An Unlikely Relationship

The Intertwined Paths of the German Foreign Office and Lenin’s Rise to Power

Raffael Hüberli
11 min readFeb 4


Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

History produced many curious pairings of people and beliefs. Yet, few have had a bigger impact on our modern world and had a more dispart belief system than the one between Wladimir Lenin and the German Empire. In order to understand why and how it came about, one must understand the factors influencing the partners of this relationship and how they pursued their goals.

Also, many leaders have commented about Lenin’s return to Russia, but none did so like Sir Winston Churchill. So as an intor to the story, his descriptions of the events: “Nevertheless it was with a sense of awe that they turned upon Russia the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland into Russia.

Lenin in early March 1917

By March 1917, Lenin had been living in Zurich, Switzerland, for about a year. He and his wife had moved to the Swiss city in 1916, after staying in the Swiss capital, Bern. They were lodgers in a small flat in the heart of the city. The revolutionary worked in the archives of the city and also held public speeches, while spending a lot of his time in the libraries reading and working on his books. Naturally, he also closely followed the first world war and the events in Russia.

Lenin left for Western Europe in 1907 after the turmoil of the 1905 revolution in Russia had calmed down. He estimated that it would take 20 years, barring a war, until the time was ripe again for another revolution, and the longer he was in exile, the more he doubted that he would be alive to see the revolution himself. Nevertheless, he continued to comment and write about the situation in Russia and also put his ideas to paper. Furthermore, he traveled to Bolshevik congresses and made his points heard there.

With the outbreak of World War I, Lenin saw that a revolution was once again within reach. Lenin started writing anti-war propaganda, which was being published in Russia. The Bolshevik was waiting for the opportunity to present itself, to start the socialist revolution in Russia he had been planning for years.

Russia in early March 1917



Raffael Hüberli

A swiss enthusiast for tech, sports, writing and more. Either you find me throwing a football, skiing down a mountain or sitting in front of my computer.