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The Sorrows of BelgiumLiberation and Political Reconstruction, 1944-1947$
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Martin Conway

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199694341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199694341.001.0001

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The Dynamics of Political Normalization, Summer 1945–February 1946

The Dynamics of Political Normalization, Summer 1945–February 1946

(p.176) 4 The Dynamics of Political Normalization, Summer 1945–February 1946
The Sorrows of Belgium

Martin Conway

Oxford University Press

The period from the summer of 1945 to the first post-war elections in February 1946 saw the reconstruction of Belgian politics around the twin poles of the Socialist and Catholic parties. This process involved organizational reconstruction of the two parties, their ideological redefinition, and their ‘recapture’ of their organizational hinterland of pillarized social institutions, such as their respective trade–union movements. Though mutually opposed, these two parties dominated the political stage. The Liberals remained as a minority third force, but the Communist Party failed to consolidate the advances it had made as a consequence of the war, while neither the supporters of the King (the Leopoldists) nor the Resistance established major political movements. Only the Christian Democrat grouping, the Union Démocrate belge, emerged as a small new political force.

Keywords:   Belgium, political parties, Socialist Party, Catholic Party, Liberal Party, Communist Party, resistance, Leopold III, trade unions, pillarization

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