Source Book of European Governments: Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union

Source Book of European Governments: Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union

Source Book of European Governments: Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union

Source Book of European Governments: Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union

Excerpt

The purpose of this source book should be sufficiently obvious. Kaleidoscopic changes in European political patterns during the past two decades have rendered it more essential than ever for American teachers and students to have direct access to some of the major source materials which serve to illustrate the processes of change and to vivify the newer ideologies. At the same time, the task of selection and translation has become increasingly difficult for any single editor to undertake, what with a range of materials covering such divergent regimes as democratic Switzerland and France, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. The construction of a volume such as this, therefore, gains something if the editor responsible for each country has a specialist's knowledge of the institutions of that country.

In determining the content of his section, each contributor was left free to select such documents as his special knowledge and the available space suggested. It did not seem feasible to attempt to set up any standardized plan of presentation because of the inherently different situation with which each editor had to deal. In general, however, it was considered desirable to supplement documents of a strictly constitutional, statutory, administrative, or otherwise official character with certain nonlegal materials illustrating party programs, party organization, the conduct of policy, and the political ideas of outstanding leaders. Such materials often yield fuller insight into the political process than can be gained from any number of legal texts alone.

The sequence in which the five sections are printed may require a word of explanation. The two democracies are presented first because of their obvious similarity with familiar American practice. Then come the two fascist dictatorships which, while their political set-up diverges sharply from con-

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