Saturday, March 3, 2012

Did Woodrow Wilson praise the Bolshevik Revolution?

In Wilson's War Message to Congress on 2 April, 1917, Woodrow Wilson said the following:

A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic government could be trusted to keep faith within it or observe its covenants. It must be a league of honour, a partnership of opinion. Intrigue would eat its vitals away; the plottings of inner circles who could plan what they would and render account to no one would be a corruption seated at its very heart. Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honour steady to a common end and prefer the interests of mankind to any narrow interest of their own.

Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia? Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact democratic at heart, in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual attitude towards life. The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, long as it had stood and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin, character, or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great, generous Russian people have been added in all their naive majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace. Here is a fit partner for a league of honour.

It would be entirely fair(as much as I dislike Wilson) to point out that he could not have known that they would go on to slaughter 20+ million people. I suppose you could say that it was a good thing that the Russia was overthrowing the Tsars and "moving toward freedom"(which was their claim) - the problem is their definition of freedom. Wilson, like the Bolsheviks, had a belief in collective freedom, and freedom for the state. Not freedom for the individual. Or, at best, freedom for the individual is secondary to the primary of freedom for the state. It was Wilson who wrote that Democracy and Socialism are one and the same.


  1. Your history is weak.

    There were two "revolutions" in Russia in 1917.
    The first one, which Wilson is referring to was the overthrow of Tsarist Russia. Pretty much all non-monarchists involved in supporting this revolution. If you oppose this revolution, then you were also against the US Revolution against England.

    The actual Bolshevik takeover started in October of the same year, it's technically closer to a civil war between the Bolsheviks and anti-Bolsheviks. This lasted from 1917 to 1923.

  2. You're probably right - I do better with American history. Thanks