The Perception of the Russian Revolution of 1917 in the Swiss Press: Main Notes

Piotr Bednarz


An important area of confrontation between liberal thought and nationalistic aspirations during World War I was propaganda. Switzerland is especially interesting in these terms due to its multiculturalism, the social split in political preferences between the combatant states, and the high percentage of foreigners. Therefore, the press of this neutral state became a platform for fierce war propaganda. In 1917, one of the most important issues discussed in Swiss newspapers was the Russian Revolution. The Swiss press devoted much attention to this subject. In Switzerland, the public hardly understood the difference between the February Revolution and the October Uprising, but was affected by the fall of tsarism, though the knowledge of the actual events in Russia was scarce. The Swiss perceived the October Revolution as a continuation of the March events and not as another coup d’état which completely transformed the political and social conditions in the enormous country to the east. The Swiss press serves as an example of liberal Russian propaganda in a neutral state. What is particularly noteworthy is how the issue of the Russian Revolution of 1917 was reflected in Swiss public opinion. Among other things, the author of the article aims to find out how rapidly the opinions of Swiss journals were spread among the public and started to influence its view of the Bolshevik regime.


Swiss press; Russian Revolution of 1917; liberal propaganda; public opinion


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