Skip to main content

What Did Lenin Say?

July 2024
1min read

In the Editor’s Letter for October, 1974, describing the inflation of the language, we quoted two remarks supposedly once made by Lenin as ways of bringing down the capitalist world. One was “Debauch their currency,” and the other was “Confuse their vocabulary.” We had both quotes from secondary sources, and upon being challenged by M. K. Stone of Philadelphia and Professor Albert Resis of Northern Illinois University, we are embarrassed to say that we cannot trace them to Lenin’s works, although we have not the means of making an extensive search. Mr. Stone was kind enough to point out that the supposed quote about debauching the currency may have come from John Maynard Keynes’s The Economic Consequences of the Peace , in which he merely states that “Lenin is said to have declared that the best way …” We apologize for not having checked these apocryphal quotes more carefully, but they did not play a very important role in the article concerned.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.