European Political Systems

European Political Systems

European Political Systems

European Political Systems

Excerpt

Many significant political developments have been recorded in the six years that have elapsed since the original edition of European Political System was published in 1953. In Britain a national election was held in 1955 and a change in Conservative Prime Ministers occurred after the Suez crisis. The independent members of the "British" Commonwealth of Nations have grown in number, and its non-Christian and non-European elements have been augmented by the addition of Ghana and the Federation of Malaya. France has survived a steady succession of acute internal and external crises, which served to weaken her controls over the units composing the French Union. General de Gaulle, called to the prime ministership during one of these periods, succeeded in the fall of 1958 in securing the adoption of a new French constitution. The Fourth Republic thus gave way to the Fifth.

The Federal Republic in Western Germany re-elected a Bundestag in 1957 with a heavy majority supporting the "Old Man," Konrad Adenauer. His candidacy for the presidency of the Federal Republic in 1959 presages unpredictable changes in the future leadership. The problem of a united Germany continues to be a major, albeit a somewhat diminishing, concern of most Germans. It has become increasingly evident that "Bonn is not Weimar," to borrow from the title of a recent book. The national election of 1958 in Italy resulted in modest changes in the strength and alignments of the major parties in the two houses of the Italian parliament, and her governments thereafter have continued to find support in center coalitions in which the pendulum has moved first toward the left and then toward the right. Various provisions of the constitution of 1948, hitherto unused, have been implemented during the recent period.

Perhaps the most publicized changes have occurred in Soviet Russia since the death of Stalin in 1953. The rise of First Secretary Khrushchev to a position far above that of "primus inter pares" has been associated with an aggressive and highly flexible Soviet foreign policy. Internal polit-

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