12/9/1917 The Stockholm Conference: socialists continue preparations for a revolutionary peace #1917Live

While war rages across Europe, socialists have been meeting in neutral Stockholm to discuss how to bring the war to an end and to usher in the new world that is to follow it. Delegates attend from countries on both sides of the conflict, as well as from neutral states, as was the case at the https://ww1live.wordpress.com/tag/zimmerwald-conference/socialists’ previous conference in Zimmerwald in Switzerland.

Events in Russia have proved controversial at the socialists’ conference. Bolshevik delegates take the opportunity to criticise their Menshevik rivals for their support of Kerensky‘s recently dissolved government. The conference as a whole does not rule on this internal squabble of the Russians.

The socialists’ conference also rejects peace proposals put forward by any of the warring states or neutral governments, as these would lead to a capitalist peace that would pave the way for another war between the bourgeois powers. The Pope‘s recent call for peace is rejected on similar grounds. Instead the delegates decide that the war will have to be halted by mass proletarian action leading to the creation socialist republics.

The conference breaks up today. The delegates return home and prepare for revolution.

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Peace march in Sweden (Social History Portal: The 1917 Stockholm Peace Conference)

12/9/1917 Another new Prime Minister for France #1917Live

It is not just Russia that finds itself gripped by political crisis. Alexandre Ribot took over as French prime minister in March. In recent days however his government has lost the support of the Socialists and has had to resign. His replacement is Paul Painlevé, until now the war minister. A mathematician and academic by background, Painlevé is France’s fourth prime minister since the start of the war.

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Paul Painlevé (Wikipedia)

12/9/1917 Bolsheviks in the ascendant as Kornilov’s coup fails #1917live

Kornilov‘s attempt to overthrow Russia’s Provisional Government and establish a dictatorship is unravelling. Thanks to agitators from Petrograd his men are deserting the cause and throwing their lot in with the revolution. In some cases Kornilov loyalists are being arrested by their own men. Krimov, leading Kornilov’s vanguard, narrowly escapes this fate, but he is obliged to travel under escort to Petrograd. Elsewhere generals fall over themselves to disassociate themselves from Kornilov’s failed putsch.

So Kornilov’s counter-revolution is over: there will be no man on a white horse to save Russia. The news is a shock to reactionary elements who had hoped that the general would restore order to an increasingly chaotic country. But the Revolution‘s supporters are jubilant. The Bolsheviks are particularly pleased. Their involvement in the anti-Kornilov militias in Petrograd has rehabilitated them following the unpleasantness of the July Days. It has also put guns in the hands of large numbers of working people who are now effectively under Bolshevik control.

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Men of Kornilov’s Savage Division, which has now turned against him (Wikipedia)

12/9/1917 The Étaples mutiny suppressed #1917Live

Unrest has broken out among the British and Commonwealth soldiers based at the training camp of Étaples. Soldiers have been attacking military policemen and disobeying orders prohibiting their visits to the beach or the neighbouring town of Le Touquet. Army authorities fear that these disorders will escalate, engulfing the British army in the kind of trouble that plagued the French earlier in the summer.

After struggling to contain the unruly soldiers at Étaples the authorities now respond firmly. A reliable unit armed with staves supported by cavalry and a detachment from the machine gun corps arrive. This successfully intimidates the mutineers who go back to obeying their officers’ orders. With the trouble over the authorities breathe a sigh of relief and set about identifying the ringleaders and continuing to ready the rest for the fighting in Flanders.

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Cartoon from postcard of training at Étaples, by JW Davis (Picture Postcards from the Great War)

11/9/1917 Kornilov’s coup comes unstuck #1917Live

General Kornilov has ordered his men to march on Petrograd after being dismissed by Kerensky. Now at last the enemies of the revolution have their Bonaparte, a man who will restore order in Russia. In response to the crisis, the Prime Minister has assumed emergency powers. Now he declares himself commander in chief of the army, with Alexeev his chief of staff. But power has ebbed away from Kerensky: with most of the generals supporting Kornilov, he has no men at his disposal to deploy against the rebel general.

But independently of Kerensky, the working people of Petrograd are rallying against Kornilov. Armed militias comprising workers and revolutionary soldiers have sprung into being, often under the direction of Bolshevik activists. The Kronstadt sailors return to Petrograd to defend the city from the general’s coup. Railway workers have sabotaged the line to prevent Kornilov’s men taking the train all the way to the capital. And agitators have gone to meet Kornilov’s men, to persuade them to abandon the general’s putsch.

Krimov leads Kornilov’s vanguard and is under orders to press on to Petrograd at once and establish martial law. But he finds himself stuck at Luga on the city’s outskirts, with revolutionary soldiers and agitators urging his men to disobey his orders. Krimov’s authority evaporates as his soldiers wander off to impromptu meetings and learn that Kornilov was using them for counter-revolution. Krimov’s men turn on their officers, either ignoring their orders to advance or arresting them. Kornilov’s attempted coup appears to be over.

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Workers militia in an electrical factory (Alpha History: The Kornilov Affair)

11/9/1917 French ace Georges Guynemer disappears #1917Live

Germany has Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, but the Allies have their own star pilots. For the French, Georges Guynemer has become a national hero after has shot down over 50 enemy aeroplanes. Today he sets off on patrol near Poelkapelle in Flanders. His wingman sees him attack a German aircraft but is then distracted by some German fighters. When the wingman shakes off his pursuers there is no sign of Guynemer.

Unlike his wingman, Guynemer does not return from his mission. Reports emerge of his aircraft having been shot down behind enemy lines but with Allied shelling scaring away the Germans before his body can be retrieved. These reports are inconclusive; Guynemer’s final fate and resting place remain unknown.

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Georges Guynemer, by “Lucien” (Wikipedia)

10/9/1917 The 18th Brumaire of Lavr Kornilov #1917Live

After being sacked by telegram, General Kornilov has ordered his men to march on Petrograd, where he believes that Kerensky is being held prisoner by the Bolsheviks. However as time passes the general realises that Kerensky is not a prisoner and he has indeed ordered his dismissal. This is a shock, as Kornilov and been planning a crackdown on the Bolsheviks and other extremists with Kerensky. But instead of calling off his men he decides that he will have to save Russia himself. Now he is in open rebellion against the prime minister.

Kornilov’s move is greeted with jubilation in conservative circles, where the general is seen as Russia’s best hope of avoiding a descent into chaos or worse. Senior army officers declare their support for him. But in Petrograd working people fear the consequences of a Kornilov coup. Armed militias spring into being to defend the capital, with the Bolsheviks playing a leading role in their organisation.

Krimov leads Kornilov’s vanguard, which is advancing on Petrograd by train. But when they reach the city’s outer limits they find that the railwaymen have torn up the tracks to block their advance. And they also find agitators from the capital waiting to meet them. The agitators urge the soldiers not to lend their support to a reactionary cause. The soldiers begin to wonder what they are doing, to the dismay of their officers.

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Kornilov in Moscow before his coup (Wikipedia)

Militamen in Petrograd (Leftcom: The Kornilov Affair Mobilises the Masses)