The Fourth International 1923–53.
Driver, I.D.,
1990, A9m. M.Phil., CNAA,
Thames Polytechnic – 41-0229

With the exception of a book by Pierre Frank (1), a pamphlet by Tim Wohlforth (2), and a number of studies of a strictly national nature, very little research has been conducted into the history of the Trotskyist movement and its organisational expression, the Fourth International. This thesis represents a step into this relatively under researched field of history. The thesis begins by examining the factors which gave rise to the development of a left opposition tendency within the Soviet Communist party and the international communist movement, and examines some of the major points of conflict which arose between the opposition and the leadership of the movement. The thesis then goes on to look at the reasons why the opposition eventually decided to break from the official communist movement, and how it set about organising a rival revolutionary organisation. The thesis then studies how the rival movement became the Fourth International, and how it reacted to the tumultuous events of the 1930’s, the Second World War, and the post-war years. At all times particular attention is paid to examining how the Trotskyists endeavoured to extend their influence within the international labour movement, and how successful they were in these endeavours. The thesis ends by examining the decline and collapse of the Fourth International, and suggestions are offered in the conclusion as to why this organisation failed, during the period under study, to make a major impact upon labour politics.

1. Pierre Frank, The Fourth International, London 1972.

2. Tim Wohlforth, Towards a History of the Fourth International, New York 1971.

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Last updated: 15.2.2005 15.2.2005