"Only a proletarian socialist revolution can lead humanity out of the impasse which imperialism and imperialist wars have created. Whatever difficulties the revolution may have to encounter, whatever possible temporary setbacks or waves of counter-revolution it may have to contend with, the final victory of the proletariat is inevitable." Written April–May, 1917.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.