Imperialism 1917-1991 and the Conflict

Imperialism 1917-1991 and the Conflict. Lenin’s book titled Imperialism was published in 1917, and it sought to show how there was a linkage between imperial war and economic changes. At this time, the First World War had taken root and nations were already suffering the effects of war. Lenin argued that the war was as a result of imperial conflict as the nations tried to grab more territories and also expand their influence and power. In light of this, he refers to imperialism as a state of capitalism.[1] The sentiments by Lenin set the stage for what would be viewed as revolutionary conflicts stemming from imperialism. With imperialism characterized by expansion of territories and power imposition, it was a cause of conflict between 1917 and 1991 due to the expansionism efforts as well as revolutionary resistance that gave way to independence.

Imperialism 1917-1991 and the Conflict

            Beginning with World War 1, imperialism and the resultant imperial rivalry is seen as being the cause as well as the context for war. The notion of imperialism refers to a system where a powerful state or nation exploits and controls colonies. In establishing imperialism, imperial nations would use coercion to impose control over the relatively weaker nations and much of this revolved around the use of military suppression, war, annexation, political pressure, and infiltration. From this context, it is evident that the establishment of imperialism creates a state of conflict between the imperial nation and the colony that it seeks to control. On its influence in the First World War that lasted between 1914 and 1918, the conflict between imperial nations as they sought to increase their power and control had culminated to the war amid other factors. Importantly, this depicts a context where imperialism drives imperial rivalry that results in conflicts and wars with significant impacts.

            The Bolshevik revolution in Russia is seen as another aspect of imperial conflicts and how the new economic systems brought by imperialism lead to the precipitation of conflict. 1917 was the year that the Bolshevik revolution began and was influenced heavily by World War 1. The emergence of the revolution was largely because millions of peasants in the Soviet Union had been dragged to World War 1 and this resulted in widespread demonstrations against the government. While Russia installed a provisional government as a result of the revolution, Lenin came back from exile, joined the Bolshevik party and continued the revolutionary antics directed towards overthrowing the Provisional government. The resulting conflicts led to full blown war between the Bolsheviks and the government. From Lenin’s perspective, the Great War was an imperialist conflict and the peasants had a right not to support their own government. As such, the Bolshevik revolution was an outcome of the imperial conflict that characterized World War 1 and the subsequent opposition to this imperialism by peasants in the Soviet Union.  

[1] Vladimir Lenin. 1917. Imperialism: The highest stage of capitalism. Moscow: Resistance Books.

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