Encyclopedia - Stockholm Conference

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Boselli, who refused to issue passports to Italian socialists to attend the Stockholm Conference. The Stockholm Conference was inspired largely by events within Russia in February 1917.  Impressed by the apparently restrained form of social revolution which saw Tsar Nicholas II replaced by a democratic Provisional Government, socialist parties operating in neutral countries made plans for a socialist conference to determine how best to encourage international workers' solidarity in pursuit of peace.

In spite of enthusiasm from socialist parties within France, Britain, Italy and the U.S. on the one hand and Germany and Austria-Hungary on the other their respective governments were decidedly cooler on the idea, particularly once it became clear that the new Russian government was in favour of the nascent plans.

Invitations were formally issued by the Russian Congress of Soviets in June 1917.  Plans were also set in train to meet with members of the outspoken anti-war Zimmerwald Movement, an organisation which included Lenin among its sponsors.

The French government under Georges Clemenceau barred its own socialists from attending; similarly the British government (led by David Lloyd George), having expressed no initial opposition swiftly reversed course in response to a groundswell of public opinion; and  Paolo Boselli in Italy fell into line with his European allies, afraid of the potential risks in encouraging the development of socialist principles.

President Woodrow Wilson in the U.S. also refused to allow delegates to travel from the U.S. to Stockholm.  In the event the conference, planned to take place at Stockholm, Sweden in July and August 1917 degenerated into a series of visits from visiting socialists.  As with the Zimmerwald Movement itself conflicts between reformist and revolutionary socialists inhibited major agreement on principles or prospective action.

A Kite Balloon was an observation balloon controlled by a cable from the ground.

- Did you know?

A to Z