Vladimir Lenin

Letter To A Joint Session Of The All-Russia Central Executive Committee,

The Moscow Soviet And Representatives Of Factory Committees And Trade Unions

October 3, 1918[1]

Written: 3 October, 1918.
First Published 4 October, 1918 Pravda No. 213; Published according to the Pravda text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1974, pages 100-103
Translated (and edited): Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters
Online Version: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive, 2002

Germany is in the throes of a political crisis. The panicky bewilderment both of the government and of all the exploiting classes in general has become abundantly clear to the whole people. The hopelessness of the military situation and the lack of support for the ruling classes among the working people have been exposed at one go. This crisis means either that the revolution has begun or at any rate that the people have clearly realised it is inevitable and imminent.

The government has morally resigned and is in a state of hysterical indecision, wavering between a military dictatorship and a coalition cabinet. But a military dictatorship has, virtually speaking, been under test ever since the outbreak of the war, and now it has ceased to he feasible because the army has become unreliable. And the admission of Scheidemann and Co. to the cabinet would only hasten the revolutionary outburst and make it more widespread, more conscious, more firm and determined after the thorough exposure of the pitiful impotence of these lackeys of the bourgeoisie, of these corrupt individuals, who are just like our Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, like the Hendersons and Sidney Webbs in Britain, the Albert Thomas and Renaudels in France, and so on.

The crisis in Germany has only begun. It will inevitably end in the transfer of political power to the German proletariat. The Russian proletariat is following events with the keenest attention and enthusiasm. Now even the blindest workers in the various countries will see that the Bolsheviks were right in basing their whole tactics on the support of the world workers’ revolution, and in not fearing to bear all sorts of heavy sacrifices. Today even the most ignorant will see how unspeakably vile the betrayal of socialism by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries was when they formed an alliance with the predatory British and French bourgeoisie, ostensibly to secure the annulment of the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty. And the Soviet government will certainly not help the German imperialists by attempting to violate the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty, to tear it up at a moment when the anti-imperialist forces in Germany are beginning to seethe and boil, and when the spokesmen for the German bourgeoisie are beginning to excuse themselves to their people for having concluded such a peace treaty, and to search for a way of “changing” their policy.

But the workers of Russia are not merely following events with attention and enthusiasm. They are demanding that everything be done to help the German workers, who have the gravest trials ahead of them, a most difficult transition from slavery to freedom, a most stubborn struggle against their own and British imperialism. The defeat of German imperialism will for a while have the effect of increasing the insolence, brutality, reaction, and annexatory attempts of British and French imperialism.

The Bolshevik working class of Russia has always been internationalist in action, unlike those scoundrels, the heroes and leaders of the Second International, who either resorted to outright betrayal by forming an alliance with their bourgeoisie, or tried, by phrase-mongering and excuses (as Kautsky, Otto Bauer and Co. did), to avoid revolution, and opposed all bold and great revolutionary action, all sacrifice of narrow national interests for the sake of furthering the workers’ revolution.

The Russian workers will understand that very soon they will have to make the greatest sacrifices in the cause of internationalism. The time is approaching when circumstances may require us to come to the aid of the German people, who are struggling for their liberation from their own imperialism, against British and French imperialism.

Let us begin to prepare at once. Let us show that the Russian worker is capable of working much harder, of fighting and dying much more self-sacrificingly, when the world workers’ revolution is at stake, as well as the Russian revolution.

First of all, let us multiply our efforts in storing up grain stocks. Let us resolve that every large elevator will put aside some grain to help the German workers should they be hard pressed in their struggle for emancipation from the imperialist monsters and brutes. Let every Party organisation, every trade union, every factory and workshop, etc., form special connections with several rural areas of their own selection with the object of strengthening the alliance with the peasants, helping and enlightening them, vanquishing the kulaks, and gathering up all surpluses of grain to the last ounce.

Let us, similarly, multiply our efforts in creating a proletarian Red Army. The turning-point has arrived- we all know it, we all see and feel it. The workers and labouring peasants have had a respite from the horrors of imperialist slaughter, they have realised and learnt from experience that war must be waged against the oppressors in defence of the gains of their revolution, the revolution of the working people, of their government, the Soviet government. An army is being created, a Red Army of workers and poor peasants, who are prepared to make any sacrifice in defending socialism. The army is growing in strength and is being tempered in battle with the Czechs and whiteguards. A firm foundation has been laid, and we must now hurry to erect the edifice itself.

We had decided to have an army of one million men by the spring; now we need an army of three million. We can have it. And we shall have it.

In these past few days world history has given tremendous momentum to the world workers’ revolution. The most kaleidoscopic changes are possible, there may be attempts to form an alliance between German and Anglo-French imperialism against the Soviet government.

And we too must speed up our preparations. We must multiply our efforts.

Let this be the slogan for the anniversary of the Great October Workers’ Revolution!

Let it be a pledge to the coming victories of the world workers’ revolution!

N. Lenin


[1] The letter was read at a joint session of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, the Moscow Soviet and representatives of factory committees and trade unions held on October 3 on Lenin’s proposal in connection with the political crisis in Germany. The resolution adopted at the session incorporated the main ideas contained in Lenin’s letter.