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Aleksandar V. Miletić, PhD
Institute for Recent History of Serbia
Belgrade, Republic of Serbia

 

BALANCING TRUST: YUGOSLAV COMMUNISTS AND GERMAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS (SPD) 1950–1953

Vol. XLII, 1/2024, pp. 167-182
https://doi.org/10.29362/ist20veka.2024.1.mil.167-182

 

ABSTRACT/RESUME:

The specific Cold War position of Yugoslavia led its leadership to vigorously seek allies in the world in order to overcome the isolation imposed by the USSR as quickly and effectively as possible. One possibility was to “break through” to the West and cooperate with political factors there. In the early 1950s, a good opportunity for such a policy was cooperation with representatives of the Western European socialist left, whose parties were ideologically close to the CPY and non-Stalinist. One of the leading and most influential parties in Western Europe was the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), with which Yugoslav communists established connections as early as 1950. Cooperation between the two sides continued constantly from 1950 to 1953 but with distrust and distance on the part of the SPD. The reasons lay both in the sensitive external political conditions of that time and in the moves made by the CPY, which German social democrats did not understand. The ongoing power struggle between the USSR and the US in West Germany, the relations of the Great Powers towards Europe and the European question, the position and issue of Ger-man reunification, as well as the issue of collective security of the West in relation to the USSR, certainly had consequences for the SPD’s stance towards Yugoslavia. A particular problem in the relations between the CPY and the SPD was the short-lived Yugoslav support for UAPD, a party that the SPD saw as competition, as well as the stance of German social democrats towards the CPY and the system in Yugoslavia, which they considered non-democratic and ruled by a one-party dictatorship. All of this contributed to a period of relations characterized by warmth and public friendliness but also marked by mistrust, especially on the part of the SPD, which would persist in the following years.

 

KEYWORDS: Yugoslav Communists, German Social Democrats, Yugoslavia, FR Germany, Cold War

 

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