Smokescreens and Smear Campaigns: The Dutch Communist Party in Times of Crisis

Thomas Buijnink

Doctoral School of Sociology, Eötvös Loránd University

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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 13 Issue 1  (2024):80-106 DOI 10.38145/2024.1.80

This article seeks to establish how different crises in the Eastern Bloc affected the political standpoints of the Communist Party of the Netherlands, Communistische Partij Nederland (CPN), through an analysis of publications in affiliated party magazines between 1953 and 1981. This analysis is conducted within a framework consisting of party change theories and the literature about Eurocommunism as a Europe-wide phenomenon. The analysis indicates that the CPN went from supporting military interventions in Germany, Poznan, and Hungary to condemning them in Czechoslovakia, initially while maintaining ideological distance from political opponents in the Netherlands. This changed in 1981, when the CPN seemingly without restraint joined the mainstream political parties in condemning the introduction of martial law in Poland and the Socialistische Partij (SP), the Socialist Party of the Netherlands, took over the CPN’s position as a political outsider. This indicated a shift in the party’s stance from a niche to a mainstream positioning against Moscow.

Keywords: Communist Parties, Eastern Bloc, Eurocommunism, Netherlands

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