Anti-communism is political and idealogical
opposition to communism. Historically, the
word communism has been used to refer to
several types of communal social organiza-
tion and their supporters, but, since the
mid-19th century, the dominant school of
communism in the world has been Marxism.
Marxist communism drew far more support-
ers and opponents than any other form of
communism. As such, the term anti-commun-
ism is most often employed to refer to active
opposition to Marxist communism.
Marxism, and the form of communism as-
sociated with it, rose to prominence in the
20th century. Organized anti-communism de-
veloped in reaction to the growing popularity
of the communist movement, and took on
many forms as the 20th century unfolded.
Conservative monarchists in Europe fought
against the first wave of communist revolu-
tions from 1917 to 1922. Fascism and Nazism
were based on a violent brand of anti-com-
munism; they incited fear of a communist re-
volution in order to gain political power, and
they aimed to destroy communism in World
War II. Nationalists fought against commun-
ists in numerous civil wars across the globe.
Both conservatism and classical liberalism
shaped much of the anti-communist foreign
policy of the Western powers, and dominated
anti-communist intellectual thought in the
second half of the 20th century.
Following the October Revolution in Rus-
sia, Marxist communism became largely as-
sociated with the Soviet Union in the public
imagination (though there were many Marx-
ists and communists who did not support the
Soviet Union and its policies). As a result,
anti-communism and opposition to the Soviet
Union became almost indistinguishable, espe-
cially in terms of foreign policy. Anti-com-
munism was an important element in the for-
eign policy of the Axis powers during the
1930s (Anti-Comintern Pact) and the United
States, the United Kingdom, Japan, South
Korea, Australia, Canada, Israel, and other
capitalist countries during the Cold War.