Presentation on theme: "“Ten days that shook the world ”. American journalist and socialist John Reed wrote in his book “Ten days that shook the world”(1920) about the October."— Presentation transcript:
“Ten days that shook the world ”
American journalist and socialist John Reed wrote in his book “Ten days that shook the world”(1920) about the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 which Reed experienced firsthand. Reed followed many of the prominent Bolshevik leaders, especially Grigory Zinoviev and Karl Radek; he was even said to be close friends with Lenin.
John Silas Reed was born in Portland Oregon into a wealthy family. He served on the editorial board of the Harvard Monthly, and was class orator and poet. After graduating from Harvard in 1910, Reed travelled in England and Spain. Upon his return to America Reed started his career as a journalist in the leftist magazines. He was one of the leading socialists of the New Review and The Masses. Van Wyck Brooks (literary critic and Harvard graduate) called him in The Confident Years "the wonder boy of Greenwich Village.“ In 1913 Reed published his first book, SANGAR, a collection of poems. He was arrested for trying to speak out for a striking silk worker in Paterson, New Jersey. Reed spent four days in a jail. In the following years Reed was arrested several times for organizing strikes. In the early 1910s Reed went to Mexico to cover the Mexican revolution for the Metropolitan Magazine and the New York World. He spent four months with Pancho Villa and his troops and described the revolutionary fighting in Insurgent Mexico(1914 ).
During World War I Reed worked as a war correspondent for the Metropolitan Magazine, where some of his stories were rejected on the basis of leftist sympathies In 1916 Reed supported Woodrow Wilson and warned about dark forces that want to plunge the country into war. His fears came true: Wilson declared war on Germany Reed was one of the best paid reporters in the U.S. but his idea to travel to Russia was received lukewarmly. With the help of Max Eastman and some other friends he managed to get enough money. In the autumn he started his journey to St. Petersburg to witness and report on the revolution for The Masses. Reed was not an impartial observer. He identified himself with Bolsheviks and the pro-Communists.
Reed took notes with incredible speed, gathered up every leaflet, poster and proclamation, and then, in early 1918, went back to the United States to write his story. On arrival, his notes were confiscated. He found himself under accusation with other editors of the Masses for opposing the war, but at the trial, where he and Eastman testified eloquently, boldly, about their beliefs, the jury could not reach a decision and the charges were dropped. Now Reed was everywhere in the country, lecturing on the war and the Russian Revolution. In Boston he was heckled by Harvard students. In Indiana he met Eugene Debs (in 1900 he ran for President of the USA, a social democrat), who would soon be sentenced to ten years for speaking against the war. In Chicago he attended the trial of Bill Haywood (Socialist, involved in numerous demonstrations, was a labour adviser of Lenin in Married a Russian woman, neither could speak the others language, so only spoke through sign language) and a hundred other WWI leaders, who would get long prison sentences. That September, after he spoke to a rally of four thousand people, Reed was arrested for discouraging recruitment in the armed forces. He finally got his Russian notes back, and in two months of furious writing produced “Ten Days That Shook the World”. (Howard Zinn)
He started to write in 1919 for The New Communist. In the summer he participated in Chicago in the meeting of the Socialist Party of America. Reed himself became the leader of a Communist Labour Party. At the peak of his career, Reed was stricken with typhus. He died in Moscow on October 19, Reed's popularity as a radical leader led to the creation of John Reed clubs across the United States. His life was subject for the successful 1981 motion picture Reds. Reed is buried with other Bolshevik heroes beside the Kremlin wall
short, stocky figure Unimpressive, colourless, humourless, uncompromising and detached power of explaining profound ideas in simple termsanalysing a concrete situation greatest intellectual audacity.“ "It was just 8.40 when a thundering wave of cheers announced the entrance of the presidium, with Lenin-great Lenin-among them. A short, stocky figure, with a big head set down in his shoulders, bald and bulging. Little eyes, a snubbish nose, wide, generous mouth, and heavy chin; clean-shaven now, but already beginning to bristle with the well-known beard of his past and future. Dressed in shabby clothes, his trousers much too long for him. Unimpressive, to be the idol of a mob, loved and revered as perhaps few leaders in history have been. A strange popular leader-a leader purely by virtue of intellect; colourless, humourless, uncompromising and detached, without picturesque idiosyncrasies-but with the power of explaining profound ideas in simple terms, of analysing a concrete situation. And combined with shrewdness, the greatest intellectual audacity.“ (from Ten Days That Shook the World)
Max Eastman (American writer), wrote: "Poetry to Reed was not only a matter of writing words but of living life." His many poems, in fact, were not memorable, but he rushed into the center of wars and revolutions, strikes and demonstrations, with the eye of a movie camera, before there was one, and the memory of a tape recorder, before that existed. He made history come alive for the readers of popular magazines and impoverished radical monthlies.”
“Ten Days That Shook the World focused on the crucial moment of history, when Lenin pressed the Bolsheviks to seize power. Workers, soldiers, peasants, and sailors stormed the Winter Palace. Trotsky announced the overthrow of the provisional government, and counterrevolutionary forces threatened Moscow. Reed recounts conversations and arguments, details political machinations, and speculates on personal motives. Although Reed's enthusiasm for the revolution hinders his objectivity, the book gives an unique, firsthand account of the turning point in Russian history.” (Petri Liukkonen (author))