V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written January 22, 1917
Published: First published in 1964 in Collected Works, Fifth (Russian) Ed., Vol. 49. Sent from Zurich to Clarens. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1977], Moscow, Volume 43, pages 605b-606.
Translated: Martin Parker and Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2005). 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.
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Dear Friend,

I received the translation. Thanks awfully. I have sent it on.[1]

As regards the censorship to which you have subjected my French article,[2] I am surprised, really. As you did not send me the original, aid I would hardly undertake a French translation myself, I sent it, of course, as you suggested, omitting the passage about Engels.

The mere thought that I am defending Engels’s point of view on war and on the stand the Germans took at the time, makes your blood boil and you cannot translate it....”

Well, well! I am surprised! We, Grigory and I, quoted this passage—more than passage: statement, declaration of Engels—many times, directly and indirectly, in 1914 and 1915.

Engels, it should be remembered, wrote this first for the French socialists and it was published in their Almanach du Parti Ouvrier.[3] At that time the French did not protest,   feeling—if not realising clearly—that the war of Boulanger+Alexander III against Germany of those days would be anti-democratic only on their part, but on the part of Germany (of whose imperialism there could be no question at the time!!) it would really be only “defence”, really a war for national existence.

And now, what the French themselves acknowledged in 1891 to be correct, you suddenly cry down, and how! And just before that, at a meeting of the Swiss Lefts, they (semi pacifists, what can you do?) dismissed my reference to this statement of Engels’s with amazing frivolity of their own peculiar brand.

You did not say anything either about my article in reply to Kievsky.

My work with the Swiss Lefts, like my reflections on the absurdities which Radek has talked himself into, convince me more and more that on the vital question of motives for rejecting defence of the fatherland our stand is the only correct one. Have you seen No. 6 of Jugend-Internationale, of which I wrote in Sb. No. 2 (did you get it?) and Arbeiterpolitik No. 25?[4]

I have received a postcard from Kamenev. I shall send it to you. Olga writes that things are looking up with the Lefts, that an organisation of Zimmerwald Lefts, French+ Italian (!! I am ever so pleased about this)+Russian, has been founded and that Guilbeaux will write to me about it (I shall forward it on to you, if you like). I try to follow Avanti! and am becoming convinced that Souvarine is right: Turati is quite a Kautskyite and he is switching the whole Italian socialist parliamentary group (into these lines. His last speech (17.I) is smart: he’s a smart alec of bourgeois pacifism, and not a socialist at all.

I wish you the very, very best,


[1] See Document 544 in this volume.—Ed.

[2] See “An Open Letter to Boris Souvarine” (present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 195–204).—Ed.

[3] See F. Engels, “Socialism in Germany” (“Der Sozialismus in Deutschland”, Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 22, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1963, S. 252–60).

[4] No. 6 of the journal Jugend-Internationale, which came out on December 1, 1916, carried an article by Bukharin (over the signature “Note Bene”) entitled “The Imperialist Robber State”. A criticism of this article will be found in Lenin’s “The Youth International” published in Sbornik Sotsial-Demokrata No. 2 (see present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 163–66).

This article of Bukharin’s, slightly abbreviated, was published in Arbeiterpolitik No. 25, December 9, 1916, under the heading “The Imperialist State”.

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