[Marxism] Getting support from the enemy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 11 08:43:18 MDT 2006

Karl Radek, "Through Germany in the Sealed Coach":

When, after the February Revolution in 1917, Vladimir Ilyich became 
convinced that the Entente powers would never allow him and his comrades to 
make the journey through to Russia, there were still two possibilities 
available: either we could try to travel through Germany illegally, or we 
could travel with the knowledge of the authorities.

Crossing illegally entailed the greatest risk, firstly because we could 
very easily be detained for a long time, and also because we found it hard 
to distinguish between the traffickers whose services we should require and 
German government spies. If the Bolsheviks had to come to an agreement with 
the German government about their journey across the country, then this had 
to happen in a completely open fashion, in order to lessen the danger which 
this whole affair might conjure up against Lenin as leader of the 
proletarian revolution. Hence we were all in favour of an open agreement. 
On behalf of Vladimir Ilyich I turned, in association with Paul Levi, who 
at the time was a member of the Spartacus group, and who was temporarily 
staying in Switzerland, to the representative of the Frankfurter Zeitung, 
who was known to us. If I am not mistaken, it was a Dr Deinhard. Through 
him we asked the German Ambassador Romberg whether Germany would allow 
émigrés returning to Russia to pass through its territory. In turn, Romberg 
enquired of the Foreign Ministry in Berlin and received a reply that was in 
principle favourable. Thereupon we elaborated the conditions on which we 
were willing to undertake the journey through Germany. The main conditions 
were as follows: the German government should allow all applicants to pass 
through, without asking for their names; those travelling through should 
enjoy the protection of extraterritoriality and nobody would be entitled to 
enter into negotiations of any sort with them during their journey. With 
these conditions we sent the Swiss Socialist deputy Robert Grimm, the 
secretary of the Zimmerwald Union, and our political ally and comrade 
Platten to see Romberg. After the meeting with the German Ambassador we met 
in the trade-union premises. Grimm related how surprised the Ambassador had 
been, when they had read out to him our conditions for the journey. 
“Forgive me,” said the German Ambassador, “but it seems to me that is not I 
who am requesting permission to travel through Russia, but Mr Ulyanov and 
the others who are asking me for permission to travel through Germany. Here 
it is we who are in the position to impose conditions.” Nonetheless he 
passed on our demands to Berlin.

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/radek/1924/xx/train.htm



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