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date: 20 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The essay falls into two sections. The first examines the history of the Third International (Comintern) from its creation in 1919 to its dissolution in 1943, looking at the imposition of the Twenty-One Conditions on parties wishing to join the new International in 1920, the move from a perspective of splitting the labour movement to one of a united front in the early 1920s, the shift to the sectarian ‘third period’ strategy in 1928, and the gradual emergence of the popular front strategy in the mid-1930s. It examines the institutions of the Comintern and the Stalinization of national communist parties. The second section looks at some issues in the historiography of the Comintern, including the extent to which it was a tool of Soviet foreign policy, conflict over policy within the Executive Committee of the Comintern (ECCI), and the relationship of ECCI to ‘national sections’, with a particular focus on the Vietnamese Communist Party. Finally, it discusses problems of cultural and linguistic communication within the Comintern.

Keywords: Third International, Comintern, Twenty-One Conditions, united front, third period, popular front, Stalinization, splits in ECCI, Comintern national sections, cultural communication

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