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The Global Challenge of Peace1919 as a Contested Threshold to a New World Order$
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Matt Perry

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781800857193

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800857193.001.0001

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The General Strike of July 1919

The General Strike of July 1919

Lenin, Wilson and their Influences on Italian Socialism

(p.253) 14 The General Strike of July 1919
The Global Challenge of Peace

Jacopo Perazzoli

Liverpool University Press

Wilson's and Lenin's internationalism, two supranational approaches that emerged during and following World War I, had a large influence on the European socialist and social-democratic parties that were once members of the Second International. In line with this statement, which has been widely accepted by historians, this chapter aims to suggest a new interpretative key: it attempts to explain how Wilsonian and Leninist influences were actually present within Italian Socialism (to the point of coexisting in certain cases). In order to explore such thesis, which on a historiographic level is destined to reconsider the traditional interpretation of “Wilson versus Lenin” and to ensure both a comparative and transnational approach, the chapter will analyse the general strike of July 1919 and the positions within the Italian Left. On that occasion, in fact, socialist and communist militants took to the streets in support of Russian and Hungarian communists and against the armed intervention of the “white” forces in that area. Given this approach, the chapter will understand to what extent the two models, although pursuing different objectives, managed to coexist, thus representing two distinct responses to the crisis of the traditional nation-state. Based on an extensive scrutinizing of primary sources, this chapter will show a specific purpose: launching a new historiographical reinterpretation able to analyse the two models not as opposed to each other but considering them, in some cases, as co-existing. That is precisely because they were a product of the Great War and because both Wilsonianism and Leninism aimed to avoid new war escalations similar to World War I.

Keywords:   Woodrow Wilson, Vladimir Lenin, General Strike, Bienno Rosso, Italian socialism, Internationalism, Italian Communism

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