Lenin and World Revolution

By Stanley W. Page | Go to book overview

THE TREATY OF BREST-LITOVSK:
THE OPENING MOVES

LENIN'S PEACE PROGRAM, as enunciated at the May party conference, had, as shown earlier, been predicated not upon the thought of a sudden Bolshevik seizure of power but rather upon the expectation of a gradualistically established Soviet government in which the Bolsheviks would only later become predominant. This program had contained two basic points: (1) there would be no separate peace offer to Germany, and (2) there would be a quick and open offer of democratic peace to all peoples. That would bring about the full confidence of the workers of the warring countries toward one another and inevitably lead to uprisings of the proletariat against those imperialist governments that would oppose the proffered peace.1

By September, 1917, Lenin no longer thought of peace as something that could wait for Soviet power achieved gradually, followed by a hopeful proposal to the world at large. By September peace had seemed to Lenin so urgent a necessity that he meant to seize power specifically to the end of swiftly making peace. Lenin's new intention made sense only if linked with the idea of a Soviet government opening separate peace negotiations with the Germans. But such an action would mean a complete turning away from Lenin's earlier stated position on the separate peace; at the same time it implied the ditching of the democratic principles that he had proclaimed as the basis of peace proposals by a Soviet government.

Aware of the difficulties that might confront him in making so abrupt an about-face, Lenin, even while holding out to his adherents the bait of peace as an incentive to revolutionary action, had tried his best to reconcile his Realpolitik with the supposed high- mindedness of bolshevism. In a late September article, calling at-

Notes begin on page 216.

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Lenin and World Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - The Russian Proletariat and World Revolution: Lenin's Views to 1914 1
  • 2 - Lenin's Assumption of International Proletarian Leadership 12
  • 3 - The April Theses and the Three Crises 27
  • 4 - The Seizure of Power 55
  • 5 - Trotsky and Lenin 74
  • 6 - Brest-Litovsk: The Opening Moves 81
  • 7 - Brest-Litovsk: The End Game 91
  • 8 - After Germany--The World! 111
  • 9 - The Third International 119
  • 10 - Violence When Necessary 134
  • 11 - Lenin and the East 141
  • 12 - The Second Congress of the Comintern 154
  • 13 - The Course is Set 185
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 249
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