Communist Party Of The United States Of America
- (CPUSA)Communism was established in the United States in 1919 with the creation of the Communist Party and Communist Labor Party, which had been formed by elements of the Socialist Party of America and others, following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the launching of the Third International, or Comintern, in March 1919. The two groups merged in 1921 to become the Workers’ Party of America. In 1928, it was again renamed the Communist Party. The party always remained a minority party with a large foreign-language and immigrant membership. Its greatest electoral support came during the Great Depression when it secured 102,991 votes in the 1932 presidential election. Following the launching of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the party’s membership fell to only 26,000 in 1934. Under the leadership of Earl Browder, the party began to change direction and support the New Deal and from 1935 on began to talk of a popular front in the struggle against fascism. As a result Browder received 80,869 votesin 1936, and membership rose to 100,000 again by 1939. However, the CPUSA, loyal to the Soviet Union, abruptly changed again after the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact that year abandoned the popular front and increasingly spoke out against any possible involvement in war with Germany. But when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1940, yet again the party abandoned its previous policy in favor of all out support of war. This continued to such an extent after the United States entered World War II in 1941 that Browder even suggested that the CPUSA was no longer necessary, and he was expelled from what was left of the organization and replaced by William Z. Foster. The party continued to decline during the Cold War, and by 1955 party membership was less than 5,000, one-third of whom were said to be Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. However, in 1948 the Truman administration prosecuted 11 CPUSA leaders under the terms of the Smith Act, and in 1949 they were sentenced for terms of one to five years in prison. As the Cold War progressed and events such as the Soviet suppression of the rising in Hungary in 1957 occurred, membership fell even further and was a mere 3,000 by 1958. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 brought yet another decline, and the party barely continued to exist.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.
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