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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a new interpretation of Europe’s revolutionary era between 1917 and 1923, exploring the origins of the revolutionary wave and its diverse impact across Europe, focusing on the role of the Left. It seeks to revive the insights of social history and historical sociology, which have been neglected by a recent historiography, that stress the role of contingency, the impact of war, and the influence of militaristic cultures. Yet unlike older social history approaches which emphasised domestic social conflict at the expense of ethnic politics and empire, it argues that the revolutions were the result of a crisis of old geopolitical and ethnic hierarchies, as well as social ones. It develops a comparative approach, presenting a new way of incorporating the experience of eastern Europe and the Caucasus into the history of Europe’s revolutions, and a new analysis of why Russia provided such fertile ground for revolutionary politics.

Keywords: war, revolutions, Europe, Left, social structures, workers’ revolutions, Russia, corporatism, Communist parties, class division

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