The Quiet Years, 1957–68

  • Ben Fowkes


With the vast socio-political movements which had stirred Hungary and Poland to their roots in 1956 now laid to rest, there begins a period of calm and surface stability for Eastern Europe. The rulers rule; the ruled obey and carry on working. The economy continues its planned advance towards the goal of ‘developed socialism’; full collectivisation of agriculture brings most sectors of the economy under state control; moves towards the economic integration of the member countries of the CMEA are set afoot. Political events do occur, certainly, but none of any significance. This period lasts for four or five years. At the end of that time, clouds begin to form on the horizon. Even at the economic level, the ‘extensive’ development of the whole period after 1948 (which can be seen as relatively homogeneous, given the absence of any real economic reforms after 1956) was nearing the end of its effectiveness. Ever-increasing inputs of capital and labour were sufficient until the early 1970s to guarantee continued industrial advance. But ‘as the potential for further increases in the output of labour declined, the growth rates of output and output per worker also declined’.1 The rate of growth of Net Material Product, at constant prices, on official statistics, fell from 7.0% p.a. in Czechoslovakia in 1956/60 to 1.9% in 1961/65; corresponding figures for the GDR are 7.1 and 3.4, Hungary 6.0 and 4.1, Poland 6.5 and 6.2.2


Economic Reform Communist Party Party Leader Balkan Country Party Membership 
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© Ben Fowkes 1993

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  • Ben Fowkes

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