From New International, Vol. II No. 1, January 1935, p. 27.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
IN THE standard indictment of “anti-Leninism” against Leon Trotsky is contained the charge that he opposed signing the Brest-Litovsk treaty proposed in 1918 by the Germans. The latest volume of Lenin’s collected works (German edition) to arrive here enables us for the first time to present also the standpoint of Stalin in the question of signing the treaty following the outrageous conditions put to Russia by the Germans. The minutes of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party on February 23, 1918, record Stalin as saying: “We do not need to sign, but we can begin peace negotiations.” After Lenin had threatened to withdraw from the government and the Central Committee unless the treaty was signed, he made the following remarks in the course of which he replied to Stalin:
“Reproaches have been made against me because of the Ultimatum. I put it forward only in the extremest case. When our CC members talk about an international civil war, that is a mockery. We have the civil war in Russia, but not in Germany. Our agitation is going further, but we are not agitating with words but with the revolution. And that remains. Stalin is wrong when he says that we do not need to sign. We must sign these conditions. If you do not do this, then you will sign the death warrant of the Soviet power in three weeks. These conditions do not infringe upon the Soviet power. I do not waver in the slightest. I do not put the ultimatum in order to withdraw it again. I want no revolutionary phrase. The German revolution has not yet matured. That requires months. The conditions must be accepted. If a new ultimatum then comes, we shall have a new situation.” (Lenin, Sämtliche Werke, Vol. XXII, p. 297.)
Last updated on 26 February 2016