In the 1980s, European politics moved in a largely synchronous shiftto the right. There were different variants of the shift – at one extreme, Margaret Thatcher’s very ideological drive; at the other, the socialist President François Mitterrand’s abandonment of his original program and his reluctant engagement with reality after 1983. All of them, however, owed a great deal to external circumstances: the big increase in oil prices, the second oil shock, after the Iranian revolution; the change in US monetary policy toward anti-inflationism after October 1979; the harsh global recession of 1980-81, which was the first and quite painful synchronized downturn of the world economy since the interwar depression; and the new security problems following the Soviet deployment of intermediate nuclear missiles (the SS-20s), the US response to that threat, and the Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative. Most people at the time looked for the explanation of political developments in primarily national terms: how parties and politicians interreacted with each other; how the press treated politics; and most dramatically the impact of strong personalities such as Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Helmut Kohl. They did not pay so much attention to the global forces, which through trade and the capital markets increasingly linked both national economies and the political responses to economic shocks.