In 1917, nobody imagined that an act of rebellion by a young French painter would change the face of art. "John Reed’s Ten Days that Shook the World represents one of the 20th Century’s greatest political-literary achievements, being one of the first book length eye-witness accounts of the great Russian October Revolution." Deputies could be recalled by their electors, unlike capitalist parliamentarians. An American journalist and revolutionary writer, John Reed became a close friend of Lenin and was an eyewitness to the 1917 revolution in Russia. The German navy was bullish. Without the Bolshevik Party, the revolution would not have happened. Living conditions were atrocious. As the kaiser’s forces hurled back Russia’s attack and went over to the counter-offensive, driving along the Baltic coastline to Petrograd, they dealt a crushing blow to the prospects of democracy, both in Russia and at home. Lenin's chief contribution was the building of a disciplined, activist party. But they marked a caesura in a double sense. They demanded bread, immediate peace and "Down with the Tsar". In the wake of the massacre of Amritsar and the radicalisation of the Indian nationalist movement, such concessions were too little, too late. US designates Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, In Situ: Performative journey through space and time, Happy economic numbers hide widening inequality and growing poverty, Medevac refugees released from torture centres, activists vow to continue the campaign, On current trends, Australia will reach carbon neutrality in 300 years, Vale John Rainford — communist, unionist, writer and filmmaker. Following defeat, its fissile products would include the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party), an amalgam that would have appeared nonsensical in the orderly world of 19th-century politics, but would soon become known around the world as the Nazi Party. Wilson’s promise of a “peace without victors and vanquished” was only too welcome in Vienna. Its armies were deserting, held in the field only by a backbone of German officers. General Kornilov, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, launched a coup against the provisional government and the soviets, which were still in effect sharing power. When thousands of women workers in Petrograd, Russia marked International Women’s Day of 1917 with a strike to demand bread, little did they know they would spark a revolution. In Austria the cities were starving and the Habsburg regime was perilously close to the edge. This is a most powerfully written American radical journalist's eyewitness account of the Bolshevik seizure of power--recording the excitement of the October days and the beginnings of John Reed's own revolutionary disillusionment.Ten Days That Shook the World is the classic account of the Russian Revolution of November 1917 by a western journalist and has been … If they could achieve a decisive victory against Austria’s depleted armies, as the tsar’s generals had managed in the summer of 1916, the new regime could legitimately demand peace talks from their Entente allies. It was first time in history that the toiled masses had successfully established their own rule. With no Romanov willing to succeed him, power passed to a Provisional Government, headed by Prince Lvov, a well-known liberal, and a cabinet drawn from Russia’s parliament, the Duma. The home fronts of Britain and France were solid enough. The war effort needed new energy, new blood, a new ideology, a new party. The transformation of Russia’s legal and constitutional order was dramatic. Between January and April 1917, Wilson’s dream of soft power leadership was turned on its head by the violence of the European war. It was a potentially fatal mistake, from which the Reich had been saved by the excellence of its soldiers, the weakness of its enemies, and the aggression of its opening campaign. In Petrograd, the capital of Russia, average wages were just a third of what was needed to feed, clothe and house a family. It was an appeal—by the leading neutral power, in the name of “liberals and friends of humanity”—for an end to the war. Unthinking such fundamental events soon leads one down a spiral to entertaining but empty counterfactual fiction. Those resources included workers and peasants. Russia in 1917 was in the grip of a severe crisis caused by being embroiled in World War I. Washington instructed its embassy in Petrograd to recognise the new Provisional Government of Russia. Here it's the story of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia, where Lenin took control of the reigns of the provisional government with left the country at a stand-still in poverty. 1917 was the year when America’s economic might emerged as the pivot of world affairs, and Wilson intended to put that might to use. Picturehouse. Second, an upheaval occurred in the politics of India and China, both of which overturned 19th-century stereotypes of Asian fatalism to claim a place for themselves on the world stage. Ten Days That Shook the World/Chapter I. Timothy Garton Ash outlines the threats to liberal democracy and how it can renew itself in a post-Trump age. Incited by President Donald Trump at a nearby rally, … Indeed, anticipating a US declaration of war, on 11th January its foreign office cabled its embassy in Mexico City to offer a military alliance against the US. In the struggle my sympathies were not neutral. It had all begun, after all, with a bread riot. Whether 2017 could one day rank among them is necessarily an entirely speculative question. All four of the indigestible ideological hybrids that would define the 20th century—communism, fascism, anti-colonial nationalism and liberal democracy—were made at this very moment. The 20th century would be America’s century but it did not get to make it, as Wilson had envisioned, on terms of its own choosing. What if the Russian revolutionaries had decided to break ranks with the Entente, and open talks with Germany in the summer of 1917? The same is true for Indian nationalism. Hundreds of thousands of Russians died (as did 10 million working people from all countries) in that slaughter. Or, at least, that's how the film would definitely lead things onto. If Wilson had been able to stay out of the war a few weeks longer, or the tsar’s regime had fallen a few weeks sooner, the revolutionary regime in Petrograd might have offered the president precisely the wedge that he needed to drive Britain and France to the negotiating table. Lenin had already proved himself to the workers of the city with his slogans “Peace, bread and … By September, rail and postal workers struck. (Optional) Enter your postcode for local activist event updates. It distinguishes itself from the many formulaic essays which posit an inevitable decline of the Russian Revolution due to the failure to achieve a Europe-wide revolution during the 1920s and which ignore how the revolution lived on for many decades following 1917. Two years later the man in the loincloth had mobilised tens of millions across the subcontinent, to the bewilderment not only of the British but the Indian elite, and Moscow’s HQ of Communist revolution alike. The October Revolution wouldn’t have happened without a lot of steam; without masses of people in motion working toward a goal. Ignoring the pleas of its Washington embassy, it convinced itself that JP Morgan ruled the roost and that sooner or later the US’s financial investment in the Entente would tip it into the war. The army had shown no willingness to restore order and on 15th March Tsar Nicholas II was pushed out of office. From the forge of 1917 emerged a new kind of ideological politics and a new geopolitical order with the US at its heart—an order which was, as we are now learning, destined to last for a century. How the world will react to power on this scale unmitigated by pretensions to moral leadership, a power that makes no apology for its own self-interest and that promises to treat others in the same spirit, is the radical question facing us today. Metacritic TV Episode Reviews, Wave That Shook the World, On December 26, 2004 a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean kills more than 250,000 people. From an Atlanticist perspective, though, 2017 marks more than an anniversary—it is the end of the American century. We want to hear what you think about this article. Important events of 1917 during the fourth and penultimate year of the First World War, including the surprise tank attack by the British (pictured above) at the Battle of Cambrai. (J. Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World, p. It was not Germany but the Entente that had chosen to fight the war as a global struggle. And what, indeed, if the 20th century had been a century of American soft power? I appreciate very much the essay by Pete Dolack, The revolt that shook the world. If we rewind the clock to the start of that year, we hear a different Wilson. Look at all the off shoots of that revolution and all the reactions to it over the decades following. What they needed was an urgent end to the war. After the U-boats and the Zimmermann telegram, only “100 per cent Americanism” could make America safe. The death penalty and anti-Semitic discrimination were abolished. Rather optimistically, the first set of revolutionary leaders hoped that they might mobilise their contacts with the French Socialists, the British Labour Party and the German SPD to initiate a peace conference in Stockholm. The US, and countries beside, are increasingly inclined to act openly in their own self-interest, without even the fig-leaf of moral leadership. What lead John to be where he was when all of this happened is his assignment that he was on for the Masses, a social politics magazine that he was reporting the Russian Revolution for. Ten hours that shook America The storming of the US Capitol by Donald Trump's supporters was as predictable as it was shocking . 500 million people, or a third of the world’s population was infected, and 50 million died. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the British and French empires, the war was fast becoming a modern crusade. It set the stage for American battle, for the defeat and collapse of the Central powers, for Lenin’s coup and the unprecedented mobilisation of Asia. We can, however, meaningfully ask which 20th century it was that began in 1917? Main Ten days that shook the world. Ten Days That Shook the World is Reed's extraordinary record of that event. But the dizzying historical illogic of 1917 was not yet played out. President Obama had the good grace no longer to claim it very loudly. In a series of twists and turns, first the Entente and then the Central Powers lurched from hopes of victory, to fear of revolution and collapse, and then back again. In colonial India and among the burgeoning political class of Republican China, it was not Lenin and the Bolsheviks who first caused a stir of sympathetic excitement for revolutionary Russia, but the dramatic coincidence of the overthrow of the tsar and the entry of the US into the war. The policy of the Bolsheviks, now called the Communist Party, in 1919 was: "Not confining itself to formal equality of women, the party strives to liberate them from the material burdens of obsolete household work by replacing it with communal houses, public eating places, central laundries". But the Provisional Government, which by May 1917 had gained the support of a nationwide system of Soviets, was not the shadow it is often made out to be. And they gave a definitive answer to three successive appeals for peace—from Wilson, the Petrograd Soviet and their own Reichstag—that could have changed the course of 1917, and the century that would follow. During the American century, the mission of the US, at least in its own estimation, was to spread liberal values using the enormous financial and military resources at its disposal. Of course, it cannot rival Robert F. Kennedy's Thirteen Days memoir of the most riveting October 1962 Cuban missile crisis. In my view it is the most important political and social uprising of the 20th century. On October 25 (November 7 on our calendar), 1917, the Russian people overthrew the capitalist government of Alexander Kerensky and established the first workers' state in history. Jan 16 "Zimmermann Telegram" is sent from Germany to Mexico, stating in the event of the US entering World War I on the allied side, Mexico would be given Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. For the second time in three years, Berlin now havered over a decision that would decide the fate of the world. Faced with this extraordinary chain of events and its awesome consequences, the question is inevitable: what if 1917 had gone differently? Germany’s gamble on the U-boats voided that fateful juncture. But in the spring of 1917 in Moscow and Petrograd only a minority advocated peace at any price: one of the main causes of indignation against the tsar was the suspicion that the tsarina was a German agent. Marriage became a simple registration process and divorce was granted upon request. Communism was spread in many parts of the world, and the world was divided into communists and capitalists. These committees called for workers' control and increasingly took control of production in factories. China broke off diplomatic relations with Germany at the same moment as the US. An eight-hour working day was introduced. The above title mixes John Reed's well-known description of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Ten days that shook the world and Sushant Singh's article, 13 days that shook the subcontinent, in Indian Express (December 16, 2016). Chapter I→ — This book is a slice of intensified history—history as I saw it. Accidental revolutionary: Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg acquiesced in the fateful unleashing of the German U-boats ©Wikimedia Commons. Three years ago the anniversary of 1914 was met with sorrow, puzzlement and nostalgia. Would another year of war reduce one of the Entente powers to a similar condition? What lead John to be where he was when all of this happened is his assignment that he was on for the Masses, a social politics magazine that he was reporting the Russian Revolution for. In the midst of the “fog of revolution”, John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook the World navigates through this tumultuous time. 13.) In November 1917 Russia would organise the largest election, for the abortive Constituent Assembly, not just in Russian history but anywhere in the world up to that point. In this last respect these new philosophies carried with them the dizzying dynamism of their formative period. Russia 1917: The Revolution That Shook The World November 06, 2017 17:26 GMT Get Adobe Flash Player. Whereas the Second World War, from Pearl Harbor to VE day and VJ day in 1945, ground agonisingly towards its predictable conclusion, in the last phase of the First World War, the balance of advantage swung back and forth. On February 24, 50% of all workers in Petrograd, about 200,000, were on strike. Perhaps, they fancied, the social democratic parties could negotiate a people’s peace without their governments. But Italy was deeply divided, with the socialist party and a segment of liberal opinion openly opposing the war. On the ninetieth anniversary, American journalist John Reed's pulsating first-hand account of the October Revolution remains a … Workers, soldiers and peasants rose up, arms in hand, against the attempted coup. Effect on the world: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or the Soviet Union) was formed, which emerged as a superpower after World War II. It transformed Europe’s Great War into a World War. But in Russia, as in Germany, the US and the wider world, the most pressing question was, what did the revolution mean for the war? David Ives-published on 08/28/20. He covered World War I for Metropolitan magazine; out of this experience came The War in Eastern Europe (1916). One of the bitterest ironies of 1917 is that the peace programme of the Russian revolution echoed that espoused by the American president only a few months earlier prior to America’s entry into the war: a peace without victory, without annexations or indemnities and based on self-determination. Intercepted by British intelligence and partially deciphered by the next day. It is claimed that once the soviets took state power, the Bolsheviks wiped out all other opposition and abolished the parliament, the Constituent Assembly. As America joined battle, the divergent political traditions of France, the UK and the US were hammered together to form a novel synthesis of republicanism, liberalism constitutionalism and popular democracy. Russian Revolution 1917. John Reed, the great American labour journalist and a founder of the Communist Party USA, was the first to bring this country the news of what had happened in Russia on November 7, 1917. By the end of 1916, well over four million men had been killed. Only 9% of houses were connected to drains, just 12.5% had access to a water supply system. Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in November, as the Bolsheviks had pledged (the provisional government had repeatedly delayed them). And while disposing of Russia’s fledgling constitutional democracy they opened talks to settle the terms of German victory at Brest Litovsk. Trotsky, in a speech in 1932, said: "Without a party which is able to orientate itself in its environment, evaluate the progress and rhythm of events, and win the confidence of the masses, the victory of the proletarian revolution is impossible". Berlin did not believe Wilson’s refusal to align himself with the Entente. Writing in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm, he gives a gripping account of the events in Petrograd in November 1917, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks finally seized power. The exhibit called “1917: How One Year Changed the World” at the American Jewish Historical Society looks at the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the U.S. entry into World War I … Once it was occupying Belgium, northern France, Poland, Serbia and Romania, it had much to bargain with. In response, the majority parties in the German parliament rallied around a call for peace. We organise activism, public forums, and study groups. Our new issue, “Biden Our Time,” will be out soon. GLW is an important reminder of the interconnected nature of politics and the essentiality of concern and humanity for the oppressed and marginalized. The only way for the kaiser and chancellor to hold the loyalty of the larger MSPD was by promising that democratic reforms would follow victory. ... they were the other authoritative institution in Iranian society. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk, Adam Tooze's new book on the financial crisis is "Crashed" (Allen Lane), Watch: The 2020 Think Tank Awards Ceremony, Watch: What next for pensions? Reed, a journalist who witnessed the Bolshevik takeover during ten precarious days in 1917, provides thorough background information and firsthand reporting. In any case what was the alternative? On February 27, the dictatorship was overthrown. They had seized power not in the industrialised west, not in Germany or Britain, but in Russia, the most backward country in Europe. Lionel Barber presents an authoritative institutional portrait of the Treasury and Cal Flyn makes the case for a different kind of climate writing. Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online. October: Ten Days That Shook the World (Russian: Октябрь (Десять дней, которые потрясли мир); translit. Antonio Gramsci, the leading theorist of Italian Communism, went as far as to celebrate Lenin’s revolution as a revolution against Marx’s Das Kapital: he made that remark approvingly. Its citizens, en route to the western front to serve as “coolie” labour, were in danger from U-boats too—543 drowned in the sinking of the SS Athos in the Mediterranean in February 1917. While Germany stopped short of directly targeting US shipping and guaranteed the safe passage of one passenger liner per week to Falmouth, it understood the risk it was running. In considering the rise of the Bolsheviki it is necessary to understand that Russian economic life and the Russian army were not disorganised on November 7th, 1917, but many months before, as the logical result of a process which began as far back as 1915. But the one thing he could not know as he strode to the rostrum of the Senate on 22nd January to lay down the gauntlet of peace, was that 4,000 miles away Berlin had already decided on its next move. 1917—365 days that shook the world 1917 opened a trapdoor to the future, less because of the Russian Revolution than because the US seized its chance to lead. Ships would be torpedoed without warning. Newspapers were banned, demonstrations were made illegal, and Bolsheviks who did not go into hiding were arrested. And another follows: will future historians find themselves looking back with nostalgia to the 20th century? The What Happened in 1917? It was forced to send the soon-to-be infamous “Zimmermann cable” to its Mexican embassy in encrypted form by way of the US embassy in Berlin and telegraph stations near Land’s End in Cornwall. Would the British and French empires have crumbled faster if they had not been boosted by victory in 1918? It was a beacon for millions around the world, inspiring strikes and uprisings across Europe and North America. In the summer of 1917 it seemed as though they might use the threat of US power as a wedge to force democratisation in Germany and belatedly to take up the offer of peace negotiations that Wilson had floated over the winter. The newly-minted democratic coalition against Imperial Germany continuing the war unleashed a wave of repression against the party. All content available online, without paywalls ruled Russia on behalf of the world (:! 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