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

only neutral U.S. merchant ships, but also civilian cruise ships: the German attack on the Lusitania on May 1, 1915 resulted in a loss of 1,195 lives, including 123 Americans. By early 1917, the increasingly unrestricted German submarine warfare greatly angered the American people, who were already concerned about the German treatment of civilian populations and new military advances against Allied forces, especially in Belgium. Wilson was finally moved to action.
Wilson’s War Aims and U.S. War Declarations on “Faith and Freedom.” Wilson’s Request to Congress for a Declaration of War against Germany on April 2, 1917 invoked America’s freedom faith in a high-stakes struggle against a “natural foe to liberty.” He thereby echoed the American founders in the Revolutionary War and Lincoln in the Civil War and his words also foreshadowed the language, particularly of presidents Truman and Reagan as they later confronted the Soviet challenge during the Cold War. In Wilson’s words:
We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that in such a Government [Germany], following such methods, we can never have a friend; and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security for the democratic Governments of the world. We are now about to accept gauge of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power. We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included: for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve.
We desire no conquest, no dominion. . . . We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.1
America Saves the Western Democracies, Eastern Europe, and (Soviet) Russia. Four days after Wilson’s address, the U.S. Congress responded with a U.S. Declaration of War on Germany, issued on April 6, 1917. American leaders believed they could no longer responsibly avoid the conflict as a neutral, isolationist power, as such a stance was no longer either morally or strategically tenable. After a year of preparation, American troops began to arrive in large numbers in France in May 1918, just in time to counter a new wave of refurbished German troops, released after Lenin’s separate April 1918 armistice with Imperial Germany arriving on the Western Front determined to overwhelm the weary French and British forces. From May 1918 until the armistice six months later, over 4.7 million Americans served in ground, air, and naval forces across an ocean. Over 116,000 Americans sacrificed their lives, over 200,000 were wounded, and 4,500 became prisoners. The “Great War” is estimated to have cost the belligerent nations the lives of 9 million soldiers (with 21 million wounded) and up to 10 million civilians. In the West, the War was seen as having saved the Western European democracies, the Eastern European nations, and even Russia from German occupation and conquest.
4. Lenin Collaborates with Imperial Germany and Overthrows Russia’s (Democratic) Provisional Government—October/November 1917
Vladimir Lenin’s response to the West’s “War to Save Democracy” was the opposite of America and Europe’s reaction and conformed closely to the prescriptions of Marx’s Communist ideology. When the war broke out, Lenin was in exile in Switzerland, where he cheered its outbreak as the arrival of “a crisis of capitalism” predicted by Marx that would produce Communist revolutions. While the United States and its democratic allies fought Imperial Germany and the other Central Powers, Lenin betrayed the democracies and Russia collaborating with the German General Staff and overthrowing the Russian Provisional Government (a democratic coalition). The Western democracies and the Russian people were among the first mass victims of Communist Russia.
Marxism-Leninism Views “Capitalism” as “Imperialism.” According to Marxist-Leninist dogma, all of the democratic West European nations, including those with democratic socialist political parties or governments, were defined as “anti-democratic” and “capitalist” enemies. They were enemies because they were not ruled by Marx’s prescribed Communist “dictatorship of the proletariat” and did not accept centralized state ownership, planning, and control to the exclusion of large non-government sectors. They did not meet the
[Book pg. 27]