Dilemmas of a ‘democratic peace’: World War One, the Zimmerwald Manifesto and the Russian Revolution

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This article looks at the influence of the Zimmerwald Conference of 1915 on the peace policies of the Petrograd Soviet, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks after February 1917. It highlights the problems involved in simultaneously trying to defend a revolution, work for a just international peace, and maintain the front in a war which no longer makes any sense. It suggests that insisting on ‘peace without annexations and indemnities on the basis of self-determination of nations’ was not realistic given Russia’s war exhaustion and the war aims of the other belligerents. However, it also shows that no other peace aim had any political support within Russia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-33
Number of pages26
JournalSocialist History
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • World War One
  • Russia
  • soviet
  • socialists
  • peace
  • Zimmerwald

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