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Associations formed to unite socialist and communist organizations throughout the world. There were four Internationals. The First (1864), at which Marx was a leading figure, met in London but was riven by disputes between Marxists and anarchists. By 1872 it had become clear that divisions were irreconcilable and it was disbanded (1876). The Second, or Socialist, International (1889) aimed at uniting the numerous new socialist parties that had sprung up in Europe. With headquarters in Brussels, it was better organized and by 1912 it contained representatives from all European countries and also from the USA, Canada, and Japan. It did not survive the outbreak of World War I, when its plan to prevent war by general strike and revolution was swamped by a wave of nationalism in all countries. The Third, usually known as the Communist International or Comintern (1919), was founded by Lenin and the Bolsheviks to promote world revolution and a world communist state. It drew up the Twenty-One Points of pure communist doctrine to be accepted by all seeking membership. This resulted in splits between communist parties, which accepted the Points, and socialist parties, which did not. The Comintern increasingly became an instrument of the Soviet Union's foreign policy. In 1943 Stalin disbanded it. The Fourth International (1938), of comparatively little importance, was founded by Trotsky and his followers in opposition to Stalin. After Trotsky's assassination (1940) it was controlled by two Belgian communists, Pablo and Germain, whose bitter disagreements had by 1953 ended any effective action.

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