ITS REVOLUTIONARY POWER, 1919-21
As early as 1914 Lenin had announced the Third International. Nevertheless, as has already been shown above, the proposal found little acceptance among the working-class masses in Europe until 1917. On the victory of the Bolshevik Revolution the situation underwent a complete change. The middle-class revolution in Russia made little impression upon the European working class. A far deeper impression was made by the fact that the Bolsheviks were the first of all Governments to make peace. And the news of the Socialization of Russia ran through the proletarian masses in all countries like an earth-tremor.
The revolution which had been dreamed of for decades by the working class suddenly became an accomplished fact. Proof was given that it was possible to expropriate the capitalist, to abolish the use of money, and to hand over the factories to the proletariat. Lenin's early ideal -- a middle- class revolution in Russia and a Socialist revolution in western Europe -- could not have been expected to meet with much sympathy from the European workers. To advise German and English working men to adopt Socialism at the same time that he himself embarked on Capitalism may have been defensible from a theoretical standpoint. It did not provide a platform for a European mass movement. The European working man might very well have replied to Bolshevik agitators that they had better first practise at home the Socialism they preached abroad. It was thanks to the resolute action of the Russian working men who in the winter of 1917-18, and against the will of Lenin, seized the factories, that the ground was made ready for the Third International as a mass movement.
As long as war-time legislation prevented independent action on the part of European working men the profound inward change that had come over the European proletariat was not manifest. After the conclusion of the War it revealed