Kevin Corr

Revolutionary defeatism

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As the First World War broke out Lenin called for socialists to oppose their own governments. How his analysis of the war and his defeat slogan were eventually proved to be correct.

In August 1914 Lenin argued that the First World War was an inter-imperialist conflict and the key task for Russian socialists was to continue the struggle against the Tsar — who in his view was “one hundred times” worse than Germany’s Kaiser.

Lenin’s proposition was that, “From the viewpoint of the working class and all the Russian people the ‘lesser evil’ would be the defeat of the Tsarist monarchy and its army.”

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