For those who wish to study more about the struggle against the first imperialist world war, there are the classics written by Lenin at the time, including his Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, and Socialism and War. These works are generally available in bookstores, particularly those specializing in Marxist literature.
However, more difficult to find are the documents of the socialist movement of that time, documents with great historical value. Included in these appendices, therefore, are some key documents of this period.
The Seventh International Socialist Congress was held in Stuttgart, Germany, on August 18-24, 1907 (Appendix Document No. 1). The first and most important item on the agenda was "Militarism and International Conflicts."
Lenin said in reference to the last two paragraphs of this resolution: "I remember well that the final drafting of this amendment was preceded by lengthy direct negotiations between our group and [August] Bebel [of the German Social-Democratic Party]. The first draft spoke of revolutionary propaganda and revolutionary action in a much more direct manner. We showed it to Bebel, and he said, 'I cannot accept this, for otherwise the legal authorities will dissolve our organizations, and we are not going to risk this as long as there is not anything serious confronting us.'
"Upon consultation with professional jurists and repeated redrafting of the text, so as to express the same thought in a lawful form, the final formula was devised, which Bebel consented to have adopted." The resolution was passed unanimously.
The Eighth International Socialist Congress was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from August 28 to September 3, 1910. The resolution of the Congress on International Arbitration and Disarmament confirmed the resolution of the Stuttgart Congress on war. The last two paragraphs of the Stuttgart resolution were reproduced in full in the Copenhagen resolution.
The Extraordinary Basel Congress was held on November 24 and 25, 1912 (Appendix Document No. II). It was called to protest the Balkan war and the threat of a general European war. The manifesto of the Basel Congress combined the resolutions of the congresses of Stuttgart and Copenhagen.
The last session of the International Socialist Bureau was held at Brussels on July 29, 1914. The following resolution was adopted: "The International Socialist Bureau, at its meeting held today, July 29, upon listening to the reports of the representatives of all countries that may be involved in a world war on the political situation in those countries, has resolved unanimously that it shall be the duty of the workers of all nations concerned not only to continue but to further intensify their demonstrations against the war, for peace, and for the settlement of the Austro-Serbian conflict by international arbitration. The German and the French workers shall exert the most energetic pressure upon the governments of their respective countries in order that Germany shall restrain the war ardor of Austria, and that France shall obtain from Russia noninterference in the conflict. The British and Italian workers shall, on their part, support those efforts with all their energy. The extraordinary congress which is being called to meet at Paris will be a vigorous expression of this will for peace of the international proletariat."
The Berne International Socialist Women's Conference was held on March 26-28, 1915 (Appendix Document No. III). The conference was called at the initiative of representatives of women's organizations that agreed with the Bolsheviks' position on the war. It was supported by Clara Zetkin, Secretary of the International Bureau of Socialist Women, who issued an appeal to the women of all countries to "struggle for peace." The question on the agenda was that of "international action of Socialist women for peace. Notwithstanding that the Bolshevik resolution (see appendices) was rejected for a more pacifist-oriented one, the conference was of great significance as the first genuinely international gathering after the outbreak of the war.
The pamphlet Socialism and War was written by Lenin, in collaboration with Zinoviev in August 1915. The pamphlet had been designed for the Zimmerwald Conference of September 1915, but owing to technical causes its appearance was delayed and it was published after the conference was over. (Appendix Document No IV).
The conference was initiated by the Swiss and Italian Socialist parties and was attended by their representatives as well as delegates from other anti-war parties and groups. The Bolsheviks organized the left delegates (who became known as the "Zimmerwald Left") and submitted the draft of a manifesto and the draft of a resolution on the war and the tasks of Social-Democracy (Appendix Documents No. VI, VII, and VIII). The majority declined the propositions of the Left. The conference also adopted a resolution of "sympathy with the war victims and the persecuted" (Appendix Document No. V). The Zimmerwald Left formed the basic nucleus of the Communist International founded in 1919.
The American Socialist Party, although not a Marxist party, had large numbers of revolutionary workers. It adopted a militant anti-war manifesto with a call for revolutionary action at its convention in St. Louis in April 1917 (Appendix Document No. IX).
The "Decree on Peace" by the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies was the first declaration of policy by the victorious revolutionary government (Appendix Document No. X). It was written by Lenin and delivered on October 26 (November 8 by the Western calendar), 1917.
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