The great imperialist war is that frightful instrument by means of which history has disrupted the ‘organic’, ‘evolutionary’, ‘peaceful’ character of capitalist development. Growing out of capitalist development as a whole, imperialism acts as if to discount the difference in levels attained by the development of the respective capitalist countries. At one and the same time they were all drawn into the imperialist war, their productive foundations, their class relations were shaken simultaneously. Given this condition, the first countries to be driven out of the state of unstable capitalist equilibrium were those whose internal social energy was weakest, i.e., precisely those countries youngest in terms of capitalist development.