N OT until an Armistice had been signed with Polandin October, not until tIle remnallt ofWtangel's armyin the South had abandoned its crusade to win back Russia for civilisation at the end of November 1920, and the Don and the Baku oil-fields and the Turkestan cotton belt and the Trans-Ural wheat-area were again under the sway of the Soviet Government, could attention seriously be turned to enquire as to the adequacy of the system of" war communism." Even when attention had been turned to such an enquiry, it was not altogether easy in the circumstances to give an answer. Most people were too close to the problems of the last few years, which had crowded upon them without breathing space or time for reflection, to evaluate the situation correctly. "War communism " had certainly arisen as a necessity from existing circumstances, and in those circumstances had served an important function. To see how far its disadvantages had been merely incidental to it, or an inseparable product of it, was not easy. It was not easy to see how precisely the changed circumstances of peace-time modified this necessity and altered the function required. Ever since October 1917 Russia had in a sense been wandering in strange territory, groping through a gigantic experiment. Before 1917 little detailed thought had been given to the precise nature of socialist construction and its problems. Even in the brief" breathing space " of 1918 there was acute dissension about the road to be pursued. Now, flushed with the immediate military victory, there were many who regarded " war communism "as the embodiment of their ideal, to defend which against criticism was part of their faith.