Manifesto of the RSDLP Central Committee War and Russian Social

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Manifesto of the RSDLP Central Committee “War and Russian Social Democracy”


the first official document of the Bolshevik Party expressing its attitude toward World War I, which had just begun.

“War and Russian Social Democracy” was written by V. I. Lenin in September 1914 and published on Oct. 19 (Nov. 1), 1914, in the 33rd issue of the newspaper Sotsial-demokrat. The manifesto was discussed at a meeting of Bolshevik party functionaries in Ozerki, just outside Petrograd, on Nov. 4 (17), 1914. In February 1915 it was printed in the first issue of the newspaper Proletarskii golos, the organ of the St. Petersburg Committee of the RSDLP. The manifesto was submitted to the International Socialist Bureau and to the editorial boards of socialist newspapers in a number of Western European countries. It defined the nature and aims of the war as imperialist, predatory, and unjust, and it exposed the social chauvinism of the leaders of the Second International, who had betrayed socialism, as well as the centrists, “left” opportunists, and anarcho-syndicalists, who covered up for that betrayal. One of the main tasks of Social Democrats in every country, it said, was to combat social chauvinism in their own countries.

In the manifesto Lenin elaborated the tactics of the international proletariat. The chief motto was to turn the imperialist war into a civil war, which further developed and defined the ideas of the Basel Manifesto of 1912. Closely linked with this motto was the call for the defeat of one’s own government, since defeats and setbacks at the front would weaken the old regime and facilitate the revolutionary movement of the masses. The manifesto emphasized that in Russia, where the bourgeois revolution had not yet been accomplished, the immediate tasks of the Social Democrats were to establish a democratic republic, confiscate the land of the pomeshchiki (landlords), and introduce the eight-hour day. In the advanced capitalist countries, socialist revolution was the order of the day. The manifesto proposed the creation of a new, third, international.

Lenin’s manifesto provided all revolutionary forces in the world with a concrete program of action under war conditions. Basic Marxist tenets on the issues of war, peace, and revolution were further developed by Lenin’s manifesto.


Lenin, V. I. “Voina i Rossiiskaia sotsial-demokratiia.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26.
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 1. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.