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front withdrew their resignations. Response on the financial markets was immediate. On Wall Street, the two Russian bond issues swiftly recovered 10 per cent apiece; the price bid for the Russian ruble on the foreign exchange market, which had been down to 2556 cents, or exactly half of its par value, advanced to nearly 28. Then both public opinion and the markets paused to take their bearings; for the situation was still obscure enough. It was destined to have some hours of even greater obscurity, later on.
It was evident to all that three social or political forces had been at work in the revolution. There was the very large element which had believed that Russia could be saved from imminent peril only by overthrow of the imperial régime and the influences which surrounded it; in this part of the movement many of the nobility and even some members of the imperial house participated. Next came that element whose political composition was by no means clear, but whose leaders seemed to contemplate the complete overnight reorganization of society, and to hold out as leverage for their demands the threat of a "general strike," possibly even in the army.
In some respects distinct even from this Socialist group stood the advocates of peace at any price, whose disposition, apparently, was to ignore all the realities of the existing situation in behalf of their propaganda. The simple fact that the first and second of these groups had compromised their own differences in forming a coalition cabinet, and that, in so doing, they had publicly repudiated the extreme ideas of the third group, meant much in itself. But even so, the grave questions remained, how far the Labor Federation or the Peaceat-any-price faction, in their obstruction of orderly reorganization of government, represented the real opinion of the country; how far their extreme ideas could actually be imposed upon the government and how far upon the army, and what would be the result of the attempt to do so—on the European war, on America's part in it, or on Russia's future history.
OMPARISON of this Russian political
upheaval, in its varying incidents, with the great French Revolution, has already become trite, and inference from the history of the one to the political or mili
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tary outcome of the other may be hazard
Resemblances there were bound to be between two such events; human nature, when the political The bonds of an outworn and de- Analogies
with the cadent autocracy are suddenly French broken, will bring about much Revolution the same extravagances in the twentieth as in the eighteenth century. But the analogies must always be carefully studied in the light of surrounding circumstances, which may be found to differ radically. Nevertheless, it is not unreasonable to look to some incidents of the older revolution for light on the real meaning and possible future significance of recent events in Russia.
The aftermath of the French Revolution certainly showed that the people at large, however much they may have been imbued with the half-baked political theories of Rousseau, and however intoxicated they may have momentarily been by the first excitement of political liberty, became very soon aware of their personal stake in orderly government; so that the political tenure of the scatter-brained lawyers and gutter journalists who had seemed at first to be supreme in power was of the briefest. But France of the Revolution also created interesting precedent as to military consequences. One might indeed very reasonably be skeptical over the prophecies one hears nowadays of what will result from the Russian revolution, in the light of what we know were the prophecies of the outside world in 1789 and of how events fulfilled them.
It will be recalled that two such experienced public men as Burke and Chesterfield predicted freely that the Revolution would reduce France for many years to military and political paralysis. Indeed, our own skilled observer on the spot, Gouverneur Morris, wrote in 1790 that France would probably be divided “into a congeries of little democracies,” laid out “with the square and compass.” On the other hand, Doctor Price, in his famous “Nunc Dimittis” speech at London, addressed the French revolutionists as “heavenly philanthropists” who “have already determined to renounce forever all views of conquest and all offensive wars,” and who would invite the othes nations “to enter into a compact with you for promoting peace on earth, good will to men.”
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OW strangely and how promptly the
course of history refuted each of these prophecies, the record tells us. But on the face of things, there was far more ground for every one of them than for the similar predictions which have been insistent regarding Russia. The recent disorganization in the Russian army occurred in a body which was still made up of trained soldiers, commanded by experienced generals and fully equipped for modern warfare. Of the French army of 1792 on the eve of Valmy, the historian of the “Fifteen Decisive Battles" tells us that “the insubordination and license, which the revolt of the French guards and the participation of other troops in the first excesses of the revolution had introduced, were “rapidly disseminated through all ranks."
Kerensky's warning of the penalty to be inflicted on Russian deserters scarcely reflected a situation parallel to that in which Dumouriez charged his eight Carmagnole battalions with being neither citizens nor soldiers; declared his purpose not to tolerate assassins and executions, and placed them in the ranks with the cavalry behind them. Yet, after all, these were the troops which drove the Prussians back across the Rhine and presently overran the rest of central and southern Europe.
We have yet to see how events, whether military or political, will move in revolutionary Russia; whether the demand of a political group for peace, regardless of the country's safety or its pledges to its allies, will or will not have the fate of the French declaration of 1789 to “renounce forever all views of foreign conquest and all offensive wars.” This much may at least be said—that the judgment both of the markets and of the world at large, regarding this Russian episode, has already swung backward and forward in a manner hardly indicating clear comprehension of the underlying influences. FURTHERMORE, at the very moment
when the outside world was canvassing the possibilities of immediate military advantage which Germany would draw from this dramatic turn of events in Russia, it began to be evident that the German Government recog
tagion of nized in the Russian situation
Revolution quite as much peril as reassurance for itself. All history shows that revolutionary movements of this sort are contagious in a high degree. Their effect can certainly not be less when exerted on a conliguous state with an autocratic government which has reduced its people to a position of physical misery, political discontent, and international isolation by its own selfish ambitions and blundering public policies,
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