Decree on Peace


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Decree on Peace

 

the first decree of the Soviet government, adopted by the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917. V. I. Lenin prepared a draft of the decree and presented it to the congress in his address on peace.

The Great October Socialist Revolution had triumphed in the midst of a world imperialist war. The question of withdrawal from the war was the most important one for hundreds of millions of people. The decree on peace proposed that all peoples and governments immediately open negotiations on the conclusion of a general peace based on the renunciation of annexations and indemnities. The decree on peace proposed a three-month armistice during the period of peace negotiations. The decree on peace was a very important programmatic foreign policy document of the Soviet government and was based on the possibility of a prolonged period of peaceful coexistence with the capitalist countries. The decree proclaimed for the first time in history new principles of an international policy of peace and peaceful collaboration, of proletarian internationalism, of the recognition of the full equality of all peoples, of respect for their independence as nations and as states, and of noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries. It was the first time in history that a supreme government body recognized the legitimacy and justice of the liberation struggle of the oppressed peoples.

The ruling circles of the imperialist countries of the Entente greeted the Soviet peace proposals with hostility. They called for the organization of armed intervention in Soviet Russia. The decree on peace was greeted enthusiastically by the peoples of Russia and foreign countries. On Nov. 9 (22), 1917, Lenin delivered a radio address calling on soldiers and sailors to elect delegates and to enter into armistice negotiations with the enemy. At the fronts the soldiers began to conclude a “soldier’s peace.” A wave of demonstrations and rallies demanding peace and support for Soviet Russia swept Great Britain, France, and the USA. After the rejection of the Soviet peace proposals by the governments of the Entente countries, the Soviet government was compelled to begin peace negotiations with Germany culminating in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk of 1918.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Doklad o mire, oktiabria(8 noiabria). Zakliuchitel’noe slovo po dokladu o mire 26 oktiabria(8 noiabria).” [Vtoroi Vserossiiskii s”ezd Sovetov rabochikh i soldatskikh deputatov 25-26 oktiabria (7-8 noiabria) 1917 g.”] Pol. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 35.
Dokumenty vneshnei politiki SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow, 1957. Pages 11-14. (Text of the decree on peace.)
Istoriia mezhdunarodnykh otnoshenii i vneshnei politiki SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow, 1961.
Vygodskii, S. Iu. Leninskii dekret o mire. Leningrad, 1958.
Rosenko, I. A. Leninskii dekret o mire v deistvii. Leningrad, 1968.

A. E. IOFFE