In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2012. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 233-248.
The doctrine of Euro-communism, which reached its greatest electoral and political success within Western-European communist parties in the mid-1970s, advocated a ‘Third-Way’ approach to Communism, which was meant to be an alternative to both social democracy and the Soviet ‘actually existing socialism’. The SED rejected the unorthodox doctrine until the collapse of the Communist Regimes (1989–91) by all means; it yet maintained vivid relationships with Western-European ‘brother parties’ despite severe ideological and political controversies which had arisen, for instance, over the Prague Spring 1968 or the Conference of the European Communist Parties in East-Berlin 1976. This article argues that the SED had much interest in doing so as well as in establishing ties to influential lobbies on the other side of the Iron Curtain, even more so after the diplomatic recognition of the GDR at the beginning of the 1970s. To this end – I ultimately suggest – it opportunistically drew on contacts with the Italian Communists (PCI), thus disregarding the fact that they were known as being the most outspoken Euro-communists, rather than to, for example, the Spanish PCE or the French PCF, whose political power both nationally and internationally was limited.