Karl Hjalmar Branting (help·info) (23 November 1860 – 24 February 1925) was a Swedish politician. He was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (1907–1925), and Prime Minister during three separate periods (1920, 1921–1923, and 1924–1925). When Branting came to power in 1920, he was the first Social Democratic Prime Minister of Sweden. When he took office for a second term after the general election of 1921, he became the first socialist politician in Europe to do so following elections with universal suffrage.
His education was in mathematical astronomy, and he was an assistant at the Stockholm Observatory; but he gave up scientific work to become a journalist in 1884. He began editing the newspaper Social-Demokraten in 1886, was together with August Palm one of the main organizers of the Swedish Social Democratic Party in 1889, and was its first Member of Parliament from 1896, and for six years the only one.
He led the Social Democrats in opposing a war to keep Norway united 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 a general strike against a war, and are credited with a substantial share in preventing one.
Hjalmar 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, this could be achieved by parliamentary ways. Branting supported the February Revolution in Russia in 1917. He was pro-Menshevik and defended the government of Kerensky, who he even personally visited in Petrograd.
When the October Revolution broke out the same 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...