The 'new era of war and revolution'

Did the outbreak of World War I cause Lenin to break with the ‘Marxism of the Second International’? In this extract from his contribution to a book to be published later this year, Lars T Lih argues that the opposite was the case

In October 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I, Lenin wrote to his associate, Aleksandr Shliapnikov: “I hate and despise Kautsky now more than anyone, with his vile, dirty, self-satisfied hypocrisy.” This pungent summation of Lenin’s attitude toward Kautsky - an attitude that remained unchanged for the rest of Lenin’s life - is often cited.

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