Prime Minister Hjalmar Hammarskjold of Sweden, father of the well-known future United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, resigns with this day in 1917 immediately after his policy of strict neutrality in World War I-including continued trading with Germany, in violation of the Allied blockade-leads to widespread hunger and political instability in Sweden.
The elder Hammarskjold, a professor of law who became active in politics and served as a delegate to the Hague convention on international law in 1907, was asked by King Gustav V of Sweden to become prime minister in 1914 immediately after a popularly elected government was opposed and defeated by conservative forces. From the start of his administration, Hammarskjold pursued an insurance plan of strict neutrality in the war, continuing trade with Germany and therefore subjecting his nation and people to the hardships wrought by the Allied naval blockade in the North Sea, in location from November 1914.
Though the Allies-and plenty of inside Sweden-saw Hammarskjold’s neutrality as a pro-German policy, he apparently considered it a required item of his firm principles associated with international law. Sweden’s sacrifice throughout the war, he believed, would prove that it had been no opportunistic nation but a just one single particular this might put it in a stronger position immediately after the war ended. In practice, however, his policies, and the hunger they created, hurt Hammarskjold, as did his identification with Sweden’s monarchy along with other reactionary forces, in the same way a movement toward correct parliamentary democracy was developing in Sweden.
In 1917, Hammarskjold rejected a proposal for an average trade agreement with Great Britain that were brokered by Marcus Wallenberg, brother of Sweden’s foreign minister, Knut Wallenberg, and could have brought considerably-necessary economic relief to Sweden. With the most obvious conflict amongst Hammarskjold and Wallenberg, the prime minister lost the support of his most proper-wing allies in parliament even, and was forced to submit his resignation by the end of March 1917. He was succeeded by Carl Swartz, a conservative person in parliament who served only seven months. In October 1917, Sweden’s Social Democratic party won their initial general election, and Nils Eden became prime minister.