V. I. Lenin

Draft Wireless Message To The Government Of The German Reich[1]

Delivered: 18 February, 1918
First Published: 19 February, 1918 in Pravda No. 30 (evening edition).
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 26, 1972, pp. 525
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna, Edited by George Hanna
Transcription & HTML Markup: Charles Farrell and David Walters
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive December, 2000


The Council of People's Commissars lodges a protest over the German Government's movement of troops against the Russian Soviet Republic, which had declared the state of war ended and had started to demobilise its army on all fronts. The Workers' and Peasants' Government of Russia could not have expected such a step, especially since neither of the parties to the armistice had, directly or indirectly, made any announcement either on February 10, or at any other time, that the armistice was at an end, as both parties to the treaty of December 2 (15), 1917 had undertaken to do.

The Council of People's Commissars finds itself forced, in the situation that has arisen, to declare its readiness formally to conclude peace on the terms the German Government demanded at Brest-Litovsk.

At the same time, the Council of People's Commissars expresses its readiness, if the German Government should formulate its precise peace terms, to reply within 12 hours whether or not these terms are acceptable.


[1] The wireless message to the Government of the German Reich was sent to Berlin on the morning of February 19 on behalf of the Council of People's Commissars. But the German Government's reply, containing even harsher peace terms, was handed to the Soviet courier only on February 22 and was received in Petrograd on the morning of February 23; it demanded that the new peace terms should be studied within 48 hours. The Germans, while delaying their own reply, continued their offensive, and in those few days covered a great deal of territory; they occupied a number of towns and came within striking distance of Petrograd.