J. V. Stalin

Speech Delivered at a Plenum of the
Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.)1

January 19, 1925

Source : Works, Vol. 7, 1925
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

I have taken the floor in order strongly to support Comrade Frunze's proposal. I think that we must decide here on three things.

Firstly, we must accept Comrade Frunze's proposal concerning additional assignments—5,000,000 rubles; a total of 405,000,000 rubles.

Secondly, we must pass a resolution endorsing Comrade Frunze's appointment to the post of Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council.

Thirdly, we must instruct the Party to render the new Revolutionary Military Council every assistance in the way of providing personnel.

I must say that lately, owing to some increase in the requirements of our economic bodies and to the fact that economic and cultural requirements are growing beyond our present means, a certain liquidationist mood concerning the army has arisen among us. Some of our comrades say that little by little, keeping the brakes on, we ought to reduce our army to the level of a militia. What they have in mind is not the militia system, but a peace army, the conversion of the army into a simple militia that cannot be prepared for military complications.

I must declare most emphatically that we must resolutely do away with this liquidationist mood.

Why? Because a radical change in the international situation has begun lately. New pre-conditions are maturing, which foreshadow new complications for us, and we must be ready to meet them. The danger of intervention is again becoming real.

What are those facts?

Firstly, the growth of the colonial movement, and of the liberation movement in general, in the East. India, China, Egypt, the Sudan are important bases for imperialism. There, the colonial movement is growing and will continue to grow. That is bound to turn the ruling strata of the Great Powers against us, against the Soviets, for they know that the seeds that are falling on this fertile soil in the East will mature and germinate. They will certainly germinate.

Second fact: complications are maturing in North Africa, in the region of Morocco and Tunisia. That is causing a new regrouping of forces, new preparations for new military complications between the imperialists. The fact that Spain has suffered defeat in Morocco 1; that France is stretching out her hands to grab Morocco; that Britain will not tolerate the strengthening of France's position in Morocco; that Italy is trying to take advantage of the new situation to lay her hands on Tunisia and that the other states will not permit her to do so; the fact that Britain and France are vying with each other in their strenuous endeavours to secure influence in the Balkans, in the new states that were formed as a result of the disintegration of Austria-Hungary—all this is reminiscent of the well-known facts in the history of the last war, reminiscent of the facts that preceded the last war. The Albanian events are not accidental 2; they are a manifestation of the struggle between the Great Powers, each trying to establish its influence on that small area. All this shows that the preparation and regrouping of forces is taking place all over Europe in view of the nascent complications in the Far East and of the new prospects that are opening in North Africa. All this forms the pre-conditions for a new war. And a new war is bound to affect our country.

Third fact: the growth of a revolutionary mood among the workers in Britain. This is a fact of first-rate importance. Britain holds a commanding position in Europe. The incipient split between the General Council of the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party, and the fissures which have begun to develop within the British Labour Party, go to show that something revolutionary, something new is developing in Britain. This is alarming the ruling strata in Britain. And this is bound to turn them against Soviet Russia, for the key-note of the revival of the movement in Britain is friendship with Russia.

Fourth fact: in view of the pre-conditions of which I have spoken, in view of the fact that the pre-conditions for war are maturing and that war may become inevitable, not tomorrow or the day after, of course, but in a few years' time, and in view of the fact that war is bound to intensify the internal, revolutionary crisis both in the East and in the West—in view of this we are bound to be faced with the question of being prepared for all contingencies. I think that the forces of the revolutionary movement in the West are strong, that they are growing and will continue to grow, and here or there may succeed in kicking out the bourgeoisie. That is so. But it will be very difficult for them to hold out. That is clearly shown by the examples of the border countries, Estonia and Latvia, for instance. The question of our army, of its might and preparedness, will certainly face us as a burning question in the event of complications arising in the countries around us.

That does not mean that in such a situation we must necessarily undertake active operations against somebody or other. That is not so. If anybody shows signs of harbouring such a notion—he is wrong. Our banner is still the banner of peace. But if war breaks out we shall not be able to sit with folded arms. We shall have to take action, but we shall be the last to do so. And we shall do so in order to throw the decisive weight in the scales, the weight that can turn the scales.

Hence the conclusion: we must be prepared for all contingencies; we must prepare our army, supply it with footwear and clothing, train it, improve its technical equipment, improve chemical defence and aviation, and in general, raise our Red Army to the proper level. The international situation makes this imperative for us.

That is why I think that we must resolutely and irrevocably meet the demands of the war department.



1.This refers to the defeat in the autumn of 1924 of the Spanish army, 150,000 strong, sent by Primo de Rivera, the fascist dictator of Spain, to suppress the national-liberation movement in the Riff, the Spanish zone of Morocco. As a result of the victory gained by the Moroccans, two-thirds of the territory occupied by the Spanish forces was liberated.

2.In the summer of 1924, as a result of the revolutionary-progressive movement in Albania, the reactionary government of Ahmet Zogu was overthrown. The Government of Fan-Noli, which came into power, opened negotiations with the Soviet Government for the establishment of diplomatic and friendly relations between the U.S.S.R. and Albania. The two countries exchanged diplomatic representatives. The Governments of Great Britain, Italy and Yugoslavia demanded that the Albanian Government should break off diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. In December 1924, armed gangs organised by Ahmet Zogu and supported by the armed forces of the fascist government of Yugoslavia invaded Albania and overthrew the Government of Fan-Noli. The rule of Ahmet Zogu was restored in Albania.