In 1848 our demagogue published his most incendiary work-“The Communist Manifesto.” 1848 was the year of revolutions throughout Europe. France was the first to revolt, next a loose confederation of states in Germany followed suit. Then the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell into flames, and eventually the revolution spread as far south as the Papal States in Rome. It appeared as though the age of monarchies was coming to an end.
Most Americans have probably never even heard of these revolutions, and that’s because in the end they all just petered out. But for the age of men at the time this meant progress, it made men like Marx bold and brash. He was sure change was coming to the world, and he wanted the communists to be at the forefront of it.
And therein lies two important things to know about Communism. Firstly, Marx and his followers believed that the workers from all over the world would join in their revolution, because it was a human struggle, it was every man’s struggle. Secondly, because of that Marx called for a violent revolution in every country in his Manifesto. He called for a violent, worldwide revolution, and he expected it to happen.
This terrified industrialized countries. Marx had just called on the entire class of proletariats to revolt and to do it violently. Marx made a huge gamble. He thought he could instigate insurrections throughout the rest of Europe, but instead, as peace was restored, he found Europe turning a hostile eye towards Marxism. Communists had been labeled, and they had been labeled the enemy. And it would be this label that would feed the fascist movements nearly 100 years later.
Marx was right, a specter was haunting Europe, and war and change were coming.