The Communist International was founded by V.I. Lenin in March 1919 as an organization of communist parties to serve as the general staff of the world revolution. 1 The Communist International is also referred to as the Third International or the Comintern. The Second International had fallen apart in late 1914 at the onset of World War I, because most of the member socialist parties had supported their nations in the war. The Bolshevik Party, the Italian Socialist Party, and the American Socialist Party were the only prewar parties in the Second International not to support the war. Lenin took this betrayal of socialist principles of peace and opposition to imperialism as a signal to call for a Third International at the Zimmerwald Conference in September 1915. The time was not right for this move. It would not be until after the Bolshevik Revolution, when communist fortunes were running high, that Lenin would renew his call for a new International. The Soviet government issued a decree, signed by Lenin and Leon Trotsky, for financing this new International on December 26, 1917.
A preliminary “international meeting” to prepare for the founding congress of the Communist International was held in Petrograd on December 19, 1918, chaired by Maxim Gorky. Since there was also discussion at this time about recreating the Second International, Lenin pressed forward. In January 1919, representatives from the communist parties of Russia, Finland, Poland, Austria, Hungary, the Balkan Revolutionary Social Demo-