MIA: History: International: Communist International: The Communist International [1919-1940]

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The Communist International
Organ of the Executive Committee of the Communist International

The Communist International was the organ of the Communist International or Third International. It was founded in March of 1919.

The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization founded in 1919 that advocated world communism, and which was led and controlled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress in 1920 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 dissolution of the Second International in 1916.

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. Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, dissolved the Comintern in 1943 to avoid antagonizing his allies in the later years of World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom. It was succeeded by the Cominform in 1947.

The Communist International journal was launched with the First Congress and remained in publication in various forms and languages starting in 1919 and ending a few years before the Comintern itself dissolved in 1943.

Click here for a Docx formatted overview of the various series, volumes, different sites of publication, and different languages of publication of The Communist International 1919 - 1940

The Communist Party of Great Britain ceased publication of The Communist International in English in London with the December 1939 issue.

The Communist International continued to be published in the USA (in New York City, by the CP USA) during 1940... 12 monthly issues. But now instead of declaring itself to be “An Instrument of the Executive Committee of the Communist International”, those 1940 USA-published issues had substituted for that “Edited by Earl Browder”. Publication ceased with no announcement of this being about to happen with the December 1940 edition.

In 1941 and 1942 two successors to The Communist International... International Review and World Survey [all avaliable at this here]:

were sporadically published by the CP USA, before CI and its successors entirely fizzled out. The Commintern itself was formally dissolved by Stalin on May 15, 1943.

The observation made of the end of the second and last successor to The Communist International(em>World Survey, 1941 - 1942) in the introduction to the Greenwood Reprint of that publication also applies, I believe, to the end of publication of the original with the December 1940 USA version edition: “the end of the magazine Communist International ... came not with a bang but with a whimper.”

[All issues of The Communist International presented on this page were digitized by the Riazanov Library digital archive project... by me ... for the Marxists Internet Archive]

Martin H. Goodman MD
Director, Riazanov Library digital archive projects

1919-1924 “The Old Series” [Effectively Volume 1]

1924-1926 “The New Series” [Effectively Volume 2]

1926 [Volume 3, October-December – 1926]

1927 [Volume 4 contains exclusively 1927 issues]

1928 [Volume 5 and first two issues in Volume 6]

1929 [Volume 6 Number 3 thru Volume 6 Number 27]

1930 [Volume 6 Number 28 thru the end of Volume 6 (number 31) and all 14 issues in Volume 7]

1931 [there is a one to one correspondence between years of publication and issue numbers of CI from now on]

1932 [Volume 9]


NOTE: A complete and seperate British edition from this point forward and published by the Communist Party of Great Britain in London. Both the U.S. and British editions will be shown, if available, and indicated in these listings through 1939

1934 [U.S. edition]
1934 [British edition]

1935 [U.S. edition]
1935 [British edition]

1936 [U.S. edition]
1936 [British edition]

1937 [U.S. edition]
1937 [British edition]

1938 [Combined listing of British and U.S. editions]

1939 [Combined listing of British and U.S. editions]

1940 [U.S. edition]

International Review and World Survey 1941-1942

Pamphlets and reference material from the Communist Party of Great Britain that were advertised in the pages of The Communist International. Digitized as part of this project.

Regarding the 1968 reprint of The Communist International by Greenwood Press:

Most people accessing The Communist International at libraries access it via the 31 physical bound volume series of 1968 Greenwood Press reprints.

Greenwood Press introduced its own notations for portions of The Communist International:

“Series 1” which it gave to what most refer to as “the old series”, logically Volume 1 of CI. This includes numbers 1 - 30 1919 thru January of 1924.

“Series 2”, which Greenwood Press used to identify ALL issues of The Communist International that were NOT the first 30 “Old Series" / “Series 1” 1919 - Jan 1924 issues.

Starting late 1926, The Communist International began officially using Volume numbers. Starting with Volume 3 for October - December 1926 issues. Volume 4 was cleanly, entirely 1927, but for 1928, 29, and 30 volume numbers and years did not exactly correspond. By Volume 9, 1932, Volume numbers and years of publication of The Communist International began again to correspond. It’s worth keeping this in mind when looking at the notations on the spines of the physical bound volumes of reprints of The Communist International printed by Greenwood Press in 1968.

Up through 1933, the English language editions of The Communist International were printed in London by the Communist Party of Great Britain’s printing shop.

From 1934 to the end of publication of CI, CI was printed in English both in London by the CP GB AND in New York by the CP USA. Greenwood Press, in its series of reprints of CI, provides copies of those 1934 - end of publication issues printed in New York, not in London.

At the time of writing this note, I have access to just one printed in London issue of CI in the 1934 - 1943 period. Some historians have suggested that at some point, the content in the New York and London - published CI English language issues becomes different, with the New York published issues becoming more and more of an organ specifically of the CP USA, as opposed to containing only material sent from the Soviet Union (from the Communist International executive committee).

Martin Goodman MD
Director, Riazanov Library
August 2023