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RE: Twilight of the Comintern The CPUSA records (fond 515) that are on microfilm and whose originals are part of the Comintern archive at RGASPI in Moscow drop off severely after 1936, but this is not true of Comintern records in general. As we well know, the activities of the CPUSA did not drop off after 1936, just the records shipped to Moscow. Very likely the reason for the drop is just that by the time the 1937 (and later years) records were no longer of current use to the CPUSA and ready for more permanent storage, World War II had begun and shipping a large volume of records from the U.S. to the USSR, once easy, had become very difficult with a high risk of physical loss and interception. As for the records of the Comintern proper and its main organs, those continue in significant but gradually diminishing volume as the Comintern itself declined until its official dissolution in 1943. And even after that key sections of the Comintern continued to operate under new names and produce significant volumes of records: Scientific Research Institute 100, a section of the Comintern headquarters, maintained links to foreign parties. Institute 100ís records are at RGASPI as fond 578 (1,400+ folders of material); Scientific Research Institute 205 (RGASPI fond 579) held much of the Cominternís information, press and propaganda assets. At least one American, Elsa Feinstein, the daughter of CPUSA leader Max Bedacht, worked for Institute 205. Both institutes were later merged into the international department of the CPSU. There was also an Institute 99 that, I believe, used former Comintern staff for Communist political work and recruitment among POWs held by the USSR. The work of the two institutes was supervised by the Cominternís former chief, Georgi Dimitrov, until he left to take control of Bulgaria. He did not, I believe, officially head of either institute because it would look too much like the Comintern under another name. The history of the Comintern is not a major emphasis of my own work, but for what it is worth I donít see any abrupt discontinuity in the Comintern in the mid-30s. Rather, after Stalin established his supremacy in the late 1920s, there is a gradual slide in the Cominternís institutional position until it is reduced by 1943 to its core functions of liaison and guidance of foreign parties and propaganda. The various once flourishing Comintern affiliates fade along the way. For example, the Red International of Labor Unions (Profintern) had once been a body of some importance but in the early 1930s it withers and then in late 1937 vanishes without, I think, any public announcement. Stalinís purge of the Comintern in 1937-1938 certainly disrupted its central leadership and central cadre at the time, but much of its international work proceeded. A greater organizational discontinuity to the Comintern international work was the outbreak of World War II. This seriously disrupted the Comintern international work because communications and travel became difficult under wartime conditions. This was further exacerbated when much of the Cominternís staff was evacuated to Siberia when Nazi troops approached Moscow in late 1941. One can see the affect of the war on communications in the Cominternís records on the CPUSA. In the 1930s the flow on information on the CPUSA to the Comintern was enormous. By 1943 and 1944, the Comintern (and Institute 100) received only a fraction of what it had received earlier. Comintern memoranda on the CPUSA in the 1930s reflected discussions with CPUSA officials, returning Comintern representatives, and American Communists serving internships with the Comintern staff or at Comintern schools. By 1943, many of the Comintern memoranda on the CPUSA appear to be based largely on formal party statements and close readings of the _Daily Worker_ and other CPUSA literature rather than the richer and more informed sources of the 1930s. In addition to the Stalinís lack of enthusiasm for the organization, the Comintern as an institution, it seems to me, fitted best an era when the Communist movement was organizationally in opposition to and in open competition with social democracy, syndicalism, and other left alternatives. The Cominternís institutional arrangements were, I in my view, ill-suited for the political needs of the Popular Front policies that came to the fore by the middle 1930s. That appears to be the case with the Profintern. The early 30s shift toward urging Communist trade unionists to work with and inside mainstream trade unions was a transition for which organizationally the Profintern was a clumsy instrument. Given its history as a rival and alternative to the social democratic and socialist International Federation of Trade Unions, the Profintern was not credible when in its Popular Front mode its attempted to pursue merger or fusion of some sort. The maneuvering room for Communist trade unionists was expanded by having the Profintern just vanish from the scene. Something much the same could be said of the TUUL in the United States. John Earl Haynes