By Leon Trotsky
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Extra resources for Dictatorship vs. Democracy: Terrorism and Communism (1922)
But to what is said above one must add that the war has exercised no less influence on the psychology of the ruling classes. As the masses become more insistent in their demands, so the Dictatorship vs. Democracy, by Leon Trotsky 37 bourgeoisie has become more unyielding. In times of peace, the capitalists used to guarantee their interests by means of the "peaceful" robbery of hired labor. During the war they served those same interests by means of the destruction of countless human lives. This has imparted to their consciousness as a master class a new "Napoleonic" trait.
Terror is helpless--and then only "in the long run"--if it is employed by reaction against a historically rising class. But terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will.
The politicians, the diplomats, and the journalists of the Entente have for two years on end been debating with complete frankness the question of whether the financing of the civil war in Russia is a sufficiently profitable enterprise. In such circumstances, one needs truly a brazen forehead to seek the reason for the sanguinary character of the civil war in Russia in the malevolence of the Bolsheviks, and not in the international situation. The Russian proletariat was the first to enter the path of the social revolution, and the Russian bourgeoisie, politically helpless, was emboldened to struggle against its political and economic expropriation only because it saw its elder sister in all countries still in power, and still maintaining economic, political, and, to a certain extent, military supremacy.