I AM fully aware of the difficulties of the task which I undertake in attempting to give the readers of FOREIGN AFFAIRS an account of the main lines of Soviet foreign policy and the fundamental considerations which govern it. The first difficulty arises from the fact that the foreign policy of the Soviet Government differs as much from the foreign policy of the other Great Powers as the domestic policy of this first socialist state differs from the domestic policy of the states belonging to the capitalist system. Men and women who accept the capitalist point of view find it just as hard to understand the socialist state's foreign policy as its domestic policy. Moreover, this primary difficulty is increased by several propositions generally accepted in the capitalist world, although even there they are of questionable validity. I mean the theory of the priority of foreign over domestic policy and the theory of the continuity of foreign policy. In order to clear the way for an understanding of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union the reader must attempt to grasp our attitude toward these two propositions. We consider them erroneous because they are in contradiction with generally-known historical facts.

Foreign policy is a function of domestic policy. It solves problems which result from the development of a given society, a given state, under definite historical conditions.

The wars of the era when modern capitalism was born, the wars of Cromwell and Louis XIV, were the product of the struggle for the emancipation of the youthful capitalism, which gained strength under the mercantilist system, from the oppression of the domestic market, largely based on a peasant economy which met the requirements of the peasant and of his feudal exploiter. There was a need for colonies as sources of raw materials and as markets for the produce of young industries, and also for the plundering which provided the stimulus for the growth of manufactures, which became in turn the basis for the eventual development of machine industry. Industrial capitalism relegates the struggle for colonies to the background because industrial capitalism itself creates an immense domestic market as well as immense means of accumulation and has in cheap mass production a magnificent weapon for mobilizing raw materials from the colonies.

The wars of the industrial era served either as a means for breaking through the Chinese wall which separates the backward nations from the capitalist world (the Anglo-Chinese war, the Anglo-American threats to Japan), or as a way for achieving national unity, which means creating a large domestic market for infant industries (the unification of Germany, Italy, the United States).

Under monopolistic capitalism the mad struggle for colonies was again accentuated. In the war of 1914-1918 the attempt was made to re-distribute the world's surface in accordance with the strength of the imperialistic powers which took part in the struggle. The difference between the aims and methods of the imperialistic policy of the twentieth century and those of the foreign policy of the mercantilist era is made clear, despite their superficial similarity, by the consequences of that imperialistic policy. Whereas during the period of manufactures England did everything in her power to prevent the development of industry in the colonies, the policy of modern imperialism is a policy of exporting capital, that is, a policy of exporting the means of production. This policy, regardless of the intentions of its originators, leads to a certain degree of industrialization in the colonies -- although the survivals of feudalism and the exploitation of the colonial countries hinder the process of industrialization and prevent emancipation. The revolutionary movement in the colonies, centering as it does around the young proletariat, shows how different are the policies of mercantilism and imperialism. The fate of India, the fate of China, furnish the proofs.

Where, in this process, is the priority of foreign policy and where is its continuity? Its aims are seen to be shaped by the economic and political structure of changing forms of society. Therefore they are not permanent but on the contrary variable.

The attempt to represent the foreign policy of the Soviet Union as a continuation of Tsarist policy is ridiculous. Bourgeois writers who do so have not grasped even the purely external manifestations of this policy. It used to be an axiom of Tsarist policy that it should strive by every available means to gain possession of the Dardanelles and of an ice-free port on the Pacific. Not only have the Soviets not attempted to seize the Dardanelles, but from the very beginning they have tried to establish the most friendly relations with Turkey; nor has Soviet policy ever had as one of its aims the conquest of Port Arthur or of Dairen. Again, Tsarism, or any other bourgeois régime in Russia, would necessarily resume the struggle for the conquest of Poland and of the Baltic states, as is doubtless clear to any thoughtful bourgeois politician in those countries. The Soviet Union, on the contrary, is most anxious to establish friendly relations with these countries, considering their achievement of independence a positive and progressive historical factor.

It is silly to say that geography plays the part of fate, that it determines the foreign policy of a state. Tsarist policy originated not in geographical conditions, but in the privileges of the Russian nobility and the demands of young Russian capitalism. The questions raised by geography are dealt with by each social formation in its own way; that way is determined by its peculiar economic and political aims.


We are thus led to the first fundamental question: What are the aims which may and must be pursued by a society which is building up socialism and which is based on socialism?

I shall not attempt to give here a historical survey of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. Suffice it to recall that when the Soviet Government came to power it set out promptly to rescue the country from the conflagration of the World War, and that having achieved this purpose at a heavy price it was forced for about three years to defend its independence against the intervention of the leading imperialistic nations, an intervention due partly to the desire of these to drag the Soviets back into the World War and partly to their desire to destroy the first government of the workers, which the capitalist world looked upon as a gross provocation to the capitalist system. This fact compelled the Soviet Union to give a preliminary solution to the problem of defense which had been forced upon it. But even in this early period Soviet foreign policy displayed clearly its fundamental lines, which are fully in harmony with the foreign policy of the socialist system.

The main object for which Soviet diplomacy is fighting is peace. Now this term "peace" is much abused. There is no diplomat whose official pronouncements do not use this term reverently over and over again, even though he is a representative of one of those imperialistic nations which are most active in preparing war. But those who are incapable of understanding the specific place occupied by the struggle for peace in Soviet foreign policy are altogether incapable of understanding that policy in whole or in part. Why is the struggle for peace the central object of Soviet policy? Primarily because the Soviet Union -- to use the expression of Lenin -- "has everything necessary for the building up of a socialist society."

As early as 1915 and 1916 Lenin, then preparing the struggle for the seizure of political power, maintained that it was possible to build up socialism in Russia. He saw the country's vast size, its immense natural resources, and that it possessed a degree of industrial development which would insure, on the one hand, the leadership of the working class and, on the other, provide the minimum of technical knowledge necessary for starting socialist construction.

In Lenin's lifetime the Soviet state, having victoriously ended the war against intervention, took up the work of reconstruction, re-building the industry that had been destroyed and establishing normal relations with the peasantry. These normal relations assured the proletariat the supply of raw materials and foodstuffs necessary for the expansion of industry, as well as the support of the peasant masses. Lenin's successor at the helm of the Soviet ship of state, Stalin, deciding the course of this ship, set as its object the building up of socialism within the borders of the former Empire of the Tsars. This object seemed utopian, not only to the capitalist world, but also to a group inside the Communist Party which followed Trotsky and rejected the fundamentals of Lenin's policy.

In this inner party struggle the policy of Stalin was victor; and his victory found its realization in the Five Year Plan. This plan has already been put into practice. Its achievement consists in the creation of an industry on such a large scale as to provide the solution of three problems. In the first place, it allows the Soviet Union to proceed independently with the further development of its industry, that is to say, in case of necessity, without importations from abroad, because under the Five Year Plan the Soviet Union has acquired a powerful heavy industry and machine-building equipment of all sorts.

Thanks to the solution of this first problem, the working class can now -- and this is the solution of the second problem -- provide the peasantry with a number of machines sufficient to prove to even the most backward groups of peasants the advantage of collectivization. On the basis of collectivization it became possible to liquidate those classes of the peasants which were pushing agriculture in the direction of capitalism. The economic annihilation of the kulaks and the creation of an agriculture which has for its chief driving power the products of large-scale machine industry -- tractors, reapers and other agricultural machines -- owned by the workers' state, has created a situation in which the peasantry can and must develop in the direction of socialism. The peasant today is still in an intermediate stage between the position of a small owner and that of a member of a society carrying on a collective enterprise with the help of means of production owned by the society. But it is already perfectly clear that as a result of the advantages of tractors, electricity and oil over horses, ploughs and scythes, the well-being of the peasantry will depend in increasing degree on the productive forces of the socialist society and not on labor arising from privately-owned means of production. Within the peasant ranks, too, differentiations in productive and economic standards will be abolished, and the peasantry will gradually be transformed into a uniform socialist mass. The economic lot of the peasants will continue to improve and year by year they will grow closer to the proletariat. This result is guaranteed not only by the increasing industrialization of the countryside, but also by the fact that industrialization is a means for raising the cultural level of the village to that of the urban proletariat. The solution of this second problem -- the collectivization of farming -- in conjunction with the solution of the first problem -- industrialization -- makes possible the accomplishment of the third object of the Five Year Plan, namely the creation of conditions which assure the national defense of the Soviet state.

This capacity for national defense is based on the creation of a heavy industry which provides the country with all the means of defense essential to success in modern war, and on the disappearance of all social classes hostile to the up-building of socialism. These classes have been defeated, even though remnants still survive and even though the psychology of the small owner, inimical to socialism, cannot disappear in all groups of the population at once. But if we ask the question, what is the general trend of development, it is clear that the fulfilment of the Five Year Plan and the development of the program of reconstruction in the Second Five Year Plan have proved that the Soviet Union, having laid down the foundations of socialism, is capable of proceeding to build up the complete structure of socialism, the integral socialist society, that is, a classless society which bases itself on all the discoveries of modern technique and that assures to the masses of the population social and cultural conditions of a type which capitalism cannot possibly achieve.

Does the Soviet Union need war in order to build up socialism? It does not. Certain capitalist circles have stubbornly asserted since the Soviet Union was founded that it would seek a solution of its difficulties in war; these assertions are repudiated by the history of the Soviet Union during its sixteen years of life. Even at the moment when we were particularly ill-equipped to undertake the building-up of socialism, immediately after we had assumed governmental responsibilities, we readily accepted the heaviest sacrifices in order to give peace to the country. We deeply believed -- and this was of great importance -- that we had in our hands everything necessary for building up a socialist society. Now we know that the problem of building socialism in the Soviet Union admits of a practical solution and that a considerable part of the problem has been already solved. The peace policy of the Soviet Union therefore rests on the granite foundation of triumphant socialist construction.

The enemies of the Soviet Union attempt to undermine the importance of this fact from two directions. Some of them accuse the Soviet Union of having given up its international aims. These aims, in their opinion, would demand military intervention by the Soviet Union to aid the emancipation of the international proletariat and of the colonial peoples. Others, on the contrary, maintain that, because the Bolshevik Party which controls the Soviet Union is inherently an international party, all the peace declarations of the Soviet Union are purely provisional and hence that having reached a certain economic level which enables it to wage an aggressive war the Soviet Union will repudiate its peace declarations and assume the initiative in a war. The best way of answering both these accusations is to quote the statement made by Stalin in December 1926:

This is what Lenin actually said: "From ten to twenty years of sound relations with the peasantry, and victory on the world scale is assured (even despite delays in the growing proletarian revolutions); otherwise from twenty to forty years of sufferings under the White terror." ("Leninski Sbornik," Vol. IV, p. 374.)

Does this proposition of Lenin give ground for the conclusion that "we are utterly incapable of building up socialism in twenty or thirty years?" No, it does not. From this proposition we can derive the following conclusions: (a) provided we have established sound relations with the peasantry, victory is assured to us (that is, the victory of socialism) within ten or twenty years; (b) this victory will be a victory not only within the U. S. S. R., but a victory on the world scale; (c) if we fail to gain victory within this period this will mean that we have been defeated, and that the régime of the dictatorship of the proletariat has given place to the régime of the White terror, which may last twenty to forty years.

And what is meant by "victory on the world scale?" Does it mean that such a victory is equivalent to the victory of socialism in a single country? No, it does not. Lenin in his writings carefully distinguished the victory of socialism in a single country from victory "on the world scale." What Lenin really means when he speaks of "victory on the world scale" is that the success of socialism in our country, the victory of consolidating socialism in our country, has such an immense international significance that it (the victory) cannot be limited to our country alone but is bound to call forth a powerful movement toward socialism in all capitalist countries, and even if it does not coincide with the victory of the proletarian revolution in other countries, it must in any event lead to a strong proletarian movement of other nations toward the victory of world revolution. Such is the revolutionary outlook according to Lenin, if we think in terms of the outlook for the victory of the revolution, which after all is the question in which we in the Party are interested.[i]

Such are the fundamentals of the Soviet peace policy.


The socialist society which is being built up in the Soviet Union has foundations already well established and its completion assured. It does not need war. This fact found expression in the Soviet proposal for a general disarmament by all the capitalistic Powers, first advanced at the Genoa Conference while Lenin was still alive. It has subsequently been the axis of the peace policy of the Soviet Union at the Disarmament Conference. This Conference required years of preparation and already has been engaged on its sterile deliberations for two years. Its fate magnificently proves the truth of Lenin's thesis that "under capitalism, and especially in its imperialistic phase, war is inevitable."

Immediately after the capitalist world recovered from the postwar commotion and achieved provisional economic stablization, a new wave of armaments came into being. All nations began developing feverishly those methods of warfare which the war had proved important, such as aviation, chemical warfare and tanks. The mechanization of armies and the modernization of fleets have been taking place universally. The attempt to keep these armaments at least within certain limits is frustrated by the action of the law which Lenin formulated as follows in his work "Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism:"

Financial capital and the trusts do not diminish but emphasize the difference in the tempo of growth between various parts of the world economy. But if the balance of forces has been broken, what can be used under a capitalistic system to bring about a settlement of the conflict except violence?[ii]

And again:

Under capitalism no other basis is thinkable for the division of spheres of influence, interests, colonies, etc., except an estimate of the strength of the parties to the division, their general economic strength, their financial and military strength, and so on. But the strength of the parties to division changes unevenly, because an even development of separate enterprises, trusts, branches of industries, countries, is impossible under capitalism. Half a century ago Germany was a mere nonentity, if we compare her capitalistic strength with that of contemporary England; the same was true of Japan in comparison with Russia. Is it "thinkable" that one or two decades hence the relationship between the imperialistic Powers should remain unaltered? Utterly unthinkable.

Under conditions actually prevailing in the capitalist world, therefore, the "inter-imperialistic" or "ultra-imperialistic" alliances -- irrespective of the form these alliances might take, whether that of one imperialistic coalition against another imperialistic coalition, or that of a general alliance of all the imperialistic Powers -- will necessarily be merely "breathing spaces" between wars.[iii]

The opinions expressed by Lenin in 1916, in the midst of the World War, have been fully corroborated by post-war history. They explain why the capitalist world is incapable of obtaining any effective limitation in armaments and is therefore inescapably moving toward a new world war for a new re-distribution of the world.

Germany, having strengthened her industry with the help of American, English, Dutch and Swiss loans, and confronted with a shrinkage of the world market, cannot exist within the narrow limits assigned to her by the Treaty of Versailles. In seeking equality in armaments she is seeking the possibility for preparing a war for the revision of the Versailles peace.

Japan, who developed her industry first on the basis of an inhuman semi-feudal exploitation of the village population (which still continues), later with the help of billions of war profits, and who is half-strangled in the knot of surviving feudalism which, in an even stronger degree than the laws of imperialism, prevents the development of her domestic market -- Japan, who understands that the United States is compelled by the entire course of its economic development to deepen and expand its struggle for economic influence in China -- Japan, fearful that as a consequence of the industrialization of Siberia she will lose her monopolistic position as the only industrial country in the Far East -- Japan tears up the Washington and the London agreements, occupies Manchuria, and gets ready to occupy China before the economic domination of the United States has been fully established there. She raises the question of her hegemony over Asia. This objective has been openly proclaimed by Japan's Minister of War, General Araki.

Italy, "offended at Versailles," seeks a re-distribution of colonial lands in her favor.

The relations between the United States and England have suffered a fundamental change since the United States has risen to the position of being the first industrial power in the world and has claimed equality in the control of the seas.

The uneven development of post-war capitalism has created a situation in which all the imperialistic Powers will seek to re-distribute the world in accordance with their own interests.

The Soviet Union is opposed to imperialism. It is opposed to an imperialistic war. It recognizes as equitable only one war, the war for the defense of socialism, the war of the enslaved peoples for their liberation. This point of view determines our attitude toward imperialism, as a system, and toward the consequences of its policy which find their expression in the preparation of a new war. It also dictates our attitude toward imperialistic alliances which evolve during the process of preparing a new war for the re-distribution of the world.

The Soviet Union takes no part in the struggle for the re-distribution of the world.

The words of Stalin at the Sixteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -- "We do not want a single bit of foreign land; but at the same time not an inch of our land shall ever be yielded to anyone else" -- these words are the exact expression of the policy of the Soviet Union.

In the struggle for the new re-distribution of the world the Soviet Union does not share. Taking account of the solidarity of the workers of the whole world, it can take no part in the plundering of foreign lands. Moreover, it does not need foreign land to carry on the work of constructing socialism. This policy found expression in the Soviet attitude toward the struggle in Manchuria. Defending its economic interests in connection with the Chinese Eastern Railroad, the Soviet Union never accepted the partition of Manchuria into spheres of influence. It followed a similar policy in Persia, even though this rendered its relations with British imperialism somewhat more difficult. Non-participation in imperialistic alliances having for their purpose the plundering of foreign lands is the second leading principle of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union.

But the preparation of an imperialistic war is a fact, the existence of imperialistic alliances is a fact, and the Soviet Union can not limit itself to a mere expression of its negative attitude toward the objects of imperialism and toward imperialistic alliances. The Soviet Union must do everything to protect itself against the attack of the capitalist Powers who intend to conquer a portion of the Soviet territory or to overthrow the political framework of the socialist state.

The peace policy of the Soviet manifests itself not only in the struggle for disarmament, the struggle for the maximum reduction in armaments, but also in non-aggression pacts. In any given concrete case such a pact means a guarantee of Soviet neutrality in conflicts which may arise among the capitalist nations, conceded in exchange for the undertaking by the latter to refrain from attacking the Soviet Union or intervening in its domestic affairs. There is nothing surprising, therefore, in the fact that the first non-aggression pact concluded by the Soviet Union was with Turkey, for friendly relations between the two countries had developed from the early help offered by the Soviet Union to Turkey in her struggle for independence. Nor is it surprising that the next state with which the Soviet Union entered into a pact equivalent to a non-aggression pact was Germany (April 24, 1926). In its fight against the Treaty of Versailles, Germany tried to establish friendly relations with the Soviet Union as the only Great Power which opposed the enslavement of one nation by another. The non-aggression pacts with Afghanistan, in 1926, and with Persia, in 1929, were results of the policy of the Soviet Union which bases its relations with the Eastern peoples on the idea of equality and respect for their national independence.

It is not mere chance that for many years all attempts to conclude similar non-aggression pacts with the western neighbors of the Soviet Union remained fruitless. Those western neighbors for a long time participated openly or indirectly in the alignment of the victorious imperialistic Powers which had not given up the idea of intervention against the Soviets. Only experience -- the experience which proved to these western neighbors of the Soviet Union that this policy not only does not protect their independence but might even weaken their position at the same time that they have to face the growing demand for the restoration of German imperialism -- it was this experience only which developed their tendency toward peace with the Soviet Union and led to the conclusion of the non-aggression pacts between the Soviet Union, Poland, Latvia, Esthonia and Finland. A similar change in the general situation on the continent, Germany's growing desire to revise the conditions imposed upon her by the Treaty of Versailles -- peacefully if possible, forcibly if necessary -- proved to be one of the factors which induced France to enter into a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. Italy had been among the first to resume normal relations with the Soviet Union. It was her desire to strengthen her position with reference to France which influenced her to join the Soviet Union not only in a non-aggression pact but also in a pact of friendship. Soviet attempts to conclude a similar pact with Japan have up to the present time produced no positive results; this seems merely to indicate the existence in Japan of very strong tendencies to preserve complete freedom of action in case of conflict with the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union is confronted both in Europe and the Far East with hostile camps which are preparing war against one another. It holds toward them a position of neutrality, and endeavors to guarantee its own peace by a policy of non-interference in their affairs and by entering into mutual obligations of non-aggression with all sides. These obligations have been stated concretely and precisely in the pact containing the definition of the aggressor. The Soviet Government has definitely undertaken not to move its armed forces by land, sea or air across the frontiers of states which have assumed similar obligations, and also not to intervene directly or indirectly in their domestic affairs. All this indicates to the world that the policy of peace and neutrality on which the Soviet Union has embarked is not a mere diplomatic gesture, but a concrete political obligation the earnestness of which should be beyond question.

The Soviet Union enters into pacts of non-aggression with any country which is willing to sign such a pact, that is to say it is ready to enter into non-aggression pacts with countries which may eventually be at war. It therefore must take into consideration that while its pledge of peace and neutrality strengthen one of the belligerent countries they may be disadvantageous to the other side, which in consequence may attempt to repudiate its non-aggression pact, violate its obligations, and attack the Soviet Union. Besides, of course, any action is possible on the part of the Powers which have refused to sign non-aggression pacts. It goes without saying that the Soviet Union's reply to any attack on it would be military action fully commensurate with the statement of Stalin that "not an inch of our land shall ever be yielded to anyone else." But then a situation might arise when the Soviet Union would carry on action parallel with the enemy of its own enemy, or would even coöperate with him in a joint action. The policy to follow in such an eventuality was foreseen by Lenin during the discussion of the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations. Under quite different conditions, for then the Soviet Union was weak militarily, Lenin outlined the fundamental solution of the problem. This solution remains today one of the guiding principles of Soviet policy. "From the moment of the victory of socialist construction in one of the countries, the question must be settled not from the point of view of the desirability of this or that imperialism, but exclusively from the point of view of the best conditions for the development and strengthening of socialist revolution, which has already begun," wrote Lenin in his theses on the conclusion of a separate peace, on January 7, 1918.[iv]

In his article "O chesotke" ("About the Rash"), of February 22 of the same year, Lenin, criticizing those who objected as a matter of principle to the conclusion of an agreement with the Allies against German imperialism, wrote as follows:

If Kerensky, representative of the dominating class of the bourgeoisie, that is of the exploiters, enters into an agreement with the Anglo-French exploiters under which he obtains arms and potatoes, but conceals from the people other agreements which promise (in case of success) to one robber Armenia, Galicia, Constantinople, to the other Baghdad, Syria, and so on -- then is it difficult to understand that the transaction is a dishonest, disgusting and revolting one from the point of view of both Kerensky and his friends? No. It is not difficult to understand. Any peasant will understand it, even the most backward and illiterate one.

But what if the representative of the exploited class, of those who suffer, after that class has overthrown the exploiters and has published and annulled all secret and grasping agreements, is the object of a treacherous attack by the German imperialists? Is he to be condemned for dealing with the Anglo-French robbers, for accepting their arms and potatoes in exchange for timber and so on? Should such an agreement be called dishonest, shameful, unclean?[v]

By giving a positive answer to the question of the feasibility of an agreement between the Soviet Union and an imperialistic Power which, for the sake of its own imperialistic interests, was willing to help the Soviet Union in its struggle against other attacking imperialistic Powers, Lenin at the same time answered the question as to the possible expansion of the policy of the Soviet Union beyond the stage of neutrality in case of a struggle between the imperialistic Powers.

The Soviet Union does not close the door to the possibility of a deal, an agreement, with imperialistic Powers which are waging a struggle against other imperialistic Powers, if the latter attack the Soviet Union; but in entering into such an agreement the Soviet Union would not accept any responsibility for the specific purposes pursued by the imperialistic Powers parties to the agreement. Never and under no conditions would it participate in the plundering of other nations, because participation in such a plunder would be contrary to the international solidarity of the workers. But against attacking imperialism an agreement is permissible with any opponent in order to defeat an enemy invading Soviet territory.

I think I have named the fundamental principles of Soviet foreign policy and have explained their interdependence. They are all derived from the basic fact that imperialism is unable to solve the great problems which mankind has to face today. A new imperialistic war will not solve them. It will lead to an immense destruction of productive forces, to unexampled sufferings among the masses of the people, and will achieve nothing except a new re-shuffling of the possessions of the capitalist world.

The Soviet Union is an enemy of imperialistic wars which arise from the fact that capitalism is no longer in a position to develop the productive forces of the human race, but that it is still capable of attempting to seize a piece of land which is being reserved for the exploitation of a given national bourgeoisie. That is how the world is pushed toward immense new upheavals. We are therefore certain that the masses, thrust into the turmoil of new wars, will seek a way out along the same road that was followed by the Soviet proletariat in 1917.

The object of the Soviet Government is to save the soil of the first proletariat state from the criminal folly of a new war. To this end the Soviet Union has struggled with the greatest determination and consistency for sixteen years. The defense of peace and of the neutrality of the Soviet Union against all attempts to drag it into the whirlwind of a world war is the central problem of Soviet foreign policy.

The Soviet Union follows the policy of peace because peace is the best condition for building up a socialist society. Fighting for the maintenance of peace, accepting obligations of neutrality toward the struggling camps of the imperialists, the Soviet Union has at the same time raised the military preparedness of the country to a level which answers the demands of national defense and the requirements of modern warfare. Its neutrality is a positive factor which the imperialistic Powers which have not yet lost the sense of realities will not fail to appreciate. Those of them which are unable to realize the importance of Soviet neutrality or are forced by the insoluble difficulties of their own position to risk an adventurous war against that huge country, with its dozens of millions of men united by a common desire for peace, a desire for peaceful creative work -- to those Powers will be given the proofs that the generation which laid down the foundations of socialism is also capable of defending them with iron energy. And we are convinced that, irrespective of what might be the course of the war and who might be responsible for its origins, the only victor that would emerge from it would be the Soviet Union leading the workers of the whole world; for it alone has a banner which, in case of a war, can become the banner of the masses of the entire world.

[i] J. Stalin: "Ob oppozitsii" ("On the Opposition"), articles and speeches, 1921-1927, State Publishing House, 1928, p. 465-466.

[ii] Lenin: "Sobranie sochineni," Vol. XIX, p. 149.

[iii]Op. cit., Vol. XIX, p. 167-168.

[iv]Op. cit., Vol. XXII, p. 195.

[v]Op. cit., Vol. XXII, p. 273.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now
  • KARL RADEK, Editor of Izvestia, Moscow; formerly Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist International and member of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party
  • More By Karl Radek