Lenin: Thinker, Fighter

Book Cover: Lenin: Thinker, Fighter

Published on the 65th anniversary of Lenin's death – Jan. 21, 1924.


George Plekhanov did not have Lenin in mind when he wrote his remarkable essay on “The Role of the Individual in History.” But the following paragraphs describe Lenin more than almost anybody else you can think of.

“A great man is great not because his personal qualities give individual features to great historical events, but because he possesses qualities which make him most capable of serving the great social needs of his time – needs which arose as a result of general and particular causes.

“In his well-known book on heroes and hero worship, Carlyle calls great men beginners. This is a very apt description. A great man is a beginner precisely because he sees further than others and desires things more strongly than others.


“He solves the scientific problems brought up by the preceding process of intellectual development of society; he points to the new social needs created by the preceding development of social relationships; he takes the initiative in satisfying those needs.

“He is a hero, but he is a hero not in the sense that he can stop the natural course of things, but in the sense that his activities are the conscious and free expression of this inevitable and unconscious course (of history). Herein lies all his significance; herein lies his whole power. But this significance is colossal. And the power is terrible.”

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