Alternative History
Communist International
Коммунисти́ческий интернациона́л
Founder Vladimir Lenin
Founded 2 March 1919
Dissolved 4 December 1975
Preceded by Second International
Zimmerwald Left
Newspaper Communist International
Youth wing Young Communist International
Military Alliance Belgrade Pact
Economic Sphere Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
Official colours      Red

The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International (1919–1975), was an international organization that advocated world communism. It was controlled by the Soviet Union. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state". The Comintern was preceded by the 1916 dissolution of the Second International.

The Comintern held seven World Congresses in Moscow between 1919 and 1935. During that period, it also conducted thirteen Enlarged Plenums of its governing Executive Committee, which had much the same function as the somewhat larger and more grandiose Congresses.

The Comintern would be expanded in 1943 to include the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties, commonly known as Cominform. This would serve as a united press agency that would coordinate all the newspapers of the Parties', making sure their content aligned with that of the Soviet Union's. The Cominform would be dissolved as the USSR underwent De-Stalinization.

The comintern would come to an end after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Organizational history

Failure of the Second International

Differences between the revolutionary and reformist wings of the workers' movement had been increasing for decades, but the outbreak of World War I was the catalyst for their separation. The Triple Alliance comprised two empires, while the Triple Entente was formed by three. Socialists had historically been anti-war and internationalist, fighting against what they perceived as militarist exploitation of the proletariat for bourgeois states. A majority of socialists voted in favor of resolutions for the Second International to call upon the international working class to resist war if it were declared.

But after the beginning of the Great War, many European socialist parties announced support for the war effort of their respective nations. Exceptions were the British Labour Party and the socialist party of the Balkans. To Vladimir Lenin's surprise, even the Social Democratic Party of Germany voted in favor of war. After influential anti-war French Socialist Jean Jaurès was assassinated on 31 July 1914, the socialist parties hardened their support in France for their government of national unity.

Socialist parties in neutral countries mostly supported neutrality, rather than totally opposing the war. On the other hand, during the 1915 Zimmerwald Conference, Lenin, then a Swiss resident refugee, organized an opposition to the "imperialist war" as the Zimmerwald Left, publishing the pamphlet Socialism and War where he called socialists collaborating with their national governments social chauvinists, i.e. socialists in word, but nationalists in deed. The Zimmerwald Left produced no practical advice for how to initiate socialist revolt.

The Second International divided into a revolutionary left-wing, a moderate center-wing, and a more reformist right-wing. Lenin condemned much of the center as "social pacifists" for several reasons, including their vote for war credits despite publicly opposing the war. Lenin's term "social pacifist" aimed in particular at Ramsay MacDonald, leader of the Independent Labour Party in Britain, who opposed the war on grounds of pacifism but did not actively fight against it.

Discredited by its apathy towards world events, the Second International dissolved in 1916. In 1917, after the February Revolution overthrew the Romanov Dynasty, Lenin published the April Theses which openly supported revolutionary defeatism, where the Bolsheviks hoped that Russia would lose the war so that they could quickly cause a socialist insurrection.

Impact of the Russian Revolution

The victory of the Russian Communist Party in the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917 was felt throughout the world and an alternative path to power to parliamentary politics was demonstrated. With much of Europe on the verge of economic and political collapse in the aftermath of the carnage of World War I, revolutionary sentiments were widespread. The Russian Bolsheviks headed by Lenin believed that unless socialist revolution swept Europe, they would be crushed by the military might of world capitalism just as the Paris Commune had been crushed by force of arms in 1871. The Bolsheviks believed that this required a new international to foment revolution in Europe and around the world.

Member Parties

At the time of dissolution

  • Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Коммунистическая партия Советского Союза)
    • Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Российской Советской Федеративной Социалистической Республики)
    • Communist Party of Armenia (Armenian: Հայաստանի կոմունիստական կուսակցություն, Russian: Коммунистическая партия Армении)
    • Azerbaijan Communist Party (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Kommunist Partiyası; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Азербайджана)
    • Communist Party of Byelorussia (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Белоруссии; Belarusian: Камуністычная партыя Беларусі)
    • Communist Party of Estonia (Estonian: Eestimaa Kommunistlik Partei; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Эстонии)
    • Communist Party of Georgia (Georgian: საქართველოს კომუნისტური პარტია; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Грузии)
    • Communist Party of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан Коммунистік партиясы; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Казахстана)
    • Communist Party of Kirghizia (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Киргизии; Kyrgyz: Кыргызстан Коммунисттик партиясы)
    • Communist Party of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Komunistiskā partija)
    • Communist Party of Lithuania (Lithuanian: Lietuvos komunistų partija; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Литвы)
    • Communist Party of Moldavia (Romanian: Partidul Comunist al Moldovei; Moldovan Cyrillic: Партидул Комунист ал Молдовей; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Молдавии)
    • Communist Party of Tajikistan (Tajik: Ҳизби Коммунистии Тоҷикистон; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Таджикистана)
    • Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Туркменистана; Turkmen: Türkmenistanyň Kommunistik Partiýasy)
    • Communist Party of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Комуністична Партія України; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Украины)
    • Communist Party of Uzbekistan (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Узбекистана, Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston Kommunistik Partiyasi)
    • Communist Party of Alaska (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Аля́ска)
  • Flag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918).svg League of Communists of Danubia (Teedish: Somhede af Kommunists af Donauba)
    • League of Communists of Austria (Bund der Kommunisten Österreichs)
    • League of Communists of Bohemia and Moravia (Czech: Liga Komunistů Čech a Moravy)
    • League of Communists of Slovenia (Slovene: Zveza Komunistov Slovenije)
    • Hungarian Working People's Party (Hungarian: Magyar Dolgozók Pártja)
    • League of Communists of Croatia (Serbo-Croatian: Savez Komunista Hrvatske)
    • League of Slovakian Communists (Slovak: Liga Slovenských komunistov)
    • League of Communists of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Serbo-Croatian: Savez Komunista Bosne i Hercegovine / Савез комуниста Босне и Херцеговине)
  • Flag of the Kingdom of Montenegro.svg Communist Party of Montenegro (Serbo-Croatian: Komunistička partija Crne Gore)
  • Communist Party of Serbia (Serbo-Croatian: Komunistička partija Srbije / Комунистичка партија Србије)
  • Bulgarian Communist Party (Bulgarian: Българска Комунистическа Партия)
  • Romanian Communist Party (Romanian: Partidul Comunist Român)
  • Flag of Poland.svg Communist Party of Poland (Polish: Komunistyczna Partia Polski; Polish Cyrillic: Комунистычна партъя польски)
  • Flag of the German Empire.svg Communist Party of Germany (German: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands)
    • Communist Party of Bavaria (German: Kommunistische Partei Bayerns)
    • Communist Party of Hanover (German: Kommunistische Partei Hannovers)
  • Flag of Sweden.svg Swedish Left Party – the Communists (Sveriges Vänsterpartiet Kommunisterna)
  • Flag of Norway.svg Communist Party of Norway (Norwegian: Norges Kommunistiske Parti)
  • Flag of Finland.svg Communist Party of Finland (Finnish: Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue; Swedish: Finlands Kommunistiska Parti)
  • Flag of the Netherlands.svg Communist Party of the Netherlands (Dutch: Communistische Partij Nederland)
  • Flag of Belgium.svg Communist Party of Belgium (Dutch: Kommunistische Partij van België; French: Parti Communiste de Belgique)
  • Flag of Luxembourg.svg Communist Party of Luxembourg (Luxembourgish: Kommunistesch Partei vu Lëtzebuerg; French: Parti Communiste Luxembourgeois; German: Kommunistische Partei Luxemburgs)
  • Flag of France.svg French Communist Party (French: Parti communiste français)
  • Flag of Great Britain (1707–1800).svg Communist Party of Great Britain
  • Flag of Ireland.svg Communist Party of Ireland (Irish: Páirtí Cumannach na hÉireann)
  • Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg Italian Communist Party (Italian: Partito Comunista Italiano)
  • Flag of Switzerland.svg Swiss Party of Labour (German: Partei der Arbeit der Schweiz; French: Parti Suisse du Travail - Parti Ouvrier et Populaire; Italian: Partito Svizzero del Lavoro – Partito Operaio e Popolare; Romansh: Partida Svizra da la Lavur)
  • Flag of Spain.svg Communist Party of Spain (Spanish: Partido Comunista de España)
  • Flag Portugal (1830).svg Portuguese Communist Party (Portuguese: Partido Comunista Português)
  • Flag of Byzantium (with B).png Communist Party of Byzantium (Greek: Κομμουνιστικό Κόμμα Βυζαντίου)
  • Communist Party of Persia (Persian: حزب کمونیست ایران‎)
  • Flag of South Vietnam.svg New Communist Party of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Tân Đảng Cộng Sản Việt Nam, Hán Nôm/Chữ Nôm: 新黨共產越南)
  • Flag of Laos (1952-1975).svg Lao People's Revolutionary Party (Lao: ພັກປະຊາຊົນປະຕິວັດລາວ; French: Parti révolutionnaire populaire lao)
  • Third Kingdom of Cambodia.png Communist Party of Kampuchea (Khmer: បក្សកុម្មុយនីស្តកម្ពុជា; French: Parti communiste du Kampuchea)
  • East Turkestan People's Revolutionary Party (Uyghur: Shärqiy Turkistan Khälq Inqilawi Partiyisi; Cyrillic: Счеряиы түркистан Кчаля Иняиласи Партиыиси)
  • Flag of Japan.svg Japanese Communist Party (Japanese: 日本共産党)
  • Flag of Mongolia (Differently).png Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (Mongolian: ᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ ᠠᠷᠠᠳᠤᠨ ᠬᠤᠪᠢᠰᠬᠠᠯᠲᠤ ᠨᠠᠮ; Mongolian Cyrillic: Монгол Ардын Хувьсгалт Нам)
  • Flag of Mongolia (Differently).png Inner Mongolian People's Party (Mongolian: ᠥᠪᠥᠷ ᠳᠠᠷᠠᠮ᠎ᠠᠶᠢᠨ ᠲᠡᠮᠦᠷᠣᠴᠢᠷ; Mongolian Cyrillic: Өвөр Монголын Ардын Нам; Chinese: 内蒙古人民党)
  • Flag of the Chang remastered.png Chinese Socialist Workers' Party (Traditional Chinese: 中國社會主義工人黨; Simplified: 中国社会主义工人党)
  • Flag of Korea (1899).svg Communist Party of Korea (Korean: 한공산당; Hanja: 韩共產黨)
  • Flag of Tibet.svg Tibetan Communist Party (Tibetan: བོད་གུང་ཁྲན་ཏང, Chinese: 西藏共產黨)
  • Gujarat Republic.jpg Communist Party of Gujarat (Gujarati:ગુજરાતની સામ્યવાદી પાર્ટી)
  • Tamil Union flag Differently.png Tamil Communist Party (Tamil:தமிழ் கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சி; Sinhala:දෙමළ කොමියුනිස්ට් පක්ෂය)
  • CASS Flag.jpg Communist Party of the Confederacy (Spanish: Partido Comunista de la Confederación)
    • Communist Party of Alabama
    • Communist Party of Arkansas
    • Communist Party of Florida (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Florida)
    • Communist Party of Georgia
    • Communist Party of Louisiana (French: Parti Communiste de Louisiane)
    • Communist Party of Mississippi
    • Communist Party of North Carolina
    • Communist Party of Arizona (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Arizona)
    • Communist Party of South Carolina
    • Communist Party of Tennessee
    • Communist Party of Texas (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Tejas)
    • Communist Party of Virginia
  • Free Cuba Party (Spanish: Partido Cuba Libre)
  • Communist Workers' Party of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Partido Comunista de los Trabajadores de Puerto Rico)
  • US flag 35 stars.svg Communist Party of the United States of America
  • Flag of Canada.svg Communist Party of Canada (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Канады)
    • Communist Party of East Alaska (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Восточной Аляски)
  • Flag of Quebec.svg Communist Party of Quebec (French: Parti Communiste du Québec)
  • Mexico flag, 1893-1916.png Mexican Communist Party (Spanish: Partido Comunista Mexicano)
  • Flag of the Federal Republic of Central America.svg Communist Party of Central America (Spanish: Partido Comunista de América Central)
  • Flag of Colombia.svg Communist Party of Colombia (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Colombia)
  • Flag of Venezuela (1863–1905).svg Communist Party of Venezuela (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Venezuela)
  • Flag of Ecuador.svg Communist Party of Ecuador (Spanish: Partido Comunista del Ecuador)
  • Flag of Peru.svg Peruvian Communist Party (Spanish: Partido Comunista Peruano)
  • Flag of Brazil (1870–1889).svg Communist Party of Brazil (Portuguese: Partido Comunista do Brasil)
  • Flag of Bolivia (state).svg Communist Party of Bolivia (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Bolivia)
  • Flag of Chile (1812-1814, alternative).svg Communist Party of Chile (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Chile)
  • Flag of Argentina (1818).svg Communist Party of Argentina (Spanish: Partido Comunista de la Argentina)


  • Communist Party of Bukovina (Romanian: Partidul Comunist al Bucovinei; merged with the Romanian Communist Party in 1923)
  • United Communist Party of Transylvania (Romanian: Partidul Comunist Unit al Transilvaniei; Hungarian: Erdélyi Egyesült Kommunista Párt; merged with the Romanian Communist Party in 1923)
    • Communist Party of Transylvania (Romanian: Partidul Comunist al Transilvaniei, merged with the Communist Party of Székelys in 1921)
    • Communist Party of Székelys (Hungarian: Székelyek Kommunista Pártja, merged with the Communist Party of Transylvania in 1921)

See Also