Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Russian revolution which founded the USSR, the world's first socialist state. In occasional instances, he is (falsely) attributed the first name of Nicolai.

Speech Relevance[edit]

Reagan speaks of Lenin several times in 'Encroaching Control', usually quoting the revolutionary on the aspirations of the Soviet Union or communism in general.

Karl Marx laid down the cardinal principle a century ago when he said communism and capitalism cannot exist in the world together. And he then declared the war and said that our way, our freedom, our way of life must be destroyed and on the ruins they will then erect the international communist state. Lenin, in interpreting Karl Marx, said, "It is inconceivable that the Soviet Republic should continue to exist for a long period side-by-side with imperialistic states. Ultimately, one or the other, must conquer."

According to a letter from Joseph Stalin to Ivan P. Ivanov, this is in Lenin's Collected Works:

"We are living not merely in a State but in a system of States, and it is inconceivable that the Soviet Republic should continue to coexist for a long period side by side with imperialist States. Ultimately one or other must conquer. Meanwhile, a number of terrible clashes between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois States is inevitable. This means that if the proletariat, as the ruling class, wants to and will rule, it must prove this also by military organization." (Collected Works, Vol. 24. P. 122.)

However, a check of Lenin's Collected Works, Volume 24, yields no quotes like this. Pg. 122 contains a Pravda article about bankers and ministers in English editions of the book.

Still another source, this time American, connects the quote with Stalin, not Lenin, but refers to it as a "basic communist tenet" which may or may not mean it originated with Stalin. The quote is also found in "Problems of Leninism" page 194.

The quote, however, cannot currently be connected to Karl Marx.

In several of Reagan's speeches, he includes the following:

Lenin, the interpreter of Marx, has said, "The way to destroy capitalism is to debauch the currency. Through a continuing process of inflation a government can quietly and unobservedly confiscate the wealth of its citizens."

In attempting to find sources for this quote, I came across the following webpage, Quote Files: V.I. Lenin on Inflation and Taxation. It provides the origins of the quote as being a book written by John Maynard Keynes, and he was paraphrasing Lenin.

Lenin, in 1923, said, "We will take Eastern Europe, we will organize the hordes of Asia and we won't have to take the United States. We will surround it and that last bastion of capitalism will fall into our outstretched hand like overripe fruit." Well, they've taken Eastern Europe. They are organizing the hordes of Asia around the red colossus of China and today I'm sure many of us suspect we are being prepared for the bitter cup of capitulation in Laos that will be watered down only slightly by a few face-saving devices. Cuba is a Russian beach head 90 miles off our Florida coast and more telling that even that, 250,000 communist professional organizers are scattered up and down the length and breadth of Latin America.

Sources are mixed on this quote. Some attribute it to Lenin, others say there is no evidence he ever said it. The portion at the end about 'overripe fruit' is also often added to a quote from Khrushchev.

The 1999 book They Never Said It by Paul F. Boller and John H. George has debunked this quote. The quote originated from a speech given by Cardinal Spellman to the 1954 National Convention of the American Legion, though he states it was given in 1919. The quote also can be found, in a slightly different phrasing, in The Blue Book of the John Birch Society from 1959. Either of these could be Reagan's source.

Source Links[edit]

quote from Lenin's Collected Works

Where Is Your America? by Libor Brom