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Which Socialism, Whose Détente?

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Maud Bracke

Part III. The consequences internationalism after Czechoslovakia

Chapter 8. Internationalism and Eurocommunism in the 1970s

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  • 1 This chapter is partially based on primary sources and party archives, particularly regarding the (...)

1In this chapter, I will take the crisis of West European communist internationalism after Czechoslovakia into the 1970s, by developing a hypothesis on the origins and break-up of Eurocommunism. The analysis is based on the argument regarding the nature and contradictions of the internationalism of the PCI and PCF, as became evident through the Czechoslovak crisis.1 The central point is that, despite the “normalization” of relations between West European communist parties and the Soviet Union in the framework of the world communist movement, the underlying strategic conflict remained unresolved—and this was well understood in Rome and Paris. The coming about of Eurocommunism cannot be explained without bringing into the picture the divergence of strategic interests, as it had forever become visible in 1968. The emergence of Eurocommunism around 1975 demonstrated, in a similar way as the dissent over the invasion of Czechoslovakia had done, the non-resolution of this strategic conflict.

  • 2 The thesis on the direct link between the Czechoslovak crisis of 1968 and Eurocommunism is argued, (...)
  • 3 For example, Azcarante, “What is Eurocommunism?,” p. 18. See also S. Carrillo’s famous statement t (...)

2In the vast literature on Eurocommunism, reference is nearly always made to the Czechoslovak crisis of 1968 as a major factor behind the coming about of Eurocommunism. Most often, however, the links between the two events are taken for granted or are not specified. It is often simply affirmed in a general—and intuitive—way that the crushing of the Prague Spring must have made these parties understand how wide the gap was between them and the Soviet Union.2 The Eurocommunist leaders themselves observed this direct link by often referring back to the Prague Spring and the invasion.3 The problem with the thesis of the direct link is that it fails to explain the phase of realignment initiated in late 1968 up to the early 1970s. It minimizes the importance of this phase in the longer-term history of these parties and as indicative of certain aspects of their identity which were as important as the aspects which came to the fore during Eurocommunism. The interpretation here is also based on a connection between the Czechoslovak crisis and Eurocommunism. However, the phase of realignment in-between these two moments will be fully taken into account as illustrative of the identity of West European communist parties, and as announcing the causes of the break-up of Eurocommunism in the late 1970s.

3The continuity between 1968 and 1975 will be explained here in a different way. The question is, rather: Why did tension with the Soviets culminate in an open and generalized conflict only in 1975, while during the first half of the decade relations between the West European communist parties and the Soviet Union remained without major incidents? The “delay” of Eurocommunism and the fact that it emerged around 1975 resulted from a combination of factors. Firstly, and very importantly, the PCI and PCF engaged in Eurocommunism only at a moment of deep and multiple conflicts in the world communist movement more generally. In precisely the same way as in 1965–1968, the West European communist cluster could only develop itself in a context of generalized disunity. In connection with this, an important factor has often been overlooked in the literature, namely, the fact that the hey-day of Eurocommunism coincided with the world conference of communist parties held in Berlin in 1976. Secondly, changes in the Cold War and détente, and specifically the dramatic changes in Spain and Portugal, seemed to suggest, once more, the breaking up of the political status quo on the continent. Thirdly, the domestic changes in Italy and France seemed for a moment capable of leading to the end of the domestic cold wars in these countries, at least on the level of organized party politics and parliamentary politics. Finally, there was what can be called a “natural” development inside these parties, by which some of the immediate effects of the Czechoslovak crisis—such as the politics of identity, the creation of the taboo, and the blocking of a debate on the nature of the socialist regimes—needed to wither away first.

  • 4 Many of Eurocommunism’s contemporary observers have failed to notice the important differences in (...)

4The important contradictions and limitations of Eurocommunism stemmed from the diversity of motives and perspectives behind the engagement of the PCI, the PCF and the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) in the Eurocommunist debate. While the disagreements which these parties entertained with the Soviet Union did in effect converge, the internationalist points of reference behind these criticisms and their doctrinal underpinnings differed largely.4 The limits to the convergence of the West European communist parties, which were evident already during the peak of the movement and which caused it to fall apart in 1979, can all be traced back to the Czechoslovak crisis. They were, essentially, identical to the reasons behind the impossibility of a genuinely common perspective and action by the West European communist parties, carried by a PCI-PCF alliance in the aftermath of the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

1. THE ENDURING PROBLEM OF EUROPEAN STRATEGY

5In the early 1970s, détente became increasingly important to Soviet and communist bloc strategy. However, the Soviet concept of détente was, if we follow the terminology of the Italian communists, a static one. It was based upon the consolidation of its dominance over the communist bloc and obstructed change in these regimes, while it did not favor changes in Western Europe, as long as the German question had not been settled. Neither the PCI nor the PCF in the 1970s considered it useful to bring up the issue of the divergence of strategic interests, because they had acquired a level of party autonomy (though much more so in the case of the PCI than in the case of the PCF), and because they thought they would benefit from the global expansion of communism in this phase. However, the strategic divergence became evident once more in the mid-1970s, under the influence of a number of events which suggested shifts in the Cold War order in Europe and the world.

1.1. East–West relations in the early 1970s

  • 5 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 113.
  • 6 Zubok, “The Soviet Union and European Integration,” p. 92; Petro, Rubinstein, Russian Foreign Poli (...)
  • 7 This point is made in Zubok, “The Soviet Union and European Integration,” p. 93. However, it has a (...)
  • 8 Dewisha, The Kremlin, p. 374.

6East–West relations were not disturbed by the invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Western powers—the United States, West Germany and NATO in particular—had displayed a low-key reaction to the invasion of Czechoslovakia. The détente that came about after the Czechoslovak crisis was characterized by the dominant role played by the two superpowers and the specific roles played by China and West Germany. Détente after 1968 was based on the restoration of discipline and cohesiveness in the communist bloc, largely under Soviet dominance. The frictions which the first signs of détente, in particular Ostpolitik, non-proliferation and the MLF, had caused before 1968 were now largely resolved through Soviet-imposed discipline. Generally, the perspective of the end of the blocs was most often absent in Soviet and WTO documents in this period.5 The Soviet Union was more than ever interested in friendly relations with the United States and the West European powers, for several reasons: the need to cut military spending, the need to import Western technology, and the enduring rivalry with China.6 With regard to (West) European integration, by contrast, the Soviet Union continued to display hostility. The dynamic of European integration threatened to revive pan-European sentiments in Eastern Europe, which, as had been the case in Czechoslovakia in 1968, might upset the “unity” of the communist bloc.7 After 1968 the United States and NATO not only recognized Soviet dominance over Eastern Europe; they favored it. According to the so-called Sonnenfelt Doctrine, the American government acknowledged that greater “organic unity” between the Soviet Union and Eastern and Central Europe was in the strategic interests of the United States.8

  • 9 Garton Ash, In Europe’s Name, esp. pp. 57–58 and pp. 283–285.
  • 10 Sarotte, Dealing with the Devil, pp. 170–177.

7In the early 1970s, the Soviet Union obtained a solution to its major goals regarding East–West détente, namely, a settlement of the German question and the start of talks on controlled disarmament. West German Ostpolitik entered into a second phase in 1969 when W. Brandt became chancellor. West Germany signed an agreement on the acceptance of the post-war borders with Poland in December 1970. The Basic Treaty signed by East and West Germany in 1972 included the renouncing of force and mutual recognition, although this did not imply fully legal recognition. However, it was of crucial importance that these agreements were preceded by a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and West Germany, signed in August 1970.9 Moreover, in their talks with Brandt, the East German leaders were closely controlled by Moscow. Although the West German government operated in a more independent way, at all times it took into account the positions of its NATO partners, in particular the United States. The United States and the Soviet Union entertained similar worries, though set in different contexts, regarding the ambitions of their German partner to upset the (territorial) status quo in Europe.10

  • 11 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, chapter 5.
  • 12 While the Paris agreement of 1973 recognized both North and South Vietnam, North Vietnamese troops (...)
  • 13 Petro, Rubinstein, Russian Foreign Policy, p. 292.

8With regard to disarmament, in July 1968 the Soviet Union and the United States (but not France, China and Romania) signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Both superpowers initiated SALT (Strategic Arms Limitations Talks) in Helsinki in November 1969. Negotiations on the equilibrated reduction of land forces in Europe were initiated in Vienna in 1973, and the Soviet Union and the United States reached an agreement in the same year on the prevention of nuclear war.11 Outside Europe, the Soviet Union seemed to reinforce its influence in the Third World liberation struggles and wars. The outcome of the Vietnam War was understood as a victory for North Vietnam and the Soviet Union.12 Soviet intervention in Angola in late 1975, with Cuba, led to the establishment of a communist regime; furthermore, Moscow intervened in Ethiopia in 1976–1977.13 In sum, the Soviet Union continued to combine stability aspirations in Europe with communist expansion outside the old continent.

9At its March 1969 meeting, the WTO launched another appeal for the holding of a European conference of states on security. Significantly, the appeal no longer included the perspective of the “dissolution of the military blocs,” and US participation was no longer opposed. The Helsinki conferences on peace and security in Europe, held between 1973 and 1975, were the outcome of this appeal. They translated the atmosphere of détente into concrete measures in terms of the recognition of the territorial status quo, economic co-operation and human rights issues. All parties involved now formally recognized the westward borders of Poland, East Germany and the Soviet Union. The perspective of East–West trade co-operation was included, which would provide the Soviet Union with access to Western technology and would permit the expansion of the East European markets to Western consumers. Importantly, after strong pressure from the Western powers the Soviet Union agreed to sign the so-called Third Basket, including commitment to “human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

  • 14 More detail on the effect of the Helsinki agreements on the dissident movements can be found in Hi (...)

10The Helsinki process, in its effects, was a mix of détente “from above” and “from below.” It was an expression of détente “from above” in the sense that the Western powers recognized the Soviet Union as the hegemon of Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union recognized the United States as co-determining the fate of Europe. In the longer term, Helsinki was to foster domestic social and political change in Eastern Europe, and thus the loosening of bloc cohesiveness and détente “from below.” This occurred, firstly, through the implicit support given by the Helsinki process to dissident movements, and secondly, through the economic and cultural contacts between East and West that came about. While the continued persecution of dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe demonstrated the limits of the commitment to human rights, the Helsinki resolutions provided dissident movements across Eastern Europe with a moral and political standard, formally acknowledged by their governments, as a basis from which protest against repression and injustice. Moreover, Helsinki marked a clear retreat from doctrinal consistency on behalf of the Soviet Union, as the Western definitions of human rights and freedom were formally acknowledged. This contributed to the crisis of legitimacy of communist ideology.14

  • 15 See also the points listed in chapter 1 with regard to the Soviets’ interest in the West European (...)

11While détente in the 1970s created the conditions for change in Eastern Europe, it left the question of socialist transformation in the West unresolved. It is in this sense that the actual developments did not correspond to the PCI’s notion of dynamic détente. Instead, after the conclusion of an agreement with Germany, after the favorable ending of the Vietnam War, and after the initiation of disarmament talks with the Western powers, the West European communist parties became less useful to the Soviet Union.15 To be sure, they were still of use in the context of the world communist mov-ement (unity, orthodoxy and the anti-Maoist campaign) and to disintegrate the Western bloc by reviving anti-Americanism in public opinion and government policy. However, low Soviet interest in revolution in the West was evident from the fact that, after the settlement of Vietnam and the German question—two international problems which had always been invoked as justifications for the defensive and cautious Soviet strategy on the European continent—Soviet strategy in Europe did not shift to a more offensive register.

  • 16 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, pp. 360–361.
  • 17 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, pp. 389–393.

12Events in 1973 made it clear that, not only for the Soviet Union but also for the United States, détente went hand in hand with the consolidation of spheres of influence and with attempts at expanding these outside Europe. The October War of 1973 between Israel, Syria and Egypt temporarily put both the communist and the Atlantic blocs on military alert. Although the Soviet Union and the United States pressured their allies towards a ceasefire, the ongoing war in the Middle East, as well as the global energy and economic crisis which was its immediate consequence, brought antagonism between the two blocs to the fore once more.16 The perception that Latin America was vital to American security interests led the US government to support the overthrowing of the Popular Front government led by S. Allende in Chile in September 1973. Allende’s government, which had been democratically elected and which was not actively supported by the Soviet Union, announced a Marxist-oriented reform program. Through a military coup d’état an American-friendly regime was installed.17

  • 18 Maxwell, The Making of Portuguese Democracy, pp. 142–146. On US intervention in Portugal see Del P (...)

13For the first time since 1968, however, the situation seemed to shift in Europe too: the right-wing dictatorships of Portugal, Spain and Greece collapsed in 1975, and the communist parties played a major role in all three cases. The changes in Western Europe, however, were not due to a significant change in Soviet strategy, although the Soviet Union did support the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) during the revolutionary period in Portugal in 1974–1975. The overthrowing by a military conspiracy in April 1974 of the fascist regime led by A. Salazar and M. Caetano gave way to a phase of “transition to socialism” in which the PCP played the dominant role. Cunhal’s party was among the most “orthodox” and Soviet-loyal communist parties in the world, and had supported the invasion of Czechoslovakia. After its entry in the temporary government formed in April 1974, the Portuguese Communist Party radicalized and attempted to become the dominant actor. As rumors of a communist takeover spread, relations between the communists and M. Soares’ moderate socialists deteriorated by the spring of 1975. The non-communist parties and the military joined forces to exclude the PCP from government in the fall of 1975, which marked the start of the PCP’s domestic decline. The Portuguese revolution of 1974–1975 was not only a domestic development: it was also a Cold War crisis and a colonial crisis. The United States and several West European governments and political parties, such as the West German SPD, actively supported the Portuguese socialists against the PCP. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, while supporting the PCP, increasingly shifted its attention to the Portuguese colonies in Africa, primarily Angola.18 From the perspective of the West European communist parties, the events in 1974–1975 actualized the question of regime change on the European continent. However, the strategic shifts undertaken around 1975 by the PCI and the PCF demonstrate that these parties themselves entertained only limited hopes for the coming about of “dynamic détente.”

1.2. The PCI: from dynamic détente to NATO

  • 19 Noted in Pons, “L’Italia e il PCI nella politica estera,” p. 936.

14While the divergence of interests regarding Soviet and PCI conceptions of détente was covered up in 1969, international circumstances in the first half of the 1970s were such as not to bring the furthest implications of Soviet détente to the fore. The détente that came about in the early 1970s seemed temporarily congruent with the PCI’s own conception of dynamic détente. Matters became somewhat more problematic, however, when Moscow attempted to improve relations with Italy. As part of Moscow’s policy of rapprochement with the European powers, and following the agreement with West Germany and the visit of Pompidou to Moscow, both in 1970, Soviet foreign minister Gromyko paid a visit to the Italian government in November 1970. Significantly, the latter, at the end of the talks, refused to insert in the public communication a statement on the “overcoming of the blocs,” as Italian foreign minister A. Moro had proposed.19

  • 20 “Incontro delegazione PCSU 2/12/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 93.
  • 21 Pons, “La formazione della politica internazionale,” o.c.
  • 22 Berlinguer developed and explained the new strategy in Berlinguer, “Riflessioni sull’Italia dopo g (...)

15Given the relatively fortunate situation of world communism in the early 1970s, the PCI pragmatically avoided an open conflict with the Soviets. While, at a meeting with the Soviets in December 1970, Berlinguer affirmed that he “did not wish to disguise certain differences on specific issues and also on more general questions,”20 during his visit to Moscow in April 1971 he emphasized the friendly relations between the two parties.21 The divergence became apparent, however, when the question of radical change in Western Europe arose. In 1973 the PCI initiated the strategy of “historic compromise” with the Christian Democratic Party. This choice of political centrism rather than a Left alliance was acutely provoked by the events in Chile: as the coup d’état in Chile was a quintessential expression of the static nature of détente, it could not but make a profound impression on the Italian communists. Berlinguer’s point of departure was the assessment that a Left government coalition, even when it disposed of a 51 per cent majority in parliament, had no chances of survival in a country where the Christian Democratic Party had such a firm political power position and enjoyed such wide socio-cultural influence. An effective democratic strategy needed to be based on the convergence and eventual alliance of all democratic, popular and progressive forces.22

  • 23 On the DC in the early 1970s see Gualtieri, L’Italia dal 1943 al 1992, chapter 5.
  • 24 The far Left Red Brigades started with regular terrorist attacks on state buildings and politician (...)
  • 25 For more detail on the political and economic situation in Italy leading up to the historical comp (...)
  • 26 Much of the (Italian) literature has focused on the question of the offensive or rather defensive (...)

16While Chile was the direct and professed cause behind the historical compromise strategy, other, domestic causes led the PCI to move to the centre and increase its emphasis on democracy. Since late 1969, signs of a (violent) right-wing reaction to the 1968–1969 mobilization of the Left had become increasingly evident. The right-wing terrorist attack in Piazza Fontana in Milan in December 1969 was the first sign of a violent right-wing mobilization of forces. In the early 1970s, the parties of the Right, in particular the neo-fascist Movimento sociale italiano (MSI), were gaining support phase. At the same time, Italian Christian Democracy, despite a marked electoral victory in 1972, seemed to enter a crisis, symbolized by the acceptance of a new law on divorce through a referendum in the spring of 1974.23 The global economic crisis which hit Italy in 1974 led in particular to enduring problems of inflation. As DC leader A. Moro in particular saw it, it was to become impossible for the Christian Democratic Party to govern without the PCI. Moreover, by the mid-1970s terrorism from the far Left as well as from the far Right created an extremely unstable political situation.24 This, the PCI’s victory at the June 1976 parliamentary elections where it obtained its historical record of 34.4 per cent, and the fact that the PSI refused to enter government without the communists, further pushed Berlinguer’s party towards governmental participation.25 The PCI gradually moved into the “area of government,” which implied its being involved in and supporting government decision making, without, however, having formal ministerial responsibility. The historical compromise strategy resulted in the formation of a series of governments of “national solidarity” between 1976 and 1979, which included the DC, the PCI, the PSI and the smaller Social Democratic and Republican Parties.26

  • 27 Various party texts and articles by Berlinguer on the shift in PCI foreign policy have been publis (...)
  • 28 Berlinguer affirmed at a meeting with the Soviets in 1973 that Europe was not envisaged as a neutr (...)

17The new domestic strategy dramatically affected the party’s internationalism. The PCI’s internationalism now needed to correspond to the most suitable and safest international constellation as a context for the historical compromise strategy. This led the party to undertake a major shift in its internationalism in terms of European and global strategy, and led it to accept Italy’s membership in NATO.27 At the same time, the question of government participation forced the PCI into making clear that the future socialist Italy would not be aligned with the communist bloc. It would be a part of the broad movement towards a socialist, democratic and enlarged “Third Way” Europe. Although the actual point of departure for this strategy was the left-wing (communist and non-communist) forces of the EEC countries, the boundaries of this Europe would include Eastern Europe as well, although PCI texts stopped well before ever making this explicit. The question of how this Europe would relate to the Soviet Union as a state and a superpower also remained unclear. Europe in this conception was considered “not anti-Soviet or anti-American.” However, it would not be neutralist in the longer term or as a matter of principle (although maybe de facto in the short term), but was envisaged as a force that would provoke the “overcoming” and hence the disintegration (through a non-violent and gradual process) of the two politico-military blocs.28

  • 29 Berlinguer did so in an interview with the non-communist paper Corriere della sera on the eve of t (...)
  • 30 The incoherence between dynamic détente and the shift to NATO has also been noted in Pons, “La pol (...)

18It is relevant at this point to distinguish the different steps of this shift towards the Western alliance. While in 1973 the PCI leadership initiated contacts with the United States, at the December 1974 meeting of the Central Committee Berlinguer declared that the PCI should abandon the slogan “Italy out of NATO–NATO out of Italy.” Until this point, the shift can be explained as inspired by pragmatism and the need, in order to make the compromesso storico viable, to provide it with a realistic international framework. A break occurred, however, in the next step, namely Berlinguer’s statement of June 1976 that NATO was the most suitable framework for socialism in Italy and the one in which the PCI felt most protected.29 To state that NATO was not only accepted but desired as an international framework for socialism in Italy suggested that the aim of “overcoming the blocs” through European dynamic détente was abandoned.30

  • 31 See the discussion of this in chapter 3.

19This second phase of the shift to NATO can only be understood as the result of the understanding that dynamic détente was not likely to take place in the foreseeable future. In the PCI leadership, as we have seen, this understanding emerged in August 1968, was tabooed in 1969, and subsequently ignored. The agreements regarding the German question in the early 1970s, however positive their general effects on the situation in Europe and however appreciative the PCI’s official reaction to them, in some sense demonstrated the failure of dynamic détente. The chronology of the agreements made it sharply clear that any initiative which went beyond simple affirmations on cultural or economic exchange, but which went to the very heart of the Cold War in Europe—the German question and disarmament— would need to pass via Moscow in the first place. The failed attempt by the PCI itself to contribute to a solution for the German question31 only illustrated more clearly how unrealistic dynamic détente was in the given circumstances. The shift to NATO reflected the understanding that détente had failed to have a significant impact on power relations in the Western bloc and the domestic order in the Western states. The events in Chile and Portugal demonstrated the extent to which the United States was still ready actively to intervene in domestic politics.

  • 32 Moreover, there was a strong “from above” component in the historical compromise strategy. This is (...)
  • 33 See Njølstad, “The Carter Administration and Italy,” p. 81; Gualtieri, “Il PCI, la DC,” pp. 81–82. (...)
  • 34 The continuity between Eurocommunism, as far as the PCI is concerned, and polycentrism has been no (...)

20Thus, in a sense, the historic compromise and the shift towards NATO needed to make it a viable strategy and were the PCI’s own “static détente,” both in domestic and international terms.32 By accepting NATO, the PCI leadership hoped to make communist participation in government acceptable to the US. However, recent archival findings suggest that throughout the 1970s, the latter continued to oppose PCI government participation, despite the compromesso storico and Eurocommunism. While the Carter administration seems not to have been willing to intervene militarily, it did maintain its strategy of keeping the PCI out of government through farreaching political and economic support to the DC. Moreover, in 1974– 1976 NATO organized a Crisis Committee, involving the United States, France, the FRG and Great Britain, closely to observe the political developments in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. This, along with American economic and financial pressure, was part of a non-military US and NATO strategy to keep communist parties out of power in the West. The PCI’s acceptance of NATO seems not to have had a significant effect on this.33 This is not to argue that the PCI leadership gave up dynamic détente as an ideal and a matter of principle. Eurocommunism to the PCI, then, seemed for a brief moment to present itself as the final chance for dynamic détente, still the preferred option to the NATO and static détente strategy. The domestic successes of the Spanish Communist Party and the changes in the PCF seemed, in the short term, to lead to a momentum in which dynamic détente, carried out from within the world communist movement, could become reality rather than a slogan. Eurocommunism to the PCI represented a last encompassing attempt at changing the world communist movement from within. There were two motives connected to this. The first and more banal one was a continuation of the minimalist meaning of polycentrism: an attempt to construct a relatively powerful and successful sub-grouping in the world communist movement, through which the Eurocommunist parties would be able to bargain more autonomy and to enforce doctrinal pluralism inside the world communist movement.34 As we have seen, the regional meetings of West European communist parties had a history of serving as a lobby-group in the world communist movement for increasing party autonomy; as we shall see below, this was at least one important feature of Eurocommunism.

  • 35 Although systematic studies on this topic are still lacking, several contemporary witnesses and ac (...)

21The PCI saw Eurocommunism as a way to develop a qualitatively different type of “Third Way” socialism—neither Soviet communist nor social democratic. This followed up on the maximalist definition of polycentrism. Although it did not go as far as to advocate the imposition of a new model for socialism, it did envisage Eurocommunism as an example of a democratic form of socialism with potential model value. The ambition was increasingly to influence events in Eastern Europe, not through attacks on the communist governments in office there, nor through open support for the adversaries of these regimes, but through the diffusion of its own ideas on internationalism and socialism in the societies of Eastern Europe— understood as an aspect of détente from below.35 However, the Czechoslovak crisis itself had demonstrated the great difficulties with which diversity would be accepted.

1.3. The PCF: from sovereignty to foreign policy

  • 36 See, for example, the records of the meeting of 1–3/7/71 in APCF, BP, 8/7/71.

22Equally in the case of the PCF, the problems connected to internationalism which the Czechoslovak crisis had raised remained without solution in the first half of the 1970s. This was so despite its reconciliation with the Soviet Union and the world communist movement, which was far more explicit and complete than in the case of the PCI. Many bilateral meetings took place in 1970–1972, all of which testified to the “identity of views” between the two parties.36 Underneath this apparent convergence, however, lay the unresolved conflict regarding European strategy. As in the case of the PCI, domestic and international circumstances between 1969 and 1974 were such that the PCF did not consider it useful to bring this divergence to the surface. However, the PCF’s shifts in 1975–1976 demonstrate that, whenever a profound upsetting of the social status quo on the European continent seemed the order of the day, the party was willing to make the conflict of interests apparent. In this sense, 1975–1977 followed up on 1965 and 1968.

  • 37 APCF, BP, 13/8/70.
  • 38 These points were decided at the BP meeting of 13/8/70. On the second point: “[We should]…develop (...)
  • 39 APCF, Sec, 16/10/70 and 23/10/70.

23The settlement of the German question in the early 1970s gave the PCF proof of Soviet unwillingness seriously to challenge the political and social status quo in Europe. For the PCF, the problem had a different background than for the PCI, as the former more resolutely than the latter argued for a more aggressive policy vis-à-vis the West. The PCF could do little other than accept the German settlement out of discipline: its Bureau politique in August 1970 dryly noted that the Soviet–West German agreement “should be considered as very important.”37 However, it can fairly be suspected that the party was not enthusiastic: next to the problem of Soviet strategy, the reduction of the “West German danger” further weakened anti-fascism as a domestic source of legitimation for the PCF. The PCF attempted to make the best of this situation by, on the one hand, intensifying its contacts with both the SED and the West German KPD, and on the other hand once more emphasizing the revolutionary dimension of peaceful coexistence.38 As to the first point, the PCF organized a trilateral meeting with the SED and the KPD—and without the Soviets—to discuss the German problem, which took place in Berlin in late October 1970.39

  • 40 The report is published in Kanapa, Coexistence pacifique et lutte de classe.

24As the European order seemed to shift around 1975, Kanapa undertook yet another attempt to convince the party of the value of peaceful coexistence as an offensive strategy. In his analysis before the Central Committee meeting of April 1975, he assessed that the “balance of forces” was advantageous to socialism and that it was the capitalist forces which aimed at preserving stability in Europe and the world. Emphasizing once more that “peaceful coexistence does not mean the political and social status quo,” he stated that the antagonism between capitalism and communism was “irresolvable.” This was an obvious call for an offensive socialist strategy in Europe, which seemed to hint at Soviet deficiencies in this regard. He stressed that the Helsinki accords were a beginning rather than an end, and, subtly pointing at Czechoslovakia, emphasized that the “struggle for peace” would pass through “respect for the independence and the sovereignty of the peoples.”40

  • 41 For a similar view see Mélandri, “La France et l’Alliance atlantique,” pp. 524–525.
  • 42 For more detail on French foreign policy under Pompidou see Mélandri, “La France et l’Alliance atl (...)

25The PCF’s worries regarding peaceful coexistence as a strategy for global truce between the Soviet Union and the United States mirrored France’s continuing worries regarding détente as a superpower conspiracy at the expense of the old continent. The conditions of détente, as it came about after 1969, no longer favored a major role for France. While May ’68 had demonstrated the limited public support for expensive national military and nuclear programs, the invasion of Czechoslovakia jeopardized the possibilities of Gaullist-type bilateral contacts with the socialist regimes.41 Faced with these new conditions, and with its continuing decline as a global power, France under Pompidou reconciled itself with the Atlantic alliance, though to some extent on its own terms. As France remained a member of NATO’s political institutions without joining in the military command, a modus vivendi with the United States came about in which the latter no longer opposed limited French military and strategic autonomy. Under Pompidou and Giscard d’Estaing, France sought in (variations of) a European defense program an alternative to the Atlantic defense system. When this appeared impossible, the French government, maintaining that “dissuasion is exclusively national,” chose to further develop its own nuclear program, initiated under de Gaulle. However, while the United States in the early 1970s was no longer opposed to the French force de frappe, this changed once more by 1973, with the revival of the Cold War atmosphere and the outbreak of the conflict in the Middle East. As a result, French national defense strategy remained in an impasse throughout the 1970s.42

  • 43 APCF, BP, 8/7/71.
  • 44 Andrew, Mitrokhin, The Mithokhin Archive, pp. 395–396.
  • 45 Quoted in Altherr, “Le PCF face a l’Union sovietique,” p. 48.
  • 46 For the first interpretation see, for example, Lange, Vannicelli, The Communist Parties of Italy, (...)

26It was vital to the PCF to convince its partners in the communist world that France under Pompidou was shifting towards a more pro-Atlantic strategy, as this seemed to be the only way to revitalize Soviet strategy in Europe. In July 1971 the PCF’s Bureau politique decided that the attention of the “brother parties” should be directed to the French pro-American shift.43 Marchais, in a message to SED leader E. Honecker in 1972, threatened that if the socialist countries did not take account of the PCF’s interpretation of French foreign policy, and if they did not “give the party the proper assistance in the struggle to overthrow the regime,” the PCF would refuse to support their policies.44 After its 21st Congress of 1974, the PCF more openly than ever before referred to this problem, stating that “peaceful coexistence does not imply the social and economic status quo, which the Soviets sometimes seem to forget.”45 The changes which the PCF underwent in 1975–1977 were diverse in nature but interconnected: the domestic Union of the Left strategy; the abandoning of some elements of Leninist doctrine; the distance taken from, and the open attacks on, the Soviet Union; and Eurocommunism. They have been interpreted in the literature either as a direct consequence of the Czechoslovak crisis or as caused solely by the domestic dynamic of the Union of the Left.46 While Czechoslovakia and the strategic problem it had revealed were the longerterm, more fundamental cause behind the PCF’s shift in 1975, the domestic dynamic of the Union de la gauche was the short-term cause behind it. It was a constant feature of PCF history that a conflict of interests with the Soviet Union, however profound, would only lead the PCF publicly to take distance from Moscow, when two other factors occurred. These were, firstly, a (perceived) urgent reason of domestic strategy, and secondly, an atmosphere of open polemics with the Soviet Communist Party and the breaking by the latter first of the codes of “brotherly relations.” This had also been the situation in the summer of 1968.

  • 47 The thesis that the PCF wanted ultimately to dominate the Left alliance is widely accepted and is (...)
  • 48 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 622.
  • 49 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 668.

27Like the PCI, the PCF in the early 1970s resolutely chose to improve its domestic position and its chances to enter government. It developed a rather classic strategy of a Left alliance with the Socialist Party, the renewed PS. The “Programme for a Democratic Government of Popular Union” (Programme commun), signed between Marchais and Mitterrand in 1972, followed the course outlined in the Champigny Manifesto, at the 1970 Congress and in the party’s 1971 program. The perspective was that, as France would transform towards socialism through a program of economic and political reforms, the government alliance would shift to the Left and the PCF would become the dominant force.47 The reforms involved classic aims such as the nationalization of key industries. New, however, was the explicit recognition of the alternation of power and thus the possibility that the communist party might be outvoted during the transition to socialism. Another core element of Leninism was—at least formally—given up in 1976 when Marchais, in a rather dictatorial manner and without previously informing the wider party organs, announced the abandoning of reference to the dictatorship of the proletariat.48 The 22nd Congress held in 1976 confirmed this and presented itself as the return to the Rochet era. At the same time though, the leading role of the communist party was explicitly reaffirmed.49 The concessions made to pluralism were the result of both crises of 1968 and a response to one of the most important sources of criticism of the PCF. However, it remained unclear—and the future break-up of the alliance confirmed the doubts—how seriously the PCF took these concessions in practice.

  • 50 APCF, BP, 10/9/70.
  • 51 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 562.

28Like the PCI, the PCF needed to provide this domestic program with the most appropriate and safest international framework; this led it to undertake major shifts in its foreign and defense policy. Firstly, as it had done on the eve of the Czechoslovak crisis, it attempted to make its domestic partner, the PS, acceptable to the communist parties in the East. In September 1970, the Bureau politique decided that the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe should actively be encouraged to develop relations with the PS. Friendly relations between the Soviet Union and the PS were envisaged as possibly to be based on questions of peace and European security.50 Nonetheless, the PCF received signs of low Soviet enthusiasm for their domestic strategy and for the Programme commun. This led in 1973 to considerable tension between the two parties.51

  • 52 The determining role of Kanapa here is widely recognized in the literature. See, for example, Lava (...)

29The understanding grew that, if the PCF wished to secure its domestic strategy internationally, it should undertake a major shift in foreign policy. While in 1972 the party, in line with Soviet policy, was still opposed to the French force de frappe, by 1976 it expressed itself in favor of a French nuclear program which would provide the nation with an atomic bomb. The new defense program, made public in the spring of 1977, was independent of any international alliance and the bomb would be directed at wherever the danger was supposed to come from (“tous azimuts”). The PCF presented this as the only truly national defense strategy for France, and as more supportive of French sovereignty than the military programs envisaged by the government. This was a matter of exploiting sovereignty as a source of legitimation. In terms of internal party politics, the shift resulted from the growing influence of Kanapa, who was virtually the sole architect of PCF defense and foreign policy at this stage.52 The changes in internationalism were only possible because they were led by people such as Kanapa, who, besides benefiting from considerable influence over Marchais, could hardly be labeled “revisionist.” The limited distance taken vis-à-vis the Soviet Union only became possible, firstly, once the anti-revisionist campaign was completed and its repercussions no longer felt; and secondly, once the new leadership, led by Marchais, had sufficiently consolidated itself with respect to the party rank and file, the apparatus, and the communist world.

  • 53 The fact that the PCF in 1977 took part in the elections for the European Parliament, even though (...)

30The adoption of the force de frappe by the PCF was not merely a tactical move to make itself more acceptable to the French public as a government candidate. Nor was it merely a tactical move to pressure the Socialist Party into a less “Atlanticist” position—although it was also this. The party considered a nationally oriented and isolationist foreign policy as the only option available, for lack of any alternative. The new foreign and military foreign policy seemed the only option available for the PCF if it wished to find common ground on this issue with the still predominantly NATO-oriented PS. The PCF, in contrast to its Italian counterpart, considered a shift towards NATO as not only undesirable but also unnecessary. It was so because of the widespread appeal of anti-Americanism across the French political spectrum and the partial disconnection of France from NATO. Further, Europe could not constitute the basis of a defense strategy either. This was so because the party lacked a strong discourse on, or affinity with, Europe, either with regard to the EEC (as it raised the questions of supranationalism or federalism which were unacceptable to the PCF) or in the “Atlantic to Urals” version (as this was identified with Gaullism). To be sure, it did shift in the mid-1970s to a less negative appreciation of the EEC. Besides being motivated largely by the need to compromise with the socialists and to accept existing realities, this was also the result of a certain influence felt by the PCI and the Eurocommunist dynamic, as will become clear below. However, Europe at no point played a major role in the PCF’s international strategy and outlook.53

  • 54 This is not to argue that the PCF did not envisage close economic ties between a future socialist (...)
  • 55 This has also been argued by Robrieux, La secte, p. 75.
  • 56 The emphasis on national sovereignty in the 1975 programme of the PCF has also been noted in Tiers (...)

31As the question of the international alignment of a future socialist France seemed an urgent one, the party had to make it clear that it did not envisage this future socialist France to be part of the communist bloc and subject to the tightest forms of discipline inside it.54 The affirmation made at the 20th Congress of 1972 that the PCF would “disengage France from any alliance” was directed not only at the Socialist Party and NATO, but also at the Soviet Union.55 Hence, the PCF was left with little other option than a retreat into an “isolationist” policy and an emphasis on national sovereignty. The domestic dynamic made the party shift once more to a strong emphasis on national sovereignty, which was reminiscent of 1968 and was used against the Soviet Union.56 This line was fairly consistent with the party’s identity and history and with some aspects of general French political culture; it was, however, also completely out of touch with current political and economic developments in Europe and the world. Moreover, it ignored the implications of the Brezhnev Doctrine, which in 1968 had sharply evidenced the futility of the PCF’s arguments regarding sovereignty.

  • 57 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 756–757.
  • 58 The CPSU letter and the PCF reply have been published in “L’échange de lettres PCUS-PCF de 1977,” (...)
  • 59 One of these beneficiaries of Soviet support might have been J. Thorez-Vermeersch. Streiff, Kanapa(...)

32To the Soviets, the conflict with the PCF over European strategy and defense at that point was more upsetting than its many conflicts and disagreements with the PCI. This was so because the Italians had acquired something resembling an enfant terrible status in the world communist movement and had, over the past twenty years, obtained a higher degree of real party autonomy than the French. The Soviets relied to a greater extent on the PCF, both in the context of European strategy and for the sake of unity and orthodoxy in the world communist movement. However, the crucial factor which made the Soviets at this point react differently to the changes in the two parties was that the PCF, unlike the PCI, seemed to intend, once in government, radically to change France’s foreign and defense policy. The Soviets directly interfered in the PCF on several occasions. On the eve of the Eurocommunist summit meeting in Madrid in 1977, the Soviets sent a letter to the French pressuring them not only not to attend the meeting but also to obstruct it.57 While a press campaign against the PCF was launched in Pravda similar to the one of autumn 1968, the conflict came into the open at the European conference of communist parties held in Berlin in 1976. In March 1977, shortly after the local elections in France which resulted in the marked progress of the Left alliance, the Soviets sent another letter to the PCF in which they attacked “certain leaders” (Marchais and Kanapa in particular) for their open criticism of the Soviet Union.58 The PCF leadership discussed the conflict with the Soviets somewhat more openly than it had done in late 1969 (this time, the problem was presented to the CC), but the party’s reactions to the Soviets remained mostly cautious and behind closed doors. Furthermore, like in 1968, the Soviets interfered by sending propaganda material to militants and by supporting adversaries of the Marchais–Kanapa line.59

  • 60 Moreover, in the late 1970s a PCF delegation in Moscow lobbied for the “Leningrad trial” to be hel (...)
  • 61 On the effect of the Gulag Archipelago on the French (intellectual) Left see Khilnani, Arguing Rev (...)
  • 62 Altherr, “Le PCF face à l’Union soviétique,” p. 49.
  • 63 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 620.
  • 64 Communication by the BP: Humanité, 20/12/75, p. 1.

33The conflict with the Soviets and the domestic dynamic led the PCF leadership openly to criticize the regimes of “really existing socialism,” thereby going beyond the changes of 1969. The criticism mounted slowly and gradually; it involved the economy, state ideology and careful support to dissidents. The party protested against the repression of the workers’ riots in Gdańsk (Poland) in 1970–1971 and took the opportunity to state that the Polish regime displayed “weaknesses.” Moreover, the party protested against the imprisonment of Soviet dissident L. Plyoutch and organized meetings in honor of him.60 The publication in French of The Gulag Archipelago by the well-known Soviet writer and dissident A. Solzhenitsyn and the repression against him in the Soviet Union in 1973 caused great consternation and lively debates on the French Left.61 In response to this, Marchais was pressured into affirming that in a socialist France Solzhenitsyn would be able to publish his work.62 In late 1975, the PCF leadership allowed the party journalists greater liberty in writing on the socialist regimes.63 In December 1975, after the first Eurocommunist meeting (on which more below) and following a broadcast on French television on the Soviet prison camps, the PCF went as far as to comment in the following terms: “…such unjustifiable facts could not but cast prejudice on socialism and on the fame that the Soviet union has, rightly, gained among workers and peoples of the world….”64

  • 65 Elleinstein, Histoire de l’URSS, p. 303.
  • 66 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 313–314.

34However, all these criticisms of the Soviet Union remained, although polemical and straightforward, incidental. They focused on a specific set of issues, namely repression and human rights. They were not connected to a wider analysis of the political systems in these countries, socialism more generally, and what was to be learnt from all this for the French experience. Official party ideology incorporated these criticisms, but not without cutting off the sharp edges. Party historian J. Elleinstein, in Histoire de l’URSS, reduced the shortcomings of the Soviet regime to “occasional remnants of Stalinism,” while emphasizing that the regime as a whole could by no means be defined as (neo)-Stalinist.65 This did not go much beyond the acceptance of limited criticism in 1969, and also Marchais in Le défi démocratique of 1973 avoided fundamental criticism of the socialist regimes. The superiority of the socialist regimes over capitalism remained unquestioned. Only L’URSS et nous, published in 1978 in the tense atmosphere of Eurocommunism, marked a (temporary) breakthrough, in that it interpreted Stalinism as the result of “inevitable contradictions” in Soviet society.66

  • 67 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 599; and Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, p. 46.
  • 68 The PCF delegation was in Moscow on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revoluti (...)

35This type of more profound criticism of the Soviet regime occurred only temporarily and as a consequence of Eurocommunism and of the embittered relations with the Soviets rather than as a cause behind them. A discussion developed, at this point, on the differences between the Soviet and PCF conceptions of socialism. It went beyond criticisms regarding human rights and beyond the implicit abandoning of parts of the Leninist heritage in the domestic program. However, this discussion took place only behind the closed doors of the Bureau politique and was largely the work of Kanapa and his allies, such as Fiterman. The question was only sporadically communicated to the wider party and, most probably, remained disconnected from the ideology and culture of the rank and file and parts of the apparatus.67 At a bilateral summit meeting with the CPSU in Moscow in November 1977, the PCF delegation, more explicitly than the party had ever done before in such a context, presented a list of its disagreements with the Soviets. This not only involved relations between communist parties, peaceful coexistence and French defense policy, but also the dictatorship of the proletariat, domestic alliance strategy, pluralism and democracy. The French concluded that these divergences “might be due to different concepts of socialism.” To the Soviets, the totality of these disagreements and criticisms was unacceptable.68

36Eurocommunism to the PCF was an attempt to change the world communist movement from within—in terms of strategy, doctrine and organization. In this, the motivations of the French and Italian communists were similar. However, while for the PCI it was one attempt in a series of many, for the PCF it was the sole serious attempt in its history. The history of the latter party’s involvement in West European communist convergence demonstrates that this involvement was first and foremost motivated by a wish to expand the party’s autonomy in the communist world and its bargaining position vis-à-vis the Soviets. This was no different now. Eurocommunism served the PCF to make its domestic and foreign policies, elaborated in the context of the Union de la gauche, acceptable to the world communist movement by re-enforcing its own power position in it. It aimed to change the situation in the world communist movement so that the PCF would be free to develop its domestic strategy and to secure Soviet support for it. This involved not only the question of the internal organization of the world communist movement, but also a strategic question. The PCF expected Eurocommunism to push WCM strategy towards a more “offensive” register against the West European governments and the Atlantic alliance. It did not mean developing a common model or strategy for European communism.

2. THE COMING ABOUT AND BREAK-UP OF EUROCOMMUNISM

37While the profound and long-term cause behind the rise of Eurocommunism was the conflict with the Soviet Union regarding European strategy, there were three more immediate causes. Firstly, the intensification of meetings between West European communist parties in the first half of the 1970s; secondly, the sudden and multifaceted changes in the PCF; and thirdly, the situation in Spain and the role played by the CPE. These three factors will be briefly dealt with here, as well as the further break-up of Eurocommunism and its causes.

2.1. Bilateral and regional meetings before 1975

  • 69 For a different view, see Steinkühler, Eurokommunismus im Widerspruch, passim. For a similar view (...)

38The Eurocommunist meetings of 1975–1977 were preceded by a series of West European communist conferences and meetings, which followed up on the regional conferences of the mid-1960s. On a practical level, the meetings stimulated the creation of a network of communist leaders in Western Europe, which favored the coming about of Eurocommunism. More specifically, these meetings were important in that they stimulated the PCF’s increasing critical distance from the Soviet Union and led it to take on a somewhat more positive position with regard to the EEC. On the other hand, these meetings sharply marked the limits of the convergence and demonstrated the different perspectives in terms of strategy and doctrine, especially between the PCI and PCE on the one hand and the PCF on the other. These meetings became a forum for the assessment of diversity rather than a dynamic process for the creation of West European communist identity.69 Eurocommunism, as it directly emerged from this convergence, could not but inherit these contradictions.

  • 70 In a Soviet publication on the coming about of the Berlin Conference of 1976, the 1974 meeting of (...)

39While the number of regional meetings increased significantly after the Czechoslovak crisis, it had ambivalent effects on the Eurocommunist dynamic. On the one hand, it had made the PCI, the PCF and other parties understand that they had an interest in co-operating inside the world communist movement: such co-operation could increase their bargaining position, their autonomy and their chances of influencing the practices and theories of internationalism. It was able, as we have seen, to obstruct attempts at reimposing strict orthodoxy and monolithism. On the other hand, the 1968–1969 crisis had broken any potential that had existed as to transforming the West European communist convergence into something more than a lobby-group for autonomy inside the world communist movement, or into something that resembled the PCI’s maximalist conception of polycentrism. In the context of the realignment after 1969, the West European communist cluster was, to some extent, “normalized” and employed by the powerful actors of the world communist movement. As the Soviets and their loyal allies realistically understood that they could no longer prevent this convergence from further developing, they attempted to influence it from within and to turn it into an instrument for avoiding further disintegration and for preserving what was left of world communist unity. The fact that the regional meetings were now not only accepted by the Soviet Union but to some extent even welcomed, suggests this change in their meaning.70 These attempts succeeded only to a limited extent, but they did succeed in leaving the West European communist convergence, and Eurocommunism at a later stage, in an ill-defined position between different projects and motivations.

  • 71 APCF, BP, 20/6/69 and 18/9/69. The French title of the journal was Nouvelle revue internationale.
  • 72 While the PCB was put under pressure to “combat leftism” and to obstruct the organisation of Trots (...)
  • 73 APCF, 2/7/70. The PCF leadership was at this point very satisfied with this form of co-operation.

40Following this logic, the PCF was particularly active in its contacts with other West European communist parties in the early 1970s, and saw it as the continuation of the realignment after Czechoslovakia. Its motives were relatively clear: the holding together of a grouping of West European communist parties would, on the one hand, prevent these parties from breaking away from the world communist movement or from drifting too far into “heterodoxy,” while on the other hand such a grouping would be able to promote its interests and visions in the wider world communist movement. Moreover, the PCF saw for itself a special role in this constellation, which followed from its traditional role and provided it with a position of power in both contexts. The outcome of the 1969 Moscow Conference led the PCF to conclude that it should “expand its friendly relations” with the West European communist parties. This was explicitly brought into connection with the promotion of the new periodical New International Journal, which had been set up by the Soviets in the context of the realignment of the communist world.71 Expanding relations implied attempting to influence these parties: the PCF, on several occasions after 1969 put pressure on smaller parties such as the Belgian and Austrian ones.72 With the PCI, a habit of emergency consultations was established.73

  • 74 APCI, Dir, 20/6/69, passim.
  • 75 APCI, Dir, 20/6/9, 006–1742.

41The outcome of the 1969 Moscow Conference also led the PCI to intensify its contacts with West European communist parties, though on a different basis. The party concluded from the conference that its position of loyal criticism needed to be followed up by continued attempts to make its views on European and global strategy, on the widening of the movement and on doctrinal pluralism, acceptable to and shared by an ever greater number of parties. This would only be effective, it was argued, if it went hand in hand with demonstrations of continued involvement in the world communist movement and goodwill.74 Continuing the party’s older change-from-within strategy, Berlinguer sought to influence the PCF in particular on the issues of European security and collaboration with non-communist forces.75 Hence, the two parties initiated intensified contacts with one another with the explicit aim of pressuring one another towards their own project.

  • 76 “Incontro con delegazione PCF a Roma, 25–26/6/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 89.
  • 77 “Incontro con i dirigenti del PC Rumeno 3–4/7/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 91.
  • 78 “Incontrocion delegazione PCF a Roma, 25–26/6/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 89.

42However, disagreements on profound issues of doctrine and strategy appeared in full at the bilateral PCF–PCI meeting held in Rome in June 1970. The PCF was opposed both to a differentiated model for socialism in Western Europe and to a specific West European communist strategy in the European Cold War. A member of the PCF’s Bureau politique, J. Denis, argued that this was unrealistic and unsuitable in the context of the recently increased dependence of Western Europe on the United States, thereby referring especially to France and to Pompidou’s rapprochement to the US. The French communists conceived the meeting rather as an attempt to persuade the PCI actively to participate in the planned “anti-imperialist conference” of world communist parties.76 This project was an initiative of the Soviet Union with the PCF and would elaborate the third chapter of the 1969 Moscow Conference (which the PCI had signed). While the Romanian Communist Party obstructed the initiative because China was not invited, the PCI was reluctant for the same reason.77 It was made clear how different the conceptions of internationalism were between the two Western communist parties, by, once more, the PCF’s fierce objection against co-operation with non-communist forces in this anti-imperialist initiative.78

43Nevertheless, the regular contacts between the PCI and PCF made the organization of a number of West European communist conferences possible. The first of these, which took place in London in January 1971, invited for the first time all the West European communist parties, including the otherwise reluctant Dutch and Swedish parties. The theme, “the struggle against monopolies,” included an analysis of European and global economic integration on the working classes. The PCF had proposed as a theme “the existence of socialist states and their importance,” obviously intended as a realignment maneuver. This was strongly opposed by the PCI and the Nordic parties. What occurred instead was a tendency to taboo all issues touching upon the socialist regimes, their historical and actual significance, their doctrine, and their foreign policy. This could not have been otherwise, as different positions existed. The fact that the choice was between either a “loyal” analysis of the socialist regimes or the absence of a debate on this issue demonstrates the limited potential of the West European communist convergence.

  • 79 APCF, BP, 7/1/70.
  • 80 “Incontro PCF Parigi 16–17/11/71,” APCI, Fondo Berlinguer, 102.

44Attention was shifted to matters of domestic strategy (such as alliances, reform policy, relationship to the trade unions), which were as much as possible debated in practical terms rather than in the usual heavy Marxist-Leninist terminology. Discussions involved trade union activity and communist militancy in multinationals, reform strategy, alliances, and so on. Next to a common analysis of the economic situation in Western Europe, the outcome of these meeting in terms of concrete common action was limited. For example, the PCF, although accepting the Italian proposal for intensified co-ordination between shop stewards operating in different national plants of the same multinational, opposed establishing any structural body for this aim.79 Despite the modest outcome, the meeting seems to have made the PCF shift its positions somewhat towards the “Italian” ones. At a bilateral meeting with representatives of the PCI in November 1971, Marchais and Denis displayed a more positive attitude vis-à-vis the EEC, which they now considered as a possible factor promoting security in Europe. They also criticized the modes of interaction in the communist world for their “inefficiency,” and, more fundamentally, called for a joint struggle against the theory of limited sovereignty.80 Significantly, the PCI did not pick up on this point. Most probably, the Italian communists did not find it very important. It was clear that it did not apply to them; they had achieved, as a party, a relatively large degree of autonomy in the world communist movement and were less concerned with the doctrines of the world communist movement than was the PCF.

  • 81 Listed in Timmermann, “Konflikt und Krise im Weltkommunismus,” p. 18.
  • 82 The documents of the 1974 conference are published in Steinkühler, Eurokommunismus im Widerspruch, (...)

45The question of co-operation with other forces on the domestic scene was chosen for the next conference of West European communist parties, held in Brussels in January 1974. It was preceded by an unprecedented number of bi- and multilateral exchanges: a series of preparatory meetings, as well as some topical seminars.81 Much of the discussions revolved around the question of the EEC. The PCF at this point shifted to the “Italian” view of constructive change inside the EEC institutions. Marchais pragmatically stated that “Europe can be the best and the worst.”82 However, the Brussels Conference failed to develop a common program for communist strategy in pluralist and industrialized societies. Firstly, there was no agreement as to whether such a common program should be developed, and if so, whether this forum was appropriate. While the PCI and some smaller parties such as the Belgian one favored this, the most radical “autonomist” parties, such as the Scandinavian ones, opposed any new modeling, given the historical difficulties they had encountered in subtracting themselves from the of models imposed by the world communist movement. As a result, the conference’s resolutions did little more than offer a number of elements of a common analysis of the crisis in Western Europe.

2.2. Between tactical shifts and a European strategy

  • 83 For more on PCE strategy in this period see Bell, “Eurocommunism and the Spanish CP.”

46Alongside the domestic successes and initiatives of the PCF and the PCI, the domestic rise of West European communist parties was a more general phenomenon in these years. The economic crisis that had struck the indrustialized world in 1973 added up to a general revival of Marxist thought, which was the effect of the 1968–1969 radicalization. Not only communists but a wider public on the Left and centre felt the need for a radical alternative and found connections to various old and new strands of Marxist thought. In this context, the changes in Spain and the prominent role of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) greatly impressed the West European Left. The death of Spanish dictator Franco in November 1975 made possible the initiation of a gradual process towards democracy. The PCE had become increasingly influential and active in the underground struggle against the regime and was legalized in April 1977. Led by Santiago Carrillo, it resolutely opted for a moderate and centrist course: it supported the installation of the monarchy in 1976 and co-operated in alliances with all democratic forces of the centre and the Left. Pushed to the centre especially by its main competitor the Socialist Party (PSOE), the PCE considered the establishment of democracy to be the first, indispensable step towards socialism. It continued this line, despite its disappointing poll in the first free elections of 1977 (9.2 per cent), and even though it met with increasing internal resistance.83 Its abandonment of Leninist principles was not only implicit but professed. This went hand in hand with increasingly open and encompassing criticisms of the socialist regimes; already in 1966 Carrillo had condemned the single-party system and political repression in the East.

  • 84 Carrillo, “Eurocommunism” and the State.
  • 85 Andrew, Mitrokhin, The Mithokhin Archive, p. 392. On the conflict between the PCE and the Soviet U (...)

47The conflict between the CPE and the Soviet Union was unconcealed, bitter and continuous throughout the 1970s. It had originated in the 1960s and had various causes. Besides doctrinal disagreements, the PCE, as we have seen, fiercely condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia and expressed disagreement with parts of the final resolutions of the 1969 Moscow Conference. The Soviet Union not only developed friendly relations with the Franco regime in the first half of the 1970s, but also supported several anti-Carrillo groups inside and outside the PCE. The conflict was exacerbated when Carrillo condemned the lack of democracy in the Soviet Union, endorsed the PCI’s European strategy and, worse, suggested that the strategic interests of the Soviet Union might differ from those of the West European communists. The Soviet press started a campaign against Carrillo and his 1977 publication “Eurocommunism” and the State, which was to become the manifesto of Eurocommunism for many in Spain and Europe.84 Carrillo was attacked in the most severe terms in a review published in the Moscow New Times, his views being compared to those of “the imperialist adversaries.”85

  • 86 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 641.

48While the events in Spain gave a major impulse to the coming about of Eurocommunism, the events in Portugal in 1974–1975 brought the disagreements between the PCI and the PCF once more to the surface. The PCI and PCF had a very different appreciation of the strategy of the Portuguese Communist Party: while the PCI openly criticized the PCP, the PCF presented its strategy as an example for Western Europe. Its appreciation of the PCP tended towards the position of the Soviets, who urged the PCP to develop an even more offensive and vanguard policy. When Marchais and Berlinguer met in September 1975 in Rome, disagreement surfaced not only on this issue but also on Berlinguer’s proposal of a West European model for (the transformation to) socialism, which Marchais qualified as “impossible.”86

  • 87 Some of the literature has overlooked the interplay between the emergence of Eurocommunism and com (...)
  • 88 Recently, for example, Lazar, Le communisme, p. 41.
  • 89 Devlin, “The role of Non-ruling Communist Parties,” p. 38.
  • 90 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 637–647.
  • 91 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 646–647.

49The PCF’s shift to Eurocommunism was, in the short term, provoked by the party’s acute isolation inside the world communist movement. This happened in 1975, in the context of the preparations for the second conference of European communist and workers’ parties, which was held in East Berlin in June 1976.87 While much of the literature has understood the Berlin Conference and the PCF’s open criticism of the Soviet Union on this occasion as the expression or the result of Eurocommunism,88 it should be seen rather as a central cause behind the PCF’s shift towards Eurocommunism. The PCF found itself acutely isolated on the issues of détente and proletarian internationalism. Paradoxically, its position of criticism of the Soviet Union, which departed from what was, in some ways, an opposite point of view to that held by the PCI, led it to approach the latter party and move away from the former. In May 1975 the PCF protested against the WCM line on détente by issuing a statement which said that the central confrontation in the preparation process was between those who wished to combine détente with the revolutionary struggle, and those who would “go easy on imperialism, for the sake of diplomatic considerations or domestic opportunities,” by which it targeted both the PCI and the CPSU.89 The French delegation to the preparatory meeting of November 1975, led by Kanapa, strongly criticized the Soviets with regard to the “confusion on détente,” the “non-revolutionary understanding of peace,” and “class collaboration on an international level.”90 Kanapa even perceived an alliance on this question between the PCI (which co-organized the conference) and the Soviet Union, both of which, in his view, favored a non-aggressive strategy towards the West.91

  • 92 Both Romania and Yugoslavia attended the Conference, which the Soviets promoted as a sign of growi (...)
  • 93 Quoted in Streiff, Kanapa, p. 750.
  • 94 This view is endorsed, for example, in Kriegel, “The international role,” passim.

50Moreover, the French were isolated in their wish to debate proletarian internationalism openly and link it back to Leninist doctrine. It was not supported in this by the Soviet Union, which had an interest in avoiding theoretical and doctrinal discussions on the matter. This was so because it was subject to heavy pressure from the “autonomist” parties such as the Yugoslavs, and the Romanians and the PCI, and because it wished to hold as many parties as possible together.92 The conference texts spoke of “international solidarity” instead of internationalism, a change which the PCF only accepted in December 1977—and only temporarily. All this led the PCF, even more than before, to disconnect its internationalism from the actual Soviet Union and the actual world communist movement. This was the meaning behind Kanapa’s affirmation that the Soviet Union was not the touchstone of internationalism, but rather represented a retreat from internationalism.93 The party’s historical internationalism developed at this stage into an even more abstract and theoretical form of internationalism, which did not correspond to the actual situation. As the situation in the world communist movement demonstrated the wide gap in perspective between the PCF on the one hand and the PCI and PCE on the other, the former party’s shift to Eurocommunism can only be seen as lacking substance.94 However, it was also the expression of a deeply rooted need for international alliances; it represented a “choice by exclusion” and an opportunity swiftly taken up, which, while it might not provide a serious long-term strategy, could not harm the party either. With respect to the issue of peaceful coexistence, Eurocommunism grew out of the convergence of opposite criticisms of Soviet strategy in Western Europe: while the PCF called for a more aggressive policy towards the West, the PCI called for an intensified policy of détente.

  • 95 The Eurocommunist statements of 1975–1977, and the full list of meetings (including those with the (...)
  • 96 For three useful discussions of the general characteristics of Euorocommunism among the many publi (...)

51In July 1975, against the backdrop of the Portuguese revolution, the PCI and PCE signed a declaration on the democratic principles of socialism. This was followed in November 1975 by a similar PCI-PCF statement.95 This was followed by a Marchais–Berlinguer summit in June 1976, and a three-party summit in Madrid in March 1977. Eurocommunism presented itself in these texts as a commitment to parliamentary democracy and to a peaceful and legal transition to socialism based on parliamentary and extraparliamentary alliances and on the gradual reform of the economy and the expansion of democratic rights. On the other hand, it maintained Marxist- Leninist elements, such as the class struggle and the concept of the communist party. With respect to “really existing socialism” all three major Eurocommunist parties declared that the kind of socialism they were striving for would be very different from the experiences in the East, and emphasized the rules of autonomy and non-interference in the communist world.96

  • 97 For more detail on the speeches and the resolutions of the conference see Devlin, “The Role of Non (...)

52The conference of communist parties of Europe held in June 1976 in East Berlin assured the acceptance of Eurocommunism in the world communist movement. Freedom of speech for the Eurocommunist parties was great on this occasion. Carrillo compared the world communist movement to the Roman Church, affirmed that “we communists do not have a guiding centre,” and went as far as to question the value of the Bolshevik Revolution. Marchais affirmed that “…conferences like this one in our view no longer correspond to the needs of our time.” The French leader furthermore strongly argued against any common strategy. Berlinguer avoided polemics and discussions of doctrine, emphasizing instead the common strategy for peaceful coexistence and progress in Europe. Thanks largely to the collaboration between the PCI-PCF-PCE and the Romanian and Yugoslav parties, the conference resolutions were little more than the assessment of diversity. They did not mention any particular role or position for the Soviet Union, and emphasized the voluntary character of adherence to the movement and collaboration with non-communist forces.97 The apparent agreement of the three main Eurocommunist leaders on this occasion demonstrated the effectiveness of the lobby-group character of Eurocommunism and its capacity to obstruct authoritarian campaigns in the world communist movement. It gave proof of a common view on what communism and internationalism were not, in terms of organization, strategy and doctrine.

  • 98 The CPE, while it did request Spanish entry into the EEC, did not wish to enter the Atlantic allia (...)
  • 99 The PCE did so in its Manifesto and Programme of the Communist Party of Spain of 1976.

53The PCI had the most “maximalist” view on what Eurocommunism should be. As we have seen, it understood Eurocommunism, firstly, as a European strategy in which the developments of several West European countries towards socialism could occur; and secondly, as a proposal for a model for (the transition to) socialism in countries with a liberal-democratic political system and in an advanced stage of capitalism. For the PCE, the strategic dimension was equally important: it saw Eurocommunism as the urgently needed international alliance system to back its domestic strategy. It largely shared the PCI’s views on the need for dynamic détente, on Europe as a force going counter to the bloc system, on change from within the EEC, and on the acceptance of American military presence in Western Europe.98 It was, however, less inclined towards the acceptance of a new model for socialist transition—even though this would be radically different from, and much more relevant to, its own experience than the models of the Soviet Union or the people’s democracies. Apart from a different judgement on the desirability of such a new model, the conceptions of socialism and the doctrinal points of departure underlying the PCI and PCE’s domestic strategy differed. For instance, the PCE, unlike the PCI, explicitly abandoned the dictatorship of the proletariat.99 The PCI did not formally abandon the concept, but, as mentioned, increasingly replaced it with the Gramscian concept of hegemony.

  • 100 See the famous passage: “The October Revolution has given birth to a state which surely is not a b (...)
  • 101 See also Urban, “The Four Faces,” p. 53.
  • 102 A similar point is made in Urban, “The Four Faces,” pp. 52–54.

54Furthermore, the PCI and the PCE differed with regard to relations with the communist states and the world communist movement. The attacks by the PCE on the Soviet Union were sharper and its analysis of the socialist regimes went more au fond and were less self-censured than those of the PCI. Carrillo went further than any other European communist had ever done by stating in his “Eurocommunism” and the State that the Soviet Union was “not a true workers’ democracy.”100 Significantly, the PCI leaders, while defending Carrillo for reasons of principle in the polemics with the Soviets that followed the publication of the book, abstained from commenting on this crucial statement.101 Different perspectives between the two parties also existed on what J.B. Urban has called the “evangelical face” of Eurocommunism. For both parties, one of the aims of Eurocommunism was positively to influence the development of the socialist regimes of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; while Carrillo affirmed this in “Eurocommunism” and the State, for the PCI it was the logical outcome of the “change from within” policy. However, the two parties adopted different tactics, the PCE being far more polemical and the PCI preferring to avoid open conflicts and to await the effects of the Eurocommunist successes on the societies and regimes in Eastern Europe. The PCI here went beyond its usual agnosticism and relativism in terms of the conception of socialism: without clearly saying so, it accorded to Eurocommunism the value of an example (although not a model) to socialism in other parts of the world.102

  • 103 It had not, for example, abandoned the idea of “general laws” on the road to socialism.

55The PCF differed from both the PCI and the PCE on all these points. It agreed with the PCE on the undesirability of the development of a new model. Its conception of socialism, in theory, remained far closer to the Soviet one than the one endorsed by the PCI and the PCE.103 Most often hiding behind arguments of non-interference and party autonomy, it did not raise the question of interaction between the developments in communism in the East and the West and seemed not to have any evangelical ambition. Its historical internationalism was not fundamentally changed under the influence of Eurocommunism. However polemical its criticisms on the Soviet Union, it could not, in contrast to its two counterparts, bring itself to question both the strategic and doctrinal value of 1917. Nor did it widen its appreciation of “really existing socialism” into a broader discussion of the nature of socialism.

2.3. The end of Eurocommunism

  • 104 In a more recent version of this argument, Narkiewicz has argued that the Soviet Union accommodate (...)
  • 105 This is also noted in Pons, “La politica internazionale.”
  • 106 Quoted in Valenta, “Eurocommunism and Eastern Europe,” pp. 48–49. See also Jilek, “La Tchécoslovaq (...)

56While in the 1970s and 1980s the hypothesis existed that Eurocommunism was tacitly accepted and even tactically endorsed by the Soviets,104 it is clear now that the latter considered Eurocommunism to be a threat. The Soviet Union did accept a minimalist type of polycentrism, such as the West European communist cluster in the early 1970s. However, Eurocommunism was unacceptable for a strategic reason and for reasons of doctrine. Around 1975 it seemed to be an expression of European dynamic détente, with the potential of upsetting the “social and political status quo” in Europe. To the Soviets, the PCI’s vision of international strategy was probably more upsetting when based on the perspective of dynamic détente and Europe as a force “overcoming,” and hence destroying, the blocs, than when based on a full shift to NATO.105 Besides, as a movement positioning itself inside the Soviet-aligned communist world, Eurocommunism challenged Soviet “orthodox” doctrine. The continued adherence to the world communist movement of, in particular, the PCI was problematic to the Soviets, as the Eurocommunist development towards “heterodoxy” did indeed go hand in hand with a growing cultural and ideological influence on other communist parties in the East and West, on the Left in Western Europe, and on reform-minded communists in the East. Many of the former Prague Spring leaders and other reform-minded communists in Eastern Europe have observed the influence of PCI and Eurocommunist ideas on the reform movements in the East throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. At least two signers of Charter 77, Z. Mlynář and J. Hájek, have always maintained that Eurocommunism was their “strongest card” in dealing with the communist regime.106

  • 107 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 675–677.
  • 108 Andrew, Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive, p. 388. It is possible, although not proven, that the KG (...)
  • 109 Jilek, “La Tchécoslovaquie,” pp. 78–79.

57The Soviet, Czechoslovak and East German communist parties, and maybe others, tried to dissuade the Eurocommunist parties from continuing their line through various more or less aggressive tactics. Throughout 1975–1977 a campaign in the Soviet press against Carrillo, the PCF leadership, and, to a lesser extent, the PCI leadership was intended to discredit these leaders in front of world communism and their respective parties. Heavy direct pressure was put on the PCF, as its “disobedience” was most upsetting and as it was expected to be more responsive to pressure than the other two parties. Just before the Madrid summit of 1977, the Soviets sent a threatening letter to the PCF urging it to obstruct the meeting. The letter was also meant to destabilize the leadership and their authority vis-à-vis the party, as it condemned the policies of “certain leaders,” Kanapa and Marchais in particular.107 According to the Mitrokhin archive, the KGB launched a campaign to discredit Berlinguer by spreading rumors about his alleged involvement in fraudulent transactions.108 More incidents occurred between the Eurocommunist parties and the Czechoslovak CPCS. The latter’s daily, Rude Pravo, attacked the PCI for disregarding internationalism and the general laws of socialism, and (in vain) put pressure on the party’s publishing house, Editori Riuniti, to block the printing of works by the former Prague Spring protagonists Goldstücker, Pelikán and Šik.109

  • 110 Lazar, “Affinités électives,” p. 153.
  • 111 For more detail on the worsening relations between the two parties, on the basis of the Kanapa arc (...)

58The break-up of Eurocommunism in 1978–1979 was immediately provoked by a dramatic shift in the PCF, by which it caused a rift in the Union de la Gauche, turned back to full loyalty to the Soviet Union, and distanced itself from most of the Eurocommunist ideas. In the spring of 1979, the “overall positive” evaluation of the socialist regimes, including the Soviet Union, was reassessed in the documents of the 23rd Party Congress. In January 1980, in contrast to the PCI and the PCE, the PCF supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. As it was domestic strategy which had, in the short term, provoked the changes in the PCF’s internationalism, it was now also the domestic changes which led the party to revise its internationalism. The break-up of the Union de la gauche by the PCF occurred after the March 1978 elections, which marked not only a general defeat of the Left but also the first victory of the PS over the PCF (22.8 per cent to 20.6 per cent).110 Relations between the two parties had been openly problematic since 1977, the disagreements being centered around defense policy. While the PCF had adopted the tous azimuts strategy in anticipation of a shift away by the socialists from their Atlantic orientation, Mitterrand refused to give in to this and in turn proposed a referendum on the issue in July 1977. The suspicions that had existed between the two parties since the beginning of the alliance became dominant. The acute crisis in the PCF which occurred after the election defeat of 1978 led it to understand that it was first and foremost the Socialist Party which gained from the alliance, in terms of votes and political initiative.111 While this fact was, on a practical level, sufficient to question the utility of the alliance, and on a doctrinal level went against the vanguard role concept, in terms of identity it threatened to jeopardize the teleology and the communists’ specific project as being different from that of reformist socialists.

  • 112 For example, from 1974 Leroy more or less openly objected to the continuation of the Union de la G (...)

59The hypothesis has always existed that the break-up of the Left alliance in France was the result of direct Soviet interference, but archival evidence for this has not so far come to light. What can be said with certainty, though, is that the totality of pressure on the Marchais-Kanapa duo—from the Soviet Union, from the wider world communist movement, and from a growing number of conservatives in the leadership and in the wider party— caused this major reassessment of domestic and international policies.112 As after 1968, the shift back into Soviet-loyal internationalism did not mean that the divergence of interests in terms of European strategy was resolved, or that it was no longer perceived. Rather, in the context of an acute identity crisis provoked by the fear of losing its specificity with regard to reformist socialism, it was considered of crucial importance to re-emphasize the communist teleology. The fact that the party had given up in practice, if not in theory, many elements of Marxism-Leninism, only added to this need. Since the PCF did not dispose of any other internationalism than the one linked to the world communist movement and the Soviet Union as carriers of a historical and global process, the sharp turn back into this movement was considered necessary.

  • 113 After its disappointing election score of 1977, internal opposition against Carrillo increased, an (...)
  • 114 Throughout the 1970s the PCI intensified its contacts with the Social Democratic parties of Wester (...)

60It started to occur to all three parties involved that the costs connected to Eurocommunism outweighed its benefits. In the case of the PCF, this was so because Eurocommunism upset the parameters of its traditional internationalism at a moment in which the party’s identity seemed once more to be questioned. For the PCE, this was so because of the domestic situation and the lack of clarity as to the further development of domestic strategy.113 The PCI’s commitment to Eurocommunism also proved to be limited and contradictory, and it turned its attention to other niches of international solidarity.114 While its tactics of avoiding direct confrontation with the socialist regimes might have avoided grave conflicts and permitted the party to exercise an indirect influence on the civil societies of Eastern Europe, this was also a way to camouflage the ambivalence in its own evaluation of “really existing socialism” and how it related to its own concept of socialism. The party’s constant shifting after 1968 between relativist forms of criticism of the socialist regimes on the one hand, and absolute, “evangelical” forms of criticism on the other hand, reflected this ambivalence. Moreover, it remained unclear how, in the PCI’s conception, Eurocommunism and “Third Way” communism in Europe would relate strategically to the Soviet Union.

Notes

1 This chapter is partially based on primary sources and party archives, particularly regarding the relations between these parties and the regional meetings. Besides this I dwell on the secondary literature on Eurocommunism.

2 The thesis on the direct link between the Czechoslovak crisis of 1968 and Eurocommunism is argued, for example, in Urban, “The Four Faces of Eurocommunism,” pp. 36–38.

3 For example, Azcarante, “What is Eurocommunism?,” p. 18. See also S. Carrillo’s famous statement that “Czechoslovakia was the last straw.”

4 Many of Eurocommunism’s contemporary observers have failed to notice the important differences in strategy and the conception of socialism between the PCI, PCF and PCE during Eurocommunism. For an example of this see Legvold, “The Soviet Union and West European Communism,” passim.

5 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 113.

6 Zubok, “The Soviet Union and European Integration,” p. 92; Petro, Rubinstein, Russian Foreign Policy, pp. 290–291.

7 This point is made in Zubok, “The Soviet Union and European Integration,” p. 93. However, it has also been noted that the (official and semi-official) debates in the Soviet Union on Europe in the 1970s were marked by a tension between co-operation with Western Europe and exploitation of the latter’s conflict with the United States, and co-operation with the United States against a “third force” Europe. Neumann, Russia and the Idea of Europe, pp. 141–157.

8 Dewisha, The Kremlin, p. 374.

9 Garton Ash, In Europe’s Name, esp. pp. 57–58 and pp. 283–285.

10 Sarotte, Dealing with the Devil, pp. 170–177.

11 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, chapter 5.

12 While the Paris agreement of 1973 recognized both North and South Vietnam, North Vietnamese troops marched into Saigon in 1975. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, chapter 7.

13 Petro, Rubinstein, Russian Foreign Policy, p. 292.

14 More detail on the effect of the Helsinki agreements on the dissident movements can be found in Hitchcock, The Struggle for Europe, pp. 301–310. With regard to Czechoslovakia specifically, see Gordon Skilling, Charter 77, esp. pp. 209–212. However, counter-narratives of East European dissidents have been proposed, which emphasize rather the frustration caused by the promises of Helsinki and the lack of domestic change. See Kaldor, The Imaginary War, pp. 122.

15 See also the points listed in chapter 1 with regard to the Soviets’ interest in the West European communist parties in the 1960s and 1970s.

16 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, pp. 360–361.

17 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, pp. 389–393.

18 Maxwell, The Making of Portuguese Democracy, pp. 142–146. On US intervention in Portugal see Del Pero, “Kissinger e la politica estera americana nel mediterraneo,” pp. 973–988.

19 Noted in Pons, “L’Italia e il PCI nella politica estera,” p. 936.

20 “Incontro delegazione PCSU 2/12/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 93.

21 Pons, “La formazione della politica internazionale,” o.c.

22 Berlinguer developed and explained the new strategy in Berlinguer, “Riflessioni sull’Italia dopo gli eventi di Cile,” in Rinascita, 28/9/73, 5/10/73 and 12/10/73. These are published in: Berlinguer, Tato, La questione comunista, pp. 609–639.

23 On the DC in the early 1970s see Gualtieri, L’Italia dal 1943 al 1992, chapter 5.

24 The far Left Red Brigades started with regular terrorist attacks on state buildings and politicians. This culminated in the kidnapping and assassination of DC party head A. Moro in 1978. On left-wing terrorism in connection with the radicalization of 1968–1969, see, for example, Tarrow, “Violence and Institutionalisation after the Italian Protest Cycle,” pp. 41–69.

25 For more detail on the political and economic situation in Italy leading up to the historical compromise, see Ginsborg, Storia d’Italia, pp. 469–482.

26 Much of the (Italian) literature has focused on the question of the offensive or rather defensive character of the Compromesso storico, and on its innovative character versus the older roots. For a discussion of these points see, for example, Flores, Gallerano, Sul PCI, pp. 237–256; and Graziani, Nei punti alti, chapter 7. For a more recent view see Ragusa, I comunisti, pp. 227–228.

27 Various party texts and articles by Berlinguer on the shift in PCI foreign policy have been published in Berlinguer, Tato, La politica internazionale dei comunisti italiani.

28 Berlinguer affirmed at a meeting with the Soviets in 1973 that Europe was not envisaged as a neutral force or as a third force, but as a force “overcoming the blocs.” Pons, “La politica internazionale.”

29 Berlinguer did so in an interview with the non-communist paper Corriere della sera on the eve of the June 1976 elections. Immediately after this declaration, however, Berlinguer downplayed the interpretation that NATO would serve as a protective shield for socialism in Europe. See, for example, “I comunisti e il Patto atlantico,” in Berlinguer, Tato, La politica internazionale, pp. 161–162.

30 The incoherence between dynamic détente and the shift to NATO has also been noted in Pons, “La politica internazionale.”

31 See the discussion of this in chapter 3.

32 Moreover, there was a strong “from above” component in the historical compromise strategy. This is also argued in Ragusa, I comunisti, pp. 227–228.

33 See Njølstad, “The Carter Administration and Italy,” p. 81; Gualtieri, “Il PCI, la DC,” pp. 81–82. It is still unclear whether there was more direct American interference in Italian politics in the early and mid-1970s.

34 The continuity between Eurocommunism, as far as the PCI is concerned, and polycentrism has been noted widely in the literature. For a useful discussion see Urban, “The Four Faces,” pp. 36–59.

35 Although systematic studies on this topic are still lacking, several contemporary witnesses and actors have testified to the influence of PCI and Gramscian ideas on reform-minded communists and civil society in Czechoslovakia and other socialist countries. On the other hand, the PCI abstained from giving straightforward support to the most outspoken opponents of these regimes, either internal dissidents or emigrants. See Jilek, “La Tchécoslovaquie et son Parti communiste,” pp. 71–81.

36 See, for example, the records of the meeting of 1–3/7/71 in APCF, BP, 8/7/71.

37 APCF, BP, 13/8/70.

38 These points were decided at the BP meeting of 13/8/70. On the second point: “[We should]…develop our theoretical explanations regarding the nature and the class content of the policy of peaceful coexistence.”

39 APCF, Sec, 16/10/70 and 23/10/70.

40 The report is published in Kanapa, Coexistence pacifique et lutte de classe.

41 For a similar view see Mélandri, “La France et l’Alliance atlantique,” pp. 524–525.

42 For more detail on French foreign policy under Pompidou see Mélandri, “La France et l’Alliance atlantique,” passim; Berstein, Rioux, The Pompidou Years, pp. 16–26.

43 APCF, BP, 8/7/71.

44 Andrew, Mitrokhin, The Mithokhin Archive, pp. 395–396.

45 Quoted in Altherr, “Le PCF face a l’Union sovietique,” p. 48.

46 For the first interpretation see, for example, Lange, Vannicelli, The Communist Parties of Italy, France and Spain. For the second type of interpretation see, for example, Altherr, “Le PCF face a l’Union sovietique.”

47 The thesis that the PCF wanted ultimately to dominate the Left alliance is widely accepted and is demonstrated especially by the eventual break-up of the alliance provoked by the PCF in 1979. See Hincker, Le Parti communiste au carrefour, passim.

48 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 622.

49 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 668.

50 APCF, BP, 10/9/70.

51 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 562.

52 The determining role of Kanapa here is widely recognized in the literature. See, for example, Lavau, “L’URSS et eux…,” p. 201.

53 The fact that the PCF in 1977 took part in the elections for the European Parliament, even though it had for a long time campaigned against the holding of such elections, can demonstrate the pragmatic character of its shift to Europe. For a similar view on the relative non-importance of the EEC to PCF strategy see Kriegel, “The French Communist Party,” p. 82.

54 This is not to argue that the PCF did not envisage close economic ties between a future socialist France and the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as Kriegel observes. Kriegel, “The French Communist Party,” p. 84.

55 This has also been argued by Robrieux, La secte, p. 75.

56 The emphasis on national sovereignty in the 1975 programme of the PCF has also been noted in Tiersky, “Le PCF et la détente,” p. 220.

57 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 756–757.

58 The CPSU letter and the PCF reply have been published in “L’échange de lettres PCUS-PCF de 1977,” pp. 36–49. See also Hincker, Le PC au carrefour, pp. 167–168.

59 One of these beneficiaries of Soviet support might have been J. Thorez-Vermeersch. Streiff, Kanapa, p. 675. Also the Czechoslovak Communist Party put pressure on the PCF. After the PCF had changed its position on L’Aveu in 1976, and following its support for Charter 77, the CPCS sent a threatening letter to the PCF. See Streiff, Kanapa, p. 670.

60 Moreover, in the late 1970s a PCF delegation in Moscow lobbied for the “Leningrad trial” to be held publicly and for the cancelling of the death penalties. APCF, BP, 18/12/70.

61 On the effect of the Gulag Archipelago on the French (intellectual) Left see Khilnani, Arguing Revolution, pp. 128–131.

62 Altherr, “Le PCF face à l’Union soviétique,” p. 49.

63 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 620.

64 Communication by the BP: Humanité, 20/12/75, p. 1.

65 Elleinstein, Histoire de l’URSS, p. 303.

66 Lazar, Maisons rouges, pp. 313–314.

67 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 599; and Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, p. 46.

68 The PCF delegation was in Moscow on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution; it was led by P. Laurent and included Kanapa. Streiff, Kanapa, p. 750.

69 For a different view, see Steinkühler, Eurokommunismus im Widerspruch, passim. For a similar view on the diversity which the meeting brought to the surface—which, however, does not draw the right conclusions from this regarding the weakness of Eurocommunism—see Marcou, Les pieds d’argile, pp. 32–33.

70 In a Soviet publication on the coming about of the Berlin Conference of 1976, the 1974 meeting of communist parties of Western Europe is listed as a major step towards greater unity in the communist world. Zagladin, Europe and the Communists, pp. 15–23. Fejtõ earlier foresaw this: Fejtõ The French Communist Party, p. 204.

71 APCF, BP, 20/6/69 and 18/9/69. The French title of the journal was Nouvelle revue internationale.

72 While the PCB was put under pressure to “combat leftism” and to obstruct the organisation of Trotskyite groups (APCF, BP, 3/12/70), the KPÖ received an abundant amount of PCF texts on doctrine (APCF, BP, 3/1/69). Moreover, the PCF directly interfered in the Greek Communist Party. APCF, BP, September through December 1970.

73 APCF, 2/7/70. The PCF leadership was at this point very satisfied with this form of co-operation.

74 APCI, Dir, 20/6/69, passim.

75 APCI, Dir, 20/6/9, 006–1742.

76 “Incontro con delegazione PCF a Roma, 25–26/6/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 89.

77 “Incontro con i dirigenti del PC Rumeno 3–4/7/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 91.

78 “Incontrocion delegazione PCF a Roma, 25–26/6/70,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 89.

79 APCF, BP, 7/1/70.

80 “Incontro PCF Parigi 16–17/11/71,” APCI, Fondo Berlinguer, 102.

81 Listed in Timmermann, “Konflikt und Krise im Weltkommunismus,” p. 18.

82 The documents of the 1974 conference are published in Steinkühler, Eurokommunismus im Widerspruch, pp. 37–48.

83 For more on PCE strategy in this period see Bell, “Eurocommunism and the Spanish CP.”

84 Carrillo, “Eurocommunism” and the State.

85 Andrew, Mitrokhin, The Mithokhin Archive, p. 392. On the conflict between the PCE and the Soviet Union in the mid and late 1970s generally, see Menashe, “Eurocommunism and the USSR,” pp. 310–314.

86 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 641.

87 Some of the literature has overlooked the interplay between the emergence of Eurocommunism and communist party relations inside the WCM, for example Boggs, The Impasse of European Communism. Other authors, like Marcou (Les pieds d’argile, p. 41) have observed it, but have not drawn conclusions from it as to the nature of Eurocommunism.

88 Recently, for example, Lazar, Le communisme, p. 41.

89 Devlin, “The role of Non-ruling Communist Parties,” p. 38.

90 Streiff, Kanapa, p. 637–647.

91 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 646–647.

92 Both Romania and Yugoslavia attended the Conference, which the Soviets promoted as a sign of growing unity. Their presence, however, added to the evidence of disunity at the conference. See Devlin, “The Role of Non-ruling Communist Parties,” p. 37.

93 Quoted in Streiff, Kanapa, p. 750.

94 This view is endorsed, for example, in Kriegel, “The international role,” passim.

95 The Eurocommunist statements of 1975–1977, and the full list of meetings (including those with the British and Japanese parties), are published in Lange, Vanniccelli, The Communist Parties of Italy, France and Spain.

96 For three useful discussions of the general characteristics of Euorocommunism among the many publications on this topic, see, for example, Boggs, The Impasse of Eurocomunism, pp. 18–22; Griffith, “The diplomacy of Eurocommunism”; and Urban, “The Four Faces.”

97 For more detail on the speeches and the resolutions of the conference see Devlin, “The Role of Non-ruling Communist Parties,” pp. 41–44.

98 The CPE, while it did request Spanish entry into the EEC, did not wish to enter the Atlantic alliance, although it did not express objections to American military bases in Spain.

99 The PCE did so in its Manifesto and Programme of the Communist Party of Spain of 1976.

100 See the famous passage: “The October Revolution has given birth to a state which surely is not a bourgeois state, but which neither corresponds to the proletariat organized into the dominant class; it is not yet a real working people’s democracy.” Carrillo, “Eurocommunism” and the State, p. 172.

101 See also Urban, “The Four Faces,” p. 53.

102 A similar point is made in Urban, “The Four Faces,” pp. 52–54.

103 It had not, for example, abandoned the idea of “general laws” on the road to socialism.

104 In a more recent version of this argument, Narkiewicz has argued that the Soviet Union accommodated to Eurocommunism by 1976. Narkiewicz, The End of the Bolshevik Dream, pp. 87–90.

105 This is also noted in Pons, “La politica internazionale.”

106 Quoted in Valenta, “Eurocommunism and Eastern Europe,” pp. 48–49. See also Jilek, “La Tchécoslovaquie et son Parti communiste,” pp. 71–81.

107 Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 675–677.

108 Andrew, Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive, p. 388. It is possible, although not proven, that the KGB attempted to assassinate Berlinguer on the occasion of his trip to Sofia in 1973. This is upheld by Fasanella, Incerti, Sofia 1973.

109 Jilek, “La Tchécoslovaquie,” pp. 78–79.

110 Lazar, “Affinités électives,” p. 153.

111 For more detail on the worsening relations between the two parties, on the basis of the Kanapa archives, see Streiff, Kanapa, pp. 719–738.

112 For example, from 1974 Leroy more or less openly objected to the continuation of the Union de la Gauche. Kanapa died in 1978. Streiff, Kanapa, p. 665.

113 After its disappointing election score of 1977, internal opposition against Carrillo increased, and in June 1981 a conflict broke out in the party over the interpretation of Eurocommunism.

114 Throughout the 1970s the PCI intensified its contacts with the Social Democratic parties of Western Europe. For on overview of these contacts see Timmermann, “Democratic Socialists, Eurocommunists and the West.”

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