Chapter 2 – Marxism-Leninism Communist Roots of the Cold War to the Eve of the Second World War—1848 to 1939

Yet such agitation gained little popular support, and in July the Provisional Government issued a warrant for his arrest. Lenin fled back to Finland, where he continued his plotting while writing State and Revolution (see below) on a utopian future Communist rule in Russia in which the “state” would “wither away.”
Lenin’s Coup against the Provisional Government—October/November 1917. After July, Lenin’s leadership of Bolshevik elements in Russia continued long-distance from Finland, but by October 7 (old style calendar) or November 7 (new style calendar), he activated his coup plans and returned to Petrograd. That night, a surprise coup was undertaken by small groups of armed “Red Guard” cadres, including Lenin’s hard-line Bolshevik ally Leon Trotsky, who became head of the newly proclaimed “Petrograd Soviet.” With Lenin in the background, and facing virtually no opposition, the cadre readily seized the Provisional Government ministries and over the next hours began rounding up its officials and key supporters. Some Government leaders managed to escape; Alexander Kerensky did so with help from the U.S. Embassy. Over the next weeks, Red Guard formations abetted by Lenin’s new secret police organization, the Cheka, methodically imprisoned and started killing leading Mensheviks, Social Democrats, and other potential non- and anti-Communist Russian rivals and their followers. Lenin’s coup was clearly not “progressive” or democratic but a demonstrably regressive action to close off the path of Russian democratic reform set by the Provisional Government coalition.
Provisional Government Elections and Dissolution—December 1917 and January 1918. In a December 1917 election that had been scheduled by the Russian Provisional Government, Lenin’s Bolshevik (soon to be renamed as the Communist Party) won only one-fourth of the vote. Lenin dissolved the provisional Government and its Duma on January 19, 1918, and from then on ruled by decree and/or Communist Party-controlled pseudo-parliaments in which 100% of the vote supported the top leader.
5. Lenin’s Armistice and Brest-Litovsk Treaty with Imperial Germany Betrays Russia and the Western Allies—March 1918
While Lenin’s coup betrayed the progressive hopes of the Russian people, the “Great War” continued not only on the Western Front in France and Belgium, but also on the Eastern Front where Imperial German armies were within a short striking distance from Petrograd. In America, President Wilson and Congress’s decision to enter the United States in “the war to save democracy” and the “war to end all wars” was bringing vital American economic and military aid to Europe. The arrival of tens of thousands of American troops in the spring of 1918 began to turn the tide of war toward the democratic forces on the Western Front.
Lenin Betrays the West’s War Aims and Efforts. In the West, America’s decisive military intervention saved its exhausted democratic Allies. In the East, in stark contrast, Lenin continued to follow the dictates of his anti-democratic, Marxist ideology to make common cause with Imperial Germany and prevent the Provisional Government’s consolidation of Russian political legitimacy and stability. After betraying the cause of Russian reform and democracy with his October (November) Revolution, he ordered Russian armies to lay down their arms against the Central Powers and made a separate peace with Imperial Germany that abandoned large territories to Germany.
Lenin’s Decree on Peace—November 1917. Lenin made his new government’s first official statement on foreign policy a decree that ended the fighting role of Russian (now Soviet) armies facing over a million German troops, and called for a full Russian-German armistice. In Lenin’s Decree on Peace, issued on November 8, 1917 (in the new post-coup calendar), on behalf of the new Soviet “Workers and Peasants” government, Lenin, without irony, called for:
a just or democratic peace, for which the overwhelming majority of the working class and other working people of all the belligerent countries . . . are craving. . . . The government of Russia proposes that this kind of peace be immediately concluded. . . . If any nation whatsoever is forcibly retained within the borders of a given state, if, in spite of its expressed desire—no matter whether expressed in the press, at public meetings, in the decisions of parties, or in protests and uprisings against national oppression—it is not accorded the right to decide the forms of its state existence by a free vote, taken after the complete evacuation of the troops of the incorporating or, generally, of the stronger nation and without the least pressure being brought to bear, such incorporation is annexation, i.e., seizure and violence.
[Book pg. 30]