Civil War after 1917 1917

The question of chief interest, now, to the governments and the peoples of the world is, What will be the influence of the Russian Revolution on the War? Will it bring peace nearer? Or will the revolutionary enthusiasm of the people swing towards a more vigorous prosecution of the war?

This letter was written in mid-March as Lenin was preparing to travel to Russia. In it he appealed to Russian war prisoners in Germany and Austria to return to Russia in order to support the revolution agasint the ruling classes.

Lenin’s two-and-a-half-hour lecture consisted of two parts. In the first, Lenin surveyed the historical conditions which could, and did, produce such a “miracle” as the collapse of the tsarist monarchy in a matter of eight days. The most important of these was the “great rebellion” of 1905–07, so vilely denounced by the Guchkovs and Milyukovs, the present masters of the situation, who are moved to admiration by the “glorious revolution” of 1917. But had the really profound Revolution of 1905 not “ploughed up the ground”, had it not exposed to view all the parties and classes in action, had it not exposed the tsarist clique in all its barbarism and savagery, the swift victory of 1917 would not have been possible.

On 21 March 1917 (3 April according to the new calendar), the first of Lenin's Letters from afar was published in Pravda, which was at that time edited by Joseph Stalin and Lev Kamenev. In these letters Lenin outlined the main characteristics of the Russian revolution and laid the basis for the political reorientation of the Bolshevik party. This was the political basis for the coming to power of the Bolsheviks only 7 months later.

Comrade workers,

The prediction of the socialists who have remained faithful to socialism and have not succumbed to the savage and beastly war hysteria has proved correct. The first revolution, caused by the world-wide predatory war among the capitalists of various countries, has broken out. The imperialist war, that is, a war for the capitalist division of spoils, for the strangling of weak nations, has begun to turn into civil war, that is, a war of the workers against the capitalists, of the toilers and the oppressed against their oppressors, against tsars and kings, landowners and capitalists, a war for mankind’s complete liberation from wars, from poverty of the masses, from oppression of man by man!

Various German newspapers have published a distorted version of the telegram I sent on Monday, March 19, to certain members of our Party in Scandinavia who were leaving for Russia and who asked my advice about the tactics Social-Democrats should follow.

Our tactics: no trust in and no support of the new government; Kerensky is especially suspect; arming of the proletariat is the only guarantee; immediate elections to the Petrograd City Council; no rapprochement with other parties. Telegraph this to Petrograd.

This essay was written on March 18th, 1917, when the first news of unrest in Petrograd had reached New York.

Information reaching Zurich from Russia at this moment, March 17, 1917, is so scanty, and events in our country are developing so rapidly, that any judgement of the situation must of needs be very cautious.

First published in Russian in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVII.Published in Volksrecht Nos. 26 and 27, January 31 and February 1, 1917. Written (in German) between January 13 and 17 (26 and 30), 1917. Translated from the German. Published according to the manuscript.

First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVII. Written (in German) in late January 1917.

Written in January 1917, Lenin analyses the cynical imperialist manoeuvres behind World War One and puts forward the proletarian revolutionary alternative as the only way out of the impasse for the working class.

This lecture on the 1905 Revolution was delivered by Lenin on January 9 (22), 1917 at a meeting of young workers in the Zurich People’s House. The 1905 revolution was the dress rehearsal of October 1917. #1917Live

The international situation is becoming increasingly clear and increasingly menacing. Both belligerent coalitions have latterly revealed the imperialist nature of the war in a very striking way. The more assiduously the capitalist governments and the bourgeois and socialist pacifists spread their empty, lying pacifist phrases—the talk of a democratic peace, a peace without annexations, etc.—the sooner are they exposed. Germany is crushing several small nations under her iron heel with the very evident determination not to give up her booty except by exchanging part of it for enormous colonial possessions, and she is using hypocritical pacifist phrases as a cover for her readiness to conclude an immediate imperialist peace.

I consider it at this time a matter of political necessity to publish the documents bearing upon my imprisonment by the British for the period of one month. The bourgeois press – the same press which has been spreading defamatory statements of the worst black-hundred type against political emigrants who were forced to return to Russia by way of Germany – appeared to be deaf and dumb the moment it came in contact with the lawless attack by England upon the Russian emigrants who were returning home by way of the Atlantic ocean.

Of the essays here presented for the reader’s attention, some are published for the first time, others appeared in various periodicals before the war. They deal with a question which now, naturally, arouses especial interest—the significance and role of national movements, the relationship between the national and the international. The biggest drawback, one most frequently encountered in all the arguments on this question, is lack of concreteness and historical perspective. It has become customary to smuggle in every manner of contraband under cover of general phrases. We believe, therefore, that a few statistics will prove anything but superfluous. A comparison with the lessons of the war of what we said before the war is not, in our view, unuseful. Unity of theory and perspective gives the essays continuity.