War, Civil War and Intervention

  • Martin McCauley
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


The October revolution did not bring peace to the embattled Russian armies. Peace as the Bolsheviks discovered, can only be secured if both warring camps desire it. Some in Soviet Russia did not want peace, if it meant leaving the Kaiser intact. One of the arguments used by Lenin to justify the seizure of power in October had been that the spark of a Russian revolution would kindle the flame of revolution in the capitalist countries and this would set the world alight. Some radical spirits in the Bolshevik Central Committee and in the Left Socialist Revolutionary Party were for a war of liberation against Germany. Lenin was wary of such revolutionary fervour. He knew that the Russian soldiers who had been promised peace and land would not take kindly to being asked not only to continue the war but to take it into Germany herself. He was not for peace at any price but he regarded short-term concessions as acceptable since sooner or later the German proletariat would rise and sweep away their imperial masters. Lenin believed that the victorious German revolution was on the immediate horizon. He was defeated in the Central Committee and threatened resignation before he had his way and the peace of Brest-Litovsk was signed.


Central Power October Revolution Russian Revolution Military Affair Supreme Authority 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1980

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  • Martin McCauley

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