"Imperialism is the highest stage in the development of capitalism, reached only in the twentieth century. Capitalism now finds that the old national states, without whose formation it could not have overthrown feudalism, are too cramped for it. Capitalism has developed concentration to such a degree that entire branches of industry are controlled by syndicates, trusts and associations of capitalist multi-millionaires and almost the entire globe has been divided up amongst the ‘lords of capital’ either in the form of colonies, or by entangling other countries in thousands of threats of financial exploitation. Free trade and competition have been superseded by a striving towards monopolies, the seizure of territory for the investment of capital and as sources of raw materials, and so on. From the liberator of nations, which it was in the struggle against feudalism, capitalism in its imperialist stage has turned into the greatest oppressor of nations. Formerly progressive, capitalism has become reactionary. It has developed the forces of production to such a degree that mankind is faced with the alternative of adopting socialism or of experiencing years and even decades of armed struggle between the ‘Great’ Powers for the artificial preservation of capitalism by means of colonies, monopolies, privileged and national oppression of every kind…"
Lenin, ‘Socialism & War (1915)’