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10-08-2015, 16:40

NATIONALISM, REVOLUTION, AND DICTATORSHIP: AFRICA, ASIA, AND LATIN AMERICA FROM 1919 TO 1939

In the spring of 1913, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin wrote an article in the party newspaper Pravda on the awakening of Asia. “Was it so long ago,” he asked his readers, “that China was considered typical of the lands that had been standing still for centuries? Today China is a land of seething political activity, the scene of a virile social movement and of a democratic upsurge.” 1 Similar conditions, he added, were spreading the democratic revolution to other parts of Asia—to Turkey, Persia, and China. Ferment was even on the rise in British India. Four years later, riots in the streets of Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) marked the onset of the Russian Revolution. After the Bolsheviks came to power in Moscow, Lenin and his colleagues were preoccupied with consolidating their control over the vast territories of the old tsarist Russian Empire. But he had not forgotten his earlier prediction that the colonial world was on the verge of revolt. Now, with the infant Soviet state virtually surrounded by capitalist enemies, Lenin argued that the oppressed masses of Asia and Africa were potential allies in the bitter struggle against the brutal yoke of world imperialism. For the next two decades, the leaders in Moscow periodically turned their eyes to China and other parts of Asia in an effort to ride what they hoped would be a mounting wave of revolt against foreign domination.

 

 

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