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Which Socialism, Whose Détente?
West European Communism and the Czechoslovak Crisis of 1968

Maud Bracke, University of Glasgow

This study analyzes the impact of the Czechoslovak crisis of 1968–1969 on the two major communist parties in the West: the Italian and French ones. Discusses the central strategic and ideological tensions which these parties needed to deal with: domestic belonging versus allegiance to the world communist movement, doctrinal orthodoxy in a context of rapid societal changes, and the question of revolution and reform. These key problems were situated in different contexts: the crisis in the “world communist movement” after 1956 and the Sino-Soviet rift, socio-economic modernization and political radicalization in Western Europe, and the shift from Cold War to early détente on the European continent. The research for this work is based on the study of a large collection of recently released primary sources, particularly, the internal records of various communist parties in Europe.

Contents

Introduction; Chapter 1 West European Communism and Internationalism. Theoretical and Analytical Framework Part I. West European Communism and Internationalism, 1956–1967 Chapter 2 West European Communism and the Changes of 1956; Chapter 3 West European Communism and Internationalism in the 1960s (1962–1967); Part II. The Prague Spring, the Invasion, the Dissent; Chapter 4 West European communism and the Prague Spring: reform and détente; Chapter 5 Invasion, Dissent, Crisis; Chapter 6 Normalization and Realignment; Part III. The Consequences: Internationalism after Czechoslovakia; Chapter 7 Resetting Internationalism (1969–1970) Chapter 8 Internationalism and Eurocommunism in the 1970s General Conclusions: Internationalism, Détente, Revolution; Abbreviations, Annex 1 Membership figures for the PCI and PCF, 1956–1979; Annex 2 Electoral results for the PCI and PCF (per cent), 1956–1979; Primary sources; Bibliography; Index


"Maude Bracke has drawn extensively on formerly inaccessible materials from the PCI, PCF, and former East German archives for her book. The result is an interesting, valuable study that makes an important contribution to the scholarship on these two parties. All scholars interested in west European communism and the international communist movement during the Cold War will benefit from reading this insightful, absorbing book". - Slavic Review

"A sharp, thoughtful, graciously written study, based on impressive research in the archives of the French and Italian parties, as well as East German records, for insights into Soviet actions. The author lucidly organizes her book in small numbered section summaries. The book does not change the overall understanding of the positions and roles of the two parties, but it adds much rich detail and subtlety. Summing up: highly recommended". - Choice

2007
424 pages
ISBN 978-963-7326-94-3 cloth $50.00 / €42.95 / £40.00

 

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