The Portuguese revolution came at an inopportune moment for the superpowers. The height of the crisis in Portugal was sandwiched between the summits at Vladivostok (November 24, 1974) and at Helsinki (August 1, 1975), and while both East and West meddled in the internal affairs of Portugal, each was restrained by a mutual desire to protect more important bilateral arrangements. Nonetheless, the collapse of the dictatorship in 1974 and Portugal’s inability to hold on to its African territories did mean that there were advantages to be gained, especially by the Soviet Union. The West was challenged in regions where its hegemony had been unquestioned for decades, and in consequence the response of Western governments throughout the crisis tended to be defensive.
On the other hand, the movement to the left in Portugal, which had seemed so categorical in 1975, failed to sustain itself. The key political element in this reversal had more to do with the internal dynamics of Po...
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