Post by Rich Rostrom Post by Rhino
Imagine how differently history would have played out
if a more moderate government managed to topple the Bolsheviks and
establish a more congenial regime. Millions upon millions of Russians
would not have died in the Gulag. Who knows what all the knock-on
effects would have been!
The Bolshevik state was very important as the first
"revolutionary" government - and the only "revolutionary"
government for many years.
The Bolsheviks claimed a sort of "papal" status for
the Red (Socialist) left; the Communist International
was based in Moscow, and demanded the allegiance of
all Socialists. Which they never got - the Socialist
International remained in business - but the Third
International had a very strong pull.
The success of Leninism spawned a lot of imitation
around the world. Even many Second International
socialists wavered between "parliamentarism" and
"revolutionism". E.g. Spain, where the leader of the
"parliamentary" Socialist Party, Largo Caballero, was
dubbed "the Spanish Lenin".
No Bolshevik triumph, all that goes away. The threat
of "world revolution", which caused panic around the
world in 1918-1920, goes away as well. (No "Red Scare"
in the U.S.)
OTOH, there were hard-case radicals looking for a
vehicle for violent revolution. Before 1918, most of
these (AFAICT) were attracted to anarchism, but many
went over to Communism. No Bolshevik triumph, then
anarchism remains a bigger force on the Left.
There are obvious physical knock-ons, such as no
division of socialists in western European countries
between the Communist and Socialist or Social Democrat
parties. The Socialist Parties are stronger, and may
win more elections.
Another factor is how the alt-Russian government deals
with its neighbors: with Poland (Is there a war? Where
is the border?); with the Baltic states (Do they gain
independence?); with the Transcaucasus and Central Asia
(do those areas keep their independence?). Assuming WW I
ends as OTL, the Western Powers will be less likely to
support the neighbors against alt-Russia; but the alt-
Russian regime may be less determined and ruthless about
regaining the outlands.
A non-revolutionary alt-Russia, which joins the naval
limitation pacts, signs the Versailles treaties and
associated pacts, signs on to the Locarno Treaty and
joins the Stresa Front, is not a threat to the world.
Japan and Italy are more isolated, and may be deterred
from some of their OTL adventures.
There *were* other Communist governments in the immediate aftermath of
Lenin's coup, although most were short-lived.
In Germany, the Spartacists helped drive Kaiser Wilhelm II the
abdication, although they were soon toppled by the Freikorps. Hungary
had Communist government in 1919, although that too was driven out in
short order. But Mongolia became Communist in 1921 and stayed that way
until the 90s. Although Mongolia had significant help from the
Bolsheviks that would surely not have been forthcoming if the Bolsheviks
hadn't been in power, suppose the Communists in Germany or Hungary, who
didn't receive significant help from the Bolsheviks, had managed to
cling to power: one of *them* might have take on the "motherland of
communism" banner that the Soviets held in the OTL. Germany being the
first (successful) Communist country would also have validated Marx who
had always seen the two most industrialized states of his day, Britain
and Germany, as the most likely to become Communist.
How might Russia have evolved in the 20th century if Lenin's coup had
failed and the Dec 1917 election results were honoured? What kind of
Russia would *that* government have developed? What reforms would they
implement? What would their foreign policy be?
How would a Europe with a Communist Germany have changed the 20th
century? Would Communist Germany have exported revolution as zealously
as the Soviets did or even more so? What would have become of China in
the absence of Communism as its new republic tried to find its feet?
Would Japan still have invaded a weak China and how would the Chinese
and the world have reacted? Would the League of Nations have been more
successful in this world that in the OTL?