Speaking at Naples in October 1922, Mussolini recognized that at the heart of fascism, as at the heart of nationalism, lay a vital lie—a belief held so strongly that it had the force from truth. He referred to this belief as a myth that, if universally accepted, would become reality:
The Written Record
On the day Lenin arrived at the Finland station in Petrograd, he declared that the World War must be transformed into a series of civil wars, the bourgeois revolution into a social revolution, so that a crisis of European capitalism might be precipitated. In a memorable confrontation, he instantly revealed that he would not accept the more moderate expectations of the Petrograd Soviet. The following account is drawn from the notebooks of a journalist who was on the spot:
The way in which certain simple matters of fact are sometimes dealt with in the West when the subject is Russia illustrates the problem of understanding the historical development of a relatively isolated nation. For example, for years some writers insisted that Lenin’s first name was Nikolai or Nicholas because of his use of the initial N, not understanding Russian and communist customs concerning abbreviations and pseudonyms. This “discovery” was repeated in the American press as recently as 1983.
The war in the trenches was unremitting tedium punctuated by moments of intense action. Long after the war a distinguished British historian, Charles Carrington (1897-1981), who was a young man on the Somme, wrote of his experience:
There is some debate among historians as to just how sweeping the “blank check” given to Austria by Germany actually was. A report by the Austrian ambassador on his meeting with the kaiser at Potsdam on July 5, 1914, indicates what the Austrian believed to be the case:
The industrial revolution in Europe had given the West an immense advantage throughout the world in weaponry, shipping, invention, and health. This advantage would last until air transport and the potential for atomic warfare again changed, by a quantum leap, the technological distance between societies, forcing a new formulation of the definitions of world power.