The militarisation of socialism: a study of the bolshevik theory of war
Castelar, Roberto A.
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Taking as starting point the assumption that a number of debates connected with the problem of war had a significant impact on the central events of the Russian Revolution, this dissertation seeks to contribute to the understanding of these events by re-examining the visions of war in the leadership of the Bolshevik movement, particularly in the thought of Vladimir Lenin. It offers a general critique of existing accounts by arguing that they have been based on a simplistic notion of the relation between ideology and expediency, and of the Bolshevik views on history, and that their tendency to identify the Bolshevik approach to war with Clausewitz’s theories has distorted the revolutionary undertones of Bolshevism. It proposes, it turn, an alternative interpretation, in which ideology and expediency are seen as mutually constitutive, the Bolshevik approach to history and its relation to their military views are clarified, and the impact of the revolutionary commitments of that political movement on their approach to war is stressed. This interpretation, it is argued, provides the best framework for understanding the Bolshevik position in the various debates over war issues, and reason why this movement diverged from other socialist approaches to war.