1919 - 1943
is short for Communist
International, an organization
established to unite, coordinate, and lead communist
worldwide. The international mother of all
communist parties, if you will.
That was the official version.
Unofficially, Comintern became the perfect
espionage vehicle for the Soviet Union. Idealistically motivated groups from all
over the world reported back to Soviet
intelligence and Stalin was God.
Another word for Comintern is
Third International, because it was the
third socialist party coalition of this kind.
At the Seventh Comintern Congress, 1935. Photo: marxists.org
The First International
The First International started out as the
International Working Men's Association,
founded at an assembly in London on September 28, 1964. At its roots were
union leaders from Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, and
Austria. Approx. members 20,000. Karl Marx became their head.
The goal of the First International was to
further the rights of workers everywhere. To this regard they supported, organized, and financed
strikes, among other activities.
In 1872, Congress in Hague. Split between
Marxists and Anarchists (
what is anarchism?) The groups
dissolved as follows.
moves headquarters to New York City.
that the Marxists are out, the
Anarchists, led by
have the majority of the First
Disbanded at the Philadelphia
Conference July 1876
congress 1877 in Ghent. Socialist
World Congress. The social Democrats
wanted to re-unite with the
Marxists. The Anarchists said no-way
and the Social Democrats left the
Congress in London. It's just the
Anarchists now. They had run out of
steam, shared a box of cookies, and
had to call it quits.
The Second International
Also called the Socialist International,
the Second International was founded at a socialist congress in Paris in 1889.
1891 - Second congress in Brussels.
1896 - Congress in London where the Anarchists
were kicked out. Regarding the international communist revolution, the
Second International was all for it but didn't want to risk war. A head scratcher.
1900 - The Second International gets
structured. An executive body was set up, the International
Socialist Bureau with its headquarters in Brussels.
1907 - Congress in Stuttgart.
Luxemburg, and L. Martov drafted a resolution,
explaining that a war might as well be used to further the goals of the social revolution.
The Second International split into three
because of disagreement regarding
War I. Here are the factions and their next steps.
Left wing communists, led by
Lenin, wanted to transform WWI into the communist
Instead of Communists shooting
fellow Communists of other
countries, they should turn against
the imperialists in their own
pacifist center wanted right and left wing,
as well as all nations, to end WWI, and to shake hands, kiss, and make out.
Possibly at Woodstock.
Right wing communists wanted their respective
governments in WWI.
The Third International - History of the Comintern
The Third International was founded in March 1919
Lenin, which meant it was the end of
monkey business. This time around, there was structure and discipline in
Lenin took advantage of the momentum he had
gained during the
Revolution of 1917 and set up the first
congress of the Comintern in Moscow.
The Third International had its headquarters
Members came from Communist camps all over the
world, e.g. Austria,
Britain, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Portugal,
Spain, the USA, Yugoslavia, Japan, and others from Asia and South America.
At the beginning, the official language of the Comintern was German.
About ten years later it had changed, not surprisingly, to Russian.
The Comintern was structured similar to the
Soviet Communist Party. An executive committee was in power if the congress wasn't in session.
executive committee had an executive committee of its own.
Headquarters of the Comintern was in Moscow.
1919 - Moscow. First Congress.
Only 19 Russian delegations showed up and just few other countries were
1920 - Second Congress.
Represented were 37 countries. Lenin introduced
his 21 Points, which he co-drafted with
Comintern top dog Gregory Zinoviev (or Grigory Y.
Zinovyev.) The 21 Points were conditions of
admission to the Comintern. Among other points, the following was required.
- all parties had to model their structure according to the Soviet pattern
- all parties had to consist of extremists, moderates were to be given the
boot, pacifists were to be put on spikes.
- all parties had to follow the
1921 - Third Congress.
World revolution hasn't
materialized and communists worldwide needed a pep talk. The new idea was to
form United Fronts, a group of communist workers, that would each walk up to
their respective governments and request "transitional demands."
1922 - Fourth Congress.
In 1923, between the fourth and the fifth congress, the Comintern's left wing gained temporary
control and canned the United Fronts idea.
January 1924 - Lenin died.
1924, June - Moscow. Fifth Congress.
In 1926, between the fifth and the sixth congress, the Comintern's first president,
Gregory Zinoviev got kicked out.
1928 - Sixth Congress.
New focus. Moderates and Social Democrats are the
enemy. Fascism isn't too bad.
In the early 1930s, between the sixth and the seventh congress, the Communists even
the Nazis to bring down the Weimar Republic.
As long as it's not the cursed Social Democrats...
A little later that day...
General panic in the Communist camp. Spending so much time and energy on
hacking each others' eyes out, they had taken too lightly the enormous
momentum Fascism had gained in Germany and Italy. Now, the smell of a German attack on the USSR was in the air.
In 1934, the Soviets join the
League of Nations.
1935 - Seventh and Last Congress.
Panties in a bunch. Shift of focus, Social Democrats are brothers now,
Liberals and even Conservatives should be invited for tea. The new enemy is
Fascism. New idea of forming a Popular Front, which
could be any coalition
against the Fascists.
France and Spain formed Popular Front
governments, by the way. See more
The Comintern Between
1935 and 1943
From 1935 to 1943,
George Dimitrov was head of the
Comintern, aka secretary-general of the Comintern Executive Committee.
Dimitrov was Bulgarian and lived in Moscow at the time. He was also the leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria and became Bulgarian Prime Minister in 1945.
In the late 1930s and especially during 1937 and
1938, non-Russian Comintern staff disappeared by the dozen. What was going
Stalin was expanding and securing his power. A
personal thing. Also called the Great Purges of the Thirties.
Although Fascism was the declared enemy, Stalin decided to be Hitler's ally.
They signed a nonaggression pact in August 1939, which was the end of the Popular
Fronts idea. Stalin was God and Comintern his bitch.
World War II started in September 1939 and
Comintern now told members not to trouble the Fascists, because it was
really not their place. That was, until June 1941, when Hitler's army
invited themselves in.
In 1943, Stalin closed down the Comintern to
make his western allies happy. His answer to the
Red Scare, a general fear of communism.
What Came After the Third
In 1947, Stalin set up the
Cominform. Except the last six letters,
it was pretty much the same as the Comintern.
The Cominform survived Stalin by three years
and lasted until 1956.
Comintern in Other Countries
France formed a Popular Front government, led by the outstanding man and socialist
Leon Blum, in 1934. In June 1937, Blum
Spain formed a Popular Front government in February 1936, which would become
the fourth chapter in the history of Spain's Second Republic. In
July 1936 Franco sneezed.
In the ensuing Spanish Civil War, the Comintern
organized and greatly aided the International Brigades.
The Anti-Comintern Pact
This pact was concluded between Germany and Japan on November 25, 1936. On
November 6, 1937, it was extended between Italy, Germany, and Japan.
Initiated was the pact by
nut Adolf who,
besides being against the Bolsheviks, now had the perfect promotion angle.
Benito and himself were the protectors
of the West who would shield the people from Communism.
The Japanese, who were fighting the Chinese in
the Second Sino-Japanese War at
the time, resented the Soviets for aiding China with military supplies.
August 23, 1939, was the day the Japanese felt
sold down the river because on that day the Germans signed a nonaggression
treaty with the Soviet Union and stepped back from the Anti-Comintern Pact.
A year later, on September 27, 1940, nut Adolf
changed his mind again and seeing that Italy and Japan were still desperate
enough, they again concluded a treaty, the Tripartite Pact.
But this time the target was not the Comintern but the United States.
What is Anarchism?
Anarchism claims that authority has no place in society, society is able to
guide itself. Anarchists believe that government is not only redundant but