Encyclopedia - Zimmerwald Movement

Lenin In the wake of the collapse of the socialist/pacifist movement the Second International amid waves of euphoric patriotism in August 1914 a successor organisation emerged to take its place in 1915, the so-called Zimmerwald Movement.

Named after the site of the first meeting of international socialists near Berne, Switzerland, and held from 5-12 September 1915, the initial impetus behind the new organisation was delivered by Italian and Swiss socialists.  Their aim was superficially straightforward: to press the case for peace by urging workers throughout Europe to actively oppose the war through civil revolt.

However the organisation soon developed fault-lines.  Ranged in opposition to those moderate socialists who advocated constitutional reform and relatively peaceful opposition to the war was a revolutionary left-wing grouping comprised chiefly of Russian activists including Lenin.  So far as the latter was concerned the war was already serving to discredit European governments and to lay the groundwork for revolution.

A follow-up conference was convened at Kienthal in April 1916 and a third in Stockholm in July 1917 (coinciding with the less than successful socialist Stockholm Conference).

With the onset of revolution in Russia - in particular the October Revolution - the pacifist agenda was firmly set by the revolutionary Bolsheviks.  No further meetings of the Zimmerwald Movement were held; the moderate members of the organisation preferred instead to work within their respective post-war governments and individually pursue their reformist agenda.

A "listening post" was an advanced post, usually in no-man's land, where soldiers tried to find out information about the enemy.

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