I hope you don't mind if I try to respond to your subject about communism three month later. ***My english is not perfect, I know.
The term already existed previously, but perhaps true communism begins with Marx (1848 the Manifesto), from there in the future his ideas spread all over Europe.
Russia of '17, in this regard, I personally justify the Russian revolution, the situation was tragic, people died easily, and in the riots died by the hands of the Cossacks, people were sent to war and it was not too clear why. Stalin was surely a dictator, he did, what others did, surrounded himself with people who thought like him; Lenin in his testament (or will) before his death, had explicitly written that he(Stalin) had to be dismissed from office, defining him as coarse and capricious.
After the red-revolution there was fear throughout Europe. Hitler even profited from it by writing in Mein Kampf that communists were primarily Jews. The middle class people (i.e. those who struggle to get what they have and are afraid of losing it) were the ones that both Hitler and Mussolini spoke to. Fascism firmly opposed communism, which in that period was a predominant movement in Italy, I must mention Antonio Gramsci, a philosopher who is immediately locked up, he reinterprets Marx's words in a modern key.
For a long time it was not clear what was going on in China, perhaps not even in Russia until 68-69 ("Prague spring").
Che Guevara also was a relevant chapter of history, the Cold War.
My grandmother said that, after the war, in her little country, hard-workers voted for communism, the rest for the church (church movement: Democreazia Cristiana).
The majority of people I've asked about what they think of communism now, responded that was an "utopia" (means: an impossible dream, I'm talking about italian communism). Some simply associate the word with a totalitarianism, as I think a lot of americans do too, talking about China, in a negative way.
There are so many things to say...
I've tryed to be generic.