Courtesy Reuters

The Soviet attitude toward the development of European unity has been ambivalent in both politics and economics. The Kremlin, unable to interpret the European movement accurately, has oscillated from one reaction to another. Meanwhile the processes of change within the Communist world, intensified by the Sino-Soviet schism, were creating the preconditions for a new historical relationship between the Western and the Eastern parts of the old Continent.


The Treaty of Rome, establishing Euratom and the Common Market, was signed March 25, 1957. It was not a sudden move. Coming after many years of discussion and prolonged negotiations, it climaxed the efforts initiated by the Marshall Plan in the late 1940s. Yet despite this lengthy prelude, the Communist leaders at first seemed unable to perceive the Common Market's full implications, and as a result their responses to it have been characterized by a high degree of confusion and inconsistency.

In the seven years that have since elapsed, the Soviet analysis of European developments, of the Common Market, of the role of the United States, of the reëmergence of France, and of the new Franco-German relationship has undergone several radical revisions. In part, these revisions were necessitated by the rapid flow of events. It would be wrong to imply that flexibility of analysis is in itself proof of the inadequacy of the original analysis. But Soviet statements also reveal that Soviet policy- makers were struggling hard to perceive the implications of a new reality which somehow did not fit their ideologically influenced categories.

An examination of the major Soviet pronouncements and, even more important, of the discussions in the serious academic Soviet journals on foreign affairs, suggests that the evolution and revision of Soviet thinking may be seen in terms of four successive major themes, one of course overlapping with the next. The latter qualification is important, because it would be misleading to suggest that at any given point the Soviet mood was fixed and absolutely rigid; within a certain wide spectrum there

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