The Nation greeted the opening act of the Russian Revolution, in March 1917, with an enthusiasm bordering on glee. “Not since August 1, 1914, has anything come out of Europe to stir the pulse and fire imagination like the news from Russia,” an editorial noted. “It is the first visible sign of that democratization of the world which must come if civilization is to profit by the unparalleled bloodshed of this terrific world-war. This spectacle of a nation rising to free itself from medievalism…must quicken every one’s faith in humanity.” Later, when the new Russian government withdrew from the war with Germany, the magazine lauded, “All hail, free Russia!” When Vladimir Lenin died on this day in 1924, The Nation eulogized him as follows:
Lenin is dead. His country has had to make many painful compromises since his ragged crew took power, but it is running the railroads and marketing the wealth of Russia today. The Communist Government preaching and, to the best of its ability, practicing the gospel of economic revolution, still fills the breast of [Secretary of State Charles Evans] Hughes with alarm. Whatever may come of it in Russia that doctrine—that political democracy without economic liberation is a farce—has swept the Western world, and the Western world will never again be quite the same. The French Revolution was crushed, but it molded the history of nineteenth-century Europe. The Russian Revolution is compromising; Lenin is dead and Trotzky is ill, but they will long continue to make history.
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