How Did Communism Begin and Why Was It Created?
Throughout the 20th century, communism existed as one of the largest political forces in the world. This discussion will deal with the events and explanations surrounding both its theoretical and practical beginnings. It will argue that the intellectual birth of communism can be traced to the publication of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto while its actual implementation first began in the form of the Russian Revolution of 1917, both as a result of the perceived exploitation of the working poor.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, European society underwent a period of rapid change known as the Industrial Revolution. This was marked by a change from a primarily agricultural form of production to one involving increased mechanization and the manufacturing of goods (“Industrial Revolution”). In response to this, thinkers like Marx and Engels identified certain injustices created by this modern capitalist form of social and economic organization, where workers were seen to be exploited and oppressed by the ruling elite (Ball and Dagger). Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, predicted the overthrowing of this system and its replacement with communism (Ibid).
The first attempt at actually forming a communist society took place years later with the Russian Revolution of 1917, which saw the ruling Czar deposed and power seized by the Bolsheviks. This seems to have been caused by numerous factors, including the softening of the Czar’s autocracy and its increasingly violent repression, as well as people’s dissatisfaction with the effects of World War One on the country’s food supply (“Communism: Karl Marx to Joseph Stalin”).
By way of conclusion, both the intellectual and practical beginnings of communism appear to have come about as a result of people’s dissatisfaction with the abject conditions faced by workers. While the intellectual beginnings can be traced to the publication of the Communist Manifesto in 1848, communism began in practice with the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Ball, Terence, and Richard Dagger. “Communism.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 30 Nov. 2018, https://www.britannica.com/topic/communism. Accessed 7 May 2019.
“Communism: Karl Marx to Joseph Stalin.” Center for European Studies, https://europe.unc.edu/iron-curtain/history/communism-karl-marx-to-joseph-stalin/. Accessed 7 May 2019.
“Industrial Revolution.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 20 Jan. 2016, https://www.britannica.com/event/Industrial-Revolution. Accessed 7 May 2019.
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