Third International


Third International
   Founded in Moscow in 1919 by the Bolsheviks to replace the Second International which had disintegrated with the outbreak of World War I the Third International largely served as an instrument of Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union. Also known as the Communist International and Comintern, the Third International’s official objective was to work for a “World Union of Socialist Soviet Republics” and initially it focused on supporting revolutionary activities in Europe, Germany in particular, that it hoped would lead to international revolution. In order to keep out social democratic groups strict conditions of affiliation were created, and rivalry with non-Marxist socialists and combating social democracy became themes of the International. The Third International was notable for its emphasis at its second congress in 1920 on antiimperialism and national liberation following Vladimir Ilich Lenin’s Theses on the National and Colonial Question. During the 1920s it became the battleground for Soviet internal disputes such as the struggle between Leon Trotsky and Josef Stalin over the issue of socialism in one country, which ultimately saw Trotsky expelled from its Executive Committee in 1927.
   From 1928 until 1933 the Comintern promoted a policy of noncooperation with social democratic parties against fascism, arguing that social democracy was itself a form of “social fascism.” With the success of the Nazis in Germany this policy gave way to one of collaboration between communists and socialists and the development of “Popular Fronts” in the struggle against fascism. Through the 1930s the Third International was used in carrying out Stalin’s purges, including the elimination of the Polish Communist Party in 1938. The German–Soviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939 saw the Third International adopt a line of condemning both sides in World War II as imperialist until the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 when it sided with the Allied forces and promoted the war against the Axis powers. In 1943 the Third International was dissolved.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.