Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century and After

By R. J. Crampton | Go to book overview
Save to active project

11

IDEOLOGICAL CURRENTS IN THE INTER-WAR PERIOD

COMMUNISM

Communist strategy, 1918-28

In 1919 the left-wing socialists of eastern Europe believed that the bolsheviks had provided an infallible guide to the art and practice of revolution in an underdeveloped society. Their faith was absolute and simple: ‘They need only chant the magic incantation “All power to the Soviets”, and the walls of the capitalist Jericho would fall down.’ 1 The walls did not come tumbling down. Eastern Europe in 1919 was not analogous to Russia in 1917. Generally speaking there was peace, there were few communal tenures, and the large estates were in most places earmarked for redistribution to the peasants; there was in eastern Europe, outside the minority of the extreme left, a sense of revolution achieved rather than revolution pending. Furthermore, in eastern Europe the agrarians were better organised and more effective than the Russian social revolutionaries; the association of the extreme left with Russia was frequently a hindrance; and amongst the two peoples who showed considerable goodwill to the Russians, the Czechs and the Bulgarians, agrarianism was particularly well developed.

The failure immediately to bring about a soviet-style revolution did not mean the end of the association of the extreme left with the bolsheviks. Indeed, failure in the early years forced the left into greater reliance on the Russians for moral, physical, and financial support. But that support commanded a price. Moscow insisted upon obedience to a centrally-determined policy. And association with the bolsheviks meant also that the communist parties of eastern Europe were deeply affected by the twists and turns of Soviet policy and by the personal rivalries which accompanied or underlay them.

From the very beginning Lenin had insisted that the failure of the Second International had proved that any successor organisation must consist only of true revolutionaries who would submit to central discipline. Such an organisation appeared with the Third International, or Comintern (Communist International), established in Moscow in 1919. Leninist notions, concerning the need both for central control and for cooperation with the peasants, were seen in the twenty-

-152-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century and After
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 526

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?