The Great German Offensive

  • Brian Pearce


The Soviet Government was not, however, only a government of civil war, it was also a government that saw as its duty — and also as the ultimate condition of its survival — the promoting of revolution throughout the world, and especially in the ‘advanced countries’. This meant, in the Bolsheviks’ view, under the conditions of the world war then in progress, promoting defeatism in the belligerent countries, France and Britain included. That was a policy hard to reconcile with any sort of friendly arrangement with those states. Litvinov, the Bolsheviks’ representative in Britain, told the Labour Party’s annual conference in January 1918: ‘I would say to the representatives of the British labour, “speed up your peace.” ’1 In the Daily Herald he wrote: The further prolongation of the war must lead to the defeat of the Russian Revolution and to the triumph of militarism and reaction everywhere.’ (For any reader who might object that the immediate threat was from specifically German militarism he had the reassuring message that the Soviets’ ‘revolutionary propaganda among the German soldiers on the Western front and among prisoners of war is undermining the strength of German autocracy and militarism more effectively than military victories could, and has already provoked a strong peace movement in Germany and Austria.’


Social Revolution Strike Action Russian Revolution Shop Steward German Army 
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Notes and References

  1. 12.
    Victor Serge, Year One of the Russian Revolution (1972), p. 312.Google Scholar
  2. 15.
    Quoted in H. R. Rudin, Armistice 1918, (1944), p. 3.Google Scholar
  3. 17.
    Princess Evelyn Blücher, An English Wife In Berlin (1921), p. 211.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    A. J. Toynbee, History of the Peace Conference of Paris, vol. I (1920), pp. 186–7.Google Scholar
  5. 19.
    H. W. Gatzke, Germany’s Drive to the West (1966 edn), p. 260.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    J. T. Wheeler-Bennett, The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and Germany’s Eastern Policy (1940), pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    C. A’C. Repington, The First World War (1920), vol. II, p. 331.Google Scholar
  8. 24.
    James Hinton, The First Shop Stewards’ Movement (1973), p. 266.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Brian Pearce 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Pearce

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