French Socialist (SFIO) and German Social Democratic (SPD) responses to early European integration initiatives indicate that there was a postwar generation of SFIO and SPD leaders who were informed by similar experiences rooted in memories, policy proposals, and outcomes from the interwar period. They formulated similar visions of the postwar period that drew upon existing socialist ideology and narratives, but at crucial moments they were perplexed as to how to respond to dilemmas that placed different socialist objectives in conflict with one another. When devising proposals and responding to policies generated by other parties on European integration, French Socialists and German Social Democrats considered the potential repercussions of supranational institutions not only for processes of French-German reconciliation, but also for a wide range of domestic, geopolitical, economic, and at times regional party objectives. As they had to make choices between competing domestic priorities in the early postwar period, conflicts emerged between the SFIO and SPD, as was the case over the proposal to create a European Coal & Steel Community.
Conflict between the parties was paralleled by conflicts within the parties. The minority view in one party often shared the assumptions, logic, and viewpoint of the majority of the other party, as the raucous debate over the European Defense Community made clear. By 1954, however, French Socialist and German Social Democrat deputies in the Common Assembly of the European Coal & Steel Community had achieved a working relationship increasingly marked by good will, cooperation, and a mutual respect for each other’s positions. Inter-party cooperation at the supranational level created a form of Socialist consensus politics. These developments facilitated a SFIO-SPD entente in the form of European economic integration as embodied in the Treaties of Rome. Decisive for the parties’ support of these Treaties was the Socialist parties’ view that some form of trade liberalization within an organized market was a precondition for peace, economic expansion, and international competitiveness. Hence French Socialist and German Social Democratic leaders developed a common approach to issues of European economic integration that created opportunities and conditions necessary for the success of the Treaties.
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||European history, Economic history, Modern history|
|Keywords:||European integration, French socialist party, German social democratic party, International socialism|
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