Comintern in the Era of Lenin, 1919–23

  • Kevin McDermott
  • Jeremy Agnew


For the fifty-one men and women who gathered in Moscow in March 1919 to found the Communist International, world proletarian revolution was no utopian day-dream. Capitalism, if not certified dead and buried, was in its final death throes. Lenin and the Bolsheviks had premised their seizure of power in October 1917 on the inseparability of the Russian and international revolutions. Russia constituted the weakest link in the imperialist chain and the example of Soviet democracy would act as the spark for socialist revolution throughout Europe and subsequently the entire world. With socialism triumphant in the advanced industrialised countries, the survival of the beleaguered Soviet regime would be guaranteed. The Bolsheviks’ cast-iron belief in the inevitability of worldwide revolution sprang from two equally important sources. First, Marxist theory provided the ‘scientific’ prognosis of the collapse of capitalism, an exhausted economic system that generated mass poverty, imperialist conflict and war. Secondly, theory was being borne out by reality. Developments in the European heartland in 1918 appeared to confirm the imminence of revolutionary upheaval.


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© Kevin McDermott and Jeremy Agnew 1996

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  • Kevin McDermott
  • Jeremy Agnew

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