Lenin by Lars T. Lih

Lenin by Lars T. Lih

Author:Lars T. Lih
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Reaktion Books


4

Three Train Rides

‘A new era of revolutions is drawing near.’

Karl Kautsky, 1909, as paraphrased by Lenin, 1914

Krakow to Bern

In the early summer of 1914 Lenin had very little idea of what the looming war would bring. He even assumed his workload would be eased somewhat if war actually broke out, since his connections with the Russian underground would be thoroughly disrupted.1 But when war did come it brought some devastating surprises.

Even after Germany declared war on Russia on 1 August 1914, the Social Democratic parties in Germany, Austro-Hungary and France were still organizing mass protests against war. The main German party newspaper, Vorwärts, continued to thunder against the imperialist war and to threaten the capitalist warmongers with revolutionary action. But on 5 August Lenin received a major shock: the SPD Reichstag delegation had voted unanimously for war credits. Forgotten was the traditional cry of ‘not one penny – not one man’ for the capitalist state. When Lenin first saw the headlines in the village of Poronino (his summer residence outside Krakow, which he used after moving back to Poland in 1912), he was sure that they must be a provocation, a trick by the government to confuse the opposition.



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