Mitteilungsblatt des Instituts für soziale Bewegungen Heft 33

Reiner Tosstorff: Der Balkan im Blick der Gewerkschaftsinternationalen

Vom Vorabend des Ersten Weltkrieges bis zur Weltwirtschaftskrise

The Balkans drew the attention of the Trade Union International, founded as a separate institution
in 1901 under social-democratic dominance and led by the German Carl Legien. It
organised essential support for the development of the Balkan trade unions. At the same
time, it tried to mediate in the conflicts which shook the Bulgarian workers’ movement, with
repercussions all over the Balkans. The consequences of the First World War led to the transformation
of these organisational conflicts into political ones when the communist Red International
of Labour Unions was founded. A bitter struggle was waged within the Balkan
trade union movement which further undermined its weak position. The reconstruction of
the intervention by the two trade union internationals not only shows the organisational consequences
and the mutual interdependencies, but also highlights the difficulties of the ‚gaze
from afar‘, from the centre of the European labour movement, onto such an ‚exotic region‘.