Sept. 11 – Zimmerwald Conference issues a call to end WW1

GabeAmerican History(BR), Bell Ringers

On Sept. 11, 1915 delegates of the First International Socialist Conference in Zimmerwald, Sweden call for an immediate end to World War I.

As the war progressed from September 5th – 11th, a group of anti-war advocates and socialists convened in neutral Switzerland. The Zimmerwald Conference included 40 delegates from 11 countries: Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.

In the Conference’s manifesto it is stated the,

“the war which has produced this chaos is the outcome of imperialism, of the attempt, on the part of the capitalist classes of each nation, to foster their greed for profit by the exploitation of human labor and of the natural treasures of the entire globe.”

In attempt to immediately end the war, the Zimmerwald Conference insisted that workers within each country should try to convert the capitalist struggle into a workers’ revolution/civil war.

  1. Did the Zimmerwald Conference have any diplomatic power within the countries involved in the war or apart of the conference?
  2. Why do you think that a multitude of socialist from different countries wanted such an immediate end to the war? What did socialists have to do with WWI? What are the ideals of socialism?
  3. With such persistence from the Zimmerwald Conference, why do you think that the war didn’t end until 1918?

Image Citation:

5, Aug. 2012 Still frame from Downton Abbey Season 2 [Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <>.