G. Zinoviev

The Problems of the German Revolution

The Cunning Legend of the “Alliance”
between Communists and National Socialists

(1 November 1923)

Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 69 [45], 1 November 1923, pp. 780–781.
On-line Publication: Zinoviev Internet Archive, May 2023.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The German working class is marching forward to the seizure of power. The only political party in Germany on the up-grade is the Communist Party, which is growing in strength and numbers daily, despite all persecution. All other political parties are on the down-grade, they are losing influence, dying out.

A much “respected” German Menshevik (P. Hertz) recently wrote in Der sozialistische Bote.

“As Social Democracy, even together with communism, comprises a section of the working class only, whilst a considerable section of proletarian intellectuals and non-propertied middle class elements are in the bourgeois camp, the socialist labor movement in Germany is not in a position, even from the purely numerical point of view, to seize power.”

This “ profound ” sentence is worthy of a Menshevik. Every Menshevik with any respect for himself always has a stock of a thousand and one reasons upon which he can draw when be wants to strike a blow against Revolution. Even if we present to him 99% of the members organized in the social democratic party, all knowing the Erfurt Program and Kautsky’s complete works by heart, he win still demand that the remaining one per cent first be called upon to settle, by means of a general, direct, and secret ballot what “Revolution” really is, if it is necessary at the present juncture, and what is to be preferred: the constitutional assembly or the proletarian dictatorship.

In reality the 20 million German proletarians have already passed through a school of organization more than sufficing to enable them to carry through their Revolution. And they will carry it through. The whole import of the events which have taken place within the working class, beginning with the conquest of the factory councils by the communists, and continuing with the election to the metal workers’ conference, with the August strike of this year, and all the other various complications of the struggle, consists of the fact that the German working class has bestowed the leadership of the movement upon the Communist Party.

The sorry heroes of the Second International hide their heads in the sand like the cowards they are, and pretend not to notice this fundamental fact, though this determines the whole course of the world revolution for the coming period. But this does not by any means imply that these socialist gentlemen are letting their hands lie idle in their laps, and are going to be resigned to their fate. No. International Menshevism sees (or feels) the inevitable victory of the German proletariat in the impending revolutionary battle, and is taking its measures. And international Menshevism has invented the legend of the alleged “alliance” between German Communism and Nationalism; it could not hit upon a better idea.

The more violent the struggle of the German working class under the leadership of the German Communist Party, the nearer the German proletariat approaches to victory, the more obvious does the treachery of international Menshevist policy become, and the more clearly can we recognize the diabolical plans of the leaders of the Second International against the German Revolution.

Everyone knows that armed conflicts have been taking place for some months between German Communism and Fascism. Scarcely a day passes without direct armed struggles between Communists and Fascisti – struggles which cost dozens and hundreds of lives not only to the Fascisti, but also to the Communist workers of Germany. Everyone knows that when the German Communist Party – anticipating a general straggle against Fascism – attempted to arrange an anti-Fascist day during the past summer, this demonstration was prohibited by the German Social Democrats of the Second International. Everyone knows that Gessler, the black Minister for War, is the right hand man of the Social Democrat Ebert, and that General Seeckt belongs in reality to the coalition bloc which includes the leaders of the Social Democratic Party; everyone knows that the nationalist upheaval in Bavaria is in point of fact the result of the “activity” of the social democratic leaders; everyone knows that for years the S.P.D. and the German nationalist bourgeoisie have been expressly cooperating against the German working class. But none the less the German Social Democrats are crying from the housetops the news of the alleged alliance between Communists and Nationalists.


The best answer to this question is the action being taken by the friends of the German Social Democrats – the French Social Chauvinists.

The French “Socialists” of the Second International are very well aware, and the leaders of German Social Democracy are also aware, that the victory of the German proletariat and the establishment of a proletarian government led by the Communists are near and inevitable in Germany. These gentlemen are calculating very accurately that the French bourgeoisie, headed by Poincaré, will attempt to throttle the German Proletarian evolution by force of arms. Despite all “differences of opinion” with Poincaré, both German and French Social Democrats hold him to be the Messiah, the future redeemer of Germany and the whole of Europe from the “terrors of the Bolshevist dictatorship”. In order to give Poincaré the possibility of sending troops against the German Proletarian Revolution at the decisive moment, the “soil” must be already “prepared”: it is necessary to create the corresponding moral atmosphere. One of the means to this end is the legend of the alleged alliance between Communists and Nationalists. The French and the German Social Democrats, as well as the leaders of the Second International, want to be able to say to the French soldiers, on the day after the victory of the German proletariat: That which is how happening in Germany is no Proletarian Revolution, it is a nationalist movement, that is a kind of monstrous hybrid between Nationalism and Communism, that is, the preparation for a war of revenge against France, etc. The same traitorous rôle which was played in the year 1914 by the slogan of “defence of the fatherland” in the imperialist war, is now to be played by the legend of the alleged alliance between Communism and Nationalism. Every effort is being made to discredit the great Proletarian Revolution in Germany in advance. Its true import is already being distorted, lies and slanders are already being spread abroad about it, just as they were spread years ago about the Russian Revolution.

What the French “Socialist” Party is now engaged upon is simply a piece of trickery on a large scale. Every day there are perfect orgies of trickery in Renaudel’s organ the Populaire, and not only in this paper. But also in the organ issued by the renegade Frossard – the same Frossard who was counted but lately among the communists, but sold himself to the bourgeoisie (see the Egalité, published at the expense of the bourgeoisie). The principal actor in all this is the notorious rogue and ink-slinger Grumbach, who is now engaged on the same “work” as he performed in 1914 to the orders of the bourgeoisie. Quotations are perverted from their real meaning, facts falsified, fairy stories fabricated. The mighty movement of the German proletariat is represented as a turgid flood of Nationalism. The “alliance” between German Communists and German Fascists is the constant subject of speech and writing. This poisonous lie makes its way from the columns of the “socialist” press into the bourgeois press with its hundred tongues, and is carried into the villages and into the barracks.

Poincaré may well be satisfied with his servants. The legend thus fabricated by the leaders of the Second International is nothing more nor less than a preparation for the overthrow of the German Proletarian revolution by international imperialism, nothing more nor less than a moral justification of the new imperialist war already in course of preparation, a war which will be directed against tbe German Revolution and against any allies of this Revolution. This must be known to the workers of the whole world.

Germany is a vanquished country. The Imperialism of the Entente is pressing its advantage to the utmost. Not only the 20 millions of the working class are daily experiencing the effects of the pressure being exercised by the foreign bourgeoisie, but wide circles of the population of the small towns and of the rural districts are suffering as well. The events of the past few years have shaken petty bourgeois Germany to its foundations. The black leaders of German Nationalism, the kindred spirits of Poincaré and Co., have long been fishing in troubled waters. The Fascists utilize the atmosphere of excitement, unrest and despair prevailing among (he petty bourgeois strata of the population, for their own ends. They have endeavored, and continue to endeavor, to distract the attention of the people from the questions of the internal conflict, and to draw it to the foreign enemy. They stir up nationalist passions as the most effective means to fins end. Existing conditions have made it possible for the German counter-revolutionists to lure into their net many people in poor circumstances in town and country. The German Communists are not only justified in removing from the influence of the bourgeois Nationalists all those non-propertied sections who have been following the Fascists from motives of just or unjust hate of the Entente oppressors, but it is absolutely their duty to do so.

Was the Paris Commune not right in attempting to mobilize against the Prussians that section of the town and country petty bourgeoisie which followed the Commune out of hate of the foreign oppressors and of the French bourgeoisie which had sold France wholesale and retail?

Had the Proletarian Revolution in Russia, in the years 1917/1918/1919/1920, not the moral right to mobilize against English, French and German imperialism all those strata of the population who were mainly influenced by their hostility to intervention when they offered their aid to the Red Army?

Have the Socialists of the Second International not themselves admitted that anti-Semitism is the “Socialism of stupid fellows”, and that it is the duty of the Socialists to emancipate from nationalist folly all those sections of the workers who have come under the influence of anti-Semitism for one reason or another?

The German Communists have fulfilled this task to the utmost of their ability, and their success has been great. The German working class, under the leadership of the CP, has already neutralized a section of the petty bourgeoisie, and is now engaged in winning the sympathies of the rest. Here is the guarantee for the victory of the German Revolution.

And the war of revenge? Is there perhaps a grain of truth in this? Is the German Revolution really preparing for war?

Everything depends on the attitude taken by the European imperialist bourgeoisie itself. If Poincaré and Co. lead their troops against the German Proletarian Revolution, there is no doubt whatever but that they will sooner or later bring about a war of independence on the part of Socialist Germany against bourgeois intervention. Messieurs Grumbach and Frossard may inform their patron Poincaré: The more brutal and base the form of foreign bourgeois intervention against the German Revolution, the greater will be the storm of protest which it will raise, and the sooner will every living force in the country gather round the working class in the common endeavor to repel the foreign oppressor.

At the 7th Party Congress of the C.P. of Russia, which was held at the time of tbe Brest negotiations (at the beginning of the year 1918), Comrade Lenin characterized the draft of the Brest Treaty as a Treaty of Tilsit and declared on behalf of all the Communist workers in Russia that there was only one salvation for the Proletarian Revolution from the intervention of the foreign bourgeoisie: for the whole country to rally round the working class, and to grasp the first opportunity to begin a Socialist patriotic war (precisely a patriotic war – Comrade Lenin rightly made use of this word – for we not only should, but must defend the Socialist Fatherland to the last drop of blood) against the foreign oppressor.

The Revolution signifies peace; so say the German communists. The German working class, led by file Communist Party, desires peace. When Communist speakers tell overcrowded meetings of workers in Germany that they will save Germany from war if they seize power, as they could then, in the fast resort, buy their freedom from the Entente at the expense of the expropriated German bourgeoisie, these declarations are received with thunders of applause. When Communist speakers declare that Germany will enter into an alliance with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, and that the peace of the whole of Europe will be stored by this alliance, this arouses even greater enthusiasm.

The working class in Germany wants peace. The German and French bourgeoisie want war. And the German and French Social Democratic Parties both aid their own bourgeoisie. That is the essence of the question at issue.

The parties of the Second international have long been following in the wake of the counter-revolution. Now they will go even further. They are becoming transformed into the active guard of the most irreconcilable section of the imperialist bourgeoisie. The social democratic leaders are becoming open organizers of pogroms. Anyone inclined to doubt this should remember the executioner’s role played by the Bulgarian Mensheviks during tbe latest events in Bulgaria. Even the aged Kautsky recently wrote, in a letter to the Jews of Russia, that they must help to overthrow the Soviet Government if they want to avoid pogroms.

When the Russian Mensheviks fabricate the legend of the alleged “Red Imperialism” of the Kremlin, they are in reality striving to prepare a fresh intervention of the foreign bourgeoisie against the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. When the leaders of the French and German Social Democratic Parties fabricate the legend of the alleged “alliance” between German Communists arid German Nationalists, they are preparing poison gas for the war against the German workers, to the orders of international imperialist reaction.

The leaders of the Second International have openly become the police of international counter-revolution. The Menshevist Sozialistischer Bote let a valuable admission escape recently (No. 16):

“In point of fact the parties in the countries ‘most interested’ have gradually changed from representatives of a uniform international policy to benevolent representatives of ‘their’ native countries, whose rôle care is to work out the most ‘acceptable possible’ compromises from the various national points of view. It goes without saying that the diplomatists of Socialism are actuated by incomparably more good will, sincere love of peace, humanity, and respect for their adversaries, when carrying on this activity in the cause of compromise, than are shown by the diplomatists of the ruling classes.”

This, coming from the lips of Russian Mensheviks, is truly no very flattering compliment to the leaders of the Second International. The very stones appear to speak at last. Even among the Russian Mensheviks voices are raised against the treachery of the leaders of the Second International; but this does not of course prevent Dan and Abramovitsch from playing the same part to relation to the Russian Communists as that played in France by Frossard and Grumbach.

Fresh treason is being prepared against the German and international working class, a treason which will be even more monstrous than that which we experienced in the Summer of 1914. The legend of “defence of the fatherland” cost the international working class many millions of human lives during the imperialist war. The advanced workers of the whole world must look to it that they take their measures in good time on this occasion, and put an effectual stop to the proceedings of the counterfeiters of the Second International when they begin to fabricate a new legend threatening disaster to the international working class!

Last updated on 3 May 2023