Trotsky picture

Leon Trotsky

The War
the International

(The Bolsheviks and World Peace)


Transcribed for the Trotsky Internet Archive,
now part of the Marxists’ Internet Archive,
by David Walters in 1996



Introduction, by Lincoln Steffens

PART I (100K)

Author’s Preface

CHAPTER I. The Balkan Question

CHAPTER II. Austria-Hungary

CHAPTER III. The War Against Czarism

Notes for Part I

Glossary for Part I


CHAPTER IV. The War Against the West

CHAPTER V. The War of Defence

CHAPTER VI. What Have Socialists to do with Capitalist Wars?

CHAPTER VII. The Collapse of the International

Notes for Part II

Glossary for Part II


CHAPTER VIII. Socialist Opportunism

CHAPTER IX. The Decline of the Revolutionary Spirit

CHAPTER X. Working Class Imperialism

CHAPTER XI. The Revolutionary Epoch

APPENDIX: Introduction to the American Edition

The Zimmerwald Manifesto

Two Declarations of the The Zimmerwald Manifesto

An Open Letter to Jules Guesde

Notes for Part III

Glossary for Part III


On-Line Editor’s Note:

This pamphlet was written in 1914 during Trotsky’s two month stay in Zurich. He had arrived there rather hurriedly from Vienna which he left on the evening of August 3rd, the day Germany declared war against France. It was published serially in Russia in Martov’s Paris paper Golos from November 1914 onwards. Issued in German under the title Der Krieg und die Internationale, it earned him a prison sentence in absentia in Germany.

An English edition was published in America under the title The Bolsheviki and World Peace by Boni & Liveright, New York, 1918 (With an introduction by Lincoln Steffens.)

In February 1918, the International Socialist Review, published by the Socialist Party of America, reproduced Trotsky’s Preface with the following note:

Comrade Trotsky was preparing an article for the Review when the revolution came up in Russia, compelling him to drop everything and return. Review readers will appreciate our disappointment and later on our joy in reading the inspiring record our comrade has made during the past few months.”

With regard to the booklet, the editors wrote:

“Every revolutionary socialist in America will want to read and re-read his new book entitled The Bolsheviki and World Peace.”

This issue of the Review proved to be the last, for the administration of President Wilson barred the magazine from the post and compelled it to cease publication. [1]

President Wilson had, however, already read the booklet by calling for the proof sheets from the publishers. Some of Trotsky’s phraseology (which would sound fine and liberal) he used in his own peace program: No reparations, self-determination of nations, United States of Europe, etc. Trotsky heard of this from Charles Boni himself, in 1931, when the publisher visited Trotsky in exile at Principo. [2]

Much of Trotsky’s prolific literary output during the war years remains untranslated into English. We gather that these writings fill many of the volumes of his collected works in Russian. [3]

This does not mean that his views were different from those of the Bolsheviks. Zinoviev wrote in reference to this booklet that it posed the question correctly on all fundamental issues. [4]

This on-line edition contains Lincoln Steffens’ introduction to the American Edition, a note by Trotsky on the history of this booklet, The Zimmerwald Manifesto and his Open Letter to Jules Guesde.

In addition this version follows in structure a 1971 uncopyrighted edition published by Wesley Press for the British Young Socialists which in turn follows the Boni & Liveright publication. The Wesley Press edition was entitled only The War and the International since the Young Socialists wanted to to use the orginal name of the document and Trotsky was not a member of the Bolshevik Party in 1915.

Trotsky’s own notes flow throughout the text, are in a slightly smaller print size and colored in a dark maroon so as to easily distiquish it from the document as a whole.

This on-line version of The War and the International is broken up into 3 parts, each approximatly 100K in size to facilitate the downloading from the World Wide Web to your computer. Each section, while containing only those referenced footnotes (all footnotes references are linked to the actual footnote for easy accessibility) from the Wesley Press edition, also contains a glossary (also linked) of names tailored for each of the three parts of this document.

Lastly, each of the three Parts to The War and the International has a complete table of contents for each individual chapter.

David Walters


1. International Socialist Review, N.Y. Summer 1956, p. 106 (p. iii)

2. Alfred Rosmer: Trotsky in Paris During World War 1, New International, Sept-–Oct. 1950, p. 270. (p. iii)

3. Gankin and Fisher: The Bolsheviks and the War, Stanford 1940, p. 747 (p. iii)

4. Leon Trotsky: The Stalin School of Falsification, p. 152 (p. iv)

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Last updated on: 23 July 2018