Amy Lynn Buzby
Socialism as an organized political movement began in earnest in Europe in the 1870s, and reached its zenith in the social democratic Second International. World War I exposed the weakness of these movements, when most European parties—though not every individual socialist, Russian, or Italian party—supported the state. During the war, these parties lost much of their oppositional character, and the rise of Soviet Russia further mythologized socialism as a philosophy for oppressive regimes in the minds of most Westerners. With the rise of Fascism, socialism was dealt another crippling blow. Social Democracy rebounded after World War II, with parties in Germany, England, and Sweden all enjoying periods of exclusive rule and rule in coalition in France and Italy. Despite the fall of the Soviet Union, moreover, variants of socialism remain a major force in the third world. Socialism is not an entirely modern concept. Early Christianity, for example, required egalitarian ...