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Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. The Bolsheviki and world peace, Author: New York, Boni and Liveright, English View all editions and formats Rating: Europe -- Social conditions. View all subjects More like this Similar Items. Find a copy online Links to this item vol. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Details Additional Physical Format: Bolsheviki and world peace.
Internet resource Document Type: Leon Trotsky Find more information about: Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. Similar Items Related Subjects: This hurt so much that the governments united in extraordinary measures to prevent the event. And when they succeeded, and it was seen that no people's peace could be made openly and directly, Trotzky proceeded by another way to get to the same end.
He opened negotiations with the Kaiser's government and allies; arranged an armistice and agreed tentatively upon terms of peace. This act not only hurt; it stunned the world, and no wonder! It was like a declaration of war against a whole world at war. The only explanation offered was that Trotzky and Lenine were pro-German or dishonest, or both, and these things were said in high places; and they were said with conviction, too. Moreover this conviction colored, if it did not determine, the attitude the Allies took toward New Russia and the peace proposals Trotzky got from the German government.
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Was this assumption of the dishonesty of Trotzky the only explanation of his act? This book shows, as I have said, that Trotzky saw things from the revolutionary, international point of view, which is not that of his judges; which is incomprehensible to them. He wrote it after the War began; he finished the main part of it before the Russian Revolution. It is his view of the War, its causes and its effects, especially upon international Socialism and "the" Revolution.
These are the things he holds in his mind all through all these pages: Also I have shown that, like the Russians generally, his mind is literal. The Russians mean what they say, exactly; and Trotzky not only means, he does what he writes. Putting these considerations together, we can make a comprehensible statement of the motive and the purpose of his policy; if we want to comprehend. To all the other secretaries of state or of foreign affairs in the world, the Russian Revolution was an incident, an interruption of the War.
To Minister Trotzky it was the other way around. The World War was an incident, an effect, a check of "the" Revolution.
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Not the Russian Revolution, you understand. To Trotzky the Russian Revolution is but one, the first of that series of national revolutions which together will become the Thing he yearns for and prophesies: His peace policy therefore is a peace drive directed, not at a separate peace with the Central Powers; and not even at a general peace, but to an ending of the War in and by "the" Revolution everywhere.
Especially in Germany and Austria. The correspondent of the London Daily News cabled on January 2, right after the armistice and the agreement upon peace terms to be offered the Allies, that "Trotzky is doing his utmost to stimulate a revolution in Germany… Our only chance to defeat German designs is to publish terms from the Allies … to help the democratic movement in Germany.
Trotzky is not pro-German. He certainly was not when he wrote this book. He hates here both the Austrian and the German dynasties, and his ill-will toward the House of Hapsburg is so bitter that it sounds sometimes as if there were something personal about it.
He shows a knowledge of and a living sympathy with the small and subject nations which Austria rules, exploits and mistreats. He blames his Austrian comrades for their allegiance to a throne which is not merely undemocratic, but "senile" and tyrannical. That he, the literal Trotzky, would turn right around and, as the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, do what he had so recently criticized the Austrian Socialists for doing is unlikely.
Trotzky is against all the present governments of Europe, and the "bourgeois system" everywhere in the world. He isn't pro-Allies; he isn't even pro-Russian. He isn't a patriot at all. He is for a class, the proletariat, the working people of all countries, and he is for his class only to get rid of classes and get down or up to-humanity.
And so with his people. The Russians have listened to the Socialist propaganda for generations now. They have learned the chief lessons it has taught: This War was not their war; it was the Czar's war; a war of the governments in the interest of their enemies, the capitalists of their several countries, who, as Trotzky says, were forcing their states to fight for the right to exploit other and smaller peoples. So when they overthrew the Czar, the Russians wanted to drop his war and go into their own, the class war.
Kerensky held them at the front in the name of "the" Revolution; he would get peace for them by arrangement with the allies. He didn't; he couldn't; he was dismissed by them.
Not by the Bolsheviki, but by the Russian people who know the three or four things they want: I heard a radical assert one day that that was the reason Trotzky could be such an exception to the rule about radicals in power. He came to the head of the Russian Revolution when his ideas were the actual demands of the Russian people and that it was not his strength of character, but the force of a democratic public opinion in mob power, which made him stick to his philosophy and carry out his theories and promises.
I find upon inquiry here in New York that while he was living and working as a journalist on the East Side, he left one paper after another because he could not conform, to their editorial policies and would not compromise. He was "stiff-necked," "obstinate," "unreasonable.
Also, however, Trotzky is a strong man who is ruled by and represents a very simple-minded people who are acting like him, literally upon the theory that the people govern now, in Russia; the common people; and that, since they don't like the War of the Czar, the Kaiser, the Kings and the Emperors, their government should make peace with the peoples of the world, a democratic peace against imperialism and capitalism and the state everywhere, for the establishment in its stead of a free, world-wide democracy.
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That may be the true explanation of Trotzky's Bolshevik peace policy in the world crisis of the World War. That is the explanation which is suggested by this book.
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The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries.
The whole globe, the land and the sea, the surface as well as the interior, has become one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected with each other. This work was accomplished by capitalism. But in accomplishing it the capitalist states were led to struggle for the subjection of the world-embracing economic system to the profit interests of the bourgeoisie of each country.
What the politics of imperialism has demonstrated more than anything else is that the old national state that was created in the revolutions and the wars of , , , and has outlived itself, and is now an intolerable hindrance to economic development. The present War is at bottom a revolt of the forces of production against the political form of nation and state. It means the collapse of the national state as an independent economic unit. The nation must continue to exist as a cultural, ideologic and psychological fact, but its economic foundation has been pulled from under its feet.
All talk of the present bloody clash being a work of national defense is either hypocrisy or blindness. On the contrary, the real, objective significance of the war is the breakdown of the present national economic centres, and the substitution of a world economy in its stead. The War proclaims the downfall of the national state. Yet at the same time it proclaims the downfall of the capitalist system of economy.
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By means of the national state capitalism has revolutionized the whole economic system of the world. It has divided the whole earth among the oligarchies of the great powers, around which were grouped the satellites, the small nations, who lived off the rivalry between the great ones. The future development of world economy on the capitalistic basis means a ceaseless struggle for new and ever new fields of capitalist exploitation, which must be obtained from one and the same source, the earth.
The economic rivalry under the banner of militarism is accompanied by robbery and destruction which violate the elementary principles of human economy. World production revolts not only against the confusion produced by national and state divisions but also against the capitalist economic organization, which has now turned into barbarous disorganization and chaos.
The War of is the most colossal breakdown in history of an economic system destroyed by its own inherent contradictions.
The Bolsheviki and World Peace (1918)
All the historical forces whose task it has been to guide the bourgeois society, to speak in its name and to exploit it, have declared their historical bankruptcy by the War. They defended capitalism as a system of human civilization, and the catastrophe born out of that system is primarily their catastrophe.
The first wave of events raised the national governments and armies to unprecedented heights never attained before. For the moment the nations rallied around them. But the more terrible will be the crash of the governments when the people, deafened by the thunder of the cannon, realize the meaning of the events now taking place in all their truth and frightfulness. The revolutionary reaction of the masses will be all the more powerful the more prodigious the cataclysm which history is now bringing upon them.
Capitalism has created the material conditions of a new Socialist economic system. Imperialism has led the capitalist nations into historic chaos. The War of shows the way out of this chaos by violently urging the proletariat on to the path of Revolution. For the economic backward countries of Europe the War brings to the fore problems of a far earlier historic origin-problems of democracy and national unity.
This is in a large measure the case with the peoples of Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Balkan Peninsula. But these historically belated questions, which were bequeathed to the present epoch as a heritage from the past, do not alter the fundamental character of the events. It is not the national aspirations of the Serbs, Poles, Roumanians or Finns that has mobilized twenty-five million soldiers and placed them in the battlefields, but the imperialistic interests of the bourgeoisie of the Great Powers. It is imperialism that has upset completely the European status quo , maintained for forty-five years, and raised again the old questions which the bourgeois revolution proved itself powerless to solve.
Yet in the present epoch it is quite impossible to treat these questions in and by themselves. They are utterly devoid of an independent character. The creation of normal relations of national life and economic development on the Balkan Peninsula is unthinkable if Czarism and Austria-Hungary are preserved. Czarism is now the indispensable military reservoir for the financial imperialism of France and the conservative colonial power of England. Austria-Hungary is the mainstay of Germany's imperialism. Issuing from the private family clashes between the national Servian terrorists and the Hapsburg political police, the War very quickly revealed its true fundamental character-a struggle of life and death between Germany and England.
While the simpletons and hypocrites prate of the defense of national freedom and independence, the German-English War is really being waged for the freedom of the imperialistic exploitation of the peoples of India and Egypt on the one hand, and for the imperialistic division of the peoples of the earth on the other. Germany began its capitalistic development on a national basis with the destruction of the continental hegemony of France in the year Now that the development of German industry on a national foundation has transformed Germany into the first capitalistic power of the world, she finds herself colliding with the hegemony of England in her further course of development.
The complete and unlimited domination of the European continent seems to Germany the indispensable prerequisite of the overthrow of her world enemy. The first thing, therefore, that imperialistic Germany writes in her programme is the creation of a Middle European League of Nations.
Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey, Holland, the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Italy, and, if possible, enfeebled France and Spain and Portugal, are to make one economic and military whole, a Great Germany under the hegemony of the present German state. This programme, which has been thoroughly elaborated by the economists, political students, jurists and diplomats of German imperialism and translated into reality by its strategists, is the most striking proof and most eloquent expression of the fact that capitalism has expanded beyond the limits of the national state and feels intolerably cramped within its boundaries.
The national Great Power must go and in its place must step the imperialistic World Power.