Foundations of Violence, Terror and War in the Writings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin
University of Hull
August 18, 1991
Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 1-24, 1991
The aims of this essay are (A) to examine the extent to which Marx, Engels and Lenin believed in revolution by peaceful means and what was their attitude towards the phenomenon of war, and (B) to reflect on the different interpretations of their writings, discerning between three schools of thought. It is argued that Marx and Engels considered violence only as an instrument of secondary importance and desirable insofar as there is no other alternative to change the system. It is further contended that while they, in the course of years, adopted a more moderate position regarding the use of violence, Lenin's viewpoint radicalized as the possibility of a revolution in Russia became real. As years went by Lenin affirmed not only the use of violence but also the resort to terrorist activities. Unlike Marx and Engels he became an ardent supporter of all types of terror.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: revolution, violence, terror, war, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Russia
JEL Classification: 700Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 7, 2009 ; Last revised: May 20, 2014
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