the long decade of the 1950s was a difficult time. The parties' strategies and structures, as well as their policies and programs faced unprecedented challenges. Dutch, German and French Social Democrats found themselves in unfamiliar territory, and the classic teleological guidelines of European Socialism offered little help in charting a way through it.
This was true of both foreign and domestic affairs, but the shock was perhaps greater on the domestic front. Domestic issues had been the traditional priority of Socialist planning and programs, and as the war ended Social Democrats claimed they had the right programs to implement fundamental changes in the areas of economic and social policies, "cultural" affairs (i.e., education and church—state relations), colonialism, and the role of the military in domestic affairs. Taken together these policies would advance societal life to a higher, socialist level.
In no field of domestic affairs were the Socialists surer of their ground, and nowhere was that certainty more called into question than in the area of economic policies. It was a traditional axiom of all Socialist programs that political democracy had to be coupled with economic democracy, which is to say, the people should control the commanding heights of the production process and the