Karl Hjalmar Branting

(b. 1860)

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(b. Stockholm, 23 Nov. 1860; d. Stockholm, 24 Feb. 1925)

Swedish; Prime Minister 1920, 1921–3, 1924–5 The son of a professor (who was also director of the Central Institute for Gymnastics) Branting was educated at a private school in Stockholm, then read natural science at Uppsala University 1877–82 and worked as a mathematics assistant at Stockholm Observatory 1879–80 and 1882–4. He became a socialist while at Uppsala on the basis of extensive reading in the social sciences and contact with socialists (including Bernstein) on travels in France and Germany in 1878 and 1882. He was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Social-Demokraten 1886–92, 1896–1908, and 1911–17.

In 1889 Branting served as secretary at the founding congress of the Swedish Social Democratic Labour Party and was elected to the party's national executive. From the first he prioritized tactical co-operation with other parties, and especially with the Liberals in support of universal suffrage. In 1897 he was elected to parliament on the Liberal list for Stockholm as the first Social Democratic MP, and he remained a member for the rest of his life. In 1906 he became leader of the Social Democratic parliamentary group, in 1907 party chairman. In 1908 he took the lead in expelling a revolutionary faction from the party; by 1914 the Social Democrats became the largest single party in the directly elected house of the Riksdag. So Branting played a major part in laying the foundations for the highly successful Swedish Social Democratic Labour Party. He also worked for the peaceful resolution of international conflicts in the Second International before the First World War and in the League of Nations after it. In 1921 he won a share of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Subjects: Politics.

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