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(international peace), a relationship between nations and states based on the implementation of foreign policy through nonviolent means and the observance of assumed obligations that are usually defined in treaties; the absence of organized armed struggle between states. In antagonistic class societies peace is interrupted by wars and consolidates their outcomes. The character of peace, like that of war, is determined by the historical level of development of human society and the politics of the ruling classes.
A new historical era began with the emergence of socialism, the very nature of which is based on the aspiration for peace among nations. Everlasting peace among nations, the elimination of wars and preparations for them, is the international principle of communist society (K. Marx, in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 17, p. 5) and one of the great ideals for which communists struggle (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26, p. 304).
The ideal of life without wars, a world in which generally recognized norms of justice would be observed in international relations, originated in antiquity (for example, the legends of the Golden Age, the antiwar Utopia of the Chinese philosopher Laotzu, and the novel on the sun state by the ancient Greek writer lambulus). Ideologists of the slaveholding class, such as the Chinese philosopher Mo-tzu and the Greek philosopher Aristotle, rejected the possibility of an enduring, equal peace with the “barbarians” and viewed peace as an internal problem of their respective nations (China and Greece). In feudal Europe the need to ward off the threat of foreign invasion gave rise to political plans for eliminating discord through alliances of states: the “Russian peace” of Roman of Galicia (13th century) and the “universal European peace” of the French thinker P. Dubois (14th century) and the Bohemian king George of Podebrady (15th century).
During the 17th and 18th centuries plans for European or world organizations for the peaceful resolution of international disputes were worked out by E. de la Croix (France, 1623), W. Penn (America, 1693), the French publicist Abbe de St.-Pierre (1708), the English economist J. Bellers (1710), the German philosopher I. Kant (1795), and the Russian Enlightenment figure V. F. Malinovskii (1803). Progressive thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries asserted that equality and respect for the sovereignty of nations should be the basic principles of international relations. The chief condition for the realization of these principles and, consequently, for the achievement of “eternal peace” was, in their opinion, the abolition of society’s feudal and dynastic foundations. In the 17th century the founder of the principles of international law, H. Grotius, developed the idea of the humanization of wars and the regulation of the relationships between states in the interests of peace. Unlike the Enlightenment thinkers and the bourgeois democrats, the French Utopian communists of the 18th century (Morelly and G. Mably) pointed out that before wars could be eliminated, the social structure of nations had to be changed on the basis of community of property.
After the Napoleonic Wars (1815), a pacifist movement that sought to ensure peace on the foundation of capitalist relations developed in Europe. It played some role in working out conventions and agreements on the humanization of methods of waging war and on the peaceful resolution of international disputes and conflicts (for example, the Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the establishment in 1899 of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international body).
The working-class movement began to oppose militarism and wars in the mid-1840’s. As Marx pointed out, “the unification of the working class of different countries ultimately must make wars among nations impossible” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 16, p. 556). The First International considered the struggle for peace part of the struggle for the emancipation of the working class. Underscoring the necessity and possibility of defending peace under capitalism, Engels proposed a project in 1893 for European security based on disarmament. At the beginning of the 20th century the international socialist movement and the Bolshevik Party worked out antimilitarist tactics for the proletariat, which were expressed in the resolutions of the Stuttgart (1907) and Basel (1912) congresses of the Second International. During World War I (1914–18), V. I. Lenin studied the question of peace in connection with the socialist revolution of the proletariat. Posing the problem of peace in a historically concrete manner, in conjunction with the definite political demands and interests of the working class and the masses, Lenin remarked in his Letters From Afar in March 1917 that only a proletarian state is able “to achieve peace, not an imperialist peace, not a deal between the imperialist powers concerning the division of the booty by the capitalists and their governments, but a really lasting and democratic peace, which cannot be achieved without a proletarian revolution in a number of countries” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 31, p. 55).
The change in world politics from an imperialist peace, with the wars that grow out of it, to a durable democratic peace, which lays the foundation for the complete elimination of wars, began with the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917. In the first enactment of the Soviet government, the Decree on Peace, the program of democratic peace was organically linked to the new principle of international relations engendered by the socialist revolution—the principle of peaceful coexistence between the socialist and capitalist systems. The creation of the crucial guarantees for a stable peace has been approached gradually. During the period between the two world wars, the Soviet state and the international working class, led by the parties of the Third International, struggled for the new principles of world politics proposed by socialism. The development and strengthening of the might of the first socialist power and later, of the world socialist system also contributed to the establishment of guarantees of peace.
The contemporary statement of the issue of peace, as set forth by the Communist and workers’ parties at the international conferences of 1957, 1960, and 1969, rests on a new evaluation of the changed relationship between the power of socialism and capitalism. It proceeds from the fundamental fact that another world war is no longer inevitable, owing to the consistently peaceful policies of the USSR and other socialist states, the growing influence of the concerted policies of these countries on world events, the redoubling of the struggle of the working class and the toiling masses in the capitalist countries, the growth of the national liberation movement, and the activity of democratic forces throughout the world in defense of peace.
As a result of the unprecedented growth in the destructive power of military weapons, peace has become a problem for all of humanity. Essential to its resolution is joint action in defense of peace by all who have an interest in saving the fruits of mankind’s labor and creativity, regardless of their convictions and political views. On the one hand, the struggle for peace is inseparable from the development of the antiimperialist movement; it merges with the struggle for the freedom of nations, for progress, and for democracy. On the other hand, the consolidation of peace creates favorable conditions for the liberation struggle of the toilers.
Communists reject both the pseudorevolutionary extremist idea that socialism and peace are consolidated as a result of war and the right-wing opportunist conception that peace is a repudiation of the class struggle and of the struggle against bourgeois ideology and politics. Because the offensive against imperialism—the source of the threat of war—has intensified, it is possible to gain a decisive victory over imperialism and to defeat its aggressive policies, to impose peaceful coexistence on the imperialists, and to realize the striving of peoples for peace. The chief preconditions for peace are the cessation of the arms race, disarmament, the abolition of military blocs and hotbeds of war, the repudiation of acts of aggression and international tyranny, and the development of international cooperation. In the first half of the 1970’s the struggle of the Soviet state and other peace-loving forces to bring about fundamental change in the direction of detente led to a new situation, in which guaranteeing the irreversibility of progress toward peace and peaceful coexistence among states with different social systems became a practical task.
REFERENCESMarx, K. “Pervoe vozzvanie General’nogo soveta Mezhdunarodnogo Tovarishchestva Rabochikh o franko-prusskoi voine.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 17.
Engels, F. “Mozhet li Evropa razoruzhit’sia?” Ibid., vol. 22.
Lenin, V. I.O mezhdunarodnoipolitike i mezhdunarodnomprave [collection]. Moscow, 1958.
Dokumenty Soveshchaniia predstavitelei kommunisticheskikh i rabochikh partii: Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow, 1960.
Mezhdunarodnoe Soveshchanie kommunisticheskikh i rabochikh partii, Moskva, 1969. Prague, 1969.
XXIV s”ezd Kommunistichekoi partii Sovetskogo Soiuza: Stenograficheskii otchet, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1971.
Liebknecht, K. Militarizm i antimilitarizm ... . Moscow, 1960.
Traktaty o vechnom mire [collection]. Moscow, 1963.
Problemy voiny i mira. Moscow, 1967.
E. G. PANFILOV