V.I. Lenin

The Socialist Fatherland is in Danger![1]

Written: February 21, 1918
First Published: Pravda No. 32. Published according to the Pravda text
Source:Lenin's Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 27, 1972, pp. 30-33
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

In order to save this exhausted and ravaged country from new ordeals of war we decided to make a very great sacrifice and informed the Germans of our readiness to sign their terms of peace. Our truce envoys left Rezhitsa for Dvinsk in the evening on February 20 (7), and still there is no reply. The German Government is evidently in no hurry to reply. H obviously does not want peace. Fulfilling the task with which it has been charged by the capitalists of all countries, German militarism wants to strangle the Russian and Ukrainian workers and peasants, to return the land to the landowners, the mills and factories to the bankers, and power to the monarchy. The German generals want to establish their “order” in Petrograd and Kiev. The Socialist Republic of Soviets is in gravest danger. Until the proletariat of Germany rises and triumphs, it is the sacred duty of the workers and peasants of Russia devotedly to defend the Republic of Soviets against the hordes of bourgeois-imperialist Germany. The Council of People's Commissars resolves: (1) The country's entire manpower and resources are placed entirely at the service of revolutionary defence. (2) All Soviets and revolutionary organisations are ordered to defend every position to the last drop of blood. (3) Railway organisations and the Soviets associated with them must do their utmost to prevent the enemy from availing himself of the transport system; in the event of a retreat, they are to destroy the tracks and blow up or burn down the railway buildings; all rolling stock-carriages and locomotives-must be immediately dispatched eastward, into the interior of the country. (4) All grain and food stocks generally, as well as all valuable property in danger of falling into the enemy's hands, must be unconditionally destroyed; the duty of seeing that this is done is laid upon the local Soviets and their chairmen are made personally responsible. (5) The workers and peasants of Petrograd, Kiev, and of all towns, townships, villages and hamlets along the line of the new front are to mobilise battalions to dig trenches, under the direction of military experts. (6) These battalions are to include all able-bodied members of the bourgeois class, men and women, under the supervision of Red Guards; those who resist are to be shot. (7) All publications which oppose the cause of revolutionary defence and side with the German bourgeoisie, or which endeavour to take advantage of the invasion of the imperialist hordes in order to overthrow Soviet rule, are to be suppressed; able-bodied editors and members of the staffs of such publications are to be mobilised for the digging, of trenches or for other defence work. (8) Enemy agents, profiteers, marauders, hooligans, counter-revolutionary agitators and German spies are to be shot on the spot.

Classification of .

The socialist fatherland is in danger! Long live the socialist fatherland! Long live the international socialist revolution!

Council of People’s Commissars
February 21, 1918


[1] This decree was passed by the Council of People’s Commissars on February 21, 1918 and Published February 22 in Pravda and Izvestia TsIK. It was also issued as a separate pamphlet.