The Soviet Impact on the Western World

The Soviet Impact on the Western World

The Soviet Impact on the Western World

The Soviet Impact on the Western World

Excerpt

The impact of the Soviet Union on the western world has been a decisive historical event, though it may be difficult to assess its consequences with precision. Even in the physical sciences, where experiments can be repeated and results verified, the relation of cause and effect seems today more tenuous and more uncertain than it seemed to our forefathers. In history the relation is more problematical still: indeed it can very well be argued that cause and effect in history are only the more or less arbitrary pattern into which the historian weaves events in order to render them significant. Unless, however, we are content to believe that history has no meaning, we are bound to treat it as a coherent sequence in which one set of events or ideas leads on to another set of events or ideas and helps to influence and determine them; and among the influences which have helped to mould the western world in the last quarter of a century the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath occupy an outstanding place.

A certain vagueness must be allowed for, even in the definition of the subject. Sometimes Soviet influence has been transmitted to western Europe through other countries, notably Germany; conversely, the Soviet impact has sometimes been the impact of ideas which once had their origin in western Europe but, having been forgotten or neglected there, were applied, transformed and re-exported to the west by the Bolshevik Revolution. Moreover, even if it can be demonstrated that certain developments in the Soviet Union point the . . .

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