A New Chapter of World History
|Written||21 October 1912|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 18, pages 368-369.
Even the bourgeois press throughout Europe, which for reactionary and selfish reasons defended the notorious status quo in the Balkans, is now unanimous in acknowledging that a new chapter of world history has begun.
The defeat of Turkey is beyond question. The victories won by the Balkan states united in a quadruple alliance (Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece) are tremendous. The alliance of these four states is a fact. “The Balkans for the Balkan peoples” is something that has already been achieved.
What, then, is the significance of the new chapter of world history?
In Eastern Europe (Austria, the Balkans, Russia), the powerful survivals of medievalism, which terribly hamper social development and the growth of the proletariat, have not yet been abolished. These survivals are absolutism (unlimited autocratic power), feudalism (landlordism and feudal privileges) and the suppression of nationalities.
The class-conscious workers of the Balkan countries are the first to put forward the slogan of a consistently democratic solution of the national problem in the Balkans. That slogan calls for a Balkan federal republic. The weakness of the democratic classes in the present-day Balkan states (where the proletariat is small in number and the peasants are downtrodden, disunited and illiterate) has resulted in an economically and politically indispensable alliance be coming an alliance of Balkan monarchies.
The national question in the Balkans has taken a big stride towards its settlement. Of all the states of Eastern Europe, Russia alone remains the most backward today.
Although the alliance which has come into being in the Balkans is an alliance of monarchies and not of republics, and although this alliance has come about through war and not through revolution, a great step has nevertheless been taken towards doing away with the survivals of medievalism throughout Eastern Europe. And you are rejoicing prematurely, nationalist gentlemen! That step is against you, for there are more survivals of medievalism in Russia than anywhere else!
As for Western Europe, the proletariat there is still more vigorously proclaiming the slogan: No intervention! The Balkans for the Balkan peoples!