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February 6 in Swedish History

'Bondetåget,' in response to the decision to slow down Sweden's armament, 30,000 Swedish farmers demonstrated in Stockholm.

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February 6 in Swedish History
1914: 30,000 Swedish farmers from all over the country travel to Stockholm to demonstrate, which goes down in history as Bondetåget (the procession of farmers), in order to show their support for King Gustaf V and his attempt to assert personal monarchy.

The king joined the demonstrators in the courtyard, where he held a speech (the so-called “borggårdstalet” or Courtyard Speech), which led to a constitutional crisis.

The farmers procession was a conservative response to the defense policies of the Swedish Liberal Prime Minister Karl Staaff. As the tension of the armaments race preceding World War I grew stronger, Staaff's decision to slow down Swedish armament was met with great discontent by Swedish conservatives. The initiative came from landowner Uno Nyberg, and though the name of the procession suggests only farmers marched, this is not true; participants came from a wide range of conservatives. The Courtyard Speech, for instance, was written by conservative explorer and writer Sven Hedin, who also participated in the preparation of the march.

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