When in August 1914 the nation-states of Europe went to war with each other, only three socialist parties voted against the military plans of their governments; the remainder, including the largest socialist and Labour parties, voted for war. The occasion shattered many fond beliefs in international working-class solidarity.1 Yet international socialism was not extinguished by the war, it was only deactivated.2 Socialist opponents of the war kept alive efforts towards a speedy ending of hostilities. These efforts got an accession of strength after the revolution in Russia in March 1917, and were symbolised by the proposal for a conference of socialist parties at Stockholm in the autumn of that year.3 Though that conference did not materialise, a substantial portion of the European socialist parties did revive the International at Berne in February 1919. Lenin, who was pursuing his objective of world revolution with single-minded devotion and who had ignored the peace efforts at Stockholm,4 felt disgusted at the lack of a revolutionary strategy in most of the leaders of the Second International, and founded a rival International the following month.5 He had earlier denounced the social-democratic supporters of the war as ‘social patriots’.


Free Trade Trade Union Labour Party Socialist Party Labour History 
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Copyright information

© Partha Sarathi Gupta 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Partha Sarathi Gupta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of DelhiIndia

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