Vladimir Lenin stated unequivocally that ultimate direction is toward the total victory of the proletariat over all other classes, leading to the institution of socialism throughout the world. In the ensuing decades since Lenin's death the central vision of the fundamental political and moral reality as the conflict between socialism and capitalism leading inevitably to the victory of socialism has, until recently, never been questioned. In Mikhail Gorbachev's speeches there was a complete absence of any reference to the ultimate victory of socialism. Peaceful coexistence was necessary as a means of attaining a "respite" or "breathing spell" for socialism to build up its economic and military reserves and for the domestic forces of discontent to grow in the capitalist countries. A major war would ensue, but the socialist countries, due to their moral superiority, would prevail and socialism would be instituted on a global scale.