V. I. Lenin



Written in late October
and early November 1916
First published (in French)
as a pamphlet in 1918
First published in Russian in 1924
in the magazine Proletarskaya
No. 4 (27)

Published according to
the manuscript 

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964

Vol. 23, pp. 137-48.

Translated from the Russian by
M. S. Levin, Joe Fineberg and Others
Edited by M. S. Levin

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo,
 (May 2002)

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Attitude Towards the War and Towards the Bourgeois
Government in General .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
The High Cost of Living and the Intolerable Economic
Conditions of the Masses .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
Pressing Democratic Reforms and Utilisation of the
Political Struggle and Parliamentarism .  .  .  .  .  .
The Immediate Tasks of Party Propaganda, Agitation
and Organisation.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
International Tasks of the Swiss Social-Democrats .



page 395


  [66] During the First World War Lenin lived in Switzerland from where he directed the activities of the Bolshevik Party . He was also a member of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party and shared in the activities of its Left wing, attending its meetings and helping it with his advice. Dr. F. Brupbacher, a Zurich Social-Democrat who frequently met Lenin in that period, wrote:
    "Lenin was in close touch with the Zurich labour organisations, attending their meetings every time an important issue was discussed . For instance, he was present when a report on Youth Day was made to a meeting of woodworkers, at meetings of the Zurich Labour Union when the war question was debated, a youth meeting in Hottingen at which Platten spoke on refusal to do military service and on revolutionary propaganda in the army, a meeting of the Unterstrasse branch which I addressed on the war issue. . . . Lenin displayed the patience of Job in his relations with the Swiss comrades (Maurice Pianzola, "Lenin in Switzerland").
    The theses "The Tasks of the Left Zimmerwaldists in the Swiss Social-Democratic Party" were written in Russian and Germnn and translated into French. They were circulated to Bolshevik groups in Switzerland, to Swiss Left Social-Democrats and were discussed at their meetings.    [p. 137]

  [67] See Note No. 37.

[Note 37: The Social-Democratic Labour Group (Arbeitsgemeinschaft) -- an organisation of German Centrists founded in March 1916 by Reichstag members who had broken with the Social-Democratic Reichstag group. Its leaders were Hugo Haase, Georg Ledebour and Wilhelm Dittmann. It published Lose Blätter (Leaflets ) and up to April 1916 dominated the editorial board of Vorwärts. Expelled from the editorial board, the group started its own publication, Mitteilungsblätter (Information Leaflets), in Berlin. It had the support of the majority of the Berlin organisation and became the backbone of the Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, founded in April 1917. The new party sought to justify avowed social-chauvinists and advocated preservation of unity with them.]    [p. 137]

  [68] The slogan was advanced by Karl Liebknecht in his letter of October 2, 1914 to the German Social-Democratic Party Executive. Lenin quotes this letter in his rough draft of "Theses for an Appeal to the International Socialist Committee and All Socialist Parties" (see pp. 205-16 of this volume).
    This is the background to Liebknecht's letter: In August 1914, Liebknecht asked the party Executive to arrange a number of anti-war rallies and issue a manifesto in the name of the Reichstag group urging all party members to oppose the war. The proposal was rejected. In September 1914, Liebknecht toured Belgium and Holland, informing internationalist socialists of the situation in the German party, for which he was disciplined by the Executive. The letter was a reply to this disciplinary action.    [p. 137]

  [69] Egli, Karl Heinrich -- Swiss colonel. Spied for Germany and her allies during the First World War, when he was deputy chief of the Swiss General Staff. Tried early in 1916 at the insistence of the Social-Democratic press and parliamentary group, he was acquitted, due to pressure from the bourgeoisie and the military clique, but was obliged to leave the army.
    De Lohs (Loys, Treytorrens ) -- Swiss colonel. In August 1913 published several articles urging Swiss participation in the war.

page 396

Was exposed by the Social-Democratic press, which demanded his dismissal from the service, but the military command confined itself to a reprimand.    [p. 138]

  [70] The Olten resolution on the war question was adopted by the emergency congress of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party at Olten, February 10-11, 1906.    [p. 144]

  [71] Grütli-Verein -- a bourgeois reformist organisation founded in Switzerland in 1838, long before the organisation of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party. The name derives from the sixteenth-century Union of Grütlians (conspirators), who rose against Austrian rule. In 1901 the Grütli-Verein affiliated with the Social-Democratic Party but remained organisationally independent. Its newspaper, Grütlianer, followed a bourgeois-nationalist policy. In the First World War the Grütli-Verein took up an extreme chauvinist position and became the mainstay of the Right-wing social-chauvinists. This led the Zurich Congress of the Social-Democratic Party (November 1916) to declare that membership in the Grütli-Verein was incompatible with membership in the party.    [p. 146]