That's a very fair point Potemkin. In fact I would go further and say that there would have been no Soviet Union without the First World War.
I absolutely agree with that. The Great War determined everything which happened in the 20th century; in fact, the entire history of the 20th century was merely a playing out of the political, social and diplomatic consequences of World War I; even the Second World War was merely 'round two' of the First, with the 40-year Cold War as a long, depressing coda. Those ecstatic crowds who gathered to cheer the outbreak of war in all the capitals of the European nations in August 1914 had no idea what was in store for them....
Its my view that Brest Litsosk showed Lenin up as an empty suit. After that he lost the Left Social Revolutionaries and they started losing local Soviet elections in all the major cities - their power base. But even if you accept my harsh anti Communist viewpoint, its not like every other party wasn't an empty suit. In the Autumn of 1917 Russian was a society rapidly disintegrating in front of people's eyes. No party had an answer to the combined military economic and social crisis of 1917. A crisis orders of magnitude greater than the things we call crisis in the modern West.
There is a story about Lenin from this period which is very telling - Lenin was attending a public lecture in April or May of 1917, in which the lecturer rhetorically asked, "Is there any political party in Russia today which has an answer to the problems which face us now?" Lenin immediately got to his feet in the audience and proclaimed: "There is
such a Party!" And everyone else in the audience burst out laughing at him. But he was right.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was
the solution to the military crisis facing Russia - the Germans had to be given almost everything they demanded. The objective military situation required
it. And, after all, why not? Lenin confidently expected a proletarian revolution to break out in Germany any day now, in which case they would get back everything they gave up at Brest-Litovsk, and more. And he was right - there was a Communist revolution in Germany just months later. Unfortunately, it failed. It was to be another quarter of a century before Russia got back everything it gave up at Brest-Litovsk. May 1945 was the triumphant vindication of Lenin's policies of 1917-18.
It wasn't just Russia brought to the point of revolution, another word overused in modern times. For Serbia Russia, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Britain, Japan and America WWI was a war of choice. A war driven by Conservatives and establishment Liberals. It certainly wasn't the left that dragged the world into war in 1914.
Indeed. Though it has to be said that the centre-left endorsed
the war-mongering of the ruling elites of Europe in 1914. Even the socialists went along with the Great War, and encouraged their own nation's proletarians to kill other proletarians who happened to live under a different faction of the international bourgeoisie. When Lenin was told that the leadership of the Second International had given their public support to their respective nations' declarations of war in 1914, he at first refused to believe it
. Such a colossal betrayal of the working class was beyond his comprehension. But it was true.
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Marx (Groucho)