whole array of new regiments.

It is here, too, that we must seek the source of that amazing strength and unparalleled resilience which Soviet Russia usually displays at critical moments.

Here, too, must be sought the explanation of the fact, so incomprehensible to the civilized witch doctors of the Entente, that "when the counter-revolutionary armies reach certain boundaries (the boundaries of inner Russia!), they inevitably sustain disaster. . . ."

But besides these deep-seated causes of the defeat of the counter-revolutionaries, and of Denikin in the first place, there are other, more immediate causes (we are referring chiefly to the Southern Front).

They are:

1) Improvement in the matter of reserves and replenishments on the Soviet Southern Front.

2) Improvement in the matter of supply.

3) The flow to the front of communist workers from Petrograd, Moscow, Tver and Ivanovo-Voznesensk, who have joined our southern regiments and completely transformed them.

4) Repair of the machinery of control, which had been completely shattered by Mamontov's raids.

5) Skilful resort by the command of the Southern Front to flank blows during the offensive.

6) Methodical character of the offensive itself.

III
PRESENT SITUATION ON THE SOUTHERN FRONT

Of all Denikin's units, the force that must be regarded as the most serious is the Volunteer Army (infantry), because it is the most competent and has a large reserve of regular officers in its regiments, and Shkuro's and Mamontov's Cavalry Corps. The task of the Volunteer Army was to capture Moscow; that of Shkuro's and Mamontov's cavalry was to pierce our southern armies and disrupt their rear.

The first decisive successes of our infantry were scored in the battles at Orel, in the Kromy-Dmitrovsk area. Here our infantry routed the First (the best) Corps of the Volunteer Army, General Kutepov's Corps, with its Kornilov, Drozdov, Markov and Alexeyev Divisions.

The first decisive successes of our cavalry were scored in the battles at Voronezh, in the area of the rivers Ikorets, Usman, Voronezh and Don. Here Comrade Bu-dyonny's cavalry group first encountered the combined forces of Shkuro's and Mamontov's Corps face to face, and overthrew them.

Our successes at Orel and Voronezh laid the foundation for the subsequent southward advance of our armies. The successes at Kiev, Kharkov, Kupyansk and Liski were only a sequel and development of our basic successes at Orel and Voronezh. The Volunteer Army is now retreating in disorder under the pressure of our units, with its communications and control disrupted, and having lost not less than half its old effectives in killed, wounded and captured. It may be confidently of-firmed that unless it is withdrawn to the rear and thoroughly overhauled, it will soon cease to have any fighting capacity.

As to Shkuro's and Mamontov's cavalry group, although it has been reinforced with two new Kuban corps (General Ulagay's and General Naumenko's) and General Chesnokov's Composite Division of Uhlans, it cannot present any serious threat to our cavalry. This was demonstrated in the recent fighting at Lisichansk, where the reinforced Shkuro-Mamontov group was utterly routed by our cavalry, abandoning seventeen guns, eighty machine guns and more than a thousand dead.

Of course it cannot be said that Denikin's armies are already smashed. Denikin's armies have not yet reached the degree of decomposition of Kolchak's armies. Denikin is still capable of certain tactical, and maybe even strategic, ruses. Nor should it be forgotten that in ten weeks we have succeeded in capturing from Denikin in all only about 150 guns, 600 machine guns, 14 armoured trains, 150 locomotives, 10,000 railway wagons, and 16,000 prisoners. But one thing is indubitable: Denikin's armies are irresistibly following Kolchaks down the inclined plane, while our armies are growing stronger from day to day, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Therein lies the guarantee of Denikin's ultimate destruction.

Serpukhov, December 26, 1919

Signed: J. Stalin

P. S. 1 This article was written before Denikin's front was breached by our troops at Taganrog. That, in fact, explains its cautious character. But now, when Denikin's front has been pierced, when the Volunteer divisions are cut off from Denikin's Don and Caucasian armies, when in two days' fighting at the approaches to Taganrog (January 1 and 2) our forces have captured from the enemy over two hundred guns, seven armoured trains, four tanks and masses of other trophies, and when our forces, after liberating Taganrog, are besieging the seats of counter-revolution, Novocherkassk and Rostov—now it may quite confidently be said that the destruction of Denikin's armies is in full swing.

Another blow, and complete victory will be ensured.

Kursk,

January 7, 1920

The magazine Revolutsionny Front, No. 1, February 15, 1920

Signed: J. Stalin

_____

Notes

1.The postscript was added by J. V. Stalin when the article was reprinted in Revolutsionny Front, a magazine published by the Revolutionary Military Council of the South-Western Front and the Council of the Ukrainian Labour Army.

 

 

Order of the Day to the
Ukrainian Labour Army

March 7, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

In accordance with directive No. 1247/op/123/sh of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the R.S.F.S.R., and Order No. 271 of the  Revolutionary  Military Council of the South-Western Front,  the 42nd Division is  incorporated in the Ukrainian  Labour Army as from March 7. 1

The gallant 42nd Division, which heroically fought the enemies of Russia side by side with other divisions at the front, and with them utterly defeated Denikin's Volunteer Army, must now lay aside its weapons in order to give battle to economic disruption and provide the country with coal.

Commanders of the 42nd Division! In the battles with Denikin you proved your ability to lead the Red Army men from victory to victory—show now that you are capable of gaining no lesser victories in the battle with the coal crisis!

Commissars of the 42nd Division! You proved your ability to maintain exemplary order and discipline among the Red Army men on the battlefields—show now that you are capable of maintaining the sacred banner of labour discipline untarnished in the battle for coal!

Red Army men of the 42nd Division! You proved your ability to fight the enemies of workers' and peasants' Russia honourably and devotedly—show now that you are capable of labouring just as honourably and devotedly in transporting coal to the stations, loading it into wagons and convoying the coal trains to their destination.

Remember that coal is just as important for Russia as victory over Denikin.

In the Urals, the regiments of the Third Army have already distinguished themselves in procuring and transporting wood fuel. In the Volga area, the regiments of the Reserve Army have covered themselves with glory in the work of repairing locomotives and railway wagons. The 42nd Division must demonstrate that it is not inferior to others by meeting the country's needs in transporting, loading and conveying coal.

Workers' and Peasants' Russia expects this of you.

Chairman of the Ukrainian Labour Army Council

J. Stalin

First published in 1940 in the magazine Proletarskaya Revolutsia, No. 3

 

 

___

Notes

1.The Ukrainian Labour Army was formed in February 1920 and comprised military units detailed from the South-Western Front for work of economic construction, chiefly the rehabilitation of the Donbas. The Council of People's Commissars of the R.S.F.S.R., in conjunction with the All-Ukrainian Revolutionary Committee, set up a Council of the Labour Army to direct its activities, consisting of representatives of economic People's Commissariats and the Revolutionary Military Council of the South-Western Front, under the chairmanship of J. V. Stalin, member and plenipotentiary representative of the Council of Defence.

 

 

The Entente's new campaign against Russia

May 25 and 26, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

It is beyond all doubt that the campaign of the Polish gentry against workers' and peasants' Russia is in actual fact a campaign of the Entente. The point is not only that the League of Nations, which is led by the Entente and of which Poland is a member, has evidently approved Poland's campaign against Russia. The chief point is that without the Entente's support Poland could not have organized her attack on Russia, that France in the first place, and also Britain and America, are doing all they can to support Poland's offensive with arms, equipment, money and instructors. Disagreements within the Entente over the Polish question do not affect the matter, for they concern only the ways of supporting Poland, and not the support itself. Nor is the matter affected by Curzon's diplomatic correspondence with Comrade Chicherin, 1 or by the ostentatious anti-intervention articles in the British press, because all this hullabaloo has only one object, namely, to throw dust in the eyes of naive politicians and by talking about peace with Russia to cover up the foul work of the actual armed intervention organized by the Entente.

I
THE GENERAL SITUATION

The Entente's present campaign is the third in succession.

The first campaign was launched in the spring of 1919. It was a combined campaign, because it envisaged a joint attack by Kolchak, Denikin, Poland, Yudenich and composite Anglo-Russian detachments in Turkestan and. Arkhangelsk, the main weight of the attack being in Kolchak's area.

At that period the Entente was solid and united and stood for open intervention: the weakness of the labour movement in the West, the number of Soviet Russia's enemies, and their complete confidence in victory over Russia, enabled the bosses of the Entente to pursue a brazen policy of undisguised intervention.

At that period Russia was in a critical state, because she was cut off from the grain areas (Siberia, the Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus) and fuel sources (the Donets Basin, Grozny, Baku) and was forced to fight on six fronts. The Entente saw this and gloated over its anticipated victory. The Times was already beating the drums.

Nevertheless, Russia passed through this crisis safely, and her most powerful enemy, Kolchak, was put out of action. The point is that Russia's rear, and hence also her army, proved to be more stable and flexible than the rear and armies of her adversaries.

The Entente's second campaign was launched in the autumn of 1919. It, too, was a combined campaign, because it envisaged a joint attack by Denikin, Poland and

Yudenich (Kolchak had been written off the accounts). This time the weight of the attack was in the South, in Denikin's area.

At this period the Entente for the first time began to experience internal disagreements. For the first time it began to moderate its insolent tone, intimated its opposition to open intervention, proclaimed the permissibility of negotiations with Russia, and proceeded to withdraw its troops from the North. The growth of the revolutionary movement in the West and Kol-chak's defeat had evidently made the former policy of open intervention unsafe for the Entente. It no longer dared to speak openly of undisguised intervention.

Despite the victory over Kolchak and the recovery of one of the grain areas (Siberia), Russia in this period was again in a critical state, because the main enemy, Denikin, stood at the gates of Tula, the chief source of supply of cartridges, rifles and machine guns for our army. Nevertheless, Russia emerged safe and sound from this crisis too. And for the same reason, namely, the greater stability and flexibility of our rear, and hence also of our army.

The Entente's third campaign is being launched in a quite new situation. To begin with, unlike the previous campaigns, this campaign cannot be called a combined one, for not only have the Entente's old allies (Kolchak, Denikin, Yudenich) dropped out, but no new ones (if there are any) have yet joined in, if we disregard the ludicrous Petlura and "his" ludicrous "army." Poland is so far facing Russia alone, without any serious fighting allies

Further, the notorious blockade has been broken not only morally and practically, but also formally. The Entente is forced to reconcile itself to the necessity of diplomatic relations with Russia and to tolerate official representatives of Russia in the West. The mass revolutionary movement in the European countries, which is adopting the slogans of the Third International, and the new successes of the Soviet armies in the East are widening the division within the Entente, enhancing Russia's prestige in the neutral and border states, and rendering the Entente's policy of isolating Russia utopian. Estland, that "natural" ally of Poland, has been neutralized. Latvia and Lithuania, who yesterday were Poland's fighting allies, are today conducting peace negotiations with Russia. The same may be said of Finland.

Lastly, Russia's internal position at the opening of the Entente's third campaign must be regarded as having radically changed for the better. Russia has not only opened the road to the grain and fuel areas (Siberia, the Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus, the Donets Basin, Grozny, Baku), but has reduced the number of fronts from six to two, and is therefore in a position to mass troops in the West.

To what has been said must be added the very important fact that Poland is the attacking side, having rejected Russia's peace proposals, and Russia the defending side, which is an enormous and inestimable moral advantage for Russia.

All these circumstances create a new situation, new chances for a Russian victory which did not exist at the time of the earlier, the first and second, Entente campaigns against Russia.

That, chiefly, explains the gloomy and sceptical tone in which the Western imperialist press evaluates the successes of the Polish army.

II
REAR. STRIKING AREA

No army in the world can be victorious (we are speaking of firm and enduring victory, of course) without a stable rear. The rear is of prime importance to the front, because it is from the rear, and the rear alone, that the front obtains not only all kinds of supplies, but also its man power — its fighting forces, sentiments and ideas. An unstable rear, and so much the more a hostile rear, is bound to turn the best and most united army into an unstable and crumbling mass. The weakness of Kolchak and Denikin was due to the fact that they had no rear of "their own," that they, imbued as they were with essentially-Russian dominant-nation aspirations, were obliged to a very large extent to build their front and to supply and replenish it from non-Russian elements who were hostile to these aspirations, and that they were obliged to operate in areas which were obviously alien to their armies. It was natural that armies which had no internal, national, and still less class cohesion, and which were surrounded by a hostile environment, should cave in at the first powerful blow of the Soviet armies.

In this respect, the rear of the Polish forces differs very substantially from that of Kolchak and Denikin — to the great advantage of Poland. Unlike the rear of Kolchak and Denikin, the rear of the Polish forces is homogeneous and nationally united. Hence its unity and staunchness. Its predominant sentiment — a "sense of motherland" — is communicated through numerous channels to the Polish Front, lending the units national cohesion and firmness. Hence the staunchness of the Polish troops. Poland's rear, of course, is not (and cannot be!) homogeneous in the class sense; but class conflicts have not yet reached such a pitch as to undermine the sense of national unity and to breed antagonisms in a front of heterogeneous class composition. If the Polish forces were operating in Poland's own territory, it would undoubtedly be difficult to fight against them.

But Poland is not content with her own territory and is pushing her armies forward, subjugating Lithuania and Byelorussia, and driving deeply into Russia and the Ukraine. This circumstance alters the situation fundamentally, to the great detriment of the stability of the Polish armies.

As the Polish armies advance beyond the borders of Poland and penetrate deeper into the adjacent regions, they get farther and farther away from their national rear, weaken their communications with it, and find themselves in an alien, and for the most part hostile, national environment. Worse still, this hostility is aggravated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of the areas adjacent to Poland (Byelorussia, Lithuania, Russia, the Ukraine) consist of non-Polish peasants who are oppressed by Polish landlords, and that these peasants regard the offensive of the Polish troops as a war for the power of the Polish gentry, as a war against the oppressed non-Polish peasants. This, in fact, explains why the slogan of the Soviet army, "Down with the Polish gentry!" is meeting with so powerful a response among the majority of the inhabitants of these regions, why the peasants of these regions welcome the Soviet armies as their deliverers from landlord oppression, why, in expectation of the arrival of the Soviet armies, they rise in revolt at the first convenient opportunity and attack the Polish army in the rear. It is to this circumstance, too, that must be attributed the unparalleled enthusiasm of the Soviet armies, which is attested by all our military and political workers.

All this cannot but create an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity within the Polish armies, cannot but undermine their morale, their faith in the justice of their cause, their faith in victory, and cannot but convert the national cohesion of the Polish army from a favourable into an unfavourable factor.

And the further they advance (if they advance at all), the more strongly will these unfavourable aspects of the Polish campaign make themselves felt.

Can Poland, under such circumstances, develop a strong and powerful offensive, one promising enduring successes?

Will not the Polish troops, under these circumstances, find themselves in a situation similar to that in which the German troops, cut off from their rear, found themselves in the Ukraine in 1918?

This brings us to the question of the striking area. In war in general, and in civil war in particular, success, decisive victory, not infrequently depends upon a successful choice of the striking area, the area from which you intend to deliver and develop your main blow against the enemy. One of Denikin's big mistakes was that he chose as the area of his main blow the Donets Basin-Kharkov-Voronezh-Kursk zone, an area which was patently unreliable for him, one that was hostile to him, and in which he could create neither a firm rear nor favourable conditions for the advance of his troops. The successes of the Soviet forces on the Denikin front were due, among other things, to the fact that the Soviet command took the timely precaution to transfer its main blow from the Tsaritsyn area (an unfavourable area) to the area of the Donets Basin (a highly favourable area), where the Soviet troops were greeted by the inhabitants with enthusiasm, and from which it was easiest of all to pierce Denikin's front, split it in two, and advance further, all the way to Rostov.

This factor, which is not infrequently lost sight of by the old military experts, is often of decisive importance in civil war.

It should be observed that in this respect, in respect of the area of her main blow, Poland is very badly off. The fact is that, for the reasons enumerated above, not one of the areas adjacent to Poland can be regarded as favourable to the Polish army, either for the delivery of the main blow or for the further development of this blow. Wherever the Polish forces advance, they will encounter the resistance of Ukrainian, Russian or Byelorussian peasants who are waiting for the Soviet armies to come and deliver them from the Polish landlords.

The position of the Soviet armies, on the other hand, is quite favourable in this respect: for them all areas will "do nicely," so to speak, for as the Soviet armies advance they do not fortify, but overthrow the power of the Polish gentry and deliver the peasants from bondage.

III
PROSPECTS

So far, Poland is warring against Russia single-handed. But it would be naive to think that she is alone. What we have in mind is not only the all-round support which Poland is undoubtedly getting from the Entente, but also those fighting allies of Poland which in part have already been found by the Entente (the remnants of Denikin's army, for example), and partly those which will in all likelihood be found for the glory of European "civilization." It is not by chance that the Polish offensive began at the time of the San Remo conference, 2 to which Russia's representatives were not admitted. Nor is it by chance that Rumania has dropped the question of peace negotiations with Russia. . . . Moreover, it is quite likely that the Polish offensive, which at first glance seems to be a reckless adventure, is actually part of a broadly conceived plan for a combined campaign, which is being carried out little by little.

All the same, it should be said that if the Entente reckoned on conquering Russia when it organized this third campaign against her, it has miscalculated, for the chances of defeating Russia in 1920 are less, far less, than they were in 1919.

We have already discussed Russia's chances of victory, and have said that they are growing and will continue to grow. But this does not mean, of course, that victory is already in our pocket. The chances of victory we have spoken of can be of real value only if other conditions are equal, that is, on condition that we make as great an effort now as we did formerly, during Denikin's offensive, that our armies are supplied and replenished punctually and regularly, that our propagandists redouble their efforts to enlighten the Red Army men and the population around them, and that we clear our rear of scum and fortify it with all our strength and by every means.

Only if these conditions are fulfilled can victory be considered assured.

Pravda, Nos. 111 and 112, May 25 and 26, 1920

Signed: J. Stalin

_____

Notes

1.The reference is to the diplomatic correspondence in connection with the Note of Lord Curzon, British Foreign Secretary, to the People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the R.S.F.S.R. of April 11, 1920, offering the full capitulation of Wrangel and his army in the Crimea provided they were amnestied by the Soviet Government. Regarding this correspondence, see also p. 346 in this volume.

2.The conference of the Entente powers in San Remo, Italy, (April 19-26, 1920) discussed, among other questions, the fulfilment of the Versailles Peace Treaty by Germany and a draft peace treaty with Turkey.

 

 

 

The Situation on the South-Western Fornt

Ukrainian ROSTA Interview

June 24, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

The day before yesterday Comrade J. V. Stalin, member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, returned to Kharkov after having spent about three weeks at the front. It was while he was there that the Red forces began and gradually developed the offensive operations which opened with the celebrated breaching of the Polish Front by the Red cavalry.

Interviewed by a Ukrainian ROSTA correspondent, Comrade Stalin said the following:

THE BREAK-THROUGH

When speaking of the operation of Comrade Budyonny's Cavalry Army on the Polish Front in the early part of June, many compare it—this breach of the enemy's front—with Mamontov's cavalry raid last year.

But such an analogy is quite incorrect.

Mamontov's operation was of an episodic, guerilla character, so to speak, and was not co-ordinated with the general offensive operations of Denikin's army.

The break-through of the Cavalry Army, on the other hand, is a link in the general chain of the Red Army's offensive operations.

Our cavalry raid began on June 5. On the morning of that day the Red cavalry, compressed into a tight fist, struck at the Polish Second Army, breached the enemy's front, raced through the Berdichev area, and on the morning of June 7 occupied Zhitomir.

The details of the capture of Zhitomir and of the trophies captured have already been given in the press, and I shall say nothing about them. I shall only mention one characteristic thing. The Revolutionary Military Council of the Cavalry Army had reported to front headquarters: "The Polish army looks with utter disdain on our cavalry. We consider it our duty to show the Poles that our cavalry has to be respected." After the break-through, Comrade Budyonny wrote us: "The Polish gentry have learned to respect our cavalry; they are on the run, tumbling over one another, and leaving the road clear for us."

RESULTS OF THE BREAK-THROUGH

The results of the break-through were:

The Polish Second Army, through which our Cavalry Army passed, was put out of action—over one thousand of its men were taken prisoner and about eight thousand cut down.

I have checked the latter figure from several sources and find it close to the truth, all the more that at first the Poles stubbornly refused to surrender and our cavalry literally had to hack their way through.

That was the first result.

Second result: the Polish Third Army (Kiev area) was cut off from its rear and was in danger of being surrounded, in consequence of which it began a general retreat in the Kiev-Korosten direction.

Third result: the Polish Sixth Army (Kamenets-Podolsk area), left without support on its left flank and fearing to be pressed against the Dniester, began a general withdrawal.

Fourth result: as soon as the break-through was effected, we launched an impetuous general offensive along the whole front.

FATE OF THE POLISH THIRD ARMY

As the fate of the Polish Third Army is still not clear to all, I shall dwell on this in greater detail.

Cut off from its base, and with its communications disrupted, the Polish Third Army was faced with the danger of being captured to a man. In view of this it began to burn its baggage trains, blow up its stores and put its guns out of action.

After its first unsuccessful attempts to retire in good order, it was forced to take to flight (wholesale flight).

One third of its effectives (the Polish Third Army had about twenty thousand men in all) were taken prisoner or cut down. Another third, if not more, discarded their weapons and took to flight, dispersing through the marshes and forests. Only the remaining third, and even less, succeeded in making their way back to their own side through Korosten. It is beyond doubt that if the Poles had not succeeded in sending timely aid in the shape of fresh units through Shepetovka-Sarny, this part of the Polish Third Army would also have fallen prisoner or would have dispersed through the forests.

At any rate, it may be considered that the Polish Third Army no longer exists. Such remnants as managed to get back to their own side will need thorough overhauling.

To give an idea of how badly the Polish Third Army was smashed, I must tell you that the entire Zhitomir highway was strewn with half-burned baggage trains and all kinds of motor vehicles, the latter numbering about four thousand, according to the report of our chief of communications. We captured 70 guns, not less than 250 machine guns, and a vast quantity of rifles and cartridges, which have not yet been counted.

Such were our trophies.

SITUATION AT THE FRONT

The present situation at the front may be described as follows: the Polish Sixth Army is retreating, the Second is being withdrawn for re-organization, and the Third virtually does not exist and is being replaced by other Polish units taken from the Western Front or from the far rear.

The Red Army is advancing along the whole front and has crossed the line: Ovruch-Korosten-Zhitomir-Berdichev-Kazatin-Kalinovka-Vinnitsa-Zhmerinka.

CONCLUSIONS

But it would be a mistake to think that the Poles on our front have been disposed of.

After all, we are contending not only against the Poles, but against the whole Entente, which has mobilized all the dark forces of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Rumania and is providing the Poles with supplies of every kind.

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the Poles have reserves, which are already concentrated at Novo-grad-Volynsk, and their effect will undoubtedly be felt within the next few days.

It should also be borne in mind that there is as yet no mass demoralization in the Polish army. There is no doubt that more fighting is still to come, and fierce fighting at that.

Hence I consider the boastfulness and harmful self-conceit displayed by some of our comrades as out of place: some of them, not content with the successes at the front, are calling for a "march on Warsaw"; others, not content with defending our Republic against enemy attack, haughtily declare that they could be satisfied only with a "Red Soviet Warsaw."

I shall not demonstrate that this boastfulness and self-conceit are entirely at variance both with the policy of the Soviet Government and with the strength of the enemy forces at the front.

I must declare most categorically that we shall not be victorious unless we strain every effort in the rear and at the front. Without this, we cannot defeat our enemies from the West.

This is emphasized particularly by the offensive of Wrangel's troops, which has appeared like a "bolt from the blue" and has assumed menacing proportions.

THE CRIMEAN FRONT

There is not the least doubt that Wrangel's offensive was dictated by the Entente in order to ease the difficult position of the Poles. Only a naive politician could believe that Curzon's correspondence with Comrade Chicherin could have any other purpose than to use talk of peace to cover up the preparations Wrangel and the Entente were making for an offensive from the Crimea.

Wrangel was not yet ready, and it was for that reason (and that reason alone!) that the "humane" Curzon begged Soviet Russia to have mercy on Wrangel's forces and spare their lives.

The Entente evidently calculated that at the moment when the Red Army overwhelmed the Poles and began to advance, Wrangel would appear in the rear of our armies and upset all Soviet Russia's plans.

Undoubtedly, Wrangel's offensive has considerably eased the position of the Poles, but there is scarcely reason to believe that Wrangel will succeed in breaking through to the rear of our Western armies.

At all events, the weight and strength of Wrangel's offensive will be apparent in the very near future.

Kommunist (Kharkov), No. 140, June 24, 1920

 

 

 

Telegram to V. I. Lenin

June 25, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Revishin, a front-line general, who was taken prisoner by our forces on the Crimean Front on June 10, has stated in my presence: a) Wrangel's army is getting its clothing, guns, rifles, tanks and sabres chiefly from the British, and also from the French; b) Wrangel is being aided from the sea by big British ships and small French ships; c) Wrangel is getting fuel (liquid) from Batum (this means that Baku must not supply fuel to Tiflis, which can sell it to Batum); d) General Erdeli, who was interned by Georgia and was to be turned over to us, was already in the Crimea in May (which means that Georgia is playing false and deceiving us).

General Revishin's testimony on British and French aid to Wrangel is being stenographed and a copy signed by him will be sent you as material for Chicherin.

Stalin

June 25, 1920

 

 

 

The Situation on the Polish Front

Pravda Interview

July 11, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Comrade Stalin, who recently returned from the South-Western Front, in an interview with our correspondent stated the following:

1. MAY-JUNE

In the last two months, in May and in June, the situation at the front presented entirely different pictures.

May was a month of exceptional successes for the Polish army. On their right flank, the Poles were successfully advancing beyond the Kiev-Zhmerinka line and threatening Odessa. On their left flank, they were successfully stopping the offensive operations of our troops in the direction of Molodechno-Minsk. In the centre, having consolidated themselves in Mozyr and captured Rechitsa, they were threatening Gomel.

June, on the other hand, was a month of swift and drastic liquidation of the successes gained by the Polish army in May. The Poles' advance on the Ukraine was already stopped, for they were not only driven out of Kiev, but thrown back beyond the Rovno-Proskurov-Moghilev line. Their advance on Gomel was also stopped since their forces were hurled back beyond Mozyr. As regards their left flank—the most stable, according to the Polish press—it must be said that the powerful drive towards Molodechno made by our troops in this area in the past few days leaves no doubt that here too the Poles will be flung back.

July reveals a picture of a decisive change at the front in favour of Russia, and of obvious superiority on the side of the Soviet armies.

2. THE ZHITOMIR BREAK-THROUGH

The break-through effected by our cavalry in the Zhitomir area was undoubtedly the decisive factor in the radical change at the front.

Many compare it with Mamontov's break-through and raid and find them identical. But this is incorrect. Mamontov's break-through was of an episodic character and was not directly co-ordinated with Denikin's offensive operations. Comrade Budyonny's break-through, on the contrary, was an essential link in the continuous chain of our offensive operations, its aim being not only the disruption of the enemy's rear services, but also the direct performance of a definite strategic task.

The break-through began at dawn on June 5. On that day our cavalry units, compressed into a tight fist, with their baggage trains in the centre, breached the enemy's positions in the Popelnya-Kazatin area, raced through the Berdichev area, and on June 7 occupied Zhitomir. The resistance of the Poles was so desperate that our cavalry literally had to hack their way through, the result being that the Poles left on the field not less than eight thousand wounded and killed by shot or sabre, according to the reports of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Cavalry Army.

3. RESULTS OF THE BREAK-THROUGH

Before the Zhitomir break-through the Poles, unlike Denikin, had protected the major points on their front by a belt of trenches and barbed-wire entanglements, and successfully combined mobile warfare with trench warfare. This had seriously hampered our advance. The Zhitomir break-through upset the Poles' calculations and reduced the value of combined warfare to a minimum.

That was the first positive result of the break-through.

Next, the break-through placed the enemy's rear services and communications in direct jeopardy, as a result of which:

a) the Polish Third Army (Kiev area), fearing-encir-clement, began a swift retreat which later turned into a wholesale flight;

b) the Polish Second Army (Berdichev area), which sustained the main blow of the Cavalry Army, beat a hasty retreat;

c) the Polish Sixth Army (Zhmerinka area), being left without support on its left flank, began a regular withdrawal westward;

d) our armies launched an impetuous offensive along the whole front.

That was the second positive result of the Zhitomir break-through.

Lastly, the break-through knocked the arrogance out of the Poles, undermined their faith in their own strength, sapped their morale. Before the break-through the Polish units had looked upon our troops, and especially our cavalry, with utter disdain, had fought desperately and refused to surrender. Only after the break-through did the Poles begin to surrender in whole groups and desert en masse—the first symptom of demoralization in the Polish ranks. Comrade Budyonny, in fact, writes to the Revolutionary Military Council of the front: "The Polish gentry have learned to respect our cavalry."

4. THE DANGER FROM THE SOUTH

Our successes on the anti-Polish Front are unquestionable. It is equally unquestionable that these successes will develop. But it would be unbecoming boastfulness to think that the Poles are as good as done with, that all that remains for us to do is to "march on Warsaw."

Such boastfulness, which saps the energy of our officials and breeds a harmful self-conceit, is out of place not only because Poland has reserves which she will undoubtedly send to the front, not only because Poland is not alone and is backed by the Entente, which supports her unreservedly against Russia, but also, and chiefly, because there has appeared in the rear of our armies a new ally of Poland—Wrangel, who is threatening to destroy from the rear the fruits of our victories over the Poles.

It is no use cherishing the hope that Wrangel will not be able to reach agreement with the Poles. He has already reached agreement and is working hand in glove with them.

Here is what Shulgin's Velikaya Rossiya, the Sevastopol newspaper which is the inspiration of the Wran-gelites, says in one of its June issues:

"There is no doubt that we, by our offensive, are supporting the Poles, for we are diverting to ourselves part of the Bolshevik forces which were designated for use on the Polish Front. There is also no doubt that the operations of the Poles are of substantial support to us. It does not matter whether we like the Poles or dislike them; we must guide ourselves solely by cold political calculation. Today an alliance with the Poles against the common enemy is to our advantage; as to tomorrow . . . well, we shall see."

Obviously, the Wrangel Front is an extension of the Polish Front, with the difference, however, that Wran-gel is operating in the rear of our armies engaged against the Poles, that is, in the most dangerous place for us.

It is therefore ridiculous to talk of a "march on Warsaw," or in general of the lasting character of our successes so long as the Wrangel danger has not been eliminated. Yet Wrangel is gaining strength, and there is no evidence that we are adopting any special or effective measures against the growing danger from the South.

5. REMEMBER WRANGEL

As a result of our offensive operations against the Poles, our front is assuming the shape of an arc, with its concave side facing the West and its ends extending forward, the southern end lying in the Rovno area, and the northern in the Molodechno area. That is what is known as an enveloping position vis-a-vis the Polish troops, i.e., a position most dangerous to the latter.

Undoubtedly, this circumstance is taken into account by the Entente, which is trying its utmost to embroil Rumania in war with Russia, is feverishly seeking new allies for Poland, is doing everything it can to assist Wrangel, and is generally trying to save the Poles. It is quite possible that the Entente will succeed in finding new allies for Poland.

There is no reason to doubt that Russia will find the strength to repel these new enemies as well. But one thing must not be forgotten: so long as Wrangel is intact, so long as he is in a position to threaten our rear, our fronts will be unsteady and insecure, and our successes on the anti-Polish Front cannot be lasting. Only with the liquidation of Wrangel shall we be able to consider our victory over the Polish gentry secure. Therefore, the new slogan which the Party must now inscribe on its banners is: "Remember Wrangel!" "Death to Wrangel!"

Pravda, No. 151, July 11, 1920

 

 

 

How the Red Army is Greeted

Statement to Krasnoarmeyets

July 15, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

Comrade Stalin, member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic, states that he cannot refrain from remarking on the quite exceptional cordiality with which the Red Army on the Polish Front is welcomed by the local population.

"Such an attitude I have not had occasion to observe either in the East or in the South," Comrade Stalin says.

"Despite the poverty of the peasant masses in the West compared with the Volga area and the South, they were ready to share their last crust of bread with the Red Army men.

"The very onerous ‘cartage' duty was performed without a murmur.

"The Red Army men were rendered every aid and assistance, and when at the close of May we were forced to begin a withdrawal the grief of the population was great.

"The population of the frontal zone had experienced all the misery of Polish occupation, and were therefore fully aware of what the incursion of the Polish gentry held in store for them.

"There is a whole group of units on our front the medical care of which has been entirely taken over by peasant men and women, who show the utmost concern and solicitude for our wounded Red Army men.

"As to the mood of the Byelorussian peasants on the other side of the front, we are informed that continuous revolts are breaking out there, and that guerilla detachments are active, disrupting the enemy's rear, setting fire to stores, and wiping out landlords.

"It may be safely said that the same thing is occurring here as happened to Kolchak in Siberia.

"With the approach of our forces, everywhere the enemy's rear begins to blow up from within.

"What we are now witnessing in Byelorussia is a genuine peasant revolution against the Polish landlords."

Krasnoarmeyets, No. 337, July 15, 1920

 

 

Creation of Fighting Reserves of the Republic

August 25, 1920

Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920

1. MEMORANDUM TO THE POLITICAL BUREAU, C.C., R.C.P.(B.)

August 25, 1920

The behaviour of France and America in openly supporting the Poles and Wrangel, and the behaviour of Britain in tacitly sanctioning this support, on the one hand, and the successes of the Poles, the expected reinforcement of Wrangel's army with new forces, and the concentration of the Rumanian Eastern Army in the Do-rokhoi area, on the other, are creating a serious international and military situation for the Republic. Measures must be taken without delay to provide the Republic with fresh bayonets (about 100,000) and fresh sabres (about 30,000), and with the corresponding military supplies.

The latest successes of the Poles have disclosed a fundamental defect of our armies, namely, the lack of effective fighting reserves. We must therefore put as the primary point of our current programme for enhancing the military might of the Republic the creation of powerful reserves capable of being thrown on to the front at any moment.

Accordingly, I propose the adoption of the following programme for the creation of fighting reserves of the Republic:

1. While continuing the normal replenishment of the divisions in the firing line that are fit for action, immediate steps should be taken to withdraw to the rear depleted and semi-depleted divisions (infantry) which have become unfit for action.

2. On the assumption that about 12-15 infantry divisions will be found to be in need of withdrawal, they should be concentrated in areas (they must be grain areas) from which they could be thrown without particular delay on to the Wrangel, Polish or Rumanian fronts, depending on circumstances (one third of the divisions withdrawn might be concentrated, say, in the Olviopol area, another third in the Konotop-Bakhmach area, and the remaining third in the Ilovaiskaya-Volno-vakha area).

3. These divisions should be replenished and supplied with a view to raising their strength to 7,000 or 8,000 bayonets each, and to having them fully ready for action by January 1, 1921.

4. Immediate steps should be taken to replenish our cavalry units on active service, with a view to assigning in the next few months (by January) 10,000 sabres to the First Cavalry Army, 8,000 to the Second Cavalry Army, and 6,000 to Gai's corps.

5. Immediate steps should be taken to form five cavalry brigades of 1,500 sabres each (one brigade consisting of Terek Cossacks, another of Caucasian highlanders, a third of Ural Cossacks, a fourth of Orenburg Cossacks, and a fifth of Siberian Cossacks). Formation of the brigades to be completed within two months.

6. Everything should be done to organize and develop an automobile industry, special attention being paid to the repair and manufacture of Austin and Fiat vehicles.

7. Every effort should be made to develop the production of armour plate, chiefly with a view to the armouring of motor vehicles.

8. Every effort should be made to develop aircraft production.

9. The supply programme should be enlarged in conformity with the above points.

J. Stalin

August 25, 1920 Moscow, The Kremlin

 

 

2. STATEMENT TO THE POLITICAL BUREAU, C.C., R.C.P.(B.)

August 30, 1920

Trotsky's reply on the subject of reserves is an evasion. His previous telegram, to which he refers in his reply, does not even hint at a plan for the creation of reserves, at the necessity for such a plan. When the divisions are to be withdrawn; to what areas; by what date they are to be brought up to strength; the training of replenishments and their cementing—all these points (which are by no means details!) are avoided.

An important (unfavourable) role in the summer campaign was played by the remoteness of the reserves from the fronts (Urals, Siberia, North Caucasus): the reserves arrived late, with great delay, and for the most part failed in their purpose. Therefore, the areas of concentration of reserves must be well considered in advance as a very important factor.

An equally important role (also unfavourable) was played by the lack of training of the replenishments: semi-raw and uncemented, and suitable only in the on-sweep of a general offensive, the replenishments usually failed to withstand serious enemy counteraction, abandoned practically all their materiel, and surrendered to the enemy by tens of thousands. Therefore, the period of training and bringing up to strength, as a very important factor, must also be well considered in advance.

An even more important role (also unfavourable) was played by the haphazard, impromptu character of our reserves: since we had no special reserve units, reserves were not infrequently patched together haphazardly and with extreme haste from all sorts of scrappy units, including even the VOKR, 1 which tended to undermine the staunchness of our armies.

In brief, systematic work must be begun (immediately!) to provide the Republic with effective reserves—otherwise we risk finding ourselves confronted with a new, "unexpected" ("like a bolt from the blue") military catastrophe.

Supply is not "the most important thing," as Trotsky mistakenly thinks. The history of the civil war shows that we coped with the problem of supply in spite of our poverty, yet half the "shirts" and "boots" issued to the soldiers found their way into the hands of the peasants. Why? Because the soldiers sold them (and will go on selling them!) to the peasants in exchange for milk, butter, meat, that is, in exchange for the things we are unable to give them. And in this (summer) campaign, too, we coped with the problem of supply, but suffered a reverse nevertheless (as far as I know, no one has yet ventured to accuse our supply men of being responsible for our reverses on the Polish Front. . . ). Evidently, there are factors more important than supply (regarding which, see above).

We must discard once and for all the harmful "doctrine" that the supply of the army must be entrusted to civilian departments, and all the rest to the Field Staff. The Central Committee must be acquainted with and control the entire work of the agencies of the war department, not excluding the preparation of fighting reserves and field operations, if it does not want to find itself confronting another catastrophe.

For this reason I insist:

1) That the war department should not evade the issue with talk about "soldiers' shirts," but should work out (proceed at once to work out) a concrete plan of the creation of fighting reserves of the Republic;

2) That this plan should be examined by the Central Committee (through the Council of Defence);

3) That the Central Committee should strengthen its control of the Field Staff by introducing the practice of periodical reports by the Commander-in-Chief or the Chief of Field Staff to the Council of Defence or to a special commission composed of members of the Council of Defence.

J. Stalin

August 30, 1920

 

 

The Political Strategy and Tactics
of the Russian Communists

Synopsis of a Pamphlet

July, 1921

Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923

II
Historic Turns in the Development of Russia

1) The turn in 1904-05 (the Russo-Japanese war revealed the utter instability of the autocracy on the one hand, and the might of the proletarian and peasant movement, on the other) and Lenin's book Two Tactics as the strategic plan of the Marxists corresponding to this turn. A turn towards the bourgeois-democratic revolution (this was the essence of the turn). Not a bourgeois-liberal deal with tsarism under the hegemony of the Cadets, but a bourgeois-democratic revolution under the hegemony of the proletariat. (This was the essence of the strategic plan.) This plan took as its starting point that the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia would give an impetus to the socialist movement in the West, would unleash revolution there and help Russia to pass from the bourgeois to the socialist revolution (see also Minutes of the Third Party Congress, Lenin's speeches at the congress, and also his analysis of the concept of dictatorship both at the congress and in the pamphlet The Victory of the Cadets ). A calculation of the contending forces, internal and international, and, in general, an analysis of the economics and politics of the period of the turn are essential. The February Revolution marked the culmination of this period by carrying out at least two-thirds of the strategic plan outlined in Two Tactics.

2) The turn in February-March 1917 towards the Soviet revolution (the imperialist war, which swept away the autocratic regime, revealed the utter bankruptcy of capitalism and showed that a socialist revolution was absolutely inevitable as the only way out of the crisis).

Difference between the "glorious" February Revolution brought about by the people, the bourgeoisie and Anglo-French capital (this revolution, since it transferred power to the Cadets, caused no changes of any importance in the international situation, for it was a continuation of the policy of Anglo-French capital), and the October Revolution, which overturned everything.

Lenins "Theses"—as the strategic plan corresponding to the new turn. Dictatorship of the proletariat as the way out. This plan took as its starting point that "we shall begin the socialist revolution in Russia, overthrow our own bourgeoisie and in this way unleash the revolution in the West, and then the Western comrades will help us to complete our revolution." It is essential to analyse the internal and international economics and politics of this turning-point period (the period of "dual power," coalition combinations, the Kornilov revolt as a symptom of the death of the Kerensky regime, unrest in Western countries due to discontent with the war).

3) The turn in October 1917 (a turn not only in Russian, but in world history), establishment of the proletarian dictatorship in Russia (October-November-December 1917, and first half of 1918), as a breach of the international social front, against world imperialism, which caused a turn towards the liquidation of capitalism and the establishment of the socialist order on a world scale, and as opening the era of civil war in place of impe rialist war (the Decree on Peace, the Decree on Land, the Decree on the Nationalities, publication of the secret treaties, programme of construction, Lenin's speeches at the Second Congress of Soviets, Lenin's pamphlet The Tasks of the Soviet Power, economic construction).

Make an all-round analysis of the difference between the strategy and tactics of communism when not in power, when in opposition and the strategy and tactics of communism when in power.

International situation: continuation of the war between the two imperialist cliques as a favourable condition (after the conclusion of the Brest Peace) for the existence and development of Soviet power in Russia.

4) The course towards military operations against the interventionists (summer of 1918 to end of 1920), which began after the brief period of peaceful construction, i.e., after the Brest Peace. This course began after the Brest Peace, which reflected Soviet Russia's military weakness and emphasised the necessity of creating a Red Army in Russia to serve as the chief bulwark of the Soviet revolution. The hostile action of the Czechoslovaks, the occupation of Murmansk, Archangel, Vladivostok and Baku by Entente troops, and the Entente's declaration of war against Soviet Russia — all this definitely marked the turn from incipient peaceful construction to military operations, to defence of the centre of the world revolution from attacks by internal and external enemies. (Lenin's speeches on the Brest Peace, etc.) Since the social revolution was a long time coming and we were left to our own resources, especially after the occupation of the above-mentioned districts, which met with no serious protest on the part of the proletarians of the West, we were obliged to conclude the indecent Brest Peace in order to obtain a respite during which to build our Red Army and defend the Soviet Republic by our own efforts.

"All for the front, all for the defence of the Republic." Hence, the setting up of the Council of Defence, etc. This was the war period, which left its impress upon the whole of Russia's internal and external life.

5) The course towards peaceful construction from the beginning of 1921, after the defeat of Wrangel, peace with a number of bourgeois states, the treaty with Britain, etc.

The war is over, but as the Western Socialists are not yet able to help us to restore our economy, we, being economically encircled by industrially more developed bourgeois states, are compelled to grant concessions, to conclude trade agreements with individual bourgeois states and concession agreements with individual capitalist groups; in this (economic) sphere also we are left to our own resources, we are obliged to manoeuvre. All for the restoration of the national economy. (See Lenin's well-known speeches and pamphlets.) The Council of Defence is transformed into the Council of Labour and Defence.

6) The stages in the Party's development up to 1917:

a) Welding of the main core, especially the "Iskra" group, and so forth. Fight against Economism. The Credo.

b) Formation of Party cadres as the basis of the future workers' party on an all-Russian scale (18951903). The Second Party Congress.

c) The expansion of the cadres into a workers' party and its reinforcement with new Party workers recruited in the course of the proletarian movement (1903-04). The Third Party Congress.

d) The fight of the Mensheviks against the Party cadres with the object of dissolving the latter among the nonparty masses (the "Labour Congress") and the fight of the Bolsheviks to preserve the Party cadres as the basis of the Party. The London Congress and defeat of the advocates of a Labour Congress.

e) Liquidators and Party Supporters. Defeat of the Liquidators (1908-10).

f) 1908-16 inclusive. The period of the combination of illegal and legal forms of activity and the growth of the Party organisations in all spheres of activity.

7) The Communist Party as a sort of Order of Knights of the Sword within the Soviet state, directing the organs of the latter and inspiring their activities.

The importance of the old guard within this powerful Order. Reinforcement of the old guard with new forces who have been steeled during the past three or four years.

Was Lenin right in waging an uncompromising struggle against the conciliators? Yes, for had he not done so, the Party would have been diluted and would have been not an organism, but a conglomeration of heterogeneous elements; it would not have been so welded and united internally; it would not have possessed that unexampled discipline and unprecedented flexibility without which it, and the Soviet state which it guides, could not have withstood world imperialism. "The Party becomes strong by purging itself," rightly said Lassalle. Quality first and then quantity.

8) The question whether a proletarian party is needed or not, and of the role of the latter. The Party constitutes the officer corps and general staff of the proletariat, who direct the struggle of the latter in all its forms and in all spheres without exception, and combine the diverse forms of the struggle into one whole. To say that a Communist Party is not needed is equivalent to saying that the proletariat must fight without a general staff, without a leading core, who make a special study of the conditions of the struggle and work out the methods of fighting; it is equivalent to saying that it is better to fight without a general staff than with one, which is stupid.

 

 

 

 

 

Concerning the Question of the Strategy and Tactics of the Russian Communists

March 14, 1923

Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923

3. Strategy

The most important function of strategy is to determine the main direction which ought to be taken by the working-class movement, and along which the proletariat can most advantageously deliver the main blow at its enemy in order to achieve the aims formulated in the programme. A strategic plan is a plan of the organisation of the decisive blow in the direction in which the blow is most likely to achieve the maximum results.

The principal features of political strategy could easily be described by drawing an analogy with military strategy: for instance, in the fight against Denikin during the Civil War. Everybody remembers the end of 1919, when Denikin's forces were standing near Tula. At that time an interesting dispute arose among our military men about the point from which the decisive blow at Denikin's armies should be delivered. Some military men proposed that the line Tsaritsyn-Novorossiisk be chosen for the main direction of the blow. Others, on the contrary, proposed that the decisive blow be delivered along the line Voronezh-Rostov, to proceed along this line and thus cut Denikin's armies in two and then crush each part separately. The first plan undoubtedly had its merits in that it provided for the capture of Novoros-siisk, which would have cut off the retreat of Denikin's armies. But, on the one hand, it was faulty because it assumed our advance through districts (the Don Region) which were hostile to Soviet power, and thus would have involved heavy casualties; on the other hand, it was dangerous because it opened for Denikin's armies the road to Moscow via Tula and Serpukhov. The only correct plan for the main blow was the second one, because, on the one hand, it assumed the advance of our main group through districts (Voronezh Gubernia-Donets Basin) which were friendly towards Soviet power and, therefore, would not involve any considerable casualties; on the other hand, it would disrupt the operations of Denikin's main group of forces which were moving towards Moscow. The majority of the military men declared in favour of the second plan, and this determined the fate of the war against Denikin.

In other words, determining the direction of the main blow means deciding in advance the nature of operations during the whole period of the war, i.e., deciding in advance, to the extent of nine-tenths, the fate of the whole war. That is the function of strategy.

The same must be said about political strategy. The first serious, collision between the political leaders of the Russian proletariat on the question of the main direction of the proletarian movement took place at the beginning of the twentieth century, during the Russo-Japanese war. At that time, as we know, one section of our Party (the Mensheviks) held the view that the main direction of the proletarian movement in its struggle against tsarism should be along the line of a bloc between the proletariat and the liberal bourgeoisie; the peasantry was omitted, or almost entirely omitted from the plan as a major revolutionary factor, while the leading role in the general revolutionary movement was assigned to the liberal bourgeoisie. The other section of the Party (the Bolsheviks) maintained, on the contrary, that the main blow should proceed along the line of a bloc between the proletariat and the peasantry, and that the leading role in the general revolutionary movement should be assigned to the proletariat, while the liberal bourgeoisie should be neutralised.

If, by analogy with the war against Denikin, we depict our whole revolutionary movement, from the beginning of this century to the February Revolution in 1917, as a war waged by the workers and peasants against tsarism and the landlords, it will be clear that the fate of tsarism and of the landlords largely depended upon which of the two strategic plans (the Menshevik or the Bolshevik) would be adopted, and upon which direction would be chosen as the main direction of the revolutionary movement.

Just as during the war against Denikin military strategy, by deciding the main direction of the blow, determined to the extent of nine-tenths the character of all subsequent operations, including the liquidation of Denikin's armies, so here, in the sphere of the revolutionary struggle against tsarism, our political strategy, by deciding that the main direction of the revolutionary movement should follow the Bolshevik plan, determined the character of our Party's work during the whole period of the open struggle against tsarism, from the time of the Russo-Japanese war down to the February Revolution in 1917.

The function of political strategy is, primarily, on the basis of the data provided by the theory and programme of Marxism, and taking into account the experrience of the revolutionary struggle of the workers of all countries, correctly to determine the main direction of the proletarian movement of the given country in the given historical period.

II
The Strategic Plan

1. Historic Turns. Strategic Plans

The Party's strategy is not something constant, fixed once and for all. It alters in accordance with the turns in history, with historic changes. These alterations in strategy find expression in the fact that with each separate turn in history a separate strategic plan is drawn up corresponding to that turn, and effective during the whole period from that turn to the next. The strategic plan defines the direction of the main blow to be delivered by the revolutionary forces and the corresponding disposition of the vast masses on the social front. Naturally, a strategic plan suitable for one period of history, which has its own specific features, cannot be suitable for another period of history, which has entirely different specific features. Corresponding to each turn in history is the strategic plan essential for it and adapted to its tasks.

The same may be said about the conduct of war. The strategic plan that was drawn up for the war against Kolchak could not have been suitable for the war against Denikin, which called for a new strategic plan, which, in its turn, would not have been suitable for, say, the war against the Poles in 1920, because the direction of the main blows, as well as the disposition of the main fighting forces, could not but be different in each of these three cases.

The recent history of Russia knows of three main historic turns, which gave rise to three different strategic plans in the history of our Party. We consider it necessary to describe them briefly in order to show how the Party's strategic plans in general change in conformity with new historic changes.

2. The First Historic Turn and the Course Towards the Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution in Russia

This turn began at the beginning of the present century, in the period of the Russo-Japanese war, when the defeat of the tsar's armies and the tremendous political strikes of the Russian workers stirred up all classes of the population and pushed them into the arena of the political struggle. This turn came to an end in the days of the February Revolution in 1917.

During this period two strategic plans were at issue in our Party: the plan of the Mensheviks (Plekhanov-Martov, 1905), and the plan of the Bolsheviks (Comrade Lenin, 1905).

The Menshevik strategy planned the main blow at tsarism along the line of a coalition between the liberal bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Proceeding from the fact that at that time the revolution was regarded as a bourgeois revolution, this plan assigned the hegemony (leadership) of the movement to the liberal bourgeoisie and doomed the proletariat to the role of "extreme left opposition," to the role of "prompter" to the bourgeoisie, while the peasantry, one of the major revolutionary forces, was entirely, or almost entirely, left out of account. It is easy to understand that since this plan left out of account the millions of peasants in a country like Russia it was hopelessly utopian, and since it placed the fate of the revolution in the hands of the liberal bourgeoisie (the hegemony of the bourgeoisie) it was reactionary, for the liberal bourgeoisie was not interested in achieving the complete victory of the re

The Bolshevik strategy (see Comrade Lenin's book Two Tactics) planned the revolution's main blow at tsarism along the line of a coalition between the proletariat and the peasantry, while the liberal bourgeoisie was to be neutralised. Proceeding from the fact that the liberal bourgeoisie was not interested in the complete victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, that it preferred a deal with tsarism at the expense of the workers and peasants to the victory of the revolution, this plan assigned the hegemony of the revolutionary movement to the proletariat as the only completely revolutionary class in Russia. This plan was remarkable not only because it took into account correctly the driving forces of the revolution, but also because it contained in embryo the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat (the hegemony of the proletariat), because it brilliantly foresaw the next, higher phase of the revolution in Russia and facilitated the transition to it.

The subsequent development of the revolution right up to February 1917 fully confirmed the correctness of this strategic plan.

3. The Second Historic Turn and the Course Towards the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Russia

The second turn began with the February Revolution in 1917, after tsarism was overthrown, when the imperialist war had exposed the fatal ulcers of capitalism all over the world; when the liberal bourgeoisie, incapable of taking in its hands the actual government of the country, was compelled to confine itself to holding formal power (the Provisional Government); when the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, after getting actual power into their hands, had neither the experience nor the will to make the necessary use of it; when the soldiers at the front and the workers and peasants in the rear were groaning under the burdens of the war and economic disruption; when the "dual power" and "contact committee" regime, torn by internal contradictions and capable neither of waging war nor of bringing about peace, not only failed to find "a way out of the impasse" but confused the situation still more. This period ended with the October Revolution in 1917.

Two strategic plans were at issue in the Soviets at that time: the Menshevik-Socialist-Revolutionary plan, and the Bolshevik plan.

The Menshevik-Socialist-Revolutionary strategy, vacillating at first between the Soviets and the Provisional Government, between revolution and counter-revolution, took final shape at the time of the opening of the Democratic Conference (September 1917). It took the line of the gradual but steady removal of the Soviets from power and the concentration of all power in the country in the hands of the "Pre-parliament," the prototype of a future bourgeois parliament. The questions of peace and war, the agrarian and labour questions, as well as the national question, were shelved, pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, which, in its turn, was postponed for an indefinite period. "All power to the Constituent Assembly"—this was how the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks formulated their strategic plan. It was a plan for the preparation of a bourgeois dictatorship, a combed and brushed-up, "perfectly democratic" dictatorship it is true, but a bourgeois dictatorship for all that.

The Bolshevik strategy (see Comrade Lenin's "Theses," published in April 1917 ) planned the main blow along the line of liquidating the power of the bourgeoisie by the combined forces of the proletariat and the poor peasants, along the line of organising the dictatorship of the proletariat in the shape of a Soviet Republic. Rupture with imperialism and withdrawal from the war; liberation of the oppressed nationalities of the former Russian Empire; expropriation of the landlords and capitalists; preparation of the conditions for organising socialist economy—such were the elements of the Bolsheviks' strategic plan in that period. "All power to the Soviets"—this was how the Bolsheviks then formulated their strategic plan. This plan was important not only because it took into account correctly the actual driving forces of the new, proletarian revolution in Russia, but also because it facilitated and accelerated the unleashing of the revolutionary movement in the West.

Subsequent developments right up to the October Revolution fully confirmed the correctness of this strategic plan.

4. The Third Historic Turn and the Course Towards the Proletarian Revolution in Europe

The third turn began with the October Revolution, when the mortal combat between the two imperialist groups in the West had reached its climax; when the revolutionary crisis in the West was obviously growing; when the bourgeois government in Russia, bankrupt and entangled in contradictions, fell under the blows of the proletarian revolution; when the victorious proletarian revolution broke with imperialism and withdrew from the war, and thereby made bitter enemies in the shape of imperialist coalitions in the West; when the new Soviet Government's decrees on peace, the confiscation of the landlords' land, the expropriation of the capitalists and the liberation of the oppressed nationalities earned for it the confidence of millions of toilers throughout the world. This was a turn on an international scale, because, for the first time, the international front of capital was breached, the question of overthrowing capitalism was for the first time put on a practical footing. This transformed the October Revolution from a national, Russian force into an international force, and the Russian workers from a backward detachment of the international proletariat into its vanguard, which by its devoted struggle rouses the workers of the West and the oppressed countries of the East. This turn has not yet come to the end of its development, for it has not yet developed on an international scale, but its content and general direction are already sufficiently clear.

Two strategic plans were at issue in political circles in Russia at that time: the plan of the counter-revolutionaries, who had drawn into their organisations the active sections of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the plan of the Bolsheviks.

The counter-revolutionaries and active Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks planned along the line of uniting in one camp all the discontented elements: the old army officers in the rear and at the front, the bourgeois-nationalist governments in the border regions, the capitalists and landlords who had been expropriated by the revolution, the agents of the Entente who were preparing for intervention, and so forth. They steered a course towards the overthrow of the Soviet Government by means of revolts or foreign intervention, and the restoration of the capitalist order in Russia.

The Bolsheviks, on the contrary, planned along the line of internally strengthening the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia and extending the sphere of operation of the proletarian revolution to all countries of the world by combining the efforts of the proletarians of Russia with the efforts of the proletarians of Europe and with the efforts of the oppressed nations of the East against world imperialism. Highly noteworthy is the exact and concise formulation of this strategic plan given by Comrade Lenin in his pamphlet The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, namely: "To do the utmost possible in one country (one's own— J. St.) for the development, support and awakening of the revolution in all countries." The value of this strategic plan lies not only in that it took into account correctly the driving forces of the world revolution, but also in that it foresaw and facilitated the subsequent process of transformation of Soviet Russia into the focus of attention of the revolutionary movement throughout the world, into the banner of liberation of the workers in the West and of the colonies in the East.

The subsequent development of the revolution all over the world, and also the five years' existence of Soviet power in Russia, have fully confirmed the correctness of this strategic plan. The fact that the counterrevolutionaries, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Menshe-viks, who made several attempts to overthrow the Soviet Government, are now emigres, while the Soviet Government and the international proletarian organisation are becoming the major instruments of the policy of the world proletariat, and other facts of this kind, are obvious testimony in favour of the Bolsheviks' strategic plan.

 

Pravda, No. 56, March 14, 1923

 

 

 

The Twelfth Congress of the R.C.P. (B.)

April 17-25, 1923

Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923

 

2. Reply to the Discussion on the Central Committee's Organisational Report
April 19

Furthermore, Lutovinov forgets that although we are in power within the federation and enjoy all the advantages of legality, from the international standpoint, however, we are going through a period similar to that which we went through in 1912, when the Party was semi-legal, or rather, illegal, when the Party had a few legal footholds in the shape of the group in the Duma, in the shape of legal newspapers and clubs, but at the same time was surrounded by enemies, and was striving to accumulate forces in order to push forward, and to enlarge the legal framework. We are now going through a similar period on an international scale. We are surrounded by enemies— that is evident to everybody. The imperialist wolves who surround us are wide awake. Not a moment passes without our enemies trying to capture some gap through which to crawl and do us damage. There are no grounds for asserting that the enemies who surround us are not conducting some kind of preparatory work for a blockade, or for intervention. Such is the situation. Is it possible in such a situation to discuss all questions of war and peace in public? To discuss a question at meetings of 20,000 Party units is tantamount to discussing it in public. What would have become of us had we discussed in public all our preliminary work for the Genoa Conference? We would have gone down with a crash. It must be borne in mind that in a situation, when we are surrounded by enemies, a sudden stroke, an unexpected manoeuvre on our part, swift action, decides everything. What would have become of us if instead of discussing our political campaign at the Lausanne Conference in a narrow circle of trusted Party people, we had discussed all this work publicly, had exposed our hand? Our enemies would have taken all the weak and strong points into account, they would have defeated our campaign, and we would have left Lausanne in disgrace. What would become of us if we were to discuss publicly in advance the questions of war and peace, the most important of all important questions? For, I repeat, to discuss questions at meetings of 20,000 units is tantamount to discussing them in public. We would be smashed in no time. It is obvious, comrades, that for both organisational and political reasons Lutovinov's so-called democracy is a fantasy, is democratic Manilovism. It is false and dangerous. Lutovinov's road is not ours.

 

 

Speech at a Celebration Meeting at the Military Academy

November 17, 1923 (Brief Newspaper Report)

Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923

At the celebration of the fourth anniversary of our Red Cavalry, a speech was delivered by the founder of the Cavalry Army and its honorary Red Army man, Comrade Stalin.

Comrade Stalin emphasised that at the time when the basic nucleus of the cavalry, the embryo of the future Cavalry Army, was being organised, its initiators came into conflict with the opinion of leading military circles and military experts who denied the necessity of organising any cavalry at all.

The most characteristic page of the history of the Cavalry Army was written in the summer of 1919, when our cavalry became a combination of masses of cavalry with masses of machine guns. The celebrated "tachanka" 1 is the symbol of that combination.

However numerous our cavalry may be, if in its operations it is unable to combine the power of the horse with the power of machine guns and artillery, it will cease to be a formidable force.

The most glorious page in the history of the Cavalry Army was written at the close of 1919, when twelve regiments of our cavalry routed some twenty-two enemy regiments at the approaches to Voronezh. That event marked the actual conversion of our Cavalry Corps into a Cavalry Army.

The characteristic feature of that period was that at that stage our cavalry acquired still another quality which enabled it to achieve victory over Denikin's cavalry, namely: it attached to itself several infantry units, which it usually transported in carts, and employed as a screen against the enemy, so as to be able to take a short rest under cover of this screen, recuperate its strength, and then strike another blow at the enemy. That was the combination of cavalry with infantry—the latter being an auxiliary force. This combination, this additional new quality, transformed our cavalry into a formidable mobile force, which struck terror in the enemy.

In conclusion, Comrade Stalin said: "Comrades, I am not the kind of man to go into raptures, but I must say that if our Cavalry Army retains these new qualities, our cavalry and its leader, Comrade Budyonny, will be invincible."

 

Izvestia, No. 265, November 20, 1923

Notes

1. A light horse-drawn cart on which a machine gun was mounted.—Tr.

 

 

 

A Necessary Comment

(Concerning Rafail)

December 28, 1923

Works, Vol. 5, 1921 - 1923

In my article in Pravda (No. 285) "The Discussion, Rafail, etc." I said that according to a statement Ra-fail made at a meeting in the Presnya District "our Party has practically been turned into an army organisation, its discipline is army discipline and, in view of this, it is necessary to shake up the entire Party apparatus from top to bottom, because it is unfit." Concerning this, Rafail says in his article in Pravda that I did not correctly convey his views, that I "simplified" them "in the heat of debate," and so forth. Ra-fail says that he merely drew an analogy (comparison) between the Party and an army, that analogy is not identity. "The system of administration in the Party is analogous to the system of administration in an army—this does not mean," he says, "that it is an exact copy; it only draws a parallel."

Is Rafail right?

No. And for the following reasons.

First. In his speech at the meeting in the Presnya District, Rafail did not simply compare the Party with an army, as he now asserts, but actually identified it with an army, being of the opinion that the Party is built on the lines of an army. I have before me the verbatim report of Rafail's speech, revised by the speaker. There it is stated: "Our entire Party is built on the lines of an army from top to bottom." It can scarcely be denied that we have here not simply an analogy, but an identification of the Party's structure with that of an army; the two are placed on a par.

Can it be asserted that our Party is built on the lines of an army? Obviously not, for the Party is built from below, on the voluntary principle; it is not materially dependent on its General Staff, which the Party elects. An army, however, is, of course, built from above, on the basis of compulsion; it is completely dependent materially upon its General Staff, which is not elected, but appointed from above. Etc., etc.

Secondly. Rafail does not simply compare the system of administration in the Party with that in an army, but puts one on a par with the other, identifies them, without any "verbal frills." This is what he writes in his article: "We assert that the system of administration in the Party is identical with the system of administration in an army not on any extraneous grounds, but on the basis of an objective analysis of the state of the Party." It is impossible to deny that here Rafail does not confine himself to drawing an analogy between the administration of the Party and that of an army, for he "simply" identifies them, "without verbal frills."

Can these two systems of administration be identified? No, they cannot; for the system of administration in an army, as a system, is incompatible with the very nature of the Party and with its methods of influencing both its own members and the non-Party masses.

Thirdly. Rafail asserts in his article that, in the last analysis, the fate of the Party as a whole, and of its individual members, depends upon the Registration and Distribution Department of the Central Committee, that "the members of the Party are regarded as mobilised, the Registration and Distribution Department puts everybody in his job, nobody has the slightest right to choose his work, and it is the Registration and Distribution Department, or ‘General Staff,' that determines the amount of supplies, i.e., pay, form of work, etc." Is all this true? Of course not! In peace time, the Registration and Distribution Department of the Central Committee usually deals in the course of a year with barely eight to ten thousand people. We know from the Central Committee's report to the Twelfth Congress of the R.C.P. that, in 1922, the Registration and Distribution Department of the Central Committee dealt with 10,700 people (i.e., half the number it dealt with in 1921). If from this number we subtract 1,500 people sent by their local organisations to various educational institutions, and the people who went on sick leave (over 400), there remain something over 8,000. Of these, the Central Committee, in the course of the year, distributed 5,167 responsible workers (i.e., less than half of the total number dealt with by the Registration and Distribution Department). But at that time the Party as a whole had not 5,000, and not 10,000, but about 500,000 members, the bulk of whom were not, and could not, be affected by the distribution work of the Registration and Distribution Department of the Central Committee. Evidently, Rafail has forgotten that in peace time the Central Committee usually distributes only responsible workers, that the Registration and Distribution Department of the Central Committee does not, cannot, and should not, determine the "pay" of all the members of the Party, who now number over 400,000. Why did Rafail have to exaggerate in this ridiculous way? Evidently, in order to prove "with facts" the "identity" between the system of administration in the Party and that in an army. Such are the facts.

That is why I thought, and still think, that Ra-fail "is not clear in his mind about what the Party and what an army is."

As regards the passages Rafail quotes from the decisions of the Tenth Congress, they have nothing to do with the present case, for they apply only to the survivals of the war period in our Party and not to the alleged "identity between the system of administration in the Party and that in an army."

Rafail is right when he says that mistakes must be corrected, that one must not persist in one's mistakes. And that is precisely why I do not lose hope that Rafail will, in the end, correct the mistakes he has made.

 

Pravda, No. 294, December 28, 1923

 

 

April-May 1924

The Foundations of Leninism

I

THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF LENINISM

Leninism grew up and took shape under the conditions of imperialism, when the contradictions of capitalism had reached an extreme point, when the proletarian revolution had become an immediate practical question, when the old period of preparation of the working class for revolution had arrived at and passed into a new period, that of direct assault on capitalism.

Lenin called imperialism "moribund capitalism." Why? Because imperialism carries the contradictions of capitalism to their last bounds, to the extreme limit, beyond which revolution begins. Of these contradictions, there are three which must be regarded as the most important.

The first contradiction is the contradiction between labour and capital. Imperialism is the omnipotence of the monopolist trusts and syndicates, of the banks and the financial oligarchy, in the industrial countries. In the fight against this omnipotence, the customary methods of the working class-trade unions and cooperatives, parliamentary parties and the parliamentary struggle-have proved to be totally inadequate. Either place yourself at the mercy of capital, eke out a wretched existence as of old and sink lower and lower, or adopt a new weapon-this is the alternative imperialism puts before the vast masses of the proletariat. Imperialism brings the working class to revolution.

The second contradiction is the contradiction among the various financial groups and imperialist Powers in their struggle for sources of raw materials, for foreign territory. Imperialism is the export of capital to the sources of raw materials, the frenzied struggle for monopolist possession of these sources, the struggle for a re-division of the already divided world, a struggle waged with particular fury by new financial groups and Powers seeking a "place in the sun" against the old groups and Powers, which cling tenaciously to what they have seized. This frenzied struggle among the various groups of capitalists is notable in that it includes as an inevitable element imperialist wars, wars for the annexation of foreign territory. This circumstance, in its turn, is notable in that it leads to the mutual weakening of the imperialists, to the weakening of the position of capitalism in general, to the acceleration of the advent of the proletarian revolution and to the practical necessity of this revolution.

The third contradiction is the contradiction between the handful of ruling, "civilised" nations and the hundreds of millions of the colonial and dependent peoples of the world. Imperialism is the most barefaced exploitation and the most inhumane oppression of hundreds of millions of people inhabiting vast colonies and dependent countries. The purpose of this exploitation and of this oppression is to squeeze out super-profits. But in exploiting these countries imperialism is compelled to build these railways, factories and mills, industrial and commercial centers. The appearance of a class of proletarians, the emergence of a native intelligentsia, the awakening of national consciousness, the growth of the liberation movement-such are the inevitable results of this "policy." The growth of the revolutionary movement in all colonies and dependent countries without exception clearly testifies to this fact. This circumstance is of importance for the proletariat inasmuch as it saps radically the position of capitalism by converting the colonies and dependent countries from reserves of imperialism into reserves of the proletarian revolution.

Such, in general, are the principal contradictions of imperialism which have converted the old, "flourishing" capitalism into moribund capitalism.

The significance of the imperialist war which broke out ten years ago lies, among other things, in the fact that it gathered all these contradictions into a single knot and threw them on to the scales, thereby accelerating and facilitating the revolutionary battles of the proletariat.

In other words, imperialism was instrumental not only in making the revolution a practical inevitability, but also in creating favourable conditions for a direct assault on the citadels of capitalism.

Such was the international situation which gave birth to Leninism.

Some may say: this is all very well, but what has it to do with Russia, which was not and could not be a classical land of imperialism? What has it to do with Lenin, who worked primarily in Russia and for Russia? Why did Russia, of all countries, become the home of Leninism, the birthpalce of the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution?

Because Russia was the focus of all these contradictions of imperialism.

Because Russia, more than any other country, was pregnant with revolution, and she alone, therefore, was in a position to solve those contradictions in a revolutionary way.

To begin with, tsarist Russia was the home of every kind of oppression-capitalist, colonial and militarist-in its most inhuman and barbarous form. Who does not know that in Russia the omnipotence of capital was combined with the despostism of tsarism, the aggressiveness of Russian nationalism with tsarism's role of executioner in regard to the non-Russian peoples, the exploitation of entire regions-Turkey, Persia, China-with the seizure of these regions by tsarism, with wars of conquest? Lenin was right in saying that tsarism was "military-feudal imperialism." Tsarism was the concentration of the worst features of imperialism, raised to a high pitch.

To proceed. Tsarist Russia was a major reserve of Western imperialism, not only in the sense that it gave free entry to foreign capital, which controlled such basic branches of Russia's national economy as the fuel and metallurgical industries, but also in the sense that it could supply the Western imperialists with milions of soldiers. Remember the Russia army, fourteen million strong, which shed its blood on the imperialist fronts to safeguard the staggering profits of the British and French capitalists.

Further, Tsarism was not only the watchdog of imperialism in the east of Europe, but, in addition, it was the agent of Western imperialism for squeezing out of the population hundreds of milions by way of interet on loans obtained in Paris and London, Berlin and Brussels.

Finally, tsarism was a most faithful ally of Western imperialism in the partition of Turkey, Persia, China, etc. Who does not know that the imperialist war was waged by tsarism in alliance with the imperialists of the Entente, and that Russia was an essential element in that war?

That is why the interets of tsarism and of Western imperialism were interwoven and ultimately became merged in a single skein of imperialist interets.

Could Western imperialism resign itself to the loss of such a powerful support in the East and of such a rich reservoir of manpower and resources as old, tsarist, bourgeois Russia was without exerting all its strengths to wage a life-and-death struggle against the revolution in Russia, with the object of defending and preserving tsarsim? Of course not.

But from this it follows that whoever wanted to strike at tsarism necessarily raised his hand against imperialism, whoever rose against tsarism had to rise against imperialism as well; for whoever was bent on overthrowing tsarism had to overthrow imperialism too, if he really intended not merely to defeat tsarism, but to make a clean sweep of it. Thus the revolution against tsarism verged on and had to pass into a revolution against imperialism, into a proletarian revolution.

Meanwhile, in Russia a tremendous popular revolution was rising, headed by the most revolutionary proletariat in the world, which possessed such an important ally as the revolutionary peasantry of Russia. Does it need proof that such a revolution could not stop half-way, that in the event of success it was bound to advance further and raise the banner of revolt against imperialism?

That is why Russia was bound to become the focus of the contradictions of impeialism, not only in the sense that it was in Russia that these contradictions were revealed most plainly, in view of their particularly repulsive and particularly intolerable character, and not only because Russia was a highly important prop of Western imperialism, connecting Western finance capital with the colonies in the East, but also because Russia was the only country in which there existed a real force capable of resolving the contradictions of imperialism in a revolutionary way.

From this it follows, however, that the revolution in Russia could not but become a proletarian revolution, that from its very inception it could not but assume an international character, and that, therefore, it could not but shake the very foundations of world imperialism.

Under these circumstances, could the Russian Communist confine their work within the narrow national bounds of the Russian revolution? Of course not. On the contrary, the whole situation ,both internal (the profound revolutionary crisis) and external (the war), impelled them to go beyond these bounds in their work, to transfer the struggle to the international arena, to expose the ulcers of imperialism, to prove that the collapse of capitalism was inevitable, to smash social-chauvinism and social-pacifism, and , finally, to overthrow capitalism in their own country and to forge a new fighting weapon for the proletariat-the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution-in order to facilitate the task of overthrowing capitalism for the proletarians of all countries. Nor could the Russian Communist act otherwise, for only this path offered the chance of producing certain changes in the international situation which could safeguard Russia against the restoration of the bourgeois order.

That is why Russia became the home of Leninism, and why Lenin, the leader of the Russian Communist, became its creator.

The same thing, approximately, "happened" in the case of Russia and Lenin as in the case of Germany and Marx and Engels in the forties of the last century. Germany at that time was pregnant with bourgeois revolution just like Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Marx wrote at that time in the Communist Manifesto :

"The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because that country is on the eve of a bourgeois revolution that is bound to be carried out under more advanced conditions of European civilisation, and with a much more developed proletariat, than that of England was in the seventeenth, and of France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois revolution in Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately following proletarian revolution.".

In other words, the centre of the revolutionary movement was shifting to Germany.

There can hardly be any doubt that it was this very circumstance, noted by Marx in the above-quoted passage, that served as the probable reason why it was precisely Germany that became the birthpalce of scientific socialism and why the leaders of the German proletariat, Marx and Engels, became its creators.

The same, only to a still greater degree, must be said of Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Russia was then on the eve of a bourgeois revolution; she had to accomplish this revolution at a time when conditions in Europe were more advanced, and with a proletariat that was more developed than that of Germany in the forties of the nineteenth (let alone Britain and France); moreover, all the evidence went to show that this revolution was bound to serve as a ferment and as a prelude to the proletarian revolution.  We cannot regard it as accidental that as early as 1902, when the Russian revolution was still in an embryonic state, Lenin wrote the prophetic words in his pamphlet What Is To Be Done? :

"History has now confronted us (i.e., the Russian Marxists-J. St.) with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks that confront the proletariat of any country," and that … "the fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark, not only of European, but also (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction, would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat" (see Vol. IV, p. 382).

In other words, the centre of the revolutionary movement was bound to shift to Russia.

As we know, the course of the revolution in Russia has more than vindicated Lenin's prediction.

Is it surprising, after all this, that a country which has accomplished such a revolution and possesses such a proletariat should have been the birthplace of the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution?

Is it surprising that Lenin, the leader of Russia's proletariat, became also the creator of this theory and tactics and the leader of the international proletariat?

 

III

Theory

c)   the theory of the proletarian revolution.

The theory of the proletarian revolution. Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution proceeds from three fundamental theses.

First thesis: The domination of finance capital in the advanced capitalist countries; the issue of stocks and bonds as one of the principal operations of finance capital; the export of capital to the sources of raw materials, which is one of the foundations of imperialism; the omnipotence of a financial oligarchy, which is the result of the domination of finance capital-all this reveals the grossly parasitic character of monopolistic capitalism, makes the yoke of the capitalist trusts and syndicates a hundred times more burdensome, intensifies the indignation of the working class with the foundations of capitalism, and brings the masses to the proletarian revolution as their only salvation (see Lenin, Imperialism).

Hence the first conclusion: intensification of the revolutionary crisis within the capitalist countries and growth of the elements of an explosion on the internal, proletarian front in the "metropolises."

Second thesis :  The increase in the export of capital to the colonies and dependent countries; the expansion of "spheres of influence" and colonial possessions until they cover the whole globe; the transformation of capitalism into a world system of financial enslavement and colonial oppression of the vast majority of the population of the world by a handful of "advanced" countries-all this has, on the one hand, converted the separate national economies and national territories into links in a single chain called world economy, and, on the other hand, split the population of the globe into two camps: a handful of "advanced" capitalist countries which exploit and oppress vast colonies and dependencies, and the huge majority consisting of colonial and dependent countries which are compelled to wage a struggle for liberation from the imperialist yoke (see Imperialism).

Hence the second conclusion: intensification of the revolutionary crisis in the colonial countries and growth of the elements of revolt against imperialism on the external, colonial front.

Third thesis: The monopolistic possession of "spheres of influence" and colonies; the uneven development of the capitalist countries, leading to a frenzied struggle for the redivision of the world between the countries which have already seized territories and those claiming their "share"; imperialist wars as the only means of restoring the disturbed "equilibrium"-all this leads to the intensification of the struggle on the third front, the inter-capitalist front, which weakens imperialism and facilitates the union of the first two fronts against imperialism: the front of the revolutionary proletariat and the front of colonial emancipation (see Imperialism).

Hence the third conclusion: that under imperialism wars cannot be averted, and that a coalition between the proletarian revolution in Europe and the colonial revolution in the East in a united world front of revolution against the world front of imperialism is inevitable.

Lenin combines all these conclusions into one general conclusion that "imperialism is the eve of the socialist revolution"  (see Vol. XIX, p. 71).

The very approach to the question of the proletarian revolution, of the character of the revolution, of its scope, of its depth, the scheme of the revolution in general, changes accordingly.

Formerly, the analysis of the pre-requisites for the proletarian revolution was usually approached from the point of view of the economic state of individual countries. Now, this approach is no longer adequate. Now the matter must be approached from the point of view of the economic state of all or the majority of countries, from the point of view of the state of world economy; for individual countries and individual national economies have ceased to be self-sufficient units, have become links in a single chain called world economy; for the old "cultured" capitalism has evolved into imperialism, and imperialism is a world system of financial enslavement and colonial oppression of the vast majority of the population of the world by a handful of "advanced" countries.

Formerly it was the accepted thing to speak of the existence or absence of objective conditions for the proletarian revolution in individual countries, or, to be more precise, in one or another developed country. Now this point of view is no longer adequate. Now we must speak of the existence of objective conditions for the revolution in the entire system of world imperialist economy as an integral whole; the existence within this system of some countries that are not sufficiently developed industrially cannot serve as an insuperable obstacle to the revolution, if the system as a whole or, more correctly, because the system as a whole is already ripe for revolution.

Formerly, it was the accepted thing to speak of the proletarian revolution in one or another developed country as of a separate and self-sufficient entity opposing a separate national front of capital as its antipode. Now, this point of view is no longer adequate. Now we must speak of the world proletarian revolution; for the separate national fronts of capital have become links in a single chain called the world front of imperialism, which must be opposed by a common front of the revolutionary movement in all countries.

Formerly the proletarian revolution was regarded exclusively as the result of the internal development of a given country. Now, this point of view is no longer adequate. Now the proletarian revolution must be regarded primarily as the result of the development of the contradictions within the world system of imperialism, as the result of the breaking of the chain of the world imperialist front in one country or another.

Lenin said that :

"The West-European capitalist countries will consummate their development toward socialism ... not by the even 'maturing' of socialism in them, but by the exploitation of some countries by others, by the exploitation of the first of the countries to be vanquished in the imperialist war combined with the exploitation of the whole of the East. On the other hand, precisely as a result of the first imperialist war, the East has definitely come into revolutionary movement, has been definitely drawn into the general maelstrom of the world revolutionary movement" (see Vol. XXVII, pp. 415-16)

 

VI

THE NATIONAL QUESTION

 

The liberation movement of the oppressed peoples and the proletarian revolution. In solving the national question Leninism proceeds from the following theses:

a) the world is divided into two camps: the camp of a handful of civilised nations, which possess finance capital and exploit the vast majority of the population of the globe; and the camp of the oppressed and exploited peoples in the colonies and dependent countries, which constitute the majority;

b) the colonies and the dependent countries, oppressed and exploited by finance capital, constitute a vast reserve and a very important source of strength for imperialism;

c) the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed peoples in the dependent and colonial countries against imperialism is the only road that leads to their emancipation from oppression and exploitation;

d) the most important colonial and dependent countries have already taken the path of the national liberation movement, which cannot but lead to the crisis of world capitalism;

e) the interests of the proletarian movement in the developed countries and of the national liberation movement in the colonies call for the union of these two forms of the revolutionary movement into a common front against the common enemy, against imperialism;

f) the victory of the working class in the developed countries and the liberation of the oppressed peoples from the yoke of imperialism are impossible without the formation and the consolidation of a common revolutionary front;

g) the formation of a common revolutionary front is impossible unless the proletariat of the oppressor nations renders direct and determined support to the liberation movement of the oppressed peoples against the imperialism of its "own country," for "no nation can be free if it oppresses other nations" (Engels);

h) this support implies the upholding defence and implementation of the slogan of the right of nations to secession, to independent existence as states;

i) unless this slogan is implemented, the union and collaboration of nations within a single world economic system, which is the material basis for the victory of world socialism, cannot be brought about;

j) this union can only be voluntary, arising on the basis of mutual confidence and fraternal relations among peoples.

Hence the two sides, the two tendencies in the national question: the tendency towards political emancipation from the shackles of imperialism and towards the formation of an independent national state-a tendency which arose as a consequence of imperialist oppression and colonial exploitation; and the tendency towards closer economic relations among nations, which arose as a result of the formation of the world market and a world economic system.

"Developing capitalism," says Lenin, "knows two historical tendencies in the national question. First: the awakening of national life and national movements, struggle against all national oppression, creation of national states. Second: development and acceleration of all kinds of intercourse between nations, breakdown of national barriers, creation of the international unity of capital, of economic life in general, of politics, science, etc.

"Both tendencies are a world-wide law of capitalism. The first predominates at the beginning of its development, the second characterises mature capitalism that is moving towards its transformation into socialist society" (see Vol. XVII, pp. 139-40).

For imperialism these two tendencies represent irreconcilable contradictions; because imperialism cannot exist without exploiting colonies and forcibly retaining them within the framework of the "integral whole"; because imperialism can bring nations together only by means of annexations and colonial conquest, without which imperialism is, generally speaking, inconceivable.

For communism, on the contrary, these tendencies are but two sides of a single cause-the cause of the emancipation of the oppressed people from the yoke of imperialism; because communism knows that the union of peoples in a single world economic system is possible only in the basis of mutual confidence and voluntary agreement, and that road to the formation of a voluntary union of peoples lies through the separation of the colonies from the "integral" imperialist "whole," through the transformation of the colonies into independent states.

Hence the necessity for a stubborn, continuous and determined struggle against the dominant-nation chauvinism of the "Socialist" of the ruling nations (Britain, France, America, Italy, Japan, etc.), who do not want to fight their imperialist governments, who do not want to support the struggle of the oppressed peoples in "their" colonies for emancipation from oppression, for secession.

Without such a struggle the education of the working class of the ruling nations in the spirit of true internationalism, in the spirit of closer relations with the toiling masses of the dependent countries and colonies, in the spirit of real preparation for the proletarian revolution, is inconceivable. The revolution would not have been victorious in Russia and Kolchak and Denikin would not have been crushed, had not the Russian proletariat enjoyed the sympathy and support of the oppressed peoples of the former Russian Empire. But to win the sympathy and support of these peoples it had first of all to break the fetters of Russian imperialism and free these people from the yoke of national oppression.

Without this it would have been impossible to consolidate Soviet power, to implant real internationalism and to create that remarkable organisation for the collaboration of peoples which is called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and which is the living prototype of the future union of peoples in a single world economic system.

Hence the necessity of fighting against the national isolationism, narrowness and aloofness of the Socialist in the oppressed countries, who do not want to rise above their national parochialism and who do not understand the connection between the liberation movement in their own countries and the proletarian movement in the ruling countries.

Without such a struggle it is inconceivable that the proletariat of the oppressed nations can maintain an independent policy and its class solidarity with the proletariat of the ruling countries in the fight for the overthrow of the common enemy, in the fight for the overthrow of imperialism.

Without such a struggle, internationalism would be impossible.

 

 

 

 

CONCERNING THE INTERNATIONAL
SITUATION

September 20, 1924

Works, Volume 6


In characterising the present international situation, I think that there is no need to take into account all the facts of some degree of importance, absolutely all the specific features of the present state of international affairs. For this purpose it is sufficient to take into account only the principal, decisive factors in the present situation. At the present time there are, in my opinion, three such factors:
a) the opening of an “era” of bourgeois-democratic “pacifism”;
b) the intervention of America in European affairs and the Entente’s London agreement on reparations;
c) the strengthening of the Left-wing elements in the European labour movement and the growth of the international weight and prestige of the Soviet Union.

Let us examine these principal factors.


1. THE PERIOD OF BOURGEOIS-DEMOCRATIC “PACIFISM”

The Entente has proved incapable of coping with the results of its war victories. It fully succeeded in defeating Germany and in encircling the Soviet Union. It also succeeded in drawing up a plan for plundering Europe.

This is shown by the innumerable conferences and treaties of the Entente countries. But it has proved incapable of carrying out that plan of plunder. Why? Because the contradictions between the countries in the Entente are too great. Because they have not succeeded, and will not succeed, in reaching agreement on sharing the loot. Because the resistance of the countries to be plundered is
growing stronger and stronger. Because the implementation of the plan of plunder is fraught with military conflicts, and the masses do not want to fight. It is now obvious to “everybody” that the imperialist frontal attack on the Ruhr with the object of annihilating Germany has proved to be dangerous for imperialism itself. It is also obvious that the undisguised imperialist policy of ultimatums, with the object of isolating the Soviet Union, is merely producing results opposite to those intended.
A situation was created in which Poincaré and Curzon, while faithfully and loyally serving imperialism, nevertheless, by their “work” intensified the growing crisis in Europe, roused the resistance of the masses to imperialism, and pushed the masses towards revolution. Hence, the
bourgeoisie’s inevitable transition from the policy of frontal attack to the policy of compromise, from undisguised to disguised imperialism, from Poincaré and Curzon to MacDonald and Herriot. Naked plundering of the world has become dangerous. The Labour Party in Britain and the Left bloc in France are to serve as a cloak to cover the nakedness of imperialism. That is the origin of “pacifism” and “democracy.”
Some people think that the bourgeoisie adopted “pacifism” and “democracy” not because it was compelled to do so, but voluntarily, of its own free choice, so to speak. And it is assumed that, having defeated the working class in decisive battles (Italy, Germany), the bourgeoisie felt that it was the victor and could now afford to adopt “democracy.” In other words, while the decisive battles were in progress, the bourgeoisie needed a fighting organisation, needed fascism; but now that the proletariat is defeated, the bourgeoisie no longer needs fascism and can afford to use “democracy” instead, as a better method of consolidating its victory. Hence, the conclusion is drawn that the rule of the bourgeoisie has become consolidated, that the “era of pacifism” will be a prolonged one, and that the revolution in Europe has been pigeonholed.
This assumption is absolutely wrong. Firstly, it is not true that fascism is only the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie. Fascism is not only a military-technical category. Fascism is the bourgeoisie’s fighting organisation that relies on the active support of Social-Democracy. Social-Democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism. There is no ground for assuming that the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie can achieve decisive successes in battles, or in governing the country, without the active support of Social-Democracy. There is just as little ground for thinking
that Social-Democracy can achieve decisive successes in battles, or in governing the country, without the active support of the fighting organisation of the bourgeoisie.
These organisations do not negate, but supplement each other. They are not antipodes, they are twins. Fascism is an informal political bloc of these two chief organisations; a bloc, which arose in the circumstances of the post-war crisis of imperialism, and which is intended for combating the proletarian revolution. The bourgeoisie cannot retain power without such a bloc. It would therefore
be a mistake to think that “pacifism” signifies the liquidation of fascism. In the present situation,
“pacifism” is the strengthening of fascism with its moderate, Social-Democratic wing pushed into the forefront.


Secondly, i t is not true that the decisive battles have already been fought, that the proletariat was defeated in these battles, and that bourgeois rule has been consolidated as a consequence. There have been no decisive battles as yet, if only for the reason that there have not been any mass, genuinely Bolshevik parties, capable of leading the proletariat to dictatorship. Without such parties, decisive battles for dictatorship are impossible under the conditions of imperialism. The decisive battles in the West still lie ahead. There have been only the first serious attacks, which were repulsed by the bourgeoisie; the first serious trial of strength, which showed that the proletariat is not yet strong enough to overthrow the bourgeoisie, but that the bourgeoisie is already unable to discount the proletariat. And precisely because the bourgeoisie is already unable to force the working class to its knees, it was compelled to renounce frontal attacks, to make a detour, to agree to a compromise, to resort to “democratic pacifism.”
Lastly, it is also not true that “pacifism” is a sign of the strength and not of the weakness of the bourgeoisie, that “pacifism” should result in consolidating the power of the bourgeoisie and in postponing the revolution for an indefinite period. Present-day pacifism signifies the advent to power, direct or indirect, of the parties of the Second International. But what does the advent to power of the parties of the Second International mean?
It means their inevitable self-exposure as lackeys of imperialism, as traitors to the proletariat, for the governmental activity of these parties can have only one result:
their political bankruptcy, the growth of contradictions within these parties, their disintegration, their decay.
But the disintegration of these parties will inevitably lead to the disintegration of the rule of the bourgeoisie, for the parties of the Second International are props of imperialism. Would the bourgeoisie have undertaken this risky experiment with pacifism if it had not been compelled to do so; would it have done so of its own free will? Of course, not! This is the second time that the
bourgeoisie is undertaking the experiment with pacifism since the end of the imperialist war. The first experiment was made immediately after the war, when it seemed that revolution was knocking at the door. The second experiment is being undertaken now, after Poincaré’s and Curzon’s risky experiments. Who would dare deny that imperialism will have to pay dearly for this swinging of
the bourgeoisie from pacifism to rabid imperialism and back again, that this is pushing vast masses of workers out of their habitual philistine rut, that it is drawing the most backward sections of the proletariat into politics and is helping to revolutionise them? Of course, “democratic pacifism” is not yet the Kerensky regime, for the Kerensky regime implies dual power, the collapse of bourgeois power and the coming into being of the foundations of proletarian power. But there can scarcely be
any doubt that pacifism signifies the immense awakening of the masses, the fact that the masses are being drawn into politics; that pacifism is shaking bourgeois rule and preparing the ground for revolutionary upheavals. And precisely for this reason pacifism is bound to lead not to the strengthening, but to the weakening of bourgeois rule, not to the postponement of the revolution for an indefinite period, but to i t s acceleration.
It does not, of course, follow that pacifism is not a serious danger to the revolution. Pacifism serves to sap the foundations of bourgeois rule, it is creating favourable conditions for the revolution; but it can have these results only against the will of the “pacifists” and “democrats” themselves, only if the Communist Parties vigorously expose the imperialist and counter-revolutionary nature of the pacifist-democratic rule of Herriot and MacDonald. As for what the pacifists and democrats want, as for the policy of the imperialists, they have only one aim in resorting to pacifism: to dupe the masses with high-sounding phrases about peace in order to prepare for a new war; to dazzle the masses with the brilliance of “democracy” in order to consolidate the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie; to stun the masses with clamour about the “sovereign” rights of nations and states in order the more successfully to prepare for intervention in China, for slaughter in Afghanistan and in the Sudan, for the dismemberment of Persia; to fool the masses with highfaluting talk about “friendly” relations with the Soviet Union, about various “treaties” with the Soviet government, in order to establish still closer relations with the counter-revolutionary conspirators who have been kicked out of Russia, with the aim of bandit operations in Byelorussia, the Ukraine and Georgia. The bourgeoisie needs the chief danger of pacifism. Whether the bourgeoisie will succeed in its aim of fooling the people depends upon the vigour with which the Communist Parties in the West and in the East expose the bourgeoisie, upon their ability to tear the mask from the imperialists in pacifist clothing.
There is no doubt that events and practice will work in favour of the Communists in this respect by exposing the discrepancy between the pacifist words and the imperialist deeds of the democratic servitors of capital. It is the duty of the Communists to keep pace with events and ruthlessly to expose every step, every act of service to imperialism and betrayal of the proletariat committed by the parties of the Second International.


2. THE INTERVENTION OF AMERICA
IN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS AND THE ENTENTE’S
LONDON AGREEMENT ON REPARATIONS


The London conference of the Entente59 most fully reflects the false and mendacious character of bourgeoisdemocratic pacifism. Whereas the advent to power of Mac-Donald and Herriot and the clamour about “establishing normal relations” with the Soviet Union were intended to cover up and camouflage the fierce class struggle raging in Europe and the deadly enmity of the bourgeois states
towards the Soviet Union, the purpose of the agreement that the Entente concluded in London is to cover up and camouflage the desperate struggle of Britain and France for hegemony in Europe, the growing contradiction between Britain and America in the struggle for domination in the world market, and the superhuman struggle of the German people against Entente oppression. There is no
longer any class war, there is an end to revolution, matters can now end up with class co-operation, shout the MacDonalds and Renaudels. There is no longer a struggle between France and Britain, between America and Britain and between Germany and the Entente, there is an end to war, matters can now end up with universal peace under the aegis of America, echo their friends of the London agreement and their brothers in betraying the cause of the working class—the Social-Democratic
heroes of pacifism.
But what actually happened at the London conference of the Entente?
Before the London conference the reparations problem was decided by France alone, more or less independently of the “Allies,” for France had a secure majority in the Reparations Commission. The occupation of the Ruhr served as a means for the economic disruption of Germany and as a guarantee that France would receive reparation payments from Germany, coal and coke for the French metallurgical industry, chemical semi-manufactures and dyes for the French chemical industry, and the right to export Alsace textiles to Germany duty-free.
The plan was intended to create a material base for France’s military and economic hegemony in Europe.
As is known however, the plan failed. The occupation method merely led to the opposite results. France received neither payments nor deliveries in kind in any satisfactory quantities. Finally, Poincaré, who was responsible for the occupation, was thrown overboard because of his
undisguised imperialist policy, which was fraught with a new war and revolution. As regards France’s hegemony in Europe, it proved a failure not only because the method of occupation and undisguised plunder precluded the possibility of an economic bond between French and German industry, but also because Britain was strongly opposed to the establishment of such a bond, for she could not
but be aware that the combination of German coal with French metal is bound to undermine the British metallurgical industry.
What did the London conference of the Entente produce in place of all this?
Firstly, the conference rejected the method by which reparation questions were decided by France alone and resolved that, in the last instance, disputes should be settled by an Arbitration Commission consisting of representatives of the Entente headed by representatives of
America.
Secondly, the conference rejected the occupation of the Ruhr and recognised the necessity of evacuation, economic (immediately) and military (in a year’s time, or earlier). Motives: the occupation of the Ruhr at the present stage is dangerous from the viewpoint of the political
state of Europe, and inconvenient from the viewpoint of the organised and systematic plundering of Germany.
There can scarcely be any doubt, however, that the Entente intends to plunder Germany thoroughly and systematically.
Thirdly, while rejecting military intervention, the conference fully approved of financial and economic intervention, recognising the necessity of:


a) setting up an emission bank in Germany to be controlled by a special foreign commissioner;

b) transferring to private hands the state railways, which are to be run under the control of a special foreign commissioner;


c) setting up a so-called “Transfer Committee,” consisting of representatives of the Allies, to have sole control of all reparation payments in German currency, to finance German deliveries in kind out of those payments, to have power to invest some of the reparation payments in German industry (in cases where it is deemed inadvisable to transfer them to France), and thus have full opportunity to control the German money market.
It scarcely needs proof that this means converting Germany into a colony of the Entente.
Fourthly, the conference recognised France’s right to receive from Germany compulsory deliveries of coal and chemical products for a certain period, but at once added the reservation that Germany had the right to appeal to the Arbitration Commission for a reduction, or even the cessation, of these compulsory payments in kind. By this it nullified, or almost nullified, France’s right.
If to all this we add the loan to Germany of 800,000,000 marks, covered by British and, chiefly, by American bankers, and if we further bear in mind that the conference was bossed by bankers, above all American bankers, the picture will be complete: of France’s hegemony not a trace is left; instead of the hegemony of France there is the hegemony of America.
Such are the results of the London conference of the Entente.
On these grounds some people think that henceforth the antagonism of interests inside Europe must wane in view of America’s hegemony; that America, interested in exporting capital to Europe, will manage to put the European countries on rations and compel them to sit still while her bankers rake in profits; that, in view of this, peace in Europe, compulsory it is true, may be regarded as more or less ensured for a more or less prolonged period.
This assumption is utterly wrong. Firstly, in settling the German problem, the conference reckoned without its host, the German people. It is possible, of course, to “plan” Germany’s conversion into a regular colony. But to attempt in actual fact to convert a country like Germany into a colony at the
present time, when even the backward colonies are being kept in hand with difficulty, means placing a mine under Europe.
Secondly, France had pushed herself forward too much, so the conference pushed her back somewhat. The natural result of this is that Britain has gained actual preponderance in Europe. But to think that France can resign herself to Britain’s preponderance means failing to reckon with facts, failing to reckon with the logic of facts, which usually proves to be stronger than all other logic.
Thirdly, the conference recognised the hegemony of America. But American capital is interested in financing Franco-German industry, in the most rational exploitation of the latter, for example, along the lines of combining the French metallurgical industry with the German coal industry. There can scarcely be any doubt that American capital will make use of its advantages in precisely this
direction, which is the most profitable for it. But to think that Britain will resign herself to such a situation means not knowing Britain, means not knowing how greatly Britain values the interests of her metallurgical industry.
Lastly, Europe is not an isolated country; it is bound up with its colonies, it lives on the vital sap from these colonies. To think that the conference can make any change for “the better” in the relations between Europe and its colonies, that it can restrain or retard the development of the contradictions between them, means believing in miracles.
What conclusion is to be drawn from this?
Only one: the London conference has not eliminated a single one of the old contradictions in Europe; on the contrary, it has added new ones to them, contradictions between America and Britain. Undoubtedly, Britain will continue as of old to aggravate the antagonism between France and Germany in order to ensure her own political predominance on the continent Undoubtedly, America, in her turn, will aggravate the antagonism between Britain and France in order to ensure her own
hegemony in the world market. It is needless for us to speak of the intense antagonism between Germany and the Entente.
World events will be determined by these antagonisms and not by the “pacifist” speeches of the gallows-bird Hughes, or the grandiloquent Herriot. The law of uneven development of the imperialist countries and of the inevitability of imperialist wars remains in force today more than ever before. The London conference merely masks these antagonisms, only to create new premises for their unprecedented intensification.

 

3. STRENGTHENING
OF THE REVOLUTIONARY ELEMENTS
IN THE EUROPEAN LABOUR MOVEMENT.
GROWTH OF THE INTERNATIONAL POPULARITY
OF THE SOVIET UNION


One of the surest signs of the instability of the “pacifist- democratic regime,” one of the most unmistakable signs that this “regime” is froth on the surface of the profound revolutionary processes that are taking place in the depths of the working class, is the decisive victory achieved by the revolutionary wing in the Communist Parties of Germany, France and Russia, the growth of activity of the Left wing in the British labour movement, and lastly, the growth of the Soviet Union’s
popularity among the toiling masses in the West and in the East.
The Communist Parties in the West are developing under peculiar conditions. Firstly, their composition is not uniform, for they were formed out of former Social-Democrats of the old school and of young party members who have not yet had sufficient revolutionary steeling.
Secondly, their leading cadres are not purely Bolshevik, for responsible posts are occupied by people who have come from other parties and who have not yet completely discarded Social-Democratic survivals. Thirdly, they are confronted by such an experienced opponent as hard-boiled Social Democracy, which is still an enormous political force in the ranks of the working class.
Lastly, they have against them such a powerful enemy as the European bourgeoisie, with its tried and tested state apparatus and all-powerful press. To think that such Communist Parties can overthrow the European bourgeois system “overnight” is a great mistake. Hence, the immediate task is to make the Communist Parties of the West really Bolshevik; they must train genuinely revolutionary cadres who will be capable of reorganising all party activities along the lines of the revolutionary education of the masses, of preparing for revolution. That is how matters stood with the Communist Parties in the West in the still recent past. During the last half year, however, there has been a turn for the better. The last half year is remarkable for the fact that it produced a radical change in the life of the Communist Parties of the West as regards eliminating Social-Democratic survivals, Bolshevising the Party cadres and isolating opportunist elements.
The danger that Social-Democratic survivals in the Communist Parties can represent for the revolution was strikingly revealed by the sad experience of the Workers’ Government in Saxony, where the opportunist leaders tried to convert the idea of a united front, as a means for the revolutionary mobilisation and organisation of the masses, into a means for Social-Democratic parliamentary combinations. That marked a turning point, which opened the eyes of the mass of the Party membership and roused them against the opportunist leaders.
The second question that undermined the prestige of the Right-wing leaders and brought new revolutionary leaders to the front was the so-called “Russian” question, i.e., the discussion in the R.C.P.(B.). As is known, the Brandler group in Germany and the Souvarine group in France strongly supported the opportunist opposition in the R.C.P.(B.) against the principal cadres of the R.C.P.(B.), against its revolutionary majority. This was a challenge to the revolutionary mass of the workers in
the West, who definitely sympathised with the Soviet government and its leader, the R.C.P.(B.). It was a challenge to the mass of the party membership and the revolutionary wing of the Communist Parties in the West.
It is not surprising that this challenge resulted in the utter defeat of the Brandler and Souvarine groups. It is not surprising that this had its repercussion in all the other Communist Parties in the West. If to this we add the complete isolation of the opportunist trend in the R.C.P.(B.), the picture will be complete. The Fifth Congress of the Comintern merely sealed the victory of the revolutionary wing in the principal sections of the Comintern.
Undoubtedly, the mistakes of the opportunist leaders were an important factor in hastening the Bolshevisation of the Communist Parties in the West; but it is equally beyond doubt that other, more profound, causes also operated here: the successful capitalist offensive during the past few years, the deterioration of the living conditions of the working class, the existence of a vast army of unemployed, the general economic instability of capitalism, the growing revolutionary unrest among the broad masses of the workers. The workers are marching towards revolution, and they want to have revolutionary leaders.


Summing up.

The process of definitely forming genuine Bolshevik parties in the West, parties which will constitute the bulwark of the coming revolution in Europe, has begun. Such is the summing up of the past half year.

 

 

 

 

The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists

First Published: December 1924 as a Preface to the book On the Road to October;
Source: Problems of Leninism, by J.V. Stalin

I. The External and Internal Setting for the October Revolution

Three circumstances of an external nature determined the comparative ease with which the proletarian revolution in Russia succeeded in breaking the chains of imperialism and thus overthrowing the rule of the bourgeoisie.

Firstly, the circumstance that the October Revolution began in a period of desperate struggle between the two principal imperialist groups, the Anglo-French and the Austro-German; at a time when, engaged in mortal struggle between themselves, these two groups had neither the time nor the means to devote serious attention to the struggle against the October Revolution. This circumstance was of tremendous importance for the October Revolution; for it enabled it to take advantage of the fierce conflicts within the imperialist world to strengthen and organize its own forces.

Secondly, the circumstance that the October Revolution began during the imperialist war, at a time when the laboring masses, exhausted by the war and thirsting for peace, were by the very logic of facts led up to the proletarian revolution as the only way out of the war. This circumstance was of extreme importance for the October Revolution; for it put into its hands the mighty weapon of peace, made it easier for it to link the Soviet revolution with the ending of the hated war, and thus created mass sympathy for it both in the West, among the workers, and in the East, among the oppressed peoples.

Thirdly, the existence of a powerful working-class movement in Europe and the fact that a revolutionary crisis was maturing in the West and in the East, brought on by the protracted imperialist war. This circumstance was of inestimable importance for the revolution in Russia; for it ensured the revolution faithful allies outside Russia in its struggle against world imperialism.

But in addition to circumstances of an external nature, there were also a number of favorable internal conditions which facilitated the victory of the October Revolution.

Of these conditions, the following must be regarded as the chief ones:

Firstly, the October Revolution enjoyed the most active support of the overwhelming majority of the working class in Russia.

Secondly, it enjoyed the undoubted support of the poor peasants and of the majority of the soldiers, who were thirsting for peace and land.

Thirdly, it had at its head, as its guiding force, such a tried and tested party as the Bolshevik Party, strong not only by reason of its experience and discipline acquired through the years, but also by reason of its vast connections with the laboring masses.

Fourthly, the October Revolution was confronted by enemies who were comparatively easy to overcome, such as the rather weak Russian bourgeoisie, a landlord class which was utterly demoralized by peasant "revolts," and the compromising parties (the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries), which had become completely bankrupt during the war.

Fifthly, it had at its disposal the vast expanses of the young state, in which it was able to maneuver freely, retreat when circumstances so required, enjoy a respite, gather strength, etc.

Sixthly, in its struggle against counter-revolution the October Revolution could count upon sufficient resources of food, fuel and raw materials within the country. The combination of these external and internal circumstances created that peculiar situation which determined the comparative ease with which the October Revolution won its victory.

This does not mean, of course, that there were no unfavorable features in the external and internal setting of the October Revolution. Think of such an unfavorable feature as, for example, the isolation, to some extent, of the October Revolution, the absence near it, or bordering on it, of a Soviet country on which it could rely for support. Undoubtedly, the future revolution, for example, in Germany, will be in a more favorable situation in this respect, for it has in close proximity a powerful Soviet country like our Soviet Union. I need not mention so unfavorable a feature of the October Revolution as the absence of a proletarian majority within the country.

But these unfavorable features only emphasize the tremendous importance of the peculiar internal and external conditions of the October Revolution of which I have spoken above.

These peculiar conditions must not be lost sight of for a single moment. They must be borne in mind particularly in analyzing the events of the autumn of 1923 in Germany. Above all, they should be borne in mind by Trotsky, who draws an unfounded analogy between the October Revolution and the revolution in Germany and lashes violently at the German Communist Party for its actual and alleged mistakes.

"It was easy for Russia," says Lenin, "in the specific, historically very special situation of 1917, to start the socialist revolution, but it will be more difficult for Russia than for the European countries to continue the revolution and carry it through to the end. I had occasion to point this out already at the beginning of 1918, and our experience of the past two years has entirely confirmed the correctness of this view. Such specific conditions, as 1) the possibility of linking up the Soviet revolution with the ending, as a consequence of this revolution, of the imperialist war, which had exhausted the workers and peasants to an incredible degree; 2) the possibility of taking advantage for a certain time of the mortal conflict between two world powerful groups of imperialist robbers, who were unable to unite against their Soviet enemy; 5) the possibility of enduring a comparatively lengthy civil war, partly owing to the enormous size of the country and to the poor means of communication; 4) the existence of such a profound bourgeois-democratic revolutionary movement among the peasantry that the party of the proletariat was able to take the revolutionary demands of the peasant party (the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, the majority of the members of which were definitely hostile to Bolshevism) and realize them at once, thanks to the conquest of political power by the proletariat — such specific conditions do not exist in Western Europe at present; and a repetition of such or similar conditions will not come so easily. That, by the way, apart from a number of other causes, is why it will be more difficult for Western Europe to start a socialist revolution than it was for us." (See "Left-Wing" Communism, an Infantile Disorder .)

These words of Lenin's should not be forgotten.

* * *

What are the characteristics of the second specific feature of the October Revolution?

In his study of imperialism, especially in the period of the war, Lenin arrived at the law of the uneven, spasmodic, economic and political development of the capitalist countries. According to this law, the development of enterprises, trusts, branches of industry and individual countries proceeds not evenly — not according to an established sequence, not in such a way that one trust, one branch of industry or one country is always in advance of the others, while other trusts or countries keep consistently one behind the other — but spasmodically, with interruptions in the development of some countries and leaps ahead in the development of others. Under these circumstances the "quite legitimate" striving of the countries that have slowed down to hold their old positions, and the equally "legitimate" striving of the countries that have leapt ahead to seize new positions, lead to a situation in which armed clashes among the imperialist countries become an inescapable necessity. Such was the case, for example, with Germany, which half a century ago was a backward country in comparison with France and Britain. The same must be said of Japan as compared with Russia. It is well known, however, that by the beginning of the twentieth century Germany and Japan had leapt so far ahead that Germany had succeeded in overtaking France and had begun to press Britain hard on the world market, while Japan was pressing Russia. As is well known, it was from these contradictions that the recent imperialist war arose.

This law proceeds from the following:

1)"Capitalism has grown into a world system of colonial oppression and of the financial strangulation of the vast majority of the population of the world by a handful of 'advanced' countries" (see Preface to the French edition of Lenin's Imperialism.);

2) "This 'booty' is shared between two or three powerful world robbers armed to the teeth (America, Britain, Japan), who involve the whole world in their war over the sharing of their booty" (ibid.);

3) The growth of contradictions within the world system of financial oppression and the inevitability of armed clashes lead to the world front of imperialism becoming easily vulnerable to revolution, and to a breach in this front in individual countries becoming probable;

4) This breach is most likely to occur at those points, and in those countries, where the chain of the imperialist front is weakest, that is to say, where imperialism is least consolidated, and where it is easiest for a revolution to expand;

5) In view of this, the victory of socialism in one country, even if that country is less developed in the capitalist sense, while capitalism remains in other countries, even if those countries are more highly developed in the capitalist sense — is quite possible and probable.

Such, briefly, are the foundations of Lenin's theory of the proletarian revolution.

 

 

 

Speech Delivered at a Plenum of the
Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.)1

January 19, 1925

Works, Vol. 7, 1925

I have taken the floor in order strongly to support Comrade Frunze's proposal. I think that we must decide here on three things.

Firstly, we must accept Comrade Frunze's proposal concerning additional assignments—5,000,000 rubles; a total of 405,000,000 rubles.

Secondly, we must pass a resolution endorsing Comrade Frunze's appointment to the post of Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council.

Thirdly, we must instruct the Party to render the new Revolutionary Military Council every assistance in the way of providing personnel.

I must say that lately, owing to some increase in the requirements of our economic bodies and to the fact that economic and cultural requirements are growing beyond our present means, a certain liquidationist mood concerning the army has arisen among us. Some of our comrades say that little by little, keeping the brakes on, we ought to reduce our army to the level of a militia. What they have in mind is not the militia system, but a peace army, the conversion of the army into a simple militia that cannot be prepared for military complications.

I must declare most emphatically that we must resolutely do away with this liquidationist mood.

Why? Because a radical change in the international situation has begun lately. New pre-conditions are maturing, which foreshadow new complications for us, and we must be ready to meet them. The danger of intervention is again becoming real.

What are those facts?

Firstly, the growth of the colonial movement, and of the liberation movement in general, in the East. India, China, Egypt, the Sudan are important bases for imperialism. There, the colonial movement is growing and will continue to grow. That is bound to turn the ruling strata of the Great Powers against us, against the Soviets, for they know that the seeds that are falling on this fertile soil in the East will mature and germinate. They will certainly germinate.

Second fact: complications are maturing in North Africa, in the region of Morocco and Tunisia. That is causing a new regrouping of forces, new preparations for new military complications between the imperialists. The fact that Spain has suffered defeat in Morocco 1; that France is stretching out her hands to grab Morocco; that Britain will not tolerate the strengthening of France's position in Morocco; that Italy is trying to take advantage of the new situation to lay her hands on Tunisia and that the other states will not permit her to do so; the fact that Britain and France are vying with each other in their strenuous endeavours to secure influence in the Balkans, in the new states that were formed as a result of the disintegration of Austria-Hungary—all this is reminiscent of the well-known facts in the history of the last war, reminiscent of the facts that preceded the last war. The Albanian events are not accidental 2; they are a manifestation of the struggle between the Great Powers, each trying to establish its influence on that small area. All this shows that the preparation and regrouping of forces is taking place all over Europe in view of the nascent complications in the Far East and of the new prospects that are opening in North Africa. All this forms the pre-conditions for a new war. And a new war is bound to affect our country.

Third fact: the growth of a revolutionary mood among the workers in Britain. This is a fact of first-rate importance. Britain holds a commanding position in Europe. The incipient split between the General Council of the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party, and the fissures which have begun to develop within the British Labour Party, go to show that something revolutionary, something new is developing in Britain. This is alarming the ruling strata in Britain. And this is bound to turn them against Soviet Russia, for the key-note of the revival of the movement in Britain is friendship with Russia.

Fourth fact: in view of the pre-conditions of which I have spoken, in view of the fact that the pre-conditions for war are maturing and that war may become inevitable, not tomorrow or the day after, of course, but in a few years' time, and in view of the fact that war is bound to intensify the internal, revolutionary crisis both in the East and in the West—in view of this we are bound to be faced with the question of being prepared for all contingencies. I think that the forces of the revolutionary movement in the West are strong, that they are growing and will continue to grow, and here or there may succeed in kicking out the bourgeoisie. That is so. But it will be very difficult for them to hold out. That is clearly shown by the examples of the border countries, Estonia and Latvia, for instance. The question of our army, of its might and preparedness, will certainly face us as a burning question in the event of complications arising in the countries around us.

That does not mean that in such a situation we must necessarily undertake active operations against somebody or other. That is not so. If anybody shows signs of harbouring such a notion—he is wrong. Our banner is still the banner of peace. But if war breaks out we shall not be able to sit with folded arms. We shall have to take action, but we shall be the last to do so. And we shall do so in order to throw the decisive weight in the scales, the weight that can turn the scales.

Hence the conclusion: we must be prepared for all contingencies; we must prepare our army, supply it with footwear and clothing, train it, improve its technical equipment, improve chemical defence and aviation, and in general, raise our Red Army to the proper level. The international situation makes this imperative for us.

That is why I think that we must resolutely and irrevocably meet the demands of the war department.

 ____-

Notes

1.This refers to the defeat in the autumn of 1924 of the Spanish army, 150,000 strong, sent by Primo de Rivera, the fascist dictator of Spain, to suppress the national-liberation movement in the Riff, the Spanish zone of Morocco. As a result of the victory gained by the Moroccans, two-thirds of the territory occupied by the Spanish forces was liberated.

2.In the summer of 1924, as a result of the revolutionary-progressive movement in Albania, the reactionary government of Ahmet Zogu was overthrown. The Government of Fan-Noli, which came into power, opened negotiations with the Soviet Government for the establishment of diplomatic and friendly relations between the U.S.S.R. and Albania. The two countries exchanged diplomatic representatives. The Governments of Great Britain, Italy and Yugoslavia demanded that the Albanian Government should break off diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. In December 1924, armed gangs organised by Ahmet Zogu and supported by the armed forces of the fascist government of Yugoslavia invaded Albania and overthrew the Government of Fan-Noli. The rule of Ahmet Zogu was restored in Albania.

 

 

 

The Political Tasks of the University of the
Peoples of the East

Speech Delivered at a Meeting of Students
of the Communist University
of the Toilers of the East

Pravda, No. 115, May 22, 1925
Source: J. V. Stalin, Works, Volume 7, pages 135 - 154.

 

II.
The Tasks of the Communist University
Of the Toilers of the East in Relation to the
Colonial and Dependent Countries of the East

 

Let us pass to the second question, the question of the tasks of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East in relation to the colonial and dependent countries of the East.

What are the characteristic features of the life and development of these countries, which distinguish them from the Soviet republics of the East?

Firstly, these countries are living and developing under the oppression of imperialism.

Secondly, the existence of a double oppression, internal oppression (by the native bourgeoisie) and external oppression (by the foreign imperialist bourgeoisie), is intensifying and deepening the revolutionary crisis in these countries.

Thirdly, in some of these countries, India for example, capitalism is growing at a rapid rate, giving rise to and moulding a more or less numerous class of local proletarians.

Fourthly, with the growth of the revolutionary movement, the national bourgeoisie in such countries is splitting up into two parts, a revolutionary part (the petty bourgeoisie) and a compromising part (the big bourgeoisie), of which the first is continuing the revolutionary struggle, whereas the second is entering into a bloc with imperialism.

Fifthly, parallel with the imperialist bloc, another bloc is taking shape in such countries, a bloc between the workers and the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie, an anti-imperialist bloc, the aim of which is complete liberation from imperialism.

Sixthly, the question of the hegemony of the proletariat in such countries, and of freeing the masses of the people from the influence of the compromising national bourgeoisie, is becoming more and more urgent.

Seventhly, this circumstance makes it much easier to link the national-liberation movement in such countries with the proletarian movement in the advanced countries of the West.

From this at least three conclusions follow:

1) The liberation of the colonial and dependent countries from imperialism cannot be achieved without a victorious revolution: you will not get independence gratis.

2) The revolution cannot be advanced and the complete independence of the capitalistically developed colonies and dependent countries cannot be won unless the compromising national bourgeoisie is isolated, unless the petty-bourgeois revolutionary masses are freed from the influence of that bourgeoisie, unless the policy of the hegemony of the proletariat is put into effect, unless the advanced elements of the working class are organised in an independent Communist Party.

3) Lasting victory cannot be achieved in the colonial and dependent countries without a real link between the liberation movement in those countries and the proletarian movement in the advanced countries of the West.

The main task of the Communists in the colonial and dependent countries is to base their revolutionary activities upon these conclusions.

What are the immediate tasks of the revolutionary movement in the colonies and dependent countries in view of these circumstances?

The distinctive feature of the colonies and dependent countries at the present time is that there no longer exists a single and all-embracing colonial East. Formerly the colonial East was pictured as a homogeneous whole. Today, that picture no longer corresponds to the truth. 'We have now at least three categories of colonial and dependent countries. Firstly, countries like Morocco, which have little or no proletariat, and are industrially quite undeveloped. Secondly, countries like China and Egypt, which are under-developed industrially, and have a relatively small proletariat. Thirdly, countries like India, which are capitalistically more or less developed and have a more or less numerous national proletariat.

Clearly, all these countries cannot possibly be put on a par with one another.

In countries like Morocco, where the national bourgeoisie has, as yet, no grounds for splitting up into a revolutionary party and a compromising party, the task of the communist elements is to take all measures to create a united national front against imperialism. In such countries, the communist elements can be grouped in a single party only in the course of the struggle against imperialism, particularly after a victorious revolutionary struggle against imperialism.

In countries like Egypt and China, where the national bourgeoisie has already split up into a revolutionary party and a compromising party, but where the compromising section of the bourgeoisie is not yet able to join up with imperialism, the Communists can no longer set themselves the aim of forming a united national front against imperialism. In such countries the Communists must pass from the policy of a united national front to the policy of a revolutionary bloc of the workers and the petty bourgeoisie. In such countries that bloc can assume the form of a single party, a workers' and peasants' party, provided, however, that this distinctive party actually represents a bloc of two forces -the Communist Party and the party of the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie. The tasks of this bloc are to expose the half-heartedness and inconsistency of the national bourgeoisie and to wage a determined struggle against imperialism. Such a dual party is necessary and expedient, provided it does not bind the Communist Party hand and foot, provided it does not, restrict the freedom of the Communist Party to conduct agitation and propaganda work, provided it does not hinder the rallying of the proletarians around the Communist Party, and provided it facilitates the actual leadership of the revolutionary movement by the Communist Party. Such a dual party is unnecessary and inexpedient if it does not conform to all these conditions, for it can only lead to the communist elements becoming dissolved in the ranks of the bourgeoisie, to the Communist Party losing the proletarian army.

The situation is somewhat different in countries like India. The fundamental and new feature of the conditions of life of colonies like India is not only that the national bourgeoisie has split up into a revolutionary party and a compromising party, but primarily that the compromising section of this bourgeoisie has already managed, in the main, to strike a deal with imperialism. Fearing revolution more than it fears imperialism, and concerned more about its money-bags than about the interests of its own country, this section of the bourgeoisie, the richest and most influential section, is going over entirely to the camp of the irreconcilable enemies of the revolution, it is forming a bloc with imperialism against the workers and peasants of its own country. The victory of the revolution cannot be achieved unless this bloc is smashed. But in order to smash this bloc, fire must be concentrated on the compromising national bourgeoisie, its treachery exposed, the toiling masses freed from its influence, and the conditions necessary for the hegemony of the proletariat systematically prepared. In other words, in colonies like India it is a matter of preparing the proletariat for the role of leader of the liberation movement, step by step dislodging the bourgeoisie and its mouthpieces from this honourable post. The task is to create a revolutionary anti-imperialist bloc and to ensure the hegemony of the proletariat in this bloc. This bloc can assume, although it need not always necessarily do so, the form of a single workers' and peasants' party, formally bound by a single platform. In such countries, the independence of the Communist Party must be the chief slogan of the advanced communist elements, for the hegemony of the proletariat can be prepared and brought about only by the Communist Party. But the Communist Party can and must enter into an open bloc with the revolutionary wing of the bourgeoisie in order, after isolating the compromising national bourgeoisie, to lead the vast masses of the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie in the struggle against imperialism.

Hence, the immediate tasks of the revolutionary movement in the capitalistically developed colonies and dependent countries are:

1) To win the best elements of the working class to the side of communism and to create independent Communist Parties.

2) To form a national-revolutionary bloc of the workers, peasants and revolutionary intelligentsia against the bloc of the compromising national bourgeoisie and imperialism.

3) To ensure the hegemony of the proletariat in that bloc.

4) To fight to free the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie from the influence of the compromising national bourgeoisie.

5) To ensure that the liberation movement is linked with the proletarian movement in the advanced countries.

Such are the three groups of immediate tasks confronting the leading cadres in the colonial and dependent countries of the East.

These tasks assume a particularly important character and particularly great significance when examined in the light of the present international situation. The characteristic feature of the present international situation is that the revolutionary movement has entered a period of temporary lull. But what is a lull, what does it mean at the present time? It can only mean an intensification of the pressure on the workers of the West, on the colonies of the East, and primarily on the Soviet Union as the standard-bearer of the revolutionary movement in all countries. There can scarcely be any doubt that preparation for this pressure on the Soviet Union has already begun in the ranks of the imperialists. The campaign of slander launched in connection with the insurrection in Estonia, (3) the infamous incitement against the Soviet Union in connection with the explosion in Sofia, and the general crusade that the bourgeois press is conducting against our country, all mark the preparatory stage of an offensive. It is the artillery preparation of public opinion intended to accustom the general public to attacks against the Soviet Union and to create the moral prerequisites for intervention. What will be the outcome of this campaign of lies and slander, whether the imperialists will risk undertaking a serious offensive, remains to be seen; but there can scarcely be any doubt that those attacks bode no good for the colonies. Therefore, the question of preparing a counter-blow by the united forces of the revolution to the blow likely to be delivered by imperialism is an inevitable question of the day.

That is why the unswerving fulfilment of the immediate tasks of the revolutionary movement in the colonies and dependent countries acquires particular importance at the present time.

What is the mission of the University of the Peoples of the East in relation to the colonial and dependent countries in view of all these circumstances? Its mission is to take into account all the specific features of the revolutionary development of these countries and to train the cadres coming from them in a way that will ensure the fulfilment of the various immediate tasks I have enumerated.

In the University of the Peoples of the East there are about ten different groups of students who have come here from colonial and dependent countries. We all know that these comrades are thirsting for light and knowledge. The task of the University of the Peoples of the East is to make them into real revolutionaries, armed with the theory of Leninism, equipped with practical experience of Leninism, and capable of carrying out the immediate tasks of the liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries with all their heart and soul.

In this connection it is necessary to bear in mind two deviations in the practice of the leading cadres in the colonial East, two deviations which must be combated if real revolutionary cadres are to be trained.

The first deviation lies in an under-estimation of the revolutionary potentialities of the liberation movement and in an over-estimation of the idea of a united, all-embracing national front in the colonies and dependent countries, irrespective of the state and degree of development of those countries. That is a deviation to the Right, and it is fraught with the danger of the revolutionary movement being debased and of the voices of the communist elements becoming drowned in the general chorus of the bourgeois nationalists. It is the direct duty of the University of the Peoples of the East to wage a determined struggle against that deviation.

The second deviation lies in an over-estimation of the revolutionary potentialities of the liberation movement and in an under-estimation of the role of an alliance between the working class and the revolutionary bourgeoisie against imperialism. It seems to me that the Communists in Java, who not long ago mistakenly put forward the slogan of Soviet power for their country, arc suffering from this deviation. That is a deviation to the Left, and it is fraught with the danger of the Communist Party becoming divorced from the masses and converted into a sect. A determined struggle against that deviation is an essential condition for the training of real revolutionary cadres for the colonies and dependent countries of the East.

Such, in general, are the political tasks of the University of the Peoples of the East in relation to the peoples of the Soviet East and of the colonial East.

Let us hope that the University of the Peoples of the East will succeed in carrying out these tasks with honour.

 

___

Notes

(1) This refers to the national-state delimitation of the Soviet republics in Central Asia (the Turkestan, Bukhara and Khoresm republics) carried through in 1924. As a result of this national delimitation there were formed: the Turkmenian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic as part of the Uzbek S.S.H., the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Region of the R.S.F.S.R. (subsequently it became the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic), and the Kara-Kalpak Autonomous Region of the Kirghiz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (later of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic). The Third Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R. held in May 1925 accepted the Uzbek and Turkmenian Soviet Socialist Republics into the U.S.S.R. and amended the Constitution of the U.S.S.R. accordingly. The national-stale delimitation of the Soviet republics in Central Asia was carried through under the immediate direction of J. V. Stalin.

(2) See V. I. Lenin's article, "Critical Remarks on the National Question" (Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 20, pp. 1-34).

(3) This refers to the armed uprising of the workers in Revel (Tallinn) on December 1, 1924, provoked by the sentence passed by an Estonian court at the end of November 1924 on 149 political offenders accused of conducting communist propaganda. The majority of the accused were sentenced to long terms of penal servitude, thirty- nine were sentenced to penal servitude for life, and Tomp, the leader of the Estonian workers, was shot. The uprising was cruelly suppressed by the reactionary Estonian government.

 

 

 

The Fourteenth Congress of
the C.P.S.U.(B.)

December 18-31, 1925

Source : Works, Vol. 7, 1925

Political Report of the Central Committee

December 18

 

I
The International Situation

The basic and new feature, the decisive feature that has affected all the events in the sphere of foreign relations during this period, is the fact that a certain temporary equilibrium of forces has been established between our country, which is building socialism, and the countries of the capitalist world, an equilibrium which has determined the present period of "peaceful co-existence" between the Land of Soviets and the capitalist countries. What we at one time regarded as a brief respite after the war has become a whole period of respite. Hence a certain equilibrium of forces and a certain period of "peaceful co-existence" between the bourgeois world and the proletarian world.

At the bottom of all this lies an internal weakness, the weakness and infirmity of world capitalism, on the one hand, and the growth of the workers' revolutionary movement in general, and particularly the growth of strength in our country, the Land of Soviets, on the other.

What lies at the bottom of this weakness of the capitalist world?

At the bottom of this weakness lie the contradictions which capitalism cannot overcome, and within the framework of which the entire international situation is taking shape — contradictions which the capitalist countries cannot overcome, and which can be overcome only in the course of development of the proletarian revolution in the West.

What are these contradictions? They can be reduced to five groups.

The first group of contradictions are those between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries.

The second group of contradictions are those between imperialism and the liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries.

The third group of contradictions are those that are developing, and cannot but develop, between the countries that were victorious in the imperialist war and those that were defeated.

The fourth group of contradictions are those that are developing, and cannot but develop, among the victor countries themselves.

And the fifth group of contradictions are those that are developing between the Land of Soviets and the countries of capitalism as a whole.

Such are the five principal groups of contradictions, within the framework of which the development of our international position is proceeding.

Comrades, unless we briefly examine the nature and the growth of these contradictions, we shall not be able to understand the present international position of our country. Therefore, a brief review of these contradictions must necessarily form part of my report.

1. The Stabilisation of Capitalism

And so, let us begin with the first series of contradictions, those between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries. In this sphere, the basic facts may be reduced to the following.

Firstly. Capitalism is emerging, or has already emerged, from the chaos in production, trade and in the sphere of finance which set in, and in which it found itself, after the war. The Party called this the partial, or temporary, stabilisation of capitalism. What does that mean? It means that the production and trade of the capitalist countries, which had become terribly low at one time in the period of the post-war crisis (I have in mind the years 1919-20), have begun to make progress, and the political power of the bourgeoisie has begun to become more or less consolidated. It means that capitalism has temporarily extricated itself from the chaos in which it found itself after the war.

Here are the figures, if we take Europe.

Production in all the advanced countries of Europe is either making progress compared with 1919, is growing, reaching in some places 80-90 per cent of the pre-war level, or is keeping on one level. Only in Britain are there some branches of production which have not yet straightened themselves out. In the main, if we take Europe as a whole, production and trade are making progress, although they have not yet reached the prewar level. If we take the production of grain, we find that Britain has reached 80-85 per cent of the pre-war level, France 83 per cent, and Germany 68 per cent. In Germany, the production of grain is rising very slowly. In France it is not rising, and in Britain it is sinking. All this is compensated for by imports of grain from America. Coal output in Britain in 1925 amounts to 90 per cent of the pre-war level, in France to 107 per cent of the pre-war level, in Germany to 93 per cent. Steel production in Britain amounts to 98 per cent of the pre-war level, in France to 102 per cent, in Germany to 78 per cent. Consumption of raw cotton in Britain is equal to 82 per cent of the pre-war level, in France to 83 per cent, in Germany to 81 per cent. Britain's foreign trade shows an unfavourable balance and amounts to 94 per cent of pre-war; that of Germany is slightly higher than in 1919 and also shows an unfavourable balance; that of France is now higher than the pre-war level — 102 per cent. The level of European trade as a whole, taking 1921, was 63 per cent of the pre-war level, but now, in 1925, it has reached 82 per cent of that level. The budgets of these countries balance in one way or another, but the balance is obtained by imposing a frightful burden of taxation upon the population. There is a fluctuation in the currency in some countries, but, in general, the former chaos is not observed.

The general picture is that the post-war economic crisis in Europe is passing away, production and trade are approaching the pre-war level. One of the European countries, France, has already surpassed the pre-war level in the sphere of trade and production, while another European country — I refer to Britain — still remains at one and the same, or almost one and the same, level without reaching the pre-war level.

Secondly. Instead of the period of flow of the revolutionary tide that we observed in Europe in the years of the post-war crisis, we now see a period of ebb. This means that the question of taking power, of the proletariat capturing power any day, is not now on the order of the day in Europe. The period of rising revolutionary tide, when the movement pushes forward and upward and the Party's slogans cannot keep pace with the movement, as was the case in our country, for example, in 1905 or in 1917 — that period of rising tide still lies ahead. At present, however, it does not exist; instead, there is a period of temporary ebb, a period in which the proletariat is accumulating forces, a period which is giving big results as regards indicating new forms of the movement, as regards the existence and growth of a mass movement under the banner of the struggle for trade-union unity, as regards establishing and strengthening ties between the working-class movement in the West and the working-class movement in the Soviet Union, as regards a swing to the Left — the British working-class movement for example — as regards the disintegration of Amsterdam, the deep fissure in it, etc., etc. I repeat, we are in a period of accumulation of forces, which is of great importance for future revolutionary actions. It is the period in which the conquest of the mass organisations of the proletariat (the trade unions, etc.) and the "removal from their posts" of the Social-Democratic leaders becomes the slogan of the communist movement, as was the case in our country in 1911-12.

Thirdly. The centre of financial power in the capitalist world, the centre of the financial exploitation of the whole world, has shifted from Europe to America. Formerly, France, Germany and Britain usually formed the centre of the financial exploitation of the world. That cannot be said now without special reservations. Now, the centre of the financial exploitation of the world is mainly the United States of America. That country is growing in every respect: as regards production, as regards trade, and as regards accumulation. I shall quote some figures. The production of grain in North America has risen above the pre-war level; it is now 104 per cent of that level. Coal output has reached 90 per cent of the pre-war level, but the deficit is compensated for by an enormous increase in the output of oil. And it must be pointed out that the oil output of America amounts to 70 per cent of world output. Steel production has risen to 147 per cent — 47 per cent above the pre-war level. The national income amounts to 130 per cent of pre-war — exceeding the pre-war level by 30 per cent. Foreign trade has reached 143 per cent of the pre-war level and has an enormous favourable balance in relation to the European countries. Of the total world gold reserve amounting to 9,000 millions, about 5,000 millions are in America. United States currency is the most stable of all currencies. As regards export of capital, America, at the present time, is almost the only country that is exporting capital in ever-growing proportions. The amount exported by France and Germany is terribly small; Britain has also considerably reduced her export of capital.

Fourthly. The temporary stabilisation of European capitalism to which I referred above has been achieved mainly with the aid of American capital, and at the price of the financial subordination of Western Europe to America. To prove this, it is sufficient to quote the figure of Europe's state indebtedness to America. That figure amounts to no less than 26,000 million rubles. This is apart from private debts to America, i.e., American investments in European enterprises, amounting for Europe to the sum of several thousand millions. What does that show? It shows that Europe has begun to get on its feet, more or less, as a result of the influx of capital from America (and partly from Britain). At what price? At the price of Europe's financial subordination to America.

Fifthly. In view of this, in order to be able to pay interest and principal, Europe is forced to increase the burden of taxation on the population, to worsen the conditions of the workers. That is precisely what is happening now in the European countries. Already, before the payment of principal and interest has properly started, in Britain, for example, the burden of taxation as a percentage of the total national income has increased from 11 per cent (in 1913) to 23 per cent in 1924; in France it has increased from 13 per cent of the national income to 21 per cent, and in Italy — from 13 per cent to 19 per cent. Needless to say, in the very near future the burden of taxation will grow still heavier. In view of this, the material conditions of the working people in Europe, and primarily those of the working class, will certainly deteriorate and the working class will inevitably become revolutionised. Symptoms of this revolutionisation are already to be observed in Britain and in other European countries. I have in mind the definite swing to the Left of the working class in Europe.

Such are the principal facts which show that the temporary stabilisation of capitalism which Europe has achieved is a putrid stabilisation that has grown up on putrid soil.

It is very likely — I do not exclude the possibility — that production and trade in Europe will reach the prewar level. But that does not mean that capitalism will thereby reach the degree of stability it possessed before the war. That degree of stability it will never reach again. Why? Because, firstly, Europe has purchased her temporary stability at the price of financial subordination to America, which is leading to a colossal increase in the burden of taxation, to the inevitable deterioration of the conditions of the workers, and to the revolutionisa-tion of the European countries; secondly, because of a number of other reasons — about which I will speak lat-er — that make the present stabilisation undurable, unstable.

The general conclusion, if we sum up all that I have just said about the analysis of the first series of contra-dictions — the general conclusion is that the circle of major states exploiting the world has shrunk to an extreme degree compared with the period before the war. Formerly, the chief exploiters were Britain, France, Germany, and partly America; that circle has now shrunk to an extreme degree. Today, the major financial exploiters of the world, and hence its major creditors, are North America and to some extent her assistant — Britain.

That does not mean that Europe has sunk to the position of a colony. The European countries, while continuing to exploit their colonies, have themselves now fallen into a state of financial subordination to America and, as a consequence, are in their turn being exploited, and will continue to be exploited by America. In that sense, the circle of major states which exploit the world financially has shrunk to a minimum, whereas the circle of exploited countries has expanded.

That is one of the reasons for the instability and-internal weakness of the present stabilisation of capitalism.

2. Imperialism, the Colonies and Semi-Colonies

Let us pass to the second series of contradictions, those between the imperialist countries and the colonial countries.

The basic facts in this sphere are: the development and growth of industry and of the proletariat in the colonies, especially during and after the war; the growth of culture in general, and of the national intelligentsia in particular, in these countries; the growth of the national-revolutionary movement in the colonies and the crisis in the world domination of imperialism in general; the struggle for liberation waged by India and Egypt against British imperialism; the war for liberation waged by Syria and Morocco against French imperialism; China's struggle for liberation against Anglo-Japanese-American imperialism, etc.; the growth of the working-class movement in India and China and the increasingly important role of the working class in these countries in the national-revolutionary movement.

From this it follows that the Great Powers are faced with the danger of losing their chief rear, i.e., the colonies. Here, the stabilisation of capitalism is in a bad way; for the revolutionary movement in the oppressed countries, growing step by step, is beginning in some places to assume the form of open war against imperialism (Morocco, Syria, China), while imperialism is obviously unable to cope with the task of curbing "its" colonies.

It is said — especially by bourgeois writers — that the Bolsheviks are to blame for the growing crisis in the colonies. I must say that they do us too much honour by blaming us for that. Unfortunately, we are not yet strong enough to render all the colonial countries direct assistance in securing their liberation. It is necessary to delve deeper to find the cause. The cause is, apart from everything else, that the European states, being obliged to pay interest on debts to America, are compelled to intensify oppression and exploitation in the colonies and dependent countries, and this cannot but lead to an intensification of the crisis and of the revolutionary movement in these countries.

All this goes to show that, in this sphere, the affairs of world imperialism are more than in a bad way. Whereas, in the sphere of the first series of contradictions, European capitalism has become partly stabilised and the question of the proletariat seizing power any day does not arise for the time being, in the colonies the crisis has reached a climax and the question of expelling the imperialists from a number of colonies is on the order of the day.

3. Victors and Vanquished

I pass to the third series of contradictions, those between the victor countries and the defeated countries.

The basic facts in this sphere are the following. Firstly, after the Versailles Peace, Europe found herself split up into two camps — the camp of the vanquished (Germany, Austria and other countries) and the camp of the victors (the Entente plus America). Secondly, the circumstance must be noted that the victors, who had previously tried to strangle the defeated countries by means of occupation (I remind you of the Ruhr), have abandoned this line and have adopted a different method, the method of financial exploitation — of Germany in the first place, and of Austria in the second place. This new method finds expression in the Dawes Plan, the unfavourable results of which are only now making themselves felt. Thirdly, the Locarno Conference, which was supposed to have eliminated all the contradictions between the victors and the vanquished, but which, actually, in spite of all the hullabaloo around this question, did not eliminate any of the contradictions but only aggravated them.

The intention of the Dawes Plan is that Germany must pay the Entente no less than some 130,000 million gold marks in several instalments. The results of the Dawes Plan are already making themselves felt in the deterioration of Germany's economic position, in the bankruptcy of a whole group of enterprises, in growing unemployment, etc. The Dawes Plan, which was drawn up in America, is as follows: Europe is to pay her debts to America at the expense of Germany, who is obliged to pay Europe reparations; but as Germany is unable to pump this sum out of a vacuum, she must be given a number of free markets, not yet occupied by other capitalist countries, from which she could gain fresh strength and fresh blood for the reparation payments. In addition to a number of unimportant markets, America has in view our Russian markets. According to the Dawes Plan, they are to be placed at Germany's disposal in order that she may be able to squeeze something out of them and have the wherewithal to make reparation payments to Europe, which, in its turn, must make payments to America on account of state debts. The whole plan is well constructed, but it reckons without the host, for it means for the German people a double yoke — the yoke of the German bourgeoisie on the German proletariat, and the yoke of foreign capital on the whole German people. To say that this double yoke will have no effect upon the German people would be a mistake. That is why I think that in this respect the Dawes Plan is fraught with an inevitable revolution in Germany. It was created for the pacification of Germany, -but it, the Dawes Plan, must inevitably lead to a revolution in Germany. The second part of this plan, which says that Germany must squeeze money out of the Russian markets for the benefit of Europe, is also a decision that reckons without the host. Why? Because, we have not the least desire to be converted into an agrarian country for the benefit of any other country whatsoever, including Germany. We ourselves will manufacture machinery and other means of production. Therefore, to reckon that we shall agree to convert our Motherland into an agrarian country for the benefit of Germany, means reckoning without the host. In this respect, the Dawes Plan stands on feet of clay.

As for Locarno, it is merely a continuation of Versailles, and the only object it can have is to preserve the "status quo," as they say in the language of diplomacy, i.e., to preserve the existing order of things, under which Germany is the defeated country and the Entente the victor. The Locarno Conference gives this order of things juridical sanction in the sense that Germany's new frontiers are preserved to the advantage of Poland, are preserved to the advantage of France; that Germany loses her colonies, and at the same time, pinioned and forced into a Procrustean bed, must take all measures to pump out 130,000 million gold marks. To believe that Germany, which is growing and pushing forward, will resign herself to this situation means counting on a miracle. If, in the past, after the Franco-Prussian War, the question of Alsace-Lorraine, one of the key points of the contradictions of that time, served as one of the gravest causes of the imperialist war, what guarantee is there that the Versailles Peace and its continuation, Locarno, which legalise and give juridical sanction to Germany's loss of Silesia, the Danzig Corridor and Danzig; the Ukraine's loss of Galicia and Western Volhynia; Byelorussia's loss of her western territory; Lithuania's loss of Vilna, etc. — what guarantee is there that this treaty, which has carved up a number of states and has created a number of key points of contradiction, will not share the fate of the old Franco-Prussian Treaty which, after the Franco-Prussian War, tore Alsace-Lorraine from France?

There is no such guarantee, nor can there be.

If the Dawes Plan is fraught with a revolution in Germany, Locarno is fraught with a new war in Europe.

The British Conservatives think that they can both maintain the "status quo" against Germany and use Germany against the Soviet Union. Are they not wanting too much?

There is talk about pacifism, there is talk about peace among the states of Europe. Briand and Chamberlain embrace, Stresemann lavishes compliments on Britain. That is all nonsense. We know from the history of Europe that every time treaties were concluded about the disposition of forces for a new war, those treaties were called peace treaties. Treaties were concluded that determined the elements of the subsequent war, and the conclusion of such treaties was always accompanied by a hullabaloo and clamour about peace. False bards of peace were always found on those occasions. I recall facts from the history of the period after the Franco-Prussian War, when Germany was the victor, when France was the vanquished, when Bismarck did everything to maintain the "status quo," i.e., the order of things that was created after Germany's victorious war against France. At that time Bismarck stood for peace, because that peace gave him a whole series of privileges over France. France, too, stood for peace, at all events at the beginning, until she had recovered from the unsuccessful war. Well, in that period, when everybody was talking about peace and the false bards were lauding Bismarck's peaceful intentions, Germany and Austria concluded an agreement, an absolutely peaceful and absolutely pacifist agreement, which later served as one of the bases of the subsequent imperialist war. I am speaking of the agreement between Austria and Germany in 1879. Against whom was that agreement directed? Against Russia and France. What did that agreement say? Listen:

"Whereas close collaboration between Germany and Austria threatens nobody and is calculated to consolidate peace in Europe on the principles laid down in the Berlin Treaty, their Majesties, i.e., the two Sovereigns, have resolved to conclude a peace alliance and a mutual agreement."

Do you hear: close collaboration between Germany and Austria for the sake of peace in Europe. That agreement was treated as a "peace alliance," nevertheless all historians agree that the agreement served as a direct preparation for the imperialist war of 1914. A consequence of that agreement for peace in Europe, but actually for war in Europe, was another agreement, the agreement between Russia and France of 1891-93 — also for peace — for nothing else! What did that agreement say? It said:

"France and Russia, animated by an equal desire to maintain peace, have reached the following agreement."

What agreement — was not openly stated at that time. But the secret text of the agreement said: in the event of war, Russia must put up against Germany 700,000 troops and France (I think) 1,300,000.

Both these agreements were officially called agreements for peace, friendship and tranquillity throughout Europe.

To crown all this, six years later, in 1899, the Hague Peace Conference assembled and the question of reduction of armaments was brought up there. That was at the time when, on the basis of the agreement between France and Russia, French General Staff officers came to Russia to draw up plans for troop movements in the event of war, and Russian General Staff officers went to France to draw up plans in conjunction with the French generals for future military operations against Germany. That was at the time when the General Staffs of Germany and Austria were drawing up a plan and drafting the terms on which Austria and Germany were jointly to attack their neighbours in the West and in the East. At that very time (all this, of course, was done on the quiet, behind the scenes) the Hague Conference of 1899 assembled, and there peace was proclaimed and a lot of hypocritical noise was raised about reducing armaments.

There you have an example of the matchless hypocrisy of bourgeois diplomacy, when by shouting and singing about peace they try to cover up preparations for a new war.

Have we any grounds, after this, for believing the songs about the League of Nations and Locarno? Of course not. That is why we can believe neither Chamberlain and Briand when they embrace, nor Stresemann when he is lavish with his compliments. That is why we think that Locarno is a plan for the disposition of forces for a new war and not for peace.

Interesting is the role played by the Second International in this question. It is the leaders of the Second International who most of all are leaping and dancing, assuring the workers that Locarno is an instrument of peace and the League of Nations an ark of peace, that the Bolsheviks refuse to join the League of Nations because they are opposed to peace, etc. What does all this noise made by the Second International amount to, taking into account what has been said above and, in particular, the historical information that I cited about the conclusion after the Franco-Prussian War of a whole series of agreements that were called peace agreements, but which actually proved to be war agreements? What does the present position of the Second International in relation to Locarno show? That the Second International is not only an organisation for the bourgeois corruption of the working class, but also an organisation for the moral justification of all the injustices of the Versailles Peace; that the Second International is a subsidiary of the Entente, an organisation whose function is, by its activities and its clamour in support of Locarno and the League of Nations, to give moral justification to all the injustices and all the oppression that have been created by the Versailles-Locarno regime.

4. The Contradictions between the Victor Countries

I pass to the fourth series of contradictions, to those between the victor countries. The basic facts here are that, in spite of the existence of a sort of bloc between America and Britain, a bloc founded on an agreement between America and Britain against the annulment of Allied debts, in spite of this bloc, I say, the conflict of interests between Britain and America is not being allayed, on the contrary, it is becoming more intense. One of the principal problems now facing the world powers is the problem of oil. If, for example, we take America, we find that she produces about 70 per cent of the world output of oil and accounts for over 60 per cent of total world consumption. Well, it is just in this sphere, which is the principal nerve of the entire economic and military activities of the world powers, that America everywhere and always encounters opposition from Britain. If we take the two world oil companies — Standard Oil and Royal Dutch-Shell, the former representing America and the latter Britain — we find that the struggle between those companies is going on in all parts of the world, wherever oil is obtainable. It is a struggle between America and Britain. For the problem of oil is a vital one; because who will command in the next war depends on who will have most oil. Who will command world industry and trade depends on who will have most oil. Now that the fleets of the advanced countries are passing over to oil propulsion, oil is the vital nerve of the struggle among the world states for supremacy both in peace and in war. It is precisely in this sphere that the struggle between the British oil companies and the American oil companies is a mortal one, not always coming into the open, it is true, but always going on and smouldering, as is evident from the history of the negotiations and from the history of the clashes between Britain and America on this ground. It is sufficient to recall the series of Notes of Hughes, when he was United States Secretary of State, directed against Britain on the oil question. The struggle is going on in South America, in Persia, in Europe, in those districts of Rumania and Galicia where oil is to be found, in all parts of the world, sometimes in a concealed and sometimes in an open form. That is apart from such a fact of no little importance as the conflict of interests between Britain and America in China. You no doubt know that the struggle there is a concealed one, and that very often America, operating in a more flexible manner and refraining from the crude colonial methods which the British lords have not yet abandoned, succeeds in putting a spoke in Britain's wheel in China in order to oust Britain and pave the way for herself in China. Obviously, Britain cannot look upon this with indifference.

I shall not dwell at length on the opposition of interests between France and Britain arising from the struggle for supremacy on the European continent. That is a generally known fact. It is also clear that the conflict of interests between Britain and France takes place not only over the question of hegemony on the continent, but also in the colonies. Information has got into the press that the war in Syria and Morocco against French imperialism was organised not without Britain's participation. I have no documents, but I think that this information is not altogether groundless.

Nor shall I dwell on the opposition of interests between America and Japan — that, too, is common knowledge. It is enough to recall the recent American naval manoeuvres in the Pacific and the Japanese naval manoeuvres to understand why they took place.

Lastly, I must mention a fact which must surprise everybody, namely, the colossal growth of armaments in the victor countries. I am speaking about the victors, about the contradictions among the victor states. These victors are called allies. True, America does not belong to the Entente, but she fought in alliance with it against Germany. Well, those allies are now arming themselves to the utmost. Against whom are they arming? In the past, when the Entente countries piled up armaments, they usually referred to Germany, saying that she was armed to the teeth and constituted a danger to world peace, owing to which it was necessary to arm for defence. But what about now? Germany as an armed force no longer exists; she has been disarmed. Nevertheless, the growth of armaments in the victor countries is proceeding as never before. How, for example, is the monstrous growth of the air force in France to be explained? How is the monstrous growth of armaments, and especially of the navy, in Britain to be explained? How is the monstrous growth of the navies of America and Japan to be explained? What and whom are Messieurs the "Allies," who jointly defeated Germany and disarmed her, afraid of? What are they afraid of, and why are they arming? And where is the pacifism of the Second International, which shouts about peace and does not see — pretends that it does not see — that the "Allies," who have officially called each other friends, are feverishly arming against a "non-existent" enemy? What have the League of Nations and the Second International done to put a stop to this furious growth of armaments? Don't they know that with the growth of armaments "the guns begin to go off of their own accord"? Don't expect a reply from the League of Nations and the Second International. The point here is that the conflict of interests among the victor countries is growing and becoming more intense, that a collision among them is becoming inevitable, and, in anticipation of a new war, they are arming with might and main. I shall not be exaggerating if I say that in this case we have not a friendly peace among the victor countries, but an armed peace, a state of armed peace that is fraught with war. What is now going on in the victor countries reminds us very much of the situation that prevailed before the war of 1914 — a state of armed peace.

The rulers of Europe are now trying to cover up this fact with clamour about pacifism. But I have already said what this pacifism is worth and what value should be attached to it. The Bolsheviks have been demanding disarmament ever since the time of Genoa. Why do not the Second International and all the others who are chattering about pacifism support our proposal?

This circumstance shows once again that the stabilisation, the temporary, partial stabilisation, that Europe has achieved at the price of its own enslavement, is not lasting, for the contradictions between the victor countries are growing and becoming more intense, not to speak of the contradictions between the victor countries and the defeated countries.

5. The Capitalist World and the Soviet Union

I pass to the fifth series of contradictions, those between the Soviet Union and the capitalist world.

The basic fact in this sphere is that an all-embracing world capitalism no longer exists. After the Land of Soviets came into being, after the old Russia was transformed into the Soviet Union, an all-embracing world capitalism ceased to exist. The world split up into two camps: the camp of imperialism and the camp of the struggle against imperialism. That is the first point that must be noted.

The second point that must be noted in this sphere is that two major countries — Britain and America, as an Anglo-American alliance — are coming to stand at the head of the capitalist countries. Our country — the Soviet Union — is coming to stand at the head of those discontented with imperialism and who are engaged in mortal struggle against it.

The third point is that two major, but opposite, centres of attraction are being created and, in conformity with this, two lines of attraction towards those centres all over the world: Britain and America — for the bourgeois governments, and the Soviet Union — for the workers of the West and for the revolutionaries of the East. The power of attraction of Britain and America lies in their wealth; credits can be obtained there. The power of attraction of the Soviet Union lies in its revolutionary experience, its experience in the struggle for the emancipation of the workers from capitalism and of the oppressed peoples from imperialism. I am speaking of the attraction of the workers of Europe and of the revolutionaries of the East towards our country. You know what a visit to our country means to a European worker or to a revolutionary from an oppressed country, how they make pilgrimages to our country, and what an attraction our country has for all that is honest and revolutionary all over the world.

Two camps, two centres of attraction.

The fourth point is that in the other camp, the camp of capitalism, there is no unity of interests and no solidarity; that what reigns there is a conflict of interests, disintegration, a struggle between victors and vanquished, a struggle among the victors themselves, a struggle among all the imperialist countries for colonies, for profits; and that, because of all this, stabilisation in that camp cannot be lasting. On the other hand, in our country there is a healthy process of stabilisation, which is gaining strength, our economy is growing, our socialist construction is growing, and in the whole of our camp all the discontented elements and strata of both the West and the East are gradually and steadily rallying around the proletariat of our country, rallying around the Soviet Union.

Over there, in the camp of capitalism, there is discord and disintegration. Over here, in the camp of socialism, there is solidarity and an ever-increasing unity of interests against the common enemy — against imperialism.

Such are the basic facts which I wanted to point out in the sphere of the fifth series of contradictions — the contradictions between the capitalist world and the Soviet world.

I should like to dwell particularly on the fact which I have called the attraction of the revolutionary and socialist elements of the whole world towards the proletariat of our country. I have in mind the workers' delegations which come to our country, delegations which carefully probe every detail of our work of construction in order to convince themselves that we are able not only to destroy, but also to build the new. What is the significance of these workers delegations — this pilgrimage of workers to our country — delegations which today reflect an entire stage in the development of the working-class movement in the West? You have heard how leaders of the Soviet state met a British workers' delegation, and a German workers' delegation. Have you noticed that our comrades, directors of various spheres of administration, not only provided the representatives of the workers' delegations with information, but actually rendered account to them? I was not in Moscow at the time, I was away, but I read the newspapers, and I read that Comrade Dzerzhinsky, head of the Supreme Council of National Economy, not merely gave the German workers' delegation information, but rendered account to them. That is something new and special in our life, and special attention should be paid to it. I have read that the directors of our oil industry — Kosior in Grozny and Serebrovsky in Baku — not merely gave the workers' delegates information as is done to tourists, but rendered account to these workers' delegations as if to a higher supervising authority. I have read that all our higher institutions, the Council of People's Commissars and the Central Executive Committee of Soviets, right down to the local Executive Committees of Soviets, were prepared to render account to the workers' delegations, whose visits to us they regarded as the friendly, fraternal supervision by the working class of the West of our work of construction, of our workers' state.

What do all those facts show? They show two things. Firstly, that the working class of Europe, at all events the revolutionary part of the working class of Europe, regards our state as its own child, that the working class sends its delegations to our country not out of curiosity, but in order to see how things are here, and what is being done; for, evidently, they regard themselves as being morally responsible for everything that we are building here. Secondly, that the revolutionary part of the proletariat of Europe, having adopted our state, and regarding it as its child, is ready to defend it and to fight for it if need be. Name another state, even the most democratic, that would dare to submit to fraternal supervision by workers' delegations from other countries! You cannot name such a state, because there is no such state in the world. Only our state, the workers' and peasants' state, is capable of taking such a step. But, in placing the utmost confidence in the workers' delegations, our country thereby wins the utmost confidence of the working class of Europe. And that confidence is more valuable to us than any loans, because the workers' confidence in our state is the fundamental antidote to imperialism and its interventionist machinations.

That is what lies at the bottom of the change in the mutual relations between our state and the proletariat of the West that has taken place, or is taking place, on the basis of the workers' pilgrimages to our country. That is the new factor, which many have failed to discern, but which is decisive at the present time. For if we are regarded as a part, as the child, of the working class of Europe, if on those grounds the working class of Europe assumes moral responsibility, undertakes the task of defending our state in case, say, of intervention by capitalism, the task of defending our interests against imperialism, what does that show? It shows that our forces are growing and will continue to grow very rapidly. It shows that the weakness of capitalism will increase very rapidly. For without the workers it is impossible to wage war nowadays. If the workers refuse to fight against our Republic, if they regard our Republic as their child in whose fate they are closely concerned, then war against our country becomes impossible. That is the secret, that is the root, that is the significance of the pilgrimages to our country that we have had, which we shall have more of, and which it is our duty to encourage to the utmost as a pledge of solidarity and a pledge that the ties of friendship between the workers of our country and the workers of the Western countries will be strengthened.

Perhaps it will not be superfluous to say a word or two about the number of the delegations that have visited our country. I heard recently that at the Moscow Conference a comrade asked Rykov: "Are not those delegations costing us too much?" Comrades, we must not say such things. We must never talk in that strain about the workers' delegations that visit us. It is disgraceful to talk like that. We cannot and must not shrink from any expense, or any sacrifice, to help the working class in the West to send their delegates to us, to help them to convince themselves that the working class, after capturing power, is capable not only of destroying capitalism, but also of building socialism. They, the workers of the West, many of them at any rate, are still convinced that the working class cannot do without the bourgeoisie. That prejudice is the chief disease of the working class in the West, injected into it by the Social-Democrats. We shall not shrink from any sacrifice to give the working class in the West the opportunity, through their delegates, to convince themselves that the working class, after capturing power, is capable not only of destroying the old order, but also of building socialism. We shall not shrink from any sacrifice to give the working class in the West the opportunity to convince themselves that our country is the only state in the world that is a workers' state, which they in the West ought to fight for, and which is worth defending against their own capitalism. (Applause.)

Three kinds of delegations have visited us: delegations of intellectuals — teachers and so forth; delegations of adult workers, I think there have been, roughly, about ten of them; and delegations of young workers. In all, 550 delegates and tourists have visited our country. Another sixteen delegations, registered with the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, are expected. We shall continue to promote these visits in the future in order to strengthen the ties between the working class of our country and the working class in the West, and thereby erect a barrier against any possibility of intervention.

Such are the characteristic features of the basic contradictions that are corroding capitalism.

What follows from all these contradictions? What-do they show? They show that the capitalist world is being corroded by a whole series of internal contradictions which are enfeebling capitalism; that, on the other hand, our world, the world of socialism, is becoming more and more closely welded, more united; that because of this, on precisely this basis, there arose that temporary equilibrium of forces that put an end to war against us, that ushered in the period of "peaceful co-existence" between the Soviet state and the capitalist states.

I must mention two other facts which also helped to bring it about that instead of a period of war we have a period of "peaceful co-existence."

The first fact is that at the present moment America does not want war in Europe. It is as though she were saying to Europe: I have loaned you thousands of millions; sit still and behave yourself if you want to get more money in future, if you don't want your currency to get into a mess; get down to work, earn money and pay the interest on your debts. It scarcely needs proof that this advice of America's, even if it is not decisive for Europe, is bound to have some effect.

The second fact is that since the victory of the proletarian revolution in our country, a whole vast country with tremendous markets and tremendous sources of raw materials has dropped out of the world capitalist system, and this, of course, was bound to affect the economic situation in Europe. The loss of one-sixth of the globe, the loss of the markets and sources of raw materials of our country, means for capitalist Europe that its production is reduced and experiences a severe shaking. And so, in order to put a stop to this alienation of European capital from our country, from our markets and sources of raw materials, it was found necessary to agree to a certain period of "peaceful co-existence" with us, in order to be able to find a way to our markets and sources of raw materials — without this, it appears, it is impossible to achieve any economic stability in Europe.

6. The External Position of the U.S.S.R.

Such are all those factors that have led to a certain equilibrium of forces between the camp of socialism and the camp of capitalism all over the world; that have caused the period of war to be replaced by a period of respite; that have converted the brief respite into a whole period of respite, and have enabled us to carry out a sort of "collaboration," as Ilyich called it, with the capitalist world.

Hence the series of "recognitions" of the Soviet Union which has commenced, and which is bound to continue.

I shall not enumerate the countries that have "recognised" us. I think that America is the only one of the big countries that has not done so. Nor shall I dilate on the fact that after these "recognitions" we concluded trade agreements, with Germany and Italy, for example. I shall not deal at length with the fact that our foreign trade has grown considerably, that America, a country which exports cotton to us, and Britain and Germany, countries which import our grain and agricultural produce, are particularly interested in this trade. There is one thing I must gay, namely, that this year is the first year since the advent of the period of "co-existence" with the capitalist states in which we are entering into rich and wide commercial relations with the capitalist world on a more or less large scale.

That, of course, does not mean that we have already done away with all those, so to speak, reservations, and all those claims and counter-claims, as they might be called, that have existed and still exist between our state and the states of the West. We know that payment of debts is being demanded of us. Europe has not yet forgotten this, and probably will not forget it, at any rate, not so soon. We are told that our pre-war debts to Europe amount to 6,000 millions, that the war debts are estimated at over 7,000 million rubles, hence, a total of 13,000 millions. Allowing for depreciation of currency, and subtracting from this sum the share of the border countries, it works out that we owe the West-European states not less than 7,000 millions. It is known that our counter-claims in connection with the intervention of Britain, France and America during the civil war amount, I think, to the figure (if we take Larin's calculations) of 50,000 million rubles. Consequently, they owe us five-times more than we owe them. (Larin, from his seat: "We shall get it.") Comrade Larin says that in good time we shall get all of it. (Laughter.) If, however, we make a more conservative calculation, as the People's Commissariat of Finance does, it will amount to no less than 20,000 million. Even then we stand to gain. (Laughter.) But the capitalist countries refuse to reconcile themselves to this, and we still figure in their lists as debtors.

It is on this ground that snags and stumbling-blocks arise during our negotiations with the capitalists. That was the case with Britain, and it will probably be the case with France as well.

What is the position of the Central Committee of our Party on this question?

It is still what it was when the agreement was being concluded with MacDonald.

We cannot repeal the well-known law of our country, promulgated in 1918, annulling the tsarist debts. We stand by that law. We cannot repeal the decrees which were proclaimed, and which gave legal sanction to the expropriation of the expropriators in our country. We stand by those laws and will continue to do so. But we are not averse to making certain exceptions in the course of practical negotiations, in the case of both Britain and France, concerning the former tsarist debts, on the understanding that we pay a small part and get something for it. We are not averse to satisfying the former private owners by granting them concessions, but again on the understanding that the terms of those concessions are not enslaving. On that basis we were able to reach agreement with MacDonald. The underlying basis of those negotiations was the idea of virtually annulling the war debts. It was precisely for this reason that this agreement was frustrated. By whom? Undoubtedly, by America. Although America did not take part in the negotiations between Rakovsky and MacDonald, although MacDonald and Rakovsky arrived at a draft agreement, and although that draft agreement provided a way out for both parties and more or less satisfied the interests of both parties, nevertheless, since that draft was based on the idea of annulling the war debts, and America did not want to create such a precedent, for she would then have stood to lose the thousands of millions that Europe owed her, she, i.e., America, "advised," and the agreement did not come about.

Nevertheless, we still take our stand on the basis of the above-mentioned draft.

Of the questions concerning our foreign policy, of the questions that arose in the period under review, questions that are exceptionally delicate and urgent, that concern the relations between our government and the governments of the West-European countries, I should like to mention two: firstly, the question that the British Conservatives have raised more than once and will raise again — that of propaganda; and, secondly, the question of the Communist International.

We are accused of conducting special propaganda against imperialism both in Europe and in the colonies and dependent countries. The British Conservatives assert that the Russian Communists are people whose mission it is to destroy the might of the British Empire. I should like to state here that all this is utter nonsense. We do not need any special propaganda, either in the West or in the East, now that workers' delegations visit our country, see for themselves the state of things here and carry their information about the state of things here to all the Western countries. We do not need any other propaganda. That is the best, the most potent and most effective propaganda for the Soviet system and against the capitalist system. (Applause.)

We are told that we are conducting propaganda in the East. I assert that this, too, is utter nonsense. We do not need any special propaganda in the East, now that, as we know, the whole of our state system rests on the basis of the co-existence and fraternal co-operation of the extremely diverse nationalities in our country. Any Chinese, any Egyptian, any Indian, who comes to our country and stays here six months, has an opportunity of convincing himself that our country is the only country that understands the spirit of the oppressed peoples and is able to arrange co-operation between the proletarians of the formerly dominant nationality and the proletarians of the formerly oppressed nationalities. We need no other propaganda, no other agitation, in the East except that the delegations that come here from China, India and Egypt, after working here and looking about them, should carry their information about our state of things all over the world. That is the best propaganda, and it is the most effective of all forms and types of propaganda.

But there is a force that can and certainly will destroy the British Empire. That force is the British Conservatives. That is the force that will certainly, inevitably, lead the British Empire to its doom. It is sufficient to recall the Conservatives' policy when they came to power. What did they begin with? They began by putting the curb on Egypt, by increasing the pressure on India, by intervening in China, and so forth. That is the policy of the Conservatives. Who is to blame, who is to be accused, if the British lords are incapable of any other policy? Is it difficult to understand that by proceeding on these lines the Conservatives must, inevitably, as surely as twice two are four, lead the British Empire to its doom?

A few words about the Comintern. Hirelings of the imperialists and authors of forged letters are spreading rumours in the West to the effect that the Comintern is an organisation of conspirators and terrorists, that Communists are touring the Western countries for the purpose of hatching plots against the European rulers. Among other things, the Sofia explosion in Bulgaria is being linked with Communists. I must declare what every cultured person must know, if he is not an utter ignoramus, and if he has not been bribed — I must declare that Communists never had, do not have, and cannot have, anything in common with the theory and practice of individual terrorism; that Communists never had, do not have, and cannot have, anything in common with the theory of conspiracies against individual persons. The theory and practice of the Comintern consists in organising the mass revolutionary movement against capitalism. That is true. That is the task of the Communists. Only ignoramuses and idiots can confuse plots and individual terrorism with the Comintern's policy in the mass revolutionary movement.

Two words about Japan. Some of our enemies in the West are rubbing their hands with glee, as much as to say: See, a revolutionary movement has begun in China. It is, of course, the Bolsheviks who have bribed the Chinese people — who else could bribe a people numbering 400 millions? — and this will lead to the "Russians" fighting the Japanese. All that is nonsense, comrades. The forces of the revolutionary movement in China are unbelievably vast. They have not yet made themselves felt as they should. They will make themselves felt in the future. The rulers in the East and West who do not see those forces and do not reckon with them to the degree that they deserve will suffer for this. We, as a state, cannot but reckon with this force. We consider that China is faced with the same problem that faced North America when she was uniting in a single state, that faced Germany when she was taking shape as a state and was uniting, and that faced Italy when she was uniting and freeing herself from external enemies. Here, truth and justice are wholly on the side of the Chinese revolution. That is why we sympathise and will continue to sympathise with the Chinese revolution in its struggle to liberate the Chinese people from the yoke of the imperialists and to unite China in a single state. Whoever does not and will not reckon with this force will certainly lose. I think that Japan will understand that she, too, must reckon with this growing force of the national movement in China, a force that is pushing forward and sweeping everything from its path. It is precisely because he has not understood this that Chang Tsolin is going under. But he is going under also because he based his whole policy on conflicts between the U.S.S.R. and Japan, on a deterioration of relations between them. Every general, every ruler of Manchuria, who bases his policy on conflicts between us and Japan, on a deterioration of our relations with Japan, is certain to go under. Only the one who bases his policy on an improvement of our relations with Japan, on a rapprochement between us and Japan, will remain on his feet; only such a general, and such a ruler, can sit firmly in Manchuria, because we have no interests that lead to our relations with Japan becoming strained. Our interests lie in the direction of rapprochement between our country and Japan.

7. The Party's Tasks

I pass to the question of our Party's tasks in connection with the external situation.

I think that here our Party's tasks, in the sense of its work, should be outlined in two spheres: the sphere of the international revolutionary movement, and then in the sphere of the Soviet Union's foreign policy.

What are the tasks in the sphere of the international revolutionary movement?

The tasks are, firstly, to work in the direction of strengthening the Communist Parties in the West, of their winning a majority among the masses of the workers. Secondly, to work in the direction of intensifying the struggle of the workers in the West for trade-union unity, for strengthening the friendship between the proletariat in our Union and the proletariat in the capitalist countries. This includes the pilgrimages of which I have spoken and the significance of which I described above. Thirdly, to work in the direction of strengthening the link between the proletariat in our country and the movement for liberation in the oppressed countries, for they are our allies in the struggle against imperialism. And fourthly, to work in the direction of strengthening the socialist elements in our country, in the direction of the victory of these elements over the capitalist elements, a victory that will be of decisive significance for revolutionising the workers of all countries. Usually, when speaking about our Party's tasks in the sphere of the international revolutionary movement, our comrades confine themselves to the first three tasks and forget about the fourth task, namely, that our struggle in our country, the struggle for the victory of the socialist elements in our country over the capitalist elements, our struggle in the work of construction, is also of international significance, for our country is the base of the international revolution, for our country is the principal lever for expanding the international revolutionary movement; and if our work of construction here, in our country, proceeds at the proper tempo, it means that we are performing our work in all the other channels of the international revolutionary movement precisely in the way the Party demands that we should perform it.

Such are the Party's tasks in the sphere of the international revolutionary movement.

Now about the Party's tasks in the sphere of our Union's foreign policy.

Firstly, to work in the direction of fighting against new wars, in the direction of maintaining peace and ensuring so-called normal relations with the capitalist countries. The basis of our government's policy, of its foreign policy, is the idea of peace. The struggle for peace, the struggle against new wars, the exposure of all the steps that are being taken to prepare a new war, the exposure of those steps that cover up actual preparation of war with the flag of pacifism — such is the task. It is precisely for this reason that we refuse to join the League of Nations, for the League of Nations is an organisation for covering up the preparations for war; for, to join the League of Nations, we must choose, as Comrade Litvinov has rightly expressed it, between the hammer and the anvil. Well, we do not wish to be either a hammer for the weak nations or an anvil for the strong ones. We want neither the one nor the other; we stand for peace, we stand for the exposure of all those steps that lead to war, no matter by what pacifist bunting they may be concealed. Whether the League of Nations or Locarno, it makes no difference — they can't fool us with a flag, nor frighten us with noise.

Secondly, to work in the direction of expanding our trade with the outside world on the basis of the monopoly of foreign trade.

Thirdly, to work in the direction of rapprochement with the countries that were defeated in the imperialist war, with those capitalist countries which were most humiliated and came off worst, and which, owing to this, are in opposition to the ruling alliance of Great Powers.

Fourthly, to work in the direction of strengthening our link with the dependent and colonial countries.

Such are the tasks that face the Party at the present time in the sphere of international relations and the international working-class movement.

 

 

 

Notes on Contemporary Themes

July 28, 1927

Works, Vol. 9,   December 1926 - July, 1927

I
The Threat of War

It can scarcely be doubted that the main issue of the present day is that of the threat of a new imperialist war. It is not a matter of some vague and immaterial "danger" of a new war but of the real and actual threat of a new war in general, and of a war against the U.S.S.R. in particular.

The redivision of the world and of spheres of influence that took place as a result of the last imperialist war has already managed to become "obsolete." Certain new countries (America, Japan) have come to the fore. Certain old countries (Britain) are receding into the background. Capitalist Germany, all but buried at Versailles, is reviving and growing and becoming steadily stronger. Bourgeois Italy, with an envious eye on France, is creeping upwards.

A frantic struggle is in progress for markets, for fields of capital export, for the sea and land routes to those markets, for a new redivision of the world. The contradictions between America and Britain, between Japan and America, between Britain and France, between Italy and France, are growing.

The contradictions within the capitalist countries are growing, every now and again breaking out in the form of open revolutionary actions of the proletariat (Britain, Austria).

The contradictions between the imperialist world and the dependent countries are growing, now and again breaking out in the form of open conflicts and revolutionary explosions (China, Indonesia, North Africa, South America).

But the growth of all these contradictions signifies a growth of the crisis of world capitalism, despite the fact of stabilisation, a crisis incomparably deeper than the one before the last imperialist war. The existence and progress of the U.S.S.R., the land of proletarian dictatorship, only deepens and aggravates this crisis.

No wonder that imperialism is preparing for a new war, in which it sees the only way out of the crisis. The unparalleled growth of armaments, the general tendency of the bourgeois governments towards fascist methods of "administration," the crusade against the Communists, the frenzied campaign of slander against the U.S.S.R., the outright intervention in China—all these are different aspects of one and the same phenomenon: the preparation for a new war for a new redivision of the world.

The imperialists would long ago have come to blows among themselves, were it not for the Communist Parties, which are waging a determined struggle against imperialist war, were it not for the U.S.S.R., whose peaceful policy is a heavy fetter on the instigators of a new war, and were it not for their fear of weakening one another and thus facilitating a new breach of the imperialist front.

I think that this last circumstance—that is, the imperialists' fear of weakening one another and thus facilitating a new breach of the imperialist front—is one of the chief factors which have so far restrained the urge for a mutual slaughter.

Hence the "natural" endeavour of certain imperialist circles to relegate the contradictions in their own camp to the background, to gloss them over temporarily, to create a united front of the imperialists and to make war on the U.S.S.R., in order to solve the deepening crisis of capitalism even if only partially, even if only temporarily, at the expense of the U.S.S.R.

The fact that the initiative in this matter of creating a united front of the imperialists against the U.S.S.R. has been assumed by the British bourgeoisie and its general staff, the Conservative Party, should not come as a surprise to us. British capitalism has always been, is, and will be the most malignant strangler of peoples' revolutions. Beginning with the great bourgeois revolution in France at the close of the eighteenth century and down to the revolution now taking place in China, the British bourgeoisie has always been in the front ranks of the suppressors of the movement for the emancipation of mankind. The Soviet people will never forget the violence, robbery and armed invasion to which our country was subjected some years ago thanks to the British capitalists. What, then, is there surprising in the fact that British capitalism and its Conservative Party are again undertaking to lead a war against the centre of the world proletarian revolution, the U.S.S.R.?

But the British bourgeoisie is not fond of doing its own fighting. It has always preferred to make war through the hands of others. And it has indeed succeeded at times in finding fools willing to serve as cat's-paws for it.

Such was the case at the time of the great bourgeois evolution in France, when the British bourgeoisie succeeded in forming an alliance of European states against revolutionary France.

Such was the case after the October Revolution in the U.S.S.R., when the British bourgeoisie, having attacked the U.S.S.R., tried to form an "alliance of fourteen states," and when, in spite of this, they were hurled out of the U.S.S.R.

Such is the case now in China, where the British bourgeoisie is trying to form a united front against the Chinese revolution.

It is quite comprehensible that, in preparing for war against the U.S.S.R., the Conservative Party has for several years now been carrying out preparatory work for the formation of a "holy alliance" of large and small states against the U.S.S.R.

Whereas earlier, until recently, the Conservatives carried out this preparatory work more or less covertly, now, however, they have passed to "direct action," striking open blows at the U.S.S.R. and trying to build their notorious "holy alliance" in sight of all.

The British Conservative government struck its first open blow in Peking, by the raid on the Soviet Embassy. This raid had at least two aims. It was intended to discover "terrible" documentary evidence of "subversive" activity on the part of the U.S.S.R. which would create an atmosphere of general indignation and provide the basis for a united front against the U.S.S.R. It was intended also to provoke an armed conflict with the Peking government and embroil the U.S.S.R. into a war with China.

This blow, as we know, failed.

The second open blow was struck in London, by the raid on ARCOS and the severance of relations with the U.S.S.R. Its aim was to create a united front against the U.S.S.R., to inaugurate a diplomatic blockade of the U.S.S.R. throughout Europe and to provoke a series of ruptures of treaty relations with the Soviet Union.

This blow, as we know, also failed.

The third open blow was struck in Warsaw, by the instigation of the assassination of Voikov. Voikov's assassination, organised by agents of the Conservative Party, was intended by its authors to play a role similar to that of the Sarajevo assassination by embroiling the U.S.S.R. in an armed conflict with Poland.

This blow also seems to have failed.

How is it to be explained that these blows have so far not produced the results which the Conservatives expected from them?

By the conflicting interests of the various bourgeois states, many of whom are interested in maintaining economic relations with the U.S.S.R.

By the peaceful policy of the U.S.S.R., which the Soviet Government pursues firmly and unwaveringly.

By the reluctance of the states dependent on Brit-ain—whether it be the state of Chang Tso-lin or the state of Pilsudski—to serve as dumb tools of the Conservatives to the detriment of their own interests.

The noble lords apparently refuse to understand that every state, even the smallest, is inclined to regard itself as an entity, tries to live its own independent life, and is unwilling to hazard its existence for the sake of the bright eyes of the Conservatives. The British Conservatives have omitted to take all these circumstances into account.

Does this mean that there will be no more blows of this kind? No, it does not. On the contrary, it only means that the blows will be renewed with fresh strength.

These blows must not be regarded as a matter of chance. They are naturally prompted by the entire international situation, by the position of the British bourgeoisie both in the "metropolitan country" and in the colonies, by the Conservative Party's position as the ruling party.

The entire international situation today, all the facts regarding the "operations" of the British Government against the U.S.S.R.—the fact that it is organising a financial blockade of the U.S.S.R., the fact that it is secretly conferring with the powers on a policy hostile to the U.S.S.R., the fact that it is subsidising the emigre "governments" of the Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, etc., with a view to instigating revolts in these countries of the U.S.S.R., the fact that it is financing bands of spies and terrorists, who blow up bridges, set fire to factories and commit acts of terrorism against U.S.S.R. ambassadors—all this unmistakably goes to show that the British Conservative government has firmly and determinedly adopted the course of organising war against the U.S.S.R. And it must be considered by no means out of the question that, under certain circumstances, the Conservatives may succeed in getting together some military bloc or other against the U.S.S.R.

What are our tasks?

It is our task to sound the alarm in all the countries of Europe over the threat of a new war, to rouse the vigilance of the workers and soldiers of the capitalist countries, and to work, to work indefatigably, to prepare the masses to counter with the full strength of revolutionary struggle every attempt of the bourgeois governments to organise a new war.

It is our task to pillory all those leaders of the labour movement who "consider" the threat of a new war to be a "figment of the imagination," who lull the workers with pacifist lies, who close their eyes to the fact that the bourgeoisie is preparing for a new war—for these people want the war to catch the workers by surprise.

The task is for the Soviet Government firmly and unwaveringly to continue its policy of peace, the policy of peaceful relations, notwithstanding the provocative acts of our enemies, notwithstanding pin-pricks to our prestige.

Provocative elements in the enemy camp taunt us, and will continue to taunt us, with the assertion that our peaceful policy is due to our weakness, to the weakness of our army. Some of our comrades are at times enraged by this, are inclined to succumb to the provocation and to urge the adoption of "vigorous" measures. That is a sign of weak nerves, of lack of stamina. We cannot, and must not, dance to the tune of our enemies. We must go our own way, upholding the cause of peace, demonstrating our desire for peace, exposing the predatory designs of our enemies and showing them up as instigators of war.

For only such a policy can enable us to weld the masses of the working people of the U.S.S.R. into a single fighting camp if, or rather when, the enemy forces war upon us.

As regards our "weakness," or the "weakness" of our army, this is not the first time that our enemies have made such a mistake. Some eight years ago, too, when the British bourgeoisie resorted to intervention against the U.S.S.R. and Churchill threatened a campaign of "fourteen states," the bourgeois press shouted about the "weakness" of our army. But all the world knows that both the British interventionists and their allies were ignominiously thrown out of our country by our victorious army.

Messieurs the instigators of a new war would do well to remember this.

The task is to increase the defensive capacity of our country, to expand our national economy, to improve our industry—both war and non-war—to enhance the vigilance of the workers, peasants and Red Army men of our country, steeling them in the determination to defend the socialist motherland and putting an end to the slackness which, unfortunately, is as yet far from having been eliminated.

The task is to strengthen our rear and cleanse it of dross, not hesitating to mete out punishment to "illustrious" terrorists and incendiaries who set fire to our mills and factories, because it is impossible to defend our country in the absence of a strong revolutionary rear.

Recently a protest was received from the well-known leaders of the British labour movement, Lansbury, Maxton and Brockway, against the shooting of the twenty Russian princes and nobles who were guilty of terrorism and arson. I cannot regard those leaders of the British labour movement as enemies of the U.S.S.R. But they are worse than enemies.

They are worse than enemies because, although they call themselves friends of the U.S.S.R., by their protest they nevertheless make it easier for Russian landlords and British secret agents to go on organising the assassination of representatives of the U.S.S.R.

They are worse than enemies because by their protest they tend to bring about a state of affairs in which the workers of the U.S.S.R. are left unarmed in face of their sworn enemies.

They are worse than enemies because they refuse to realise that the shooting of the twenty "illustrious" ones was a necessary measure of self-defence on the part of the revolution.

It is rightly said: "God save us from such friends; our enemies we can cope with ourselves."

As to the shooting of the twenty "illustrious" ones, let the enemies of the U.S.S.R., both internal and external enemies, know that the proletarian dictatorship in the U.S.S.R. is alive and that its hand is firm.

What, after all this, should be said of our luckless opposition in connection with its latest attacks on our Party in face of the threat of a new war? What should be said of the fact that it, this opposition, has found the war threat an appropriate occasion to intensify its attacks on the Party? What is there creditable in the fact that, instead of rallying around the Party in face of the threat from without, it considers it appropriate to make use of the U.S.S.R.'s difficulties for new attacks on the Party? Can it be that the opposition is against the victory of the U.S.S.R. in the coming battles with imperialism, against increasing the defensive capacity of the Soviet Union, against strengthening our rear? Or, perhaps, it is cowardice in the face of the new difficulties, desertion, a desire to evade responsibility, masked by a blast of Leftist phrases?. . .

 

 

Joint Plenum of the Central Committee
and Central Control Commission of the
C.P.S.U.(B.)

July 29  -  August  9,  1927

Works, Vol. 10, August - December, 1927

 

IV
The Threat of War and the Defence of the U.S.S.R.

The question of war. First of all, I must refute the absolutely incorrect and false assertion made by Zino-viev and Trotsky that I belonged to the so-called "Military Opposition" at the Eighth Congress of our Party. It is absolutely untrue, comrades. It is a fable, invented by Zinoviev and Trotsky for want of something better to do. I have before me the verbatim report, from which it is clear that, together with Lenin, I spoke against the so-called "Military Opposition." Lastly, there are people here who attended the Eighth Party Congress and can confirm the fact that I spoke against the "Military Opposition" at the Eighth Congress. I did not oppose the "Military Opposition" as strongly as Trotsky would perhaps have liked, because I considered that among the Military Opposition there were splendid workers who could not be dispensed with at the front; but that I certainly did speak against and combat the Military Opposition is a fact, which only incorrigible individuals like Zinoviev and Trotsky can dispute.

What was the dispute about at the Eighth Congress? About the necessity of putting an end to the voluntary principle and the guerilla mentality; about the necessity of creating a genuine, regular, workers' and peasants' army bound by iron discipline; about the necessity of enlisting the services of military experts for that purpose.

There was a draft resolution submitted by the advocates of a regular army and iron discipline. It was supported by Lenin, Sokolnikov, Stalin and others. There was another draft, that of V. Smirnov, submitted by those who were in favour of preserving elements of the guerilla mentality in the army. It was supported by V. Smirnov, Safarov, Voroshilov, Pyatakov and others. Here are excerpts from my speech:

"All the questions touched upon here boil down to one: Is Russia to have, or not to have, a strictly disciplined regular army?

"Six months ago, after the collapse of the old, tsarist army, we had a new, a volunteer army, an army which was badly organised, which had a collective control, and which did not always obey orders. This was at a time when an Entente offensive was looming. The army was made up principally, if not exclusively, of workers. Because of the lack of discipline in this volunteer army, because it did not always obey orders, because of the disorganisation in the control of the army, we sustained defeats and surrendered Kazan to the enemy, while Krasnov was successfully advancing from the South. . . . The facts show that a volunteer army cannot stand the test of criticism, that we shall not be able to defend our Republic unless we create another army, a regular army one infused with the spirit of discipline, possessing a competent politicai department and able and ready to rise at the first command and march against the enemy.

"I must say that those non-working-class elements—the peasants—who constitute the majority in our army will not voluntarily fight for socialism. A whole number of facts bear this out. The series of mutinies in the rear and at the fronts, the series of excesses at the fronts show that the non-proletarian elements comprising the majority of our army are not disposed to fight for communism voluntarily. Hence our task is to re-educate these elements, infusing them with a spirit of iron discipline, to get them to follow the lead of the proletariat at the front as well as in the rear, to compel them to fight for our common socialist cause, and, in the course of the war, to complete the building of a real regular army, which is alone capable of defending the country.

"That is how the question stands.

". . . Either we create a real workers' and peasants' army, a strictly disciplined regular army, and defend the Republic, or we do not, and in that event our cause will be lost.

". . . Smirnov's project is unacceptable, because it can only under mine discipline in the army and make it impossible to build a regular army."

Such are the facts, comrades.

As you see, Trotsky and Zinoviev have resorted to slander again.

Further. Kamenev asserted here that during the past period, during these two years, we have squandered the moral capital that we formerly possessed in the international sphere. Is that true? Of course not! It is absolutely untrue!

Kamenev did not say which strata of the population he had in mind, among which strata of the population of the East and the West we have lost or gained influence. For us Marxists, however, it is precisely that question that is decisive. Take China, for example. Can it be asserted that we have lost the moral capital that we possessed among the Chinese workers and peasants? Clearly, it cannot. Until lately, the vast masses of workers and peasants of China knew little about us. Until lately, the prestige of the U.S.S.R. was limited to a narrow upper circle of Chinese society, to a narrow circle of liberal intellectuals in the Kuomintang, leaders like Feng Yu-hsiang, the Canton generals, and so forth. The situation has now radically changed. At the present time the U.S.S.R. enjoys a prestige among the vast masses of the workers and peasants of China that may well be envied by any force, by any political party in the world. On the other hand, the prestige of the U.S.S.R. has fallen considerably among the liberal intellectuals in China, among the various generals, and so forth; and many of the latter are beginning to wage a struggle against the U.S.S.R. But what is there surprising, or bad, about that? Can it be required of the U.S.S.R., the Soviet Government, our Party, that our country should enjoy moral prestige among all strata of Chinese society? Who but mere liberals can require this of our Party, of the Soviet Government? What is better for us: prestige among the liberal intellectuals and all sorts of reactionary generals in China, or prestige among the vast masses of workers and peasants in China? What is decisive from the standpoint of our international position, from the standpoint of the development of the revolution throughout the world: the growth of the U.S.S.R.'s prestige among the vast masses of the working people with an undoubted decline of the U.S.S.R.''s prestige among reactionary liberal circles of Chinese society, or prestige among those reactionary liberal circles with a decline of moral influence among the broad masses of the population? It is enough to put this question to realise that Kamenev is wide of the mark. . . .

But what about the West? Can it be said that we have squandered the moral capital we possessed among the proletarian strata in the West? Obviously not. What is shown, for example, by the recent actions of the proletariat in Vienna, the general strike and the coal strike in Britain, and the demonstrations of many thousands of workers in Germany and France in defence of the U.S.S.R.? Do they show that the moral influence of the proletarian dictatorship is declining among the vast working-class masses? Of course not! On the contrary, they show that the moral influence of the U.S.S.R. is rising and growing stronger among the workers in the West; that the workers in the West are beginning to fight their bourgeoisie "in the Russian way."

There can be no doubt that hostility against the U.S.S.R. is growing among certain strata of the pacifist and reactionary liberal bourgeoisie, especially owing to the shooting of the twenty "illustrious" terrorists and incendiaries. But does Kamenev really prize the good opinion of the reactionary liberal pacifist circles of the bourgeoisie more than the good opinion of the vast proletarian masses in the West? Who would dare deny the fact that the shooting of the twenty "illustrious ones" met with a profoundly sympathetic response among the vast masses of the workers in the West as well as among us in the U.S.S.R.? "Serves them right, the scoundrels!"— such was the cry with which the shooting of the twenty "illustrious ones" was met in the working-class districts.

I know that there are people of a certain sort among us who assert that the more quietly we behave the better it will be for us. These people tell us: "Things were well with the U.S.S.R. when Britain broke off relations with it, and they became still better when Voikov was assassinated; but things became bad when, in answer to the assassination of Voikov, we bared our teeth and shot the twenty 'illustrious' counter-revolutionaries. Before we shot the twenty they were sorry for us in Europe and they sympathised with us; after the shooting, that sympathy vanished and they began to accuse us of not being such good boys as the public opinion of Europe would like us to be."

What can be said about this reactionary liberal philosophy? The only thing that can be said about it is that its authors would like to see the U.S.S.R. toothless, unarmed, grovelling at the feet of its enemies and surrendering to them. There was a "bleeding" Belgium, pictures of which at one time used to decorate cigarette packets. Why should there not be a "bleeding" U.S.S.R.? Everybody would then sympathise with it and be sorry for it. But no, comrades ! We do not agree with this. Rather let all those liberal pacifist philosophers with their "sympathy" for the U.S.S.R. go to the devil. If only we have the sympathy of the vast masses of the working people, the rest will follow. And if it is necessary that somebody should "bleed," we shall make every effort to ensure that the one to be bloodily battered and "bleeding" shall be some bourgeois country and not the U.S.S.R.

The question whether war is inevitable. Zinoviev vehemently asserted here that Bukharin's theses say that war is "probable" and "inevitable," but not that it is absolutely inevitable. He insisted that such a formulation is liable to confuse the Party. I picked up Zinoviev's article "The Contours of the Future War" and glanced through it. And what did I find? I found that in Zinoviev's article there is not a single word, literally not a single word, about war having become inevitable. In that article Zinoviev says that a new war is possible. A whole chapter in it is devoted to proving that a war is possible. That chapter ends with the sentence: "That is why it is legitimate and necessary for Bolshevik-Leninists to think now about the possibility of a new war." (General laughter.) Please note, comrades—"to think" about the possibility of a new war. In one passage in the article Zinoviev says that war "is becoming" inevitable, but he does not say a single word, literally not a single word, about war already having become inevitable. And this man has—what is the mildest way of putting it?—the audacity to make an accusation against Bukharin's theses which say that war has become probable and inevitable.

What does it mean to say now that war is "possible"? It means dragging us back at least some seven years, for it was as early as some seven years ago that Lenin said that war between the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist world was possible. Was it worth while for Zinoviev to repeat what was said long ago and to make out his reversion to the past to be a new utterance?

What does it mean to say now that war is becoming inevitable? It means dragging us back at least some four years, for it was as early as the period of the Cur-zon ultimatum that we said that war was becoming inevitable.

How could it happen that Zinoviev, who only yesterday wrote such a confused and quite absurd article about war, containing not a single word about war having become inevitable, how could it happen that this man dared to attack Bukharin's clear and definite theses about the inevitability of war? It happened because Zinoviev forgot what he wrote yesterday. The fact of the matter is that Zinoviev is one of those fortunate people who write only to forget the very next day what they have written. (Laughter.)

Zinoviev asserted here that Bukharin was "prompted" by Comrade Chicherin to draft his theses on the lines that war is probable and inevitable. I ask: Who "prompted" Zinoviev to write an article about war being possible now when war has already become inevitable? (Laughter.)

The question of the stabilisation of capitalism. Zinoviev here attacked Bukharin's theses, asserting that on the question of stabilisation they depart from the position of the Comintern. That, of course, is nonsense. By that Zinoviev only betrayed his ignorance of the question of stabilisation, of the question of world capitalism. Zinoviev thinks that once there is stabilisation, the cause of the revolution is lost. He does not understand that the crisis of capitalism and the preparation for its doom grow as a result of stabilisation. Is it not a fact that capitalism has lately perfected and rationalised its technique and has produced a vast mass of goods which cannot find a market? Is it not a fact that the capitalist governments are more and more assuming a fascist character, attacking the working class and temporarily strengthening their own positions? Do these facts imply that stabilisation has become durable? Of course not! On the contrary, it is just these facts that tend to aggravate the present crisis of world capitalism, which is incomparably deeper than the crisis before the last imperialist war.

The very fact that the capitalist governments are assuming a fascist character tends to aggravate the internal situation in the capitalist countries and gives rise to revolutionary action by the workers (Vienna, Britain).

The very fact that capitalism is rationalising its technique and is producing a vast mass of goods which the market cannot absorb, this very fact tends to intensify the struggle within the imperialist camp for markets and for fields of capital export and leads to the creation of the conditions for a new war, for a new redivision of the world.

Is it difficult to understand that the excessive growth of capitalism's productive potentialities, coupled with the limited capacity of the world market and the stability of "spheres of influence," intensifies the struggle for markets and deepens the crisis of capitalism?

Capitalism could solve this crisis if it could increase the wages of the workers severalfold, if it could considerably improve the material conditions of the peasantry, if it could thereby considerably increase the purchasing power of the vast masses of the working people and enlarge the capacity of the home market. But if it did that, capitalism would not be capitalism. Precisely because capitalism cannot do that, precisely because capitalism uses its "incomes" not to raise the well-being of the majority of the working people, but to intensify their exploitation and to export capital to less-developed countries in order to obtain still larger "incomes"—precisely for that reason, the struggle for markets and for fields of capital export gives rise to a desperate struggle for a new redivision of the world and of spheres of influence, a struggle which has already made a new imperialist war inevitable.

Why do certain imperialist circles look askance at the U.S.S.R. and organise a united front against it? Because the U.S.S.R. is a very valuable market and field of capital export. Why are these same imperialist circles intervening in China? Because China is a very valuable market and field of capital export. And so on and so forth.

That is the basis and source of the inevitability of a new war, irrespective of whether it breaks out between separate imperialist coalitions, or against the U.S.S.R.

The misfortune of the opposition is that it does not understand these simple, elementary things.

The question of the defence of our country. And now permit me to deal with the last question, how our opposition intends to defend the U.S.S.R.

Comrades, the revolutionary spirit of a given group, of a given trend, of a given party, is not tested by the statements or declarations it issues. The revolutionary spirit of a given group, of a given trend, of a given party, is tested by its deeds, by its practice, by its practical plans. Statements and declarations, no matter how striking they may be, cannot be believed if they are not backed by deeds, if they are not put into effect.

There is one question which serves as a dividing line between all possible groups, trends and parties and as a test of whether they are revolutionary or anti-revolutionary. Today, that is the question of the defence of the U.S.S.R., of unqualified and unreserved defence of the U.S.S.R. against attack by imperialism.

A revolutionary is one who is ready to protect, to defend the U.S.S.R. without reservation, without qualification, openly and honestly, without secret military conferences; for the U.S.S.R. is the first proletarian, revolutionary state in the world, a state which is building socialism. An internationalist is one who is ready to defend the U.S.S.R. without reservation, without wavering, unconditionally; for the U.S.S.R. is the base of the world revolutionary movement, and this revolutionary movement cannot be defended and promoted unless the U.S.S.R. is defended. For whoever thinks of defending the world revolutionary movement apart from, or against, the U.S.S.R., goes against the revolution and must inevitably slide into the camp of the enemies of the revolution.

Two camps have now been formed in face of the threat of war, and as a result two positions have arisen: that of unqualified defence of the U.S.S.R. and that of fighting the U.S.S.R. One has to choose between them, for there is not, nor can there be, a third position. Neutrality in this matter, waverings, reservations, the search for a third position, are attempts to avoid responsibility, to wriggle out of the unqualified struggle to defend the U.S.S.R., to be missing at the most critical moment for the defence of the U.S.S.R. What does avoiding responsibility mean? It means imperceptibly slipping into the camp of the enemies of the U.S.S.R.

That is how the question stands now.

How do matters stand with the opposition from the standpoint of the defence, the protection, of the U.S.S.R.?

Since things have gone so far, let me refer to Trotsky's letter to the Central Control Commission in order to demonstrate to you the "theory" of defence, the defence slogan, that Trotsky is holding in reserve in the event of war against the U.S.S.R. Comrade Molotov has already quoted a passage from this letter in his speech, but he did not quote the whole passage. Permit me to quote it in full.

This is how Trotsky understands defeatism and de-fencism:

"What is defeatism? A policy which pursues the aim of facilitating the defeat of one's 'own' state which is in the hands of a hostile class. Any other conception and interpretation of defeatism will be a falsification. Thus, for example, if someone says that the political line of ignorant and dishonest cribbers must be swept away like garbage precisely in the interests of the victory of the workers' state, that does not make him a 'defeatist.' On the contrary, under the given concrete conditions, he is thereby giving genuine expression to revolutionary defencism: ideological garbage does not lead to victory!

"Examples, and very instructive ones, could be found in the history of other classes. We shall quote only one. At the beginning of the imperialist war the French bourgeoisie had at its head a government without a sail or rudder. The Clemenceau group was in opposition to that government. Notwithstanding the war and the military censorship, notwithstanding even the fact that the Germans were eighty kilometres from Paris (Clemenceau said: 'precisely because of it'), he conducted a fierce struggle against petty-bourgeois flabbiness and irresolution and for imperialist ferocity and ruthlessness. Clemenceau was not a traitor to his class, the bourgeoisie; on the contrary, he served it more loyally, more resolutely and more shrewdly than Viviani, Painleve and Co. The subsequent course of events proved that. The Clemenceau group came into power, and its more consistent, more predatory imperialist policy ensured victory for the French bourgeoisie. Were there any French newspapermen that called the Clemenceau group defeatist? There must have been: fools and slanderers follow in the train of every class. They do not, however, always have the opportunity to play an equally important role" (excerpt from Trotsky's letter to Comrade Orjonikidze, dated July 11, 1927).

There you have the "theory," save the mark, of the defence of the U.S.S.R. proposed by Trotsky.

"Petty-bourgeois flabbiness and irresolution"—that, it turns out, is the majority in our Party, the majority in our Central Committee, the majority in our government. Clemenceau—that is Trotsky and his group. (Laughter.) It turns out that if the enemy comes within, say, eighty kilometres of the walls of the Kremlin, this new edition of Clemenceau, this comic opera Clemenceau will first of all try to overthrow the present majority, precisely because the enemy will be eighty kilometres from the Kremlin, and only after that will he start defending. And it turns out that if our comic-opera Clemenceau succeeds in doing that, it will be genuine and unqualified defence of the U.S.S.R.

And in order to do this, he, Trotsky, i.e., Clemenceau, is first of all trying to "sweep away" the "garbage" "in the interests of the victory of the workers' state." And what is this "garbage"? It turns out that it is the majority in our Party, the majority in the Central Committee, the majority in the government.

It turns out, then, that when the enemy comes within eighty kilometres of the Kremlin, this comic-opera Clemenceau will be concerned not to defend the U.S.S.R., but to overthrow the present majority in the Party. And that is what he calls defence!

Of course, it is rather funny to hear this small quixotic group, which in the course of four months barely managed to scrape together about a thousand votes, to hear this small group threatening a party a million strong with the words: "We shall sweep you away." You can judge from this how deplorable the position of Trotsky's group must be if, after toiling for four months in the sweat of its brow, it barely managed to scrape together about a thousand signatures. I think that any opposition group could collect several thousand signatures if it knew how to set to work. I repeat, it is funny to hear a small group in which the leaders outnumber the army (laughter), and which after working hard for four whole months barely managed to scrape together about a thousand signatures, threatening a party a million strong with the words: "We shall sweep you away." (Laughter.)

But how can a small factional group "sweep away" a party a million strong? Do the comrades of the opposition think that the present majority in the Party, the majority in the Central Committee, is an accidental one, that it has no roots in the Party, that it has no roots in the working class, that it will voluntarily allow itself to be "swept away" by a comic-opera Clemenceau? No, that majority is not an accidental one. It has been built up year by year in the course of our Party's development; it was tested in the fire of struggle during October, after October, during the Civil War, and during the building of socialism.

To "sweep away" such a majority it will be necessary to start civil war in the Party. And so, Trotsky is thinking of starting civil war in the Party at a time when the enemy will be eighty kilometres from the Kremlin. It seems that one could hardly go to greater lengths. . . .

But what about the present leaders of the opposition? Have they not been tested? Is it an accident that they, who at one time occupied most important posts in our Party, later became renegades? Does it still need proof that this cannot be regarded as an accident? Well, Trotsky wants, with the aid of the small group which signed the opposition's platform, to turn back the wheel of our Party's history at a time when the enemy will be eighty kilometres from the Kremlin; and it is said that some of the comrades who signed the opposition's platform did so because they thought that if they signed they would not be called up for military service. (Laughter.)

No, my dear Trotsky, it would be better for you not to talk about "sweeping away garbage." It would be better not to talk about it because those words are infectious. If the majority becomes "infected" from you by the method of sweeping away garbage, I do not know whether that will be good for the opposition. After all, it is not impossible that the majority in the Central Committee may become "infected" by this method and "sweep away" somebody or other.

Talk about sweeping away is not always desirable or safe, for it may "infect" the majority in our Central Committee and compel it to "sweep away" somebody or other. And if Trotsky is thinking of using the broom against the Party and its majority, will it be surprising if the Party turns that broom the other way and uses it against the opposition?

Now we know how the opposition intends to defend the U.S.S.R. Trotsky's essentially defeatist theory about Clemenceau, which is supported by the entire opposition, is sufficiently striking evidence of this.

It follows, therefore, that to ensure the defence of the U.S.S.R., it is necessary, first of all, to carry out the Clemenceau experiment.

That, so to speak, is the opposition's first step towards "unqualified" defence of the U.S.S.R.

The second step towards defence of the U.S.S.R., it turns out, is to declare that our Party is a Centrist party. The fact that our Party is fighting both the Left deviation from communism (Trotsky-Zinoviev) and the Right deviation from communism (Smirnov-Sapronov) is apparently regarded by our ignorant opposition as Centrism.

It turns out that these cranks have forgotten that in fighting both deviations we are only fulfilling the behests of Lenin, who absolutely insisted on a determined fight both against "Left doctrinairism" and against "Right opportunism."

The leaders of the opposition have broken with Leninism and have consigned Lenin's behests to oblivion. The leaders of the opposition refuse to admit that their bloc, the opposition bloc, is a bloc of Right and Left deviators from communism. They refuse to admit that their present bloc is the re-creation on a new basis of Trotsky's notorious August bloc of dismal memory. They refuse to understand that it is this bloc that harbours the danger of degeneration. They refuse to admit that the union in one camp of "ultra-Lefts," like those scoundrels and counter-revolutionaries Maslow and Ruth Fischer, and Georgian nationalist deviators is a copy of the Liq-uidationist August bloc of the worst kind.

And so, it turns out that to arrange for defence it is necessary to declare that our Party is a Centrist party and to strive to deprive it of its attractiveness in the eyes of the workers.

That, so to speak, is the opposition's second step towards "unqualified" defence of the U.S.S.R.

The third step towards defence of the U.S.S.R., it appears, is to declare that our Party is non-existent and to depict it as "Stalin's faction." What do the oppositionists mean to say by that? They mean to say that there is no Party, there is only "Stalin's faction." They mean to say that the Party's decisions are not binding upon them and that they have the right to violate those decisions at all times and under all circumstances. In that way they want to facilitate their fight against our Party. True, they adopted this weapon from the arsenal of the Menshevik Sotsialistichesky Vestnik and of the bourgeois Rul. True, it is unworthy of Communists to adopt the weapons of Mensheviks and bourgeois counter-revolutionaries, but what do they care about that? The opposition regards every means as justified as long as there is a fight against the Party.

And so, it turns out that to prepare the defence of the U.S.S.R., it is necessary to declare that the Party is nonexistent, the very Party without which no defence is conceivable.

That, so to speak, is the opposition's third step towards "unqualified" defence of the U.S.S.R.

The fourth step towards defence of the U.S.S.R., it appears, is to split the Comintern, to organise a new party in Germany headed by those scoundrels and counterrevolutionaries Ruth Fischer and Maslow, and thereby make it more difficult for the West-European proletariat to support the U.S.S.R.

And so, it turns out that to prepare the defence of the U.S.S.R., it is necessary to split the Comintern.

That, so to speak, is the opposition's fourth step towards "unqualified" defence of the U.S.S.R.

The fifth step towards defence of the U.S.S.R., it appears, is to ascribe Thermidor tendencies to our Party, to split it and begin to build a new party. For if we have no party, if there is only "Stalin's faction," whose decisions are not binding upon the members of the Party, if that faction is a Thermidor faction—al-though it is stupid and ignorant to speak of Thermidor tendencies in our Party—what else can be done?

And so, it turns out that to arrange for the defence of the U.S.S.R., it is necessary to split our Party and to set about organising a new party.

That, so to speak, is the opposition's fifth step towards "unqualified" defence of the U.S.S.R.

There you have the five most important measures that the opposition proposes for defence of the U.S.S.R.

Does it still need proof that all these measures proposed by the opposition have nothing in common with the defence of our country, with the defence of the centre of the world revolution?

And these people want us to publish their defeatist, semi-Menshevik articles in our Party press! What do they take us for? Have we already "freedom" of the press for all, "from anarchists to monarchists"? No, and we shall not have it. Why do we not publish Menshevik articles? Because we have no "freedom" of the press for anti-Leninist, anti-Soviet trends "from anarchists to monarchists."

What is the aim of the oppositionists in insisting on the publication of their semi-Menshevik, defeatist articles? Their aim is to create a loop-hole for bourgeois "freedom" of the press; and they fail to see that thereby they are reviving the anti-Soviet elements, strengthening their pressure upon the proletarian dictatorship, and opening the road for bourgeois "democracy." They knock at one door, but open another.

Here is what Mr. Dan writes about the opposition:

"Russian Social-Democrats would ardently welcome such a legalisation of the opposition, although they have nothing in common with its positive programme. They would welcome the legality of the political struggle, the open self-liquidation of the dictatorship and the transition to new political forms that would provide scope for a wide labour movement" (Sotsialistichesky Vestnik, No. 13, July 1927).

"The open self-liquidation of the dictatorship"— that is what the enemies of the U.S.S.R. expect of you, and that is where your policy is leading, comrades of the opposition.

Comrades, we are faced by two dangers: the danger of war, which has become the threat of war; and the danger of the degeneration of some of the links of our Party. In setting out to prepare for defence we must create iron discipline in our Party. Without such discipline defence is impossible. We must strengthen Party discipline, we must curb all those who are disorganising our Party. We must curb all those who are splitting our brother parties in the West and in the East. (Applause.) We must curb all those who are splitting our brother parties in the West and are supported in this by those scoundrels Sou-varine, Ruth Fischer, Maslow and that muddle-head Treint.

Only thus, only in this way shall we be able to meet war fully armed, while at the same time striving, at the cost of some material sacrifice, to postpone war, to gain time, to ransom ourselves from capitalism.

This we must do, and we shall do it.

The second danger is the danger of degeneration.

Where does it come from? From there! (Pointing to the opposition.) That danger must be eliminated. (Prolonged applause.)

* * *

The question of the respite.

In 1921, on the termination of the Civil War, Lenin said that we now had some respite from war and that we ought to take advantage of that respite to build socialism. Zinoviev is now finding fault with Stalin, asserting that Stalin converted that respite into a period of respite, which, he alleges, contradicts the thesis on the threat of war between the U.S.S.R. and the imperialists.

Needless to say, this fault-finding of Zinoviev's is stupid and ridiculous. Is it not a fact that there has been no military conflict between the imperialists and the U.S.S.R. for the past seven years? Can this period of seven years be called a period of respite? Obviously, it can and should be so called. Lenin more than once spoke of the period of the Brest Peace, but everybody knows that that period did not last more than a year. Why can the one-year period of the Brest Peace be called a period and the seven-year period of respite not be called a period of respite? How is it possible to take up the time of the joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission with such ridiculous and stupid fault-finding?

 

 

The Trotskyist Opposition Before and Now

Speech Delivered at a Meeting of the Joint Plenum of the Central Committee
and the Central Control Commission of the C.P.S.U.(B.)
October 23, 1927

 

What is the chief aim of the present united bloc headed by Trotsky? It is little by little to switch the Party from the Leninist course to that of Trotskyism. That is the opposition's main sin. But the Party wants to remain a Leninist party. Naturally, the Party turned its back on the opposition and raised the banner of Leninism ever higher and higher. That is why yesterday's leaders of the Party have now become renegades.

The opposition thinks that its defeat can be "explained" by the personal factor, by Stalin's rudeness, by the obstinacy of Bukharin and Rykov, and so forth. That is too cheap an explanation! It is an incantation, not an explanation. Trotsky has been fighting Leninism since 1904. From 1904 until the February Revolution in 1917 he hung around the Mensheviks, desperately fighting Lenin's Party all the time. During that period Trotsky suffered a number of defeats at the hand of Lenin's Party. Why? Perhaps Stalin's rudeness was to blame? But Stalin was not yet the secretary of the Central Committee at that time; he was not abroad, but in Russia, fighting tsarism underground, whereas the struggle between Trotsky and Lenin raged abroad. So what has Stalin's rudeness got to do with it?

During the period from the October Revolution to 1922, Trotsky, already a member of the Bolshevik Party, managed to make two "grand" sorties against Lenin and his Party: in 1918—on the question of the Brest Peace; and in 1921—on the trade-union question. Both those sorties ended in Trotsky being defeated. Why? Perhaps Stalin's rudeness was to blame here? But at that time Stalin was not yet the secretary of the Central Committee. The secretarial posts were then occupied by notorious Trotskyists. So what has Stalin's rudeness got to do with it?

Later, Trotsky made a number of fresh sorties against the Party (1923, 1924, 1926, 1927) and each sortie ended in Trotsky suffering a fresh defeat.

Is it not obvious from all this that Trotsky's fight against the Leninist Party has deep, far-reaching historical roots? Is it not obvious from this that the struggle the Party is now waging against Trotskyism is a continuation of the struggle that the Party, headed by Lenin, waged from 1904 onwards?

Is it not obvious from all this that the attempts of the Trotskyists to replace Leninism by Trotskyism are the chief cause of the failure and bankruptcy of the entire line of the opposition?

Our Party was born and grew up in the storm of revolutionary battles. It is not a party that grew up in a period of peaceful development.

 

* * *

The question of foreign policy. The aim of our foreign policy, if one has in mind diplomatic relations with bourgeois states, is to maintain peace. What have we achieved in this sphere? What we have achieved is that we have upheld—well or ill, nevertheless we have upheld— peace. What we have achieved is that, in spite of the capitalist encirclement, in spite of the hostile activities of the capitalist governments, in spite of the provocative sorties in Peking, London and Paris— in spite of all this, we have not allowed ourselves to be provoked and have succeeded in defending the cause of peace.

We are not at war in spite of the repeated prophecies of Zinoviev and others—that is the fundamental fact in face of which all the hysterics of our opposition are of no avail. And this is important for us, because only under peace conditions can we promote the building of socialism in our country at the rate that we desire. Yet how many prophecies of war there have been! Zi-noviev prophesied that we should be at war in the spring of this year. Later he prophesied that in all probability war would break out in the autumn of this year. Nevertheless, we are already facing the winter, but still there is no war.

Such are the results of our peace policy.

Only the blind can fail to see these results.

Lastly, the fourth question—that of the state of the communist forces throughout the world. Only the blind can deny that the Communist Parties are growing throughout the world, from China to America, from Britain to Germany. Only the blind can deny that the elements of the crisis of capitalism are growing and not diminishing. Only the blind can deny that the progress in the building of socialism in our country, the successes of our policy within the country, are one of the chief reasons for the growth of the communist movement throughout the world. Only the blind can deny the progressive increase in influence and prestige of the Communist International in all countries of the world.

Such are the results of our Party's line on the four principal questions of home and foreign policy during the past two years.

What does the correctness of our Party's policy signify? Apart from everything else, it can signify only one thing: the utter bankruptcy of the policy of our opposition.

 

 

Interview with
Foreign Workers' Delegations

November 5, 1927

Works, Vol. 10, August - December, 1927

Eighty delegates were present from Germany France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, South America,
China, Belgium, Finland, Denmark and Estonia. The interview lasted six hours.

FIRST QUESTION. Why does the U.S.S.R. not take part in the League of Nations?

ANSWER : The reasons why the Soviet Union does not take part in the League of Nations have been repeatedly given in our press. I can point out some of these reasons.

The Soviet Union is not a member of the League of Nations and does not take part in the League of Nations, firstly, because it does not want to take responsibility for the imperialist policy of the League of Nations, for the "mandates" which are handed out by the League of Nations for the exploitation and oppression of colonial countries. The Soviet Union does not take part in the League of Nations because it is opposed to imperialism, opposed to the oppression of the colonies and dependent countries.

The Soviet Union does not take part in the League of Nations, secondly, because it does not want to take responsibility for the war preparations, for the growth of armaments, for the new military alliances, and so forth, which the League of Nations screens and sanctifies, and which are bound to lead to new imperialist wars. The Soviet Union does not take part in the League of Nations because it is wholly and completely opposed to imperialist wars.

Finally, the Soviet Union does not take part in the League of Nations because it does not want to be a component part of the screen, in the shape of the League of Nations, for imperialist machinations, which the League covers up by the unctuous speeches of its members.

Under present conditions the League of Nations is a "house of assignation" for the imperialist bosses who transact their nefarious business behind the scenes. What is said officially in the League of Nations is mere talk, designed to deceive the people. But what is done unofficially by the imperialist bosses behind the scenes in the League of Nations is real imperialist action, hypocritically covered up by the grandiloquent orators of the League of Nations.

Is it surprising, then, that the Soviet Union does not want to be a member of, and participant in, this anti-popular farce?

 

SEVENTH QUESTION. How do you estimate the situation in Western Europe?
Are revolutionary events to be expected within the next few years?

ANSWER : I think that elements of a profound crisis of capitalism are growing and will continue to grow in Europe. Capitalism may become partly stabilised, it may rationalise its production, it may temporarily hold down the working class—capitalism is still able to do all that, but it will never recover the "stability" and "equilibrium" that it possessed before the world war and the October Revolution. It will never recover that "stability" and "equilibrium."

That this is true is evident if only from the fact that every now and again the flames of revolution break out in the European countries and also in the colonies, which are the source of life of European capitalism. One day the flames of revolution break out in Austria, next day in Britain, the day after that somewhere in France or Germany, and then in China, Indonesia, India, and so forth.

But what are Europe and the colonies? They are the centre and periphery of capitalism. There is "unrest" in the centres of European capitalism. There is still greater "unrest" in its periphery. The conditions for new revolutionary events are maturing. I think that the clearest indication of the growing crisis of capitalism, and the clearest manifestation of the mounting discontent and anger of the working class, are the events connected with the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti.

What is the murder of two working men for the capitalist mincing-machine? Have not scores and hundreds of workers been killed up till now every week, every day? But the murder of two workers, Sacco and Vanzetti, was enough to set the working class all over the world in motion. What does that show? It shows that things are getting hotter and hotter for capitalism. It shows that the conditions for new revolutionary events are maturing.

The fact that the capitalists may succeed in sweeping back the first wave of the revolutionary outbreak cannot by any means serve as a consolation for capitalism. The revolution against capitalism cannot advance in one solid and unbroken wave. It always grows in the course of flows and ebbs. It was so in Russia. It will be so in Europe. We are on the threshold of new revolutionary events.

 

 

 

 

The Fifteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.)

December 2-19, 1927

Works, Vol. 10, August - December, 1927

Political Report of the Central Committee
December 3

2. The International Policy of Capitalism and the Preparation of New Imperialist Wars

a) In this connection, the question of redividing the world and spheres of influence, which constitute the basis of foreign markets, is today the principal question in the policy of world capitalism. I have already said that the existing distribution of colonies and spheres of influence brought about as a result of the last imperialist war has already become obsolete. It now fails to satisfy either the United States, which, not being content with South America, is trying to penetrate Asia (primarily China); or Britain, whose dominions and a number of whose most important Eastern markets are slipping from her hands; or Japan, which every now and again is "obstructed" in China by Britain and America; or Italy and France, which have an incalculable number of "points of dispute" in the Danubian countries and in the Mediterranean; and least of all does it satisfy Germany, which is still bereft of colonies. Hence the "general" striving for a new redivision of markets and sources of raw materials. That the Asiatic markets and the routes to them are the chief arena of the struggle needs no proof. Hence a series of key problems, which are hotbeds of new conflicts. Hence the so-called Pacific problem (the America-Japan-Britain antagonism) as the origin of the struggle for supremacy in Asia and on the routes to it. Hence the Mediterranean problem (the Britain-France-Italy antagonism) as the origin of the struggle for supremacy on the shores of the Mediterranean, as the origin of the struggle for the shortest routes to the East. Hence the aggravation of the oil problem (antagonism between Britain and America), for without oil it is impossible to wage war, and whoever has the advantage as regards oil has a chance of victory in the coming war.

Recently, the-British press published Chamberlain's "latest" plan for "settling" the Mediterranean problem. I cannot guarantee the authenticity of this plan; but there can be no doubt that the appearance of Chamberlain's plan in the press is symptomatic. According to this plan, the "mandate" for Syria is to be transferred from France to Italy, Tangiers is to be transferred to France on the payment of financial compensation to Spain, the Cameroons are to be restored to Germany, Italy is to pledge herself to stop "making trouble" in the Balkans, etc.

All this is on the pretext of fighting the Soviets. It is well known that no dirty work is undertaken nowadays without dragging in the Soviets.

But what is the real intention of this plan? Its intention is to oust the French bourgeoisie from Syria. Since ancient times Syria has been the gate to the East, to Mesopotamia, Egypt, etc. From Syria it is possible to do harm to Britain both in the area of the Suez Canal and in the area of Mesopotamia. And so, apparently, Chamberlain wants to put a stop to this unpleasant state of affairs. Needless to say, the appearance of this plan in the press cannot be called an accident. The value of this fact is that it presents a vivid picture of the squabbles, conflicts and military collisions which can arise from the present relations between the so-called "great powers."

As regards the present state of the oil problem and the struggle around it, this is spoken of rather eloquently in the October issue of the well-known American magazine The World's Work:

"Herein lies a very real danger to peace and understanding between the Anglo-Saxon peoples. . . . The support of American businessmen by the State Department will inevitably become stronger as the need for it increases. If the British Government becomes identified with the British oil industry, sooner or later the American Government will become identified with the American oil industry. The struggle cannot be transferred to the governments without vastly increasing the danger of war."

This leaves no room for doubt: things are moving towards the organisation of new coalitions of powers in order to prepare new wars for foreign markets, for sources of raw materials, and for the routes to them.

b) Have attempts been made during the period under review to bring about a "peaceful settlement" of the maturing military conflicts? Yes, there have been more of them than might have been expected; but they have led to nothing, absolutely nothing. Not only that; those attempts have turned out to be merely a screen for the preparations that the "powers" are making for new wars, a screen intended to deceive the people, to deceive "public opinion."

Take the League of Nations, which, according to the mendacious bourgeois press, and the no less mendacious Social-Democratic press, is an instrument of peace. What has all the League of Nations' talk about peace, disarmament, reduction of armaments led to? To nothing, except the deception of the masses, except new spurts in armaments, except a further aggravation of the maturing conflicts. Can it be regarded as accidental that although the League of Nations has been talking about peace and disarmament for three years, and although the so-called Second International has been giving its support to this mendacious talk for three years, the "nations" are continuing to arm more and more, expanding the old conflicts among the "powers," piling up new conflicts, and thus undermining the cause of peace?

What does the failure of the tripartite conference for the reduction of naval armaments (Britain, America and Japan) indicate, if not that the Pacific problem is the source of new imperialist wars, that the "powers" do not want either to disarm or to reduce armaments? What has the League of Nations done to avert this danger?

Or take, for example, the recent declarations of the Soviet delegation in Geneva on the question of genuine disarmament (and not window-dressing). What is the explanation of the fact that Comrade Litvinov's straightforward and honest declaration in favour of complete disarmament struck the League of Nations with paralysis and came as a "complete surprise" to it? Does not this fact show that the League of Nations is not an instrument of peace and disarmament, but an instrument for covering up new armaments and the preparation of new wars?

The venal bourgeois press of all countries, from Japan to Britain, from France to America, is shouting at the top of its voice that the Soviet disarmament proposals are "insincere." In that case, why not test the sincerity of the Soviet proposals and proceed at once, in practice, to disarm, or at least considerably to reduce armaments? What prevents this?

Or, for example, the present system of "friendship pacts" between capitalist states: the pact between France and Yugoslavia, the pact between Italy and Albania, the "pact of friendship" between Poland and Lithuania that Pilsudski is preparing, the "Locarno system, the "spirit of Locarno," etc.—what is this if not a system of preparation of new wars and of alignment of forces for future military collisions?

Or take, for example, the following facts: from 1913 to 1927 the numerical strength of the armies of France, Britain, Italy, the United States and Japan increased from 1,888,000 to 2,262,000 men; in the same period the military budgets of the same countries grew from 2,345 million gold rubles to 3,948 million; in the period from 1923 to 1927, the number of aircraft in commission in these five countries rose from 2,655 to 4,340; the cruiser tonnage of these five powers rose from 724,000 tons in 1922 to 864,000 tons in 1926; the position as regards war chemicals is illustrated by the well-known statement of General Fries, Chief of the United States Chemical Warfare Service: "One chemical air-bomb of 450 kilograms charged with Lewisite can make ten blocks of New York uninhabitable, and 100 tons of Lewisite dropped from 50 aeroplanes can make the whole of New York uninhabitable, at least for a week."

What do these facts show if not that the preparation of a new war is in full swing?

Such are the results of the "peace policy" and of the "disarmament" policy of the bourgeois states in general, of the League of Nations especially, and of Social-Democratic servility to capital in particular.

Formerly, the justification put forward for the growth of armaments was that Germany was armed from head to foot. Today this "justification" falls to the ground because Germany has been disarmed.

Is it not obvious that the growth of armaments is dictated by the inevitability of new imperialist wars between the "powers," that the "spirit of war" is the principal content of the "spirit of Locarno"?

I think that the present "peaceful relations" could be likened to an old, worn-out shirt consisting of patches held together by a thin thread. It is enough to pull this thread fairly hard, to break it in some place or other, for the whole shirt to fall to pieces, leaving nothing but patches. It is enough to shake the present "peaceful relations" somewhere in Albania or Lithuania, in China or North Africa, for the whole "edifice of peaceful relations" to collapse.

That is how things were before the last imperialist war, when the assassination in Sarajev led to war.

That is how things are now.

Stabilisation is inevitably giving rise to new imperialist wars.

3. The State of the World Revolutionary Movement and the Harbingers of a New Revolutionary Upsurge

a) For waging war, increased armaments are not enough, the organisation of new coalitions is not enough. For this it is necessary in addition to strengthen the rear in the capitalist countries. Not a single capitalist country can wage an important war unless it first strengthens its own rear, unless it curbs "its" workers, unless it curbs "its" colonies. Hence the gradual fascisation of the policy of the bourgeois governments.

The fact that the Right bloc now rules in France, the Hicks-Deterding-Urquhart bloc in Britain, the bourgeois bloc in Germany, the war party in Japan, and fascist governments in Italy and Poland, cannot be called accidental.

Hence the pressure that is being brought to bear upon the working class: the Trade-Union Act in Britain, the law on "arming the nation" in France, the abolition of the eight-hour day in a number of countries, and the offensive of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat everywhere.

Hence the increased pressure that is being brought to bear upon the colonies and dependent countries, the reinforcement there of imperialist troops, whose number has now reached a million, of which over 700,000 are quartered in the British "spheres of influence" and "possessions."

b) It is not difficult to understand that this brutal pressure of the fascisised governments was bound to meet with a counter-movement on the part of the oppressed peoples in the colonies and of the working class in the metropolises. Facts like the growth of the revolutionary movement in China, Indonesia, India, etc., cannot fail to have a decisive significance for the fate of world imperialism.

Judge for yourselves. Of the 1,905 million inhabitants of the entire globe, 1,134 million live in the colonies and dependent countries, 143,000,000 live in the U.S.S.R., 264,000,000 live in the intermediate countries, and only 363,000,000 live in the big imperialist countries, which oppress the colonies and dependent countries.

Clearly, the revolutionary awakening of the colonial and dependent countries presages the end of world imperialism. The fact that the Chinese revolution has not yet led to direct victory over imperialism cannot be of decisive significance for the prospects of the revolution. Great popular revolutions never achieve final victory in the first round of their battles. They grow and gain strength in the course of flows and ebbs. That has been so everywhere, including Russia. So it will be in China.

The most important result of the Chinese revolution is the fact that it has awakened from age-long slumber and has set in motion hundreds of millions of exploited and oppressed people, has utterly exposed the counter-revolutionary character of the cliques of generals, has torn the mask from the faces of the Kuomintang servitors of counter-revolution, has raised the prestige of the Communist Party among the masses of the common people, has raised the movement as a whole to a higher stage and has roused new hope in the hearts of the millions of the oppressed classes in India, Indonesia, etc. Only the blind and the faint-hearted can doubt that the Chinese workers and peasants are moving towards a new revolutionary upsurge.

As regards the revolutionary working-class movement in Europe, here in this sphere, too, we have obvious signs of a swing to the Left on the part of the rank-and-file workers and of a revolutionary revival. Facts like the British general strike and coal strike, the revolutionary action of the workers in Vienna, the revolutionary demonstrations in France and Germany in connection with the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, the election successes achieved by the German and Polish Communist Parties, the obvious differentiation that is taking place in the British working-class movement, whereby the workers are moving to the Left while the leaders are moving to the Right, into the camp of avowed social-imperialism, the degeneration of the Second International into a direct appendage of the imperialist League of Nations, the decline of the prestige of the Social-Democratic parties among the broad masses of the working class, the universal growth of the influence and prestige of the Comintern and its sections among the proletarians in all countries, the growth of the prestige of the U.S.S.R. among the oppressed classes all over the world, the "Congress of the Friends of the U.S.S.R.," etc.—all these facts undoubtedly indicate that Europe is entering a new period of revolutionary upsurge.

If a fact like the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti could give rise to working-class demonstrations, it undoubtedly indicates that revolutionary energy has accumulated in the depths of the working class and is seeking, and will continue to seek, a cause, an occasion, sometimes seemingly most insignificant, to break to the surface and hurl itself upon the capitalist regime.

We are living on the eve of a new revolutionary upsurge both in the colonies and in the metropolises.

Stabilisation is giving rise to a new revolutionary upsurge.

4. The Capitalist World and the U.S.S.R.

a) Thus, we have all the symptoms of a most profound crisis and of the growing instability of world capitalism.

Whereas the temporary post-war economic crisis of 1920-21, with the chaos within the capitalist countries, and the breakdown of their external ties, may be regarded as having been overcome, as a result of which a period of partial stabilisation has begun, the general and fundamental crisis of capitalism ushered in as a result of the victory of the October Revolution and the dropping out of the U.S.S.R. from the world capitalist system, far from being overcome is, on the contrary, becoming deeper and deeper, and is shaking the very foundations of the existence of world capitalism.

Far from hindering the development of this general and fundamental crisis, stabilisation, on the contrary, has provided the basis and source for its further development. The growing struggle for markets, the necessity of a new redivision of the world and of spheres of influence, the bankruptcy of bourgeois pacifism and of the League of Nations, the feverish efforts to form new coalitions and to align forces in view of the possibility of a new war, the furious growth of armaments, the savage pressure upon the working class and the colonial countries, the growth of the revolutionary movement in the colonies and in Europe, the growth of the prestige of the Comintern throughout the world, and lastly, the consolidation of the might of the Soviet Union and its enhanced prestige among the workers of Europe and the labouring masses in the colonies—all these are facts which cannot but shake the very foundations of world capitalism.

The stabilisation of capitalism is becoming more and more putrid and unstable.

Whereas a couple of years ago it was possible and necessary to speak of the ebb of the revolutionary tide in Europe, today we have every ground for asserting that Europe is obviously entering a period of new revolutionary upsurge; to say nothing of the colonies and dependent countries, where the position of the imperialists is becoming more and more catastrophic.

b) The capitalists' hopes of taming the U.S.S.R., of its capitalistic degeneration, of the decline of its prestige among the workers of Europe and the labouring masses of the colonies, have collapsed. The U.S.S.R. is growing and developing precisely as a country which is building socialism. Its influence among the workers and peasants all over the world is growing and gaining strength. The very existence of the U.S.S.R. as a country which is building socialism is one of the greatest factors in the disintegration of world imperialism and in the undermining of its stability both in Europe and in the colonies. The U.S.S.R. is obviously becoming the banner of the working class of Europe and of the oppressed peoples of the colonies.

Therefore, to clear the ground for future imperialist wars, to secure a tighter grip on "their" working class and to curb "their" colonies with the object of strengthening the capitalist rear, it is necessary, the bourgeois bosses think, first of all to curb the U.S.S.R., that seat and hotbed of revolution, which, moreover, could be one of the biggest markets for the capitalist countries. Hence the revival of interventionist tendencies among the imperialists, the policy of isolating the U.S.S.R., the policy of encircling the U.S.S.R., the policy of preparing the conditions for war against the U.S.S.R.

The strengthening of interventionist tendencies in the camp of the imperialists and the threat of war (against the U.S.S.R.) is one of the basic factors in the present situation.

It is considered that the most "threatened" and "injured" party under the conditions of the developing crisis of capitalism is the British bourgeoisie. And it is the British bourgeoisie that has taken the initiative in strengthening interventionist tendencies. Obviously, the assistance that the Soviet workers rendered the British coal miners, and the sympathy of the working class of the U.S.S.R. for the revolutionary movement in China, could not but add fuel to the flames. All these circumstances determined Britain's rupture with the U.S.S.R. and the worsening of relations with a number of other states.

c) The struggle between two tendencies in the relations between the capitalist world and the U.S.S.R., the tendency towards military aggression (primarily Britain) and the tendency to continue peaceful relations (a number of other capitalist countries), is, in view of this, the basic fact in our foreign relations at the present time.

Facts which denote the tendency towards peaceful relations during the period under review are: the Non-Aggression Pact with Turkey; the Guarantee Pact with Germany; the Tariff Agreement with Greece; the agreement with Germany on credits; the Guarantee Pact with Afghanistan; the Guarantee Pact with Lithuania; the initialling of a Guarantee Pact with Latvia; the Trade Agreement with Turkey; the settlement of the conflict with Switzerland; the Treaty of Neutrality with Persia; improvement in relations with Japan; growth of commercial intercourse with America and Italy.

Facts which denote the tendency towards military aggression during the period under review are: the British Note in connection with financial assistance to the striking coal miners; the raid on the Soviet diplomatic representatives in Peking, Tientsin and Shanghai; the raid on Arcos; Britain's rupture with the U.S.S.R.; the assassination of Voikov; terroristic acts by British hirelings in the U.S.S.R.; strained relations with France on the question of the recall of Rakovsky.

Whereas a year or two ago it was possible and necessary to speak of a period of a certain equilibrium and "peaceful co-existence" between the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist countries, today we have every ground for asserting that the period of "peaceful co-existence" is receding into the past, giving place to a period of imperialist assaults and preparation for intervention against the U.S.S.R.

True, Britain's attempts to form a united front against the U.S.S.R. have failed so far. The reasons for this failure are: the contradiction of interests in the camp of the imperialists; the fact that some countries are interested in economic relations with the U.S.S.R.; the peace policy of the U.S.S.R.; the counter-action of the working class of Europe; the imperialists' fear of unleashing revolution in their own countries in the event of war against the U.S.S.R. But this does not mean that Britain will abandon her efforts to organise a united front against the U.S.S.R., that she will fail to organise such a front. The threat of war remains in force, despite Britain's temporary setbacks.

Hence the task is to take into account the contradictions in the camp of the imperialists, to postpone war by "buying off" the capitalists and to take all measures to maintain peaceful relations.

We must not forget Lenin's statement that as regards our work of construction very much depends upon whether we succeed in postponing war with the capitalist world, which is inevitable, but which can be postponed either until the moment when the proletarian revolution in Europe matures, or until the moment when the colonial revolutions have fully matured, or, lastly, until the moment when the capitalists come to blows over the division of the colonies.

Therefore, the maintenance of peaceful relations with the capitalist countries is an obligatory task for us.

Our relations with the capitalist countries are based on the assumption that the co-existence of two opposite systems is possible. Practice has fully confirmed this. Sometimes the question of debts and credits is a stumbling-block. In this our policy is clear. It is based on the formula: "give and take." If you give us credits with which to fertilise our industry, you will get some part of the pre-war debts, which we regard as extra interest on the credits. If you give nothing, you will get nothing. Facts show that we have some achievements to record as regards receiving industrial credits. I have in mind just now not only Germany, but also America and Britain. Wherein lies the secret? In the fact that our country could be a vast market for imports of equipment, while the capitalist countries need markets for precisely that kind of goods.

5. Conclusions

To sum up, we have:

Firstly, the growth of the contradictions within the capitalist encirclement; the necessity for capitalism of a new redivision of the world by means of war; the interventionist tendencies of one part of the capitalist world headed by Britain; the reluctance of the other part of the capitalist world to become involved in war against the U.S.S.R., preferring to establish economic relations with it; a conflict between these two tendencies and a certain possibility for the U.S.S.R. to turn these contradictions to account for the purpose of maintaining peace.

Secondly, we have the collapsing stabilisation; the growth of the colonial-revolutionary movement; the signs of a new revolutionary upsurge in Europe; the growth of the prestige of the Comintern and its sections throughout the world; the obvious growth of the sympathy of the working class of Europe for the U.S.S.R.; the growing might of the U.S.S.R. and the growing prestige of the working class of our country among the oppressed classes throughout the world.

Hence the Party's tasks:

1) In the sphere of the international revolutionary movement:

a) to strive to develop the Communist Parties throughout the world;

b) to strive to strengthen the revolutionary trade unions and the workers' united front against the capitalist offensive;

c) to strive to strengthen the friendship between the working class of the U.S.S.R. and the working class in the capitalist countries;

d) to strive to strengthen the link between the working class of the U.S.S.R. and the liberation movement in the colonies and dependent countries.

2) In the sphere of the U.S.S.R.'s foreign policy:

a) to combat the preparations for new imperialist wars;

b) to combat Britain's interventionist tendencies and to strive to strengthen the U.S.S.R. 's defensive capacity;

c) to pursue a policy of peace and to maintain peaceful relations with the capitalist countries;

d) to expand our trade with the outside world on the basis of strengthening the monopoly of foreign trade;

e) rapprochement with the so-called "weak" and "unequal" states, which are suffering from oppression and exploitation by the ruling imperialist powers.

 

 

 

Three Distinctive Features of the Red Army

Speech Delivered at a Plenum of the Moscow Soviet Held in Honour of the
Tenth Anniversary of the Red Army
February 25, 1928

Works, Vol. 11, January, 1928 to March, 1929

Comrades, permit me to convey the greetings of the Central Committee of our Party to the men of our Red Army, the men of our Red Navy, the men of our Red Air Force, and, lastly, to our potential servicemen, the armed workers of the U.S.S.R.

The Party is proud that, with the assistance of the workers and peasants, it has succeeded in creating the first Red Army in the world, which in great battles fought for and upheld the liberty of the workers and peasants.

The Party is proud that the Red Army has acquitted itself with honour in travelling the hard route of fierce battles against internal and external enemies of the working class and peasantry of our country, that it has succeeded in taking shape as a mighty militant revolutionary force, to the terror of the enemies of the working class and the joy of all the oppressed and enslaved.

The Party is proud that the Red Army, having travelled the long route of the liberation of the workers and peasants from the yoke of the landlords and capitalists, has at last won the right to celebrate its jubilee, marking the completion of the tenth year since its birth.

Comrades, wherein lies the strength, what is the source of the strength of our Red Army?

What are the features which radically distinguish our Red Army from all armies that have ever existed in the world?

What are the distinctive features which constitute the source of the strength and might of our Red Army?

The first fundamental distinctive feature of our Red Army is that it is the army of the liberated workers and peasants, it is the army of the October Revolution, the army of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

All armies that have ever existed under capitalism, no matter what their composition, have been armies for the furtherance of the power of capital. They were, and are, armies of capitalist rule. The bourgeois of all countries lie when they say that the army is politically neutral. That is not true. In bourgeois countries, the army is deprived of political rights, it is not allowed into the political arena. That is true. But that by no means implies that it is politically neutral. On the contrary, always and everywhere, in all capitalist countries, the army was, and is, drawn into the political struggle as an instrument for the suppression of the working people. Is it not true that the army in those countries suppresses the workers and serves as a buttress of the masters?

In contrast to such armies, our Red Army is distinguished by the fact that it is an instrument for the furtherance of the power of the workers and peasants, an instrument for the furtherance of the dictatorship of the proletariat, an instrument for the liberation of the workers and peasants from the yoke of the landlords and capitalists.

Our army is an army of liberation of the working people.

Have you considered the fact, comrades, that in the old days the people feared the army, as indeed they fear it now in the capitalist countries; that between the people and the army is a barrier separating the one from the other? And how is it with us? With us, on the contrary, people and army constitute a single whole, a single family. Nowhere in the world is there such an attitude of love and solicitude on the part of the people for the army as in our country. In our country the army is loved and respected, it is the object of general solicitude. Why? Because for the first time in the history of the world the workers and peasants have created their own army, which serves not the masters, but the former slaves, the now emancipated workers and peasants.

There you have a source of the strength of our Red Army.

And what does the people’s love for their army mean? It means that such an army will have the firmest of rears, that such an army is invincible.

What is an army without a firm rear? Nothing at all. The biggest armies, the best-equipped armies collapsed and fell to pieces when they did not have a firm rear, when they did not have the support and sympathy of the rear, of the labouring population. Ours is the only army in the world that has the sympathy and support of the workers and peasants. Therein lies its strength, therein lies its might.

That, above all, is what distinguishes our Red Army from all other armies that ever existed or exist today.

The desire of the Party, its task, is to see to it that this distinctive feature of the Red Army, its closeness to and fraternal connection with the workers and peasants, is preserved and made permanent.

A second distinctive feature of our Red Army is that it is an army of brotherhood among the nations of our country, an army of liberation of the oppressed nations of our country, an army of defence of the liberty and independence of the nations of our country.

In the old days, armies were usually trained in the spirit of dominant-nation chauvinism, in the spirit of conquest, in the belief of the need to subjugate weaker nations. That, indeed, explains why armies of the old type, capitalist armies, were at the same time armies of national, colonial oppression. Therein lay one of the fundamental weaknesses of the old armies. Our army radically differs from the armies of colonial oppression. Its whole nature, its whole structure, is based on strengthening the ties of friendship among the nations of our country, on the idea of liberating the oppressed peoples, on the idea of defending the liberty and independence of the socialist republics that go to make up the Soviet Union.

That is a second and fundamental source of the strength and might of our Red Army. Therein lies the pledge that at a critical moment our army will have the fullest support of the vast masses of all the nations and nationalities inhabiting our boundless land.

The desire of the Party, its task, is to see to it that this distinctive feature of our Red Army is likewise preserved and made permanent.

And, lastly, a third distinctive feature of the Red Army. It is that the spirit of internationalism is trained and fostered in our army, that the spirit of internationalism imbues our Red Army through and through.

In the capitalist countries, armies are usually trained to hate the peoples of other countries, to hate other states, to hate the workers and peasants of other countries. Why is this done? In order to turn the army into an obedient herd in the event of armed clashes between states, between powers, between countries. That is a source of weakness of all capitalist armies.

Our army is built on entirely different principles. The strength of our Red Army lies in the fact that from the day of its birth it has been trained in a spirit of internationalism, that it has been trained to respect the peoples of other countries, to love and respect the workers of all countries, to preserve and promote peace among countries. And precisely because our army is trained in the spirit of internationalism, trained to understand that the interests of the workers of all countries are one, precisely for this reason our army is an army of the workers of all countries.

And that this is a source of our army’s strength and might, the bourgeois of all countries will learn if they should venture to attack our country, for they will then see that our Red Army, trained as it is in the spirit of internationalism, has countless friends and allies in all parts of the world, from Shanghai to New York and from London to Calcutta.

That, comrades, is a third and fundamental distinctive feature which imbues the spirit of our army and constitutes a source of its strength and might.

The desire of the Party, its task, is to see to it that this distinctive feature of our army is likewise preserved and made permanent.

It is to these three distinctive features that our army owes its strength and might.

This, too, explains the fact that our army knows where it is heading for, because it consists not of tin soldiers, but of enlightened people who understand where to head for and what to fight for.

But an army that knows what it is fighting for is invincible, comrades.

That is why our Red Army has every ground for being the best army in the world.

Long live our Red Army!

Long live its soldiers!

Long live its leaders!

Long live the dictatorship of the proletariat which created the Red Army, gave it victory and crowned it with glory! (Stormy and prolonged applause.)

 

Pravda, No. 50, February 28, 1928

 

 

 

 

Political Report of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.)

June 27, 1930

Pravda, No. 177, June 29, 1930
Source: Works, J.V. Stalin, volume 12, pp. 242-385


The Growing Crisis of World Capitalism and the External Situation of the USSR

Comrades, since the Fifteenth Congress two and a half years have passed. Not a very long period one would think. Nevertheless, during this period most important changes have taken place in the life of peoples and states. If one were to characterise the past period in two words, it could be called a turning point period. It marked a turning point not only for us, for the USSR, but also for the capitalist countries all over the world. Between these two turning points, however, there is a fundamental difference. Whereas for the USSR this turning point meant a turn in the direction of a new and bigger economic upswing, for the capitalist countries it meant a turn towards economic decline. Here, in the USSR, there is a growing Upswing of socialist development both in industry and in agriculture. There, among the capitalists, there is growing economic crisis both in industry and in agriculture.

Such is the picture of the present situation in a few words.

Recall the state of affairs in the capitalist countries two and a half years ago. Growth of industrial production and trade in nearly all the capitalist countries. Growth of production of raw materials and food in nearly all the agrarian countries. A halo around the United States as the land of the most full-blooded capitalism. Triumphant hymns of "prosperity." Grovelling to the dollar. Panegyrics in honour of the new technology, in honour of capitalist rationalisation. Proclamation of an era of the "recovery" of capitalism and of the unshakable firmness of capitalist stabilisation. "Universal" noise and clamour about the "inevitable doom" of the Land of Soviets, about the "inevitable collapse" of the USSR That was the state of affairs yesterday.

And what is the picture today?

Today there is an economic crisis in nearly all the industrial countries of capitalism. Today there is an agricultural crisis in all the agrarian countries. Instead of "prosperity" there is mass poverty and a colossal growth of unemployment. Instead of an upswing in agriculture there is the ruin of the vast masses of the peasants. The illusions about the omnipotence of capitalism in general, and about the omnipotence of North American capitalism in particular, are collapsing. The triumphant hymns in honour of the dollar and of capitalist rationalisation are becoming fainter and fainter. Pessimistic wailing about the "mistakes" of capitalism is growing louder and louder. And the "universal" clamour about the "inevitable doom" of the USSR is giving way to "universal" venomous hissing about the necessity of punishing "that country" that dares to develop its economy when crisis is reigning all around.

Such is the picture today.

Things have turned out exactly as the Bolsheviks said they would two or three years ago.

The Bolsheviks said that in view of the restricted limits of the standard of living of the vast masses of the workers and peasants, the further development of technology in the capitalist countries, the growth of productive forces and of capitalist rationalisation, must inevitably lead to a severe economic crisis. The bourgeois press jeered at the "queer prophesies" of the Bolsheviks. The Right deviators dissociated themselves from this Bolshevik forecast and for the Marxist analysis substituted liberal chatter about "organised capitalism." But how did things actually turn out? They turned out exactly as the Bolsheviks said they would.

Such are the facts.

Let us now examine the data on the economic crisis in the capitalist countries.


1. World Economic Crisis


a) In studying the crisis, the following facts, above all, strike the eye: 1. The present economic crisis is a crisis of over-production. This means that more goods have been produced than the market can absorb. It means that more textiles, fuel, manufactured goods and food have been produced than can be purchased for cash by the bulk of the consumers, i.e., the masses of the people, whose incomes remain on a low level. Since, however, under capitalism, the purchasing power of the masses of the people remains at a minimum level, the capitalists keep their "superfluous" goods, textiles, grain, etc., in their warehouses or even destroy them in order to bolster up prices; they cut down production and discharge their workers, and the masses of the people are compelled to suffer hardship because too many goods have been produced.

2. The present crisis is the first post-war world economic crisis. It is a world crisis not only in the sense that it embraces all, or nearly all, the industrial countries in the world; even France, which is systematically injecting into her organism the billions of marks received as reparations payments from Germany, has been unable to avoid a certain depression, which, as all the data indicate, is bound to develop into a crisis. It is a world crisis also in the sense that the industrial crisis has coincided with an agricultural crisis that affects the production of all forms of raw materials and food in the chief agrarian countries of the world.

3. The present world crisis is developing unevenly, notwithstanding its universal character; it affects different countries at different times and in different degrees. The industrial crisis began first of all in Poland, Rumania and the Balkans. It developed there throughout the whole of last year. Obvious symptoms of an incipient agricultural crisis were already visible at the end of 1928 in Canada, the United States, the Argentine, Brazil and Australia. During the whole of this period United States industry showed an upward trend. By the middle of 1929 industrial production in the United States had reached an almost record level. A break began only in the latter half of 1929, and then a crisis in industrial production swiftly developed, which threw the United States back to the level of 1927. This was followed by an industrial crisis in Canada and Japan. Then came bankruptcies and crisis in China and in the colonial countries, where the crisis was aggravated by the drop in the price of silver, and where the crisis of overproduction was combined with the ruination of the peasant farms, which were reduced to utter exhaustion by feudal exploitation and unbearable taxation. As regards Western Europe, there the crisis began to gain force only at the beginning of this year, but not everywhere to the same degree, and even in that period France still showed an increase in industrial production.

I do not think there is any need to dwell particularly on the statistics that demonstrate the existence of the crisis. Nobody now disputes the existence of the crisis. I shall therefore confine myself to quoting one small but characteristic table recently published by the German Institute of Economic Research. This table depicts the development of the mining industry and the chief branches of large-scale manufacturing industry in the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Poland and the USSR since 1927; the 1928 level of production is taken as 100.

Here is the table:

 

Year USSR U.S.A. Britain Germany France Poland
1927 82.4 95.5 105.5 100.1 86.6 88.5
1928 100 100 100 100 100 100
1929 123.5 106.3 107.9 101.8 109.4 99.8
1930
(first quarter)
171.4 95.5 107.4 93.4 113.1 84.6

 


What does this table show?

It shows, first of all that the United States, Germany and Poland are experiencing a sharply expressed crisis in large-scale industrial production; in the first quarter of 1930, in the United States, after the boom in the first half of 1929, the level of production dropped 10.8 per cent compared with 1929 and sank to the level of 1927; in Germany, after three years of stagnation, the level of production dropped 8.4 per cent compared with last year and sank to 6.7 per cent below the level of 1927; in Poland, after last year's crisis, the level of production dropped 15.2 per cent compared with last year and sank to 3.9 per cent below the level of 1927.

Secondly, the table shows that Britain has been marking time for three years, round about the 1927 level, and is experiencing severe economic stagnation; in the first quarter of 1930 she even suffered a drop in production of 0.5 per cent compared with the previous year, thus entering the first phase of a crisis.

Thirdly, the table shows that of the big capitalist countries only in France is there a certain growth of large-scale industry; but whereas the increase in 1928 amounted to 13.4 per cent and that in 1929 to 9.4 per cent, the increase in the first quarter of 1930 is only 3.7 per cent above that in 1929, thus presenting from year to year a picture of a descending curve of growth.

Lastly, the table shows that of all the countries in the world, the USSR is the only one in which a powerful upswing of large-scale industry has taken place; the level of production in the first quarter of 1930 was more than twice as high as that in 1927, and the increase rose from 17.6 per cent in 1928 to 23.5 per cent in 1929 and to 32 per cent in the first quarter of 1930, thus presenting from year to year a picture of an ascending curve of growth.

It may be said that although such was the state of affairs up to the end of the first quarter of this year, it is not precluded that a turn for the better may have taken place in the second quarter of this year. The returns for the second quarter, however, emphatically refute such an assumption. They show, on the contrary, that the situation has become still worse in the second quarter. These returns show: a further drop in share prices on the New York Stock Exchange and a new wave of bankruptcies in the United States; a further decline in production, a reduction of wages of the workers, and growth of unemployment in the United States, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, South America, Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc.; the entry of a number of branches of industry in France into a state of stagnation, which, in the present international economic situation, is a symptom of incipient crisis. The number of unemployed in the United States is now over 6,000,000, in Germany about 5,000,000, in Britain over 2,000,000, in Italy, South America and Japan a million each, in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria half a million each. This is apart from the further intensification of the agricultural crisis, which is ruining millions of farmers and labour-mg peasants. The crisis of overproduction in agriculture has reached such a pitch that in Brazil, in order to keep up prices and the profits of the bourgeoisie, 2,000,000 bags of coffee have been thrown into the sea; in America maize has begun to he used for fuel instead of coal; in Germany, millions of poods of rye are being converted into pig food; and as regards cotton and wheat, every measure is being taken to reduce the crop area by 10-15 per cent.

Such is the general picture of the developing world economic crisis.

b) Now, when the destructive effects of the world economic crisis are spreading, sending to the bottom whole strata of medium and small capitalists, ruining entire groups of the labour aristocracy and farmers, and dooming vast masses of workers to starvation, everybody is asking: what is the cause of the crisis, what is at the bottom of it, how can it be combated, how can it he abolished? The most diverse "theories" about crises are being invented. Whole schemes are being proposed for "mitigating," "preventing," and "eliminating" crises. The bourgeois oppositions are blaming the bourgeois governments because "they failed to take all measures" to prevent the crisis. The "Democrats" blame the "Republicans" and the "Republicans" blame the "Democrats," and all of them together blame the Hoover group with its "Federal Reserve System", (Original Footnote: The Federal Reserve System was instituted in the U.S.A. In 1913. Twelve Federal Reserve Banks in the major centres of the country co-ordinate and control all the activities of the American banks and are an instrument of monopoly capital. The System is headed by a Federal Reserve Board (re-named in 1933 the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System), the members of which are appointed by the U.S. President, and which is completely under the thumb of the financial magnates. The American bourgeois economists - apologists of American capitalism - and financial and government circles in the U.S.A. considered that the Federal Reserve System would safeguard the country's economy against crises. The attempts of President Hoover to cope with the crisis that broke out in 1929 with the help of the Federal Reserve System proved a complete failure) which failed to "curb" the crisis. There are even wiseacres who ascribe the world economic crisis to the "machinations of the Bolsheviks". I have in mind the well-known "industrialist" Rechberg who, properly speaking, little resembles an industrialist, hut reminds one more than anything of an "industrialist" among literary men and a "literary man" among industrialists. (Laughter.)

It goes without saying that none of these "theories" and schemes has anything in common with science. It must be admitted that the bourgeois economists have proved to be utter bankrupts in face of the crisis. More than that, they have been found to be devoid even of that little sense of reality which their predecessors could not always be said to lack. These gentlemen forget that crises cannot be regarded as something fortuitous under the capitalist system of economy. These gentlemen forget that economic crises are the inevitable result of capitalism. These gentlemen forget that crises were born with the birth of the rule of capitalism. There have been periodical crises during more than a hundred years, recurring every 12, 10, 8 or less years. During this period bourgeois governments of all ranks and colours, bourgeois leaders of all levels and abilities, all without exception tried their strength at the task of "preventing" and "abolishing" crises. But they all suffered defeat. They suffered defeat because economic crises cannot be prevented or abolished within the framework of capitalism. Is it surprising that the present-day bourgeois leaders are also suffering defeat? Is it surprising that far from mitigating the crisis, far from easing the situation of the vast masses of the working people, the measures taken by the bourgeois governments actually lead to new outbreaks of bankruptcy, to new waves of unemployment, to the swallowing up of the less powerful capitalist combines by the more powerful capitalist combines?

The basis, the cause, of economic crises of over-production lies in the capitalist system of economy itself. The basis of the crisis lies in the contradiction between the social character of production and the capitalist form of appropriation of the results of production. An expression of this fundamental contradiction of capitalism is the contradiction between the colossal growth of capitalism's potentialities of production, calculated to yield the maximum of capitalist profit, and the relative reduction of the effective demand of the vast masses of the working people whose standard of living the capitalists always try to keep at the minimum level. To be successful in competition and to squeeze out the utmost profit, the capitalists are compelled to develop their technical equipment, to introduce rationalisation, to intensify the exploitation of the workers and to increase the production potentialities of their enterprises to the utmost limits. So as not to lag behind one another, all the capitalists are compelled, in one way or another, to take this path of furiously developing production potentialities. The home market and the foreign market, however, the purchasing power of the vast masses of workers' and peasants who, in the last analysis, constitute the bulk of the purchasers, remain on a low level. Hence overproduction crises. Hence the well-known results, recurring more or less periodically, as a consequence of which goods remain unsold, production is reduced, unemployment grows and wages are cut, and all this still further intensifies the contradiction between the level of production and the level of effective demand. Overproduction crises are a manifestation of this contradiction in turbulent and destructive forms.

If capitalism could adapt production not to the obtaining of the utmost profit but to the systematic improvement of the material conditions of the masses of the people, and if it could turn profits not to the satisfaction of the whims of the parasitic classes, not to perfecting the methods of exploitation, not to the export of capital, but to the systematic improvement of the material conditions of the workers and peasants, then there would be no crises. But then capitalism would not be capitalism. To abolish crises it is necessary to abolish capitalism.

Such is the basis of economic crises of overproduction in general.

We cannot, however, confine ourselves to this in characterising the present crisis. The present crisis cannot be regarded as a mere recurrence of the old crises. It is occurring and developing under certain new conditions, which must be brought out if we are to obtain a complete picture of the crisis. It is complicated and deepened by a number of special circumstances which must be understood if we are to obtain a clear idea of the present economic crisis.

What are these special circumstances?

These special circumstances can be reduced to the following characteristic facts:

1. The crisis has most severely affected the principal country of capitalism, its citadel, the United States, in which is concentrated notless than half the total production and consumption of all those countries in the world. Obviously, this circumstance cannot but lead to a colossal expansion of the sphere of influence of the crisis, to the intensification of the crisis and to the accumulation of extra difficulties for world capitalism.

2. In the course of development of the economic crisis, the industrial crisis in the chief capitalist countries did not merely coincide but became interwoven with the agricultural crisis in the agrarian countries, thereby aggravating the difficulties and predetermining the inevitability of a general decline in economic activity. Needless to say, the industrial crisis will intensify the agricultural crisis, and the agricultural crisis will prolong the industrial crisis, which cannot but lead to the intensification of the economic crisis as a whole.

3. Present-day capitalism, unlike the old capitalism, is monopoly capitalism, and this predetermines the inevitability of the capitalist combines fighting to keep up the high monopolist prices of goods, in spite of over-production. Naturally, this circumstance, which makes the crisis particularly painful and ruinous for the masses of the people who constitute the main consumers of goods, cannot but lead to prolonging the crisis, cannot but be an obstacle to resolving it.

4. The present economic crisis is developing on the basis of the general crisis of capitalism, which came into being already in the period of the imperialist war, and is sapping the foundations of capitalism and has facilitated the advent of the economic crisis.

What does that mean?

It means, first of all, that the imperialist war and its aftermath intensified the decay of capitalism and upset its equilibrium, that we are now living in an epoch of wars and revolutions, that capitalism has already ceased to be the sole and all-embracing system of world economy, that side by side with the capitalist system of economy there is the socialist system, which is growing, thriving, stands opposed to the capitalist system and by its very existence demonstrates the decaying state of capitalism, shakes its foundations.

It means, further, that the imperialist war and. the victory of the revolution in the USSR have shaken the foundations of imperialism in the colonial and dependent countries, that the prestige of imperialism has already been undermined in those countries, that it is no longer able to lord it in those countries In the old way.

It means, further, that during the war and after it, a young native capitalism appeared and grew up in the colonial and dependent countries, which is successfully competing in the markets with the old capitalist countries, intensifying and complicating the struggle for markets.

It means, lastly, that the war left the majority of capitalist countries a burdensome heritage in the shape of enterprises chronically working under capacity and of an army of unemployed numbering millions, which has been transformed from a reserve into a permanent army of unemployed; this created for capitalism a mass of difficulties even before the present economic crisis, and must complicate matters still more during the crisis.

Such are the circumstances which intensify and aggravate the world economic crisis.

It must be admitted that the present economic crisis is the gravest and most profound world economic crisis that has ever occurred.



2. THE INTENSIFICATION OF THE CONTRADICTIONS OF CAPITALISM

A most important result of the world economic crisis is that it is laying bare and intensifying the contradictions inherent in world capitalism.

a) It is laying bare and intensifying the contradictions between the major imperialist countries, the struggle for markets, the struggle for raw materials, the struggle for the export of capital. None of the capitalist states is now satisfied with the old distribution of spheres of influence and colonies. They see that the relation of forces has changed and that it is necessary in accordance with it to redivide markets, sources of raw materials, spheres of influence, and so forth. The chief contradiction here is that between the United States and Britain. Both in the sphere of the export of manufactured goods and in the sphere of the export of capital, the struggle is raging chiefly between the United States and Britain. It is enough to read any journal dealing with economics, any document concerning exports of goods and capital, to be convinced of this. The principal arena of the struggle is South America, China, the colonies and dominions of the old imperialist states. Superiority of forces in this struggle - and a definite superiority - is on the side of the United States.

After the chief contradiction come contradictions which, while not the chief ones, are, however, fairly important: between America and Japan, between Germany and France, between France and Italy, between Britain and France, and so forth.

There can be no doubt whatever that owing to the developing crisis, the struggle for markets, for raw materials and for the export of capital will grow more intense month by month and day by day.

Means of struggle: tariff policy, cheap goods, cheap credits, regrouping of forces and new military-political alliances, growth of armaments and preparation for new

I have spoken about the crisis embracing all branches of production. There is one branch, however, has not been affected by the crisis. That branch is the armament industry. It is growing continuously, not-withstanding the crisis. The bourgeois states are furiously arming and rearming. What for? Not for friendly chats, of course, but for war. And the imperialists need war, for it is the only means by which to redivide the world, to redivide markets, sources of raw materials and spheres for the investment of capital.

It is quite understandable that in this situation so-called pacifism is living its last days, that the League of Nations is rotting alive, that "disarmament schemes" come to nothing, while conferences for the reduction of naval armaments become transformed into conferences for renewing and enlarging navies.

This means that the danger of war will grow at an accelerated pace.

Let the Social-Democrats chatter about pacifism, peace, the peaceful development of capitalism, and so forth. The experience of Social-Democrats being in power in Germany and Britain shows that for them pacifism is only a screen needed to conceal the preparation for new wars.

b) It is laying bare and will intensify the contradictions between the victor countries and the vanquished countries. Among the latter I have in mind chiefly Germany. Undoubtedly, in view of the crisis and the aggravation of the problem of markets, increased pressure will be brought to bear upon Germany, which is not only a debtor, but also a very big exporting. country. The peculiar relations that have developed between the victor countries and Germany could be depicted in the form of a pyramid at the apex of which America, France, Britain and the others are seated in lordly fashion, holding in their hands the Young Plan (Original Footnote: The Young Plan - named after its author, the American banker Young - was a plan for exacting reparations from Germany. It was adopted on June 7, 1929, by a committee of French, British, Italian, Japanese, Belgian, American and German experts, and was finally endorsed at the Hague Conference on January 20, 1930. The plan fixed total German reparations at 113,900 million marks (in foreign currency), to be paid over a period of 59 years. All reparations receipts and payments were to be handled by the Bank for International Settlements, in which the U.S.A. occupied a dominant position. The establishment of this bank was one of the cardinal points of the Young Plan and was a means by which American monopoly capital could control the trade and currencies of the European countries. The plan relieved German industry of contributions to reparations, the whole burden of which was laid upon the working people. The Young Plan made it possible to speed up the rebuilding of Germany's industrial war potential, which the U.S. imperialists were seeking to achieve with a view to launching aggression against the USSR) with the inscription: "Pay up!"; while underneath lies Germany, flattened out, exhausting herself and compelled to exert all her efforts to obey the order to pay thousands of millions in indemnities. You wish to know what this is? It is "the spirit of Locarno. (Original Footnote: This refers to the treaties and agreements concluded by the imperialist states at a conference in Locarno, Switzerland, held October 5-16, 1925. The Locarno agreements were designed to strengthen the post-war system established in Europe by the Treaty of Versailles, but their effect was to sharpen still more the contradictions between the chief imperialist countries and to stimulate preparation for new wars. [For the Locarno Conference, see J. V. Stalin, Works:, Vol. 7, pp. 277-83.]) To think that such a situation will have no effect upon world capitalism means not to understand anything in life. To think that the German bourgeoisie will be able to pay 20,000 million marks within the next ten years and that the German proletariat, which is living under the double yoke of "its own" and the "foreign" bourgeoisie, will allow the German bourgeoisie to squeeze these 20,000 million marks out of it without serious battles and convulsions, means to go out of one's mind. Let the German and French politicians pretend that they believe in this miracle. We Bolsheviks do not believe in miracles.

c) It is laying bare and intensifying the contradictions between the imperialist states and the colonial and dependent countries. The growing economic crisis cannot but increase the pressure of the imperialists upon the colonies and dependent countries, which are the chief markets for goods and sources of raw materials. Indeed, this pressure is increasing to the utmost degree. It is a fact that the European bourgeoisie is now in a state of war with "its" colonies in India, Indo-China, Indonesia and North Africa. It is a fact that "independent" China is already virtually partitioned into spheres of influence, while the cliques of counter-revolutionary Kuomintang generals, warring among themselves and ruining the Chinese people, are obeying the will of their masters in the imperialist camp.

The mendacious story that officials of the Russian embassies in China are to blame for the disturbance of "peace and order" in China must now be regarded as having been utterly exposed. There have been no Russian embassies for a long time in either South or Central China. On the other hand, there are British, Japanese, German, American and all sorts of other embassies there. There have been no Russian embassies for a long time in either South or Central China. On the other hand, there are German, British and Japanese military advisers with the warring Chinese generals. There have been no Russian embassies there for a long time. On the other hand, there are British, American, German, Czechoslovak and all sorts of other guns, rifles, aircraft, tanks and poison gases. Well? Instead of "peace and order" a most unrestrained and most devastating war of the generals, financed and instructed by the "civilised" states of Europe and America, is now raging in South and Central China. We get a rather piquant picture of the "civilising" activities of the capitalist states. What we do not understand is merely: what have the Russian Bolsheviks to do with it?

It would be ridiculous to think that these out-rages will be without consequences for the imperialists. The Chinese workers and peasants have already retaliated to them by forming Soviets and a Red Army. It is said that a Soviet government has already been set up there. I think that if this is true, there is nothing surprising about it. There can be no doubt that only Soviets can save China from utter collapse and pauperisation.

As regards India, Indo-China, Indonesia, Africa, etc., the growth of the revolutionary movement in those countries, which at times assumes the form of a national war for liberation, leaves no room for doubt. Messieurs the bourgeois count on flooding those countries with blood and on relying on police bayonets, calling people like Gandhi to their assistance. There can be no doubt that police bayonets make a poor prop. Tsarism, in its day, also tried to rely on police bayonets, but everybody knows what kind of a prop they turned out to be. As regards assistants of the Gandhi type, tsarism had a whole herd of them in the shape of liberal compromisers of every kind, but nothing came of this except discomfiture.

d) It is laying bare and intensifying the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in the capitalist countries. The crisis has already increased the pressure exerted by the capitalists on the working class. The crisis has already given rise to another wave of capitalist rationalisation, to a further deterioration of the conditions of the working class, to increased un-employment, to an enlargement of the permanent army of unemployed, to a reduction of wages. It is not surprising that these circumstances are revolutionising the situation, intensifying the class struggle and pushing the workers towards new class battles.

As a result of this, Social-Democratic illusions among the masses of workers are being shattered and dispelled. After the experience of Social-Democrats being in power, when they broke strikes, organised lockouts and shot down workers, the false promises of "industrial democracy, peace in industry," and "peaceful methods" of struggle sound like cruel mockery to the workers. Will many workers be found today capable of believing the false doctrines of the social-fascists? The well-known workers' demonstrations of August 1, 1929 (against the war danger) and of March 6, 1930 (against unemployment) (Original footnote: Anti-war demonstrations and strikes on August 1, 1929 (the fifteenth anniversary of the outbreak of the imperialist first world war) and protest demonstrations on March 8, 1930, against the rapid growth of unemployment (as a result of the world economic crisis of 1929) took place in many cities and industrial centres of France, Germany, Britain, the U.S.A., Poland and other European and American countries. The protest movement took place wholly under the leadership of the Communist Parties and the Communist International) show that the best members of the working class have already turned away from the social-fascists. The economic crisis will strike a fresh blow at Social-Democratic illusions among the workers. Not many workers will be found now, after the bankruptcies and ruination caused by the crisis, who believe that it is possible for "every worker" to become rich by holding shares in "democratised" joint-stock companies. Needless to say, the crisis will strike a crushing blow at all these and similar illusions.

The desertion of the masses of the workers from the Social-Democrats, however, signifies a turn on their part towards communism. That is what is actually taking place. The growth of the trade-union movement that is associated with the Communist Party, the electoral successes of the Communist Parties, the wave of strikes in which the Communists are taking a leading part, the development of economic strikes into political protests organised by the Communists, the mass demonstrations of workers who sympathise with communism, which are meeting a lively response in the working class - all this shows that the masses of the workers regard the Communist Party as the only party capable of fighting capitalism, the only party worthy of the workers' confidence, the only party under whose leadership it is possible to enter, and worth while entering, the struggle for emancipation from capitalism. This means that the masses are turning towards communism. It is the guarantee that our fraternal Communist Par-ties will become big mass parties of the working class. All that is necessary is that the Communists should be capable of appraising the situation and making proper use of it. By developing an uncompromising struggle against Social-Democracy, which is capital's agency in the working class, and by reducing to dust all and sundry deviations from Leninism, which bring grist to the mill of Social-Democracy, the Communist Parties have shown that they are on the right road. They must definitely fortify themselves on this road; for only if they do that can they count on winning over the majority of the working class and successfully prepare the proletariat for the coming class battles. Only if they do that can we count on a further increase in the influence and prestige of the Communist International.

Such is the state of the principal contradictions of world capitalism, which have become intensified to the utmost by the world economic crisis.

What do all these facts show?

That the stabilisation of capitalism is coming to an end.

That the upsurge of the mass revolutionary movement will increase with fresh vigour.

That in a number of countries the world economic crisis will grow into a political crisis.

This means, firstly, that the bourgeoisie will seek a way out of the situation through further fascisation in the sphere of domestic policy, and will utilise all the reactionary forces, including Social-Democracy, for this purpose.

It means, secondly, that in the sphere of foreign policy the bourgeoisie will seek a way out through a new imperialist war.

It means, lastly, that the proletariat, in fighting capitalist exploitation and the war danger, will seek a way out through revolution.



3. The Relations Between the USSR and the Capitalist States

a) I have spoken above about the contradictions of world capitalism. In addition to these, however, there is one other contradiction. I am referring to the contradiction between the capitalist world and the USSR True, this contradiction must not be regarded as being of the same order as the contradiction within capitalism. It is a contradiction between capitalism as a whole and the country that is building socialism. This, however, does not prevent it from corroding and shaking the very foundations of capitalism. More than that, it lays bare all the contradictions of capitalism to the roots and gathers them into a single knot, transforming them into an issue of the life and death of the capitalist order itself. That is why, every time the contradictions of capitalism become acute, the bourgeoisie turns its gaze towards the USSR, wondering whether it would not be possible to solve this or that contradiction of capitalism, or all the contradictions together, at the expense of the USSR, of that Land of Soviets, that citadel of revolution which, by its very existence, is revolutionising the working class and the colonies, which is hindering the organisation of a new war, hindering a new redivision of the world, hindering the capitalists from lording it in its extensive home market which they need so much, especially now, in view of the economic crisis.

Hence the tendency towards adventurist attacks on the USSR and towards intervention, a tendency which will certainly grow owing to the development of the economic crisis.

The most striking expression of this tendency at the present time is present-day bourgeois France, the birthplace of the philanthropic "Pan-Europe"(Original Footnote: '"Pan-Europe "-a projected bloc of European states against the Soviet Union suggested by the French Foreign Minister Briand in May 1930. Europe, united in a Federal Union," was to constitute a single anti-Soviet front, and the executive body of the "Federal Union," the "European Committee," was to be a general staff for preparing an attack on the USSR Briand's plan was also designed to establish French hegemony on the European continent, and therefore encountered the opposition of Britain, Italy and the U.S.A. Nothing came of the "Pan-Europe" scheme owing to the contradictions between the imperialist powers) scheme, the "cradle" of the Kellogg Pact, (Original footnote: This refers to the pact renouncing war signed in Paris on August 27, 1928, by the U.S.A., France, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and the British Dominions. The USSR was not invited to take part in the negotiations for the conclusion of the Kellogg Pact, in order that the USSR should not be included among the countries to which the proposed pact for renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy should apply. Under cover of demagogic talk about "universal peace," the sponsors of the pact (France, U.S.A., Britain) intended to use it as a means of isolating and combating the USSR The true purposes of the pact were exposed by the Government of the USSR in its statement of August 5, 1925. Under the pressure of public opinion, the American, British and French Governments were compelled to invite the USSR to adhere to the pact. The Soviet Government did so and was one of the first to ratify the Kellogg Pact, inviting neighbouring states to conclude an agreement giving immediate effect to its provisions. Such an agreement was signed by the USSR, Poland, Rumania, Estonia and Latvia in Moscow on February 9, 1929, Turkey and Lithuania adhering to it later) the most aggressive and militarist of all the aggressive and militarist countries in the world.

But intervention is a two-edged sword. The bourgeoisie knows this perfectly well. It will be all right, it thinks, if intervention goes off smoothly and ends in the defeat of the USSR But what if it ends in the defeat of the capitalists? There was intervention once and it ended in failure. If the first intervention, when the Bolsheviks were weak, ended in failure, what guarantee is there that the second will not end in failure too? Everybody sees that the Bolsheviks are far stronger now, both economically and politically, and as regards preparedness for the country's defence. And what about the workers in the capitalist countries, who will not permit intervention in the USSR, who will fight intervention and, if anything happens, may attack the capitalists in the rear? Would it not be better to proceed along the line of increasing trade connections with the USSR, to which the Bolsheviks do not object?

Hence the tendency towards continuing peaceful relations with the USSR.

Thus, we have two sets of factors, and two different tendencies operating in opposite directions:

1) The policy of disrupting economic connections between the USSR and the capitalist countries; provocative attacks upon the USSR; open and secret activities in preparation for intervention against the USSR These are the factors that menace the USSR's international position. It is the operation of these factors that explains such facts as the rupture of relations with the USSR by the British Conservative Cabinet; the seizure of the Chinese-Eastern Railway by the Chinese militarists; the financial blockade of the USSR; the clerical "crusade," headed by the Pope, against the USSR; the organisation by agents of foreign states of wrecking activities on the part of our specialists; the organisation of explosions and incendiarism, such as were carried out by certain employees of "Lena Gold-Fields (Original Footnotes: Lena Gold-Fields - a British company which in 1925-30 held a concession in the USSR for the exploitation of gold, copper, iron and other deposits in Siberia. By the terms of the concession agreement the Lena Gold-Fields company was obliged to construct new mining enterprises and to reconstruct the plants and mines it had received on lease. In view of the fact that the company did not carry out its obligations and caused the plants, mines and other installations it had received to fall into decay, the Soviet Government terminated the concession and committed to trial Lena Gold-Fields employees who had engaged in espionage and wrecking activities in the USSR); attempts on the lives of representatives of the USSR (Poland); finding fault with our exports (United States, Poland), and so forth.

2) Sympathy towards and support of the USSR on the part of the workers in capitalist countries; growth of the economic and political might of the USSR; increase in the USSRís defence capacity; the peace policy undeviatingly pursued by the Soviet government. These are the factors that strengthen the USSR's international position. It is the operation of these factors that explains such facts as the successful settlement of the dispute over the Chinese-Eastern Railway, the restoration of relations with Britain, the growth of economic connections with capitalist countries, and so forth.

It is the conflict between these factors that determines the USSRís external situation.

b) It is said that the stumbling block to the improvement of economic relations between the USSR and the bourgeois states is the question of the debts. I think that this is not an argument in favour of paying the debts, but a pretext advanced by the aggressive elements for interventionist propaganda. Our policy in this field is clear and well-grounded. On condition that we are granted credits, we are willing to pay a small part of the pro-war debts, regarding them as additional interest on the credits. Without this condition we cannot and must not pay. Is more demanded of us? On what grounds? Is it not well-known that those debts were contracted by the tsarist government, which was overthrown by the Revolution, and for whose obligations the Soviet Government can take no responsibility? There is talk about international law, about international obligations. But on the grounds of what international law did Messieurs the "Allies" sever Bessarabia from the USSR and hand it over to enslavement under the Rumanian boyars? On the grounds of what international obligations did the capitalists and governments of France, Britain, America and Japan attack the USSR, invade it, and for three whole years plunder it and ruin its inhabitants? If this is what is called international law and international obligations, then what will you call robbery? (Laughter. Applause.) Is it not obvious that by committing these predatory acts Messieurs the "Allies" have deprived themselves of the right to appeal to international law, to international obligations?

It is said, further, that the establishment of "normal" relations is hindered by the propaganda conducted by the Russian Bolsheviks. With the object of preventing the pernicious effects of propaganda, Messieurs the bourgeois every now and again fence themselves off with "cordons" and "barbed-wire fences" and graciously bestow the honour of guarding these "fences" upon Poland, Rumania, Finland and others. It is said that Germany is burning with envy because she is not being permitted to guard the "cordons" and "barbed-wire fences." Does it need to be proved that the chatter about propaganda is no argument against establishing "normal relations," but a pretext for interventionist propaganda? How can people who do not want to appear ridiculous "fence themselves off" from the ideas of Bolshevism if in their own country there exists favourable soil for these ideas? Tsarism in its time also "fenced itself off" from Bolshevism, but, as is well known, the "fence" proved to be useless. It proved to be useless because Bolshevism everywhere does not penetrate from outside, but grows within the country. There are no countries, one would think, more "fenced-off" from the Russian Bolsheviks than China, India and Indo-China. But what do we find? Bolshevism is growing in these countries, and will continue to grow, in spite of all "cordons," because, evidently, there are conditions there that are favourable for Bolshevism. What has the propaganda of the Russian Bolsheviks to do with it? If Messieurs the capitalists could somehow "fence themselves off" from the economic crisis, from mass poverty, from unemployment, from low wages and from the exploitation of labour, it would be another matter; then there would be no Bolshevik movement in their countries. But the whole point is that every rascal tries to justify his weakness or impotence by pleading Russian Bolshevik propaganda.

It is said, further, that another stumbling block is our Soviet system, collectivisation, the fight against the kulaks, anti-religious propaganda, the fight against wreckers and counter-revolutionaries among "men of science," the banishment of the Besedovskys, Solomons, Dmitrievskys, and other lackeys of capital. But this is becoming quite amusing. It appears that they don't like the Soviet system. But we don't like the capitalist system. (Laughter. Applause.) We don't like the fact that in their countries tens of millions of unemployed are compelled to suffer poverty and starvation, while a small group of capitalists own wealth amounting to billions. Since, however, we have agreed not to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries, is it not obvious that it is not worth while reverting to this question? Collectivisation, the fight against the kulaks, the fight against wreckers, anti-religious propaganda, and so forth, are the inalienable right of the workers and peasants of the USSR, sealed by our Constitution. We must and shall implement the Constitution of the USSR with complete consistency. Naturally, therefore, whoever refuses to reckon with our Constitution can pass on, can go wherever he pleases. As for the Besedovskys, Solomons, Dmitrievskys and so forth, we shall continue to throw out such people like defective goods that are useless and harmful for the Revolution. Let them be made heroes of by those who have a special predilection for offal. (Laughter.) The millstones of our Revolution grind exceedingly well. They take all that is useful and give it to the Soviets and cast aside the offal. It is said that in France, among the Parisian bourgeois, there is a big demand for these defective goods. Well, let them import them to their heart's content. True, this will overburden somewhat the import side of France's balance of trade, against which Messieurs the bourgeois always protest, but that is their business. Let us not intervene in the internal affairs of France. (Laughter. Applause.)

That is how the matter stands with the "obstacles" that hinder the establishment of "normal" relations between the USSR and other countries.

It turns out that these "obstacles" are fictitious "obstacles" raised as a pretext for anti-Soviet propaganda.

Our policy is a policy of peace and of increasing trade connections with all countries. A result of this policy is an improvement in our relations with a number of countries and the conclusion of a number of agreements for trade', technical assistance, and so forth. Another result is the USSRís adherence to the Kellogg Pact, the signing of the well-known protocol along the lines of the Kellogg Pact with Poland, Rumania, Lithuania, and other countries, the signing of the protocol on the prolongation of the treaty of friendship and neutrality with Turkey. And lastly, a result of this policy is the fact that we have succeeded in maintaining peace, in not allowing our enemies to draw us into conflicts, in spite of a number of provocative acts and adventurist attacks on the part of the warmongers. We shall continue to pursue this policy of peace with all our might and with all the means at our disposal. We do not want a single foot of foreign territory; but of our territory we shall not surrender a single inch to anyone. (Applause.)

Such is our foreign policy.

The task is to continue this policy with all the perseverance characteristic of Bolsheviks.

 

 

 

Greetings to the Red Army on its Fifteenth Anniversary

February, 1933

Works, Vol. 13, 1930 - January 1934

To the Revolutionary Military Council of the U.S.S.R.

Greetings to the men, commanders and political personnel of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army!

Created under the leadership of Lenin, the Red Army covered itself with undying glory in the great battles of the Civil War, in which it drove out the interventionists from the U.S.S.R. and upheld the cause of socialism in our country.

The Red Army is today a bulwark of peace and the peaceful labour of the workers and peasants, the vigilant guardian of the frontiers of the Soviet Union.

The workers of our country, who have victoriously completed the five-year plan in four years, are equipping the Red Army with new instruments of defence. Your job, comrades, is to learn to handle those instruments to perfection and to do your duty to your country, should our enemies try to attack it.

Hold high the banner of Lenin, the banner of struggle for communism!

Long live the heroic Red Army, its leaders, its Revolutionary Military Council!

J. Stalin

 

 

Report to the Seventeenth Party Congress on the Work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.(B.)

January 26, 1934

Source: Works, Vol. 13, 1930 - January 1934

 

2. The Growing Tension in the Political Situation in the Capitalist Countries

A result of the protracted economic crisis has been an unprecedented increase in the tension of the political situation in the capitalist countries, both within those countries and in their mutual relations.

The intensified struggle for foreign markets, the abolition of the last vestiges of free trade, the prohibitive tariffs, the trade war, the foreign currency war, dumping, and many other analogous measures which demonstrate extreme nationalism in economic policy have strained to the utmost the relations among the various countries, have created the basis for military conflicts, and have put war on the order of the day as a means for a new redivision of the world and of spheres of influence in favour of the stronger states.

Japan's war against China, the occupation of Manchuria, Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations, and her advance in North China, have made the situation still more tense. The intensified struggle for the Pacific and the growth of naval armaments in Japan, the United States, Britain and France are results of this increased tension.

Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations and the spectre of revanchism have further added to the tension and have given a fresh impetus to the growth of armaments in Europe.

It is not surprising that bourgeois pacifism is now dragging out a miserable existence, and that idle talk of disarmament is giving way to "business-like" talk about armament and rearmament.

Once again, as in 1914, the parties of bellicose imperialism, the parties of war and revanchism are coming to the foreground.

Quite clearly things are heading for a new war.

The internal situation of the capitalist countries, in view of the operation of these same factors, is becoming still more tense. Four years of industrial crisis have exhausted the working class and reduced it to despair. Four years of agricultural crisis have utterly ruined the poorer strata of the peasantry, not only in the principal capitalist countries, but also—and particularly—in the dependent and colonial countries. It is a fact that, notwithstanding all kinds of statistical trickery designed to minimise unemployment, the number of unemployed, according to the official figures of bourgeois institutions, reaches 3,000,000 in Britain, 5,000,000 in Germany and 10,000,000 in the United States, not to mention the other European countries. Add to this the more than ten million partially unemployed; add the vast masses of ruined peasants — and you will get an approximate picture of the poverty and despair of the labouring masses. The masses of the people have not yet reached the stage when they are ready to storm capitalism; but the idea of storming it is maturing in the minds of the masses — of that there can hardly be any doubt. This is eloquently testified to by such facts as, say, the Spanish revolution which overthrew the fascist regime, and the expansion of the Soviet districts in China, which the united counter-revolution of the Chinese and foreign bourgeoisie is unable to stop.

This, indeed, explains why the ruling classes in the capitalist countries are so zealously destroying or nullifying the last vestiges of parliamentarism and bourgeois democracy which might be used by the working class in its struggle against the oppressors, why they are driving the Communist Parties underground and resorting to openly terrorist methods of maintaining their dictatorship.

Chauvinism and preparation of war as the main elements of foreign policy; repression of the working class and terrorism in the sphere of home policy as a necessary means for strengthening the rear of future war fronts — that is what is now particularly engaging the minds of contemporary imperialist politicians.

It is not surprising that fascism has now become the most fashionable commodity among war-mongering bourgeois politicians. I am referring not only to fascism in general, but, primarily, to fascism of the German type, which is wrongly called national-socialism—wrongly because the most searching examination will fail to reveal even an atom of socialism in it.

In this connection the victory of fascism in Germany must be regarded not only as a symptom of the weakness of the working class and a result of the betrayals of the working class by Social-Democracy, which paved the way for fascism; it must also be regarded as a sign of the weakness of the bourgeoisie, a sign that the bourgeoisie is no longer able to rule by the old methods of parliamentarism and bourgeois democracy, and, as a consequence, is compelled in its home policy to resort to terrorist methods of rule—as a sign that it is no longer able to find a way out of the present situation on the basis of a peaceful foreign policy, and, as a consequence, is compelled to resort to a policy of war. Such is the situation.

As you see, things are heading towards a new imperialist war as a way out of the present situation.

Of course, there are no grounds for assuming that war can provide a real way out. On the contrary, it is bound to confuse the situation still more. More than that, it is sure to unleash revolution and jeopardise the very existence of capitalism in a number of countries, as happened in the course of the first imperialist war. And if, in spite of the experience of the first imperialist war, the bourgeois politicians clutch at war as a drowning man clutches at a straw, that shows that they have got into a hopeless muddle, have landed in an impasse, and are ready to rush headlong into the abyss.

It is worth while, therefore, briefly to examine the plans for the organisation of war which are now being hatched in the circles of bourgeois politicians.

Some think that war should be organised against one of the great powers. They think of inflicting a crushing defeat upon that power and of improving their affairs at its expense. Let us assume that they organise such a war. What may be the result of that?

As is well known, during the first imperialist war it was also intended to destroy one of the great powers, viz., Germany, and to profit at its expense. But what was the upshot of this? They did not destroy Germany; but they sowed in Germany such a hatred of the victors, and created such a rich soil for revenge, that even to this day they have not been able to clear up the revolting mess they made, and will not, perhaps, be able to do so for some time. On the other hand, the result they obtained was the smashing of capitalism in Russia, the victory of the proletarian revolution in Russia, and— of course—the Soviet Union. What guarantee is there that a second imperialist war will produce "better" results for them than the first? Would it not be more correct to assume that the opposite will be the case?

Others think that war should be organised against a country that is weak in the military sense, but represents an extensive market—for example, against China, which, it is claimed, cannot even be described as a state in the strict sense of the word, but is merely "unorganised territory" which needs to be seized by strong states. They evidently want to divide it up completely and improve their affairs at its expense. Let us assume that they organise such a war. What may be the result of that?

It is well known that at the beginning of the nineteenth century Italy and Germany were regarded in the same light as China is today, i.e., they were considered "unorganised territories" and not states, and they were subjugated. But what was the result of that? As is well known, it resulted in wars for independence waged by Germany and Italy, and the union of these countries into independent states. It resulted in increased hatred for the oppressors in the hearts of the peoples of these countries, the effects of which have not been removed to this day and will not, perhaps, be removed for some time.

The question arises: What guarantee is there that the same thing will not result from a war of the imperialists against China?

Still others think that war should be organised by a "superior race," say, the German "race," against an "inferior race," primarily against the Slavs; that only such a war can provide a way out of the situation, for it is the mission of the "superior race" to render the "inferior race" fruitful and to rule over it. Let us assume that this queer theory, which is as far removed from science as the sky from the earth, let us assume that this queer theory is put into practice. What may be the result of that?

It is well known that ancient Rome looked upon the ancestors of the present-day Germans and French in the same way as the representatives of the "superior race" now look upon the Slav races. It is well known that ancient Rome treated them as an "inferior race," as "barbarians," destined to live in eternal subordination to the "superior race," to "great Rome", and, between ourselves be it said, ancient Rome had some grounds for this, which cannot be said of the representatives of the "superior race" of today. (Thunderous applause.) But what was the upshot of this? The upshot was that the non-Romans, i.e., all the "barbarians," united against the common enemy and brought Rome down with a crash. The question arises: What guarantee is there that the claims of the representatives of the "superior race" of today will not lead to the same lamentable results? What guarantee is there that the fascist literary politicians in Berlin will be more fortunate than the old and experienced conquerors in Rome? Would it not be more correct to assume that the opposite will be the case?

Finally, there are others who think that war should be organised against the U.S.S.R. Their plan is to defeat the U.S.S.R., divide up its territory, and profit at its expense. It would be a mistake to believe that it is only certain military circles in Japan who think in this way. We know that similar plans are being hatched in the circles of the political leaders of certain states in Europe. Let us assume that these gentlemen pass from words to deeds. What may be the result of that?

There can hardly be any doubt that such a war would be the most dangerous war for the bourgeoisie. It would be the most dangerous war, not only because the peoples of the U.S.S.R. would fight to the death to preserve the gains of the revolution; it would be the most dangerous war for the bourgeoisie for the added reason that it would be waged not only at the fronts, but also in the enemy's rear. The bourgeoisie need have no doubt that the numerous friends of the working class of the U.S.S.R. in Europe and Asia will endeavour to strike a blow in the rear at their oppressors who have launched a criminal war against the fatherland of the working class of all countries. And let not Messieurs the bourgeoisie blame us if some of the governments near and dear to them, which today rule happily "by the grace of God," are missing on the morrow after such a war. (Thunderous applause.)

There has already been one such war against the U.S.S.R., if you remember, 15 years ago. As is well known, the universally esteemed Churchill clothed that war in a poetic formula—"the campaign of fourteen states." You remember, of course, that that war rallied all the working people of our country into one united camp of self-sacrificing warriors, who with their lives defended their workers' and peasants' motherland against the foreign foe. You know how it ended. It ended in the ejection of the invaders from our country and the formation of revolutionary Councils of Action in Europe. It can hardly be doubted that a second war against the U.S.S.R. will lead to the complete defeat of the aggressors, to revolution in a number of countries in Europe and in Asia, and to the destruction of the bourgeois-landlord governments in those countries.

Such are the war plans of the perplexed bourgeois politicians.

As you see, they are not distinguished either for their brains or for their valour. (Applause.)

But while the bourgeoisie chooses the path of war, the working class in the capitalist countries, brought to despair by four years of crisis and unemployment, is beginning to take the path of revolution. This means that a revolutionary crisis is maturing and will continue to mature. And the more the bourgeoisie becomes entangled in its war schemes, the more frequently it resorts to terrorist methods of fighting against the working class and the labouring peasantry, the more rapidly will the revolutionary crisis develop.

Some comrades think that, once there is a revolutionary crisis, the bourgeoisie is bound to get into a hopeless position, that its end is therefore a foregone conclusion, that the victory of the revolution is thus assured, and that all they have to do is to wait for the fall of the bourgeoisie and to draw up victorious resolutions. That is a profound mistake. The victory of the revolution never comes of itself. It must be prepared for and won. And only a strong proletarian revolutionary party can prepare for and win victory. Moments occur when the situation is revolutionary, when the rule of the bourgeoisie is shaken to its very foundations, and yet the victory of the revolution does not come, because there is no revolutionary party of the proletariat with sufficient strength and prestige to lead the masses and to take power. It would be unwise to believe that such "cases" cannot occur.

It is worth while in this connection to recall Lenin's prophetic words on revolutionary crisis, uttered at the Second Congress of the Communist International.

"We have now come to the question of the revolutionary crisis as the basis of our revolutionary action. And here we must first of all note two widespread errors. On the one hand, the bourgeois economists depict this crisis as mere ‘unrest,' as the English so elegantly express it. On the other hand, revolutionaries sometimes try to prove that the crisis is absolutely hopeless. That is a mistake. There is no such thing as an absolutely hopeless situation. The bourgeoisie behaves like an arrogant plunderer who has lost his head; it commits folly after folly, making the situation more acute and hastening its own doom. All this is true. But it cannot be ‘proved' that there is absolutely no chance of its gulling some minority of the exploited with some kind of minor concessions, or of suppressing some movement or uprising of some section or another of the oppressed and exploited. To try to ‘prove' beforehand that a situation is ‘absolutely' hopeless would be sheer pedantry, or juggling with concepts and catchwords. In this and similar questions the only real ‘proof' is practice. The bourgeois system all over the world is experiencing a most profound revolutionary crisis. The revolutionary parties must now ‘prove' by their practical actions that they are sufficiently intelligent and organised, are sufficiently in contact with the exploited masses, are sufficiently determined and skilful, to utilise this crisis for a successful and victorious revolution" (Lenin, Vol. XXV, pp. 340-41).

3. The Relations Between the U.S.S.R. and the Capitalist States

It is easy to understand how difficult it has been for the U.S.S.R. to pursue its peace policy in this atmosphere poisoned with the miasma of war schemes.

In the midst of this eve-of-war frenzy which has affected a number of countries, the U.S.S.R. during these years has stood firmly and unshakably by its position of peace: fighting against the menace of war; fighting to preserve peace; meeting half-way those countries which in one way or another stand for the preservation of peace; exposing and tearing the masks from those who are preparing for and provoking war.

What did the U.S.S.R. rely on in this difficult and complicated struggle for peace?

a) On its growing economic and political might.

b) On the moral support of the vast masses of the working class of all countries, who are vitally interested in the preservation of peace.

c) On the prudence of those countries which for one motive or another are not interested in disturbing the peace, and which want to develop trade relations with such a punctual client as the U.S.S.R.

d) Finally — on our glorious army, which stands ready to defend our country against assaults from without.

It was on this basis that we began our campaign for the conclusion with neighbouring states of pacts of non-aggression and of pacts defining aggression. You know that this campaign has been successful. As you know, pacts of non-aggression have been concluded not only with the majority of our neighbours in the West and in the South, including Finland and Poland, but also with such countries as France and Italy; and pacts defining aggression have been concluded with those same neighbouring states, including the Little Entente.

On the same basis the friendship between the U.S.S.R. and Turkey has been consolidated; relations between the U.S.S.R. and Italy have improved and have indisputably become satisfactory; relations with France, Poland and other Baltic states have improved; relations have been restored with the U.S.A., China, etc.

Of the many facts reflecting the successes of the peace policy of the U.S.S.R. two facts of indisputably material significance should be noted and singled out.

1) I have in mind, firstly, the change for the better that has taken place recently in the relations between the U.S.S.R. and Poland and between the U.S.S.R. and France. In the past, as you know, our relations with Poland were not at all good. Representatives of our state were assassinated in Poland. Poland regarded itself as the barrier of the Western states against the U.S.S.R. All the various imperialists counted on Poland as their advanced detachment in the event of a military attack on the U.S.S.R. The relations between the U.S.S.R. and France were no better. We need only recall the facts relating to the trial of the Ramzin group of wreckers in Moscow to bring to mind a picture of the relations between the U.S.S.R. and France. But now those undesirable relations are gradually beginning to disappear. They are giving way to other relations, which can only be called relations of rapprochement.

The point is not merely that we have concluded pacts of non-aggression with these countries, although the pacts in themselves are of very great importance. The point is, primarily, that the atmosphere of mutual distrust is beginning to be dissipated. This does not mean, of course, that the incipient process of rapprochement can be regarded as sufficiently stable and as guaranteeing ultimate success. Surprises and zigzags in policy, for example in Poland, where anti-Soviet sentiments are still strong, can as yet by no means be regarded as out of the question. But the change for the better in our relations, irrespective of its results in the future, is a fact worthy of being noted and emphasised as a factor in the advancement of the cause of peace.

What is the cause of this change? What stimulates it?

Primarily, the growth of the strength and might of the U.S.S.R.

In our times it is not the custom to take any account of the weak—only the strong are taken into account. Furthermore, there have been some changes in the policy of Germany which reflect the growth of revanchist and imperialist sentiments in Germany.

In this connection some German politicians say that the U.S.S.R. has now taken an orientation towards France and Poland; that from an opponent of the Versailles Treaty it has become a supporter of it, and that this change is to be explained by the establishment of the fascist regime in Germany. That is not true. Of course, we are far from being enthusiastic about the fascist regime in Germany. But it is not a question of fascism here, if only for the reason that fascism in Italy, for example, has not prevented the U.S.S.R. from establishing the best relations with that country. Nor is it a question of any alleged change in our attitude towards the Versailles Treaty. It is not for us, who have experienced the shame of the Brest Peace, to sing the praises of the Versailles Treaty. We merely do not agree to the world being flung into the abyss of a new war on account of that treaty. The same must be said of the alleged new orientation taken by the U.S.S.R. We never had any orientation towards Germany, nor have we any orientation towards Poland and France. Our orientation in the past and our orientation at the present time is towards the U.S.S.R., and towards the U.S.S.R. alone. (Stormy applause.) And if the interests of the U.S.S.R. demand rapprochement with one country or another which is not interested in disturbing peace, we adopt this course without hesitation.

No, that is not the point. The point is that Germany's policy has changed. The point is that even before the present German politicians came to power, and particularly after they came to power, a contest began in Germany between two political lines: between the old policy, which was reflected in the treaties between the U.S.S.R. and Germany, and the "new" policy, which, in the main, recalls the policy of the former German Kaiser, who at one time occupied the Ukraine and marched against Leningrad, after converting the Baltic countries into a place d'armes for this march; and this "new" policy is obviously gaining the upper hand over the old policy. The fact that the advocates of the "new" policy are gaining supremacy in all things, while the supporters of the old policy are in disfavour, cannot be regarded as an accident. Nor can the well-known statement made by Hugenberg in London, and the equally well-known declarations of Rosenberg, who directs the foreign policy of the ruling party in Germany, be regarded as accidents. That is the point, comrades.

2) I have in mind, secondly, the restoration of normal relations between the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America. There cannot be any doubt that this act is of very great significance for the whole system of international relations. The point is not only that it improves the chances of preserving peace, improves the relations between the two countries, strengthens trade connections between them and creates a basis for mutual collaboration. The point is that it forms a landmark between the old position, when in various countries the U.S.A. was regarded as the bulwark for all sorts of anti-Soviet trends, and the new position, when that bulwark has been voluntarily removed, to the mutual advantage of both countries.

Such are the two main facts which reflect the successes of the Soviet policy of peace.

It would be wrong, however, to think that everything went smoothly in the period under review. No, not everything went smoothly, by a long way.

Recall, say, the pressure that was brought to bear upon us by Britain, the embargo on our exports, the attempt to interfere in our internal affairs and to use this as a probe—to test our power of resistance. True, nothing came of this attempt, and later the embargo was lifted; but the unpleasant after effect of these sallies still makes itself felt in everything connected with the relations between Britain and the U.S.S.R., including the negotiations for a commercial treaty. And these sallies against the U.S.S.R. must not be regarded as accidental. It is well known that a certain section of the British Conservatives cannot live without such sallies. And precisely because they are not accidental we must reckon that in the future, too, sallies will be made against the U.S.S.R., all sorts of menaces will be created, attempts will be undertaken to damage the U.S.S.R., etc.

Nor must we lose sight of the relations between the U.S.S.R. and Japan, which stand in need of considerable improvement. Japan's refusal to conclude a pact of non-aggression, of which Japan stands in no less need than the U.S.S.R., once again emphasises the fact that all is not well in the sphere of our relations. The same must be said of the rupture of negotiations concerning the Chinese-Eastern Railway, due to no fault of the U.S.S.R.; and also of the outrageous actions of the Japanese agents on the Chinese-Eastern Railway, the illegal arrests of Soviet employees on the Chinese-Eastern Railway, etc. That is apart from the fact that one section of the military in Japan, with the obvious approval of another section of the military, is openly advocating in the press the necessity for a war against the U.S.S.R. and the seizure of the Maritime Region; while the Japanese Government, instead of calling these instigators of war to order, pretends that the matter is no concern of its. It is not difficult to understand that such circumstances cannot but create an atmosphere of uneasiness and uncertainty. Of course, we shall persistently continue to pursue a policy of peace and strive for an improvement in our relations with Japan, because we want to improve these relations. But it does not depend entirely upon us. That is why we must at the same time take all measures to guard our country against surprises, and be prepared to defend it against attack. (Stormy applause.)

As you see, alongside the successes in our peace policy there are also a number of unfavourable features.

Such is the external situation of the U.S.S.R.

Our foreign policy is clear. It is a policy of preserving peace and strengthening trade relations with all countries. The U.S.S.R. does not think of threatening anybody—let alone of attacking anybody. We stand for peace and uphold the cause of peace. But we are not afraid of threats and are prepared to answer the instigators of war blow for blow. (Stormy applause.) Those who want peace and seek business relations with us will always have our support. But those who try to attack our country will receive a crushing repulse to teach them in future not to poke their pig snouts into our Soviet garden. (Thunderous applause.)

Such is our foreign policy. (Thunderous applause.)

The task is to continue to implement this policy with unflagging perseverance and consistency.

On an Article by Engels

(Written as a letter to members of the political bureau of the C.P.S.U. on July 19, 1934).

Works, Vol. 14

Comrade Adoratsky proposes to print in the next number of "Bolshevik", devoted to the twentieth anniversary of the imperialist world war, the article by Engels, entitled "The Foreign Policy of Russian Tsardom", which was first published abroad, in 1890.

I should consider it a completely ordinary matter if it were proposed to print this article in a collection of Engels' works, or in one of the historical journals; but the proposal is made to print it in our fighting journal "Bolshevik", in the number devoted to the twentieth anniversary of the imperialist world war.

This means that those who make this proposal, consider that the article in question can be regarded as an article which gives guidance, or which at least, is profoundly instructive for our Party workers, in the matter of the clarification of the problems of imperialism and of imperialist wars. But Engels' article, as is evident from its contents, is unfortunately lacking in these qualities, in spite of its merits. Moreover, it has a number of weaknesses of such a character that, if it were to be published without critical notes, it could mislead the reader.

Therefore I consider it inexpedient to publish Engels' article in the next number of "Bolshevik".

What are the weaknesses to which I have referred?

1. Characterising the predatory policy of Russian Tsarism and correctly showing the abominable nature of this policy, Engels explained it not so much by the "need" of the military-feudal-mercantile upper circles of Russia for outlets to the sea, sea-ports, for extending foreign trade and dominating strategic points, as by the circumstance that there stood at the head of Russia's foreign policy, an all-powerful and very talented band of foreign adventurers, who succeeded everywhere and in everything, who, in wonderful fashion managed to overcome each and every obstacle in the way of their adventurist purpose, who deceived with astonishing cleverness, all the Governments of Europe, and finally brought it about that Russia became a most powerful state, from the point of military strength. Such a treatment of the question by Engels may seem highly improbable, but it is, unfortunately, a fact. Here are the relevant passages from Engels' article :

"Foreign policy is unquestionably the side on which Tsardom is strong - very strong. Russian diplomacy forms, to a certain extent, a modern Order of Jesuits, powerful enough, if need be, to overcome even the whims of a Tsar, and to crush corruption within its own body, only to spread it the more plenteously abroad; an Order of Jesuits originally, and by preference, recruited from foreigners, Corsicans like Pozzo di Borgo, Germans like Nesselrode, Russo- Germans like Lieven, just as its founder, Catherine the Second, was a foreigner.

Up to the present time, only one thoroughbred Russian, Gortchakov, has filled the highest post in this order, and his successor, Von Giers, again bears a foreign name.

It is this secret order, originally recruited from foreign adventurers, which has raised the Russian Empire to its present power. With iron perseverance, gaze fixed resolutely on the goal, shrinking from no breach of faith, no treachery, no assassinations, no servility, lavishing bribes in all directions, made arrogant by no victory, discouraged by no defeat, stepping over the corpses of millions of soldiers and of, at least, one Tsar, this band, unscrupulous as talented, has done more than all the Russian armies to extend the frontiers of Russia from the Dnieper and Dvina, to beyond the Vistula, to the Pruth, the Danube and the Black Sea; from the Don and Volga beyond the Caucasus, and to the sources of the Oxus and Jaxartes; to make Russia great, powerful and dreaded, and to open for her, the road to the sovereignty of the world."

One might suppose that in Russia's external history, it was diplomacy that achieved everything, while Tsars, feudalists, merchants, and other social groups did nothing, or almost nothing.

One might suppose that, if at the head of Russia's foreign policy, there had stood, not foreign adventurers like Nesselrode or Von Giers, but Russian adventurers like Gortchakov and others, the foreign policy of Russia would have taken a different direction.

It is hardly necessary to mention that the policy of conquest, abominable and filthy as it was, was by no means a monopoly of the Russian Tsars. Everyone knows that a policy of conquest was then the policy, to no less a degree, if not to a greater, of all the rulers and diplomats of Europe, including such an Emperor of bourgeois background as Napoleon, who notwithstanding his non-Tsarist origin, practised in his foreign policy, also, intrigue and deceit, perfidy and flattery, brutality and bribery, murder and incendiarism. Clearly, matters could not be otherwise.

It is evident that in writing his pamphlet against Russian Tsardom, (Engels' article is a good fighting pamphlet), Engels was a little carried away, and, being carried away, forgot for a short time, certain elementary things which were well known to him. .

2. Characterising the situation in Europe, and expounding the causes and prospects of the approaching world war, Engels writes : .

"The European situation today is governed by three facts :

(1). The annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany.

(2). The impending advance of Russian Tsardom upon Constantinople. (3). The struggle in all countries, ever growing fiercer, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the working-class and the middle- class, a struggle whose thermometer is the everywhere advancing socialist movement. .

The first two facts necessitate the grouping of Europe today, into two large camps. The German annexation makes France the ally of Russia against Germany; the threatening of Constantinople by Tsardom, makes Austria and even Italy, the allies of Germany. Both camps are preparing for a decisive battle, for a war such as the world has not yet seen, in which ten to fifteen million armed combatants will stand face to face. Only two circumstances have thus far prevented the outbreak of this fearful war : first, the incredibly rapid improvements in firearms, in consequence of which, every newly invented weapon is already superseded by a new invention, before it can be introduced into even one army; and, secondly, the absolute impossibility of calculating the chances, the complete uncertainty as to who will finally come out victor from this gigantic struggle. .

All this danger of a general war will disappear on the day when a change of things in Russia will allow the Russian people to blot out, at a stroke, the traditional policy of conquest of its Tsars; and to turn its attention to its own internal vital interests, now seriously menaced, instead of dreaming about universal supremacy. .

...a Russian National Assembly, in order to settle only the most pressing internal difficulties, would at once have to put a decided stop to all hankering after new conquests. .

Europe is gliding down an inclined plane with increasing swiftness towards the abyss of a general war, a war of hitherto unheard-of extent and fer - ocity. Only one thing can stop it - a change of system in Russia. That this must come about in a few years there can be no doubt. .

On that day, when Tsardom falls, - this last stronghold of the whole European reaction - on that day, a quite different wind will blow across Europe."

It is impossible not to observe that in this characterisation of the situation in Europe, and summary of the causes leading towards world war, Engels omits one important factor, which later on played the most decisive part, namely, the factor of imperialist struggle for colonies, for markets, for sources of raw materials. This had very serious importance already at that time. He omits the role of Great Britain as a factor in the coming world war, the factor of the contradictions between Germany and Great Britain, contradictions which were already of serious importance and which later on played almost the determining part in the beginning and development of the world war.

I think that this omission constitutes the principal weakness in Engels' article. From this weakness there ensue the remaining weaknesses of the article, of which the following are noteworthy

(a). Overestimation of the role of Tsarist Russia's striving towards Constantinople in connection with the maturing of the world war. True, Engels mentions first as a war factor, the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany, but thereafter, he removes this factor into the background and brings to the forefront the predatory strivings of Russian Tsardom, asserting that "all the danger of general war will disappear on the day when a change of things in Russia will allow the Russian people to blot out, at a stroke, the traditional policy of conquest of its Tsars."

This is certainly an exaggeration.

(b). Overestimation of the role of the bourgeois revolution in Russia, the role of the "Russian National Assembly" (bourgeois Parliament), in relation to averting the approaching world war. Engels asserts that the downfall of Russian Tsarism is the only means of averting world war. This is plain exaggeration.

A new bourgeois order in Russia, with its "national assembly", could not avert war, if only because the principal sources of war lay in the increasing intensity of imperialist struggle between the main imperialist powers. The fact is, that from the time of Russia's defeat in the Crimea in the 'fifties of the last century, the independent role of Tsarism in the sphere of European foreign policy, began to wane to a significant extent, and that, as a factor in the imperialist world conflict, Tsarist Russia served essentially as an auxiliary reserve for the principal powers of Europe.

(c). Overestimation of the role of the Tsarist power as the "last stronghold of the whole European reaction." That the Tsarist power in Russia, was a mighty stronghold of all European (and also Asiatic) reaction, there can be no doubt. But that it was the last stronghold of this reaction, one can legitimately doubt.

It is necessary to note that these weaknesses of Engels' article are not only of "historical value."

They have, or can have, a most serious practical importance. Truly, if imperialist struggle for colonies and spheres of influence is lost sight of, as a factor in the approaching world war; if the imperialist contradictions between England and Germany are forgotten; if the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany is withdrawn from the foreground as a war factor in favour of Russian Tsardom's striving towards Constantinople, considered as the more serious and determining factor; if, finally, Russian Tsardom represents the last rampart of all European reaction, - then, is it not clear that a war, let us say, of bourgeois Germany against Tsarist Russia is not an imperialist war, not a robber war, not an anti-popular war, but a war of liberation, or almost of liberation?

One can hardly doubt that this way of thinking facilitated the sin of the German Social-Democrats on August 4th, 1914, when they decided to vote for war credits, and proclaimed the slogan of defence of the bourgeois Fatherland against Tsarist Russia and against "Russian barbarism" and so on.

It is characteristic that, in his letters to Bebel written in 1891, a year after the publication of this article, when he deals with the prospects of the coming war, Engels says directly that "the victory of Germany is, therefore, the victory of the revolution", and that "if Russia starts a war, then - forward against the Russians and their allies, whoever they may be!"

It is obvious that such a way of thinking allows no place for revolutionary war into civil war.

That is how matters stand as regards the weaknesses in Engels' article.

Evidently Engels, alarmed by the Franco-Russian alliance which was then (1801-91) being formed, with its edge directed against the Austro-German coalition set himself the task of attacking Russia's foreign policy in this article, so as to deprive it of all credit in the eyes of European public opinion, and especially British public opinion; but in carrying out this task, he lost sight of a number of other very important and even determining factors, with the result that he fell into the one-sidedness which we have revealed.

After all this, is it appropriate to print Engels' article in our fighting organ, "Bolshevik", as an article which provides guidance, or which, in any case, is profoundly instructive - because it is clear that to print it in "Bolshevik", would mean to give it, tacitly, such a recommendation?

I think it is not appropriate.

J. V. Stalin.

 

 

 

Interview Between J. Stalin and
Roy Howard

(On March 1, 1936, Comrade Stalin granted an interview to
Roy Howard, President of Scripps-Howard Newspapers.)

Works, Vol. 14

 

Howard : What, in your opinion, would be the consequences of the recent events in Japan for the situation in the Far East?

Stalin : So far it is difficult to say. Too little material is available to do so. The picture is not sufficiently clear.

Howard : What will be the Soviet attitude should Japan launch the long predicted military drive against Outer Mongolia?

Stalin : If Japan should venture to attack the Mongolian People's Republic and encroach upon its independence, we will have to help the Mongolian People's Republic. Stomonyakov, Litvinov's assistant, recently informed the Japanese ambassador in Moscow of this, and pointed to the immutable friendly relations which the U.S.S.R. has been maintaining with the Mongolian People's Republic since 1921. We will help the Mongolian People's Republic just as we helped it in 1921.

Howard : Would a Japanese attempt to seize Ulan- Bator make positive action by the U.S.S.R. a necessity?

Stalin : Yes.

Howard : Have recent events developed any new Japanese activities in this region which are construed by the Soviets as of an aggressive nature?

Stalin : The Japanese, I think, are continuing to concentrate troops on the frontiers of the Mongolian People's Republic, but no new attempts at frontier conflicts are so far observed.

Howard : The Soviet Union appears to believe that Germany and Poland have aggressive designs against the Soviet Union, and are planning military cooperation.

Poland, however, protested her unwillingness to permit any foreign troops using her territory as a basis for operations against a third nation. How does the Soviet Union envisage such aggression by Germany? From what position, in what direction would the German forces operate?

Stalin : History shows that when any state intends to make war against another state, even not adjacent, it begins to seek for frontiers across which it can reach the frontiers of the state it wants to attack, Usually, the aggressive state finds such frontiers.

It either finds them with the aid of force, as was the case in 1914 when Germany invaded Belgium in order to strike at France, or it "borrows" such a frontier, as Germany, for example, did from Latvia in 1918, in her drive to Leningrad. I do not know precisely what frontiers Germany may adapt to her aims, but I think she will find people willing to "lend" her a frontier.

Howard : Seemingly, the entire world today is predicting another great war. If war proves inevitable, when, Mr. Stalin, do you think it will come?

Stalin : It is impossible to predict that. War may break out unexpectedly. Wars are not declared, nowadays. They simply start. On the other hand, however, I think the positions of the friends of peace are becoming stronger. The friends of peace can work openly. They rely on the power of public opinion. They have at their command instruments like the League of Nations, for example. This is where the friends of peace have the advantage. Their strength lies in the fact that their activities against war are backed by the will of the broad masses of the people. There is not a people in the world that wants war. As for the enemies of peace, they are compelled to work secretly. That is where the enemies of peace are at a disadvantage. Incidentally, it is not precluded that precisely because of this they may decide upon a military adventure as an act of desperation.

One of the latest successes the friends of peace have achieved is the ratification of the Franco-Soviet Pact of Mutual Assistance by the French Chamber of Deputies. To a certain extent, this pact is an obstacle to the enemies of peace.

Howard : Should war come, Mr. Stalin, where is it most likely to break out? Where are the war clouds the most menacing, in the East or in the West?

Stalin : In my opinion there are two seats of war danger. The first is in the Far East, in the zone of Japan. I have in mind the numerous statements made by Japanese military men containing threats against other powers. The second seat is in the zone of Germany. It is hard to say which is the most menacing, but both exist and are active. Compared with these two principal seats of war danger, the Italian-Abyssinian war is an episode. At present, the Far Eastern seat of danger reveals the greatest activity. However, the centre of this danger may shift to Europe. This is indicated, for example, by the interview which Herr Hitler recently gave to a French newspaper. In this interview Hitler seems to have tried to say peaceful things, but he sprinkled his "peacefulness" so plentifully with threats against both France and the Soviet Union that nothing remained of his "peacefulness." You see, even when Herr Hitler wants to speak of peace he cannot avoid uttering threats. This is symptomatic.

Howard : What situation or condition, in your opinion, furnishes the chief war menace today?

Stalin : Capitalism.

Howard : In which specific manifestation of capitalism?

Stalin : Its imperialist, usurpatory manifestation.

You remember how the first World War arose. It arose out of the desire to re-divide the world. Today we have the same background. There are capitalist states which consider that they were cheated in the previous redistribution of spheres of influence, territories, sources of raw materials, markets, etc., and which would want another redivision that would be in their favour. Capitalism, in its imperialist phase, is a system which considers war to be a legitimate instrument for settling international disputes, a legal method in fact, if not in law.

Howard : May there not be an element of danger in the genuine fear existent in what you term capitalistic countries of an intent on the part of the Soviet Union to force its political theories on other nations?

Stalin : There is no justification whatever for such fears. If you think that Soviet people want to change the face of surrounding states, and by forcible means at that, you are entirely mistaken. Of course, Soviet people would like to see the face of surrounding states changed, but that is the business of the surrounding states. I fail to see what danger the surrounding states can perceive in the ideas of the Soviet people if these states are really sitting firmly in the saddle.

Howard : Does this, your statement, mean that the Soviet Union has to any degree abandoned its plans and intentions for bringing about world revolution?

Stalin : We never had such plans and intentions.

Howard : You appreciate, no doubt, Mr. Stalin, that much of the world has long entertained a different impression.

Stalin : This is the product of a misunderstanding.

Howard : A tragic misunderstanding?

Stalin : No, a comical one. Or, perhaps, tragicomic.

You see, we Marxists believe that a revolution will also take place in other countries. But it will take place only when the revolutionaries in those countries think it possible, or necessary. The export of revolution is nonsense. Every country will make its own revolution if it wants to, and if it does not want to, there will be no revolution. For example, our country wanted to make a revolution and made it, and now we are building a new, classless society.

But to assert that we want to make a revolution in other countries, to interfere in their lives, means saying what is untrue, and what we have never advocated.

Howard : At the time of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A., President Roosevelt and Litvinov exchanged identical notes concerning the question of propaganda.

Paragraph four of Litvinov's letter to President Roosevelt said that the Soviet government undertakes "not to permit the formation or residence on its territory of any organisation or group - and to prevent the activity on its territory of any organisation or group, or of representatives or officials of any organisation or group - which has as its aim, the overthrow, or preparation for the overthrow of, or the bringing about by force of a change in the political or social order of the whole or any part of its territories or possessions." Why, Mr. Stalin, did Litvinov sign this letter if compliance with the terms of paragraph four is incompatible with the interests of the Soviet Union or beyond its control?

Stalin : The fulfilment of the obligations contained in the paragraph you have quoted is within our control; we have fulfilled, and will continue to fulfil, these obligations.

According to our constitution, political emigrants have the right to reside on our territory. We provide them with the right of asylum just as the United States gives right of asylum to political emigrants.

It is quite obvious that when Litvinov signed that letter he assumed that the obligations contained in it were mutual. Do you think, Mr. Howard, that the fact that there are on the territory of the U.S.A., Russian white guard emigrants who are carrying on propaganda against the Soviets, and in favour of capitalism, who enjoy the material support of American citizens, and who, in some cases, represent groups of terrorists, is contrary to the terms of the Roosevelt-Litvinov agreement? Evidently these emigrants enjoy the right of asylum, which also exists in the United States. As far as we are concerned, we would never tolerate on our territory a single terrorist, no matter against whom his criminal designs were directed. Evidently the right of asylum is given a wider interpretation in the U.S.A. than in our country. But we are not complaining.

Perhaps you will say that we sympathize with the political emigrants who come on to our territory.

But are there no American citizens who sympathize with the white guard emigrants who carry on propaganda in favour of capitalism and against the Soviets? So what is the point? The point is not to assist these people, not to finance their activities. The point is that official persons in either country must refrain from interfering in the internal life of the other country. Our officials are honestly fulfilling this obligation. If any of them has failed in his duty, let us be informed about it.

If we were to go too far and to demand that all the white guard emigrants be deported from the United States, that would be encroaching on the right of asylum proclaimed both in the U.S.A. and in the U.S.S.R. A reasonable limit to claims and counterclaims must be recognised. Litvinov signed his letter to President Roosevelt, not in a private capacity, but in the capacity of representative of a state, just as President Roosevelt did. Their agreement is an agreement between two states. In signing that agreement both Litvinov and President Roosevelt, as representatives of two states, had in mind the activities of the agents of their states who must not and will not interfere in the internal affairs of the other side. The right of asylum proclaimed in both countries could not be affected by this agreement.

The Roosevelt - Litvinov agreement, as an agreement between the representatives of two states, should be interpreted within these limits.

Howard : Did not Browder and Darcy, the American Communists, appearing before the Seventh Congress of the Communist International last summer, appeal for the overthrow by force of the American government?

Stalin : I confess I do not remember the speeches of Comrades Browder and Darcy; I do not even remember what they spoke about. Perhaps they did say something of the kind. But it was not Soviet people who formed the American Communist Party.

It was formed by Americans. It exists in the U.S.A.

legally. It puts up its candidates at elections, including presidential elections. If Comrades Browder and Darcy made speeches in Moscow once, they made hundreds of similar, and certainly stronger speeches at home, in the U.S.A. The American Communists are permitted to advocate their ideas freely, are they not? It would be quite wrong to hold the Soviet government responsible for the activities of American Communists.

Howard : But in this instance, is it not a fact that their activities took place on Soviet soil, contrary to the terms of paragraph four of the agreement between Roosevelt and Litvinov?

Stalin : What are the activities of the Communist Party; in what way can they manifest themselves?

Usually their activities consist in organising the masses of the workers, in organising meetings, demonstrations, strikes, etc. It goes without saying that the American Communists cannot do all this on Soviet territory. We have no American workers in the U.S.S.R.

Howard : I take it that the gist of your thought then is that an interpretation can be made which will safeguard and continue good relations between our countries?

Stalin : Yes, absolutely.

Howard : Admittedly communism has not been achieved in Russia. State socialism has been built.

Have not fascism in Italy and National-Socialism in Germany claimed that they have attained similar results? Have not both been achieved at the price of privation and personal liberty, sacrificed for the good of the state?

Stalin : The term "state socialism" is inexact.

Many people take this term to mean the system under which a certain part of wealth, sometimes a fairly considerable part, passes into the hands of the state, or under its control, while in the overwhelming majority of cases the works, factories and the land remain the property of private persons. This is what many people take "state socialism" to mean. Sometimes this term covers a system under which the capitalist state, in order to prepare for, or wage war, runs a certain number of private enterprises at its own expense. The society which we have built cannot possibly be called "state socialism." Our Soviet society is socialist society, because the private ownership of the factories, works, the land, the banks and the transport system has been abolished and public ownership put in its place. The social organisation which we have created may be called a Soviet socialist organisation, not entirely completed, but fundamentally, a socialist organisation of society.

The foundation of this society is public property :

state, i.e., national, and also co-operative, collective farm property. Neither Italian fascism nor German National-"Socialism" has anything in common with such a society. Primarily, this is because the private ownership of the factories and works, of the land, the banks, transport, etc., has remained intact, and, therefore, capitalism remains in full force in Germany and in Italy.

Yes , you are right, we have not yet built communist society. It is not so easy to build such a society. You are probably aware of the difference between socialist society and communist society. In socialist society certain inequalities in property still exist. But in socialist society there is no longer unemployment, no exploitation, no oppression of nationalities. In socialist society everyone is obliged to work, although he does not, in return for his labour receive according to his requirements, but according to the quantity and quality of the work he has performed. That is why wages, and, moreover, unequal, differentiated wages, still exist. Only when we have succeeded in creating a system under which, in return for their labour, people will receive from society, not according to the quantity and quality of the labour they perform, but according to their requirements, will it be possible to say that we have built communist society.

You say that in order t o build our socialist society we sacrificed personal liberty and suffered privation.

Your question suggests that socialist society denies personal liberty. That is not true. Of course, in order to build something new one must economize, accumulate resources, reduce one's consumption for a time and borrow from others. If one wants to build a house one saves up money, cuts down consumption for a time, otherwise the house would never be built.

How much more true is this when it is a matter of building a new human society? We had to cut down consumption somewhat for a time, collect the necessary resources and exert great effort. This is exactly what we did and we built a socialist society.

But we did not build this society in order to restrict personal liberty but in order that the human individual may feel really free. We built it for the sake of real personal liberty, liberty without quotation marks. It is difficult for me to imagine what "personal liberty" is enjoyed by an unemployed person, who goes about hungry, and cannot find employment.

Real liberty can exist only where exploitation has been abolished, where there is no oppression of some by others, where there is no unemployment and poverty, where a man is not haunted by the fear of being tomorrow deprived of work, of home and of bread. Only in such a society is real, and not paper, personal and every other liberty possible.

Howard : Do you view as compatible the coincidental development of American democracy and the Soviet system?

Stalin : American democracy and the Soviet system may peacefully exist side by side and compete with each other. But one cannot evolve into the other.

The Soviet system will not evolve into American democracy, or vice versa. We can peacefully exist side by side if we do not find fault with each other over every trifling matter.

Howard : A new constitution is being elaborated in the U.S.S.R. providing for a new system of elections. To what degree can this new system alter the situation in the U.S.S.R. since, as formerly, only one party will come forward at elections?

Stalin : We shall probably adopt our new constitution at the end of this year. The commission appointed to draw up the constitution is working and should finish its labours soon. As has been announced already, according to the new constitution, the suffrage will be universal, equal, direct and secret.

You are puzzled by the fact that only one party will come forward at elections. You cannot see how election contests can take place under these conditions. Evidently candidates will be put forward not only by the Communist Party, but by all sorts of public, non-Party organisations. And we have hundreds of these. We have no contending parties any more than we have a capitalist class contending against a working class which is exploited by the capitalists.

Our society consists exclusively of free toilers of town and country - workers, peasants, intellectuals.

Each of these strata may have its special interests and express them by means of the numerous public organisations that exist. But since there are no classes, since the dividing lines between classes have been obliterated, since only a slight, but not a fundamental, difference between various strata in socialist society has remained, there can be no soil for the creation of contending parties. Where there are not several classes there cannot be several parties, for a party is part of a class.

Under National-"Socialism" there is also only one party. But nothing will come of this fascist one party system. The point is that in Germany, capitalism and classes have remained, the class struggle has remained and will force itself to the surface in spite of everything, even in the struggle between parties which represent antagonistic classes, just as it did in Spain, for example. In Italy there is also only one party, the Fascist Party. But nothing will come of it there for the same reasons.

Why will our suffrage be universal? Because all citizens, except those deprived of the franchise by the courts, will have the right to elect and be elected.

Why will our suffrage be equal? Because neither differences in property (which still exist to some extent) nor racial or national affiliation will entail either privilege or disability. Women will enjoy the same rights to elect and be elected as men. Our suffrage will be really equal.

Why secret? Because we want to give Soviet people complete freedom to vote for those they want to elect, for those whom they trust to safeguard their interests.

Why direct? Because direct elections to all representative institutions, right up to the supreme bodies, will best of all safeguard the interests of the toilers of our boundless country. You think that there will be no election contests.

But there will be, and I foresee very lively election campaigns. There are not a few institutions in our country which work badly. Cases occur when this or that local government body fails to satisfy certain of the multifarious and growing requirements of the toilers of town and country. Have you built a good school or not? Have you improved housing conditions?

Are you a bureaucrat? Have you helped to make our labour more effective and our lives more cultured?

Such will be the criteria with which millions of electors will measure the fitness of candidates, reject the unsuitable, expunge their names from candidates' lists, and promote and nominate the best.

Yes, election campaigns will be very lively, they will be conducted around numerous, very acute problems, principally of a practical nature, of first class importance for the people. Our new electoral system will tighten up all institutions and organisations and compel them to improve their work. Universal, direct and secret suffrage in the U.S.S.R. will be a whip in the hands of the population against the organs of government which work badly. In my opinion our new Soviet constitution will be the most democratic constitution in the world.

Pravda
5 March 1936

 

 

Defects in Party Work and Measures for Liquidating Trotskyite and Other Double Dealers:

Report to the Plenum of the Central Committee of the RKP(b), March 3, 1937

 

II. CAPITALIST ENCIRCLEMENT

What are the facts which our Party comrades have forgotten about or which they simply have not noticed?

They have forgotten that Soviet power was victorious in only one-sixth of the world, that five-sixths of the world are in the possession of the capitalist states. They have forgotten that the Soviet Union finds itself encircled by capitalist states. We have an accepted habit of chattering about capitalist encirclement, but people don't want to ponder about what this thing is-capitalist encirclement. Capitalist encirclement-it is not an empty phrase, it is a very real and unpleasant phenomenon. Capitalist encirclement-it means that there is one country, the Soviet Union, which has established at home a Socialist order, and that there are, besides, many countries, bourgeois countries, which continue to carry on the capitalist form of life and which encircle the Soviet Union, waiting for the opportunity to attack it, to crush it, or, in any case-to undermine its might and to weaken it.

It is this main fact that our comrades have forgotten. But it is precisely this fact which determines the basis of the relations between the capitalist encirclement and the Soviet Union.

Take, for example, the bourgeois states. Naive people might think that exceptionally good relations exist between them as states of the same type. But only naive people can think like that. In actual fact, far from neighborly relations exist between them. It has been proved as surely as two times two is four that the bourgeois states send to each other's rear [ask] spies, wreckers, diversionists, and sometimes also killers, who are given the task of penetrating into the institutions and enterprises of these states, of setting up their agencies and "in case of necessity," of disrupting their rear in order to weaken them and to undermine their might. So is the case at the present time. So also was the case in the past. Take, for example, the states in Europe at the time of Napoleon I. France was then swarming with spies and diversionists from the camps of the Russians, Germans, Austrians, and English. And, on the other hand, England, the German states, Austria, and Russia had at that time in their rear no fewer spies and diversionists from the French camp. Agents of England twice made an attempt on the life of Napoleon and several times roused the Vendee peasants in France against the government of Napoleon. And what was the Napoleonic government? A bourgeois government which strangled the French Revolution and retained only those results of the revolution which were advantageous to the big bourgeoisie. Needless to say, the Napoleonic government did not remain in debt to its neighbors and also undertook diversionist measures. So it was in the past, 130 years ago. So the matter stands today, 130 years after Napoleon I. Now France and England are swarming with German spies and diversionists and, on the other hand, Anglo-French spies and diversionists are active in turn in Germany. America is swarming with Japanese spies and diversionists and Japan with American.

Such is the law of the interrelations between bourgeois states.

The question arises, why should the bourgeois states treat the Soviet Socialist state more gently and in a more neighborly manner than towards bourgeois states of the same type? Why should they send to the rear of the Soviet Union fewer spies, wreckers, diversionists, and killers than they send to the rear of the bourgeois states akin to them? From where did this assumption come? Would it not be more true, from the point of view of Marxism, to assume that the bourgeois states would send to the rear of the Soviet Union two and three times more wreckers, spies, diversionists, and killers than to the rear of any bourgeois state?

Is it not clear that for as long as we have capitalist encirclement, we shall have wreckers, spies, diversionists, and killers sent to our rear by agents of foreign states?

All this was forgotten by our Party comrades and, having forgotten about this, they were taken unawares.

That is why the espionage-diversionist work of the Trotskyist agents of the Japano-German secret police was for some of our comrades a complete surprise.

 

 

HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION (BOLSHEVIKS)

CHAPTER THREE

THE MENSHEVIKS AND THE BOLSHEVIKS IN THE PERIOD OF THE
RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR AND THE FIRST RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
(1904 - 1907)

1. RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR. FURTHER RISE OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA.
STRIKES IN ST. PETERSBURG. WORKERS' DEMONSTRATION BEFORE THE
WINTER PALACE ON JANUARY 9, 1905. DEMONSTRATION FIRED UPON.
OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION

At the end of the nineteenth century the imperialist states began an intense struggle for mastery of the Pacific and for the partition of China. Tsarist Russia, too, took part in this struggle. In 1900, tsarist troops together with Japanese, German, British and French troops suppressed with unparalleled cruelty an uprising of the Chinese people directed against the foreign imperialists. Even before this the tsarist government had compelled China to surrender to Russia the Liaotung Peninsula with the fortress of Port Arthur. Russia secured the right to build railways on Chinese territory. A railway was built in Northern Manchuria—the Chinese-Eastern Railway—and Russian troops were stationed there to protect it. Northern Manchuria fell under the military occupation of tsarist Russia. Tsardom was advancing towards Korea. The Russian bourgeoisie was making plans for founding a "Yellow Russia" in Manchuria.

Its annexations in the Far East brought tsardom into conflict with another marauder, Japan, which had rapidly become an imperialist country and was also bent on annexing territories on the Asiatic continent, in the first place at the expense of China. Like tsarist Russia, Japan was striving to lay her hands on Korea and Manchuria. Already at that time Japan dreamed of seizing Sakhalin and the Russian Far East. Great Britain, who feared the growing strength of tsarist Russia in the Far East, secretly sided with Japan. War between Russia and Japan was brewing. The tsarist government was pushed to this war by the big bourgeoisie, which was seeking new markets, and by the more reactionary sections of the landlord class.

Without waiting for the tsarist government to declare war, Japan started hostilities herself. She had a good espionage service in Russia and anticipated that her foe would be unprepared for the struggle. In January 1904, without declaring war, Japan suddenly attacked the Russian fortress of Port Arthur and inflicted heavy losses on the Russian fleet lying in the harbour.

That is how the Russo-Japanese War began.

The tsarist government reckoned that the war would help to strengthen its political position and to check the revolution. But it miscalculated. The tsarist regime was shaken more than ever by the war.

Poorly armed and trained, and commanded by incompetent and corrupt generals, the Russian army suffered defeat after defeat.

Capitalists, government officials and generals grew rich on the war. Peculation was rampant. The troops were poorly supplied. When the army was short of ammunition, it would receive, as if in derision, carloads of icons. The soldiers said bitterly: "The Japanese are giving it to us with shells; we're to give it to them with icons." Special trains, instead of being used to evacuate the wounded, were loaded with property looted by the tsarist generals.

The Japanese besieged and subsequently captured Port Arthur. After inflicting a number of defeats on the tsarist army, they finally routed it near Mukden. In this battle the tsarist army of 300,000 men lost about 120,000 men, killed, wounded or taken prisoner. This was followed by the utter defeat and destruction in the Straits of Tsushima of the tsarist fleet dispatched from the Baltic to relieve Port Arthur. The defeat at Tsushima was disastrous: of the twenty warships dispatched by the tsar, thirteen were sunk or destroyed and four captured. Tsarist Russia had definitely lost the war.

The tsarist government was compelled to conclude an ignominious peace with Japan. Japan seized Korea and deprived Russia of Port Arthur and of half the Island of Sakhalin.

The people had not wanted the war and realized how harmful it would be for the country. They paid heavily for the backwardness of tsarist Russia.

The Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks adopted different attitudes towards the war.

The Mensheviks, including Trotsky, were sinking to a position of defending the "fatherland" of the tsar, the landlords and the capitalists. The Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, on the other hand, held that the defeat of the tsarist government in this predatory war would be useful, as it would weaken tsardom and strengthen the revolution.

The defeats of the tsarist armies opened the eyes of the masses to the rottenness of tsardom. Their hatred for the tsarist regime grew daily more intense. The fall of Port Arthur meant the beginning of the fall of the autocracy, Lenin wrote.

The tsar wanted to use the war to stifle the revolution. He achieved the very opposite. The Russo-Japanese War hastened the outbreak of the revolution.

In tsarist Russia the capitalist yoke was aggravated by the yoke of tsardom. The workers not only suffered from capitalist exploitation, from inhuman toil, but, in common with the whole people, suffered from a lack of all rights. The politically advanced workers therefore strove to lead the revolutionary movement of all the democratic elements in town and country against tsardom. The peasants were in dire need owing to lack of land and the numerous survivals of serfdom, and lived in a state of bondage to the landlords and kulaks. The nations inhabiting tsarist Russia groaned beneath a double yoke—that of their own landlords and capitalists and that of the Russian landlords and capitalists. The economic crisis of 1900-03 had aggravated the hardships of the toiling masses; the war intensified them still further. The war defeats added fuel to the hatred of the masses for tsardom. The patience of the people was coming to an end.

As we see, there were grounds enough and to spare for revolution.

In December 1904 a huge and well-organized strike of workers took place in Baku, led by the Baku Committee of the Bolsheviks. The strike ended in a victory for the workers and a collective agreement was concluded between the oilfield workers and owners, the first of its kind in the history of the working-class movement in Russia.

The Baku strike marked the beginning of a revolutionary rise in Transcaucasia and in various parts of Russia.

"The Baku strike was the signal for the glorious actions in January and February all over Russia." (Stalin.)

This strike was like a clap of thunder heralding a great revolutionary storm.

The revolutionary storm broke with the events of January 9 (22, New Style), 1905, in St. Petersburg.

On January 3, 1905, a strike began at the biggest of the St. Petersburg plants, the Putilov (now the Kirov) Works. The strike was caused by the dismissal of four workers. It grew rapidly and was joined by other St. Petersburg mills and factories. The strike became general. The movement grew formidable. The tsarist government decided to crush it while it was still in its earliest phase.

In 1904, prior to the Putilov strike, the police had used the services of an agent-provocateur, a priest by the name of Gapon, to form an organization of the workers known as the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers. This organization had its branches in all the districts of St. Petersburg. When the strike broke out the priest Gapon at the meetings of his society put forward a treacherous plan: all the workers were to gather on January 9 and, carrying church banners and portraits of the tsar, to march in peaceful procession to the Winter Palace and present a petition to the tsar stating their needs. The tsar would appear before the people, listen to them and satisfy their demands. Gapon undertook to assist the tsarist Okhrana by providing a pretext for firing on the workers and drowning the working-class movement in blood. But this police plot recoiled on the head of the tsarist government.

The petition was discussed at workers' meetings where amendments were made. Bolsheviks spoke at these meetings without openly announcing themselves as such. Under their influence, the petition was supplemented by demands for freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of association for the workers, the convocation of a Constituent Assembly for the purpose of changing the political system of Russia, equality of all before the law, separation of church from the state, termination of the war, an 8-hour working day, and the handing over of the land to the peasants.

At these meetings the Bolsheviks explained to the workers that liberty could not be obtained by petitions to the tsar, but would have to be won by force of arms. The Bolsheviks warned the workers that they would be fired upon. But they were unable to prevent the procession to the Winter Palace. A large part of the workers still believed that the tsar would help them. The movement had taken a strong hold on the masses.

The petition of the St. Petersburg workers stated:

"We, the workingmen of St. Petersburg, our wives, our children and our helpless old parents, have come to Thee, our Sovereign, to seek truth and protection. We are poverty-stricken, we are oppressed, we are burdened with unendurable toil; we suffer humiliation and are not treated like human beings. . . . We have suffered in patience, but we are being driven deeper and deeper into the slough of poverty, lack of rights and ignorance; we are being strangled by despotism and tyranny. . . . Our patience is exhausted. The dreaded moment has arrived when we would rather die than bear these intolerable sufferings any longer. . . ."

Early in the morning of January 9, 1905, the workers marched to the Winter Palace where the tsar was then residing. They came with their whole families—wives, children and old folk—carrying portraits of the tsar and church banners. They chanted hymns as they marched. They were unarmed. Over 140,000 persons gathered in the streets.

They met with a hostile reception from Nicholas II. He gave orders to fire upon the unarmed workers. That day over a thousand workers were killed and more than two thousand wounded by the tsar's troops. The streets of St. Petersburg ran with workers' blood.

The Bolsheviks had marched with the workers. Many of them were killed or arrested. There, in the streets running with workers' blood, the Bolsheviks explained to the workers who it was that bore the guilt for this heinous crime and how he was to be fought.

January 9 came to be known as "Bloody Sunday:" On that day the workers received a bloody lesson. It was their faith in the tsar that was riddled by bullets on that day. They came to realize that they could win their rights only by struggle. That evening barricades were already being erected in the working-class districts. The workers said: "The tsar gave it to us; we'll now give it to him!"

The fearful news of the tsar's bloody crime spread far and wide. The whole working class, the whole country was stirred by indignation and abhorrence. There was not a town where the workers did not strike in protest against the tsar's villainous act and did not put forward political demands. The workers now emerged into the streets with the slogan, "Down with autocracy!" In January the number of strikers reached the immense figure of 440,000. More workers came out on strike in one month than during the whole preceding decade. The working-class movement rose to an unprecedented height. Revolution in Russia had begun.

 

HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION (BOLSHEVIKS)

CHAPTER SIX

THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE PERIOD OF THE IMPERIALIST WAR.
THE SECOND REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA
(1914 - MARCH 1917)

1. Outbreak and causes of the imperialist war

On July 14 (27, New Style), 1914, the tsarist government proclaimed a general mobilization. On July 19 (August 1, New Style) Germany declared war on Russia.

Russia entered the war.

Long before the actual outbreak of the war the Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, had foreseen that it was inevitable. At international Socialist congresses Lenin had put forward proposals the purpose of which was to determine a revolutionary line of conduct for the Socialists in the event of war.

Lenin had pointed out that war is an inevitable concomitant of capitalism. Plunder of foreign territory, seizure and spoliation of colonies and the capture of new markets had many times already served as causes of wars of conquest waged by capitalist states. For capitalist countries war is just as natural and legitimate a condition of things as the exploitation of the working class.

Wars became inevitable particularly when, at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, capitalism definitely entered the highest and last stage of its development—imperialism. Under imperialism the powerful capitalist associations (monopolies) and the banks acquired a dominant position in the life of the capitalist states. Finance capital became master in the capitalist states. Finance capital demanded new markets, the seizure of new colonies, new fields for the export of capital, new sources of raw material.

But by the end of the nineteenth century the whole territory of the globe had already been divided up among the capitalist states. Yet in the era of imperialism the development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly and by leaps: some countries, which previously held a foremost position, now develop their industry at a relatively slow rate, while others, which were formerly backward, overtake and outstrip them by rapid leaps. The relative economic and military strength of the imperialist states was undergoing a change. There arose a striving for a redi-vision of the world, and the struggle for this redivision made imperialist war inevitable. The war of 1914 was a war for the redivision of the world and of spheres of influence. All the imperialist states had long been preparing for it. The imperialists of all countries were responsible for the war.

But in particular, preparations for this war were made by Germany and Austria, on the one hand, and by France and Great Britain, as well as by Russia, which was dependent on the latter two, on the other. The Triple Entente, an alliance of Great Britain, France and Russia, was formed in 1907. Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy formed another imperialist alliance. But on the outbreak of the war of 1914 Italy left this alliance and later joined the Entente. Germany and Austria-Hungary were supported by Bulgaria and Turkey.

Germany prepared for the imperialist war with the design of taking away colonies from Great Britain and France, and the Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic Provinces from Russia. By building the Baghdad railway, Germany created a menace to Britain's domination in the Near East. Great Britain feared the growth of Germany's naval armaments.

Tsarist Russia strove for the partition of Turkey and dreamed of seizing Constantinople and the straits leading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean (the Dardanelles). The plans of the tsarist government also included the seizure of Galicia, a part of Austria-Hungary.

Great Britain strove by means of war to smash its dangerous competitor—Germany—whose goods before the war were steadily driving British goods out of the world markets. In addition, Great Britain intended to seize Mesopotamia and Palestine from Turkey and to secure a firm foothold in Egypt.

The French capitalists strove to take away from Germany the Saar Basin and Alsace-Lorraine, two rich coal and iron regions, the latter of which Germany had seized from France in the war of 1870-71.

Thus the imperialist war was brought about by profound antagonisms between two groups of capitalist states.

This rapacious war for the redivision of the world affected the interests of all the imperialist countries, with the result that Japan, the United States and a number of other countries were subsequently drawn into it.

The war became a world war.

The bourgeoisie kept the preparations for imperialist war a profound secret from their people. When the war broke out each imperialist government endeavoured to prove that it had not attacked its neighbours, but had been attacked by them. The bourgeoisie deceived the people, concealing the true aims of the war and its imperialist, annexationist character. Each imperialist government declared that it was waging war in defence of its country.

The opportunists of the Second International helped the bourgeoisie to deceive the people. The Social-Democrats of the Second International vilely betrayed the cause of Socialism, the cause of the international solidarity of the proletariat. Far from opposing the war, they assisted the bourgeoisie in inciting the workers and peasants of the belligerent countries against each other on the plea of defending the fatherland.

That Russia entered the imperialist war on the side of the Entente, on the side of France and Great Britain, was not accidental. It should be borne in mind that before 1914 the most important branches of Russian industry were in the hands of foreign capitalists, chiefly those of France, Great Britain and Belgium, that is, the Entente countries. The most important of Russia's metal works were in the hands of French capitalists. In all, about three-quarters (72 per cent) of the metal industry depended on foreign capital. The same was true of the coal industry of the Donetz Basin. Oilfields owned by British and French capital accounted for about half the oil output of the country. A considerable part of the profits of Russian industry flowed into foreign banks, chiefly British and French. All these circumstances, in addition to the thousands of millions borrowed by the tsar from France and Britain in loans, chained tsardom to British and French imperialism and converted Russia into a tributary, a semi-colony of these countries.

The Russian bourgeoisie went to war with the purpose of improving its position: to seize new markets, to make huge profits on war contracts, and at the same time to crush the revolutionary movement by taking advantage of the war situation.

Tsarist Russia was not ready for war. Russian industry lagged far behind that of other capitalist countries. It consisted predominantly of out-of-date mills and factories with worn-out machinery. Owing to the existence of land ownership based on semi-serfdom, and the vast numbers of impoverished and ruined peasants, her agriculture could not provide a solid economic base for a prolonged war.

The chief mainstay of the tsar was the feudal landlords. The Black-Hundred big landlords, in alliance with the big capitalists, domineered the country and the State Duma. They wholly supported the home and foreign policy of the tsarist government. The Russian imperialist bourgeoisie placed its hopes in the tsarist autocracy as a mailed fist that could ensure the seizure of new markets and new territories, on the one hand, and crush the revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants, on the other.

The party of the liberal bourgeoisie—the Constitutional-Democratic Party—made a show of opposition, but supported the foreign policy of the tsarist government unreservedly.

From the very outbreak of the war, the petty-bourgeois parties, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, using the flag of Socialism as a screen, helped the bourgeoisie to deceive the people by concealing the imperialist, predatory character of the war. They preached the necessity of defending, of protecting the bourgeois "fatherland" from the "Prussian barbarians"; they supported a policy of "civil peace," and thus helped the government of the Russian tsar to wage war, just as the German Social-Democrats helped the government of the German kaiser to wage war on the "Russian barbarians."

Only the Bolshevik Party remained faithful to the great cause of revolutionary internationalism and firmly adhered to the Marxist position of a resolute struggle against the tsarist autocracy, against the landlords and capitalists, against the imperialist war. From the very outbreak of the war the Bolshevik Party maintained that it had been started, not for the defence of the country, but for the seizure of foreign territory, for the spoliation of foreign nations in the interests of the landlords and capitalists, and that the workers must wage a determined war on this war.

The working class supported the Bolshevik Party.

True, the bourgeois jingoism displayed in the early days of the war by the intelligentsia and the kulak sections of the peasantry also infected a certain section of the workers. But these were chiefly members of the ruffian "League of the Russian People" and some workers who were under the influence of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks. They naturally did not, and could not, reflect the sentiments of the working class. It was these elements who took part in the jingo demonstrations of the bourgeoisie engineered by the tsarist government in the early days of the war.

2. Parties of the second international side
with their imperialist governments. disintegration of the
second international into separate social-chauvinist parties

Lenin had time and again warned against the opportunism of the Second International and the wavering attitude of its leaders. He had always insisted that the leaders of the Second International only talked of being opposed to war, and that if war were to break out they would change their attitude, desert to the side of the imperialist bourgeoisie and become supporters of the war. What Lenin had foretold was borne out in the very first days of the war.

In 1910, at the Copenhagen Congress of the Second International, it was decided that Socialists in parliament should vote against war credits. At the time of the Balkan War of 1912, the Basle World Congress of the Second International declared that the workers of all countries considered it a crime to shoot one another for the sake of increasing the profits of the capitalists. That is what they said, that is what they proclaimed in their resolutions.

But when the storm burst, when the imperialist war broke out, and the time had come to put these decisions into effect, the leaders of the Second International proved to be traitors, betrayers of the proletariat and servitors of the bourgeoisie. They became supporters of the war.

On August 4, 1914, the German Social-Democrats in parliament voted for the war credits; they voted to support the imperialist war. So did the overwhelming majority of the Socialists in France, Great Britain, Belgium and other countries.

The Second International ceased to exist. Actually it broke up into separate social-chauvinist parties which warred against each other.

The leaders of the Socialist parties betrayed the proletariat and adopted the position of social-chauvinism and defence of the imperialist bourgeoisie. They helped the imperialist governments to hoodwink the working class and to poison it with the venom of nationalism. Using the defence of the fatherland as a plea, these social-traitors began to incite the German workers against the French workers, and the British and French workers against the German workers. Only an insignificant minority of the Second International kept to the internationalist position and went against the current; true, they did not do so confidently and definitely enough, but go against the current they did.

Only the Bolshevik Party immediately and unhesitatingly raised the banner of determined struggle against the imperialist war. In the theses on the war that Lenin wrote in the autumn of 1914, he pointed out that the fall of the Second International was not accidental. The Second International had been ruined by the opportunists, against whom the foremost representatives of the revolutionary proletariat had long been warning.

The parties of the Second International had already been infected by opportunism before the war. The opportunists had openly preached renunciation of the revolutionary struggle; they had preached the theory of the "peaceful growing of capitalism into Socialism." The Second International did not want to combat opportunism; it wanted to live in peace with opportunism, and allowed it to gain a firm hold. Pursuing a conciliatory policy towards opportunism, the Second International itself became opportunist.

The imperialist bourgeoisie systematically bribed the upper stratum of skilled workers, the so-called labour aristocracy, by means of higher wages and other sops, using for this purpose part of the profits it derived from the colonies, from the exploitation of backward countries. This section of workers had produced quite a number of trade union and cooperative leaders, members of municipal and parliamentary bodies, journalists and functionaries of Social-Democratic organizations. When the war broke out, these people, fearing to lose their positions, became foes of revolution and most zealous defenders of their own bourgeoisies, of their own imperialist governments.

The opportunists became social-chauvinists.

The social-chauvinists, the Russian Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries among their number, preached class peace between the workers and the bourgeoisie at home and war on other nations abroad. They deceived the masses by concealing from them who was really responsible for the war and declaring that the bourgeoisie of their particular country was not to blame. Many social-chauvinists became ministers of the imperialist governments of their countries.

No less dangerous to the cause of the proletariat were the covert social-chauvinists, the so-called Centrists. The Centrists—Kautsky, Trotsky, Martov and others—justified and defended the avowed social-chauvinists, thus joining the social-chauvinists in betraying the proletariat; they masked their treachery by "Leftist" talk about combating the war, talk designed to deceive the working class. As a matter of fact, the Centrists supported the war, for their proposal not to vote against war credits, but merely to abstain when a vote on the credits was being taken, meant supporting the war. Like the social-chauvinists, they demanded the renunciation of the class struggle during the war so as not to hamper their particular imperialist government in waging the war. The Centrist Trotsky opposed Lenin and the Bolshevik Party on all the important questions of the war and Socialism.

From the very outbreak of the war Lenin began to muster forces for the creation of a new International, the Third International. In the manifesto against the war it issued in November i9i4, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party already called for the formation of the Third International in place of the Second International which had suffered disgraceful bankruptcy.

In February 1915, a conference of Socialists of the Entente countries was held in London. Comrade Litvinov, on Lenin's instructions, spoke at this conference demanding that the Socialists (Vandervelde, Sembat and Guesde) should resign from the bourgeois government of Belgium and France, completely break with the imperialists and refuse to collaborate with them. He demanded that all Socialists should wage a determined struggle against their imperialist governments and condemn the voting of war credits. But no voice in support of Litvinov was raised at this conference.

At the beginning of September 1915 the first conference of internationalists was held in Zimmerwald. Lenin called this conference the "first step" in the development of an international movement against the war. At this conference Lenin formed the Zimmerwald Left group. But within the Zimmerwald Left group only the Bolshevik Party, headed by Lenin, took a correct and thoroughly consistent stand against the war. The Zimmerwald Left group published a magazine in German called the Vorbote (Herald), to which Lenin contributed articles.

In 1916 the internationalists succeeded in convening a second conference in the Swiss village of Kienthal. It is known as the Second Zim-merwald Conference. By this time groups of internationalists had been formed in nearly every country and the cleavage between the internationalist elements and the social-chauvinists had become more sharply defined. But the most important thing was that by this time the masses themselves had shifted to the Left under the influence of the war and its attendant distress. The manifesto drawn up by the Kienthal Conference was the result of an agreement between various conflicting groups; it was an advance on the Zimmerwald Manifesto.

But like the Zimmerwald Conference, the Kienthal Conference did not accept the basic principles of the Bolshevik policy, namely, the conversion of the imperialist war into a civil war, the defeat of one's own imperialist government in the war, and the formation of the Third International. Nevertheless, the Kienthal Conference helped to crystallize the internationalist elements of whom the Communist Third International was subsequently formed.

Lenin criticized the mistakes of the inconsistent internationalists among the Left Social-Democrats, such as Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Lieb-knecht, but at the same time he helped them to take the correct position.

3. theory and tactics of the bolshevik party
on the question of war, peace and revolution

The Bolsheviks were not mere pacifists who sighed for peace and confined themselves to the propaganda of peace, as the majority of the Left Social-Democrats did. The Bolsheviks advocated an active revolutionary struggle for peace, to the point of overthrowing the rule of the bellicose imperialist bourgeoisie. The Bolsheviks linked up the cause of peace with the cause of the victory of the proletarian revolution, holding that the surest way of ending the war and securing a just peace, a peace without annexations and indemnities, was to overthrow the rule of the imperialist bourgeoisie.

In opposition to the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary renunciation of revolution and their treacherous slogan of preserving "civil peace" in time of war, the Bolsheviks advanced the slogan of "converting the imperialist war into a civil, war." This slogan meant that the labouring people, including the armed workers and peasants clad in soldiers' uniform, were to turn their weapons against their own bourgeoisie and overthrow its rule if they wanted to put an end to the war and achieve a just peace.

In opposition to the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary policy of defending the bourgeois fatherland, the Bolsheviks advanced the policy of "the defeat of one's own government in the imperialist war." This meant voting against war credits, forming illegal revolutionary organizations in the armed forces, supporting fraternization among the soldiers at the front, organizing revolutionary actions of the workers and peasants against the war, and turning these actions into an uprising against one's own imperialist government.

The Bolsheviks maintained that the lesser evil for the people would be the military defeat of the tsarist government in the imperialist war, for this would facilitate the victory of the people over tsardom and the success of the struggle of the working class for emancipation from capitalist slavery and imperialist wars. Lenin held that the policy of working for the defeat of one's own imperialist government must be pursued not only by the Russian revolutionaries, but by the revolutionary parties of the working class in all the belligerent countries.

It was not to every kind of war that the Bolsheviks were opposed. They were only opposed to wars of conquest, imperialist wars. The Bolsheviks held that there are two kinds of war:

a) Just wars, wars that are not wars of conquest but wars of liberation, waged to defend the people from foreign attack and from attempt to enslave them, or to liberate the people from capitalist slavery, or, lastly, to liberate colonies and dependent countries from the yoke of imperialism; and

b) Unjust wars, wars of conquest, waged to conquer and enslave foreign countries and foreign nations.

Wars of the first kind the Bolsheviks supported. As to wars of the second kind, the Bolsheviks maintained that a resolute struggle must be waged against them to the point of revolution and the overthrow of one's own imperialist government.

Of great importance to the working class of the world was Lenin's theoretical work during the war. In the spring of 1916 Lenin wrote a book entitled Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In this book he showed that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, a stage at which it has already become transformed from "progressive" capitalism to parasitic capitalism, decaying capitalism, and that imperialism is moribund capitalism. This, of course, did not mean that capitalism would die away of itself, without a revolution of the proletariat, that it would just rot on the stalk. Lenin always taught that without a revolution of the working class capitalism cannot be overthrown. Therefore, while defining imperialism as moribund capitalism, Lenin at the same time showed that "imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat."

Lenin showed that in the era of imperialism the capitalist yoke becomes more and more oppressive, that under imperialism the revolt of the proletariat against the foundations of capitalism grows, and that the elements of a revolutionary outbreak accumulate in capitalist countries. Lenin showed that in the era of imperialism the revolutionary crisis in the colonial and dependent countries becomes more acute, that the elements of revolt against imperialism, the elements of a war of liberation from imperialism accumulate.

Lenin showed that under imperialism the unevenness of development and the contradictions of capitalism have grown particularly acute, that the struggle for markets and fields for the export of capital, the struggle for colonies, for sources of raw material, makes periodical imperialist wars for the redivision of the world inevitable.

Lenin showed that it is just this unevenness of development of capitalism that gives rise to imperialist wars, which undermine the strength of imperialism and make it possible to break the front of imperialism at its weakest point.

From all this Lenin drew the conclusion that it was quite possible for the proletariat to break the imperialist front in one place or in several places, that the victory of Socialism was possible first in several countries or even in one country, taken singly, that the simultaneous victory of Socialism in all countries was impossible owing to the unevenness of development of capitalism, and that Socialism would be victorious first in one country or in several countries, while the others would remain bourgeois countries for some time longer.

Here is the formulation of this brilliant deduction as given by Lenin in two articles written during the imperialist war:

1 ) "Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of Socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country, taken singly. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organized its own Socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries. . . ." (From the article, "The United States of Europe Slogan," written in August, 1915.—Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 141.)

2) "The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in the various countries. It cannot be otherwise under the commodity production system. From this it follows irrefutably that Socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time. This must not only create friction, but a direct striving on the part of the bourgeoisie of other countries to crush the victorious proletariat of the Socialist country. In such cases a war on our part would be a legitimate and just war. It would be a war for Socialism, for the liberation of other nations from the bourgeoisie." (From the article, "War Program of the Proletarian Revolution," written in the autumn of 1916.—Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XIX, p. 325.)

This was a new and complete theory of the Socialist revolution, a theory affirming the possibility of the victory of Socialism in separate countries, and indicating the conditions of this victory and its prospects, a theory whose fundamentals were outlined by Lenin as far back as 1905 in his pamphlet, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution.

This theory fundamentally differed from the view current among the Marxists in the period of pre-imperialist capitalism, when they held that the victory of Socialism in one separate country was impossible, and that it would take place simultaneously in all the civilized countries. On the basis of the facts concerning imperialist capitalism set forth in his remarkable book, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin displaced this view as obsolete and set forth a new theory, from which it follows that the simultaneous victory of Socialism in all countries is impossible, while the victory of Socialism in one capitalist country, taken singly, is possible.

The inestimable importance of Lenin's theory of Socialist revolution lies not only in the fact that it has enriched Marxism with a new theory and has advanced Marxism, but also in the fact that it opens up a revolutionary perspective for the proletarians of separate countries, that it unfetters their initiative in the onslaught on their own, national bourgeoisie, that it teaches them to take advantage of a war situation to organize this onslaught, and that it strengthens their faith in the victory of the proletarian revolution.

Such was the theoretical and tactical stand of the Bolsheviks on the questions of war, peace and revolution.

It was on the basis of this stand that the Bolsheviks carried on their practical work in Russia.

At the beginning of the war, in spite of severe persecution by the police, the Bolshevik members of the Duma—Badayev, Petrovsky, Mu-ranov, Samoilov and Shagov—visited a number of organizations and addressed them on the policy of the Bolsheviks towards the war and revolution. In November 1914 a conference of the Bolshevik group in the State Duma was convened to discuss policy towards the war. On the third day of the conference all present were arrested. The court sentenced the Bolshevik members of the State Duma to forfeiture of civil rights and banishment to Eastern Siberia. The tsarist government charged them with "high treason."

The picture of the activities of the Duma members unfolded in court did credit to our Party. The Bolshevik deputies conducted themselves manfully, transforming the tsarist court into a platform from which they exposed the annexationist policy of tsardom.

Quite different was the conduct of Kamenev, who was also tried in this case. Owing to his cowardice, he abjured the policy of the Bolshevik Party at the first contact with danger. Kamenev declared in court that he did not agree with the Bolsheviks on the question of the war, and to prove this he requested that the Menshevik Jordansky be summoned as witness.

The Bolsheviks worked very effectively against the War Industry Committees set up to serve the needs of war, and against the attempts of the Mensheviks to bring the workers under the influence of the imperialist bourgeoisie. It was of vital interest to the bourgeoisie to make everybody believe that the imperialist war was a people's war. During the war the bourgeoisie managed to attain considerable influence in affairs of state and set up a countrywide organization of its own known as the Unions of Zemstvos and Towns. It was necessary for the bourgeoisie to bring the workers, too, under its leadership and influence. It conceived a way to do this, namely, by forming "Workers' Groups" of the War Industry Committees. The Mensheviks jumped at this idea. It was to the advantage of the bourgeoisie to have on these War Industry Committees representatives of the workers who would urge the working class masses to increase productivity of labour in the factories producing shells, guns, rifles, cartridges and other war material. "Everything for the war, all for the war"—was the slogan of the bourgeoisie. Actually, this slogan meant "get as rich as you can on war contracts and seizures of foreign territory." The Mensheviks took an active part in this pseudo-patriotic scheme of the bourgeoisie. They helped the capitalists by conducting an intense campaign among the workers to get them to take part in the elections of the "Workers' Groups" of the War Industry Committees. The Bolsheviks were against this scheme. They advocated a boycott of the War Industry Committees and were successful in securing this boycott. But some of the workers, headed by a prominent Menshevik, Gvozdev, and an agent-provocateur, Abrosimov, did take part in the activities of the War Industry Committees. When, however, the workers' delegates met, in September 1915, for the final elections of the "Workers' Groups" of the War Industry Committees, it turned out that the majority of the delegates were opposed to participation in them. A majority of the workers' delegates adopted a trenchant resolution opposing participation in the War Industry Committees and declared that the workers had made it their aim to fight for peace and for the overthrow of tsardom.

The Bolsheviks also developed extensive activities in the army and navy. They explained to the soldiers and sailors who was to blame for the unparalleled horrors of the war and the sufferings of the people; they explained that there was only one way out for the people from the imperialist shambles, and that was revolution. The Bolsheviks formed nuclei in the army and navy, at the front and in the rear, and distributed leaflets calling for a fight against the war.

In Kronstadt, the Bolsheviks formed a "Central Collective of the Kronstadt Military Organization" which had close connections with the Petrograd Committee of the Party. A military organization of the Petrograd Party Committee was set up for work among the garrison.

In August 1916, the chief of the Petrograd Okhrana reported that "in the Kronstadt Collective, things are very well organized, conspira-torially, and its members are all taciturn and cautious people. This Collective also has representatives on shore."

At the front, the Party agitated for fraternization between the soldiers of the warring armies, emphasizing the fact that the world bourgeoisie was the enemy, and that the war could be ended only by converting the imperialist war into a civil war and turning one's weapons against one's own bourgeoisie and its government. Cases of refusal of army units to take the offensive became more and more frequent. There were already such instances in 1915, and even more in 1916.

Particularly extensive were the activities of the Bolsheviks in the armies on the Northern Front, in the Baltic provinces. At the beginning of 1917 General Ruzsky, Commander of the Army on the Northern Front, informed Headquarters that the Bolsheviks had developed intense revolutionary activities on that front.

The war wrought a profound change in the life of the peoples, in the life of the working class of the world. The fate of states, the fate of nations, the fate of the Socialist movement was at stake. The war was therefore a touchstone, a test for all parties and trends calling themselves Socialist. Would these parties and trends remain true to the cause of Socialism, to the cause of internationalism, or would they choose to betray the working class, to furl their banners and lay them at the feet of their national bourgeoisie?—that is how the question stood at the time.

The war showed that the parties of the Second International had not stood the test, that they had betrayed the working class and had surrendered their banners to the imperialist bourgeoisie of their own countries.

And these parties, which had cultivated opportunism in their midst, and which had been brought up to make concessions to the opportunists, to the nationalists, could not have acted differently.

The war showed that the Bolshevik Party was the only party which had passed the test with flying colours and had remained consistently faithful to the cause of Socialism, the cause of proletarian internationalism.

And that was to be expected : only a party of a new type, only a party fostered in the spirit of uncompromising struggle against opportunism, only a party that was free from opportunism and nationalism, only such a party could stand the great test and remain faithful to the cause of the working class, to the cause of Socialism and internationalism.

And the Bolshevik Party was such a party.

4. defeat of the tsarist army. economic disruption.
crisis of tsardom

The war had already been in progress for three years. Millions of people had been killed in the war, or had died of wounds or from epidemics caused by war conditions. The bourgeoisie and landlords were making fortunes out of the war. But the workers and peasants were suffering increasing hardship and privation. The war was undermining the economic life of Russia. Some fourteen million able-bodied men had been torn from economic pursuits and drafted into the army. Mills and factories were coming to a standstill. The crop area had diminished owing to a shortage of labour. The population and the soldiers at the front went hungry, barefoot and naked. The war was eating up the resources of the country.

The tsarist army suffered defeat after defeat. The German artillery deluged the tsarist troops with shells, while the tsarist army lacked guns, shells and even rifles. Sometimes three soldiers had to share one rifle. While the war was in progress it was discovered that Sukhomlinov, the tsar's Minister of War, was a traitor, who was connected with German spies, and was carrying out the instructions of the German espionage service to disorganize the supply of munitions and to leave the front without guns and rifles. Some of the tsarist ministers and generals surreptitiously assisted the success of the German army: together with the tsarina, who had German ties, they betrayed military secrets to the Germans. It is not surprising that the tsarist army suffered reverses and was forced to retreat. By i9i6 the Germans had already seized Poland and part of the Baltic provinces.

All this aroused hatred and anger against the tsarist government among the workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals, fostered and intensified the revolutionary movement of the masses against the war and against tsardom, both in the rear and at the front, in the central and in the border regions.

Dissatisfaction also began to spread to the Russian imperialist bourgeoisie. It was incensed by the fact that rascals like Rasputin, who were obviously working for a separate peace with Germany, lorded it at the tsar's court. The bourgeoisie grew more and more convinced that the tsarist government was incapable of waging war successfully. It feared that the tsar might, in order to save his position, conclude a separate peace with the Germans. The Russian bourgeoisie therefore decided to engineer a palace coup with the object of deposing Tsar Nicholas II and replacing him by his brother, Michael Romanov, who was connected with the bourgeoisie. In this way it wanted to kill two birds with one stone: first, to get into power itself and ensure the further prosecution of the imperialist war, and, secondly, to prevent by a small palace coup the outbreak of a big popular revolution, the tide of which was swelling.

In this the Russian bourgeoisie had the full support of the British and French governments who saw that the tsar was incapable of carrying on the war. They feared that he might end it by concluding a separate peace with the Germans. If the tsarist government were to sign a separate peace, the British and French governments would lose a war ally which not only diverted enemy forces to its own fronts, but also supplied France with tens of thousands of picked Russian soldiers. The British and French governments therefore supported the attempts of the Russian bourgeoisie to bring about a palace coup.

The tsar was thus isolated.

While defeat followed defeat at the front, economic disruption grew more and more acute. In January and February 1917 the extent and acuteness of the disorganization of the food, raw material and fuel supply reached a climax. The supply of foodstuffs to Petrograd and Moscow had almost ceased. One factory after another closed down and this aggravated unemployment. Particularly intolerable was the condition of the workers. Increasing numbers of the people were arriving at the conviction that the only way out of the intolerable situation was to overthrow the tsarist autocracy.

Tsardom was clearly in the throes of a mortal crisis.

The bourgeoisie thought of solving the crisis by a palace coup.

But the people solved it in their own way.

5. The february revolution. fall of tsardom. Formation of soviets of workers' and soldiers' deputies. Formation of the provisional government. Dual power

The year 1917 was inaugurated by the strike of January 9. In the course of this strike demonstrations were held in Petrograd, Moscow, Baku and Nizhni-Novgorod. In Moscow about one-third of the workers took part in the strike of January 9. A demonstration of two thousand persons on Tverskoi Boulevard was dispersed by mounted police. A demonstration on the Vyborg Chaussee in Petrograd was joined by soldiers.

"The idea of a general strike," the Petrograd police reported, "is daily gaining new followers and is becoming as popular as it was in 1905."

The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries tried to direct this incipient revolutionary movement into the channels the liberal bourgeoisie needed. The Mensheviks proposed that a procession of workers to the State Duma be organized on February 14, the day of its opening. But the working-class masses followed the Bolsheviks, and went, not to the Duma, but to a demonstration.

On February 18, 1917, a strike broke out at the Putilov Works in Petrograd. On February 22 the workers of most of the big factories were on strike. On International Women's Day, February 23 (March 8), at the call of the Petrograd Bolshevik Committee, working women came out in the streets to demonstrate against starvation, war and tsar-dom. The Petrograd workers supported the demonstration of the working women by a city-wide strike movement. The political strike began to grow into a general political demonstration against the tsarist system.

On February 24 (March 9) the demonstration was resumed with even greater vigour. About 200,000 workers were already on strike.

On February 25 (March 10) the whole of working-class Petrograd had joined the revolutionary movement. The political strikes in the districts merged into a general political strike of the whole city. Demonstrations and clashes with the police took place everywhere. Over the masses of workers floated red banners bearing the slogans: "Down with the tsar!" "Down with the war!" "We want bread!"

On the morning of February 26 (March 11) the political strike and demonstration began to assume the character of an uprising. The workers disarmed police and gendarmes and armed themselves. Nevertheless, the clashes with the police ended with the shooting down of a demonstration on Znamenskaya Square.

General Khabalov, Commander of the Petrograd Military Area, announced that the workers must return to work by February 28 (March 13), otherwise they would be sent to the front. On February 25 (March 10) the tsar gave orders to General Khabalov: "I command you to put a stop to the disorders in the capital not later than tomorrow."

But "to put a stop" to the revolution was no longer possible.

On February 26 (March 11) the 4 th Company of the Reserve Battalion of the Pavlovsky Regiment opened fire, not on the workers, however, but on squads of mounted police who were engaged in a skirmish with the workers. A most energetic and persistent drive was made to win over the troops, especially by the working women, who addressed themselves directly to the soldiers, fraternized with them and called upon them to help the people to overthrow the hated tsarist autocracy.

The practical work of the Bolshevik Party at that time was directed by the Bureau of the Central Committee of our Party which had its quarters in Petrograd and was headed by Comrade Molotov. On February 26 (March 11) the Bureau of the Central Committee issued a manifesto calling for the continuation of the armed struggle against tsardom and the formation of a Provisional Revolutionary Government.

On February 27 (March 12) the troops in Petrograd refused to fire on the workers and began to line up with the people in revolt. The number of soldiers who had joined the revolt by the morning of February 27 was still no more than 10,000, but by the evening it already exceeded 60,000.

The workers and soldiers who had risen in revolt began to arrest tsarist ministers and generals and to free revolutionaries from jail. The released political prisoners joined the revolutionary struggle.

In the streets, shots were still being exchanged with police and gendarmes posted with machine guns in the attics of houses. But the troops rapidly went over to the side of the workers, and this decided the fate of the tsarist autocracy.

When the news of the victory of the revolution in Petrograd spread to other towns and to the front, the workers and soldiers everywhere began to depose the tsarist officials.

The February bourgeois-democratic revolution had won.

The revolution was victorious because its vanguard was the working class which headed the movement of millions of peasants clad in soldiers' uniform demanding "peace, bread and liberty." It was the hegemony of the proletariat that determined the success of the revolution.

"The revolution was made by the proletariat. The proletariat displayed heroism; it shed its blood; it swept along with it the broadest masses of the toiling and poor population," wrote Lenin in the early days of the revolution. (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XX, pp. 23-4.)

The First Revolution, that of 1905, had prepared the way for the swift success of the Second Revolution, that of 1917.

"Without the tremendous class battles," Lenin wrote, "and the revolutionary energy displayed by the Russian proletariat during the three years, 1905-07, the second revolution could not possibly have been so rapid in the sense that its initial stage was completed in a few days." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VI, pp. 3-4.)

Soviets arose in the very first days of the revolution. The victorious revolution rested on the support of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The workers and soldiers who rose in revolt created Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The Revolution of 1905 had shown that the Soviets were organs of armed uprising and at the same time the embryo of a new, revolutionary power. The idea of Soviets lived in the minds of the working-class masses, and they put it into effect as soon as tsardom was overthrown, with this difference, however, that in 1905 it was Soviets only of Workers' Deputies that were formed, whereas in February 1917, on the initiative of the Bolsheviks, there arose Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

While the Bolsheviks were directly leading the struggle of the masses in the streets, the compromising parties, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, were seizing the seats in the Soviets, and building up a majority there. This was partly facilitated by the fact that the majority of the leaders of the Bolshevik Party were in prison or exile (Lenin was in exile abroad and Stalin and Sverdlov in banishment in Siberia) while the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries were freely promenading the streets of Petrograd. The result was that the Petrograd Soviet and its Executive Committee were headed by representatives of the compromising parties: Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. This was also the case in Moscow and a number of other cities. Only in Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Krasnoyarsk and a few other places did the Bolsheviks have a majority in the Soviets from the very outset.

The armed people—the workers and soldiers—sent their representatives to the Soviet as to an organ of power of the people. They thought and believed that the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies would carry out all the demands of the revolutionary people, and that, in the first place, peace would be concluded.

But the unwarranted trustfulness of the workers and soldiers served them in evil stead. The Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks had not the slightest intention of terminating the war, of securing peace. They planned to take advantage of the revolution to continue the war. As to the revolution and the revolutionary demands of the people, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks considered that the revolution was already over, and that the task now was to seal it and to pass to a "normal" constitutional existence side by side with the bourgeoisie. The Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Petrograd Soviet therefore did their utmost to shelve the question of terminating the war, to shelve the question of peace, and to hand over the power to the bourgeoisie.

On February 27 (March 12), 1917, the liberal members of the Fourth State Duma, as the result of a backstairs agreement with the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, set up a Provisional Committee of the State Duma, headed by Rodzyanko, the President of the Duma, a landlord and a monarchist. And a few days later, the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, acting secretly from the Bolsheviks, came to an agreement to form a new government of Russia—a bourgeois Provisional Government, headed by Prince Lvov, the man whom, prior to the February Revolution, even Tsar Nicholas II was about to make the Prime Minister of his government. The Provisional Government included Milyukov, the head of the Constitutional-Democrats, Guchkov, the head of the Octobrists, and other prominent representatives of the capitalist class, and, as the representative of the "democracy," the Socialist-Revolutionary Kerensky.

And so it was that the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviet surrendered the power to the bourgeoisie. Yet when the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies learned of this, its majority formally approved of the action of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, despite the protest of the Bolsheviks.

Thus a new state power arose in Russia, consisting, as Lenin said, of representatives of the "bourgeoisie and landlords who had become bourgeois."

But alongside of the bourgeois government there existed another power—the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The soldier deputies on the Soviet were mostly peasants who had been mobilized for the war. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies was an organ of the alliance of workers and peasants against the tsarist regime, and at the same time it was an organ of their power, an organ of the dictatorship of the working class and the peasantry.

The result was a peculiar interlocking of two powers, of two dictatorships: the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, represented by the Provisional Government, and the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, represented by the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

The result was a dual power.

How is it to be explained that the majority in the Soviets at first consisted of Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries?

How is it to be explained that the victorious workers and peasants voluntarily surrendered the power to the representatives of the bourgeoisie?

Lenin explained it by pointing out that millions of people, inexperienced in politics, had awakened and pressed forward to political activity. These were for the most part small owners, peasants, workers who had recently been peasants, people who stood midway between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Russia was at that time the most petty-bourgeois of all the big European countries. And in this country, "a gigantic petty-bourgeois wave has swept over everything and overwhelmed the class-conscious proletariat, not only by force of numbers but also ideologically; that is, it has infected and imbued very wide circles of workers with the petty-bourgeois political outlook." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VI, p. 49.)

It was this elemental petty-bourgeois wave that swept the petty-bourgeois Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties to the fore.

Lenin pointed out that another reason was the change in the composition of the proletariat that had taken place during the war and the inadequate class-consciousness and organization of the proletariat at the beginning of the revolution. During the war big changes had taken place in the proletariat itself. About 40 per cent of the regular workers had been drafted into the army. Many small owners, artisans and shopkeepers, to whom the proletarian psychology was alien, had gone to the factories in order to evade mobilization.

It was these petty-bourgeois sections of the workers that formed the soil which nourished the petty-bourgeois politicians—the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries.

That is why large numbers of the people, inexperienced in politics, swept into the elemental petty-bourgeois vortex, and intoxicated with the first successes of the revolution, found themselves in its early months under the sway of the compromising parties and consented to surrender the state power to the bourgeoisie in the naive belief that a bourgeois power would not hinder the Soviets in their work.

The task that confronted the Bolshevik Party was, by patient work of explanation, to open the eyes of the masses to the imperialist character of the Provisional Government, to expose the treachery of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks and to show that peace could not be secured unless the Provisional Government were replaced by a government of Soviets.

And to this work the Bolshevik Party addressed itself with the utmost energy.

It resumed the publication of its legal periodicals. The newspaper Pravda appeared in Petrograd five days after the February Revolution, and the Sotsial-Demokrat in Moscow a few days later. The Party was assuming leadership of the masses, who were losing their confidence in the liberal bourgeoisie and in the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. It patiently explained to the soldiers and peasants the necessity of acting jointly with the working class. It explained to them that the peasants would secure neither peace nor land unless the revolution were further developed and the bourgeois Provisional Government replaced by a government of Soviets.

 

BRIEF SUMMARY

The imperialist war arose owing to the uneven development of the capitalist countries, to the upsetting of equilibrium between the principal powers, to the imperialists' need for a redivision of the world by means of war and for the creation of a new equilibrium.

The war would not have been so destructive, and perhaps would not even have assumed such dimensions, if the parties of the Second International had not betrayed the cause of the working class, if they had not violated the anti-war decisions of the congresses of the Second International, if they had dared to act and to rouse the working class against their imperialist governments, against the warmongers.

The Bolshevik Party was the only proletarian party which remained faithful to the cause of Socialism and internationalism and which organized civil war against its own imperialist government. All the other parties of the Second International, being tied to the bourgeoisie through their leaders, found themselves under the sway of imperialism and deserted to the side of the imperialists.

The war, while it was a reflection of the general crisis of capitalism, at the same time aggravated this crisis and weakened world capitalism. The workers of Russia and the Bolshevik Party were the first in the world successfully to take advantage of the weakness of capitalism. They forced a breach in the imperialist front, overthrew the tsar and set up Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

Intoxicated by the first successes of the revolution, and lulled by the assurances of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries that from now on everything would go well, the bulk of the petty-bourgeoisie, the soldiers, as well as the workers, placed their confidence in the Provisional Government and supported it.

The Bolshevik Party was confronted with the task of explaining to the masses of workers and soldiers, who had been intoxicated by the first successes, that the complete victory of the revolution was still a long way off, that as long as the power was in the hands of the bourgeois Provisional Government, and as long as the Soviets were dominated by the compromisers—the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries—the people would secure neither peace, nor land, nor bread, and that in order to achieve complete victory, one more step had to be taken and the power transferred to the Soviets.

 

HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION (BOLSHEVIKS)

CHAPTER EIGHT

THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE PERIOD OF
FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTION AND CIVIL WAR
(1918 - 1920)

1. BEGINNING OF FOREIGN MILITARY INTERVENTION. FIRST PERIOD OF THE CIVIL WAR

The conclusion of the Peace of Brest-Litovsk and the consolidation of the Soviet power, as a result of a series of revolutionary economic measures adopted by it, at a time when the war in the West was still in full swing, created profound alarm among the Western imperialists, especially those of the Entente countries.

The Entente imperialists feared that the conclusion of peace between Germany and Russia might improve Germany's position in the war and correspondingly worsen the position of their own armies. They feared, moreover, that peace between Russia and Germany might stimulate the craving for peace in all countries and on all fronts, and thus interfere with the prosecution of the war and damage the cause of the imperialists. Lastly, they feared that the existence of a Soviet government on the territory of a vast country, and the success it had achieved at home after the overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie, might serve as an infectious example for the workers and soldiers of the West. Profoundly discontented with the protracted war, the workers and soldiers might follow in the footsteps of the Russians and turn their bayonets against their masters and oppressors. Consequently, the Entente governments decided to intervene in Russia by armed force with the object of overthrowing the Soviet Government and establishing a bourgeois government, which would restore the bourgeois system in the country, annul the peace treaty with the Germans and re-establish the military front against Germany and Austria.

The Entente imperialists launched upon this sinister enterprise all the more readily because they were convinced that the Soviet Government was unstable; they had no doubt that with some effort on the part of its enemies its early fall would be inevitable.

The achievements of the Soviet Government and its consolidation created even greater alarm among the deposed classes the landlords and capitalists; in the ranks of the vanquished parties—the Constitutional-Democrats, Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, Anarchists and the bourgeois nationalists of all hues; and among the Whiteguard generals, Cossack officers, etc.

From the very first days of the victorious October Revolution, all these hostile elements began to shout from the housetops that there was no ground in Russia for a Soviet power, that it was doomed, that it was bound to fall within a week or two, or a month, or two or three months at most. But as the Soviet Government, despite the imprecations of its enemies, continued to exist and gain strength, its foes within Russia were forced to admit that it was much stronger than they had imagined, and that its overthrow would require great efforts and a fierce struggle on the part of all the forces of counter-revolution. They therefore decided to embark upon counter-revolutionary insurrectionary activities on a broad scale: to mobilize the forces of counter-revolution, to assemble military cadres and to organize revolts, especially in the Cossack and kulak districts.

Thus, already in the first half of 1918, two definite forces took shape that were prepared to embark upon the overthrow of the Soviet power, namely, the foreign imperialists of the Entente and the counterrevolutionaries at home.

Neither of these forces possessed all the requisites needed to undertake the overthrow of the Soviet Government singly. The counter-revolutionaries in Russia had certain military cadres and man-power, drawn principally from the upper classes of the Cossacks and from the kulaks, enough to start a rebellion against the Soviet Government. But they possessed neither money nor arms. The foreign imperialists, on the other hand, had the money and the arms, but could not "release" a sufficient number of troops for purposes of intervention; they could not do so, not only because these troops were required for the war with Germany and Austria, but because they might not prove altogether reliable in a war against the Soviet power.

The conditions of the struggle against the Soviet power dictated a union of the two anti-Soviet forces, foreign and domestic. And this union was effected in the first half of 1918.

This was how the foreign military intervention against the Soviet power supported by counter-revolutionary revolts of its foes at home originated.

This was the end of the respite in Russia and the beginning of the Civil War, which was a war of the workers and peasants of the nations of Russia against the foreign and domestic enemies of the Soviet power.

The imperialists of Great Britain, France, Japan and America started their military intervention without any declaration of war, although the intervention was a war, a war against Russia, and the worst kind of war at that. These "civilized" marauders secretly and stealthily made their way to Russian shores and landed their troops on Russia's territory.

The British and French landed troops in the north, occupied Archangel and Murmansk, supported a local Whiteguard revolt, overthrew the Soviets and set up a White "Government of North Russia."

The Japanese landed troops in Vladivostok, seized the Maritime Province, dispersed the Soviets and supported the Whiteguard rebels, who subsequently restored the bourgeois system.

In the North Caucasus, Generals Kornilov, Alexeyev and Denikin, with the support of the British and French, formed a Whiteguard "Volunteer Army," raised a revolt of the upper classes of the Cossacks and started hostilities against the Soviets.

On the Don, Generals Krasnov and Mamontov, with the secret support of the German imperialists (the Germans hesitated to support them openly owing to the peace treaty between Germany and Russia), raised a revolt of Don Cossacks, occupied the Don region and started hostilities against the Soviets.

In the Middle Volga region and in Siberia, the British and French instigated a revolt of the Czechoslovak Corps. This corps, which consisted of prisoners of war, had received permission from the Soviet Government to return home through Siberia and the Far East. But on the way it was used by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and by the British and French for a revolt against the Soviet Government. The revolt of the corps served as a signal for a revolt of the kulaks in the Volga region and in Siberia, and of the workers of the Votkinsk and Izhevsk Works, who were under the influence of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. A White-guard-Socialist-Revolutionary government was set up in the Volga region, in Samara, and a Whiteguard government of Siberia, in Omsk.

Germany took no part in the intervention of this British-French-Japanese-American bloc; nor could she do so, since she was at war with this bloc if for no other reason. But in spite of this, and notwithstanding the existence of a peace treaty between Russia and Germany, no Bolshevik doubted that Kaiser Wilhelm's government was just as rabid an enemy of Soviet Russia as the British-French-Japanese-American invaders. And, indeed, the German imperialists did their utmost to isolate, weaken and destroy Soviet Russia. They snatched from it the Ukraine—true, it was in accordance with a "treaty" with the Whiteguard Ukrainian Rada (Council)—brought in their troops at the request of the Rada and began mercilessly to rob and oppress the Ukrainian people, forbidding them to maintain any connections whatever with Soviet Russia. They severed Transcaucasia from Soviet Russia, sent German and Turkish troops there at the request of the Georgian and Azerbaidjan nationalists and began to play the masters in Tiflis and in Baku. They supplied, not openly, it is true, abundant arms and provisions to General Krasnov, who had raised a revolt against the Soviet Government on the Don.

Soviet Russia was thus cut off from her principal sources of food, raw material and fuel.

Conditions were hard in Soviet Russia at that period. There was a shortage of bread and meat. The workers were starving. In Moscow and Petrograd a bread ration of one-eighth of a pound was issued to them every other day, and there were times when no bread was issued at all. The factories were at a standstill, or almost at a standstill, owing to a lack of raw materials and fuel. But the working class did not lose heart. Nor did the Bolshevik Party. The desperate struggle waged to overcome the incredible difficulties of that period showed how inexhaustible is the energy latent in the working class and how immense the prestige of the Bolshevik Party.

The Party proclaimed the country an armed camp and placed its economic, cultural and political life on a war footing. The Soviet Government announced that "the Socialist fatherland is in danger," and called upon the people to rise in its defence. Lenin issued the slogan, "All for the front!"—and hundreds of thousands of workers and peasants volunteered for service in the Red Army and left for the front. About half the membership of the Party and of the Young Communist League went to the front. The Party roused the people for a war for the fatherland, a war against the foreign invaders and against the revolts of the exploiting classes whom the revolution had overthrown. The Council of Workers' and Peasants' Defence, organized by Lenin, directed the work of supplying the front with reinforcements, food, clothing and arms. The substitution of compulsory military service for the volunteer system brought hundreds of thousands of new recruits into the Red Army and very shortly raised its strength to over a million men.

Although the country was in a difficult position, and the young Red Army was not yet consolidated, the measures of defence adopted soon yielded their first fruits. General Krasnov was forced back from Tsaritsyn, whose capture he had regarded as certain, and driven beyond the River Don. General Denikin's operations were localized within a small area in the North Caucasus, while General Kornilov was killed in action against the Red Army. The Czechoslovaks and the White-guard-Socialist-Revolutionary bands were ousted from Kazan, Simbirsk and Samara and driven to the Urals. A revolt in Yaroslavl headed by the Whiteguard Savinkov and organized by Lockhart, chief of the British Mission in Moscow, was suppressed, and Lockhart himself arrested. The Socialist-Revolutionaries, who had assassinated Comrades Uritsky and Volodarsky and had made a villainous attempt on the life of Lenin, were subjected to a Red terror in retaliation for their White terror against the Bolsheviks, and were completely routed in every important city in Central Russia.

The young Red Army matured and hardened in battle.

The work of the Communist Commissars was of decisive importance in the consolidation and political education of the Red Army and in raising its discipline and fighting efficiency.

But the Bolshevik Party knew that these were only the first, not the decisive successes of the Red Army. It was aware that new and far more serious battles were still to come, and that the country could recover the lost food, raw material and fuel regions only by a prolonged and stubborn struggle with the enemy. The Bolsheviks therefore undertook intense preparations for a protracted war and decided to place the whole country at the service of the front. The Soviet Government introduced War Communism. It took under its control the middle-sized and small industries, in addition to large-scale industry, so as to accumulate goods for the supply of the army and the agricultural population. It introduced a state monopoly of the grain trade, prohibited private trading in grain and established the surplus-appropriation system, under which all surplus produce in the hands of the peasants was to be registered and acquired by the state at fixed prices, so as to accumulate stores of grain for the provisioning of the army and the workers. Lastly, it introduced universal labour service for all classes. By making physical labour compulsory for the bourgeoisie and thus releasing workers for other duties of greater importance to the front, the Party was giving practical effect to the principle: "He who does not work, neither shall he eat."

All these measures, which were necessitated by the exceptionally difficult conditions of national defence, and bore a temporary character, were in their entirety known as War Communism.

The country prepared itself for a long and exacting civil war, for a war against the foreign and internal enemies of the Soviet power. By the end of 1918 it had to increase the strength of the army threefold, and to accumulate supplies for this army.

Lenin said at that time:

"We had decided to have an army of one million men by the spring; now we need an army of three million. We can get it. And we will get it."

2. DEFEAT OF GERMANY IN THE WAR. REVOLUTION IN GERMANY.
FOUNDING OF THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL. EIGHTH PARTY CONGRESS

While the Soviet country was preparing for new battles against the forces of foreign intervention, in the West decisive events were taking place in the belligerent countries, both on the war fronts and in their interior. Germany and Austria were suffocating in the grip of war and a food crisis. Whereas Great Britain, France and the United States were continually drawing upon new resources, Germany and Austria were consuming their last meagre stocks. The situation was such that Germany and Austria, having reached the stage of extreme exhaustion, were on the brink of defeat.

At the same time, the peoples of Germany and Austria were seething with indignation against the disastrous and interminable war, and against their imperialist governments who had reduced them to a state of exhaustion and starvation. The revolutionary influence of the October Revolution also had a tremendous effect, as did the fraternization of the Soviet soldiers with the Austrian and German soldiers at the front even before the Peace of Brest-Litovsk, the actual termination of the war with Soviet Russia and the conclusion of peace with her. The people of Russia had brought about the end of the detested war by overthrowing their imperialist government, and this could not but serve as an object lesson to the Austrian and German workers. And the German soldiers who had been stationed on the Eastern front and who after the Peace of Brest-Litovsk were transferred to the Western front could not but undermine the morale of the German army on that front by their accounts of the fraternization with the Soviet soldiers and of the way the Soviet soldiers had got rid of the war. The disintegration of the Austrian army from the same causes had begun even earlier.

All this served to accentuate the craving for peace among the German soldiers; they lost their former fighting efficiency and began to retreat in face of the onslaught of the Entente armies. In November 1918 a revolution broke out in Germany, and Wilhelm and his government were overthrown.

Germany was obliged to acknowledge defeat and to sue for peace.

Thus at one stroke Germany was reduced from a first-rate power to a second-rate power.

As far as the position of the Soviet Government was concerned, this circumstance had certain disadvantages, inasmuch as it made the Entente countries, which had started armed intervention against the Soviet power, the dominant force in Europe and Asia, and enabled them to intervene more actively in the Soviet country and to blockade her, to draw the noose more tightly around the Soviet power. And this was what actually happened, as we shall see later. On the other hand, it had its advantages, which outweighed the disadvantages and fundamentally improved the position of Soviet Russia. In the first place, the Soviet Government was now able to annul the predatory Peace of Brest-Litovsk, to stop paying the indemnities, and to start an open struggle, military and political, for the liberation of Esthonia, Latvia, Byelorussia, Lithuania, the Ukraine and Transcaucasia from the yoke of German imperialism. Secondly, and chiefly, the existence in the centre of Europe, in Germany, of a republican regime and of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies was bound to revolutionize, and actually did revolutionize, the countries of Europe, and this could not but strengthen the position of the Soviet power in Russia. True, the revolution in Germany was not a Socialist but a bourgeois revolution, and the Soviets were an obedient tool of the bourgeois parliament, for they were dominated by the Social-Democrats, who were compromisers of the type of the Russian Mensheviks. This in fact explains the weakness of the German revolution. How weak it really was is shown, for example, by the fact that it allowed the German Whiteguards to assassinate such prominent revolutionaries as Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht with impunity. Nevertheless, it was a revolution: Wilhelm had been overthrown, and the workers had cast off their chains; and this in itself was bound to unloose the revolution in the West, was bound to call forth a rise in the revolution in the European countries.

The tide of revolution in Europe began to mount. A revolutionary movement started in Austria, and a Soviet Republic arose in Hungary. With the rising tide of the revolution Communist parties came to the surface.

A real basis now existed for a union of the Communist parties, for the formation of the Third, Communist International.

In March i9i9, on the initiative of the Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, the First Congress of the Communist Parties of various countries, held in Moscow, founded the Communist International. Although many of the delegates were prevented by the blockade and imperialist persecution from arriving in Moscow, the most important countries of Europe and America were represented at this First Congress. The work of the congress was guided by Lenin.

Lenin reported on the subject of bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat. He brought out the importance of the Soviet system, showing that it meant genuine democracy for the working people. The congress adopted a manifesto to the proletariat of all countries calling upon them to wage a determined struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat and for the triumph of Soviets all over the world.

The congress set up an Executive Committee of the Third, Communist International (E.C.C.I.).

Thus was founded an international revolutionary proletarian organization of a new type—the Communist International—the Marxist-Leninist International.

The Eighth Congress of our Party met in March 1919. It assembled in the midst of a conflict of contradictory factors—on the one hand, the reactionary bloc of the Entente countries against the Soviet Government had grown stronger, and, on the other, the rising tide of revolution in Europe, especially in the defeated countries, had considerably improved the position of the Soviet country.

The congress was attended by 301 delegates with vote, representing 313,766 members of the Party, and 102 delegates with voice but no vote.

In his inaugural speech, Lenin paid homage to the memory of Y. M. Sverdlov, one of the finest organizing talents in the Bolshevik Party, who had died on the eve of the congress.

The congress adopted a new Party Program. This program gives a description of capitalism and of its highest phase—imperialism. It compares two systems of state—the bourgeois-democratic system and the Soviet system. It details the specific tasks of the Party in the struggle for Socialism: completion of the expropriation of the bourgeoisie; administration of the economic life of the country in accordance with a single Socialist plan; participation of the trade unions in the organization of the national economy; Socialist labour discipline; utilization of bourgeois experts in the economic field under the control of Soviet bodies; gradual and systematic enlistment of the middle peasantry in the work of Socialist construction.

The congress adopted Lenin's proposal to include in the program in addition to a definition of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, the description of industrial capitalism and simple commodity production contained in the old program adopted at the Second Party Congress. Lenin considered it essential that the program should take account of the complexity of our economic system and note the existence of diverse economic formations in the country, including small commodity production, as represented by the middle peasants. Therefore, during the debate on the program, Lenin vigorously condemned the anti-Bolshevik views of Bukharin, who proposed that the clauses dealing with capitalism, small commodity production, the economy of the middle peasant, be left out of the program. Bukharin's views represented a Menshevik-Trotsky-ite denial of the role played by the middle peasant in the development of the Soviet state. Furthermore, Bukharin glossed over the fact that the small commodity production of the peasants bred and nourished kulak elements.

Lenin further refuted the anti-Bolshevik views of Bukharin and Pyatakov on the national question. They spoke against the inclusion in the program of a clause on the right of nations to self-determination; they were against the equality of nations, claiming that it was a slogan that would hinder the, victory of the proletarian revolution and the union of the proletarians of different nationalities. Lenin overthrew these utterly pernicious, imperialist, chauvinist views of Bukharin and Pyatakov.

An important place in the deliberations of the Eighth Congress was devoted to policy towards the middle peasants. The Decree on the Land had resulted in a steady growth in the number of middle peasants, who now comprised the majority of the peasant population. The attitude and conduct of the middle peasantry, which vacillated between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, was of momentous importance for the fate of the Civil War and Socialist construction. The outcome of the Civil War largely depended on which way the middle peasant would swing, which class would win his allegiance—the proletariat or the bourgeoisie. The Czechoslovaks, the Whiteguards, the kulaks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks were able to overthrow the Soviet power in the Volga region in the summer of 19i8 because they were supported by a large section of the middle peasantry. The same was true during the revolts raised by the kulaks in Central Russia. But in the autumn of i9i8 the mass of the middle peasants began to swing over to the Soviet power. The peasants saw that victories of the Whites were followed by the restoration of the power of the landlords, the seizure of peasants' land, and the robbery, flogging and torture of peasants. The activities of the Committees of the Poor Peasants, which crushed the kulaks, also contributed to the change in the attitude of the peasantry. Accordingly, in November i918, Lenin issued the slogan:

"Learn to come to an agreement with the middle peasant, while not for a moment renouncing the struggle against the kulak and at the same time firmly relying solely on the poor peasant." (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VIII, p. 150.)

Of course, the middle peasants did not cease to vacillate entirely, but they drew closer to the Soviet Government and began to support it more solidly. This to a large extent was facilitated by the policy towards the middle peasants laid down by the Eighth Party Congress.

The Eighth Congress marked a turning point in the policy of the Party towards the middle peasants. Lenin's report and the decisions of the congress laid down a new line of the Party on this question. The congress demanded that the Party organizations and all Communists should draw a strict distinction and division between the middle peasant and the kulak, and should strive to win the former over to the side of the working class by paying close attention to his needs. The backwardness of the middle peasants had to be overcome by persuasion and not by compulsion and coercion. The congress therefore gave instructions that no compulsion be used in the carrying out of Socialist measures in the countryside (formation of communes and agricultural artels). In all cases affecting the vital interests of the middle peasant, a practical agreement should be reached with him and concessions made with regard to the methods of realizing Socialist changes. The congress laid down the policy of a stable alliance with the middle peasant, the leading role in this alliance to be maintained by the proletariat.

The new policy towards the middle peasant proclaimed by Lenin at the Eighth Congress required that the proletariat should rely on the poor peasant, maintain a stable alliance with the middle peasant and fight the kulak. The policy of the Party before the Eighth Congress was in general one of neutralizing the middle peasant. This meant that the Party strove to prevent the middle peasant from siding with the kulak and with the bourgeoisie in general. But now this was not enough. The Eighth Congress passed from a policy of neutralization of the middle peasant to a policy of stable alliance with him for the purpose of the struggle against the Whiteguards and foreign intervention and for the successful building of Socialism.

The policy adopted by the congress towards the middle peasants, who formed the bulk of the peasantry, played a decisive part in ensuring success in the Civil War against foreign intervention and its Whiteguard henchmen. In the autumn of 1919, when the peasants had to choose between the Soviet power and Denikin, they supported the Soviets, and the proletarian dictatorship was able to vanquish its most dangerous enemy.

The problems connected with the building up of the Red Army held a special place in the deliberations of the congress, where the so-called "Military Opposition" appeared in the field. This "Military Opposition" comprised quite a number of former members of the now shattered group of "Left Communists"; but it also included some Party workers who had never participated in any opposition, but were dissatisfied with the way Trotsky was conducting the affairs of the army. The majority of the delegates from the army were distinctly hostile to Trotsky; they resented his veneration for the military experts of the old tsarist army, some of whom were betraying us outright in the Civil War, and his arrogant and hostile attitude towards the old Bolshevik cadres in the army. Instances of Trotsky's "practices" were cited at the congress. For example, he had attempted to shoot a number of prominent army Communists serving at the front, just because they had incurred his displeasure. This was directly playing into the hands of the enemy. It was only the intervention of the Central Committee and the protests of military men that saved the lives of these comrades.

But while fighting Trotsky's distortions of the military policy of the Party, the "Military Opposition" held incorrect views on a number of points concerning the building up of the army. Lenin and Stalin vigorously came out against the "Military Opposition," because the latter defended the survivals of the guerrilla spirit and resisted the creation of a regular Red Army, the utilization of the military experts of the old army and the establishment of that iron discipline without which no army can be a real army. Comrade Stalin rebutted the "Military Opposition" and demanded the creation of a regular army inspired with the spirit of strictest discipline.

He said:

"Either we create a real worker and peasant—primarily a peasant—army, strictly disciplined army, and defend the Republic, or we perish."

While rejecting a number of proposals made by the "Military Opposition," the congress dealt a blow at Trotsky by demanding an improvement in the work of the central military institutions and the enhancement of the role of the Communists in the army.

A Military Commission was set up at the congress; thanks to its efforts the decision on the military question was adopted by the congress unanimously.

The effect of this decision was to strengthen the Red Army and to bring it still closer to the Party.

The congress further discussed Party and Soviet affairs and the guiding role of the Party in the Soviets. During the debate on the latter question the congress repudiated the view of the opportunist Sapronov-Ossinsky group which held that the Party should not guide the work of the Soviets.

Lastly, in view of the huge influx of new members into the Party, the congress outlined measures to improve the social composition of the Party and decided to conduct a re-registration of its members.

This initiated the first purge of the Party ranks.

3. EXTENSION OF INTERVENTION. BLOCKADE OF THE SOVIET COUNTRY.
KOLCHAK'S CAMPAIGN AND DEFEAT. DENIKIN'S CAMPAIGN AND DEFEAT.
A THREE-MONTHS' RESPITE. NINTH PARTY CONGRESS

Having vanquished Germany and Austria, the Entente states decided to hurl large military forces against the Soviet country. After Germany's defeat and the evacuation of her troops from the Ukraine and Transcaucasia, her place was taken by the British and French, who dispatched their fleets to the Black Sea and landed troops in Odessa and in Transcaucasia. Such was the brutality of the Entente forces of intervention that they did not hesitate to shoot whole batches of workers and peasants in the occupied regions. Their outrages reached such lengths in the end that after the occupation of Turkestan they carried off to the Trans-caspian region twenty-six leading Baku Bolsheviks—including Comrades Shaumyan, Fioletov, Djaparidze, Malygin, Azizbekov, Korganov—and with the aid of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, had them brutally shot.

The interventionists soon proclaimed a blockade of Russia. All sea routes and other lines of communication with the external world were cut.

The Soviet country was surrounded on nearly every side.

The Entente countries placed their chief hopes in Admiral Kolchak, their puppet in Omsk, Siberia. He was proclaimed "supreme ruler of Russia" and all the counter-revolutionary forces in the country placed themselves under his command.

The Eastern Front thus became the main front.

Kolchak assembled a huge army and in the spring of 1919 almost reached the Volga. The finest Bolshevik forces were hurled against him; Young Communist Leaguers and workers were mobilized. In April 1919, Kolchak's army met with severe defeat at the hands of the Red Army and very soon began to retreat along the whole front.

At the height of the advance of the Red Army on the Eastern Front, Trotsky put forward a suspicious plan: he proposed that the advance should be halted before it reached the Urals, the pursuit of Kolchak's army discontinued, and troops transferred from the Eastern Front to the Southern Front. The Central Committee of the Party fully realized that the Urals and Siberia could not be left in Kolchak's hands, for there, with the aid of the Japanese and British, he might recuperate and retrieve his former position. It therefore rejected this plan and gave instructions to proceed with the advance. Trotsky disagreed with these instructions and tendered his resignation, which the Central Committee declined, at the same time ordering him to refrain at once from all participation in the direction of the operations on the Eastern Front. The Red Army pursued its offensive against Kolchak with greater vigour than ever; it inflicted a number of new defeats on him and freed of the Whites the Urals and Siberia, where the Red Army was supported by a powerful partisan movement in the Whites' rear.

In the summer of i9i9, the imperialists assigned to General Yude-nich, who headed the counter-revolutionaries in the north-west (in the Baltic countries, in the vicinity of Petrograd), the task of diverting the attention of the Red Army from the Eastern Front by an attack on Petrograd. Influenced by the counter-revolutionary agitation of former officers, the garrisons of two forts in the vicinity of Petrograd mutinied against the Soviet Government. At the same time a counter-revolutionary plot was discovered at the Front Headquarters. The enemy threatened Petrograd. But thanks to the measures taken by the Soviet Government with the support of the workers and sailors, the mutinous forts were cleared of Whites, and Yudenich's troops were defeated and driven back into Esthonia.

The defeat of Yudenich near Petrograd made it easier to cope with Kolchak, and by the end of 1919 his army was completely routed. Kol-chak himself was taken prisoner and shot by sentence of the Revolutionary Committee in Irkutsk.

That was the end of Kolchak.

The Siberians had a popular song about Kolchak at that time:

"Uniform British, Epaulettes from
France, Japanese tobacco, Kolchak
leads the dance.
Uniform in tatters,
Epaulettes all gone,
So is the tobacco,
Kolchak's day is done."

Since Kolchak had not justified their hopes, the interventionists altered their plan of attack on the Soviet Republic. The troops landed in Odessa had to be withdrawn, for contact with the army of the Soviet Republic had infected them with the revolutionary spirit and they were beginning to rebel against their imperialist masters. For example, there was the revolt of French sailors in Odessa led by Andre Marty. Accordingly, now that Kolchak had been defeated, the Entente centred its attention on General Denikin, Kornilov's confederate and the organizer of the "Volunteer Army." Denikin at that time was operating against the Soviet Government in the south, in the Kuban region. The Entente supplied his army with large quantities of ammunition and equipment and sent it north against the Soviet Government.

The Southern Front now became the chief front.

Denikin began his main campaign against the Soviet Government in the summer of 1919. Trotsky had disrupted the Southern Front, and our troops suffered defeat after defeat. By the middle of October the Whites had seized the whole of the Ukraine, had captured Orel and were nearing Tula, which supplied our army with cartridges, rifles and machine-guns. The Whites were approaching Moscow. The situation of the Soviet Republic became grave in the extreme. The Party sounded the alarm and called upon the people to resist. Lenin issued the slogan, "All for the fight against Denikin!" Inspired by the Bolsheviks, the workers and peasants mustered all their forces to smash the enemy.

The Central Committee sent Comrades Stalin, Voroshilov, Ordjoni-kidze and Budyonny to the Southern Front to prepare the rout of Denikin. Trotsky was removed from the direction of the operations of the Red Army in the south. Before Comrade Stalin's arrival, the Command of the Southern Front, in conjunction with Trotsky, had drawn up a plan to strike the main blow at Denikin from Tsaritsyn in the direction of Novorossisk, through the Don Steppe, where there were no roads and where the Red Army would have to pass through regions inhabited by Cossacks, who were at that time largely under the influence of the Whiteguards. Comrade Stalin severely criticized this plan and submitted to the Central Committee his own plan for the defeat of Denikin. According to this plan the main blow was to be delivered by way of Khar-kov-Donetz Basin-Rostov. This plan would ensure the rapid advance of our troops against Denikin, for they would be moving through working class and peasant regions where they would have the open sympathy of the population. Furthermore, the dense network of railway lines in this region would ensure our armies the regular supply of all they required.

Lastly, this plan would make it possible to release the Donetz Coal Basin and thus supply our country with fuel.

The Central Committee of the Party accepted Comrade Stalin's plan. In the second half of October i9i9, after fierce resistance, Deni-kin was defeated by the Red Army in the decisive battles of Orel and Voronezh. He began a rapid retreat, and, pursued by our forces, fled to the south. At the beginning of i920 the whole of the Ukraine and the North Caucasus had been cleared of Whites.

During the decisive battles on the Southern Front, the imperialists again hurled Yudenich's corps against Petrograd in order to divert our forces from the south and thus improve the position of Denikin's army. The Whites approached the very gates of Petrograd. The heroic proletariat of the premier city of the revolution rose in a solid wall for its defence. The Communists, as always, were in the vanguard. After fierce fighting, the Whites were defeated and again flung beyond our borders back into Esthonia.

And that was the end of Denikin.

The defeat of Kolchak and Denikin was followed by a brief respite.

When the imperialists saw that the Whiteguard armies had been smashed, that intervention had failed, and that the Soviet Government was consolidating its position all over the country, while in Western Europe the indignation of the workers against military intervention in the Soviet Republic was rising, they began to change their attitude towards the Soviet state. In January 1920, Great Britain, France, and Italy decided to call off the blockade of Soviet Russia.

This was an important breach in the wall of intervention.

It did not, of course, mean that the Soviet country was done with intervention and the Civil War. There was still the danger of attack by imperialist Poland. The forces of intervention had not yet been finally driven out of the Far East, Transcaucasia and the Crimea. But Soviet Russia had secured a temporary breathing space and was able to divert more forces to economic development. The Party could now devote its attention to economic problems.

During the Civil War many skilled workers had left industry owing to the closing down of mills and factories. The Party now took measures to return them to industry to work at their trades. The railways were in a grave condition and several thousand Communists were assigned to the work of restoring them, for unless this was done the restoration of the major branches of industry could not be seriously undertaken. The organization of the food supply was extended and improved. The drafting of a plan for the electrification of Russia was begun. Nearly five million Red Army men were under arms and could not be demobilized owing to the danger of war. A part of the Red Army was therefore converted into labour armies and used in the economic field. The Council of Workers' and Peasants' Defence was transformed into the Council of Labour and Defence, and a State Planning Commission (Gosplan) set up to assist it.

Such was the situation when the Ninth Party Congress opened.

The congress met at the end of March 1920. It was attended by 554 delegates with vote, representing 611,978 Party members, and 162 delegates with voice but no vote.

The congress defined the immediate tasks of the country in the sphere of transportation and industry. It particularly stressed the necessity of the trade unions taking part in the building up of the economic life.

Special attention was devoted by the congress to a single economic plan for the restoration, in the first place, of the railways, the fuel industry and the iron and steel industry. The major item in this plan was a project for the electrification of the country, which Lenin advanced as "a great program for the next ten or twenty years." This formed the basis of the famous plan of the State Commission for the Electrification of Russia (GOELRO), the provisions of which have today been far exceeded.

The congress rejected the views of an anti-Party group which called itself "The Group of Democratic-Centralism" and was opposed to one-man management and the undivided responsibility of industrial directors. It advocated unrestricted "group management" under which nobody would be personally responsible for the administration of industry. The chief figures in this anti-Party group were Sapronov, Ossinsky and Y. Smirnov. They were supported at the congress by Rykov and Tomsky.

4. POLISH GENTRY ATTACK SOVIET RUSSIA. GENERAL WRAN-GEL'S CAMPAIGN.
FAILURE OF THE POLISH PLAN. ROUT OF WRANGEL. END OF THE INTERVENTION.

Notwithstanding the defeat of Kolchak and Denikin, notwithstanding the fact that the Soviet Republic was steadily regaining its territory by clearing the Whites and the forces of intervention out of the Northern Territory, Turkestan, Siberia, the Don region, the Ukraine, etc., notwithstanding the fact that the Entente states were obliged to call off the blockade of Russia, they still refused to reconcile themselves to the idea that the Soviet power had proved impregnable and had come out victorious. They therefore resolved to make one more attempt at intervention in Soviet Russia. This time they decided to utilize both Pilsud-ski, a bourgeois counter-revolutionary nationalist, the virtual head of the Polish state, and General Wrangel, who had rallied the remnants of Denikin's army in the Crimea and from there was threatening the Donetz Basin and the Ukraine.

The Polish gentry and Wrangel, as Lenin put it, were the two hands with which international imperialism attempted to strangle Soviet Russia.

The plan of the Poles was to seize the Soviet Ukraine west of the Dnieper, to occupy Soviet Byelorussia, to restore the power of the Polish magnates in these regions, to extend the frontiers of the Polish state so that they stretched "from sea to sea," from Danzig to Odessa, and, in return for his aid, to help Wrangel smash the Red Army and restore the power of the landlords and capitalists in Soviet Russia.

This plan was approved by the Entente states.

The Soviet Government made vain attempts to enter into negotiations with Poland with the object of preserving peace and averting war. Pilsudski refused to discuss peace. He wanted war. He calculated that the Red Army, fatigued by its battles with Kolchak and Denikin, would not be able to withstand the attack of the Polish forces.

The short breathing space had come to an end.

In April i920 the Poles invaded the Soviet Ukraine and seized Kiev. At the same time, Wrangel took the offensive and threatened the Donetz Basin.

In reply, the Red Army started a counter-offensive against the Poles along the whole front. Kiev was recaptured and the Polish warlords driven out of the Ukraine and Byelorussia. The impetuous advance of the Red troops on the Southern Front brought them to the very gates of Lvov in Galicia, while the troops on the Western Front were nearing Warsaw. The Polish armies were on the verge of utter defeat.

But success was frustrated by the suspicious actions of Trotsky and his followers at the General Headquarters of the Red Army. Through the fault of Trotsky and Tukhachevsky, the advance of the Red troops on the Western Front, towards Warsaw, proceeded in an absolutely unorganized manner: the troops were allowed no opportunity to consolidate the positions that they won, the advance detachments were led too far ahead, while reserves and ammunition were left too far in the rear. As a result, the advance detachments were left without ammunition and reserves and the front was stretched out endlessly. This made it easy to force a breach in the front. The result was that when a small force of Poles broke through our Western Front at one point, our troops, left without ammunition, were obliged to retreat. As regards the troops on the Southern Front, who had reached the gates of Lvov and were pressing the Poles hard, they were forbidden by Trotsky, that ill-famed "chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council," to capture Lvov. He ordered the transfer of the Mounted Army, the main force on the Southern Front, far to the north-east. This was done on the pretext of helping the Western Front, although it was not difficult to see that the best, and in fact only possible, way of helping the Western Front was to capture Lvov. But the withdrawal of the Mounted Army from the Southern Front, its departure from Lvov, virtually meant the retreat of our forces on the Southern Front as well. This wrecker's order issued by Trotsky thus forced upon our troops on the Southern Front an incomprehensible and absolutely unjustified retreat—to the joy of the Polish gentry.

This was giving direct assistance, indeed—not to our Western Front, however, but to the Polish gentry and the Entente

Within a few days the advance of the Poles was checked and our troops began preparations for a new counter-offensive. But, unable to continue the war, and alarmed by the prospect of a Red counter-offensive, Poland was obliged to renounce her claims to the Ukrainian territory west of the Dnieper and to Byelorussia and preferred to conclude peace. On October 20, 1920, the Peace of Riga was signed. In accordance with this treaty Poland retained Galicia and part of Byelorussia.

Having concluded peace with Poland, the Soviet Republic decided to put an end to Wrangel. The British and French had supplied him with guns, rifles, armoured cars, tanks, aeroplanes and ammunition of the latest type. He had Whiteguard shock regiments, mainly consisting of officers. But Wrangel failed to rally any considerable number of peasants and Cossacks in support of the troops he had landed in the Kuban and the Don regions. Nevertheless, he advanced to the very gates of the Donetz Basin, creating a menace to our coal region. The position of the Soviet Government at that time was further complicated by the fact that the Red Army was suffering greatly from fatigue. The troops were obliged to advance under extremely difficult conditions: while conducting an offensive against Wrangel, they had at the same time to smash Makhno's anarchist bands who were assisting Wrangel. But although Wrangel had the superiority in technical equipment, although the Red Army had no tanks, it drove Wrangel into the Crimean Peninsula and there bottled him up. In November 1920 the Red forces captured the fortified position of Perekop, swept into the Crimea, smashed Wrangel's forces and cleared the Peninsula of the Whiteguards and the forces of intervention. The Crimea became Soviet territory.

The failure of Poland's imperialist plans and the defeat of Wrangel ended the period of intervention.

At the end of 1920 there began the liberation of Transcaucasia: Azerbaidjan was freed from the yoke of the bourgeois nationalist Mussa-vatists, Georgia from the Menshevik nationalists, and Armenia from the Dashnaks. The Soviet power triumphed in Azerbaidjan, Armenia and Georgia.

This did not yet mean the end of all intervention. That of the Japanese in the Far East lasted until 1922. Moreover, new attempts at intervention were made (Ataman Semyonov and Baron Ungern in the East, the Finnish Whites in Karelia in 192i). But the principal enemies of the Soviet country, the principal forces of intervention, were shattered by the end of 1920.

The war of the foreign interventionists and the Russian Whiteguards against the Soviets ended in a victory for the Soviets.

The Soviet Republic preserved its independence and freedom.

This was the end of foreign military intervention and Civil War.

This was a historic victory for the Soviet power.

5. HOW AND WHY THE SOVIET REPUBLIC DEFEATED
THE COMBINED FORCES OF BRITISH-FRENCH-JAPANESE-POLISH INTERVENTION AND
OF THE BOURGEOIS-LANDLORD-WHITEGUARD COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA

If we study the leading European and American newspapers and periodicals of the period of intervention, we shall easily find that there was not a single prominent writer, military or civilian, not a single military expert who believed that the Soviet Government could win. On the contrary, all prominent writers, military experts and historians of revolution of all countries and nations, all the so-called savants, were unanimous in declaring that the days of the Soviets were numbered, that their defeat was inevitable.

They based their certainty of the victory of the forces of intervention on the fact that whereas Soviet Russia had no organized army and had to create its Red Army under fire, so to speak, the interventionists and Whiteguards did have an army more or less ready to hand.

Further, they based their certainty on the fact that the Red Army had no experienced military men, the majority of them having gone over to the counter-revolution, whereas the interventionists and Whiteguards did have such men.

Furthermore, they based their certainty on the fact that, owing to the backwardness of Russia's war industry, the Red Army was suffering from a shortage of arms and ammunition; that what it did have was of poor quality, while it could not obtain supplies from abroad because Russia was hermetically sealed on all sides by the blockade. The army of the interventionists and Whiteguards, on the other hand, was abundantly supplied, and would continue to be supplied, with first-class arms, ammunition and equipment.

Lastly, they based their certainty on the fact that the army of the interventionists and Whiteguards occupied the richest food-producing regions of Russia, whereas the Red Army had no such regions and was suffering from a shortage of provisions.

And it was a fact that the Red Army did suffer from all these handicaps and deficiencies.

In this respect—but only in this respect—the gentlemen of the intervention were absolutely right.

How then is it to be explained that the Red Army, although suffering from such grave shortcomings, was able to defeat the army of the interventionists and Whiteguards which did not suffer from such shortcomings?

1. The Red Army was victorious because the Soviet Government's policy for which the Red Army was fighting was a right policy, one that corresponded to the interests of the people, and because the people under- stood and realized that it was the right policy, their own policy, and sup- ported it unreservedly.

The Bolsheviks knew that an army that fights for a wrong policy, for a policy that is not supported by the people, cannot win. The army of the interventionists and Whiteguards was such an army. It had everything: experienced commanders and first-class arms, ammunition, equipment and provisions. It lacked only one thing—the support and sympathy of the peoples of Russia; for the peoples of Russia could not and would not support the policy of the interventionists and Whiteguard "rulers" because it was a policy hostile to the people. And so the interventionist and Whiteguard army was defeated.

2. The Red Army was victorious because it was absolutely loyal and faithful to its people, for which reason the people loved and supported it and looked upon it as their own army. The Red Army is the offspring of the people, and if it is faithful to its people, as a true son is to his mother, it will have the support of the people and is bound to win. An army, however, that goes against its people must suffer defeat.

3. The Red Army was victorious because the Soviet Government was able to muster the whole rear, the whole country, to serve the needs of the front. An army without a strong rear to support the front in every way is doomed to defeat. The Bolsheviks knew this and that is why they converted the country into an armed camp to supply the front with arms, ammunition, equipment, food and reinforcements.

4. The Red Army was victorious because: a) the Red Army men understood the aims and purposes of the war and recognized their justice; b) the recognition of the justice of the aims and purposes of the war strengthened their discipline and fighting efficiency; and c) as a result, the Red Army throughout displayed unparalleled self-sacrifice and unexampled mass heroism in battle against the enemy.

5. The Red Army was victorious because its leading core, both at the front and in the rear, was the Bolshevik Party, united in its solidarity and discipline, strong in its revolutionary spirit and readiness for any sacrifice in the common cause, and unsurpassed in its ability to organize millions and to lead them properly in complex situations.

"It is only because of the Party's vigilance and its strict discipline," said Lenin, "because the authority of the Party united all government departments and institutions, because the slogans issued by the Central Committee were followed by tens, hundreds, thousands and finally millions of people as one man, because incredible sacrifices were made, that the miracle took place and we were able to win, in spite of repeated campaigns of the imperialists of the Entente and of the whole world." (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XXV, p. 96.)

6. The Red Army was victorious because: a) it was able to produce from its own ranks military commanders of a new type, men like Frunze, Voroshilov, Budyonny, and others; b) in its ranks fought such talented heroes who came from the people as Kotovsky, Chapayev, Lazo, Shchors, Parkhomenko, and many others; c) the political education of the Red Army was in the hands of men like Lenin, Stalin, Molotov, Kalinin, Sverdlov, Kaganovich, Ordjonikidze, Kirov, Kuibyshev, Mikoyan, Zhdanov, Andreyev, Petrovsky, Yaroslavsky, Yezhov, Dzerzhinsky, Shchadenko, Mekhlis, Khrushchev, Shvernik, Shkiryatov, and others; d) the Red Army possessed such outstanding organizers and agitators as the military commissars, who by their work cemented the ranks of the Red Army men, fostered in them the spirit of discipline and military daring, and energetically—swiftly and relentlessly—cut short the treacherous activities of certain of the commanders, while on the other hand, they boldly and resolutely supported the prestige and renown of commanders, Party and non-Party, who had proved their loyalty to the Soviet power and who were capable of leading the Red Army units with a firm hand.

"Without the military commissars we would not have had a Red Army," Lenin said.

7. The Red Army was victorious because in the rear of the White armies, in the rear of Kolchak, Denikin, Krasnov and Wrangel, there secretly operated splendid Bolsheviks, Party and non-Party, who raised the workers and peasants in revolt against the invaders, against the White-guards, undermined the rear of the foes of the Soviet Government, and thereby facilitated the advance of the Red Army. Everybody knows that the partisans of the Ukraine, Siberia, the Far East, the Urals, Byelorussia and the Volga region, by undermining the rear of the Whiteguards and the invaders, rendered invaluable service to the Red Army.

8. The Red Army was victorious because the Soviet Republic was not alone in its struggle against Whiteguard counter-revolution and foreign intervention, because the struggle of the Soviet Government and its successes enlisted the sympathy and support of the proletarians of the whole world. While the imperialists were trying to stifle the Soviet Republic by intervention and blockade, the workers of the imperialist countries sided with the Soviets and helped them. Their struggle against the capitalists of the countries hostile to the Soviet Republic helped in the end to force the imperialists to call off the intervention. The workers of Great Britain, France and the other intervening powers called strikes, refused to load munitions consigned to the invaders and the White-guard generals, and set up Councils of Action whose work was guided by the slogan—"Hands off Russia!"

"The international bourgeoisie has only to raise its hand against us to have it seized by its own workers," Lenin said. (Ibid., p. 405.)

 

BRIEF SUMMARY

Vanquished by the October Revolution, the landlords and capitalists, in conjunction with the Whiteguard generals, conspired with the governments of the Entente countries against the interests of their own country for a joint armed attack on the Soviet land and for the overthrow of the Soviet Government. This formed the basis of the military intervention of the Entente and of the Whiteguard revolts in the border Aregions of Russia, as a result of which Russia was cut off from her sources of food and raw material.

The military defeat of Germany and the termination of the war between the two imperialist coalitions in Europe served to strengthen the Entente and to intensify the intervention, and created new difficulties for Soviet Russia.

On the other hand, the revolution in Germany and the incipient revolutionary movement in the European countries created favourable international conditions for the Soviet power and relieved the position of the Soviet Republic.

The Bolshevik Party roused the workers and peasants for a war for the fatherland, a war against the foreign invaders and the bourgeois and landlord Whiteguards. The Soviet Republic and its Red Army defeated one after another the puppets of the Entente—Kolchak, Yude-nich, Denikin, Krasnov and Wrangel, drove out of the Ukraine and Byelorussia another puppet of the Entente, Pilsudski, and thus beat off the forces of foreign intervention and drove them out of the Soviet country.

Thus the first armed attack of international capital on the land of Socialism ended in a complete fiasco.

In the period of intervention, the parties which had been smashed by the revolution, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Anarchists and nationalists, supported the Whiteguard generals and the invaders, hatched counter-revolutionary plots against the Soviet Republic and resorted to terrorism against Soviet leaders. These parties, which had enjoyed a certain amount of influence among the working class before the October Revolution, completely exposed themselves before the masses as counterrevolutionary parties during the Civil War.

The period of Civil War and intervention witnessed the political collapse of these parties and the final triumph of the Communist Party in Soviet Russia.

 

 

HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION (BOLSHEVIKS)

CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE BOLSHEVIK PARTY IN THE STRUGGLE
FOR THE COLLECTIVIZATION OF AGRICULTURE
(1930 - 1934)

1. INTERNATIONAL SITUATION IN 1930-34. ECONOMIC CRISIS IN THE CAPITALIST COUNTRIES. JAPANESE ANNEXATION OF MANCHURIA. FASCISTS' ADVENT TO POWER IN GERMANY.
TWO SEATS OF WAR

While in the U.S.S.R. important progress had been made in the Socialist industrialization of the country and industry was rapidly developing, in the capitalist countries a devastating world economic crisis of unprecedented dimensions had broken out at the end of 1929 and grew steadily more acute in the three following years. The industrial crisis was interwoven with an agrarian crisis, which made matters still worse for the capitalist countries.

In the three years of economic crisis (1930-33), industrial output in the U.S.A. had sunk to 65 per cent, in Great Britain to 86 per cent, in Germany to 66 per cent and in France to 77 per cent of the 1929 output. Yet in this same period industrial output in the U.S.S.R. more than doubled, amounting in 1933 to 201 per cent of the 1929 output.

This was but an additional proof of the superiority of the Socialist economic system over the capitalist economic system. It showed that the country of Socialism is the only country in the world which is exempt from economic crises.

The world economic crisis condemned 24,000,000 unemployed to starvation, poverty and misery. The agrarian crisis brought suffering to tens of millions of peasants.

The world economic crisis further aggravated the contradictions between the imperialist states, between the victor countries and the vanquished countries, between the imperialist states and the colonial and dependent countries, between the workers and the capitalists, between the peasants and the landlords.

In his report on behalf of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Party Congress, Comrade Stalin pointed out that the bourgeoisie would seek a way out of the economic crisis, on the one hand, by crushing the working class through the establishment of fascist dictatorship, i.e., the dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, most imperialistic capitalist elements, and, on the other hand, by fomenting war for the re-division of colonies and spheres of influence at the expense of the poorly defended countries.

That is just what happened.

In 1932 the war danger was aggravated by Japan. Perceiving that, owing to the economic crisis, the European powers and the U.S.A. were wholly engrossed in their domestic affairs, the Japanese imperialists decided to seize the opportunity and bring pressure to bear on poorly defended China, in an attempt to subjugate her and to lord it over the country. Unscrupulously exploiting "local incidents" they themselves had provoked, the Japanese imperialists, like robbers, without declaring war on China, marched their troops into Manchuria. The Japanese soldiery seized the whole of Manchuria, thereby preparing a convenient place d'armes for the conquest of North China and for an attack on the U.S.S.R. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in order to leave her hands free, and began to arm at a feverish pace.

This impelled the U.S.A., Britain and France to strengthen their naval armaments in the Far East. It was obvious that Japan was out to subjugate China and to eject the European and American imperialist powers from that country. They replied by increasing their armaments.

But Japan was pursuing another purpose, too, namely, to seize the Soviet Far East. Naturally, the U.S.S.R. could not shut its eyes to this danger, and began intensively to strengthen the defences of its Far Eastern territory.

Thus, in the Far East, thanks to the Japanese fascist imperialists, there arose the first seat of war.

But it was not only in the Far East that the economic crisis aggravated the contradictions of capitalism. It aggravated them in Europe too. The prolonged crisis in industry and agriculture, the huge volume of unemployment, and the growing insecurity of the poorer classes fanned the discontent of the workers and peasants. The discontent of the working class grew into revolutionary disaffection. This was particularly the case in Germany, which was economically exhausted by the war, by the payment of reparations to the Anglo-French victors, and by the economic crisis, and the working class of which languished under a double yoke, that of the home and the foreign, the British and French, bourgeoisie. The extent of this discontent was clearly indicated by the six million votes cast for the German Communist Party at the last Reichstag elections, before the fascists came to power. The German bourgeoisie perceived that the bourgeois-democratic liberties preserved in Germany might play them an evil trick, that the working class might use these liberties to extend the revolutionary movement. They therefore decided that there was only one way of maintaining the power of the bourgeoisie in Germany, and that was to abolish the bourgeois liberties, to reduce the Reichstag to a cipher, and to establish a terrorist bourgeois-nationalist dictatorship, which would be able to suppress the working class and base itself on the petty-bourgeois masses who wanted to revenge Germany's defeat in the war. And so they called to power the fascist party—which in order to hoodwink the people calls itself the National-Socialist Party—well knowing that the fascist party, first, represents that section of the imperialist bourgeoisie which is the most reactionary and most hostile to the working class, and, secondly, that it is the most pronounced party of revenge, one capable of beguiling the millions of the nationalistically minded petty bourgeoisie. In this they were assisted by the traitors to the working class, the leaders of the German Social-Democratic Party, who paved th