Organization 1947–56 established by Soviet politician Andrei Zhdanov (1896–1948) to exchange information between European communist parties. The Cominform was a revival of the Communist International (see International, the) or Comintern, which had been formally disbanded in 1943. Yugoslavia was expelled in 1948.
The Cominform was formed by nine European communist parties (Soviet, Czechoslovak, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Yugoslav, French, and Italian) which announced their decision to set up an ‘Information Bureau’ in Belgrade.
The dissolution of the Comintern in 1943, dictated by its propagandist effect on Allied public opinion, was entirely to the advantage of the Soviet Union, for the central direction and control of all communist parties from a single source in Moscow remained unaltered. When World War II ended, communists tried to convert the National Liberation Fronts into National Front governments in which they could still retain the essential power, even if by remote control. But except in Eastern Europe, under the shadow of the Red Army, this transformation could not be effected, for the fall of Hitler had removed the bond which united Catholics, socialists, and Christian Democrats in resistance. Hence the necessity to revive the Comintern in a disguised form.
The Cominform was intended to keep before public opinion the fact that communism was an international movement working to a plan. But the existence of the Cominform on balance damaged the communist cause far more than it promoted it. Opposition to the Soviet Union was always most firmly rooted in the belief that it was planning and supporting a worldwide revolutionary movement. The Comintern was dissolved mainly in order to destroy the popular ground for that belief.
By founding the Cominforn, the communists resurrected the old spectre. The part played by the Cominform in speeding the passage of the Economic Cooperation Act through the US Congress was some evidence of this fact. The functions of the Cominform in directing and supporting the activities of world communism remained, as before, the responsibility of the USSR, a fact which was made evident in 1948 by the expulsion of the Yugoslavian party for its refusal to bow to Soviet control. The dissolution of the Cominform in April 1956 was intended to facilitate both Khrushchev's policy of ‘peaceful coexistence’ with the West and his rapprochement with Yugoslavia.