V. I. Lenin

Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)

MARCH 6-8, 1910

Section Four


Speeches Against Trotsky’s Amendments to the Resolution on War and Peace
March 8 (Morning)


Comrades, in my speech I have already said that neither I nor those who support me consider it possible to accept this amendment. We must in no way bind our hands in any strategic manoeuvre. Everything depends on the relationship of forces and the time of the attack against us by these or those imperialist countries, the time when the rehabilitation of our army, which is undoubtedly beginning reaches the point when we shall be in a position and obliged not merely to refrain from concluding peace but to declare war. Instead of the amendments which Comrade Trotsky proposes, I am ready to accept the following:

First, to say—and this I shall certainly uphold—that the present resolution is not to be published in the press but that a communication should be made only about the ratification of the treaty.

Secondly, in the forms of publication and content the Central Committee shall have the right to introduce changes in connection with a possible offensive by the Japanese.

Thirdly, to say that the Congress will empower the C.C of the Party both to break all the peace treaties and to declare war on any imperialist power or the whole world when the C.C. of the Party considers that the appropriate moment for this has come.

We must give the C.C. full power to break the treaties at any moment but this does not in any way imply that we shall break them just now, in the situation that exists today. At the present time we must not bind our hands in any way. The words that Comrade Trotsky proposes to introduce will gain the votes of those who are against ratification in general, votes for a middle course which will create afresh a situation in which not a single worker, not a single soldier, will understand anything in our resolution.

At the present time we shall endorse the necessity of ratifying the treaty and we shall empower the Central Committee to declare war at any moment, because an attack against us is being prepared, perhaps from three sides; Britain or France wants to take Archangel from us—it is quite possible they will, but in any case we ought not to hamper our central institution in any way, whether in regard to breaking the peace treaty or in regard to declaring war. We are giving financial aid to the Ukrainians, we are helping them in so far as we can. In any case we must not bind ourselves to not signing any peace treaty. In an epoch of growing wars, coming one after the other, new combinations grow up. The peace treaty is entirely a matter of vital manoeuvring—either we stand by this condition of manoeuvring or we formally bind our hands in advance in such a way that it will be impossible to move; neither making peace nor waging war will be possible.


It seems to me that I have said: no, I cannot accept this. This amendment makes a hint, it expresses what Comrade Trotsky wants to say. There should be no hints in the resolution.

The first point says that we accept ratification of the treaty, considering it essential to utilise every, even the smallest, possibility of a breathing-space before imperialism attacks the Soviet Socialist Republic. In speaking of a breathing space, we do not forget that an attack on our Republic is still going on. There you have my opinion, which I stressed in my reply to the debate.