- Revolutions of 1917–23
The Revolutions of 1917–23 formed a
revolutionary waveprecipitated by the end of World War I in general and the Russian Revolutions of 1917in particular. Some authorities date the wave as ending in 1919or 1921.
Imperial Russia, the February Revolutiontoppled the monarchy while the Bolsheviksseized power in the October Revolution. The ascendant communist partysoon withdrew from war with Imperial Germanyon the Eastern Front and then battled its political rivals in the Russian Civil War, including invading forces from the UK, the USA, and France. In response to Lenin, the Bolshevik Party and the emerging Soviet Union, anti-communistsfrom a broad assortment of ideological factions fought against them, particularly through the counterrevolutionary White movementand the nationalist Green Army, the various nationalistmovements in Ukraine after the Russian Revolutionand other would-be new states like those in Soviet Transcaucasiaand Soviet Central Asia, through the anarchist-inspired Third Russian Revolutionand Tambov rebellion. By 1921, faced with a trade boycott orgainsed by the capitalist countries, exhaustion and starvation, even dissident elements of the Red Armyitself were in revolt against the Communist state, as at the Kronstadt Uprising. However the attempt at the restoration of the old feudal property relations and the pogroms which followed the victories by the White movement, together with solidarity with the workers republic by the workers abroad (such as the English dockers) were amongst the factors which facilitated reconquest by the once isolated and near exhausted Red Army, and lead to the eventual defeat of the Whites and the 'imperialist' intervention. The years of fighting subsequently spilled over the borders of the collapsing Russian Empire, as the Bolshevik regime virtually directed the formation of for example the Mongolian People's Republic. In this process of revolution and counter-revolution the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was born in 1922.
Leninistvictories also inspired a surge by the world Communist movement: the larger German Revolutionand its offspring, like the Bavarian Soviet Republic, as well as the neighboring Hungarian Revolution, and the Biennio rossoin Italyin addition to various smaller uprisings, protests and strikes, all proved abortive. They also provoked a severe backlash, including the First Red Scarein the United Statesand the collapse of liberalismand democracyin most nations of Central Europe, Eastern Europeand Southern Europeover the subsequent decade or so. The Bolsheviks sought to coordinate this new wave of revolution in the Soviet-led Communist International, while new Communist partiesseparated from their former socialistorganizations and the older, more moderate Second International. Despite ambitions for world revolution, the far-flung Comintern movement had more setbacks than successes through the next generation, until Soviet victory at the close of the Second World Warbrought a rapid multiplication of Communist states.
Imperial China, the non- Communist 1911 Revolutionhad toppled the monarchy but failed to secure the new Republic of China. With Sovietapproval, the nationalistparty Kuomintangallied with the Chinese Communist Partyto struggle throughout most of the warlord erafor Chinese reunification (1928), until victory allowed the Chinese Nationaliststo turn on their former partners, precipitating the Chinese Civil War.
Greece, the site of several revanchist wars in the years prior to the First World War, the dividied international loyalties of the political elite reached a crisis over that country's entry into the larger 1914-1918 conflict against its historic enemy, the Ottoman Empire. During what was known as the National Schism, a pro- Entente Powers, liberal and nationalistmovement led by Eleftherios Venizelosstruggled with the monarchy for control. In the years immediately following, the new leadership waged the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), pursuing further irredentistterritorial reconquest in a long succession of wars of national liberation.
Ireland, then ruled by the United Kingdom, the secessionist Easter Risingof 1916anticipated the Irish War of Independence( 1919- 1921) within the same historical period as this first wave of communist revolution. The Irish republicanmovement of the time was predominantly nationalistand populist, and although much of its orientation could be described as far Left, it was not Communist.
The same was true of the
Mexican Revolution, which had broken out in 1910but had devolved into factional fighting among the rebels by 1915, as the more radical forces of Emiliano Zapataand Pancho Villalost ground to the more conservative "Sonoran oligarchy" and its Constitutional Army. The Felicistas, the last major group of counterrevolutionaries, abandoned their armed campaign in 1920, and the internecine power struggles abated for a time after revolutionary General Alvaro Obregonhad bribed or slain his former allies and rivals alike, but the following decade witnessed the assassinationof Obregon and several others, abortive military coupattempts and a massive right-winguprising, the Cristero War.
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