Klaus-Georg Riegel: The founding congress of the Comintern as a propaganda coup for Lenin (Review of new publications on the Comintern)


In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2010. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 363–372

Wladislaw Hedeler/ Alexander Vatlin, eds.: Die Weltpartei aus Moskau. Der Gründungskongress der Kommunistischen Internationale 1919. Protokoll und neue Dokumente. Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2008, 440 p. ISBN 978-3-05-004495-8. Hedeler and Vatlin have edited a documentary volume focusing on the intricate history of the inaugural meeting of the Comintern in March 1919 in Moscow. The published documents contain the minutes, decisions and deliberations of the sessions of the congress and, among other documents, an extensive survey of biographical profiles and photos of the delegates. In their introduction the editors argue convincingly that the founding of the Comintern was due to Lenin’s overall concern to set up a new propaganda machine supporting and defending the Bolshevik revolution as a new world centre for foreign communist parties emulating and following the Leninist hegemonic aspirations.

Pierre Brocheux: Ho Chi Minh. A Biography: New York: Cambridge University Press 2007, 265 p., ISBN 978-0-521-85062-9. Brocheux examines carefully the revolutionary career of Ho Chi Minh as one of the most important Comintern emissaries. Based mainly on research using Vietnamese and French archival material, his portrait of Ho Chi Minh shows not only the different stations of life of a professional revolutionary encompassing his Vietnamese Confucian family background, the first French experiences with the socialist world, the ideological training in Moscow, the close alliance with the Chinese Communist Party and their leaders; but also his first steps within the ranks of the Vietnamese national liberation movement up until the victory of the Vietminh Front. Last but not least, at the very end of this global revolutionary career, Ho Chi Minh was venerated as a mythological icon of the Vietnamese nation, a father of the nation.

Karin-Irene Eiermann: Chinesische Komintern-Delegierte in Moskau in den 1920er/1930er Jahren. Kommunikations- und Herrschaftsstrukturen im Zentrum der internationalen kommunistischen Bewegung. Berlin: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin 2009, 266 p., ISBN 978-3-86573-425-9. Based mostly on Russian archives of the Comintern, Eiermann shows the asymmetrical, unequal communications and power relations between the Chinese delegates and their Russian counterparts between 1925 and 1937 within the Comintern. The China policy of the Comintern, she argues, was determined by the ideological and power aspirations of the Stalinist leadership but not by the Chinese Comintern delegates whose influence was restricted to discussions on world affairs peripheral to the Chinese revolution.

Über den Autor

Klaus-Georg Riegel, Prof. Dr., geb. 1943, Prof. für Soziologie an der Universität Trier (1988–2007). Forschungsschwerpunkte: Kultursoziologie, Modernisierungstheorien und Politische Religionen. Veröffentlichungen zum Marxismus-Leninismus als Politischer Religion u. a.: Transplanting the Political Religion of Marxism-Leninism to China: The Case of the Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow (1925–1930), in: K.-H. Pohl (Hg.): Chinese Thought in a Global Context, Leiden 1999, S. 327–358; Rituals of Confession within Communities of virtuosi: An Interpretation of the Stalinist Criticism and Self-criticism in the Perspective of Max Weber’s Sociology of Religion, in: Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 6 (2005), H. 1, S. 97–126; Marxism-Leninism as Political Religion, in: Hans Maier / Michael Schäfer (Hg.): Totalitarianism and Political Religions, Bd. II, London 2007, S. 61–112.