Edited By Lucia Bonfreschi, Giovanni Orsina and Antonio Varsori
Part III. Case Studies
Part III Case Studies 337 “Europe” as a “Hothouse” for Dutch Domestic Politics, 1948-1967* Robin de Bruin Lecturer, University of Amsterdam European integration and the Netherlands In the 1940s and 1950s, the Nazis, the Communists and democratic parties in Europe all emphasised their ability to provide their citizens with welfare in their claim to power. Creating an affluent society had become a top political priority in reaction to the economic crisis of the 1930s. The economic crisis and the Second World War intensified a demand for social solidarity.1 After the Second World War, the political response in West European democracies to this intensified demand was an important economic driving force for the European integration process.2 Dutch politicians regarded the integration of Europe as a necessary condition for a general economic rationalisation. They expected that this rationalisation would increase production and wages and would reduce prices. Thereby, it would diminish socio-economic inequality. The “European” push for socio-economic peace corresponded with postwar anti-totalitarian conceptions of human rights and consensus democracy. In addition to the linking of Europeanisation and prosperity, many Dutch politicians of the 1950s seemed to think of European integration as both a necessity and a historical inevitability. In accordance with the pan-European thinking of the interwar years, European integration was presented by Dutch politicians both as a subcase of, and an adequate * The author thanks Georges-Henri Soutou for his comments on the conference paper from which this chapter originated and Luiza Bialasiewicz, Artemy Kalinovsky and Jan Dirk Snel for their...
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