MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Events



Third Zimmerwald Conference

Took place at Stockholm from September 5 to 12, 1917. The composition of the Conference was very mixed. Lenin wrote: "They were people who were bound to disagree on the fundamental trend of their policy." The Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) was represented by V. V. Vorosky and N. A. Semashko.

The Conference examined the Grimm Affair. Grimm had been exposed in Russia as an emissary of the Swiss Minister Hoffmann, who was putting out feelers for a separate peace treaty in the interests of German imperialism. By that time Grimm had been relieved of his post of Chairman of the International Socialist Committee; the Conference approved his expulsion from the I.S.C., declaring that his behaviour had been inadmissible, a measure Lenin considered inadequate.

During the discussion of the attitude the Socialists of the Second International took to the Stockholm Peace Conference, some delegates came out in favour of participation, while the Russian Mensheviks were given an imperative mandate to remain at the Zimmerwald Conference only on condition that it would participate in the Stockholm Conference in toto.

On behalf of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) Central Committee and its Bureau Abroad and Polish Social-Democrats, the Mensheviks and their followers were sharply criticised by Vorovsky who demanded a resolution on the state of affairs in Russia. However, the Centrist majority of the Conference refused to adopt such a resolution on the plea that they were not sufficiently well-informed about Russian affairs.

The conference manifesto called on workers of all countries to stage a general strike against war, but it did not reflect any of the revolutionary Social-Democratic slogans on turning the imperialist war into a civil war and fighting for a defeat of the home government in each belligerent country. The Third Zimmerwald Conference bore out Lenin's conclusion that the Zimmerwald Association had gone bankrupt and that there was a need to break with it immediately and set up a Third, Communist, International. The Third Zimmerwald Conference was the last one held by the Association.