Lecture 8: Radicalism, reformism and revolution
Introduction: Revolutionary situations at the end of the First
- Sweden: Revolutionary threat 1917; first parliamentary
government, Oct. 1917; social democratic minority cabinet, March
- Denmark: Industrial unrest, political turmoil.
'Easter crisis' 1920: king dismisses liberal Zahle government.
Social democrats form minority cabinet 1924 (Stauning)
- Norway: Industrial, political conflict;
workers' councils, strikes. Norwegian Labour party joins Comintern
1919 (leaves it in 1923).
- Finland: Collapse of tsarist rule March 1917;
Finnish independence declared Dec. 1917; civil war between Whites
and Reds, January-May 1918; German intervention; reprisals.
Radicalism versus reformism
Within each country but also contrast between Norway/Finland and
Sweden/Denmark (see Lecture 5). Focus on the most extreme case,
What made Finland unique?
Alapuro (State and Revolution in Finland): Scandinavian-type
social and economic structure combined with east European-type
political status. This influenced:
- Development of Finnish nationalism: radicalised
in early C20th; impact of 1905 revolution.
- Development of Finnish labour movement: late
emergence, rapid growth of Social Democratic Party (SDP). Contrasting
interpretations: (a) outgrowth of national movement (Haapala 1987)
(b) autonomous roots, especially in countryside, but lack of political
experience (Kirby 1978, 1989)
- Emergence of revolutionary situation in 1917-18:
- impact of war on Finnish economy; development of disorder,
- power vacuum after collapse of tsarist regime
- opportunity after Bolshevik seizure of power in Petrograd.
- Why this developed into a civil war: Lack of
political experience (Kirby 1978). Two parallel wars which became
intertwined: (a) Civil Guards/Whites against Russian troops -
a 'war of liberation' (b) SDP leadership and Red Guards launching
revolution - a 'class war'. Developed into a 'civil war' between
Whites and Reds (Manninen 1978).