V. I. Lenin

Speech On

The Domestic And Foreign Situation

Delivered To A Red Army Conference Held In Khodynskoye Camp

July 15, 1919

Brief Newspaper Report

Delivered: 15 July,1919
First Published: Published in Vechernijje Izvestia Moskovskogo Soveta No. 293, July 17,1919; Published according to the newspaper text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 29, pages 513-514
Translated: George Hanna
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Lenin’s appearance on the platform was greeted by a storm of applause. Lenin said that they were living at an important moment—the concluding stage of the imperialist war. After the defeat of Germany in November 1918, all the Allies had been busy drawing up peace terms and saying that German imperialism was dead and the peoples had been liberated. The National Assembly had ratified the Treaty and peace had been established after a war in which ten million people had died and twenty million had been maimed for gain, for purposes of plunder.

After the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles the Bolsheviks were proved to have been right—the Treaty of Versailles was worse than the Treaty of Brest that Soviet Russia had at one time concluded with moribund German imperialism. It was becoming clearer and clearer that the day of the Treaty of Versailles would be the day of defeat for British, American and any other imperialism. Immediately the Treaty had been signed the imperialists became busy dividing up the colonies; Britain had taken Persia; Syria arid Turkey were being carved up, and the eyes of the workers in capitalist countries had been opened to the fact that the war had been a war between predators. Strange as it might have seemed, information had been received to the effect that Prince Lvov, a former member of Kerensky’s Provisional Government who was then in Paris, was demanding that the Allies give Constantinople and the Straits to Russia on the grounds that Russia had fought in the war only for their sake-naturally this na├»ve demand received an answer to the effect that they would be given only to old, powerful Russia.

In order to hoodwink the people, the French imperialists had appointed July 14, the anniversary of the capture of the Bastille, as the day on which to celebrate victory over Germany. The French workers, however, had not taken the bait, and on July 14 cafß and restaurant employees had declared a strike—on the day on which the streets are usually filled with carnival crowds and people dancing all the cafßs and restaurants were closed and there was no celebration. British, French and Italian workers had declared a general strike for July 21[1] and one could say that for France and Britain the Treaty of Versailles would end with a defeat of the capitalists and a victory of the proletariat in the same way as the Treaty of Brest had for Germany. The failure of the first Entente offensive in the South of Russia and of the second offensive in Siberia were an indication of this movement of the proletariat in the West, and showed that the proletariat were for Soviet Russia.

The peasantry of Siberia and the Ukraine, who had formerly given their support to Koichak and Denikin had turned against them after imposition of taxes, wholesale plunder and violence. It had become clear that Kolchak was finished and that victory over Denikin was near; this victory would end with the victory of the proletariat in the West, for the working-class movement in the West was acquiring a Bolshevik character, and although Russia and her Soviet power had at first been alone, she had later been joined by Soviet Hungary. Events were moving towards the transfer of power to the Workers’ Councils in Germany and the day was not far distant when all Europe would be united in a single Soviet republic that would remove the rule of the capitalists throughout the world. (Prolonged applause.)


[1] An International political strike was in fact planned for July 21, 1919 in support of the Russian and Hungarian revolutions; it was to demand non-intervention in Russian and Hungarian affairs. There were sporadic strikes throughout Western Europe, Scandinavia and Central Europe. In many more countries where strikes did not place mass demonstrations were held.