The Women of Germany
to the Women of Great Britain

Reply of the German Socialist Women to the Manifesto
of the Women’s International Council
of Socialist and Labour Organisations (British Section)

(January 1915)

From The Labour Woman, Vol.II No.9, January 1915, front page.
Thanks to John Partington.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Dear Comrades,

Your message of faith and friendship has reached Germany through the good offices of the comrades in Holland, Norway and Sweden. We now thank you and them with all our hearts for this inspiring proof of international socialist solidarity. You are thanked by the women comrades of all countries, and especially of those in the nations at war, not least among them by the German Social Democrats.

How strong the bands are which bind us all together, and to you, dear comrades, we are learning from the very time of awful murder, which seems to have loosened and torn asunder all the bonds which used to hold the peoples together; this time, when it seems as if all the majestic ideals for which we worked together have taken flight. A message like yours is a source of strength for all women who are filled with a keen desire to do their duty as witnesses for Socialism. It reminds us that we are one in our best endeavours, and that we are determined to bear our ideals inviolate through the storms of this time.

You may rest, assured that we are at one with you in execrating the present world war as the most awful crime which capitalist Imperialism has committed.

We share your deep sympathy for the sufferings of the lands which have been laid waste by this bloody strife. We think with deep grief of the horrors of devastation East Prussia and Galicia, and with no less pain of the disaster which stalks along the roads of France, and which in unhappy Belgium has caused a wicked breach of International Law. We join with you in demanding what we claim for ourselves in every land as a matter of course: the safety and inviolability of our native lands, the integrity of national autonomy and independence. We share your conviction that no diplomatic intrigues, no militarist governments, no provocation on the part of jingo patriots should divide the working men and women of the world. We unite our wills to yours and march on together in the fiught for peace. Together with you, we shall unceasingly strive against the exploitation and oppression of Labour by Property. Nothing can make us doubt that the struggle for the freedom of the working people is at the same time the most fruitful preparation, and the truest surety for the peace of nations the whole world round. Does not this very war remind us that the class cleavage between exploiters and exploited in the nations is the root of that enmity which is the first cause of this war between the peoples.

We socialist women of all nations recognise Imperialism as the foe which is now driving on the peoples to fight each other, in order to exhaust and enslave them. There is no possibility of any compact between imperialism and socialism. Therefore it is our fixed determination to give all the strength of our wills and all the ardour of our hearts to make socialism triumph over imperialism. Such a great historical event as that, this war teaches us, is only possible with the socialist international as a foundation, only when the exploited of all lands stand together against their exploiters and masters. Socialism will triumph over imperialism, and with it also over capitalism, when men and women of the working class have resolved to bring to the defence of their own interests and the realisation of their aims as much power, passion and inspiration, and to make as great sacrifices of life and property, as imperialism now demands for its own ends.

Women comrades of Great Britain, your sisters in all countries rejoice with proud satisfaction to know that, as your message shows, we stand together unshaken and estimate the violent events of this time from a socialist standpoint. we stand together in sisterly sympathy for all those who are sufering from these events, and with an unshaken determination to fulfil faithfully our duty as socialists, and not to be led astray when the international enemies of the peoples seek to deceive us, nor to be alarmed by the thrat of danger and persecution. Far over the battlefields, with their unspeakable horrors, we stretch out to you our hands with deep emotion, and send you our most heartfelt greetings.

On with international socialism!

Hurrah for the socialist women’s international!

(Signed) Clara Zetkin,
International Secretary of Socialist Women

Last updated on 29.12.2008