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.
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).