The Labour Party and Eastern Europe, Social Democracy Behind the Iron Curtain

  • Ettore Costa
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


After the Second World War, the social democratic parties of Poland and Czechoslovakia were reborn as radically different. Traditional socialists were excluded and persecuted and the new leadership supported the people’s democracies, the Soviet Union and alliance with the communists. Their peculiarities embarrassed the rest of the socialist movement and they helped left-wing dissenters. However, the Labour Party supported their choice to keep a bridge with the West and to defend some degree of pluralism and autonomy within the new system and the Soviet sphere of influence. The widespread idea that the Eastern European national character was less suited for Western democracy justified this breach of principles. The British Foreign Office and the Labour Party cooperated to help right-wing Eastern European socialists, influencing British foreign policy. This ambiguous relationship ended only with the Prague Coup and the beginning of the Cold War.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Ettore Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarRomeItaly

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