Edited By Lucia Bonfreschi, Giovanni Orsina and Antonio Varsori
SPD and European Integration. From scepticism to pragmatism, from pragmatism to leadership, 1949-1979
SPD and European Integration
From scepticism to pragmatism, from pragmatism to leadership, 1949-1979*
Giovanni BERNARDINI and Gabriele D’OTTAVIO
Researchers, Italian-German Historical Institute – FBK, Trento
There are at least three reasons why a study of the SPD and European integration from a long-term perspective is of interest. Firstly, the SPD is the longest surviving Socialist party in Western Europe and, historically, one of the most influential. Secondly, seminal works on the SPD and European integration, which were published by political scientists such as William Paterson, Rudolf Hrbek, Juliet Lodge and Jürgen Bellers in the 1970s,1 have been explored by very few serious investigations, and based on primary sources.2 Newly available documents from the party archives of the SPD at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Bonn and from the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence allow us to revise some of the interpretations suggested by the aforementioned authors and, above all, to sketch out a more detailed picture of the SPD’s role in European integration from 1949 to 1979. Thirdly, and this is perhaps the more important reason from a comparative analytical perspective, the SPD’s ← 29 | 30 → double shift in its attitude towards European integration, from rejection to support in the mid-1950s, and in its political placement, from opposition to government in the late 1960s, respectively, offers a sort of vantage point from which to analyse and maybe rethink both the evolution of European integration from a long-term perspective...
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