Socialism across the Iron Curtain: Socialist Parties in East and West and the Reconstruction of Europe after 1945

Socialism across the Iron Curtain: Socialist Parties in East and West and the Reconstruction of Europe after 1945

by Jan De Graaf


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This innovative pan-European history of post-war socialism challenges the East-West paradigm that still dominates accounts of post-war Europe. Jan De Graaf offers a comparative study of the ways in which the French, Italian and Polish socialist parties and the Czechoslovakian Social Democratic Party dealt with the problems of socio-economic and political reconstruction. Drawing on archival documents in seven languages, De Graaf reveals the profound divide which existed in all four countries between socialist elites and their grassroots as workers reacted hostilely to calls for industrial discipline and for further sacrifices towards the reconstruction effort. He also provides a fresh interpretation of the political weaknesses of socialist parties in post-war continental Europe by stressing the importance of political history and social structure. By placing the attitudes of the continental socialist parties in their proper socio-historical context he highlights the many similarities across and divergences within the two putative blocs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108441179
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/18/2020
Series: New Studies in European History Series
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jan De Graaf is a postdoctoral researcher at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He graduated with the highest distinction from Universiteit Utrecht in 2009 and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Portsmouth in 2015. Since 2015, he has been working on a four-year postdoctoral project on wildcat strikes as a pan-European phenomenon, funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).

Table of Contents

1. The national road to socialism; 2. Bread, butter and egalitarianism; 3. Discipline, sacrifice, and production; 4. The morale of the story; 5. The lessons of the past; 6. Elections, parliaments, and constitutions; 7. Democracy from below; 8.The international road to socialism.

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