Towards an Era of Development

Towards an Era of Development: The Globalization of Socialism and Christian Democracy

Peter Van Kemseke
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 324
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Towards an Era of Development
    Book Description:

    A world of difference separates global politics in 1945 from 1965. In the twenty years after the second world war, a 'Third World' was added to the Cold War concepts of the 'First' and 'Second' worlds, and post-war decolonization had ushered in an 'era of development'. For the first time ever, theories and policies to eradicate underdevelopment became prominent on the global agenda and advanced to the top priority on the United Nations' agenda. This international evolution inevitably had a dramatic impact on Socialism and Christian Democracy, two major ideologies which had their roots in Western Europe. Both became part of the global political dialogues taking place beyond Europe's borders. The result was a fascinating clash of Western and non-Western belief systems. But was it only that? Or were these political ideologies being used as vehicles for promoting national interests? Was the expansion of both ideologies beyond Europe driven, or even manipulated by realpolitical considerations or can ideologies truly wield autonomous international momentum capable of influencing global politics on their own? And how successful were these ideologies in expanding beyond their European home base? These are questions that seem more relevant to explore today than ever before.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-109-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Introduction From Cold War to Third World
    (pp. 9-14)

    In the year 2000, at the brink of the new millennium, 189 Heads of State and Government from the North and South committed themselves to a set of eight development targets: the so-called Millennium Development Goals. If achieved, they will end extreme poverty and underdevelopment by 2015. As such, they reflect a globally shared and endorsed set of priorities, which in itself is an unprecedented achievement. Strategies to tackle the global challenge of poverty and underdevelopment, however, are nothing new. Before the Second World War - in the colonial period - ideas and theories about ‘the underdeveloped’ or ‘backward regions’...


    • Social Democratic and Christian Democratic Transnationalism: A True Reflection of National Politics
      (pp. 17-30)

      There have been few other political ideologies in history which have more convincingly exhibited the internationalist character of their mission than socialism. After the First International (1864-1876) and the Second International (1889-1914), the Socialist Labour International (SLI) was established, not without difficulty, in 1923, in an attempt to carry on the illustrious 19th century tradition of Socialist Internationals.¹ However, the SLI was never to be a great success. Already by the early 1930’s, the organization was leading a rather paltry existence.² In May 1940, when the Germans invaded Belgium and shortly thereafter plundered the Secretariat of the SLI in Brussels,...

    • Social Democratic and Christian Democratic Transnationalism: A True Reflection of International Politics
      (pp. 31-50)

      The dramatic occurrences of the late 1930’s and the early 1940’s had in a raw manner exposed the shortcomings of an international system that was based on an uncontrolled logic of power politics. The aversion to that constituted a fruitful breeding ground for blueprints for an alternative organization of the international system. Both socialism and Christian Democracy had sufficient elements in their ideological substance for an “ideal” international form of organization that could function as an alternative to the classic politics of power. Yet, all too swiftly power politics once again became the organizational principle at the international level. The...


    • The Socialist International goes Global: British Interests, International Pressure and Missionary Zeal, 1950-1955
      (pp. 53-106)

      The re-establishment of the Socialist International during the Frankfurt congress of 1951 was the end result of a complex process. As already mentioned, that congress marked the end of a long period of infighting between advocates and opponents of any form of institutionalized cooperation between socialist or social democratic parties. At the same time, this very same congress is often seen as a starting point because it was here that the International’s period of global expansion seems to have its origins. Guillaume Devin noted in his study that of the 31 parties present in Frankfurt only seven came from outside...

    • New Opportunities and Known Limits: Socialist Globalization between 1955 and 1960
      (pp. 107-170)

      During the first half of the 1950’s the Cold War had held Asia firmly in its grip. It was a period “rich in calamity, darkened by war, and torn by insurrection”, to use Tacitus’ words describing the Roman Empire. After the “loss” of China in 1949 and the clash of arms in Korea, the spotlight fell fully on the conflict in Indochina. From the year 1945 onwards, the year that Ho Chi Minh had declared Vietnam’s independence, France was embroiled in a bloody war of independence. After 1950, France received major economic and military support from the United States, an...

    • The NEI’s Reason for Existence: To Realize the European Ideal, 1950-1955
      (pp. 171-187)

      In the course of the 1950’s, the Socialist International attempted to reach beyond their hitherto largely Western European biotope. The process of social democratic global expansion which was to unfold in the course of that decade, came predominantly from the center out, having its origin in the London headquarters of the International. London followed everything, guided everything and preferably initiated everything (or at least tried to do so). Julius Braunthal, as secretary-general, made frenetic attempts to rein in and bind the independent-minded Asian Socialist Conference to the International. His personal engagement meshed seamlessly with his personal penchant for Asia. In...

    • The NEI Testing the Waters beyond Europe, 1955-1960
      (pp. 188-240)

      The Nouvelles Équipes Internationales passed the first seven years of their existence in a European cocoon. Though in this period they were not able to exercise any direct influence upon the European integration process itself, indirectly they did contribute to the creation of support for that process. This certainly held true in the six Western European countries of “core Europe”, but also, for example, in Austria where from 1955 on, the ÖVP quickly developed into an important pro-European force. The long participation of that party in the NEI discussions on European integration clearly left its mark.365

      The focus on Europe,...


    • The Politicized ‘Third World’ of the 1950’s
      (pp. 243-255)

      In the course of the 1950’s, both the Socialist International and the Nouvelles Équipes Internationales came into contact with the world beyond Europe, be it in very different ways. The process of institutional expansion of both organizations, which was extensively covered in the previous section, went hand in hand with a heightened awareness for the “developing” world outside of Europe. Through their contacts, both transnationals were almost forced to start thinking on development and underdevelopment.

      These thoughts on development were influenced in a twofold way by the Zeitgeist. Firstly, the then dominant modernization paradigm unavoidably left its imprint on the...

    • 1959-1960: The Third World in the Spotlight
      (pp. 256-268)

      At the end of the decade the amount of attention paid to the underdeveloped territories reached an absolute all-time high, both in the Socialist International and in the Nouvelles Équipes Internationales, which up until that time had hardly paid any attention to the issue, except in a separate subcommission.

      The International’s congress in the German city of Hamburg in July 1959 and the gathering of the council of the International in the Israeli port town of Haifa in April 1960 were almost entirely devoted to the underdeveloped territories. The gathering in Haifa was remarkable. It was the first time that...

    • Third World Vistas Near and Far in the Early 1960’s
      (pp. 269-282)

      The meeting of the council in Haifa gave an enormous impulse to development thinking within the Socialist International. As a direct result of that meeting, a conference of economic experts was organized in the Austrian city of Baden, in October 1961, entirely devoted to development issues. The five-day conference was attended by 15 European, 15 Asian (from the Far and Middle east) and 15 African experts. Jan Tinbergen introduced the debate. Through him the International came into contact with very current ideas from development experts, such as Professor Rosenstein of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Moreover, Tinbergen was very much...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 283-291)

    The socialist and Christian Democratic transnational organizations which emerged after the Second World War - the Socialist International (SI) and the Nouvelles Équipes Internationales (NEI) - were different from each other in several respects. The Socialist International was a relatively centralized organization, composed of socialist parties and dominated by the British Labour Party (and their foreign policy priorities). The NEI was a rather loosely organized association, largely influenced by the French Mouvement Répu-blicain Populaire (and their foreign policy priorities). It was partly composed of Christian Democratic parties, and partly of Christian Democratic ‘équipes’ or groups which contained party members as...

  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. 292-292)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 293-318)
  10. Index on persons
    (pp. 319-323)
  11. Colophon
    (pp. 324-324)