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CPGB-ML: World War One: An Interimperialist War to Redivide the World (£5.00)
World War One: An Interimperialist War to Redivide the World (£5.00)Buy a copy from our shop

VIDEO: Harpal Brar and Ella Rule introduce the book

The first world war was a cataclysmic event that led to a colossal destruction of wealth and the most horrific, industrial-scale slaughter of workers ever seen in mankind’s history.

It was fought by the major imperialist powers in order to determine which powerful countries should control which portions of the world as colonies and spheres of influence, and the heavy price of their forceful redivision was paid by the workers and peasants of Europe and the colonies in blood.

The onset of the war brought about a split in the socialist movement of Europe which remains to this day. The majority of ‘socialist’ parties betrayed the workers’ cause by abandoning their promises to turn an inter-imperialist war into a civil war against the belligerent governments and instead voted for war credits and supported their ruling classes in persuading workers that they should enlist to kill or be killed in order to ‘defend the fatherland’.

As the war continued, the patriotic fervour with which the ruling classes had filled the masses faded, and a wave of revolutionary anger rose to take its place. This revolutionary tide led to mutinies in the ranks of every one of the protagonists. It was pivotal in bringing about the Easter Rising in Ireland, and it led to the success of the October Revolution in Russia and the former Russian colonies, which together went on to establish the world’s first socialist state – the USSR.

The war and the revolutions that came out of it were living proof of Lenin’s theses that "imperialism means war" and that "imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat".

As we mark the centenary of this earth-shattering upheaval, our imperialist rulers are once more working hard to deceive us about the true significance and lessons of WW1 – lying both about its causes and its consequences. They are proving afresh the words of Frederick Engels, who long ago wrote that the "best-paid historiography is that which is best falsified for the purposes of the bourgeoisie".

If we wish to stop the next world war, to avoid the impending environmental catastrophe that threatens the survival of our species, and to establish a sane, socialist system that can meet people’s needs and end poverty and exploitation, we must avoid the traps being set for us by the professional liars and work to acquire a true understanding of this vital period in our history, for the very same forces that led to the 1914-18 war are at work shaping today’s crisis-ridden and war-torn world.

The lessons that we take from WW1 will have a direct impact on the success of our fight for socialism in the 21st century.

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