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Vladimir Lenin is known for promising "Peace, land, and bread!" to the peasants of Russia. I have seen this quote in many forms, though, as

  • Peace, land, and bread!
  • Peace, bread, and land!
  • Peace, land, bread!
  • Peace, bread, land!

Which of these, or none of them, is the most historically accurate quote for this slogan?

  • I'm not an expert, but this is the first time I see this quote. The most well-known slogan of the time was "peace to the peoples, the factories to the workers, the land to the peasants" (I'm not sure, what is an established English translation, so this is mine) – user907860 Oct 8 '17 at 16:11
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    There's an assumption here that only one is accurate. There also may be translation issues. – Schwern Oct 8 '17 at 17:29
  • This is, to me, a trivia (and it's fine because I'm not voting to close or anything like that). What I'm interested in is: what difference does it make in historical terms? In other words, why would it matter to know the exact words uttered by Lenin? Welcome to the site. – J Asia Oct 8 '17 at 17:33
  • @JAsia what difference does it make in historical terms? Well, at the very least, the question of when and how "the land" (i.e. the peasants) appeared in the program of the workers' party is of some interest. – Matt Oct 8 '17 at 17:59
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    @Matt - Actually, what I meant was --given the 4 options as stated -- does it make a difference what the exact words were (i.e. in what order). Yes, I agree -- land would an important factor in Lenin's class-based revolution. – J Asia Oct 8 '17 at 18:35
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"Peace, land, and bread" was a distillation of the complicated Communist doctrine that the peasantry could understand and get behind. As it is a simple three word slogan, I doubt there's a "definitive" version. And as we see below, "freedom" or "liberty" often also show up in Lenin's writing.

"Peace, land, and bread" is often attributed to Lenin's The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution, aka the April Theses of 1917 when the war was going disastrously for Russia. Nowhere is "bread" even mentioned (at least not in this translation), but the themes are there: end the war (still a hotly debated topic in April 1917), confiscate the land, set up collective farms to feed the people.

In our attitude towards the war, which under the new [provisional] government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably remains on Russia’s part a predatory imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government, not the slightest concession to “revolutionary defencism” is permissible.

...

Confiscation of all landed estates.

Nationalisation of all lands in the country, the land to be disposed of by the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. The organisation of separate Soviets of Deputies of Poor Peasants. The setting up of a model farm on each of the large estates (ranging in size from 100 to 300 dessiatines, according to local and other conditions, and to the decisions of the local bodies) under the control of the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies and for the public account.

Later in An Answer...

Foul slander against political opponents will help the workers to realise all the sooner where the counter-revolution is, and to sweep it away in the name of freedom, peace, bread for the hungry and land for the peasants.

In Lessons Of The Revolution...

Let us see, in fact, what the workers and peasants were striving for when they made the revolution. What did they expect of the revolution? As we know, they expected liberty, peace, bread and land.

In Draft Resolution on the Present Situation...

The whole course of events, all economic and political conditions, everything that is happening in the armed forces, are increasingly paving the way for the successful winning of power by the working class, which will bring peace, bread and freedom and will hasten the victory of the proletarian revolution in other countries.

In They Do Not See The Woods For The Trees...

Without the victory of the revolutionary proletariat there can be no peace for the people, land for the peasants nor bread for the workers and all working people.

That's just from his June - Sept 1917 works. You can find more in the Lenin Collected Works. Though keep in mind translation issues when trying to find support for an exact wording.

Finally in his October 1st, 1917 Letter to the Central Committee, The Moscow And Petrograd Committees and the Bolshevik Members of the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets we get...

The slogan is: Power to the Soviets, Land to the Peasants, Peace to the Nations, Bread to the Starving!


It seems land, bread, and peace were a common theme in Russian and Communist politics at the time. It appears several times in Trotsky's The History of the Russian Revolution...

“Land, bread, and peace” – those slogans [Lenin] could only have brought from Germany

...

Upon the proposal of Trotsky, the [Garrison] Conference adopted three short resolutions:

"The All-Russian Congress of Soviets must take the power in its hands and guarantee to the people peace, land and bread.

...

Avilov, once a Bolshevik, a littérateur from Gorky’s paper. He conscientiously enumerated the difficulties standing before the revolution in the sphere of domestic and foreign politics. We must “clearly realise ... whither we are going ... Before the new government stand all the old questions: of bread and of peace. If it does not solve these problems it will be overthrown.”


See also...

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Well, these words most probably originate in Lenin's "Letters from afar" (March 1917). However, (1) Lenin wrote these words many(!) times in different combinations as the parts of larger sentences; (2) "The land" actually appears but once, while he was writing about Russian peasantry as a natural ally for the workers class; most often he spoke about "peace, bread and freedom".

Later in the Spring 1917 these words became the part of the Bolsheviks' public campaign, but there was no "canonic" form at that time.

But in Lenin's letter from 1st (14th) October 1917 this slogan finally became its "classic" form:

Питерский Совет может выжидать, агитируя за московское советское правительство. Лозунг: власть Советам, земля крестьянам, мир народам, хлеб голод­ным. Победа обеспечена, и на девять десятых шансы, что бескровно.

That is, The power to the Soviets, the land to the peasants, the peace to the nations, the bread to the hungry.

In 1924 the Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovskiy cited this exact sentence in his poem "Vladimir Ilyich Lenin", so this variant is the most well-known.

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