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Social revolution: Conflict of ideology as a driving force towards war

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Speech entitled ?War and Revolution? by Vladimir Lenin.
  3. Driving the agenda of revolutionary policy.
  4. Other circumstances that often arise within a revolutionary state.
  5. Differences in ideologies between leaders.
  6. Conclusion.

As described by Stephen M. Walt in his essay Revolution and War, social revolutions, or revolutions that seek to overthrow and reshape the social structure of a nation, are fueled and motivated by ideology. Walt writes that ?it is hard to imagine a mass revolution succeeding without an ideological program that both justified revolt and gave participants some reason to believe they would win? (Walt 340). In The Old Régime and the French Revolution, Alexis de Tocqueville notes that social revolutions that are motivated by ideology are oftentimes the strongest and most unstoppable type of revolution because an ideology can inspire a revolution to be transcendental and boundless. Tocqueville writes that social revolutions driven by ideology can create ?an atmosphere of missionary fervor and, indeed, assum[e] all the aspects of a religious revival? in that the ideologies of such revolutions are so potent that they cause unprecedented support and action in favor of the revolutionary mindset (Tocqueville 13). As such, it can be argued that the specific ideology of a social revolution drives the policy of the revolution; the ideology gives direction to the movement and propels it toward its eventual success or failure. If it is then accepted that policy in a social revolution is dictated by ideology, it can be further argued that war tends to occur when the ideologies of the revolutionary state and its surrounding states conflict. When threatened, an ideology will drive a nation to ?continue? its revolutionary,

[...] In his and Revolution? speech, Lenin notes that, because of the unprecedented nature of the revolution's incredible power, the ideological ?policy of the revolutionary class was bound to shake all the rest of autocratic, tsarist, imperial, and semi-feudal Europe to its foundations.? In his speech, Lenin states that the strong ideology of the French Revolution dictated the revolution's policy, and inevitable continuation of this policy of the victorious revolutionary class in France was the wars in which all the monarchist nations of Europe, forming their famous coalition, lined up against revolutionary France in a counter-revolutionary war.? Thusly, it becomes apparent that ideological conflict and the resulting, smaller-scale behavior caused by ideological conflict is a primary cause of international war after a social revolution, as policy, driven by the desire to expand a universal ideology, is continued into other nations by means of war. [...]


[...] The interactions between a revolutionary state driven by ideology and its surrounding nations often lead to war because a fundamental conflict of ideologies causes nations to over exaggerate hostility and threat levels, which in turn changes the perceived ?balance-of-threat? between the two states. Once this cycle is set into motion, nations tend to continue to escalate their hostile interactions until one or both nations believe that the only way to categorically ensure the security of their nation is to go to war with the threatening nation. [...]


[...] That is, having disrupted the ?balance-of-threat? between the Athenians and the Peloponnesian League, Corcyra's defensive alliance with Athens would serve as the first action that would eventually send the Athenians and the Peloponnesians spiraling into war. In this sense, it was neither an ideology nor a social revolution fueled by ideology that caused the Peloponnesian War; however, it is true that the war was indeed caused by a revolution. Behaviors influenced by ideology are in a social revolution are not the only causes for war that result from revolution. [...]

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