Gregory Zinoviev

Two Eras of War I


Source: New International, Vol.18 No.5, September-October 1952, pp.233-244.
Written/First Published: 1916 (approximately) in The War and the Crisis in Socialism
Transcription: Daniel Gaido & Ted Crawford.
Mark-up: by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

A Chapter from Zinoviev’s Analysis of the War Question

We begin herewith publication of another chapter from the famous The War and the Crisis of Socialism, by G. Zinoviev, parts of which have appeared in these pages in the past. The work, written in the war years of 1915-1916, was refused publication in Russia by the Czarist censor. After the first 1917 revolution, its publication in the middle of the year was prevented by a reactionary raid on a Bolshevik publishing house in the course of which the composed material was smashed. The first Russian edition appeared almost exactly at the moment of the second 1917 revolution. It is now hard to find anywhere in the world, and impossible to find in Russia. Its author, old Bolshevik, colleague of Lenin, first chairman of the Communist International, was first expelled from the Russian Communist Party by Stalin, then imprisoned, then foully murdered. With all the criticisms made of Zinoviev during his great days – criticism much of which was not unjustified – he was and remains one of the greatest popularizers of revolutionary Marxism, one of the influential teachers of the new generation of Marxists that rose from the First World War. In this work the reader finds Zinoviev at his best. We have chosen this section and what follows for translation and publication here for its historical-analytical and instructive value to all serious students and militants, It is especially valuable for demonstrating the manner in which Marxists dealt with the concrete problems of wars in the past. It does not – for it cannot – aim to provide automatic answers to war problems of our own time; but it does provide illustrations of the Marxist’s method of arriving at such answers. – Ed.


The history of the 19th Century began with a strong counter-revolutionary movement which was directed against the French Revolution. The fate of the internal development of revolutionary-republican France became dependent upon the neighboring monarchical states of Europe. The French Revolution had no stronger foe than its external one. The whole Napoleonic epoch was primarily the product of the wars France was forced to fight in order to resist the struggle of the European monarchies against the French Revolution. There is not a historical epoch that illustrates so clearly the connection between domestic and foreign policy as do the years 1789 to 1814. In his book on the relationship of foreign to domestic politics, Rudolph Goldscheid says quite rightly: “Domestic policy proposes, but foreign policy disposes.” It is just as right when he says further: “The history of any people is the history of its neighbors.” [1] France of the year 1789 was forced very soon, in the course of events, to learn that there could be no talk about securing the achievements of the Great Revolution without undertaking a whole series of defensive and offensive wars beyond the border. The monarchical states which surrounded France threatened her with direct assault, with subjugation by alien rule. This continuing threat was a great obstacle in the path of the French Revolution, but nevertheless it was precisely this that endowed the revolutionary movement with greater strength by stamping it as national and thereby embracing the entire forces of the nation. Under the Damoclean sword of the threatening hostile invasion and of alien rule, all the people of France united, with the exception of the high royal aristocracy, a handful of counter-revolutionary émigrés and the representatives of the royal dynasty who joined quite openly with the foreign monarchical powers in machinations against the revolution in their own country. Aulard is right when he says, in his French Revolution that the European coalition that united against France was hurled back by the municipal and Jacobin organizations.

“It was surely the need for defense from alien rule that gave the impulsion to the movement for the national state,” says Bauer in his Nationalitätenfrage. The wars of the Great French Revolution are a classical example of the national wars of the early capitalist epoch. When the French Revolution attempted to fling the revolutionary torch into the neighboring lands, when it declared war upon all the European kings and absolute monarchs, it was only an act of self-defense. It was not enough to crush absolutism within France and to settle accounts with Louis XVI. For the victory of the French Revolution to be complete, absolutism outside of France had to be smashed or, at least, it was necessary to guarantee the defense of France from external assault. Newly-arisen France had to be protected from alien subjugation. At the time of the first triumph over the old regime, this task could not be envisaged in all its scope by the politicians and the institutions of the French Revolution. But it was placed on the order of the day very soon after the first victories. In purely empirical ways the leaders of the French Revolution recognized that to secure the revolutionary achievements, a number of external national wars were necessary, that to secure the French Revolution France herself would have to be surrounded by a whole series of daughter republics. The Convention later followed a planned and thought out policy in this direction. The situation became ever clearer. Either the new republican government would withstand the assaults of foreign powers and introduce the republic in the neighboring lands, or else the absolutist neighboring lands after a number of wars would not only have to overturn the republican regime in France and restore monarchism, but also bring the country under alien rule, perhaps partition it and annex parts of it to other countries. [2]

Thus the revolutionary struggle of the French became a national cause. Thus this grandiose movement, which opened an entirely new epoch in history, gave us a classical example of national wars which had an enormous significance for history and the progress of mankind.

Liberté des mers! Egalité du droits de toutes les nations!“ [Freedom of the seas! Equal rights for all nations!] proclaimed the inscriptions on the banners of the French army at the time of the revolutionary wars. Naturally these watchwords had nothing socialist in them. The slogan of the “Freedom of the seas!” was merely directed at England which dominated the seas. The slogan of “equal rights” signified merely equality of rights in the bourgeois sense.

At any rate, however, they were wars which defended the bourgeois revolution, which were directed against feudalism, and which created the bourgeois-democratic national state; and to that extent they contributed to progress.

“Precisely upon the basis of nationality did the Declaration of the Rights of Man develop the fundaments of all liberal demands: “Le principe de toute souverainité reside dans la nation [The principle of all sovereignty rests in the nation]” writes Lamprecht. [3] The French Revolution opened a new epoch of history in this respect, too. In it is found the strongest expression of the endeavor of the victorious, bourgeoisie to set up, secure and defend the national state. National subjugation – in its greatest, baldest form – was the law in the epoch preceding capitalism. The rise of capitalism was expressed in the endeavor to set up independent states, i.e., to eliminate oppression by foreign states.

There were adequate economic causes for this. Rising capitalist commodity exchange imperiously requires the elimination of small states, of so-called petty-statism. It needs a unified customs system, a unified legislation. The bourgeoisie must endeavor to make the national state as strong and big as possible. State dismemberment and separateness are antagonistic to this capitalist development. Arising capitalism requires large economic territories consolidated into states.

If the capitalist states were to be allied among themselves through free commodity exchange, if they were to constitute a single economic domain, then capitalism – as Otto Bauer rightly remarks – could fully reconcile itself to the dismemberment of the nations into a mass of small independent states. In reality, however, the capitalist state almost always constitutes a more or less independent economic domain. Customs tariffs, tax policy, the system of railway tariffs, the difference between prevailing laws, etc., all this causes difficulties in trade between the various independent states. Hence, arising capitalism strives not only for a simple national state, but for a great national state. The more populated an economic domain, the more numerous and larger the enterprises can be in which any commodity is produced. As is known, the large size of an enterprise means the diminution of production costs and the rise of productivity. All other things being equal, it means a greater division of labor, it affords the possibility of improving communications, etc. It is much harder to learn about a foreign market than to learn the conditions of the native domestic market.

All these advantages of a great state were clearly perceived by the peoples of the 19th Century, directly observed by them. They all saw how France bloomed with the fall of the customs barriers that separated the French provinces. Every state – only one people; every people – one state! So read the principle of arising capitalism. Obviously, a small state is not only economically but politically weaker. The capitalist needs a state that can defend his interests, by armed force if need be. In this respect too a great state is once again an advantage. This was another reason for the endeavor to free co-nationals from foreign rule and to bring them in to the national state.

Of the present-day great states, not a single one was a national state from the beginning. On the contrary, they all rose as national states, or better yet, as conglomerates of tribes which did not yet constitute nations in the true sense of the word. Most of these states still bear the traces of their being composed out of various nationalities. In public life, a complicated phenomenon seldom appears in a pure, undistorted state. Despite that, we are entitled to characterize the period of 1789 to 1871 as the epoch in which absolutism was eliminated and in which the national states finally rose in Europe – an epoch in which a series of national wars were fought to achieve this goal.

The birthplace of the present-day state is the land in which capitalist commodity production first arose and developed – Italy. [4] The first modern states were the rich Italian city republics, in which the capitalist class knew how to use the state as an instrument of their class policy. But nonetheless, Italy was split up in the course of history into a mass of small and large states that were later robbed by Spain, France and Austria. Italy achieved complete national unification only after all the other European great states – with the exception of Germany.

The struggle for the national state filled many decades of the 19th Century; it assumed extraordinarily dramatic forms, led to a series of wars and popular movements; and gave the impulsion to a series of revolutions.

The struggle for the freedom of Italy, for the unification of Germany and the liberation of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Rumania from Turkish rule, the struggle of Poland for the restoration of the Polish state up to the uprising of 1863 – all these are links in one and the same chain of events. All these are historically extraordinarily important episodes from the epoch of the struggle for the national state. In the Balkans, this struggle was drawn out until 1912-1913, and as late as 1914-1916, in the World War, we hear its faint echo.

By and large, the era of national wars, for Western and Central Europe, came to a close with the year 1871. The new imperialist epoch may be complicated here and there with elements of the national struggle – we are not dealing with a pure and whole undistorted phenomenon here, either – but there is no doubt that it is now a matter of an entirely different period in principle.

The struggle for the national state was a long-lasting process that took up many centuries of history. “Since the close of the Middle Ages history has been working toward constituting Europe out of great national states,” writes Fr. Engels in a posthumous work, Gewalt und Oekonomie bei der Herstellung des neuen Deutschen Reiches. [5]

“Only such states,” continues Engels, “are the normal political organization of the European ruling bourgeoisie, and are likewise the indispensable pre-condition for the establishment of the harmonious international cooperation of the peoples without which the rule of the proletariat cannot exist.”

With the development of trade, of agriculture, of industry, and with the simultaneously consolidating position of the bourgeoisie, national sentiment grew everywhere, and the mangled and oppressed peoples began to strive for unification and independence. The revolution of 1848 therefore set itself the task everywhere – even in France where national unification was already accomplished – of fulfilling not only the general demands for emancipation but also to the same degree the national demands of the peoples.

After 1789, the “madness-filled” year 1848 was the most important historical event of the era which came to a close in 1871. The bourgeoisie finally felt itself to be the most important power in that Europe which had awakened to new life. Regardless of how the year 1848 actually turned out, the bourgeoisie was now fully aware that the old days, the old lethargy, was at an end once for all. As a consequence of the gold mines discovered in California and Australia, and as a result of a series of other circumstances, there began a development of world trade relations and a growth of commercial business such as had never before been dreamed of. The bourgeoisie of every country had to think of how best to adapt itself to this development in order to guarantee its share.

Engels, with Germany primarily in mind, described in detail the economic situation of the time in Europe. The bourgeoisie felt it to be an untenable state of affairs when it ran into new customs barriers every couple of miles; it was just as unbearable that the units of weight, measurement and gold were so different and chaotic, that industry was hampered at every step by bureaucratic and fiscal obstacles, that national dismemberment and petty-statism became a direct hindrance, felt by every bourgeois, to the development of industry. Hence – the striving of the bourgeoisie for a united national state. “From this it may be seen,” Engels remarks, “how the demand for a united ‘Fatherland’ possessed a very material basis:” (L.c., pp.680f.)

National Wars and National Revolutions

The movement toward the national state was inevitable. But this is not to say that everything went off smoothly, that there were no elements that offered resistance to this historically necessary process. There were always different: forces interwoven, actions and counteractions, elements of attraction and repulsion, of advance and of reaction, a progression and a retrogression.

Across the road to achieving the national state, historically necessary and conditioned by the whole economy, stood the dynastic interests of the reigning houses, stood the interests of the nobility and aristocracy who took up the struggle against the bourgeoisie, stood the interests of all of counter-revolutionary Europe. That explains why the road to the national state had to pass through a series of wars and revolutions.

After 1814, the wars and the revolutions were divided more or less according to plan. They followed each other in short periods: 1820-1823, 1830-1835, 1859-1870. Even bourgeois historians have recognized a certain periodicity of wars and revolutions.[6] Engels pointed out in 1885 that since the French Revolution (which lasted from 1789 to 1815 if all the events connected with it are counted together), revolutions and in general important political overturn were being repeated in Europe periodically, about every 15 to 18 years: 1815, 1830, 1848-1852, 1870/1871.

The wars of the French Revolution began under the sign of the struggle against alien rule, under the sign of the defense of national liberty. The Napoleonic epoch turned these wars into their direct opposite. Napoleon trampled the national feelings of many peoples under foot. Then Napoleon was vanquished. It must have been thought that now the principle of national liberty would have to win. In actuality, things looked different. The road of national liberty was blocked by dynastic interests. At the Congress of Vienna (1815) were assembled not true representatives of the people, but princes and diplomats. To the Congress of Vienna – as Engels said – the smallest dynasty meant more than the greatest people. Germany and Italy were once again dismembered and made into small states. Poland was partitioned for the fourth time; Hungary was subjugated. The European map was chopped up as though the specific aim was being followed of revealing, on the one side, the shamelessness and stupidity of the statesmen and diplomats and, on the other, all the impotence and helplessness of the European peoples at that historical moment. The situation which the Congress of Vienna created in 1815 was pregnant with a whole series of new convulsions. The national aspirations were suppressed with a harsh hand. But they soon reappeared. They could indeed be put off for a certain time, but there was no way of killing what lay at the basis of the entire era, what was deeply rooted in the economic life of that time.

The national movements in Europe celebrated their resurrection in the second and third decades of the 19th Century. They were brought forward by the Russo-Turkish war of 1828-1829, on the one side, and by the July, 1830, revolution in France, on the other.

In direct connection with the Russo-Turkish war, the Greeks began their war of independence. Therewith began those movements in the Balkans which have continued down to our own days.

Further movements began after the July revolution in France: In Belgium, for emancipation from Holland’s rule; in Poland, for national independence from Russia; in Italy, for national liberation from Austria’s yoke. In all these countries, the uprisings were prepared by long years of national oppression. The July revolution only gave the impulsion, it accelerated the events which had matured in the course of history.

The 1815 Congress of Vienna had divided the countries in accordance with its own judgment, as it appeared to it to be most favorable for the reactionary monarchies of Europe. The kingdom of the United Netherlands was such a fruit of the reactionary policy of the Holy Alliance. Belgium was joined to Holland under the scepter of William I (of Orange). The powers who had defeated Napoleon needed the united Netherlands as a strong defense against France.

Belgium was thereby placed in actuality under the rule of Holland, “William of Holland exercized a daily growing pressure upon Belgium. This pressure was felt by the Belgians in every field. At the union of Belgium with Holland, the former had only 30 million guldens in debts and the latter 2 billion guldens. Despite this, the burden of the general state debt was divided equally between Belgium and Holland. Dutch was proclaimed as the current language for Belgium as well.

All this had to lead to unrest. In 1828 and 1829 the movement was expressed in the form of petitions. For the protest petitions, 70,000 signatures were gathered the first time, and 300,000 the second. At first, the Belgians only demanded reforms, only a far-reaching autonomy. But the movement grew gradually and the demand for complete independence, complete separation from Holland, was put forth. William now hastened to make a few concessions. But it was too late. At the end of August, 1830, under the influence of the July days in Paris, the unrest in Brussels became stronger. On July 24, the king’s birthday was to be celebrated. On the streets of Brussels appeared placards with these notices: on the 23rd there will be fireworks, on the 24th illumination, on the 25th revolution. [7] An uprising broke out in Brussels; the movement spread to other large cities of Belgium. The Belgian soldiers of the united army went over to the side of the insurrectionary Belgian people. Dutch troops went to war against Belgium. The bombardment of Antwerp, become famous in history, began. The Belgian National Assembly proclaimed the independence of Belgium. William of Orange continued to resist, toward which end he entered into various international combinations. The struggle lasted almost a decade. Only on April 19, 1839, was Belgium finally recognized as an independent neutral state. And from then on the monarchy was consolidated in Belgium …

The July Revolution found just as strong an echo in Poland. The Polish uprising of 1830 was crushed by armed force ... We do not wish to dwell further upon it ... Its historical significance is generally known.

In 1831, a series of national-revolutionary insurrections began in Italy – Modena, Reggio, Bologna, Parma, etc. Like a raging storm, hatred swelled against the Austrian yoke. Austrian troops, in union with “patriotic” oppressors of the Italian people, choked the movement with blood and iron. Gallows, bayonets and prisons were the order of the day. Thousands of fighters for Italian freedom fell as victims ...

Every great overturn, every European revolution, every great war of that epoch brought forth immediately national questions and produced national movements. For in those days, it was these questions that were the hardest of all; almost all the conditions of the events of the time were based upon them.

For one or two decades the struggle for national freedom was suppressed. By an immense exertion of energy, this deferment was won by the counter-revolutionary European alliance. The revolutions of l848 once again placed the question of the national state on the order of the day. But, while the question was again posed, it was again not solved. None of the 1848 revolutions ended with a full victory of the people. The intervention of the reactionary states again exercized in places a decisive influence upon the outcome of the freedom struggles of the peoples. Mention should be made of the intervention of Russia in the Hungarian revolution.

The wars of the epoch that lies between 1848 and 1871 bore a predominantly national character. This fact does not, however, mean that there were no other wars in this period of time in which mere lust for conquest was decisive, wars caused by the colonial policy of old colonial states like England. This was the character borne by England’s wars against China in 1840, 1856, 1860. Such was the Russo-Turkish war of 1828 which was localized at the time, and in many respects such was also the Crimean War which was complicated by the intervention of foreign states. Then, in the national epoch, the national war was complicated by the fact that from time to time elements were added to it that aimed at the robbing of colonies. In the present epoch of imperialist wars, national elements may indeed appear from time to time, but in reality such elements play a quite subordinate role. The epochs are in and of themselves quite different ...

The year 1848 shoved the national problem into the foreground. And the more the representatives of the old régime since the counter-revolution of 1849 endeavored to suppress the national aspirations, the greater was the strength with which the movement unfolded among the oppressed nationalities. The national question became the most important question in Europe, the cardinal point of all European politics. Life placed this question so much into the foreground that a figure like Napoleon III was able to build up his entire career in the domain of international politics solely on the national problem. The Bonapartist game of the “nationality principle” was the alpha and omega of his “system”! Throughout the almost twenty years of his exclusive rule of France, he followed his “nationality policy.” And later on, the second outstanding figure of this epoch, Bismarck, owed the rôle that fell to him to the same “nationality policy.”

There is of course a great difference between Napoleon III and Bismarck. The former oscillated between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the latter between Junkerdom and the bourgeoisie; the former represented France which had for many long years played the role of oppressor of foreign peoples (Germany in the first place), the latter represented the interests of dismembered and oppressed Germany. But Napoleon III and Bismarck had many features in common; the whole epoch had placed its ineradicable imprint upon them both. Engels and Marx were entirely right when they asserted that Bismarck was Napoleon III translated into German.

Napoleon III pursued his nationality policy, in one of Bismarck’s words, for the sake of tips. Bonapartism could maintain itself inside of France only if it consolidated its position on the international arena, if it succeeded in getting France to play one of the first fiddles again in the European concert, and from time to time to bring home “tips” in the form of annexations and compensations. But such was the spirit of the times that a politician like Napoleon III had nothing left to realize this task with than the exploitation of the liberation struggles of oppressed peoples against alien rule. Napoleon III always had a political instinct. He sensed correctly that a process of immense importance was involved here, that the national question would remain on the order of the day until the question of the national state was solved, and that with a correct exploitation of this problem enough political booty could be carried off to last a lifetime.

During the Crimean War, Napoleon III first proposed to organize the national war of all the Caucasian peoples against Russia; and then – the uprising of the Poles and Finns. During the Italian War (1859) Napoleon sought, with the aid of Kossuth, to arouse the Hungarians against Germany. In general, the whole “Italian” policy of Napoleon III, his whole policy of supporting Italy against Austria, was inspired by the same aspiration: to gain for himself the benefit of the matured social pre-conditions for the national coming together of oppressed and separated peoples.

“The famous nationality principle is a Bonapartist invention which has the aim of consolidating Napoleon’s Bonapartism inside of France ... After the coup d’état of 1851, Louis Napoleon, Emperor ‘by the Grace of God and the Will of the People,’ had to find a watchword, which would appear to be democratic and popular, in order to cover up his foreign policy. What could work better than the nationality principle?”

Thus wrote Fr. Engels on the “nationality policy” of Louis Napoleon [8] as early as 1866, that is, four years before Napoleon III’s star sank.

The Congress of Paris, convened after the Crimean War in 1856, brought a great political victory for Napoleon III. He not only managed to get Bonapartist France a position again among the great powers, but exacted in addition autonomy for the Rumanian people and the discussion of the Italian national question. In these two countries, the national question served him as an object of speculation – just as the national dismemberment of Germany represented for him a still bigger and more profitable speculation.

Legend has it that Napoleon III, back in his earliest youth and then after acceding to the throne, took the sacred oath to devote his life to the emancipation and unification of Italy, the younger sister of France, linked to her by a common Latin culture. But Napoleon III must have forgotten this oath later, and Orsini, the friend of Mazzini, was obliged to remind Napoleon III of his Hannibal’s oath by an attempt on his life ...

In reality, things were a good deal simpler. The Italian unification and all the national questions that were connected with the Italian unification, were only an object of selfish business for Bonapartist France. The tremendous national uprising of the Italian people, the stormy and passionate movement which gripped every stratum throughout Italy, which produced a series of national-democratic insurrections and figures like Garibaldi and Mazzini – this movement was utilized for its own purposes by the French Bonapartist bourgeoisie through its business managers and diplomats. In 1859, Napoleon III rendered active assistance to Sardinia against Austria. In 1866, he helped Prussia against Austria by means of his neutrality. Both times he allegedly supported national unification, first the unification of Italy, then of Germany. But the course of world history would have it that the national unification of Italy as well as Germany should be realized only after the overthrow of Bonaparte in the war of 1870-1871.

The wars of 1859, 1864, 1866 and 1870/1871 were closely connected with one another. Only in their sum did these four wars bring with them the unification of Italy and Germany and the overturn of the Empire in France. That is why we wish to pursue systematically the events during these four national wars.

The National Unification of Italy

Nationally splintered Italy (like Germany) was, as we already said, a veritable treasure for Bonapartist France. The whole foreign policy of Napoleon III was oriented toward this splintering and the wars and popular risings following from it. As Engels once asserted, Napoleon III regarded the exploitation of the national movements in those two countries as an inviolate right for exacting “compensations” for himself. And so long as it was a question of Italy, Napoleon III’s policy was crowned with success.

Since 1849, Italy was ruled without restraint by Austria, against which a general discontent manifested itself increasingly in this mangled and subjugated land. The national movement in favor of the unification of Italy became stronger by the year. The economic development of the country imperiously demanded unification. This task could no longer vanish from the order of the day, it awaited some sort of solution.

But in addition the international diplomatic situation was also favorable to an uprising against Italy’s oppressor, against Austria. Napoleon III clung to that. After the Crimean War Austria became the point of attack of all the governments. The Crimean War had brought all of them but poor results. The Western powers (England, France) were not serious about conducting the war. After the war, they accused Austria that the outcome of the war could be blamed only upon its irresoluteness – in reality, however, it was their own behavior that caused the outcome of the war. [9]

Besides the dissatisfaction on the part of England and France, Austria naturally drew the dissatisfaction of Russia. The aid which official Russia showed Austria in Hungary in 1849 was badly repaid by Austria during the Crimean War. Naturally, the assault upon Austria was now consoling to Russia. Since Napoleon had England, Russia and Italy on his side, he had no need to take any account of Prussia which, after the Congress of Paris, was generally treated only from above. The war against Austria for the liberation of Italy “up to the Adria” in the spring of 1859 was therefore proclaimed in accord with Russia. Thus it happened that not only selfish Bonapartist France fought for the Idea of people’s liberation and for national unification, but also old reactionary Russia! A sight for the Gods! The national movement in Italy was a progressive one in and of itself, it was evoked by the circumstances of economic and political life. And this movement, deeply rooted in life and progressive under the conditions of the time, was utilized by the dark forces of reactionary Europe for their own, self-seeking aims! That is how history wanted it.

Early in 1859 the war was declared and in the summer of the same year was already at an end. Austria’s position in Italy was not definitively eliminated. The point of complete unification of Italy, as prescribed in the program, was not reached. Only Piedmont was expected. In return Bonapartist France received Savoy and Nice. Napoleon III got his pourboire [tip]. The dream of the Bonapartists was being fulfilled. The border of 1801 between France and Italy was re-established.

The Italian people could naturally not be satisfied with this outcome of the war. In order finally to achieve the unification of Italy, not only a war was needed, but also a revolution. And in order to secure the unification of Italy, not even war and revolution in Italy sufficed; three more wars and the revolution in France were required for that.

In Italy, at that time, big industry was just then beginning to unfold. The working class was still far from being expropriated and proletarianized; in the towns, the workers often still owned their own means of production; in the village, small peasant property prevailed, or else there was the tenant who worked only occasionally in various branches of town industry. For these reasons the energy of the Italian bourgeoisie was not yet paralyzed by the presence of class antagonisms between it and the mature, class-conscious proletariat. (L. c., p.684.) The revolutionary spirit of the Italian bourgeoisie had not yet fled, history had still proferred it a revolutionary mission.

Austria remained the national oppressor of Italy. It supported Italian splintering. Inside of Italy, Austria had more or less devoted friends among the Italian princes, the regents of certain Italian provinces. The elimination of national splintering signified for these princes the loss of power and income. Only under the protection of a foreign power like Austria could they maintain their regime of oppression within petty-statism. In the public opinion of the country, the hostile attitude toward the Italian princes therefore was bound up with the hostile attitude toward hated Austria. The rule of the princes was identified with the alien rule of Austria. The anger and the hatred toward Austria was carried over to the Italian rulers. The national movement against the external alien rule of Austria thus became at the same time a revolutionary movement of the Italian people against its own rulers, against its own Italian princes. The Italian princes constituted an obstacle in the way of the unification of the Italian fatherland. In order to achieve the emancipation and unification of the fatherland, the Italian people not only had to render the external foe harmless, but also to beat down the internal foe. Moreover, the politically progressive element of similar national movements lay precisely in this, that they absolutely had to lead to an irreconcilable struggle (often even to the point of civil war) of the popular masses against the highest summits ...

In Italy – thanks to the conditions described above – the town bourgeoisie became the pioneer fighter for national independence. It was supported not only by the urban popular masses, but in substantial measure also by the landed nobility, whose interests were also often harmed by the régime of the princes, who were Austria’s servitors. This enormously strengthened the power of the national movement of the Italians. After the war of 1859, the main task that remained was the overthrow of foreign rule in Venetia. An intervention by France and Russia was now impossible. The national-revolutionary movement in Italy became broader and took on an ever stormier tempo. On the scene appears the hero Garibaldi. With about a thousand volunteers he vanquished the kingdom of Naples, inflicted a harsh blow upon Bonaparte’s interests, and attained the actual unification of Italy. Italy became free, and its unification was essentially completed. And this was attained not by the wily chess moves of Napoleon III, but by the revolution ...

But for really complete unification, even after 1866, the adherence of Rome was lacking. The defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian war was necessary in order to attain the incorporation of Rome. In August, 1870, the French troops of Napoleon III were forced to leave Rome in order to support the French position against the Prussian armies. Pope Pius IX nevertheless rejected all peace negotiations with the King of Italy aimed at the incorporation of Rome. Thereupon King Victor Emanuel II took to force. On September 20, 1870, the Italian army began to shell Rome. The Eternal City surrendered. The population of Rome voted 133,681 to 1507 [10] in favor of joining the Kingdom of Italy. The unification was complete. In a short time the residence of the king could be shifted to Rome ....

(To be continued)




1. Rudolph Goldscheid, Das Verhältnis der äusseren Politik zur inneren. Ein Beitrag zur Soziologle des Weltkrieges, pp.14, 30.

2. It should not be thought that the struggle of revolutionary France against the monarchist powers was caused only by the struggle of the bourgeois-democratic social order against the feudal, although this was the predominant cause. Competition between France and England in the colonial field also played an essential rôle.

3. Karl Lamprecht. Deutsche Geschichte, Third Part, Neueste Zeit, Vol.III, Berlin 1907. p.353.

4. Cf. Otto Bauer and Karl Kautsky, Nationalität und Internationalität.

5. See this series of excellent articles by Engels, published by Bernstein in the Neue Zeit. 1895-1896, Vol XIV. Book I. p.679.

6. See, e.g., Seignobos. Die politische Geschichte des gegenwärtigen Europa, Vol.I, p.2.

7. A. Stern. Geschichte Europas 1830-1848, Vol.I, p.100.

8. Frederic Engels. What Have the Working Classes to do with Poland? (To the Editor of the Commonwealth).

9. Engels called the Crimean War an enormous comedy of errors, in which one must ask at every step: who is it that is deceiving the others? But this comedy cost mankind almost a million human lives. England conducted the war in order to prevent a further growth of Russia at the expense of Turkey. But outside these limits it was only a “sham war” for England and France. And Russian diplomacy of the time succeeded in turning this war into a series of severe defeats for Russia. See the article of Engels in the Neue Zeit, 1895-1896, Volume XIV Book I, pp.682, 693 ...

10. Cf. Gottlob Egelhaaf, Geschichte der neuesten Zeit, Stuttgart 1908.

Last updated: 17.6.2008