Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism was written in the first half of 1916. While Lenin was in Berne during 1915 he began to study various works on imperialism that had been published in many countries. He started work on this book in January 1916 and at the end of the month he moved to Zurich, where he continued his work at the Zurich Cantonal Library. From hundreds of books, periodicals, newspapers and statistical abstracts published in different languages he made numerous extracts, summaries, notes and tables, which make up more than 40 printing sheets. These materials were published as a separate pamphlet in 1939 under the title of Notebooks on Imperialism.
On June 19 (July 2) 1916 Lenin sent his completed manuscript on imperialism to the Parus Publishers. Menshevik elements among the management deleted from the book parts sharply criticizing the opportunist theories of Kautsky and the Russian Mensheviks (Martov and Co.). Lenin's terms pererastaniye (capitalism growing into capitalist imperialism) was altered to prevrashcheniye (transformation ); reaktsionny kharakter (reactionary nature of the theory of Ultraimperialism) to otstaly kharakter (backward character ), etc. In early 1917 the book was printed under the title Imperialism, the Latest Stage of Capitalism, by the Parus Publishers in Petrograd.
After returning to Russia, Lenin wrote a preface to the book, which finally saw the light of day in September 1917.
On the significance of the book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, see the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1950, pp. 207-09.
See pp. 146-48 of this book.
This preface was first published under the title "Imperialism and Capitalism" in Communist Internanonal, No. 18, dated October 1921.
The Manifesto is omitted in the present edition.
A Centrist party set up in April 1917. The bulk of the party consisted of the Kautskyite Labour Commonwealth. The Independents preached "unity" with the open social-chauvinists, justified and defended them and demanded the rejection of the class struggle.
In October 1920, a split took place at the congress of the I.S.D.P.G. in Halle. In December a considerable part of the party merged with the Communist Party of Germany. The Right-wing elements formed a separate party and took the old name of I.S.D.P.G., which existed until 1922.
The Spartacists -- members of the Spartacus League, a revolutionary organization of German Left-Wing Social-Democrats, formed in the early period of World War I under the leadership of Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Clara Zetkin and others. It was also known as the Internationale group. The Spartacists conducted revolutionary propaganda among the masses against the imperialist war and exposed the predatory policy of German imperialism and the treachery of the opportunist Social-Democratic leaders. But the Spartacists failed to free themselves from semi-Menshevik fallacies on cardinal questions of theory and policy. They propagated a semi-Menshevik theory of imperialism, rejected the Marxist interpretation of the principle of self-determination of nations (i.e., up to and including secession and the formation of independent states), denied the possibility of national liberation wars in the imperialist epoch, underestimated the role of the revolutionary party and bowed to the spontaneity in the working-class movement (see the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1950, pp. 42-45). A criticism of the mistakes of the German Lefts is given in Lenin's "The Junius Pamphlet" (Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. XXII, pp. 291-305), "A Caricature of Marxism and 'Imperialist Economism' " (ibid., Vol. XXIII, pp. 16-64), and other works, and in Stalin's letter "Some Questions Concerning the History of Bolshevism" (Works, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1955, Vol. XIII, pp. 86-104). In 1917 the Spartacists joined the Centrist Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, but remained organizationally independent. After the revolution in Germany in November 1918, they broke with the Independents and in December of the same year founded the Communist Party of Germany.
In the present edition the author's references and notes are given as footnotes.
Karl Marx, Capital, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1959, Vol. III, p. 655.
These occurred during the widespread establishment of joint-stock companies in the early seventies ot the nineteenth century, which was accompanied by all manner of fraudulent operations by bourgeois businessmen, who were making a great deal of money, and by wild speculation in real estate and securities.
Frankfurter Zeitung (Frankfort Newspaper) -- a German bourgeois newspaper published in Frankfort-on-Main from 1856.
Lenin meant G. V. Plekhanov.
Produgol -- an abbreviation for the Russian Society for Trade in
Mineral Puel of the Donets Basin, founded in l906. Prodamet -- the Society for Marketing Russian Metallurgical Goods, founded in 1901.
The exposure in France in 1892-93 of incredible abuses, corruption of politicians, officials and the press bribed by the French Panama Canal Company.
See pp. 93-94
of this book.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1953, pp. 131-32.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Correspondence, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1950, Vol. IV, pp. 608-09.
The Menshevik S. M. Nakhimson.
Karl Marx, Capital, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1959, Vol. III, p. 142.