Comintern

Comintern

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The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, (1919–1943) was an international communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 organization initiated in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 during March 1919. The International intended to fight "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State."

The Comintern was founded after the 1915 Zimmerwald Conference
Zimmerwald Conference
The Zimmerwald Conference was held in Zimmerwald, Switzerland, from September 5 through September 8, 1915. It was an international socialist conference, which saw the beginning of the end of the coalition between revolutionary socialists and reformist socialists in the Second International.-...

 in which Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 had organized the "Zimmerwald Left
Zimmerwald Left
The Zimmerwald Left was a revolutionary minority fraction at the Zimmerwald Peace Conference of 1915, headed by Lenin. The Left of the Zimmerwald Congress was made up of eight out of 38 people: Lenin, Zinoviev , Jānis K. Bērziņš , Karl Radek , Julian Borchardt , Fritz Platten , Zeth Höglund and...

" against those who refused to approve any statement explicitly endorsing socialist revolutionary action, and after the 1916 dissolution of the Second International
Second International
The Second International , the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated...

.

The Comintern had seven World Congresses between 1919 and 1935. It also had thirteen "Enlarged Plenums" of its governing Executive Committee
Executive Committee of the Communist International
The Executive Committee of the Communist International, commonly known by its acronym, ECCI, was the governing authority of the Comintern between the World Congresses of that body...

, which had much the same function as the somewhat larger and more grandiose Congresses. The Comintern was officially dissolved during 1943.

Failure of the Second International



While the differences had been evident for decades, World War I was to prove the issue that finally divided the revolutionary and reformist
Reformism
Reformism is the belief that gradual democratic changes in a society can ultimately change a society's fundamental economic relations and political structures...

 wings of the workers' movement. The socialist movement had been historically antimilitarist and internationalist
Proletarian internationalism
Proletarian internationalism, sometimes referred to as international socialism, is a Marxist social class concept based on the view that capitalism is now a global system, and therefore the working class must act as a global class if it is to defeat it...

, and was therefore opposed to being used as "cannon fodder" for the "bourgeois" governments at war. This especially since the Triple Alliance (1882)
Triple Alliance (1882)
The Triple Alliance was the military alliance between Germany, Austria–Hungary, and Italy, , that lasted from 1882 until the start of World War I in 1914...

 comprised two empires, while the Triple Entente
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

 gathered the French Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 into an alliance with the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto, originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party is a short 1848 publication written by the German Marxist political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Commissioned by the...

had stated that "the working class has no country
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

" and exclaimed "Proletarians of all countries, unite!
Workers of the world, unite!
The political slogan Workers of the world, unite! is one of the most famous rallying cries of communism, found in The Communist Manifesto , by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

" Massive majorities voted in favor of resolutions for the Second International to call upon the international working class to resist war if it was declared.

Nevertheless, within hours of the declaration of war, almost all the socialist parties of the combatant states announced their support for their own countries. The only exceptions were the socialist parties of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and tiny minorities in other countries. To Lenin's surprise, even the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD) voted in favor of war credits. The assassination of French socialist Jean Jaurès
Jean Jaurès
Jean Léon Jaurès was a French Socialist leader. Initially an Opportunist Republican, he evolved into one of the first social democrats, becoming the leader, in 1902, of the French Socialist Party, which opposed Jules Guesde's revolutionary Socialist Party of France. Both parties merged in 1905 in...

 on July 31, 1914 killed the last hope of peace, by removing one of the few leaders who possessed enough influence on the international socialist movement to prevent it from segmenting itself along national lines and supporting governments of National Unity.

Socialist parties of neutral countries
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 for the most part continued to argue for neutrality rather than for total opposition to the war. On the other hand, during the 1915 Zimmerwald Conference
Zimmerwald Conference
The Zimmerwald Conference was held in Zimmerwald, Switzerland, from September 5 through September 8, 1915. It was an international socialist conference, which saw the beginning of the end of the coalition between revolutionary socialists and reformist socialists in the Second International.-...

, Lenin organized opposition to the "imperialist
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 war" into a movement that became known as the "Zimmerwald Left" and published the pamphlet Socialism and War, in which he called all socialists who collaborated with their national governments "social-chauvinists", that is, socialists in word but chauvinist in deed.

The International was dividing into a revolutionary left and a reformist right, with a center group wavering between those poles. Lenin condemned much of the center as social-pacifists for several reasons, but partly because while they opposed the war they refused to break party discipline
Party discipline
Party discipline is the ability of a parliamentary group of a political party to get its members to support the policies of their party leadership. In liberal democracies, it usually refers to the control that party leaders have over its legislature...

 and voted for war credits. The term "social-pacifist" was aimed in particular at Ramsay MacDonald
Ramsay MacDonald
James Ramsay MacDonald, PC, FRS was a British politician who was the first ever Labour Prime Minister, leading a minority government for two terms....

, leader of the Independent Labour Party
Independent Labour Party
The Independent Labour Party was a socialist political party in Britain established in 1893. The ILP was affiliated to the Labour Party from 1906 to 1932, when it voted to leave...

 in Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, who opposed the war on grounds of pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 but did not actively resist it.

Discredited by its passivity towards world events, the Second International dissolved in the middle of the war in 1916. In 1917, Lenin published the April Theses
Lenin's April Theses
The April Theses were a series of directives issued by the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin upon his return to Petrograd , Russia from his exile in Switzerland. The Theses were mostly aimed at fellow Bolsheviks in Russia and returning to Russia from exile...

, which openly supported a "revolutionary defeatism": the Bolsheviks pronounced themselves in favor of the defeat of Russia which would permit them to move directly to the stage of a revolutionary insurrection.

Impact of the Russian Revolution


The victory of the Russian Communist Party in the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917 truly shook the world. An alternative path to power to parliamentary politics was demonstrated in broad strokes. With much of Europe on the verge of economic and political collapse in the aftermath of the carnage of the Great War, revolutionary sentiments bubbled forth from a hundred hidden streams. The Russian Bolsheviks, headed by Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, firmly believed that unless socialist revolution swept Europe, they would be crushed by the military might of world capitalism, just as the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

 had been crushed by force of arms in 1871. To this end, the organization of a new international to foment revolution in Europe and around the world became to the Bolsheviks an iron necessity.

Founding Congress

Main article: Founding Congress of the Comintern
Founding Congress of the Comintern
The Founding Congress of the Comintern was an international gathering of communist, revolutionary socialist, and syndicalist delegates held in Moscow which established the Communist International...

.


The Comintern was founded in these conditions at a Congress held in Moscow March 2–6, 1919, against the backdrop of the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

. There were 52 delegates present from 34 parties. They decided to form an Executive Committee with representatives of the most important sections and that other parties joining the International would have their own representatives. The Congress decided that the Executive Committee would elect a five-member bureau to run the daily affairs of the International. However, such a bureau was not formed and Lenin, Trotsky and Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky was a Bulgarian socialist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and Soviet diplomat; he was also noted as a journalist, physician, and essayist...

 later delegated the task of managing the International to Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Yevseevich Zinoviev , born Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky Apfelbaum , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician...

 as the Chairman of the Executive. Zinoviev was assisted by Angelica Balbanoff, acting as the secretary of the International, Victor L. Kibaltchitch
Victor Serge
Victor Serge , born Victor Lvovich Kibalchich , was a Russian revolutionary and writer. Originally an anarchist, he joined the Bolsheviks five months after arriving in Petrograd in January 1919 and later worked for the Comintern as a journalist, editor and translator...

 and Vladmir Ossipovich Mazin. Lenin, Trotsky and Alexandra Kollontai
Alexandra Kollontai
Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai was a Russian Communist revolutionary, first as a member of the Mensheviks, then from 1914 on as a Bolshevik. In 1919 she became the first female government minister in Europe...

 presented material. The main topic of discussion was the difference between "bourgeois democracy" and the "dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

".

The following parties and movements were invited to the Founding Congress:
Spartacus League (Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

) Russian Communist Party (bolsheviks) Communist Party of German Austria
Communist Party of Austria
The Communist Party of Austria is a communist party based in Austria. Established in 1918, it was banned between 1933 and 1945 under both the Austrofascist regime, and German control of Austria during World War II...

 Hungarian Communist Workers' Party
Hungarian Communist Party
The Communist Party of Hungary , renamed Hungarian Communist Party in 1945, was founded on November 24, 1918, and was in power in Hungary briefly from March to August 1919 under Béla Kun and the Hungarian Soviet Republic. The communist government was overthrown by the Romanian Army and driven...

, in power during Béla Kun
Béla Kun
Béla Kun , born Béla Kohn, was a Hungarian Communist politician and a Bolshevik Revolutionary who led the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919.- Early life :...

's Hungarian Soviet Republic
Hungarian Soviet Republic
The Hungarian Soviet Republic or Soviet Republic of Hungary was a short-lived Communist state established in Hungary in the aftermath of World War I....

 Communist Party of Finland
Communist Party of Finland
The Communist Party of Finland was a communist political party in Finland. The SKP was a section of Comintern and illegal in Finland until 1944.SKP did not participate in any elections with its own name. Instead, front organisations were used...

 Communist Party of Poland
Communist Party of Poland
The Communist Party of Poland is a historical communist party in Poland. It was a result of the fusion of Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania and the Polish Socialist Party-Left in the Communist Workers Party of Poland .-1918-1921:The KPRP was founded on 16 December 1918 as...

 Communist Party of Estonia
Communist Party of Estonia
Communist Party of Estonia was a political party in Estonia.EKP was formed November 5, 1920, as the Central Committee of the Estonian Sections of the Russian Communist Party was separated from its mother party. During the first half of 1920s the hopes to an immediate world revolution were still...

 Communist Party of Latvia
Communist Party of Latvia
Communist Party of Latvia was a political party in Latvia.- Latvian Social-Democracy prior to 1919 :The party was founded at a congress in June 1904. Initially the party was known as the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party . During its second party congress in 1905 it adopted the programme of...

 Lithuanian CP
Communist Party of Lithuania
The Communist Party of Lithuania was a communist party in Lithuania, established in early October 1918. The party was banned in December 1926.-History:...

 Communist Party (bolsheviks) of Byelorussia Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine (Ukrainian section of Russian CP, same party basically) The revolutionary elements of the Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 social democracy
Czech Social Democratic Party
The Czech Social Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in the Czech Republic.-History:The Social Democratic Czechoslavonic party in Austria was founded on 7 April 1878 in Austria-Hungary representing the Kingdom of Bohemia in the Austrian parliament...

 Social Democratic and Labour Party of Bulgaria
Bulgarian Communist Party
The Bulgarian Communist Party was the communist and Marxist-Leninist ruling party of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from 1946 until 1990 when the country ceased to be a communist state...

 (Tesnyatsi) Romanian Social Democratic Party
Romanian Social Democratic Party (defunct)
The Romanian Social Democratic Party was a social-democratic political party in Romania. It published the magazine România Muncitoare, and later Socialismul, Lumea Nouă, and Libertatea.-Early party:...

 Left-wing of the Serbian SDP Social Democratic Left Party of Sweden The Norwegian Labour Party For Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, the Klassekampen
Klassekampen
Klassekampen is a Norwegian daily newspaper, which styles itself as "the daily left-wing newspaper".Klassekampen was founded in 1969 with a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist platform. Until recently, it was owned by The Workers' Communist Party...

 group Communist Party of Holland Revolutionary elements of the Belgian Labour Party
Belgian Labour Party
The Belgian Labour Party, called Belgische Werkliedenpartij in Dutch and Parti Ouvrier Belge in French, was the first socialist party in Belgium, founded in 1885.-History:...

 (who would create the Communist Party of Belgium
Communist Party of Belgium
Communist Party of Belgium was a political party in Belgium. The youth wing of KPB/PCB was known as the Communist Youth of Belgium. The party published Le Drapeau Rouge in French and De Roode Vaan in Dutch.- History :It was formed at a congress in Anderlecht on September 3-4 1921...

 in 1921) Groups and organisations within the French socialist and syndicalist movements Left wing within the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland is the largest centre-left political party in Switzerland....

 Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
The Italian Socialist Party was a socialist and later social-democratic political party in Italy founded in Genoa in 1892.Once the dominant leftist party in Italy, it was eclipsed in status by the Italian Communist Party following World War II...

 Revolutionary elements of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is a social-democratic political party in Spain. Its political position is Centre-left. The PSOE is the former ruling party of Spain, until beaten in the elections of November 2011 and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in...

 Revolutionary elements of the Portuguese Socialist Party
Portuguese Socialist Party
The Portuguese Socialist Party was a political party in Portugal.The party was founded in 1875. During its initial phase the party was heavily influenced by Proudhonism, and rejected revolutionary Marxism. The party suffered constant factional struggles...

 British socialist parties
British Socialist Party
The British Socialist Party was a Marxist political organisation established in Great Britain in 1911. Following a protracted period of factional struggle, in 1916 the party's anti-war forces gained decisive control of the party and saw the defection of its pro-war Right Wing...

 (particularly the current represented by John Maclean) Socialist Labour Party (Great Britain) Industrial Workers of the World
Industrial Workers of the World
The Industrial Workers of the World is an international union. At its peak in 1923, the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing, and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. Its membership declined dramatically after a 1924 split brought on by internal conflict...

 (Great Britain) Revolutionary elements of the workers' organisations of Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 Revolutionary elements among the Shop stewards (Great Britain) Socialist Labor Party of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Left elements of the Socialist Party of America
Socialist Party of America
The Socialist Party of America was a multi-tendency democratic-socialist political party in the United States, formed in 1901 by a merger between the three-year-old Social Democratic Party of America and disaffected elements of the Socialist Labor Party which had split from the main organization...

 (the tendency represented by Eugene Debs and the Socialist Propaganda League of America
Socialist Propaganda League of America
The Socialist Propaganda League of America was established in 1915, apparently by C.W. Fitzgerald of Beverly, Massachusetts. The group was a membership organization established within the ranks of the Socialist Party of America and is best remembered as direct lineal antecedent of the Left Wing...

) Industrial Workers of the World
Industrial Workers of the World
The Industrial Workers of the World is an international union. At its peak in 1923, the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing, and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. Its membership declined dramatically after a 1924 split brought on by internal conflict...

 (United States) Industrial Workers of the World
Industrial Workers of the World
The Industrial Workers of the World is an international union. At its peak in 1923, the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing, and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. Its membership declined dramatically after a 1924 split brought on by internal conflict...

 (Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

) Workers' International Industrial Union
Workers' International Industrial Union
The Workers' International Industrial Union was a Revolutionary Industrial Union active in the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia...

 (United States) The Socialist groups of Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 and Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

 (Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, represented by Sen Katayama
Sen Katayama
Sen Katayama , born Yabuki Sugataro , was an early member of the American Communist Party and co-founder, in 1922, of the Japan Communist Party....

)
  • Socialist Youth International (represented by Willi Münzenberg
    Willi Münzenberg
    Willi Münzenberg was a communist political activist. Münzenberg was the first head of the Young Communist International in 1919-20 and established the famine-relief and propaganda organization Workers International Relief in 1921...

    )


Of these, the following attended: the Communist Parties of Russia, Germany, German Austria, Hungary, Poland, Finland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Byelorussia, Estonia, Armenia, the Volga German region; the Swedish Social Democratic Left Party (the opposition), Balkan Revolutionary People's of Russia; Zimmerwald Left Wing of France; the Czech, Bulgarian, Yugoslav, British, French and Swiss Communist Groups; the Dutch Social-Democratic Group; Socialist Propaganda League and the Socialist Labor Party of America; Socialist Workers' Party of China; Korean Workers' Union, Turkestan, Turkish, Georgian, Azerbaijanian and Persian Sections of the Central Bureau of the Eastern People's, and the Zimmerwald Commission.

Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Yevseevich Zinoviev , born Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky Apfelbaum , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician...

 served as the first Chairman of the Comintern's Executive Committee from 1919 to 1926, but its dominant figure until his death in January 1924 was Lenin, whose strategy for revolution had been laid out in What Is to Be Done?
What is to be Done?
What to do? Burning Questions of Our Movement is a political pamphlet written by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in 1901 and published in 1902...

(1902). The central policy of the Comintern under Lenin's leadership was that Communist parties should be established across the world to aid the international proletarian revolution
World revolution
World revolution is the Marxist concept of overthrowing capitalism in all countries through the conscious revolutionary action of the organized working class...

. The parties also shared his principle of democratic centralism
Democratic centralism
Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party...

, "freedom of discussion, unity of action", that is, that parties would make decisions democratically, but uphold in a disciplined fashion whatever decision was made. In this period, the Comintern was promoted as the "General Staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

 of the World Revolution
World revolution
World revolution is the Marxist concept of overthrowing capitalism in all countries through the conscious revolutionary action of the organized working class...

."

Second World Congress

Main article: 2nd World Congress of the Comintern
2nd World Congress of the Comintern
The 2nd World Congress of the Comintern was a gathering of approximately 220 voting and non-voting representatives of Communist and revolutionary socialist political parties from around the world, held in Petrograd and Moscow from July 19 to August 7, 1920...

.


Ahead of the Second Congress of the Communist International, held in July through August 1920, Lenin sent out a number of documents, including his Twenty-one Conditions
Twenty-one Conditions
The Twenty-one Conditions, officially the Conditions of Admission to the Communist International, refer to the conditions given by Vladimir Lenin to the adhesion of the socialists to the Third International created in 1919 after the 1917 October Revolution. The conditions were formally adopted by...

 to all socialist parties. The Congress adopted the 21 conditions as prerequisites for any group wanting to become affiliated to the International. The 21 Conditions called for the demarcation between Communist parties and other socialist groups, and instructed the Comintern sections not to trust the legality of the bourgeois states. They also called for the build-up of party organisations along democratic centralist
Democratic centralism
Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party...

 lines, in which the party press and parliamentary factions would be under the direct control of the party leadership.

Regarding the political situation in the colonized world, the second congress of the Communist International stipulated that a united front should be formed between the proletariat, peasantry and national bourgeoisie in the colonial countries. Amongst the twenty-one conditions drafted by Lenin ahead of the congress was the 11th thesis which stipulated that all communist parties must support the bourgeois-democratic liberation movements in the colonies. Notably some of the delegates opposed the idea of alliance with the bourgeoisie, and preferred giving support to communist movements in these countries instead. Their criticism was shared by the Indian revolutionary M.N. Roy, who attended as a delegate of the Communist Party of Mexico. The congress removed the term ‘bourgeois-democratic' in what became the 8th condition.

Many European socialist parties went through splits on the basis of the adhesion or not to the new International. The French Section of the Workers International (SFIO) thus broke away with the 1920 Tours Congress
Tours Congress
The Tours Congress was the 18th National Congress of the French Section of the Workers' International, or SFIO, which took place in Tours on 25—30 December 1920...

, leading to the creation of the new French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

 (initially called "French Section of the Communist International" - SFIC); the Communist Party of Spain was created in 1920, the Communist Party of Italy
Communist Party of Italy
The Communist Party of Italy was a communist political party in Italy which existed from 1921 to 1926. That year it was outlawed by Benito Mussolini's fascist regime. In 1943, the name was changed to the Italian Communist Party.-Foundation:The forerunner of the party was the Communist Faction...

 was created in 1921, the Belgian Communist Party in September 1921, etc.

Third World Congress


Writings from the Third Congress, held in June–July 1921, talked about how the struggle could be transformed into "civil war" when the circumstances were favorable and "openly revolutionary uprisings". The Fourth Congress, November 1922, at which Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 played a prominent role, continued in this vein.

The Dungan commander of the Dungan Cavalry Regiment, Magaza Masanchi
Magaza Masanchi
Magaza Masanchi or Magaza Masanchin was a Dungan Communist revolutionary commander and Statesman in the Soviet Union. He participated in the Russian Revolution on the Bolshevik side. Karakunuz in Kazakhstan was renamed Masanchi after him...

, attended the Third Congress.

During this early period, known as the "First Period" in Comintern history, with the Bolshevik revolution under attack in the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 and a wave of revolutions across Europe, the Comintern's priority was exporting the October Revolution. Some Communist Parties had secret military wings. On example is the M-Apparat of the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

. Its purpose was to prepare for the civil war the Communists believed was impending in Germany, and to liquidate opponents and informers who might have infiltrated the party. There was also a paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 organization, the Rotfrontkämpferbund
Rotfrontkämpferbund
Rotfrontkämpferbund was a paramilitary organization of the Communist Party of Germany created on 18 July 1924 during the Weimar Republic. Its first leader was Ernst Thälmann...

.

The Comintern was involved in the revolutions across Europe in this period, starting with the Hungarian Soviet Republic
Hungarian Soviet Republic
The Hungarian Soviet Republic or Soviet Republic of Hungary was a short-lived Communist state established in Hungary in the aftermath of World War I....

 in 1919. Several hundred agitators and financial aid were sent from the Soviet Union and Lenin was in regular contact with its leader, Béla Kun
Béla Kun
Béla Kun , born Béla Kohn, was a Hungarian Communist politician and a Bolshevik Revolutionary who led the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919.- Early life :...

. Soon an official "Terror Group of the Revolutionary Council of the Government" was formed, unofficially known as "Lenin Boys
Lenin Boys
The Lenin Boys were a band of Communist enforcers formed to support the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919. The group seems to have contained about 200 young men dressed in leather jackets, acting as the personal guard of Tibor Szamuely, Commissar for Military Affairs...

". The next attempt was the "March Action" in Germany in 1921, including an attempt to dynamite the express train from Halle to Leipzig. After this failed, the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 expelled its former Chairman, Paul Levi
Paul Levi
Paul Levi was a German Jewish Communist political leader. He was the head of the Communist Party of Germany following the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in 1919.-Early years:...

, from the party for publicly criticising the March Action in a pamphlet, which was ratified by the ECCI prior to the 3rd congress. A new attempt was made at the time of the Ruhr Crisis in spring and then again in selected parts of Germany in the autumn of 1923. The Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 was mobilized, ready to come to the aid of the planned insurrection. Resolute action by the German government cancelled the plans, except due to miscommunication in Hamburg, where 200-300 Communists attacked police stations but were quickly defeated. In 1924 there was a failed coup in Estonia by the Estonian Communist Party.

In 1924, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
The Mongolian People's Party formerly the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party is an ex-communist political party in Mongolia. The party is abbreviated MPP in English and ' in Mongolian...

 joined Comintern. At first, in China both the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 were supported. After the definite break with Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 in 1927, Stalin sent personal emissaries to help organize revolts which at this time failed.

The Second Period



Lenin died in 1924. 1925 signalled a shift from the immediate activity of world revolution towards a defence of the Soviet state. In that year, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 upheld the thesis of "socialism in one country
Socialism in One Country
Socialism in One Country was a theory put forth by Joseph Stalin in 1924, elaborated by Nikolai Bukharin in 1925 and finally adopted as state policy by Stalin...

", detailed by Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin , was a Russian Marxist, Bolshevik revolutionary, and Soviet politician. He was a member of the Politburo and Central Committee , chairman of the Communist International , and the editor in chief of Pravda , the journal Bolshevik , Izvestia , and the Great Soviet...

 in his brochure Can We Build Socialism in One Country in the Absence of the Victory of the West-European Proletariat? (April 1925). The position was finalized as the state policy after Stalin's January 1926 article On the Issues of Leninism. The perspective of a world revolution
World revolution
World revolution is the Marxist concept of overthrowing capitalism in all countries through the conscious revolutionary action of the organized working class...

 was dismissed after the failures of the Spartacist uprising
Spartacist uprising
The Spartacist Uprising , also known as the January uprising , was a general strike in Germany from January 5 to January 15, 1919. Its suppression marked the end of the German Revolution...

 in Germany and of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, and the reflux of all revolutionary movements in Europe, such as in Italy
History of Italy
Italy, united in 1861, has significantly contributed to the political, cultural and social development of the entire Mediterranean region. Many cultures and civilizations have existed there since prehistoric times....

, where the fascist
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 squadristi broke the strikes and quickly assumed power following the 1922 March on Rome
March on Rome
The March on Rome was a march by which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party came to power in the Kingdom of Italy...

). This period, up to 1928, was known as the "Second Period", mirroring the shift in the USSR from war communism
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

 to the New Economic Policy
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade,...

.

At the 5th World Congress of the Comintern in July 1924, Zinoviev condemned Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács
Georg Lukács
György Lukács was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher and literary critic. He is a founder of the tradition of Western Marxism. He contributed the concept of reification to Marxist philosophy and theory and expanded Karl Marx's theory of class consciousness. Lukács' was also an influential literary...

's History and Class Consciousness, published in 1923 after his involvement in Béla Kun
Béla Kun
Béla Kun , born Béla Kohn, was a Hungarian Communist politician and a Bolshevik Revolutionary who led the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919.- Early life :...

's Hungarian Soviet Republic
Hungarian Soviet Republic
The Hungarian Soviet Republic or Soviet Republic of Hungary was a short-lived Communist state established in Hungary in the aftermath of World War I....

, and Karl Korsch
Karl Korsch
-Biography:Korsch was born in Tostedt, near Hamburg, to Carl August Korsch, a secretary at the cantonal court and his wife Therese. In 1898 the family moved to Meiningen, Thuringia and Korsch senior attained the position of a managing clerk in a bank...

's Marxism and Philosophy. Zinoviev himself was dismissed in 1926 after falling out of favor with Stalin, who already held considerable power by this time. Bukharin then led the Comintern for two years, until 1928 when he too fell out with Stalin. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov
Georgi Dimitrov
Georgi Dimitrov Mikhaylov , also known as Georgi Mikhaylovich Dimitrov , was a Bulgarian Communist politician...

 headed the Comintern in 1934 and presided until its dissolution.

Geoff Eley summed up the change in attitude at this time as follows:
By the Fifth Comintern Congress in July 1924... the collapse of Communist support in Europe tightened the pressure for conformity. A new policy of "Bolshevization" was adopted, which dragooned the CPs toward stricter bureaucratic centralism. This flattened out the earlier diversity of radicalisms, welding them into a single approved model of Communist organization. Only then did the new parties retreat from broader Left arenas into their own belligerent world, even if many local cultures of broader cooperation persisted. Respect for Bolshevik achievements and defense of the Russian Revolution now transmuted into dependency on Moscow and belief in Soviet infallibility. Depressing cycles of "internal rectification" began, disgracing and expelling successive leaderships, so that by the later 1920s many founding Communists had gone. This process of coordination, in a hard-faced drive for uniformity, was finalized at the next Congress of the Third International in 1928.

The Third Period


In 1928, the 9th Plenum of the Executive Committee
Executive Committee of the Communist International
The Executive Committee of the Communist International, commonly known by its acronym, ECCI, was the governing authority of the Comintern between the World Congresses of that body...

 began the so-called "Third Period
Third Period
The Third Period is a ideological concept adopted by the Communist International at its 6th World Congress, held in Moscow in the summer of 1928....

", which was to last until 1935. The Comintern proclaimed that the capitalist system was entering the period of final collapse, and that as such, the correct stance for all Communist parties was that of a highly aggressive, militant, ultra-left line. In particular, the Comintern described all moderate left-wing parties as "social fascists", and urged the Communists devote their energies to the destruction of the moderate left. With the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany after 1930, this stance became somewhat controversial with many such as the Polish Communist historian Isaac Deutscher
Isaac Deutscher
Isaac Deutscher was a Polish-born Jewish Marxist writer, journalist and political activist who moved to the United Kingdom at the outbreak of World War II. He is best known as a biographer of Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin and as a commentator on Soviet affairs...

 criticizing the tactics of the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 of treating the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 as the principal enemy.

The 6th World Congress also revised the policy of united front in the colonial world. In 1927 the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 had turned on the Chinese communists, which led to a review of the policy on forming alliances with the national bourgeoisie in the colonial countries. The congress did however make a differentiation between the character of the Chinese Kuomintang on one hand and the Indian Swarajist Party and the Egyptian Wafd Party
Wafd Party
The Wafd Party was a nationalist liberal political party in Egypt. It was said to be Egypt's most popular and influential political party for a period in the 1920s and 30s...

 on the other, considering the latter as an unreliable ally but not a direct enemy. The congress called on the Indian communists to utilize the contradictions between the national bourgeoisie and the British imperialists.

Seventh World Congress and the Popular Front


The seventh and last congress of the Comintern was held between July 25 and August 20, 1935. It was attended by representatives of 65 communist parties. The main report was delivered by Dimitrov, other reports were delivered by Palmiro Togliatti
Palmiro Togliatti
Palmiro Togliatti was an Italian politician and leader of the Italian Communist Party from 1927 until his death.-Early life:...

, Wilhelm Pieck
Wilhelm Pieck
Friedrich Wilhelm Reinhold Pieck was a German politician and a Communist. In 1949, he became the first President of the German Democratic Republic, an office abolished upon his death. He was succeeded by Walter Ulbricht, who served as Chairman of the Council of States.-Biography:Pieck was born to...

 and Dmitry Manuilsky
Dmitry Manuilsky
Dmitriy Manuilsky, or Dmytro Zakharovych Manuilsky was an important Bolshevik. He was the son of an Orthodox priest from a Ukrainian village. After secondary school he enrolled in the University of St...

. The congress officially endorsed the Popular Front
Popular front
A popular front is a broad coalition of different political groupings, often made up of leftists and centrists. Being very broad, they can sometimes include centrist and liberal forces as well as socialist and communist groups...

 against fascism. This policy argued that Communist Parties should seek to form a Popular Front with all parties that opposed fascism and not limit themselves to forming a United Front
United front
The united front is a form of struggle that may be pursued by revolutionaries. The basic theory of the united front tactic was first developed by the Comintern, an international communist organisation created by revolutionaries in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.According to the theses of...

 with those parties based in the working class. There was no significant opposition to this policy within any of the national sections of the Comintern; in France and Spain in particular, it would have momentous consequences with Léon Blum
Léon Blum
André Léon Blum was a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and three times the Prime Minister of France.-First political experiences:...

's 1936 election, which led to the Popular Front government
Popular Front (France)
The Popular Front was an alliance of left-wing movements, including the French Communist Party , the French Section of the Workers' International and the Radical and Socialist Party, during the interwar period...

.

Stalin's purges of the 1930s
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

 affected Comintern activists living in both the USSR and overseas. At Stalin's direction, the Comintern was thoroughly infused with Soviet secret police and foreign intelligence operatives and informers working under Comintern guise. One of its leaders, Mikhail Trilisser
Mikhail Trilisser
Mikhail Abramovich Trilisser-Moskvin was a Soviet OGPU chief of the Foreign Department of the Cheka and the OGPU. Later, he worked for the NKVD as a covert bureau chief and Comintern leader.-Career:...

, using the pseudonym 'Mikhail Aleksandrovich Moskvin', was in fact chief of the foreign department of the Soviet OGPU (later, the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

). At Stalin's orders, 133 out of 492 Comintern staff members became victims of the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

. Several hundred German Communists and antifascists who had either fled from Nazi Germany or were convinced to relocate in the Soviet Union were liquidated, and more than a thousand were handed over to Germany. Fritz Platten
Fritz Platten
Fritz Platten was a Swiss Communist.After the collapse of the Second International, Platten joined the Zimmerwald Movement and became a Communist....

 died in a labor camp; the leaders of the Indian (Virendranath Chattopadhyaya
Virendranath Chattopadhyaya
Virendranath Chattopadhyaya alias Chatto was a prominent Hindu Indian revolutionary who aimed to overthrow the British Raj in India by using violence as a tool...

 or Chatto), Korean, Mexican, Iranian and Turkish Communist parties were executed. Out of 11 Mongolian Communist Party leaders, only Khorloogiin Choibalsan survived. A great number of German Communists were handed over to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. Leopold Trepper
Leopold Trepper
Leopold Trepper was an organizer of the Soviet spy ring Rote Kapelle prior to and during World War II....

 recalled these days: "In house, where the party activists of all the countries were living, no-one slept until 3 o'clock in the morning.... Exactly 3 o'clock the car lights began to be seen... we stayed near the window and waited [to find out], where the car stopped."

Dissolution


At the start of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Comintern supported a policy of non-intervention, arguing that the war was an imperialist war between various national ruling classes, much like World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 had been (see Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact). But when the Soviet Union itself was invaded on 22 June 1941, the Comintern changed its position to one of active support for the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

. On May 15, 1943, a declaration of the Executive Committee
Executive Committee of the Communist International
The Executive Committee of the Communist International, commonly known by its acronym, ECCI, was the governing authority of the Comintern between the World Congresses of that body...

 was sent out to all sections of the International, calling for the dissolution of Comintern. The declaration read:

The historical role of the Communist International, organized in 1919 as a result of the political collapse of the overwhelming majority of the old pre-war workers' parties, consisted in that it preserved the teachings of Marxism from vulgarisation and distortion by opportunist elements of the labor movement....

But long before the war it became increasingly clear that, to the extent that the internal as well as the international situation of individual countries became more complicated, the solution of the problems of the labor movement of each individual country through the medium of some international centre would meet with insuperable obstacles.


Concretely, the declaration asked the member sections to approve:
To dissolve the Communist International as a guiding centre of the international labor movement, releasing sections of the Communist International from the obligations ensuing from the constitution and decisions of the Congresses of the Communist International.


After endorsements of the declaration were received from the member sections, the International was dissolved. Messages between Tito and Dimitrov the Secretary-General in Moscow were intercepted and decrypted by the British GC&CS (Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park is an estate located in the town of Bletchley, in Buckinghamshire, England, which currently houses the National Museum of Computing...

) from 1943, though the volume of messages was not great (the first message from "Walter" [Tito] was intercepted on 21 April, though not decrypted until many months later). They showed the level of control exercised over him (Tito) by Moscow and continued with Dimitrov after June 1943, when the Comintern itself was dissolved.

Usually, it is asserted that the dissolution came about as Stalin wished to calm his World War II allies (particularly Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 and Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

) and keep them from suspecting the Soviet Union of pursuing a policy of trying to foment revolution in other countries.

Successor organisations


The International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was founded at roughly the same time that the Comintern was abolished in 1943, although its specific duties during the first several years of its existence are unknown.

In September 1947, following the June 1947 Paris Conference on Marshall Aid, Stalin gathered a grouping of key European communist parties and set up the Cominform
Cominform
Founded in 1947, Cominform is the common name for what was officially referred to as the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties...

, or Communist Information Bureau, often seen as a substitute to the Comintern. It was a network made up of the Communist parties of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia (led by Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

, it was expelled in June 1948). The Cominform was dissolved in 1956, following Stalin's 1953 death and the XXth Congress of the CPSU.

While the Communist parties of the world no longer had a formal international organization, they continued to maintain close relations with each other through a series of international forums. In the period directly after dissolution of Comintern, periodical meetings of Communist parties were held in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. Moreover World Marxist Review, a joint periodical of the Communist parties, played an important role in coordinating the communist movement up to the break-up of the Socialist Bloc in 1989-1991.

Comintern and Communist Party of China


The complicated relationship between the Comintern and the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 (CPC) is an important chapter in the history of Comintern.

1921 to 1927


The CPC was established in 1921 with the help of the Comintern. The CPC declared itself to be a branch of the Comintern. At that time, China had a large revolutionary party called the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

). Its leader, Dr. Sun Yatsen, frustrated by the refusal of aid for China from the democratic Western countries, quickly turned to the Soviet Union and the Comintern. Under the instruction of the Comintern, the CPC joined the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang also applied for membership in the Comintern, but was not accepted since it was essentially considered to be an anti-colonialist bourgeois political party and not a true Marxist vehicle. Sun Yatsen’s successor, Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

, was once elected as an honorary member of the standing committee of the Comintern.

The Northern Expedition became a point of contention over foreign policy by Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and Trotsky. Stalin followed a practical policy, ignoring communist ideology. He told the Chinese Communist Party to stop whining about the lower classes and follow the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

's orders. Stalin, like Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, believed that the KMT bourgeoisie would defeat the western imperialists in China and complete the revolution. Trotsky wanted the Communist party to complete an orthodox proletarian revolution and opposed the KMT. Stalin funded the KMT during the expedition. Stalin countered Trotskyist criticism by making a secret speech in which he said that Chiang's right wing Kuomintang were the only ones capable of defeating the imperialists, that Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 had funding from the rich merchants, and that his forces were to be utilized until squeezed for all usefulness like a lemon before being discarded. However, Chiang quickly reversed the tables in the Shanghai massacre of 1927
Shanghai massacre of 1927
The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

 by massacring the Communist party in Shanghai midway in the Northern Expedition.

1927 to 1935


After the success of the joint revolution of the Kuomintang and CPC in reuniting China under a single government, they split over their ideological differences. The Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek ultimately became an anti-Communist force. The Comintern instructed the Communists to initiate urban riots, but all failed. A group of “native Communists”, such as Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, used peasant riots to establish the Soviet Republic of China in remote mountain villages. The Comintern sent a German Communist, Otto Braun
Otto Braun (Li De)
Otto Braun was a German Communist with a long and varied career.His most significant role was as a Comintern agent sent to China in 1934, to advise the Communist Party of China on military strategy during the Chinese Civil War...

, as the CPC's military adviser, who became the CPC's de facto military commander later. Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

, once the Comintern's favorite, was the chairman of the Military Committee of the CPC. After being besieged by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist army, the Chinese Red Army had to escape to try to find a new base - this came to be known as the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

 (1934–1935).

1935 to 1942


During the Long March, the CPC party leadership re-examined its policy in Zunyi
Zunyi
Zunyi is a prefecture-level city in Guizhou province in southwestern China. Along with Guiyang and Liupanshui, it is one of the most important cities of the province...

 (January 1935). Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 blamed the CPC's failure to ignite a revolution on their decision to blindly follow the Comintern's instructions, which did not take into account the reality of Chinese conditions. During the heated debate, Zhou Enlai unexpectedly accepted the criticism and sided with Mao. Otto Braun was dismissed from his position as the CPC's military commander.

After they resettled in Yanan
Yanan
Yanan may refer to:*Yan'an, Chinese city in Shaanxi province, which was the Communist Party's capital from 1936 to 1948*Yana language, extinct language formerly spoken in north-central California...

, the native Chinese Communists, such as Mao and Zhu De
Zhu De
Zhu De was a Chinese militarist, politician, revolutionary, and one of the pioneers of the Chinese Communist Party. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1955 Zhu became one of the Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army, of which he is regarded as the founder.-Early...

, became the real powers in the CPC rather than the foreign Communists supplied by the Comintern. Those Chinese Communists who were loyal to the Comintern, such as a group called the 28 Bolsheviks
28 Bolsheviks
The 28 Bolsheviks were a group of Chinese students who studied at the Moscow Sun Yat-sen University from the late 1920s until early 1935, also known as the "Returned Students". The university was founded in 1925 as a result of Kuomintang's founder Sun Yat-Sen's policy of alliance with the Soviet...

, fell from all of the most important positions within the CPC. Zhou Enlai became an assistant to Mao in political affairs, such as the pursuit of the United Front
United front
The united front is a form of struggle that may be pursued by revolutionaries. The basic theory of the united front tactic was first developed by the Comintern, an international communist organisation created by revolutionaries in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.According to the theses of...

 and diplomacy. By this time, the Comintern and the Soviet Union could no longer control the CPC. The Comintern continued to give advice, but much of it was simply ignored. The CPC was now a truly Chinese entity, much as the Bolshevik Party had been a truly Russian one.

An exception to this rule was the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army
Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army
The Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army was an anti-Japanese guerrilla army in the Northeast part of China after the occupation of Manchuria by Japan in 1931. It was organized by the Manchuria branches of the Chinese Communist Party . However, it lost direct contact with the CCP headquarter in...

, organized by the Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 branch of the CPC in 1932. Geographically separated from the CPC headquarters in Yenan, this guerrilla army did not report directly to the CPC center, but was still led and supported by the Soviet Union under the guise of the Comintern until it was defeated by a Japanese occupation force and fled to the Soviet Union in 1942.

Comintern-sponsored international organisations


Several international organizations were sponsored by the Comintern in this period:
  • Red International of Labour Unions (Profintern - formed 1920)
  • Red Peasant International
    Red Peasant International
    The Red Peasant International, generally called by its Russian abbreviation Krestintern, was an international peasants organization formed by the Communist International in October 1923. The organization was dissolved in 1939....

     (Krestintern - formed 1923)
  • International Red Aid
    International Red Aid
    International Red Aid was an international social service organization established by the Communist International...

     (MOPR - formed 1922)
  • Communist Youth International (1919–1943)
  • Red Sports International (Sportintern)
  • International of the Proletarian Freethinkers (1925–1933)
  • League against Imperialism
    League against Imperialism
    The League against Imperialism was founded in the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium, on February 10, 1927, in presence of 175 delegates, among which 107 came from 37 countries under colonial rule. The Congress aimed at creating a "mass anti-imperialist movement" at a world scale, and was...

     (formed 1927)

World Congresses and Plenums of Comintern

{| class="wikitable"

|-
! Event
! Year Held
! Dates
! Location
! Delegates
|-
! Founding Congress of the Communist International
| align="center" | 1919
| align="center" | March 2–6
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 34 + 18
|-
! Conference of the Amsterdam Bureau
| align="center" | 1920
| align="center" | February 10–11
| align="center" | Amsterdam
| align="center" | 16
|-
! 2nd World Congress of the Comintern
| align="center" | 1920
| align="center" | July 19 to Aug. 7
| align="center" | Petrograd & Moscow
| align="center" | 167 + ≈53
|-
! 1st Congress of the Peoples of the East
| align="center" | 1920
| align="center" | September 1–8
| align="center" | Baku
| align="center" |
|-
! 3rd World Congress of the Comintern
| align="center" | 1921
| align="center" | June 22 to July 12
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 1st Congress of Toilers of the Far East
| align="center" | 1922
| align="center" | Jan. 21 to Feb. 2
| align="center" | Moscow & Petrograd
| align="center" |
|-
! 1st Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1922
| align="center" | Feb. 24 to March 4
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 105
|-
! 2nd Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1922
| align="center" | June 7–11
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 41 + 9
|-
! 4th World Congress of the Comintern
| align="center" | 1922
| align="center" | Nov. 5 to Dec. 5
| align="center" | Petrograd & Moscow
| align="center" | 340 + 48
|-
! 3rd Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1923
| align="center" | June 12–23
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 5th World Congress of the Comintern
| align="center" | 1924
| align="center" | June 17 to July 8
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 324 + 82
|-
! 4th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1924
| align="center" | June 12 and July 12–13
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 5th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1925
| align="center" | March 21 to April 6
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 6th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1926
| align="center" | Feb. 17 to March 15
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 77 + 53
|-
! 7th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1926
| align="center" | Nov. 22 to Dec. 16
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! World Congress Against Colonial Oppression and Imperialism
| align="center" | 1927
| align="center" | February 10–15
| align="center" | Brussels
| align="center" | 152
|-
! 8th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1927
| align="center" | May 18–30
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 9th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1928
| align="center" | February 9–25
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 44 + 48
|-
! 6th World Congress of the Comintern
| align="center" | 1928
| align="center" | July 17 to Sept. 1
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 10th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1929
| align="center" | July 3–19
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 36 + 72
|-
! 2nd Congress of the League Against Imperialism
| align="center" | 1929
| align="center" | July
| align="center" | Frankfurt
| align="center" |
|-
! Enlarged Presidium of ECCI
| align="center" | 1930
| align="center" | February 25-??
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 1st International Conference of Negro Workers
| align="center" | 1930
| align="center" | July 7–8
| align="center" | Hamburg
| align="center" | 17 + 3
|-
! 11th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1931
| align="center" | March 26 to April 11
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 12th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1932
| align="center" | Aug. 27 to Sept. 15
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" | 38 + 136
|-
! 13th Enlarged Plenum of ECCI
| align="center" | 1933
| align="center" | Nov. 28 to Dec. 12
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
! 7th World Congress of the Comintern
| align="center" | 1935
| align="center" | July 25 to Aug. 21
| align="center" | Moscow
| align="center" |
|-
Delegate figures are VOTING + CONSULTATIVE.
|}

See also

  • Executive Committee of the Communist International
    Executive Committee of the Communist International
    The Executive Committee of the Communist International, commonly known by its acronym, ECCI, was the governing authority of the Comintern between the World Congresses of that body...

  • Communist University of the Toilers of the East
    Communist University of the Toilers of the East
    The Communist University of the Toilers of the East or KUTV was established April 21, 1921, in Moscow by the Communist International as a training college for communist cadres in the colonial world. The school officially opened on October 21, 1921...

  • Communist University of the National Minorities of the West
    Communist University of the National Minorities of the West
    The Communist University of the National Minorities of the West , was created by a 28 November 1921 decree of the Council of People's Commissars and charged with training party cadres from the western regions of Russia and the Volga Germans.In...

  • Moscow Sun Yat-sen University
    Moscow Sun Yat-sen University
    Moscow Sun Yat-sen University, officially the Sun Yat-sen Communist University of the Toilers of China, was a Comintern school, which operated from 1925-1930. It was a training camp for Chinese revolutionaries from both the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China .-Origins:In 1923, Dr...

  • Anti-Comintern Pact
    Anti-Comintern Pact
    The Anti-Comintern Pact was an Anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on November 25, 1936 and was directed against the Communist International ....

  • Spanish Civil War
    Spanish Civil War
    The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

  • International Working Union of Socialist Parties
    International Working Union of Socialist Parties
    The International Working Union of Socialist Parties was a political international for the co-operation of socialist parties.-History:...

     ("2 and a half International" founded by Austro-Marxists)
  • International Revolutionary Marxist Centre
    International Revolutionary Marxist Centre
    The International Revolutionary Marxist Centre was an international association of left-socialist parties. The member-parties rejected both mainstream social democracy and the Third International.-Organizational history:...

  • Communist Workers International
    Communist Workers International
    The Communist Workers' International or Fourth International was a council communist international. It was founded around the Manifesto of the Fourth Communist International, published by the Communist Workers' Party of Germany in 1921....

  • International Communist Opposition


Lists:

Internationals:
  • First International
  • Second International
    Second International
    The Second International , the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated...

  • Fourth International
    Fourth International
    The Fourth International is the communist international organisation consisting of followers of Leon Trotsky , with the declared dedicated goal of helping the working class bring about socialism...

  • Fifth International
    Fifth International
    The phrase Fifth International refers to the efforts made by sections of the far-left to create a new Workers' International.-Previous Internationals:...


Further reading

  • Chase, William J. Enemies within the Gates?: The Comintern and the Stalinist Repression, 1934-1939. Yale University Press
    Yale University Press
    Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day. It became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but remains financially and operationally autonomous....

    , 2001. ISBN 0300082428
  • Hopkirk, Peter. Setting the East Ablaze: Lenin's Dream of a Empire in Asia 1984 (1984)
  • C. L. R. James
    C. L. R. James
    Cyril Lionel Robert James , who sometimes wrote under the pen-name J.R. Johnson, was an Afro-Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist theorist and essayist. His works are influential in various theoretical, social, and historiographical contexts...

    , World Revolution 1917-1936: The Rise and Fall of the Communist International Humanities Press, New Jersey, (Revolutionary Series), 1993, ISBN 1-57392-583-7
  • Kennan, George F. Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin (1961)
  • Liebman, Marcel. Leninism Under Lenin Humanities Press, ISBN 0-85036-261-X
  • McDermott, Kevin. "Rethinking the Comintern: Soviet historiography, 1987-1991," Labour History Review, Winter 1992, Vol. 57 Issue 3, pp 37–58
  • McDermott, Kevin, and J. Agnew. The Comintern: a History of International Communism from Lenin to Stalin (Basingstoke, 1996), the standard history
  • Melograni, Piero. Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution: Ideology and Reasons of State 1917-1920, Humanities Press, 1990
  • Nekrich, Aleksandr M. Pariahs, Partners, Predators: German-Soviet Relations, 1922-1941 (1993)
  • Ulam, Adam B. Expansion and Coexistence: Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917–1973, 2nd ed. (1974)
  • The Comintern and its Critics (Special issue of Revolutionary History Volume 8, no 1, Summer 2001)
  • Ruth von Mayenburg: Hotel Lux. Mit Dimitroff, Ernst Fischer, Ho Tschi Minh, Pieck, Rakosi, Slansky, Dr. Sorge, Tito, Togliatti, Tschou En-lai, Ulbricht und Wehner im Moskauer Quartier der Kommunistischen Internationale. Bertelsmann Verlag. München. 1978
  • Arkadi Vaksberg: Hôtel Lux. Les Partis frères au service de l'Internationale communiste. Fayard 1993. (Translated from Russian) ISBN: 2213031517

Primary sources

  • Davidson, Apollon, et al. eds. South Africa and the Communist International: A Documentary History (2 vol., 2003)

External links