Robert Grimm

Robert Grimm

Swiss social democrat, politician and publicist
Date of Birth: 16.04.1881
Country: Switzerland

Biography of Robert Grimm

Robert Grimm was a Swiss social democrat, politician, and journalist. He was born in 1881 to a working-class family, with his father being a locksmith. Grimm began his career as a typesetter and mechanic, but his involvement in trade union activities led him to join the social democratic movement.

From 1906 to 1909, Grimm served as the secretary of the Basel Workers' Union. During this time, he also founded the Union of Trade Workers and Loaders, where he held the position of secretary until 1909. In 1909, Grimm became the secretary of the Swiss Social Democratic Party and held this position until 1918.

Grimm was also the editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Berner Tagwacht," the official publication of the Swiss Social Democrats, from 1909 to 1918 and again from 1928 to 1932. He was elected as a member of the Swiss Parliament in 1911.

During the First World War, Grimm became an internationalist and pacifist. He played a significant role in organizing the Zimmerwald Conference, which aimed to promote peace and international cooperation among socialists. Grimm chaired the conference and was elected to the executive committee of the International Socialist Commission.

In 1916, Grimm organized a conference of Zimmerwaldists in Kiental. Following the February Revolution in Russia, he attempted to assist Russian emigrants in returning to their homeland, negotiating with Arthur Hoffmann, the head of the Swiss political department. However, his preference for clandestine diplomacy and concerns about Switzerland's neutrality led to his rejection by the Bolsheviks.

In May 1917, Grimm traveled to Russia with a group of Russian emigrants and, at the request of Arthur Hoffmann, explored the possibility of a separate peace between Russia and Germany. After meeting with several ministers and politicians close to the Russian government, Grimm informed Hoffmann that a separate peace seemed possible and asked for more information about the goals of the warring countries.

The telegram from Hoffmann, which stated that Germany would refrain from attacking as long as a peace agreement with Russia seemed possible, was intercepted by the French socialist Albert Thomas, who was in Russia at the time. This incident caused an international scandal and raised doubts about Switzerland's neutrality. Grimm was accused of being a German agent and was immediately expelled from Russia by the Provisional Government, without any explanation of the true reasons for his expulsion.

In reality, Grimm was not a German spy but a naive pacifist who believed that a separate peace would benefit Russia and the Russian revolution. He had failed to understand the intricacies of Russian revolutionary politics and unwittingly engaged in the actions of a bourgeois pacifist.

Overall, Robert Grimm was a prominent figure in Swiss social democracy and international socialist movements. He contributed to the fight for workers' rights and peace during a tumultuous period in Europe's history.