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Lenin fom Zurich to Petrograd


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#1 Za Rodinu

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Posted 28 March 2004 - 09:40 PM

This isn't strictly military, but I have trust in your patience.

The Revolution of March 1917 that overthrew the tsarist regime caught Lenin by surprise, but he managed to secure passage through Germany in a sealed train. His dramatic arrival in Petrograd...

This is written in one of the several Lenin biographies online. Lenin was living in Switzerland (who paid his rent? how did he and Krupskaya eat?) since 1914 and in April 1917 travelled to Petrograd / St. Petersburg / Petrograd / Leningrad "in a sealed train".

Of course the territory from the Swiss border to Petrograd covered a lot of ground held by the Central Powers (Germany, Austria, etc), who were really not very keen on Russian citizens as there was a war on, but this particular citizen was a Revolutionary.

So someone sealed the train, someone ordered the train sealed, someone knew who this fellow was and how active and important he might be, someone authorised his trip across German etc. territory, someone *paid* for the special train trip, etc, etc, etc, too many someones.

Perhaps I am paranoid, but the circunstances of Lenin's trip sound a lot like the Central Powers were actively inserting a known dangerous agitator inside enemy soil, indeed inside his capital where a lot of political agitation existed.

My question is: was Lenin a German agent?

Or had he convinced the Germans that they would be better off with him in Russia? How? Whom did he convince?

I have asked the former question to members of the local Communist Party (yes, there are some, and my medals cause a lot of impression :cool: how naive ppeople get!) and I'm lucky I escaped alive, which may mean there are some guilty consciences :D

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra...


#2 Friedrich

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 07:44 PM

the Central Powers were actively inserting a known dangerous agitator inside enemy soil, indeed inside his capital where a lot of political agitation existed.

To my knowledge this is exactly what happened. Maybe with the correction that it was Germany the one who supported Lenin in getting into Russia via-Finland.

And now we know; getting Lenin into Tsarist Russia worked very well to knock her out of the war... :rolleyes:

But the Germans supporting a Russian political disident is not the same at all than paying him to damage the enemy of Germany. That was not the case and therfore, Lenin was not a German agent.
"War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." - Jean Dutourd, French veteran of both world wars

"A mon fils: depuis que tes yeux sont fermes les miens n’ont cessé de pleurir." - Mère française, Verdun

#3 Kai-Petri

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 07:58 AM

Just like Friedrich said, I think!

I think it was a very wise move by Germany at the time, and they made peace with Lenin´s Russia and got rid of the two-front war.

For Lenin I think he believed that it did not matter to make peace and lose areas as the communistic revolution would come to all the countries one by one and he could unite the nations in the end.

One detail: Mannerheim did not want to negotiate with the "White Russian Generals" as they were not willing to give Finland independence. Lenin and the communists were more willing on the subject, and that´s how Finland got freedom. And Lenin again believed that Finland would have revolution, as they did but the "Whites" won...

:eek:
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#4 Za Rodinu

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 10:28 AM

Fine insights!

Of course Germany was interested in wrapping up the Eastern Front, and adding a bit more "flavour" to what was already a volatile situation (as Russia was already in high turmoil by then) certainly would not harm the German interests, on the contrary.

Maybe Lenin accepted the active cooperation of the "enemies of the Czarists" and enter the game itself as he wanted to end the war himself and anyway he was anticipating the Kaiser etc would be toppled themselves by the "historical movement".

This story is so murky that it simply is left untouched by the hagiographies, oops! I mean biographies of Lenin I saw. My communist friends prefer not to elaborate on this :D

How did Lenin get into Russian territory? Exactly *how* do you have a special train cross your country (easy, this one), then cross a military rear zone (easy too), then a FEBA, and have the same train proceed in peace to deliver an enemy of the state to the political capital? Something is very strange in this story!

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#5 Kai-Petri

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 11:16 AM

More data on the Russian situation 1917:

( I have myself forgotten quite alot it seems since my history lessosn at school ...)

http://www.gmu.edu/d...useum/his1c.htm

After the Czar's abdication, power passed to a Provisional Government. If Kerensky (Minister of Justice first, then Minister of War ) and the Provisional Government had the common sense to make a separate peace with the Germans Lenin would probably not have had a chance to get into power.

The Bolsheviks remained a minority party: at the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets in the early summer of 1917, the Bolsheviks won 105 delegates, far less than their 285 seats won by the Social Revolutionaries and the 248 held by the Mensheviks. After a July Bolshevik coup failed and quite a few Bolsheviks were arrested, it appeared that Lenin's day might have already come and gone. Lenin even fled to Finland, leaving the party under the leadership of Trotsky, who had only joined a few months earlier. Power seemingly eluded Lenin's grasp, but he would soon get his second chance.

The indecisive Kerensky, already minister of war and navy, became Prime Minister soon after the first failed Leninist coup. His response to the putsch was, strangely, to alienate his military supporters...Kerensky asw well ordered the release of all but a few of the Bolsheviks from prison, including Trotsky, so that by October 10 (old calendar) "all but twenty-seven Bolsheviks were at liberty and preparing for the next coup.

http://www.gmu.edu/d...useum/his1d.htm

Kerensky

http://www.spartacus...RUSkerensky.htm

The trip actually seems like going the following route:

Zürich-Stockholm-Helsinki-St Petersburg..

and not straight through the front !??

http://travel.indepe...6&host=2&dir=33
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#6 Za Rodinu

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 07:52 AM

Originally posted by Kai-Petri:
The indecisive Kerensky, ... to alienate his military supporters... ordered the release of all but a few of the Bolsheviks from prison, including Trotsky...

Another example of the wrong man at the wrong time in the wrong place!

Originally posted by Kai-Petri:
Zürich-Stockholm-Helsinki-St Petersburg..

and not straight through the front !??

Holy mackerel! Even worse than I thought! I already had an inkling he had got in through Finland, but wasn't sure.

"...special carriage. Lenin had banned smoking anywhere but in the loo." At least he was ahead of his time, which proves he was a genius tongue.gif

In any case, Lenin was happy to go back to Russia and the Germans were happy to oblige him, even if it meant going to diplomatic and logistical lengths.

No need to invent plots à la Suvorov.

Kai, you're an encyclopedia on legs :D

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra...





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