Think you know your leaders of the Second International?

In August 1904, leaders of the socialist parties from around the world gathered in Amsterdam for the Sixth Congress of the Socialist International. Here, the twenty-five main leaders assemble for a photograph in the beautifully-decorated ‘Der Burcht’, headquarters of the Diamond Workers’ Union. Among them are representatives from four Continents, and several future leaders of nations.

After much staring (with a magnifying glass) at this photograph, courtesy of the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam, I’ve managed to identify almost all of them (bar about five). For those of you who consider yourself Second International boffins  (or lucky guesses)… How many of them can you name?

(Answer at the bottom in ‘Leave a Comment’… I’ve done the easiest one for you!)

1. Henri Van Kol (1852- 1925)  Dutch Socialist leader. Van Kol was a wealthy man and a founder of the Dutch Socialist Workers’ Party (SDAP). He was an expert on ‘the Colonial Question’ and prominent in the International. Van Kol died after a traffic accident in Belgium.

2. Manuel Ugarte (1875- 1951) Argentine socialist leader. A Pan-Latin American, Ugarte was the leader of the Argentine Socialist Party. He remained neutral in the First World War and later abandoned socialism, going on to serve as an Ambassador to Mexico under the regime of Peron. Died in Nice, France.

3. Antonín Němec (1858- 1926) Czech socialist. Trade-unionist and editor of socialist newspapers in Vienna and Prague. He represented Czechs at the International and within the All-Austrian social-democratic party. An M.P. from 1907 in the Viennese Parliament and in the new Czechoslovakia from 1918- 25. Nemec sat on the Executive of the Czech social-democratic party until 1925, when he became Honourary Chairman shortly before his death.

4. Edouard Vaillant (1840- 1915) French socialist leader and veteran of the Paris Commune of 1871, Vaillant later moved to the middle-ground of French socialism, between Jaures and Guesde. In 1914, he supported the French war effort as one of national defence and died in Paris.

5. Frantisek Soukup (1871- 1940) Czech Socialist, lawyer and journalist. Soukup was active in the establishment of the Czechoslovak state and was Minister of Justice in its first government, from 1918-19. Soukup was elected to the Czech parliament from 1920- 39 for the Social-Democratic Party. He was vice-chairman of the party 1929- 39 and President of the Czech Parliament in 1939. He was arrested by the Gestapo after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia and died as a result of health problems caused by his imprisonment.

6. Rosa Luxemburg (1871- 1919) Leader of the Polish Social-Democrats (SDKPiL) and member of the Social-Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). A leading Marxist theorist, journalist and polemicist. Expelled from the SPD during the First World War and co-founder of the Spartakusbund and then the German Communist Party (KPD) in late 1918. Murdered during the ‘Spartacist Rising’ in January 1919.

7. Victor Adler (1852- 1918) Leader of Austrian socialists. Adler co-founded the Austrian Social-Democratic Party (SPO) in 1889 and led the party until the First World War. He publicly supported the war effort, despite private misgivings. Adler entered the new Austrian government in October 1918 and called for Anscluss (unification) with Germany. His son Friedrich Adler assassinated the Minister-President of Austria, Count Karl von Stuergkh in 1916, in protest against the war. Victor Adler died in November 1918. (Identified by Paul Le Blanc)

8. Karl Kautsky (1854- 1938) Known as the ‘Pope of Marxism’ because of his position as leading theorist after the death of Friedrich Engels in 1895. Kautsky was born in Prague, but spent much of his life in Berlin, where he was the authority on theory for the Social-Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Second International. His reputation and influenced declined during and after the First World War, when he sought to continue a middle-way socialism between reformist social-democracy and communism. He moved to Vienna in 1924 and after the German-Austrian Anschluss in 1938, fled to Amsterdam, where he died. (Identified by Ken Drummond)

9.  Maksymilian Walecki (real name Horwitz) (1877- 1937) Polish Socialist. Walecki was a member of the Polish Socialist Party and a leader of its left-wing (PPS-Left) after the split in 1906. He was a leader of the Polish Communist Party after 1918 and on its Central Committee from 1918- 20 and 1923- 24. He worked for the Comintern in Spain, Belgium and Greece. Walecki was arrested and executed by the Soviet secret police (NKVD) on 22 June 1937 in Moscow (as were most of the Polish Communist leadership).

10. Emile Vandervelde (1866- 1938) Belgian Socialist leader and a doctor of law and science. Vandervelde was President of the Belgian Workers’ Party from 1928- 38 and chairman of the International Socialist Bureau from 1900- 18. Upon the German invasion of Belgium in 1914, he joined the National government. After the war, he served as Belgian Justice Minister (1918- 21), Foreign Minister (1925- 27) and Health Minister (1936- 37). He was also chairman of the Labour and Socialist International from 1929 to 1935. Died Belgium.

11. Jean Longuet (1876- 1938) French socialist, lawyer and grandson of Karl Marx (his mother was Jenny Marx). A pacificst at the outbreak of the First World War, Longuet eventually voted for war credits. In the inter-war period he opposed the Communists and remained active in the socialist movement. He also spoke out in support of Zionism. (Identified by Dave Stockton)

12. Enrico Ferri (1856- 1929) Italian Criminologist, socialist and later fascist. Ferri was a law lecturer, elected to the Italian parliament as a radical in 1886 and joining the Socialist Party in 1893. He edited the party paper ‘Avanti’. Ferri supported Italian neutrality during the First World War and remained a socialist, being re-elected as such in 1921. After Mussolini came to power, Ferri abandoned socialism and became a fascist. He died in Italy in 1929.

13. Amilcare Cipriani (1843- 1918) Italian anarchist, who fought alongside Garibaldi and was condemned to death for his role in the Paris Commune. Cipriani resigned his mandate at the 1893 Zurich Congress in sympathy with Rosa Luxemburg, after her own mandate was rejected. Lived in Paris and represented the French at the 1904 Congress.

14. Pieter Jelles Troelstra (1860- 1930) Dutch socialist leader. Troelstra famously called for a Dutch revolution in November 1918, which failed to materialise. He retired in 1925 and died in Den Haag.

15. Henry Hyndman (1842- 1921) English Marxist, from an Upper-class background. Hyndman formed and led the Social Democratic Federation (SDF). In 1914, he turned nationalist and supported the war effort, forming the National Socialist Party. Died 1921.

16. Ernest Belfort Bax (1854- 1926) English socialist journalist and philosopher. Spent much time in Germany. Belfort Bax was a member of Hyndman’s SDF and an ardent anti-feminist (he was opposed to women’s suffrage). He retired from politics upon the outbreak of war in 1914, although he supported the war effort. Died London.

17. Olav Kringen (1867- 1951) Norwegian socialist and newspaper editor. Kringen lived for a time in the U.S.A. before returning to Norway in 1897. He was the translator of the Communist Manifesto into Norwegian and represented his party at the International in 1900 and 1904. He retired in the 1920s and died in Oslo.

18. Sen Katayama (1959- 1933) A leader of the Japanese social-democrats, who spent much of his life in the United States. Katayama achieved great attention for shaking hands with the Russian delegate Georgii Plekhanov (pictured next to him) at the 1904 Amsterdam Congress, because their two nations were at war. Katayama was later a co-founder of the American Communist Party and the leader of the Japanese Communist Party. He spent the later years of his life in the U.S.S.R. and died in Moscow. (Identified by Rhys Williams)

19. Georgii Plekhanov (1856- 1918) Known as the ‘Father of Russian Marxism’, Plekhanov introduced Marx and Engels to Russia and was a leader of the Russian social-democratic movement. He lived in exile in Switzerland from 1880 and, despite his opposition to Tsarism, supported Russia and its Allies during the First World War. He returned to Russia after the February Revolution in 1917, but left again after the Bolshevik October Revolution, which he bitterly opposed. Plekhanov died in exile in Finland. (Identified by Rhys Williams)

20. Alexandre Marie Bracke- Desrousseaux (1861- 1955) French socialist and academic. He was a Socialist M.P. from 1912- 24 and 1928- 1936. He was the first translator of Rosa Luxemburg’s writings into French. Bracke- Desrousseaux died in Paris.

21. Peter Knudsen (1848- 1910) Leader of the Danish Social-Democratic Party from 1882 until his death. Knudsen was a Member of Parliament from 1898- 1901 and again from 1902- 1909.

22. Morris Hillquit (1869- 1933) Founder and leader of the Socialist Party of America (SPA). Hillquit was a lawyer, who defended workers’ rights. He was anti-war and attempted to persuade the American government to remain neutral during the First World War. He remained a leading figure in the SPA until his death in 1933.

23. Achille Cambier (18??- 19??) Argentian socialist. Founded French-language ‘Les Egaux’ group and published paper ‘Egalite’ in 1894. Merged with other groups to form Socialist Labour Party in 1895.

24. Dadabhai Naoroji (1825- 1917) Indian socialist andindependence leader. Naoroji spent his time between India and Britain. He was a founder of the Indian National Congress and was elected to the British Parliament (for a London constituency) in 1892. He was President of the Indian National Congress from 1906. He died in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1917.

25. Edward Anseele (1856- 1938) Belgian socialist, journalist and Co-operative organiser. Anseele was a Socialist member of Ghent council and member of Parliament. During the First World War, the German occupiers offered Anseele the position of President of Belgium, which he refused. He was a government minister from 1918- 21 and again from 1925- 27. He died in Belgium. (Help in identifying from Aykut)


About rosaluxemburgblog

I was awarded a PhD in History by Swansea University for a thesis on Rosa Luxemburg (2016). I am currently co-editing the fourth volume of 'The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg' and am a member of the Advisory Board of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society.
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24 Responses to Think you know your leaders of the Second International?

  1. Ken Drummond says:

    Is no. 8 Karl Kautsky?

  2. Rhys Williams says:

    I think 19 is Georgi Plekhanov and 18 is Sen Katayama. I think it was at this congress that the two met and shook hands (showing solidarity between Russian and Japanese workers despite the Imperialist Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905).

    • Hi Rhys, yes you are spot on! Plekhanov and Katayama made headlines around the world for shaking heads- a bold symbol of international solidarity while their respective countries were at war.

      • Rhys Williams says:

        Thanks mate. Keep up the good work with this great blog – learnt so much from it. I’ll try and see if I can recognize anyone else (recognizing Plekhanov was a bit easy – been rereading his work on the Individual in History for my own Masters thesis). 🙂

  3. Mattie B says:

    #4 is Antonio Labriola or Paul Lafargue? Love the quantity of facial hair in this picture!

    • Hi Mattie, yes the volume of facial hair is astounding- as well as the number of cowboy hats! Unfortunately it’s not Labriola, who died just a few months before the 1904 Congress, or Lafargue. In fact, it’s French socialist leader Edouard Vaillant!

  4. Tom Gagné says:

    I believe #20 is Gustave Hervé? #13 looks a lot like Jules Guesde, but where is Jean Jaurès? Maybe I missed him. I thought he was at this conference, before the two french parties merged.

    • Hello Tom, perhaps #20 is Hervé, but I’m not sure as the photo shows members of the International Socialist Bureau (ISB) of the Second International, of which Hervé was not a member at that time (to my knowledge). I think #13 is Amilcare Cipriani, an Italian who represented France in 1904- it’s his trademark hat that gave him away!

      Jaurès certainly was in attendance at the 1904 Congress, but (like Herve) was not a member of the ISB in 1904, and so didn’t get to take part in the ‘group photo’

      Still a few I can’t name yet…

  5. Paul Le Blanc says:

    I think #7 is Victor Adler.

    • I’m pretty sure you are right. I’m willing to bet he was not too thrilled to have to stand next to Rosa Luxemburg for the photo, unlike her he hasn’t even managed to smile…

  6. A. P. says:

    Is #11 Antonio Labriola?

  7. aykut says:

    I think #23 is Edward Anseele?

  8. aykut says:

    #11 is Bracke-Desrousseaux?

  9. Dave Stockton says:

    Here are the 6 missing names but I can’t square up all the numbers and postions (The photo with names is numbered in a different system from that in James Joll The Second International (1955). He does it by front and back rows which is confusing because there is plainly a disordered middle row – I guess you need pictures of the less well-known ones

    Anyhow here’s a try

    9. Henryk Walecki; 1877-1937 In 1904 was a member of the Polish Socialist Party then the PSP- Left (PPS-Lewica) from 1906 and the Communist Party of Poland (KPP) from 1918 from 1921 an official of the Communist International, arrested by the NKVD on 22 June 1937 and executed.

    10 should I think be Emile Vandervelde leading Belgian socialist and seceretary of the ISB not no 3 who is Antonín Němec a Czech socialist

    10. Achille Cambier French emigrant to Argentina who played a leading role with Juan B justo in founding the first united socialist party (Partido Socialista) in that country

    11. Jean Longuet 1876 – 1938) French socialist and grandson of Karl Marx. Voted fro war credits in 1914. Joined the Two and a Half International after the First World War

    23. Edward Anseele (1856 -1938) Belgian socialist and cooperative theorist

    25. Bracke (Alexandre Marie Desrousseaux) 1861-1955
    French socialist member of the Parti ouvrier of Jules Guesdes and Paul Lafargue the first Marxist party in France then of the SFIO from its formation

    I’m sure my numbering is wrong but it should be fun moving them around

    • Hi Dave,

      thanks alot! Yes, I just realised my mistake with Vandervelde and Nemec. Cambier is certainly right, but I think #25 is Anseele.

      As for Longuet, Walecki and Bracke, I’ve been unable to find any photos of them from around that time- so thanks- a great help!

      Did you get all this from Joll? If so, which edition of ‘The Second International’ do you have? The one I have here is just the paperback (with no pictures)- think it’s time to get a better version!

      Thanks again!

      • Only #9, #11 and #20 are still unidentified, so I think they must be Alexandre Bracke-Desrousseaux, Walecki and Jean Longuet. Now just have to work out which one is which…

      • Dave Stockton says:

        yes plus googling their names (Joll only gives surnames and not nationalities) Maybe for a later quiz you could try other congresses or apres-congresses. I have some photos of delegates having a picnic at Stuttgart in 1907 (Trotsky and Rosa present) I’ll scan them when I get time

      • Yes, definitely. There are some brilliant photos from the congresses, especially the ‘apres congress’ events. I particularly like Henri Van Kol dancing at the 1904 Congress, and the picnics!

        Would love to see any photos, please let me know.


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