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By F.S. Northedge, Audrey Wells

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Extra resources for Britain and Soviet Communism: The Impact of a Revolution

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Kolchak, for example, in replying to an Allied note of26 May 1919 about Russia's future boundaries, denied that White leaders like himself had any authority to make promises about them, and asserted that decisions must rest with a future Constituent Assembly. 6 The odd thing was LIVING WITH A REVOLUTION 27 that the Bolsheviks, whom the Allies abominated, were in favour of revoking the secret treaties and all that they implied for Russia's future territorial shape. On the other hand, when they quit the war in March 1918, they had no option but to echo President Wilson's principles of self-abnegation.

17 But Britain was under pressure, with troubles in Ireland (until independence in 1921), India and Egypt, with rising unemployment which mocked the promises of a better Britain that rang from recruiting platforms during the war, depressed areas and slumped basic industries, in a world sunk in economic depression and also a mindless frivolity shaming the sacrifices of the dead in the Great War. Crowning all this, the new leaders in Russia summoned working men and women in capitalist states to revolt and financed nationalists in Africa and Asia to pull their empires down about their ears.

Much fun has been made, especially by British sympathisers with Soviet Russia, of MacDonald and his Cabinet colleagues on account of the ridiculous Court dress and other regalia of a bygone age which they allowed to smother their early socialist beliefs. 23 But the fact was that if the Labour party was ever to win for itself a secure place in British life, to move in and out of office without the electorate thinking the country was being given over to red ruin, it had to merge into the staid background of the British scene.

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