The Comintern Anthem, written in 1928 by German Communist Hanns Eisler


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The Comintern Anthem, written in 1928 by German Communist Hanns Eisler

  • The Comintern Anthem, written in 1928 by German Communist Hanns Eisler

  • Factories, rise! Workers, close ranks!

  • March, march, march to the battle!

  • Check your sights, load your guns!

  • March to the battle for your cause, worker!

  • The fire of Leninism is lighting our path,

  • It is mobilizing the world for an assault on capital!

  • Two classes are locked in the final battle.

  • Our slogan is: Worldwide Soviet Union!

  • Comrades in prisons, in cold cells,

  • You are with us, even though you are not marching with us now.

  • We do not fear white fascist terror.

  • The bonfire of rebellion will envelop all countries!

  • The Comintern calls on us to form our ranks of steel.

  • Let’s raise the banner of Soviets, our Red Flag!

  • We are troops of the Red Front,

  • And we will not retreat from our path!  





  • World War I and the Russian Revolution triggered off a Global Civil War

  • At issue: crisis and transformation of the global system

  • A long series of intense political struggles within states and between states. Main groups of actors:

    • political forces seeking revolutionary changes, oriented towards socialism (the Global Left),
    • forces aiming to destroy the Global Left and save capitalism through abolishing liberal democracy (the Global Right), and
    • forces seeking to save capitalism through social and political reforms which would undercut the Global Left (the Global Centre)




  • The Global Left:

    • The Soviet Union, regarded as the base of world revolution;
    • A network of communist parties organized in the Comintern;
    • National liberation movements in the Global South, seeking the overthrow of Western empires – and regarding the USSR as a key ally


  • Attempted revolutions in Europe in the wake of World War I

  • Germany, Nov. 1918 – June 1919

  • Hungary, March – June 1919

  • Bulgaria

  • Finland

  • Italy



  • The 1918-19 revolution in Germany

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INTjCj3Ogas&feature=related















  • The Bavarian Soviet Republic

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWluZ81WMIE&feature=related



  • The Hungarian Soviet Republic

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0up2OQSttQU



  • The Soviet-Polish war of 1919-1921: nationalism vs. export of revolution



  • Poland’s independence is recognized by the Soviet Government in 1918; at the time, Poland is occupied by German and Austro-Hungarian forces

  • After World War I, Poland becomes fully independent under a national government

  • Western powers decide to use Poland as the key bastion in Eastern European “sanitary cordon” to contain Soviet Russia

  • What should be Poland’s borders?

  • Western powers: territories inhabited by ethnic Poles

  • Poland: restoration of the Polish borders of 1772 (incorporating Ukrainian, Belarusian and Lithuanian lands)

  • Poland’s calculation: Russia is wrecked by Civil War, the West is on Poland’s side



  • Key battleground: disputed territories of Ukraine and Belarus

  • Ukraine is in a civil war, split between Ukrainian Soviets, Ukrainian nationalists and the Greens; actions of White forces a major factor

  • In 1919, Poland interferes in these struggles against supporters of the Soviets

  • Summer 1920 – full-fledged war between the Red Army and the Polish Army







  • “Locked within its 16th century borders, cut off from the Black and Baltic Seas, deprived of its lands and mineral resources of the South and Southeast, Russia might well become a second-rate power incapable of presenting serious danger to Poland’s restored independence. Meanwhile, Poland as the biggest and strongest of the new states, might easily secure for itself a sphere of influence spreading from Finland to the Caucasus.”

  • Jozef Pilsudski, Provisional Commander of the Second Polish Republic





























  • The Communist International was founded in March 1919 by 52 representatives of 34 Bolshevik-type parties

  • 21 Conditions adopted at the 2nd Congress in 1920:

  • http://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/2nd-congress/ch07.htm

  • Major communist parties:

  • In Europe: Germany, France, Italy

  • In Asia: China, Vietnam













  • The Global Right

  • Various right-wing forces, shattered by World War I and the Russian Revolution

  • On the defensive, trying to adapt to the new situation

    • Conservatives adrift
  • The rise of Radical Right – fascism

    • Combining nationalist, militarist, socialist and antidemocratic ideas
  • The new word: “totalitarianism” (Mussolini)

  • Fascism allows the Right to go on the offensive

  • But until the 1930s, the offensives are of local, not global, significance



  • Freikorps, German right-wing militia

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf3kh61tsIc







  • Hitler’s rise to power

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHvQ3apI6xU&feature=related



  • The march of dictators

  • 1922: Italy, Spain

  • 1923: Turkey

  • 1926: Poland, Lithuania, Portugal

  • 1929: Yugoslavia

  • 1933: Germany

  • 1934: Latvia, Bulgaria

  • 1936: Hungary, Greece

  • 1939: Spain again

  • 1940: Romania



  • The cause of World revolution and Soviet politics

  • Socialism in One Country

  • Peaceful Cosexistence

  • International Solidarity

  • Trying to control foreign revolutions



  • The Global Center

  • Liberals, reform-minded socialists, labour and other social movements struggling for democratization and social reforms

  • The 1920s as a period of uncertainty

  • Emergence of a liberal world order instead of a world revolution?

    • Stabilization of global capitalism, revival of globalized markets
    • Disarmament, League of Nations
    • Peaceful coexistence between the West and the Soviet Union




  • From Roosevelt’s inaugural address, January 20, 1933:

  • “Rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence....The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit”.



  • 1929

  • The start of the Great Depression

  • Capitalism shattered, class conflicts on the rise everywhere

  • Revival of the ideas of world revolution

  • The Global Left goes on the offensive

  • Radicalization of right-wing forces

  • Political polarization

  • Retreat of liberal democracy

  • In international relations – growing anarchy, return to traditional power politics







  • 1933

  • Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany

  • The Nazis destroy German democracy, crush the Left, build a totalitarian state, prepare for wars of aggression





  • 1936-39

  • The Spanish Civil War: Spain as an arena of a crucial battle between the Global Left and the Global Right




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