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In the nineteenth century it seemed as if the entire world was moving towards democracy In the two decades between World Wars I and II fascism was the main challenge to the democratic way of life World War II destroyed the military ambitions of the fascist Axis though Before the end of World War II communism surfaced as the next big threat to democracy At the end of World War I communism seemed as if it were just a Russian spectacle because Russia was the only communist state in the world With the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II Russia became the dominant military power in Europe and the strength of Communist Russia was revealed At the end of World War II Russia quickly communized Poland Rumania Hungary Bulgaria Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany It was not just the strength of the Russian armies the proved valuable in spreading communism but also the force of communist ideology Communism addressed itself to the world as the true heir of the libertarian equalitarian democratic tradition It accepted the democratic ideas of liberty equality and fraternity Its trouble with democracy was not that democracy was too faithful to its ideas but that it betrayed them The most significant influence in the development of revolutionary communism was Karl Marx Marx attended the University of Berlin and studied jurisprudence philosophy and history While at the University Marx became involved in political activities and joined the staff of the Rheinische Zeitung a democratic newspaper in Cologne in 1942 The next year however the Prussian Government suppressed the paper and Marx went to Paris the European headquarters of radical movements While in Paris Marx met Proudhon the leading French socialist thinker Bakunin the Russian anarchist and Friedrich Engels a Rhinelander like himself Engels soon became Marxs lifelong friend In 1845 Marx was expelled from France and he went to Brussels another center of political refugees from all over Europe
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