Sino-Soviet Split Document Archive
Transcription: Maoist Documentation Project.
HTML: Adjusted by marxists.org, April 2010.
November 19, 1963
The whole world is discussing the question of war and peace.
The criminal system of imperialism has brought upon the people of the world numerous wars, including two disastrous world wars. Wars launched by imperialism have caused the people heavy suffering, but have also educated them.
Since World War II, people everywhere have been vigorously demanding world peace. More and more people have come to understand that to defend world peace it imperative to wage struggles against the imperialist policies of aggression and war.
Marxist-Leninists throughout the world are duty bound to treasure the peace sentiments of the people and to stand in the forefront of the struggle for world peace. They are duty bound to struggle against the imperialists' policies of aggression and war, to expose their deceptions and defeat their plans for war. They are duty bound to educate the people, raise their political consciousness and guide the struggle for world peace in the proper direction.
In contrast to the Marxist-Leninists, the modern revisionists help the imperialists to deceive the people, divert the people's attention, weaken and undermine their struggle against imperialism and cover up the imperialists' plans for a new world war, thus meeting the needs of imperialist policy.
The Marxist-Leninist line on the question of war and peace is diametrically opposed to the revisionist line.
The Marxist-Leninist line is the correct line conducive to the winning of world peace. It is the line consistently upheld by all Marxist-Leninist parties, including the Communist Party of China, and by all Marxist-Leninists.
The revisionist line is a wrong line which serves to increase the danger of a new war. It is the line gradually developed by the leaders of the CPSU since its 20th Congress.
On the question of war and peace many lies slandering the Chinese Communists have been fabricated in the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU and in numerous statements by the leaders of the CPSU, but these cannot conceal the essence of the differences.
In what follows we shall analyse the main differences between the Marxist-Leninist and the modern revisionist lines on the question of war and peace.
Ever since capitalism evolved into imperialism, the question of war and peace has been a vital one in the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism.
Imperialism is the source of wars in modern times. The imperialists alternately use a deceptive policy of peace and a policy of war. They often cover their crimes of aggression and their preparations for a new war with lies about peace.
Lenin and Stalin tirelessly called upon the people of all countries to combat the peace frauds of the imperialists.
Lenin said that the imperialist governments "pay lip service to peace and justice, but in fact wage annexationist and predatory wars". (Lenin, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1952, Vol. II, Part 1, p. 332.)
Stalin said that the imperialists "have only one aim in resorting to pacifism: to dupe the masses with high sounding phrases about peace in order to prepare for a new war". (Stalin, Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1953, Vol. VI, p. 297.) He also said:
Many think that imperialist pacifism is an instrument of peace. That is absolutely wrong. Imperialist pacifism is an instrument for the preparation of war and for disguising this preparation by hypocritical talk of peace. Without this pacifism and its instrument, the League of Nations, preparation for war in the conditions of today would be impossible. (Ibid., Vol. XI, p. 209)
In contrast to Lenin and Stalin, the revisionists of the Second International, who were renegades from the working class, helped the imperialists to deceive the people and became their accomplices in unleashing the two World Wars.
Before World War I, the revisionists represented by Bernstein and Kautsky endeavoured by hypocritical talk about peace to paralyse the revolutionary fighting will of people and cover up the imperialist plans for a world war.
As World War I was breaking out, the old revisionists speedily shed their peace masks, sided with their respective imperialist governments, supported the imperialist war for the redivision of the world, voted for military appropriations in parliament, and incited the working class of their own countries to plunge into the war and slaughter their class brothers in other countries the hypocritical slogan of "defending the motherland".
When the imperialists needed an armistice in their own interests, the revisionists typified by Kautsky tried to poison people's minds and to oppose revolution by such glib talk as "nothing would make me happier than a conciliatory peace based on the principle, 'Live and let live'".
After World War I, the renegade Kautsky and his successors became still more brazen trumpeters of the imperialists' peace frauds.
The revisionists of the Second International spread a pack of lies on the question of war and peace.
1. They prettified imperialism and turned the minds of the people away from their struggles. Kautsky said, "... the danger to world peace from imperialism is only slight. The greater danger appears to come from the national strivings in the East and from the various dictatorships."  Thus people were asked to believe that the source of war was not imperialism but the oppressed nations of the East and the Soviet state, the great bulwark of peace.
2. They helped the imperialists cover up the danger of a new war and blunted the fighting will of the people. Kautsky said in 1928, "If today you keep on talking loudly about the dangers of imperialist war, you are relying on a traditional formula and not on present-day considerations."  Old revisionists of his brand described those believing in the inevitability of imperialist wars as "committed to a fatalistic conception of history".
3. They intimidated the people with the notion that war would destroy mankind. Kautsky said, "... the next war will not only bring want and misery, but will basically put an end to civilization and, at least in Europe, will leave behind nothing but smoking ruins and putrefying corpses."  These old revisionists said, "The last war brought the entire world to the brink of the precipice; the next one would destroy it completely. The mere preparation for a new war would ruin the world."  4. They made no distinction between just and unjust wars and forbade revolution. Kautsky said in 1914:
... in present-day conditions, there is no such thing as a war which is not a misfortune for nations in general and for the proletariat in particular. What we discussed was the means by which we could prevent a threatening war, and not which wars are useful and which harmful. 
He also said:
The yearning for perpetual peace increasingly inspires the majority of cultured nations. It temporarily pushes the essentially great problem of our times into the background.... 
5. They propagated the theory that weapons decide everything and they opposed revolutionary armed struggle. Kautsky said:
As has been often stated, one of the reasons why the coming revolutionary struggles will more rarely be fought out by military means lies in the colossal superiority in armaments of the armies of modern states over the arms which are at the disposal of "civilians" and which usually render any resistance on the part of the latter hopeless from the very outset. 
6. They spread the absurd theory that world peace can be safeguarded and equality of nations achieved through disarmament. Bernstein said:
Peace on earth and good will to all men! We should not pause or rest and must attend to the unhindered advance of society towards prosperity in the interests of all, towards equality of rights among nations through international agreement and disarmament. 
7. They spread the fallacy that the money saved from disarmament can be used to assist backward countries. Kautsky said:
... the lighter the burden of military expenditures in Western Europe, the greater the means available for building railways in China, Persia, Turkey, South America etc., and these public works are a far more effective means of promoting industrial development than the building of dreadnoughts. 
8. They submitted schemes for the "peace strategy" of the imperialists. Kautsky said:
The nations of civilised Europe (and likewise the Americans) can maintain peace in the Near and Far East more effectively through their economic and intellectual resources than through ironclads and planes. 
9. They extolled the League of Nations which was controlled by the imperialists. Kautsky said:
The mere existence of the League of Nations is itself already a great achievement for the cause of peace. It represents a lever for the preservation of peace such as no other institution can offer.
10. They spread the illusion that reliance could be placed on U.S. imperialism to defend world peace. Kautsky said:
Today the United States is the strongest power in the world and will make the League of Nations irresistible as soon as it works inside it or with it to prevent war. 
Lenin ruthlessly exposed the ugly features of Kautsky and his ilk. He pointed out that the pacifist phrases of the revisionists of the Second International were only "a solace to the people, a means which makes it easier for the governments to bring about the docility of the people in further imperialist slaughter!" (Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russian ed., Moscow, Vol. XXIII, p. 224.) Stalin pointed out:
And the most important thing in all this is that Social-Democracy is the main channel of imperialist pacifism within the working class -- consequently, it is capitalism's main support among the working class in preparing for new wars and intervention. (Stalin op. cit., Vol. XI, p. 210.)
Even a cursory comparison of Comrade Khrushchov's statements on the question
of war and peace with those of Bernstein, Kautsky and others shows that there
is nothing new in his views, which are a mere reproduction of the revisionism
of the Second International. On the question of war and peace, which has
a bearing on the destiny of mankind, Khrushchov is following in the footsteps
of Bernstein and Kautsky. As history shows, this is a road extremely dangerous
to world peace. In order effectively to defend world peace and prevent a
new world war, Marxist-Leninists and peace-loving people all over the world
must reject and oppose Khrushchov's erroneous line.
There is no bigger lie than the designation of the arch enemy of world peace as a peace-loving angel.
Since World War II, U.S. imperialism, stepping into the shoes of the German, Italian and Japanese fascists, has been endeavouring to set up a vast world empire such as has never been known before. The "global strategy" of U.S. imperialism has been to grab and dominate the intermediate zone lying between the United States and the socialist camp, put down the revolutions of the oppressed peoples and nations, proceed to destroy the socialist countries, and thus to dominate the whole world.
In the eighteen years since the end of World War II, in order to realize its ambition of world domination, U.S. imperialism has been carrying on aggressive wars or counter-revolutionary armed interventions in various parts of the world and has been actively preparing for a new world war.
It is obvious that imperialism remains the source of modern wars and that U.S. imperialism is the main force of aggression and war in the contemporary world. This has been clearly affirmed in both the 1957 Declaration the 1960 Statement.
Yet the leaders of the CPSU hold that the chief representatives of U.S. imperialism love peace. They say that a "reasonable" group has emerged capable of soberly assessing the situation. And Eisenhower and Kennedy are representatives of this "reasonable" group.
Khrushchev praised Eisenhower as one who "enjoys the absolute confidence of his people", who "has a sincere desire for peace" and who "also worries about ensuring peace just as we do".
Now Khrushchov praises Kennedy as even better qualified to shoulder the responsibility of preserving world peace than was Eisenhower. He showed "solicitude for the preservation of peace", and it is reasonable to expect him to "create reliable conditions for a peaceful life and creative labour on earth".
Khrushchov works as hard as the revisionists of the Second International at telling lies about imperialism and prettifying it.
The Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU asks those who do not believe in these lies: "Do they really think that all bourgeois governments lack reason in everything they do?" Obviously, the leaders of the CPSU ignore the ABC of Marxism-Leninism. In a class society there is no reason that can transcend class. The proletariat has proletarian reason and the bourgeoisie bourgeois reason. Reason connotes that one must be good at formulating policies in the fundamental interests of one's own class and at taking actions according to one's basic class stand. The reason of Kennedy and his like lies in acting according to the fundamental interests of U.S. monopoly capital, and it is imperialist reason.
At a time when the international balance of class forces is becoming increasingly unfavourable to imperialism and the U.S. imperialist policies of aggression and war are meeting with constant setbacks, the U.S. imperialists have to disguise themselves more frequently under the cloak of peace.
It is true that Kennedy is rather clever at spinning words about peace and employing peace tactics. But as with his war policy, Kennedy's deceptive peace policy serves the "global strategy" of U.S. imperialism.
Kennedy's "strategy of peace" aims at unifying the whole world into the "world community of free nations" rooted in U.S. S. imperialist "law and justice".
The main points of Kennedy's "strategy of peace" are:
To promote U.S. neo-colonialism in Asia, Africa and Latin America by peaceful means;
To penetrate and dominate other imperialist and capitalist countries by peaceful means;
To encourage by peaceful means the socialist countries to take the Yugoslav road of "peaceful evolution";
To weaken and undermine by peaceful means the struggle of the people of the world against imperialism.
In his recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Kennedy arrogantly announced the following conditions for peace between the United States and the Soviet Union:
(1) The German Democratic Republic must be incorporated into West Germany.
(2) Socialist Cuba must not be allowed to exist.
(3) The socialist countries in Eastern Europe must be given "free choice", by which he means that capitalism must be restored in these countries.
(4) The socialist countries must not support the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations. To attain their aims by "peaceful means" wherever possible has been a customary tactic of imperialists and colonialists.
Reactionary classes always rely on two tactics to maintain their rule and to carry out foreign aggrandizement. One is the tactic of priest-like deception, the other that of butcher-like suppression. Imperialism always employs its deceptive policy of peace and its policy of war to reinforce each other, and they are complementary. The reason of Kennedy, who is the representative of U.S. monopoly capital, can express itself only in a more cunning use of these two tactics.
Violence is always the main tactic of reactionary ruling classes. Priest-like deception plays only a supplementary role. Imperialists always rely on positions of strength to carve out their spheres of influence. Kennedy has made this point very clear. He said, "In the end, the only way to maintain the peace is to be prepared in the final extreme to fight for our country--and to mean it." Since Kennedy took office, he has followed the "strategy of flexible response", which requires the speedy building of "versatile military forces" and the strengthening of "all-round power" so that the United States will be able to fight any kind of war it pleases, whether a general war or a limited war, whether a nuclear war or a conventional war, and whether a large war or a small war. This mad plan of Kennedy's has pushed U.S. arms expansion and war preparations to an unprecedented peak. Let us look at the following facts published by official U.S. sources:
1. The military expenditures of the U.S. Government have increased from 46,700 million dollars in the fiscal year 1960 to an estimated 60,000 million dollars in the fiscal year 1964, the highest total ever in peace time and greater than during the Korean war.
2. Kennedy recently declared that in the past two years and more there has been a 100 per cent increase in the number of nuclear weapons of the U.S. strategic alert forces and a 45 per cent increase in the number of of combat-ready army divisions, the procurement of airlift aircraft has been increased by 175 per cent and there has been an increase by nearly five times in the "special guerrilla and counter-insurgency forces".
3. The U.S. Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff has mapped out plans for nuclear war against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Robert S. McNamara, the U.S. Secretary of Defence, declared at the beginning of this year:
... we have provided, throughout the period under consideration, a capability to destroy virtually all of the "soft" [above-ground] and '"semi-hard" [semi-protected] military targets in the Soviet Union and a large number of their fully hardened missile sites, with an additional capability in the form of a protected force to be employed or held in reserve for use against urban and industrial areas.
The United States has strengthened its network of nuclear missile bases directed against the socialist camp and has greatly strengthened the disposition of its missile-equipped nuclear submarines abroad.
At the same time, the troops of the NATO bloc under U.S. command have pushed eastward this year and approached the borders of the German Democratic Republic and Czechoslovakia.
4. The Kennedy Administration has reinforced its Military dispositions in Asia, Latin America and Africa and made great efforts to expand the "special forces" of its land, sea and air services in order to cope with the people's revolutionary movement in those areas. The United States has turned southern Viet Nam into a proving ground for "special warfare" and increased its troops there to more than 16,000.
5. It has strengthened its war commands. It has set up a "U.S. Strike Command" which controls a combined land and air force maintaining high combat readiness in peace time, so that it can be readily sent to any place in the world to provoke wars. It has also set up national military command centres both above and below ground, and organized an Emergency Airborne Command Post operating from aircraft and an Emergency Sea Command Post operating from warships.
These facts demonstrate that the U.S. imperialists are the wildest militarists of modern times, the wildest plotters of a new world war, and the most ferocious enemy of world peace.
It is thus clear that the U. S. imperialists have not become beautiful angels
in spite of Khrushchov's bible reading and psalm-singing; they have not turned
into compassionate Buddhas in spite of Khrushchov's prayers and incense-burning.
However hard Khrushchov tries to serve the U.S. imperialists, they show not
the slightest appreciation. They continue to expose their own peace camouflage
by fresh and numerous activities of aggression and war, and thus they continue
to slap Khrushchov in the face and reveal the bankruptcy of his ridiculous
theories prettifying imperialism. The lot of the willing apologists of U.S.
imperialism is indeed a sorry one.
It is a fact that the imperialists headed by the United States are actively preparing a new world war and that the danger of such a war does exist. We should make this fact clear to the people.
But can a new world war be prevented?
The views of the Chinese Communists on this question have always been quite explicit.
After the conclusion of World War II, Comrade Mao Tse-tung scientifically analysed the post-war international situation and advanced the view that a new world war can be prevented.
Back in 1946, in his well-known talk with the American correspondent Anna Louise Strong, he said:
But the fact that the U.S. reactionaries are now trumpeting so loudly about a U.S.-Soviet war and creating a foul atmosphere, so soon after the end of World War II, compels us to take a look at their real aims. It turns out that under the cover of anti-Soviet slogans they are frantically attacking the workers and democratic circles in the United States and turning all the countries which are the targets of U.S. external expansion into U.S. dependencies. I think the American people and the peoples of all countries menaced by U.S. aggression should unite and struggle against the attacks of the U.S. reactionaries and their running dogs in these countries. Only by victory in this struggle can a third world war be avoided; otherwise it is unavoidable. (Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1961, p. 100.)
Comrade Mao Tse-tung's remarks were directed against a pessimistic appraisal of the international situation at the time. The imperialists headed by the United States, together with the reactionaries in various countries, were daily intensifying their anti-Soviet, anti-Communist and anti-popular activities and trumpeting that "war between the United States and the Soviet Union is inevitable" and that "the outbreak of a third world war is inevitable". The Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries gave this great publicity in order to intimidate the Chinese people. Frightened by such blackmail, some comrades became faint-hearted in the face of the armed attack launched by the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries with U.S. imperialist support and dared not firmly oppose the counter-revolutionary war with a revolutionary war. Comrade Mao Tse-tung held different views. He pointed out that a new world war could be prevented provided resolute and effective struggles were waged against world reaction. His scientific proposition was confirmed by the great victory of the Chinese Revolution. The victory of the Chinese Revolution brought about a tremendous change in the international balance of class forces. Comrade Mao Tse-tung pointed out in June 1950:
The menace of war by the imperialist camp still exists, the possibility of a third world war still exists. But the forces thwarting the danger of war and preventing a third world war are rapidly developing, and the political consciousness of the broad masses of the people of the world is rising. A new world war can be prevented provided the Communist Parties of the world keep on uniting and strengthening all the forces of peace and democracy that can be united. (Renmin Ribao, June 13, 1950.)
In November 1957, at the meeting of fraternal Parties, Comrade Mao Tse-tung made a detailed analysis of the changes in International relations since the end of World War II and showed that the international situation had reached a new turning point. He vividly depicted the situation with a metaphor from a classical Chinese novel -- "The east wind prevails over the west wind". He said, "It is characteristic of the situation today, I believe, that the East wind is prevailing over the West wind. That is to say, the forces of socialism are overwhelmingly superior to the forces of imperialism." (On Imperialism and all Reactionaries Are Paper Tigers.)
He arrived at this conclusion by an analysis of international class relations. He explicitly placed on the side of "the East wind" the socialist camp, the international working class, the Communist Parties, the oppressed people and nations and the peace-loving people and countries, while confining "the West wind" to the war forces of imperialism and reaction. The political meaning of this metaphor is very lucid and definite. The fact that the leaders of the CPSU and their followers are twisting is metaphor into a geographical or ethnical or meteorological concept only shows that they want to squeeze themselves into the ranks of the "West" in order to please the imperialists and to stir up chauvinism in Europe and North America.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung's main aim in stating that "the East wind prevails over the West wind" was to point to the growing possibility that a new world war could be prevented and that the socialist countries would be able to carry on their construction in a peaceful environment. These propositions of Comrade Mao Tse-tung have been and are the consistent views of the Communist Party of China.
It is thus clear that the leaders of the CPSU are deliberately concocting a lie in alleging that the Chinese Communist Party does "not believe in the possibility of preventing a new world war".
Again, it is clear that the thesis on the possibility of preventing a third world war was advanced by Marxist-Leninists long ago; it was not first put forward at the 20th Congress of the CPSU, nor is it Khrushchov's "creation".
Is it then true that Khrushchov has created nothing at all? No. He has created something. Unfortunately, these "creations" are by no means Marxist-Leninist, but revisionist.
First, Khrushchov has wilfully interpreted the possibility of preventing a new world war as the only possibility, holding that there is no danger of a new world war.
Marxist-Leninists hold that while pointing to the possibility of preventing a new world war, we must also call attention to the possibility that imperialism may unleash a world war. Only by pointing to both possibilities, pursuing correct policies and preparing for both eventualities can we effectively mobilize the masses to wage struggles in defence of world peace. Only thus will the socialist countries and people and other peace-loving countries and people not be caught unawares and utterly unprepared should imperialism force a world war on the people of the world.
However, Khrushchov and others are against exposing the danger of a new war which the imperialists are plotting. According to them, imperialism has actually become peace-loving. This is helping the imperialists to lull the masses and sap their fighting will so that they will lose their vigilance against the danger of the new war the imperialists are plotting.
Second, Khrushchov has wilfully interpreted the possibility of preventing a new world war as the possibility of preventing all wars, holding that the Leninist axiom that war is inevitable so long as imperialism exists is outmoded.
The possibility of preventing a new world war is one thing; the possibility of preventing all wars, including revolutionary wars, is another. And it is completely wrong to confuse the two.
There is soil for wars so long as imperialism and the system of exploitation of man by man exist. This is an objective law discovered by Lenin after abundant scientific study.
Stalin said in 1952 after indicating the possibility of preventing a new world war, "To eliminate the inevitability of war, it is necessary to abolish imperialism." (Stalin, Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., FLPH, Moscow, 1952, p. 41.)
Lenin and Stalin are right and Khrushchov is wrong. History shows that while the imperialists have succeeded in launching two world wars, they have waged numerous wars of other kinds. Since World War II, by their policies of aggression and war the imperialists headed by the United States have brought about ceaseless local wars and armed conflicts of every description in many places, and especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
It is clear that national liberation wars are inevitable when the imperialists, and the U.S. imperialists in particular, send their troops or use their lackeys to carry out sanguinary suppression of the oppressed nations and countries fighting for or upholding national independence.
To deny all possibility of national wars under imperialism is wrong in theory, obviously mistaken historically, and in practice is tantamount to European chauvinism. (Lenin, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1950, Vol. I, Part 2, p. 571.)
It is equally clear that revolutionary civil wars are inevitable when the bourgeois reactionaries suppress the people in their own countries by force of arms.
... civil wars are also wars. Whoever recognizes the class struggle cannot fail to recognize civil wars, which in every class society are the natural, and under certain conditions, inevitable continuation, development and intensification of the class struggle. All the great revolutions prove this. To repudiate civil war, or to forget about it, would mean sinking into extreme opportunism and renouncing the socialist revolution. (Lenin, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, Vol. I, Part 2, p. 571.)
Nearly all the great revolutions in history were made through revolutionary wars. The American War of Independence and Civil War are cases in point. The French Revolution is another example. The Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution are of course examples too. The revolutions in Viet Nam, Cuba, Algeria, etc. are also well-known examples.
In summing up the lessons of the Paris Commune in his speech commemorating the seventh anniversary of the founding of the First International in 1871, Marx mentioned the conditions for the elimination of class domination and class oppression. He said, "... before such a change can be consummated, a dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary, and its first premise is an army of the proletariat. The working class must win the right to its emancipation on the battlefield." (Marx and Engels, Works, German ed., Verlag Dietz, Berlin, 1962, Vol. 17, p. 433.)
In accordance with Marxist-Leninist theory, Comrade Mao Tse-tung advanced in 1938 the famous thesis that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun", when discussing the lessons of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions. This thesis, too, has now become a target of attack by the leaders of the CPSU. They say it is evidence of China's being "warlike".
Respected friends, slanders like yours were refuted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung as far back as twenty-five years ago:
According to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the chief component of state power. Whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army. Some people ridicule us as advocates of the "omnipotence of war". Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist. (Mao Tse-tung, Selected Military Writings, FLP, Peking, 1963, p. 273.)
What is wrong with Comrade Mao Tse-tung's remark? Only those who reject all the historical experience gained in the bourgeois and proletarian revolutions over the last few hundred years would reject this view of his.
With their guns, the Chinese people have created a socialist political power. All except imperialists and their lackeys can readily understand that this is a fine thing and that it is an important factor in safeguarding world peace and preventing a third world war.
Marxist-Leninists never conceal their views. We whole-heartedly support every people's revolutionary war. As Lenin said of such revolutionary war, "Of all the wars known in history it is the only lawful, rightful, just, and truly great war." (Lenin, Collected Works, FLPH, Moscow, Vol. VIII, p. 107.) If we are accused of being warlike simply because of this, it only goes to prove that we genuinely side with the oppressed peoples and nations and are true Marxist-Leninists.
The imperialists and revisionists always denounced the Bolsheviks and revolutionary leaders like Lenin and Stalin as being "warlike". The very fact that today we are likewise abused by imperialists and revisionists shows that we have been holding aloft the revolutionary banner of Marxism-Leninism.
Khrushchov and others vigorously propagate the view that all wars can be
prevented and "a world without weapons, without armed forces and without
wars" can be brought into being while imperialism still exists. This is nothing
but Kautsky's theory of "ultra-imperialism" which has long been bankrupt.
Their purpose is all too clear, it is to make the people believe that permanent
peace can be realized under imperialism and thereby to abolish revolution
and national liberation wars and revolutionary civil wars against imperialism
and its lackies, and in fact to help the imperialists in their preparations
for a new war.
The heart of the theory of the leaders of the CPSU on war and peace is their thesis that the emergence of nuclear weapons has changed everything and has changed the laws of class struggle.
The Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU says, "The nuclear rocket weapons that were created in the middle of our century changed the old notions about war." In what way were they changed?
The leaders of the CPSU hold that with the appearance of nuclear weapons there is no longer any difference between just and unjust wars. They say, "the atomic bomb does not adhere to the class principle" and that "the atomic bomb does not distinguish between the imperialists and working people, it hits big areas and therefore millions of workers would be destroyed per one monopolist".
They hold that with the appearance of nuclear weapons the oppressed peoples and nations must abandon revolution and refrain from waging just popular revolutionary wars and wars of national liberation, or else such wars would lead to the destruction of mankind. They say, "... any small 'local war' might spark off the conflagration of a world war" and "Today, any sort of war, though it may break out as an ordinary non-nuclear war, is likely to develop into a destructive nuclear-missile conflagration." Thus, "We will destroy our Noah's Ark --the globe".
The leaders of the CPSU hold that the socialist countries must not resist but must yield to imperialist nuclear blackmail and war threats. Khrushchov said:
There can be no doubt that a world nuclear war, if started by the imperialist maniacs, would inevitably result in the downfall of the capitalist system, a system breeding wars. But would the socialist countries and the cause of socialism all over the world benefit from a world nuclear disaster? Only people who deliberately shut their eyes to the facts can think so. As regards Marxist-Leninists, they cannot propose to establish a Communist civilisation on the ruins of centres of world culture, on land laid waste and contaminated by nuclear fall-out. We need hardly add that in the case of many peoples, the question of socialism would be eliminated altogether because they would have disappeared bodily from our planet.
In short, according to the leaders of the CPSU, with the emergence of nuclear weapons, the contradiction between the socialist and the imperialist camps, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries, and the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism have all disappeared. The world no longer has any class contradictions. They regard the contradictions in the contemporary world as boiling down to a single contradiction, that is, their fictitious contradiction between the so-called common survival of imperialism and the oppressed classes and nations on the one hand and their total destruction on the other.
As far as they are concerned, Marxism-Leninism, the Declaration and the Statement, and socialism and communism have all been cast to the winds.
How frankly Pravda puts it! "What is the use of principles if one's head is chopped off?"
This is tantamount to saying that the revolutionaries who died under the sabres of the reactionaries for the victory of the Russian revolutions, the October Revolution, the warriors who bravely gave up their lives in the Anti-Fascist War, the heroes who shed their blood in the struggle against imperialism and for national independence and the martyrs to the revolutionary cause through the ages were all fools. Why should they have given up their heads for adherence to principle?
This is the philosophy of out-and-out renegades. It is a shameless statement, to be found only in the confessions of renegades.
Guided by this theory of nuclear fetishism and nuclear blackmail, the leaders of the CPSU maintain that the way to defend world peace is not for all existing peace forces to unite and form the broadest united front against U.S. imperialism and its lackeys but for the two nuclear powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, to co-operate in settling the world's problems.
Khrushchov has said:
We [the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.] are the strongest countries in the world and if we unite for peace there can be no war. Then if any madman wanted war, we would but have to shake our fingers to warn him off.
It is thus apparent to everybody how far the leaders of the CPSU have gone in regarding the enemy as their friend.
In order to cover up their error, the leaders of the CPSU have not hesitated to attack the correct line of the CPC by lies and slanders. They assert that by advocating support for the peoples' wars of national liberation and revolutionary civil wars the Communist Party of China wants to provoke a nuclear world war.
This is a curious lie.
The Communist Party of China has always held that the socialist countries should actively support the peoples' revolutionary struggles, including wars of national liberation and revolutionary civil wars. To fail to do so would be to renounce their proletarian internationalist duty. At the same time, we hold that the oppressed peoples and nations can achieve liberation only by their own resolute revolutionary struggle and that no one else can do it for them.
We have always maintained that socialist countries must not use nuclear weapons to support the peoples' wars of national liberation and revolutionary civil wars and have no need to do so.
We have always maintained that the socialist countries must achieve and maintain nuclear superiority. Only this can prevent the imperialists from launching a nuclear war and help bring about the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.
We consistently hold that in the hands of a socialist country, nuclear weapons must always be defensive weapons for resisting imperialist nuclear threats. A socialist country absolutely must not be the first to use nuclear weapons, nor should it in any circumstances play with them or engage in nuclear blackmail and nuclear gambling.
We are opposed both to the wrong practice on the part of the leaders of the CPSU of withholding support from the revolutionary struggles of the peoples and to their wrong approach to nuclear weapons. Instead of examining their own errors, they accuse us of hoping for a "head-on clash" between the Soviet Union and the United States and trying to push them into a nuclear war.
Our answer is: No, friends. You had better cut out your sensation-mongering calumny. The Chinese Communist Party is firmly opposed to a "head-on clash" between the Soviet Union and the United States, and not in words only. In deeds too it has worked hard to avert direct armed conflict between them. Examples of this are the Korean war against U.S. aggression in which we fought side by side with the Korean comrades and our struggle against the United States in the Taiwan Straits. We ourselves preferred to shoulder the heavy sacrifices necessary and stood in the first line of defence of the socialist camp so that the Soviet Union might stay in the second line. Have the leaders of the CPSU any sense of proletarian morality when they concoct such lies?
In fact, it is not we but the leaders of the CPSU who have frequently boasted that they would use nuclear weapons to help the anti-imperialist struggle of one country or another.
As everyone knows, the oppressed peoples and nations have no nuclear weapons and they cannot use them to make revolutions, nor is there any need for them to do so. The leaders of the CPSU admit that there is often no clear battle line between the two sides in national liberation wars and civil wars, and therefore the use of nuclear weapons is out of the question. We should then like to ask the leaders of the CPSU: What need is there for a socialist country to support the peoples' revolutionary struggles by nuclear weapons?
We should also like to ask them: How would a socialist country use nuclear weapons to support the revolutionary struggle of an oppressed people or nation? Would it use nuclear weapons on an area where a war of national liberation or a revolutionary civil war was in progress, thereby subjecting both the revolutionary people and the imperialists to a nuclear strike? Or would it be the first to use nuclear weapons against an imperialist country which was waging a conventional war of aggression elsewhere? Obviously, in either case it is absolutely impermissible for a socialist country to use nuclear weapons.
The fact is that when the leaders of the CPSU brandish their nuclear weapons, it is not really to support the people's anti-imperialist struggles.
Sometimes, in order to gain cheap prestige, they just publish empty statements which they never intend to honour.
At other times, during the Caribbean crisis for instance, they engage in speculative, opportunistic and irresponsible nuclear gambling for ulterior motives.
As soon as their nuclear blackmail is seen through and is countered in kind, they retreat one step after another, switch from adventurism to capitulationism and lose all by their nuclear gambling.
We wish to point out that the great Soviet people and Red Army have been and remain a great force safeguarding world peace. But Khrushchov's military ideas based on nuclear fetishism and nuclear blackmail are entirely wrong.
Khrushchov sees only nuclear weapons. According to him, "The present level of military technique being what it is, the Air Force and the Navy have lost their former importance. These arms are being replaced and not reduced."
Of course, those units and men having combat duties on the ground are even less significant. According to him, "In our time, a country's defensive capacity is not determined by the number of men under arms, of men in uniform. ... a country's defence potential depends in decisive measure on the fire-power and the means of delivery that country commands."
As for the militia and the people, they are still more inconsequential. Khrushchov has made the well-known remark that for those now having modern weapons at their disposal, the militia is not an army but just human flesh.
Khrushchov's whole set of military theories runs completely counter to Marxist-Leninist teachings on war and the army. To follow his wrong theories will necessarily involve disintegrating the army and disarming oneself morally.
Obviously, if any socialist country should accept Khrushchov's erroneous military strategy, it would inevitably place itself in a most dangerous position.
Khrushchov may confer on himself such titles as "a great peace champion",
award himself a peace prize and pin heroes' medals on himself, but no matter
how much he may praise himself, he will not be able to cover up his dangerous
practice of recklessly playing with nuclear weapons or his fawning before
imperialist nuclear blackmail.
World peace can be won only through struggle by the people of all countries and not by begging the imperialists for it. Peace can be effectively safeguarded only by relying on the masses of the people and waging a tit-for-tat struggle against the imperialist policies of aggression and war. This is the correct policy.
Tit-for-tat struggle is an important conclusion drawn by the Chinese people from their prolonged struggle against imperialism and its lackeys.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung said:
Chiang Kai-shek always tries to wrest every ounce of power and every ounce of gain from the people, And we? Our policy is to give him tit for tat and to fight for every inch of land. We act after his fashion, (Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 14.)
He always tries to impose war on the people, one sword in his left hand and another in his right. We take up swords, too, following his example. (Ibid.)
Analysing the domestic political situation in 1945, Comrade Mao Tse-tung said:
How to give "tit for tat" depends on the situation. Sometimes, not going to negotiations is tit-for-tat; and sometimes, going to negotiations is also tit-for-tat... If they start fighting, we fight back, fight to win peace. Peace will not come unless we strike hard blows at the reactionaries who dare to attack the Liberated Areas. (Ibid., p. 56.)
He drew the following historical lesson from the failure of China's Revolution of 1924-27:
Confronted by counter-revolutionary attacks against the people, Chen Tu-hsiu did not adopt the policy of giving tit for tat and fighting for every inch of land; as a result, in 1927, within the space of a few months, the people lost all the rights they had won. (Ibid., p. 16.)
The Chinese Communists understand and adhere to the policy of giving tit for tat. We oppose both capitulationism and adventurism. This correct policy ensured the victory of the Chinese revolution and the Chinese people's subsequent great successes in their struggle against imperialism.
All revolutionary people approve and welcome this correct fighting policy put forward by the Chinese Communists. All imperialists and reactionaries fear and hate it.
The policy of giving tit for tat as put forward by the CPC is virulently attacked by the leaders of the CPSU. This only goes to show that they do not in the least want to oppose imperialism. Their sole purpose in attacking and smearing the policy of tit for tat is to cover up their wrong line of catering to the needs of imperialism and surrendering to it.
The leaders of the CPSU assert that a tit-for-tat struggle against imperialism will lead to international tension. How terrible!
According to their logic, the imperialists are allowed to commit aggression and make threats against others but the victims of imperialist aggression are not allowed to fight, the imperialists are allowed to oppress others but the oppressed are not allowed to resist. This is a naked attempt to absolve the imperialists of their crimes of aggression. This is a philosophy of the jungle, pure and simple.
International tension is the product of the imperialist policies of aggression and war. The peoples should of course wage a firm struggle against imperialist aggression and threats. Facts have shown that only through struggle can imperialism be compelled to retreat and a genuine relaxation of international tension be achieved. Constant retreat before the imperialists cannot lead to genuine relaxation but will only encourage their agression.
We have always opposed the creation of international tension by imperialism and stood for the relaxation of such tension. But the imperialists are bent on committing aggression and creating tension everywhere, and that can only lead to the opposite of what they desire.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung said:
The U.S. imperialists believe that they will always benefit from tense situations, but the fact is that tension created by the United States has led to the opposite of what they desire. It serves to mobilize the people of the whole world against the U.S. aggressors. (Renmin Ribao, Sept. 9, 1958.)
Further, "If the U.S. monopoly groups persist in their policies of aggression and war, the day is bound to come when the people of the world will hang them by the neck." (Ibid.)
The Declaration of 1957 rightly says, "By this policy these anti-popular, aggressive imperialist forces are courting their own ruin, creating their own gravediggers."
This is the dialectic of history. Those who revere the imperialists can hardly understand this truth.
The leaders of the CPSU assert that by advocating a tit-for-tat struggle the Chinese Communist Party has rejected negotiations. This again is nonsense.
We consistently maintain that those who refuse negotiations under all circumstances are definitely not Marxist-Leninists.
The Chinese Communists conducted negotiations with the Kuomintang many times during the revolutionary wars. They did not refuse to negotiate even on the eve of nation-wide liberation. Comrade Mao Tse-tung said in March 1949:
Whether the peace negotiations are over-all or local, we should be prepared for such an eventuality. We should not refuse to enter into negotiations because we are afraid of trouble and want to avoid complications, nor should we enter into negotiations with our minds in a haze. We should be firm in principle; we should also have all the flexibility permissible and necessary for carrying out our principles. (Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, FLP, Peking, Vol. IV, p. 372.)
Internationally, in struggling against imperialism and reaction, the Chinese Communists take the same correct attitude towards negotiations.
In October 1951, Comrade Mao Tse-tung had this to say about the Korean armistice negotiations:
We have long said that the Korean question should be settled by peaceful means. This still holds good now. So long as the U.S. government is willing to settle the question on a just and reasonable basis, and will stop using every shameless means possible to wreck and obstruct the progress of the negotiations, as it has done in the past, success in the Korean armistice negotiation is possible; otherwise it is impossible. (Renmin Ribao, Oct. 24, 1951.)
Resolute struggle against the U.S. imperialists has compelled them to accept the Korean armistice agreement in the course of negotiations. We took an active part in the 1954 Geneva Conference and contributed to the restoration of peace in Indo-China.
We are in favour of negotiations even with the United States, which has occupied our territory of Taiwan. The Sino-U.S. ambassadorial talks have been going on for more than eight years now.
We took an active part in the 1961 Geneva Conference on the Laotian question and promoted the signing of the Geneva agreements respecting the independence and neutrality of Laos.
Do the Chinese Communists allow themselves alone to negotiate with imperialist countries while opposing negotiations by the leaders of the CPSU with the leaders of of the imperialist countries?
No, of course not.
In fact, we have always actively supported all such negotiations by the Soviet Government with imperialist countries as are beneficial and not detrimental to the defence of world peace.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung said on May 14, 1960:
We support the holding of the summit conference whether or not this sort of conference yields achievements, or whether the achievements are big or small. But the winning of world peace should depend primarily on resolute struggle by the people of all countries. (Renmin Ribao, May 15, 1960.)
We favour negotiations with imperialist countries. But it is absolutely
impermissible to pin hopes for world peace on negotiations, spread illusions
about them and thereby paralyse the fighting will of the peoples, as Khrushchov
has done. Actually, Khrushchov's wrong approach to negotiations is itself
harmful to negotiations. The more Khrushchov retreats before the imperialists
and the more he begs, the more the appetite of the imperialists will grow.
Khrushchov, who poses as the greatest devotee of negotiations in history,
is always an unrequited lover and too often a laughing-stock. Countless
historical facts have shown that the imperialists and reactionaries never
care to save the face of the capitulationists.
To sum up, our difference with the leaders of the CPSU on the question of war and peace is one between two different lines--whether or not to oppose imperialism, whether or not to support revolutionary struggles, whether or not to mobilize the people of the world against the imperialist war plots and whether or not to adhere to Marxism-Leninism.
Like all other genuine revolutionary parties, the Communist Party of China has always been in the forefront of the struggle against imperialism and for world peace.
We hold that to defend world peace it is necessary constantly to expose imperialism and to arouse and organize the people into struggle against the imperialists headed by the United States, and it is necessary to place reliance on the growth of the strength of the socialist camp, on the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and working people of all countries, on the liberation struggles of the oppressed nations, on the struggles of all peace-loving peoples and countries and on the broad united front against U.S. imperialism and its lackeys.
This line of ours is in keeping with the common line for all Communist Parties laid down in the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement.
With this line, it is possible ceaselessly to raise political consciousness of the people and to expand the struggle for world peace in the right direction.
With this line, it is possible constantly to strengthen the forces for world peace with the socialist camp as their core and strike at and weaken the imperialist forces for war.
With this line, it is possible constantly to expand the peoples' revolutions and manacle imperialism.
With this line, it is possible to turn to account all available factors, including the contradictions between U.S. imperialism and the other imperialist powers, and to isolate U.S. imperialism to the fullest extent.
With this line, it is possible to smash the nuclear blackmail practiced by U.S. imperialism and defeat its plan for launching a new world war.
This is the line for the people of all countries to win both victory in revolution and world peace. It is the sure and effective road in defence of world peace.
But the line pursued by the leaders of the CPSU is diametrically opposed to our line, to the common line of all Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary people.
The leaders of the CPSU direct the edge of their struggle not at the enemy of world peace but at the socialist camp, thus weakening and undermining the core of strength which defends world peace.
They use nuclear blackmail to intimidate the people of the socialist countries and forbid them to support the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations, thus helping U.S. imperialism to isolate the socialist camp and suppress peoples' revolutions.
They use nuclear blackmail to intimidate the oppressed peoples and nations and to prohibit them from making revolution, and they collaborate with U.S. imperialism in stamping out the "sparks" of revolution, thus enabling it freely to carry on its policies of aggression and war in the intermediate zone lying between the United States and the socialist camp.
They also intimidate the allies of the United States and forbid them to struggle against the control it has imposed on them, thus helping U.S. imperialism to enslave these countries and consolidate its position.
By this line of action the leaders of the CPSU have altogether relinquished the struggle against the imperialist policies of aggression and war.
This line of action denies the united front against U.S. imperialism and its lackeys and in defence of world peace.
It tries to impose the greatest isolation not on the arch-enemy of world peace but on the peace forces.
It means the liquidation of the fighting task of defending world peace.
This is a line that serves the "global strategy" of U.S. imperialism.
It is not the road to world peace but the road leading to greater danger of war and to war itself.
Today the world is no longer what it was on the eve of World War II. There is the powerful socialist camp. The national liberation movement in Asia, Africa and Latin America is surging forward. The political consciousness of the people of the world has been very much raised. The strength of the revolutionary peoples has been very much enhanced. The people of the Soviet Union, of the socialist countries and of the whole world will never allow their own destiny to be manipulated by the imperialist forces for war and their trumpeters.
The aggression and war activities of the imperialists and reactionaries are teaching the people of the world gradually to raise their political consciousness. Social practice is the sole criterion of truth. We are confident that as a result of such teaching by the imperialists add reactionaries, many people now holding wrong views on the question of war and peace will change their minds: We have high hopes on this score.
We firmly believe that the Communists and the people of the world will surely smash the imperialist plan for launching a new world war and safeguard world peace provided they expose the imperialist frauds, see through the revisionist lies and shoulder the task of defending world peace.
1. Kautsky, National Problems, Russian ed.
2. Kautsky, The Question of Defence and Social-Democracy, in German.
4. Haase's speech on the question of imperialism at the Congress of the German Social-Democratic Party in Chemnitz, 1912, published in the Handbook of the Congress of the Social-Democratic Party in 1910-1913, Vol. II, in German.
5. Kautsky, "Preface to War and Democracy", in German.
6. Resolution on the League of Nations, adopted by the Berne Conference of the Socialist International in 1919, Russian ed.
7. Kautsky, Social-Democracy in War, in German.
8. Kautsky "Preface to War and Democracy" in German.
9. Kautsky, "A Catechism of Social-Democracy", in German.
10. Bernstein's speech on the question of disarmament at the Congress of the German Social-Democratic Party in Chemnitz, 1912, published in the Handbook of the Congress of the Social Democratic Party in 1910-1913,Vol.II, in German.
11. Kautsky, "Once More on Disarmament", in German.
12. Kautsky, The Question of Defence and Social-Democracy, in German.
14. Kautsky, Socialists and War, in German.
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