zeitgeschichte 2/13

Western Socialists’ foreign policy in the 1970s Cold War system

Between the late 1960s and the late 1970s, European international relations improved markedly: détente had a significant positive effect on the world situation as has been shown in detail by several studies.

This issue of „zeitgeschichte“ aims to understand the impact that détente had on political parties and, more specifically, on some of the most important Western Socialist parties. In the Western bloc, Socialists looked at détente with interest and, in some cases, redefined to a certain extent their international perceptions and strategies in light of this new development. Three original contributions, based on primary archive sources, analyze key aspects of the foreign policy adopted by the Italian and the French Socialists and by the German Social Democrats, and compare their attitudes.

In the complex scenario that emerges new insights about the meaning and the impact of détente come to light.

Valentine Lomellini: The true meaning of détente? Western Socialists’ foreign policy in the 1970s Cold War system. Three study cases
Fadi Kassem: Choosing a foreign policy for French Socialists. The case of the democratic revolution in Portugal (1974–1981)
Jan Hansen: Making Sense of Détente. German Social Democrats and the Peace Movement in the early 1980s
Valentine Lomellini: Which détente? The Italian Socialists and the defense of human rights in the Soviet bloc

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