Bern International

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bern International


an international organization founded on Feb. 3–10, 1919, at a conference held in Bern, Switzerland, by leaders of social democratic parties who adhered to positions of social chauvinism, opportunism, and centrism. At the time it was founded, the Bern International was composed of the social democratic parties of Austria, Argentina, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Palestine, Finland, France, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, and Sweden. This international held three conferences: in Amsterdam in April 1919, in Lucerne in August 1919, and in Geneva in July and August 1920. The leaders of the Bern International, including K. H. Branting, K. Kautsky, E. Bernstein, and P. Renodel, attempted to revive the Second International (which had collapsed in 1914), to hinder the growth of the revolutionary and communist movement, and to prevent the formation of the Comintern. They took a hostile attitude toward the dictatorship of the proletariat in Soviet Russia and exalted bourgeois democracy in every way. “Like real philistines,” wrote V. I. Lenin, “the leaders of the Bern International repeat bourgeois-democratic catchwords about freedom, equality, and democracy but fail to see that they are repeating fragments of ideas concerning the free and equal commodity owner, fail to understand that the proletariat needs a state not for ’freedom’ but for the suppression of its enemy, the exploiter, the capitalist” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 39, p. 108). In February 1921 several socialist and social democratic parties, including the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Austrian Social Democratic Party, the French Socialist Party, and the British Independent Labour Party, whose leaders were concerned about the decline in influence of these parties, left the Bern International and founded the so-called Vienna (or Second and a Half) International. In May 1923, when conditions were such that the revolutionary struggle was beginning to abate, the Bern International merged with the Vienna International to form the Socialist Labor International.


Lenin, V. I. “Geroi bernskogo Internatsionala.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. vol. 38.
Lenin, V. I. “O zadachakh III Internatsionala.” Ibid., vol. 39.
Mogilevskii, S. A. Vosstanovlenie II Internatsionala 1919–1923. Leningrad, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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