The progressive version of public relations history present it as a by-product of pluralist political systems or a democratic dividend. It has been claimed that public relations thrives within open media systems and market economies but struggles in highly controlled governmental systems (dictatorships, juntas, and closed economies). This paper considers how political history and political systems affected the formation of public relations practices in regions of Europe that, after 1945, were under military dictatorships (Spain and Portugal), a military junta (Greece) and were contained in the Soviet bloc. Using comparative history methodology, the notion that public relations operates solely in democracies is challenged, although it is conceded that practice thrived in post-war Western Europe but struggled to develop in parts of southern and eastern Europe. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.