Georgi Dimitrov

The Small Nations

First Published: 1917 in Rabotnicheski Vestnik No. 139, October 25.
Source: Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works Sofia Press, Sofia, Volume 1, 1972, pp. 53-55
Transcription/HTML Markup: Mathias Bismo
Online Version: Marxists Internet Archive ( 2003


The imperialists of the Entente1) have been dinning it into the ears of the whole world that they were fighting for the rights and liberties of the small nations. In one of his speeches Lloyd George, comparing the big and small nations, said: 'Great are indeed the centuries-old pines and oaks, but it is from the small nations that we pick the most valfruit', and that the small nations, too, if left to develop freely and independently, were as necessary and valuable for the progress of mankind as the big ones, while Asquith,2) in speaking about the conditions which peace would bring to the peoples, said: 'Both big and small, powand weak, will have equal rights of freedom and in'

In quoting the above and other statements, a Sofia daily concludes: 'If this principle of equality of nations does inprevail, and is applied after the conclusion of peace, its consequences for the Bulgarian people will be most favourable.'

Is it possible that the bourgeoisie of the Entente should have abandoned its age-old traditions of keeping hundreds of millions of nations, big and small, under subjection? In actual fact we see nothing of the kind. On the contrary. The Entente mobilized the whole fit male generation of the coloured peoples under its domination, using it as cannon fodder, to defend and expand the domination of the same bourgeoisie over the smaller and backward nations, while the outrages against the Irish people3) who are fighting for freedom and independence are still fresh in our memory.

This loquaciousness of the ruling Entente bourgeoisie is probably due to the successes which it scored during the present war in enlisting a substantial part of the small European nations as well in its imperialist orbit.

Since the beginning of the war now raging we have been observing a new trend in the imperialist policy of the warbourgeoisie. The one as well as the other strive by all means to conceal the imperialist goals which they pursue in the present war from their own peoples and still more from those they aspire to, and to facilitate their task they have cast yet another bait: alliance with the latter.

Let us recall here the well-known fact of how the En in order to drag nations which stood outside, but which were and continue to be an object of its imperialist policy, into its colonial whirlpool, too, threw wide open its safes for all traitors who were and are ready to sell out their nations for gold. Serbia, Rumania, Portugal, Greece, and if you wish Bulgaria, too, irrefutably prove this, always in the form of an alliance.

But what does an alliance of the small and underdevelnations with the great and developed capitalist powers mean in the present world capitalist duel? The answer is well known. Belgium, Serbia, Rumania, Russia, etc.., were nations which gave their last man in the fight, and on whose territories the most devastating military operations have been and are taking place, where everything has been reto ashes and ruins, while, at the same time, America, Britain, etc.. stand at a respectful distance from the conseof the world crime.

But this is only the one side of the medal. We all know that in the present war armaments assumed colossal, unprecedented proportions. Most of the industries in the capitalist countries are engaged in the production of equipfor the battling armies. Hundreds of millions of leva are wasted every day for this purpose by the belligerent nations, which vie in contracting loan after loan for billions of leva.

The small and still underdeveloped capitalist nations are compelled to contract their state loans and armaments with their powerful allies. These nations have thus been burwith unbearable debts towards the latter, while the bourgeoisie heading the belligerent blocs secured for itself a sure income for many a year from the interest on these loans as well as lush profits from the deliveries of arms, clothing, food etc.., which it makes to these countries.

What is more, the capitals of these powerful allies peneinto these countries in yet another way: new banks, bank branches, increasing the capital of already existing banks etc.. are the first steps along this line.

All this leads us to conclude with certainty that this is the beginning of the end of the independence of the small nations, to whom such compliments are paid from London. And Lloyd George is not wrong when he says that the people whom he represents pick valuable fruit from these nations. He is also right when he declares that these nations will in future be left to develop freely, as freely indeed as the small trees develop in the shade of the age-old oaks.


1) Referring to the Entente between France, Russia and Great Britain and in 1915 joined by Italy, a member of the Triple Alliance in prewar days.

2) Asquith, Herbert Henry (1852-1928) - British statesman, leader of the Liberal Party, barrister, Minister of Home Affairs (189295) in the Gladstone Government. Prime Minister 1908-1916. On his orders the policy shot down the striking miners in Featherstone. On the eve of the First World War he submitted a bill on granting self-government to Ireland, which was twice rejected by the House of Lords. In 1916 he was replaced by Lloyd George, after which Asquith became a Lord and ceased to play a political role.

3) On April 23, 1916, revolutionary workers and nationalists organized in the Irish Civil Army and the Irish Volunteers (later the Irish Republican Army), captured Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic. Dublin held out for five days, but the expected general rising failed to break out owing to the' betrayal of the national bourgeoisie, and the rising, known as 'Bloody Easter' was crushed. All leaders were executed. According to Lenin, it was the misfortune of the Irish that they rose when conditions were not yet ripe for a European proletarian revolution.