Trotsky abandoned peace talks with Germany in 1918, because he believed his counterparties would soon be swept from power by a Communist revolution sweeping the globe. In fact, the Communists briefly threatened to take power in Germany in January 1919, but were ruthlessly suppressed: an isolated ‘Bavarian Soviet Republic’ lingered on until May. A Hungarian Soviet Republic occupied Slovakia in early 1919, but without support from the Bolsheviks, who were embroiled in their own existential struggle, the Republic succumbed to an invasion by Romania. The Biennio Rosso in Italy saw the north fall under the control of revolutionary factory councils, but when mass layoffs and wage cuts ensued, Mussolini was able to seize the initiative through his March on Rome in 1922, becoming dictator two years later. Hitler’s ‘Beer Hall Putsch’ (1923) led to his imprisonment: economic crisis would open his path to power a decade later.
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