The Soviet Union, the Communist Movement, and the World: Prelude to the Cold War, 1917-1941

The Soviet Union, the Communist Movement, and the World: Prelude to the Cold War, 1917-1941

The Soviet Union, the Communist Movement, and the World: Prelude to the Cold War, 1917-1941

The Soviet Union, the Communist Movement, and the World: Prelude to the Cold War, 1917-1941

Synopsis

Levine traces the development of the Soviet Union and the Communist movement from 1917 to the Nazi invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Arguing that the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies can only be fully understood by examining the doctrine and practices of the Soviet Union and the world Communist movement from their inception, Levine offers a detailed account of the development of the state parties in Russia and China, the Communist seizure of power, the Soviet Union's role in international relations between the two world wars, and the development of the techniques of conflict management used by the Communist powers later in the era of the Cold War.

Excerpt

The cold war between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies is usually regarded as having begun only in 1945. Although that struggle became the central fact of world politics in the 1940s, it had a long prehistory. It can be fully understood only by examining the doctrine and practices of the Soviet Union and the world Communist movement, which had developed long before World War II. The cold war had its origin in the development of a totalitarian Communist regime in the former Russian empire under the shattering impact of World War I.

The guiding doctrine of the Soviet Union and all latter Communist governments was developed by V. I. Lenin, who gave a peculiar twist to the ideas of Marxist socialism. Contrary to a widespread belief carefully fostered by the Communists and also, for obscure reasons, by the Western mass media, it is incorrect to describe modern communism simply as "Marxism." Certainly until the 1950s many Western democratic socialists considered themselves Marxists, and their claim to Marxism was at least as good as that of the Communists. It was not the ideas of Marx but those of Lenin that led to the development of modern totalitarianism. Marx's doctrine of "scientific socialism" did, however, form the foundation and starting point for Lenin.

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