V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on July 15, 1915
Published: First published in 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XIV. Sent from Sörenberg to Berne. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 332-333.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

Werter Genosse,

I enclose a letter about the Vorkonferenz.[1] [3]

Take a copy for Lichtstrahlen[4]—or get Wijnkoop (if you are sure that he is punctual) to send it on to them.

N.B. ||
All this is vertraulich.[2] Promise not to speak about it, either to Grimm or to Balabanova or to Trotsky or to anyone else!

Read my letter to Wijnkoop and send it off.[5] I hope you have sent off the previous one! Let me know about this.

Either the German Left will now unite (if only for a statement of principles on behalf of an anonymous Stern[6] group, or whatever you like: the workers will later join this group), or we shall have to dismiss them from our minds.

(I understand that Lichtstrahlen cannot act directly. But why should not a Stern group, consisting of X+Y+Z, come forward with resolutions or a manifesto? And then privately and secretly distribute them?)

I don’t understand how you missed the Vorkonferenz in Berne!? And you were the one who was exhorting me!?


P.S. Do you find reading Russian difficult? Do you understand everything?

P.S. Either send the Berne resolutions (the translation) direct to Wijnkoop (if you have a copy), or send them here: we shall make a copy.[7]

It would be extremely important for us to have a private consultation with some of the German Left. Could you organise this? By the way, why not come over here?


[1] Preliminary conference.—Ed.

[2] Confidentially.—Ed.

[3] Report of a delegate of the R.S.D.L.P. C.C. on the preliminary meeting held at Berne on July 11, 1915, on the convocation of an International Socialist Conference.

It was attended by representatives of the Social-Democratic Party of Switzerland, the Italian Socialist Party, the Executive of the Polish Social-Democratic Party and the P.S.P. Lewi&ctail;a ( Left-wing), the Menshevik Organising Committee and the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. The meeting decided on another meeting which was to take the final decision on calling the conference. The second meeting was not held.

[4] Lichtstrahlen (Rays of Light)—a monthly of the group of Left-wing Social-Democrats in Germany (Internationale Sozialisten Deutschlands), published under the editorship of J. Borchardt. It was issued irregularly in Berlin from 1913 to 1921.

[5] See present edition, Vol. 35, pp. 195–97.

[6] The Stern (Star) group was never set up. The Bremen Left-wing Social-Democrats formed the Internationale Sozialisten Deutschlands group.

[7] A reference to the Conference of R.S.D.L.P. Groups Abroad in Berne between February 27 and March 4, 1915, convened on Lenin’s initiative. It had the significance of an all-Party conference because it was impossible to call a congress or an all-Russia conference during the war. The main item on its agenda was the question of war and the Party’s tasks. Lenin gave the report.

Lenin also wrote all the main resolutions and the introduction to them. They appeared in Sotsial-Demokrat and also as a supplement to the pamphlet Socialism and War, which was published in Russian and German. The resolutions of the Berne Conference were also published in leaflet form in French and circulated among the delegates to the Zimmerwald Socialist Conference and mailed to Left-wing Social-Democrats in other countries.

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