Home > Publications > Journal Archive Issues

Journal volume 14, 2017, issue 1

Lenins Diktatur: Begriff, Selbstverständnis, Reaktion / Lenin's Dictatorship: Concept, Self-Image, Reaction



Mike Schmeitzner:
Lenin und die Diktatur des Proletariats – Begriff, Konzeption, Ermöglichung (S. 17–69)

The contribution focuses on the dictatorship of the proletariat which Lenin exploited as a legitimacy resource, in particular on the concept of the “avant-garde”-party, the aspect of minority dictatorship and the specifi c role of violence. Lenin's attempt to integrate the “peasant factor” into his concept of a dictatorship is also discussed in detail. Soon it was clear that Lenin wanted to establish this dictatorship by help of the Party, the Councils and, most of all, the executive, and that he was out for radical change. Already in the course of the fi rst year after having established his rule (1917/18) it became obvious that this new dictatorship leaned primarily onto the Party, the executive and special state institutions, however hardly onto the Councils which served only as a façade. All promises of a new state with reduced bureaucracy proved to be empty promises.

Werner Müller:
Die Oktoberrevolution und die deutsche Linke (S. 71–90)

After the German Left, despite its split, had unequivocally welcomed the October Revolution, in January 1918 the attitude of the majority-SPD changed fundamentally, when the Bolsheviks prevented the constituent assembly from working. For Lenin, thus the SPD did no longer count as a possible partner. The Bolsheviks supported the founding of the KPD and lent massive financial support, however until mid-1920 the party remained small and without influence. The Russian interest focused on the Independent Social Democrats whose numbers grew rapidly in 1919, while at the same time the party became more radical. Joining the Communist International at first led to a factual, then also to an organisational split. Only by the left-wing majority on the USPD’s party congress joining the KPD, the latter became a mass party. A few months later the Comintern led the VKPD to the “March action” of 1921, the start of a rising meant to topple the Reich government by way of social unrest and armed violence. This reflected the pre-given and perceived image of the October Revolution.

Siegfried Heimann:
Georgien, die Bolschewiki und die deutsche Sozialdemokratie (1917–1921) (S. 91–103)

The contribution focuses on the fate of the First Republic of Georgia (1917–1921), from Karl Kautsky’s point of view, and on the German Social Democrats’ changing view of the October Revolution. Starting out from the dictum: “Who addresses Stalin, must also address Lenin, who speaks of Stalinist crimes, must also discuss the October Revolution”, Kautsky’s view of the “Menshevist” Social Democratic Workers Party, which ruled Georgia between 1917 and 1921 and was the German Social Democrats’ “brother party”, and of the “Social Democratic Farmers Republic of Georgia” and its sad end is presented. For Kautsky, the fate of Georgia was exemplary evidence for the correctness of his scathing criticism of the Bolshevik “October putsch” which, as he said, had annihilated the achievements of the February Revolution.

Leonid Luks:
Fedor Stepuns Analysen der russischen Revolution in der katholischen Zeitschrift „Hochland“ (1924–1927) (S. 105–121)

Fedor Stepun (1884–1965) was one of the most important mediators between German and Russian culture in the 20th century. In 1922, he was expelled from his motherland along with other prominent Russian intellectuals. The Soviet leadership, turning Russia into an ideocratic dictatorship, considered those independent thinkers to be regime-obstructers. However, they were rarely noticed in the West as well, because the Western audience was more focused on the Bolshevik winners in the Russian Civil War rather than on those who had lost. So the later had to fight for their spiritual and material survival. Nevertheless, certain European groups were willing to listen to the Russian exile thinkers, e.g. the publishers of the Catholic journal “Hochland” which became a tribune for a number of them in the 1920s and 1930s. Fedor Stepun was one of the most active “Hochland”-authors. This contribution deals with Stepun’s articles, dated 1924–1927, where he analysed the Russian revolution and the European crisis of the 20th century.

Mario Keßler:
Arthur Rosenbergs „Geschichte des Bolschewismus“: Ein Beitrag zur frühen Historiografie der russischen Revolution (S. 123–140)

Arthur Rosenberg (1889–1943) became, after a short political career in the Communist Party of Germany, famous as a historian of contemporary Germany and of international communism. His “History of Bolshevism” was one of the first serious academic treatments on the subject in Germany. He considered the Bolshevik doctrine and actions to be historically progressive for Soviet Russia. But what was progressive for Russia was reactionary for the West, where the bourgeois revolution had been completed, and where a well-trained industrial proletariat and an educated middle-class constituted a majority of the population. In his book Rosenberg pointed out that the Soviet leadership under Stalin, despite its revolutionary rhetoric, was sacrificing the cause of the international proletariat for the state interest of the USSR.

Uli Schöler:
Russische und Französische Revolution im Urteil Siegmund Kunfis (S. 141–152)

One hundred years after the October events in St. Petersburg, the number of interpretations counts by the thousands. Even if there are good reasons why this experiment of the century has lost almost all charisma, given the countless victims, nevertheless there are intelligent interpretations which are worth looking at because they are capable of providing better insights. Among them counts the comparison drawn ten years after the Russian Revolution by the almost forgotten Hungarian Social Democrat Siegmund Kunfi when he was in exile in Vienna. More systematically – and more intelligently – than others before him, he attempts to draw parallels between the course of the events in Russia, including the struggles between factions within the ruling Bolshevik Part, and the course of the great French Revolution of 1789. His – not frequently convincing – results are worthwhile still today, although there is reason for criticism.

Mike Schmeitzner:
Lenin oder Levi? Die Debatte um die „Diktatur des Proletariats“ in der neueren Literatur (S. 153–162)

Book Reviews

Stalin. Eine Biographie.
München (Siedler-Verlag) 2015 / Autor: Oleg Chlewnjuk
Rezension: Manfred Zeidler (S. 165–168)

Von den Besiegten lernen? Die kriegsgeschichtliche Kooperation der U.S. Armee und der ehemaligen Wehrmachtselite 1945–1961
Berlin (de Gruyter) 2016 / Autor: Esther-Julia Howell
Rezension: Roman Töppel (S. 168–171)

Der verratene Verräter. Wolfgang Schnur: Bürgerrechtsanwalt und Spitzenspitzel
Halle (Mitteldeutscher Verlag) 2015 / Autor: Alexander Kobylinski
Rezension: Eckhard Jesse (S. 172–174)

Bruchstücke der Erinnerung eines Sozialwissenschaftlers
Wiesbaden (Springer Verlag) 2016 / Autor: Klaus von Beyme
Rezension: Isabelle-Christine Panreck (S. 174–177)

Schlechthin böse? Tötungslogik und moralische Legitimität von Terrorismus
Wiesbaden (Springer) 2013 / Autor: Marcel Baumann
Rezension: Thomas Zoglauer (S. 177–185)