Foundations of Violence, Terror and War in the Writings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin

Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 1-24, 1991

36 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2009 Last revised: 20 May 2014

Raphael Cohen-Almagor

University of Hull

Date Written: August 18, 1991

Abstract

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.

Keywords: revolution, violence, terror, war, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Russia

JEL Classification: 700

Suggested Citation

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael, Foundations of Violence, Terror and War in the Writings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin (August 18, 1991). Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 1-24, 1991. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1339145

Raphael Cohen-Almagor (Contact Author)

University of Hull ( email )

Cottingham Road
Hull, Great Britain HU6 7RX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.hull.ac.uk/rca

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