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Against Fascism and War: A Short Biographical Sketch of Georgi Dimitrov

Georgi Dimitrov Mikhailov was born 18 June, 1882 in the village of Kovachetsi, Bulgaria. Eventually, him and his family moved to the capital, Sofia, and as an adolescent worked as a typesetter.
In 1902, Dimitrov joined the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party, which splintered in 1903, with Dimitrov following the Marxist Social Democratic Labour Party of Bulgaria (known as the “Narrow Party”, compared to the reformist “Broad Party”). This political organisation was eventually accepted into the Communist International (the Comintern) in 1919, and was then renamed the Bulgarian Communist Party.
Georgi Dimitrov was an elected representative in the National Assembly of Bulgaria starting in 1913, and would hold his seat for ten years until 1923. As a member of the National Assembly in 1914, he opposed granting the government more military credits for the imperialist First World War. For doing this, the Bulgarian authorities sent him to prison during the World War. After being released, he quickly began organising workers, and was a leader of the Bulgarian Transport Strike of 1919-1920, agitating for better social benefits after the strife and destruction the imperialist World War caused. In 1923 as a leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party, helped lead the September Uprising, an uprising with an anti-fascist character, in retaliation for the military coup d'état against Prime Minister Aleksandar Stamboliyski earlier in June. While some pressure from agrarian sections of the country with some Communist volunteers in an earlier uprising that June, the Party itself was not particularly active until September, and this lagging behind meant that the nascent fascist government put it down and initiated a campaign of white terror. Dimitrov then had to flee, first to Yugoslavia, and then to the Soviet Union. The fascist Bulgarian government sentenced him to death in absentia in 1926. He would stay in the Soviet Union until 1929, when he was transferred to Germany to do work for the Comintern.
In 1933, with Hitler's Nazi Party in government, the German parliament building, the Reichstag, was set on fire. This led to accusations that the Communists were in charge of it, and eventually led to mass arrests of Communists and sitting Party members, thus consolidating the Nazis' power. As the Communists were being blamed, the Nazis pointed their fingers towards three Bulgarian Communist Party members in Germany working for the Comintern: Vasil Tanev, Blagoi Popov, and Georgi Dimitrov. The three men were put on trial, and not given much hope for being acquitted. However, Dimitrov, choosing to defend himself, passionately made his defense and of the Communist cause, and defiantly went on the offensive against his Nazi accusers and pronounced that the Reichstag fire was actually the work of the fascists to discredit them. Dimitrov's passionate self-defense, and his even more firey attack on his Nazi prosecutors earned him international renown. Due to insufficient evidence, the accused Bulgarian Communists were triumphantly acquitted, and expelled to the Soviet Union where they were celebrated as heroes and given Soviet citizenship. In 1934, Joseph Stalin would appoint Georgi Dimitrov as the head of the Comintern, a position he served until its dissolution in 1943.
After the Second World War, Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria for the first time since he was exiled 22 years before. He would serve as Prime Minister of Bulgaria and as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party from 1946 until his death in 1949. As Prime Minister, he worked to establish the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the unity of workers and peasants. He also attempted to work with his Yugoslav counterpart, Josip Broz Tito, to form a Balkan Federation. While there was initial progress, disagreements between Dimitrov and Tito came up regarding the structure of the proposed Federation. After the Tito-Stalin split in 1948, the plan was abandoned altogether.
In 1949, Dimitrov travelled to the Soviet Union to receive treatment in a sanatorium. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated further, and he died on July 2 of that year. His body was embalmed and sent back to Bulgaria, where it would lay in the Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum until the destruction of the People's Republic of Bulgaria in 1990, where his body was buried in the Central Sofia Cemetery. The Mausoleum was demolished in 1999.
Georgi Dimitrov is not a very well-known Communist figure. One would then be eager to ask, “Why read Dimitrov?” The answer lies in the fact that Dimitrov's works on fascism were essential to the Communist movement of the early-to-mid 20th century. Aside from his famous self-defense during the Nazi trials, he authored a number of works regarding fascism, the most important of them being his report to the 7th World Congress of the Communist International, “The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class Against Fascism” in August of 1935. In this, he helped to outline that fascism is actually the most reactionary elements of financial capitalism rising to the surface. In essence, when capitalism is in major crisis, it will decay into fascism in order to protect itself.
Ultimately, we are living in turbulent times, where fascism is on the rise yet again. This page hopes to serve not only as a place to commemorate Georgi Dimitrov's legacy. We have a duty to read and learn from the past experiences of those dedicated to fighting and beating back fascism, and find ways to apply this to the fascist threat we face today. Georgi Dimitrov is a giant whose shoulders we must stand upon to help us achieve these goals.
Death to fascism, freedom to the people!


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