Bolshevism: The Enemy of Political and Industrial Democracy

By John Spargo | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE WAR AND THE PEOPLE

I

THE war against Austria and Germany was not unpopular. Certainly there was never an occasion when a declaration of war by their rulers roused so little resentment among the Russian people. Wars are practically never popular with the great mass of the people in any country, and this is especially true of autocratically governed countries. The heavy burdens which all great wars impose upon the laboring class, as well as upon the petty bourgeoisie, cause even the most righteous wars to be regarded with dread and sorrow. The memory of the war with Japan was too fresh and too bitter to make it possible for the mass of the Russian people to welcome the thought of another war. It cannot, therefore, in truth be said that the war with the Central Empires was popular. But it can be said with sincerity and the fullest sanction that the war was not unpopular; that it was accepted by the greater part of the people as a just and, moreover, a necessary war. Opposition to the war was not greater in Russia than in England or France, or, later, in America. Of course, there were religious pacifists and Socialists who opposed the war and denounced it, as they would have denounced any other war, on general principles, no matter what the issues involved might be, but their number and their influence were small and quite unimportant.

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