For many years, the term "red" was synonymous with communism. The color continues to be used in the flags and symbolism of communist countries such as China and Vietnam. The color red has been used to symbolize rebellion for centuries and came to be identified with left-wing political movements dating from the 18th century.
The color red was first used to identify the struggle of the working class when revolutionary forces flew red flags and wore red caps during the French Revolution of 1789. Red flags were also associated with a variety of European socialist political movements from the mid-19th century. When Russian communists seized power during the Russian Revolution of 1917, they adopted a red flag with a yellow hammer and sickle. Most other communist countries adopted Russia's use of the color red. The most common reason given by communists for using red is that it symbolizes the blood of the proletariat, or working class, which was shed in their revolution. It is also possible that red was chosen by Russian revolutionaries simply because the color has historically been associated with beauty in Russian culture.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images