Excluding the USSR, where in the world were Communist parties the strongest before WWII?

Sep 2016
Excluding the USSR, where in the world were Communist parties the strongest before WWII? FTR, I mean immediately before WWII here--so, in 1938-1939. Thus, the failed Communist attempts to seize power in Hungary and Germany in 1918-1919 don't count for this. Rather, what I want to know is the strength of various Communist movements worldwide (excluding the USSR, of course--since the USSR is obvious) in 1938-1939--as in, on the eve of WWII.

Anyway, any thoughts on this?
France :

Popular Front won the legislative elections in 1936 which consisted of French section of Workers' International, French Communist Party and Radical-Socialists. French section of Workers' International achieved 19 % of votes and French Communist Party 15 % of votes. Popular Front formed government and it started the series of social reforms. Leon Blum became the Prime-Minister. Popular Front government was composed of SFIO and Republican ministers, while Communist Party supported it with their deputies.

In 1946 legislative elections French Communist Party achieved 28 % of votes and had the best result out of all parties. SFIO acquired 17 % of votes.

Spain :

Popular Front was created in January 1936. It consisted of Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Communist Party of Spain, Workers' Party of Marxist Unification, Republican Left and Republican Union. It won the elections in 1936 with 39 % of votes and gained 285 seats in Cortes Generales.
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Likes: Futurist
Sep 2016
Potentially also Italy ... the Communist Party left the Socialist one in early 20's, but to be Communist was illegal under Fascism, so that the party was clandestine and this means that we cannot evaluate its real popularity. Anyway in occasion of the first democratic elections after WWII the party, embedded in a leftist Democratic Front, with the Socialists, collected more than the 30% of the votes [this was the result of the Front].
I believe Italian Communist Party also collected 34 % of votes in 1976 elections.
Likes: Futurist


Forum Staff
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I believe Italian Communist Party also collected 34 % of votes in 1976 elections.
It was a different historical moment. The defeat of the Americans in Vietnam and the fall of Saigon gave a lot of kudos to pro Soviet political organizations and in Italy there was only one pro Soviet organization ... the PCI. Even if ... years later Berlinguer would have disengaged the Italian Communist Party from Moscow [theoretically ... in the 90's there have been investigations about Soviet activities in Italy ... from financial activity to something well more concrete, but this is a different tale].

Personally I would say that in Italy still after the war [so in late 40's] there was a separation between followers of Lenin and Stalin. Curiously enough Socialist kept on following, de facto, Lenin. Italian historians suggest that this was the reason why the Italian Socialist Party saw its consensus drastically reduced, while the Communist Party became a giant.

That fact that the partisans who fought against Nazis and Fascists were Communist or activists of the "Catholic Action" created the political environment [and the Constitution] of the Republic for the following ... 50 years [about]. With a detail: the "conventio ad excludendum" ... because of NATO "indications" Communists hadn't to get the government of Italy. Period, and of history.


Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
Canary Islands-Spain
Berlinguer had deeply studied the books of his famous compatriot of Sardinia,the filosof marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937),autor of the treaty:"the boscheviks against Karl Marx".
In my opinion, at that point PCI and the Eurocomunist stopped being communist and transitioned to socialdemocracy
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Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
I would say:

1st: Spain
2nd: France

In Spain, the communist greetings were mandatory: in Army, Navy, Air Force.. in theathers, sports etc etc... if you don't greet communist style ... you could have health problems

Real Madrid... (Well... Real means Royal... it was banned the name Royal in Madrid football team)

Communist greetings was not official in France and save I was wrong.. Spain is the only West European Country where the Communist greeting was official and mandantory.

President of the Republic... officially greeted with mandatory red greeting

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