World War One and the Working Class Holocaust

This arousal of working class consciousness unfolded hand in hand with the intensification of bourgeois angst and resistance, which threatened to boil over into an all-out war between the competing bourgeois countries. This situation was reflected by the fact that the various congresses of the Second International dedicated much thinking time to the solving of the problem of what policy should be adopted by the international working class within their respective countries, should war breakout between those countries. In other words, should the developing working class regress into the old pattern of simply following the lead of the bourgeoisie in time of war, and kill one another in the name of ‘nationalism’ for their respective countries? In the 1907 Stuttgart congress, the Second International – with the help of Lenin – issued what was thought of at the time, to be a definitive statement upon the matter (see opening quote). In essence, the Second International in 1907 called upon its constituent members to use every available means to prevent a war from happening, or to shorten a war by the same means should hostilities have already broken out.

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