Founded in 1921, the Communist Party of New Zealand (CPNZ) gained support during the Depression of the 1930s, when it campaigned strongly on behalf of unemployed workers. It was also a strong supporter of the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).
During the Second World War, when this recruitment poster was produced, the CPNZ enjoyed a degree of popularity due to the Soviet Union’s contribution to the war against Nazi Germany.
The onset of the Cold War in the late 1940s and the bitter 1951 waterfront dispute revived public suspicion of communists. Although the CPNZ regularly contested local-body and national elections from the 1940s, none of its candidates ever came close to winning a seat.