Hjalmar Branting
Prime Minister of Sweden
In office
18 October 1924 – 24 January 1925
MonarchGustaf V
Preceded byErnst Trygger
Succeeded byRickard Sandler
In office
13 October 1921 – 19 April 1923
MonarchGustaf V
Preceded byOscar von Sydow
Succeeded byErnst Trygger
In office
10 March 1920 – 27 October 1920
MonarchGustaf V
Preceded byNils Edén
Succeeded byLouis de Geer
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
13 October 1921 – 19 April 1923
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byHerman Wrangel
Succeeded byCarl Hederstierna
Minister of Finance
In office
19 October 1917 – 5 January 1918
Prime MinisterNils Edén
Preceded byConrad Carleson
Succeeded byFredrik Vilhelm Thorsson
Personal details
Karl Hjalmar Branting

(1860-11-23)23 November 1860
Stockholm, Sweden
Died24 February 1925(1925-02-24) (aged 64)
Stockholm, Sweden
Political partySocial Democrats
SpouseAnna Branting (née Jäderin)
ChildrenGeorg Branting
Sonja Branting-Westerståhl

Karl Hjalmar Branting (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈjǎlmar ˈbrânːtɪŋ] ; 23 November 1860 – 24 February 1925) was a Swedish politician who was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) from 1907 until his death in 1925, and three times Prime Minister of Sweden. When Branting came to power in 1920, he was the first Social Democratic Prime Minister of Sweden. When taking office for a second term after the general election of 1921, he became the first democratic socialist head of government in Western Europe elected under universal suffrage. An early supporter of modern social democracy and democratic socialism, he led the SAP through a transformation from a radical socialist movement to Sweden's dominant party; the Social Democrats have been Sweden's largest party in every election since 1914, and formed government for 44 continuous years from 1932 to 1976.

In 1921, Branting shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Norwegian secretary-general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Christian Lous Lange.


Born to the professor Lars Gabriel Branting and the noblewoman and pianist Emma af Georgii, Branting was educated in Stockholm and at Uppsala University. He developed a scientific background in mathematical astronomy and was an assistant at the Stockholm Observatory, but gave up his devotion to scientific work to become a journalist in 1884 and began editing the newspapers Tiden and Social-Demokraten. The latter was official media outlet of the Swedish Social Democratic Party.[1] His decision to publish an article by the more radical socialist Axel Danielsson, a piece denounced by opponents as insulting to religious sensitivities, resulted in political convictions for blasphemy and imprisonment for both men.[2] Branting was imprisoned for three months in 1888.[3]

Together with August Palm, Branting was one of the main organizers of the Swedish Social Democratic Party in 1889. He was its first Member of Parliament from 1896 and for six years the only one.

In the early years of the 20th century, Branting led the Social Democrats in opposing a war to force Norway to remain in a personal union with Sweden. When the crisis came in 1905, he coined the slogan "Hands off Norway, King!" The Social Democrats organized resistance to a call-up of reserves and made preparations for a general strike against a war; historians now acclaim this as a major factor in Norway's peaceful independence. In 1908 Branting established a monthly theoretical political journal entitled Tiden which is still in publication.[4]

Branting accepted Eduard Bernstein's revision of Marxism and became a reformist socialist, advocating a peaceful transition from capitalism towards socialism. He believed that if workers were given the vote through universal suffrage, socialist legislation could be brought through the Riksdag. Branting supported the February Revolution in Russia in 1917. He supported the moderate Mensheviks against Lenin's more extreme Bolsheviks and defended the government of Alexander Kerensky, whom he even personally visited in Petrograd. When the October Revolution broke out in the winter of that year, Branting condemned the Bolshevik seizure of power. 1917 saw a split in the Swedish Social Democratic Party on this question, and the youth league and the revolutionary sections of the party broke away and formed the Social Democratic Left Party of Sweden, initially headed by Zeth Höglund, which soon reorganized as the Swedish Communist Party. Höglund later returned to the Social Democratic Party after Branting's death, and wrote a two-volume biography of Branting.

As prime minister, Branting brought Sweden into the League of Nations and was personally active as a delegate within it. When the question of whether Åland should be handed over to Sweden after the independence of Finland from Russia was brought up, he let the League decide upon the issue; the islands became an autonomous region of Finland. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1921 for his work in the League of Nations, sharing the prize with the Norwegian Christian Lous Lange.

Branting died in Stockholm at the age of 64 on 24 February 1925, four months after being sworn in for a third term as prime minister following the SAP's victory in the 1924 general election. He was succeeded as prime minister by Rickard Sandler; Per Albin Hansson became party chairman, later serving as prime minister from 1932 to 1946.

Monuments and memorials

Monument to Branting at Stockholm

Branting is commemorated by the Branting Monument in Stockholm. Additionally in Gothenburg, there is a tram and bus interchange named after Branting (Swedish: Hjalmar Brantingsplatsen). Stockholms Plads (Stockholm Square) in Copenhagen was renamed Hjalmar Brantings Plads in 1925.

See also


  1. ^ Jonas Harvard (2019). "Socialist communication strategies and the spring of 1917". Scandinavian Journal of History. 44 (2): 174. doi:10.1080/03468755.2018.1500394. S2CID 149567370.
  2. ^ Enander, Crister (14 December 2009). "I krigarens lofliga uppsåt att såra och döda" Archived 2010-08-24 at the Wayback Machine (in Swedish). Tidningen Kulturen. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  3. ^ Robertson, J. M. (2003). History of Freethought in the Nineteenth Century, Part 2. Kessinger Publishing. p. 487. ISBN 0-7661-3955-7.
  4. ^ "Tiden Magasin". tidskrift.nu (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 August 2022.
Party political offices Preceded byClaes Tholin Leader of the Social Democratic Party 1907–1925 Succeeded byPer Albin Hansson Political offices Preceded byConrad Carleson Minister for Finance 1917–1918 Succeeded byFredrik Thorsson Preceded byNils Edén Prime Minister of Sweden 1920 Succeeded byLouis De Geer Preceded byHerman Wrangel Minister for Foreign Affairs 1921–1923 Succeeded byCarl Hederstierna Preceded byOscar von Sydow Prime Minister of Sweden 1921–1923 Succeeded byErnst Trygger Preceded byErnst Trygger Prime Minister of Sweden 1924–1925 Succeeded byRickard Sandler