100 years ago, humanity stood on the brink of the abyss, about to plunge into the most terrible bloodletting ever seen in history. For generations after the Great War, 1914-18 was synonymous with senseless murder, a ghastly waste of life in the horror of the trenches, for which the suffering populations rendered the governments and the ruling classes largely responsible. To commemorate the war, one hundred years on, is thus something of an embarassment for those same ruling classes, and so 2014 became a year, not of commemoration but of forgetting.
In 1889 the Second International was founded as a result of the attempts of the socialist parties of Western European countries such as Germany, France and Belgium to bring together different social democratic parties of the time. For the most part, the world communist movement of the future would emerge from this organization. While the Second International remained focused on Western Europe from its foundation to its collapse, and while it was designed from the start as a federation of national parties rather than a centralized structure, it was nevertheless to become a magnet for all the socialist movements of the time, from North and South America to the Far East.