Communist Party of Switzerland

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Communist Party of Switzerland


(CPS; German, Kommunistische Partei der Schweiz; French, Parti Communiste Suisse), a party founded on Mar. 5–6, 1921, at a congress held in Zürich, merging communist groups that had formed in 1917 and 1918 and left-wing social democrats who left the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland.

In 1921 the Communist Party of Switzerland, with 6,000 members, joined the Comintern. The party program adopted at the Second Congress, in June 1922, stated that the chief task of the party was the building of socialism in Switzerland. The CPS pursued a policy of proletarian internationalism and demanded the recognition of Soviet Russia and the establishment of diplomatic relations with it. The Third Congress of the CPS, held in December 1924, called on Communists to fight for a united front of the working people. On the eve of World War II, the CPS fought against fascism and the threat of war and exposed the foreign policy of the Swiss government, which maintained close political and economic ties with fascist Germany and Italy. From 1936 to 1939 about 700 Swiss responded to the party call and fought in the International Brigades in Spain. In 1939 the party adopted a program calling for the defense of the country against fascism, for democratization of the army, and for the outlawing of fascist organizations in Switzerland.

After the outbreak of World War II, the Swiss government outlawed the CPS on Nov. 27, 1940. Working underground, the party continued the struggle against the fascist danger, circulated party publications, helped people who had escaped from concentration camps in Germany, including Soviet prisoners of war, and organized the transport of the escapees to partisan detachments in France. Between 1940 and 1944, in Bern, Basel, and other cities, the party staged a number of protest meetings against the antipopular policy of the Swiss government; the demands of these meetings included higher wages, a shorter working day, and the lifting of censorship. The Swiss Party of Labor, which included the CPS, the Socialist Federation, and progressive social democrats, was set up at the Constituent Congress held in Zürich on Oct. 14–15, 1944. (See Table 1 for congresses of the CPS.)

Table 1. Congresses of the Communist Party of Switzerland
First ...............March 1921
Second ...............June 1922
Third ...............December 1924
Fourth ...............April 1927
Fifth ...............1930
Sixth ...............May-June 1936
Seventh ...............May 1939


Bodenmann, M. Zum 40 Jahrestag der Gründung der Kommunistischen Partei der Schweiz. Zürich, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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