Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Troelstra's Mistake

12 November 1918
BG D1/757

'Seize the power that is bestowed on you and do what thou canst. We are making a revolution because it can and must be done. . . .', exclaimed the Dutch social democratic leader Pieter Jelles Troelstra to an audience of workers in November 1918. On 12 November, in a speech in Parliament, he called for the 'government to surrender power'. But Troelstra's estimate of the revolutionary situation in Holland was totally wrong. There was a revolutionary spirit only in circles left of the SDAP, and a spirit of mutiny among soldiers in some places. So, Troelstra was set right even by the leadership of his own party, and one week later he had to acknowledge having been mistaken.