Revolutions of 1917–23


Revolutions of 1917–23

The Revolutions of 1917–23 formed a revolutionary wave precipitated by the end of World War I in general and the Russian Revolutions of 1917 in particular. Some authorities date the wave as ending in 1919 or 1921.

In war-torn Imperial Russia, the February Revolution toppled the monarchy while the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution. The ascendant communist party soon withdrew from war with Imperial Germany on 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-communists from a broad assortment of ideological factions fought against them, particularly through the counterrevolutionary White movement and the nationalist Green Army, the various nationalist movements in Ukraine after the Russian Revolution and other would-be new states like those in Soviet Transcaucasia and Soviet Central Asia, through the anarchist-inspired Third Russian Revolution and Tambov rebellion. By 1921, faced with a trade boycott orgainsed by the capitalist countries, exhaustion and starvation, even dissident elements of the Red Army itself 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.

The Leninist victories also inspired a surge by the world Communist movement: the larger German Revolution and its offspring, like the Bavarian Soviet Republic, as well as the neighboring Hungarian Revolution, and the Biennio rosso in Italy in addition to various smaller uprisings, protests and strikes, all proved abortive. They also provoked a severe backlash, including the First Red Scare in the United States and the collapse of liberalism and democracy in most nations of Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Southern Europe over the subsequent decade or so. The Bolsheviks sought to coordinate this new wave of revolution in the Soviet-led Communist International, while new Communist parties separated from their former socialist organizations 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 War brought a rapid multiplication of Communist states.

In Imperial China, the non-Communist 1911 Revolution had toppled the monarchy but failed to secure the new Republic of China. With Soviet approval, the nationalist party Kuomintang allied with the Chinese Communist Party to struggle throughout most of the warlord era for Chinese reunification (1928), until victory allowed the Chinese Nationalists to turn on their former partners, precipitating the Chinese Civil War.

In 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 nationalist movement led by Eleftherios Venizelos struggled with the monarchy for control. In the years immediately following, the new leadership waged the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), pursuing further irredentist territorial reconquest in a long succession of wars of national liberation.

In Ireland, then ruled by the United Kingdom, the secessionist Easter Rising of 1916 anticipated the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) within the same historical period as this first wave of communist revolution. The Irish republican movement of the time was predominantly nationalist and 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 1910 but had devolved into factional fighting among the rebels by 1915, as the more radical forces of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa lost 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 Obregon had bribed or slain his former allies and rivals alike, but the following decade witnessed the assassination of Obregon and several others, abortive military coup attempts and a massive right-wing uprising, the Cristero War.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Révolutions de 1917 — Révolution russe La Révolution russe est l’ensemble des événements de 1917 ayant conduit en février au renversement spontané du régime tsariste de Russie, puis en octobre à l’installation préparée d’un régime « léniniste ». Largement… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Révolutions russes — Révolution russe La Révolution russe est l’ensemble des événements de 1917 ayant conduit en février au renversement spontané du régime tsariste de Russie, puis en octobre à l’installation préparée d’un régime « léniniste ». Largement… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Revolutions of 1989 — Fall of Communism redirects here. For the fall of the Soviet Union, see Dissolution of the Soviet Union. Revolutions of 1989 Top left: Round Table in Warsaw. Top right: Fall of the Berlin Wall. Middle left: Romanian Revolution. Middle right:… …   Wikipedia

  • Révolutions — Révolution (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Révolutions (liste) — Révolution (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Revolutions — (1848)    A sequence of uprisings across Western and Central Europe sparked by the February revolution in France the revolutions of 1848 were characterized by radical economic and political demands, and in some cases a desire for national… …   Historical dictionary of Marxism

  • History of Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union (1917–1927) — The History of the Soviet Union has roots in the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, emerged as the main political force in the capital of the former Russian Empire, though they had to fight a long and bloody civil… …   Wikipedia

  • Liste Des Révolutions — Liste de révolutions et de rébellions Demande de traduction List of revolutions and rebellions → …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste de révolutions et de rebellions — Liste de révolutions et de rébellions Demande de traduction List of revolutions and rebellions → …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste de révolutions et de rébellions — Demande de traduction List of revolutions and rebellions → …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.