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Word Count: 1,106
The experience of the Twentieth Century has undermined confidence in the state and this has reinforced the contrary philosophy of liberal individualism against which Hobsbawm wishes to argue To those of this contrary persuasion not only has the states potential for good hardly been fully realized but also that economic growth has come in spite of the state Certainly we have been left in no doubt of the malign role of the state when its means of violence are turned against its own people or against another equally endowed state in a cataclysmic war I read that To be modern is to be a product of the ever-increasing demands of warfare - building up the population and industrial capacity to provide ever more men and materiel for the battlefield improving science and technology to ensure a steady stream of new types of weapons refining the broadcasting and print media to generate popular support Even the early stirrings of the welfare state were prompted by the need for a healthier and better-motivated army What progressive theorists hoped was that the mobilization and directional capacities of the state as demonstrated in two world wars could be redirected to more positive purposes The most substantial attempt to demonstrate just what a determined political elite in full command of the state apparatus might achieve came once the Bolsheviks established themselves in Russia after the revolution in 1917 Communist rule had its achievements It took Russia through civil war and famine and then a bitter bloody war with the Nazis It raised living standards and introduced heavy industry Yet the achievements came at an enormous cost Whether or not the Great Terror was an inevitable consequence of a vanguard party a proposition Hobsbawm dismisses it certainly provided the opportunity for Stalin The problem for communist theorists for the four decades after the Russian revolution was to provide an historical rationalization for the use of oppressive means to
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