Factions - The PCE

The Partido Comunista de Espana in 1936 was a Stalinist Communist political party and member of the USSR dominated Comintern. It's size was tiny - 30,000 at the start of the war, set against the Socialist and Anarchist labour unions with memberships in the millions - but it made up for its small size with its backing from the Soviet Union, its discipline and efficiency, and the fact that it was led by the most devious, ruthless masters of intrigue and murder in all of Spain. One of the two communist deputies, Dolores Ibarruri, was better known as La Pasionaria (the passion flower) thanks to her fiery rhetoric - she was one of the best orators of the period.

Its membership rose dramatically when the war began, filled by middle class Republicans who liked the Party's disciplined anti-revolutionary approach, ambitious men who were sure they would come out on top, and people frightened of being shot as Nationalist supporters who wanted the protection of Party membership.

It was the PCE that was responsible for the forming of the International Brigades, 80 percent of whose volunteers came mostly from foreign Communist Parties allied to the Comintern, and the Soviet Union provided some assistance to this effort. By the wars end the PCE was practically running the Republican zone.

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