The Life and Demise of the GDR

University of Nottingham (2018)

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Course Handbook


Interesting Background Materials

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Berlin

(The Cold War, Episode 4 of 24)


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The Wall

(The Cold War, Episode 9 of 24)


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The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

(The History Channel)


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The Wall Comes Down

(The Cold War, Episode 23 of 24)


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Schwarz, Hans-Peter (2010) ‘The Division of Germany, 1945-1949’, Cambridge History of the Cold War, Volume 1

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Haftendorn, Helga (2010) ‘The Unification of Germany, 1985-1991’, Cambridge History of the Cold War, Volume 3 SEE SIDEBAR

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1. Introduction to the GDR

Lecture 1 (Week 2, 4 October, 2018)

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Behind The Wall

(Documentary Film by Mary Fulbrook)


Reading

Required reading

Fulbrook, Mary (1995) Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949-1989 (Oxford University Press) (Copy in the study)

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1. Interpreting the East German Dictatorship (pp.1-17)

Further reading

Dennis, Mike (2000) The Rise and Fall of the German Democratic Republic, 1945-1990 (Routledge)

Dennis, Mike (1988) German Democratic Republic: Politics, Economy and Society (Continuum International Publishing)

Fulbrook, Mary (ed.) (2009) Power and Society in the GDR, 1961-1979: The ‘Normalisation of Rule’? (Berghahn Books)
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    Front Matter (Title, Contents, Abbreviations)

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    1. The Concept of ‘Normalisation’ and the GDR

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    2. Aggression in Felt Slippers: Normalisation and the Ideological Struggle in the Context of Detente and Ostpolitik

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    3. Economic Politics and Company Culture

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    4. Rural Functionaries and the Transmission of Agricultural Policy

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    5. The ‘Societalisation’ of the State: Sport for the Masses and Popular Music in the GDR

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    6. Communication and Compromise: The Prerequisites for Cultural Participation

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    7. Learning the Rules: Local Activists and the Heimat

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    8. Practices of Survival: Ways of Appropriating ‘The Rules’: Reconsidering Approaches to the History of the GDR

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    9. The GDR: A Normal Country in the Centre of Europe

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    10. How Do the 1929ers and the 1949ers Differ?

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    11. Producing the ‘Socialist Personality’? Socialisation, Education, and the Emergence of New Patterns of Behaviour

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    12. 1977: The GDR’s Most Normal Year?

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    13. Normalisation’ in the GDR in Retrospect: East German Perspectives on Their Own Lives

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    Back Matter (bibliography and index)

SEE SIDEBAR

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Kitchen, M. (2011) A History of Modern Germany 1800-2000, 2nd edition (Wiley-Blackwell)

Krisch, H. (1985) The German Democratic Republic: The Search for Identity (Routledge)

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Pence, Katherine & Paul Betts (eds.) (2007) Socialist Modern: East German Everyday Culture and Politics (University of Michigan Press)

Ashby Turner, Henry (1993) Germany from Partition to Reunfication (Yale University Press)

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Feinstein, Joshua (2002) The Triumph of the Ordinary: Depictions of Daily Life in the East German Cinema, 1949-1989 (University of North Carolina Press)

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2. The Rise of the GDR and Ideological Foundations

Lecture 2 (Week 3, 11 October, 2018)

Ein deutscher Jäger

(Erik Mielke, Audio, in German)


Reading

Required Reading

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Fulbrook, Mary (1005) Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949-1989 (Oxford: OUP), Chapter 2 – Structures and Mentalities of Power (pp.21-56)

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Fulbrook, Mary (2008) The People’s State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker (Yale University Press), Chapter 1 – Introduction:  The People’s Paradox (pp.1-20)

Further reading

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Student notes from previous session

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. Ideological Princples vs Socialist Reality

Lecture 3 (Week 4, 18 October 2018)

Reading

Required Reading

Fulbrook, Mary (2008) The People’s State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker (Yale University Press), pp.23-88
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    2. The East German Social Revolution (pp.23-48)

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    3. Citizens at Home (pp.49-65)

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    4. Citizens at Play: Leisure (pp.66-88)

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4. Conformity vs Popular Dissent

Lecture 4 (Week 5, 25 October 2018)

Reading

Required Reading

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Fulbrook, Mary (1995) Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949-1989, Chapter 5 – The Creation of a Niche Society?  Conformity and Grumbling (pp.129-150)

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Fulbrook, Mary (2008) The People’s State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker (Yale University Press) Chapter 11 – The Honeycomb State (pp.235-249)

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Fulbrook, Mary (2008) The People’s State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker (Yale University Press) Chapter 12 – In Place of a Public Sphere? (pp.250-288)

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5. Opposition in the GDR

Lecture 5 (Week 6, 1 November 2018)

Reading

Required Reading

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Fulbrook, Mary (1995) Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949-1989 (Oxford University Press) pp.215-242 only, Chapter 8 – The Growth of Political Activism (pp.201-242)

Dale, Gareth (2005) Popular Protest in East Germany, 1945-1989 (Oxford: Routledge):
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    Front Matter (Contents and Introduction)

  • Part 1 – Mass Movements in the GDR’s Early Years
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    1. The June 1953 uprising

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    2. Labour Heritage and Collective Action, 1945-53

  • Part 2 – Infra-Political Resistance and Social Movements, 1954-88
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    3.Techniques of Domination, Arts of Resistance

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    4. Helsinki and Bohemia: emigration and youth rebellion

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    5. ‘Politics in the bell jar’: socio-ethical movements in the early 1980s

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    6. The Formation of Political Opposition

  • Part 3 – The Revolution of 1989
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    7. The Summer Crisis

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    8. The Autumn Uprising

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    9. Intellectuals and Workers

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    Conclusion

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    Notes

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    Bibliography

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    Index

Further reading

Dennis, Mike & Norman Laporte (2003) The Stasi: Myth and Reality (Routledge):
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    Front matter

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    Introduction

  • Part I – The Origins and Development of the East German Security Service, 1945-71
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    1. From Weimar Republic to GDR

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    2. The Ministry of State Security, 1950-71

  • Part II – The Sword and the Compass
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    3. The Party and its Sword

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    4. The Security Colossus

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    5. Political Justice in a Dictatorship

  • Part III – The Firm and its Servants
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    6. Serving the Cause: The Officer Class

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    7. Mielke’s Unofficial Collaborators

  • Part IV – Hunting for the Enemy
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    8. Monitor and Firefighter

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    9. Securing Sport: Olympians and Soccer Hooligans

  • Part V – Creating an Enemy
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    10. The Religious Communities

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    11. Alternative Subcultures

  • Part VI – Wolf’s Espionage Empire
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    12. The Mission and Structure of Foreign Intelligence

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    13. In the Operation Area

  • Part VII – The Octopus Loses its Tentacles
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    14. The Collapse of Communist Rule

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    15. The Stasi Legacy

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    Bibliography

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    Index

Joppke, Christian (1994) East German Dissidents and the Revolution of 1989: Social Movement in a Leninist Regime (New York University Press)

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Torpey, John (1995) Intellectuals, Socialism and Dissent: The East German Opposition and Its Legacy (London: University of Minnesota Press) Introduction

Woods, Roger (1986) Opposition in the GDR Under Honecker: An Introduction and Documentation (Palgrave Macmillan)
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    Front matter

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    1. The Official East German View

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    2. The Challenge of the Seventies and Eighties

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    3. Defining Opposition

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    4. The Major Forms of Opposition Under Honecker

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    5. The Significance of Opposition

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    Notes and References

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    Documents: The Official East German View

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    Documents: The Western Connection

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    Documents: Dissident Intellectuals

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    Documents: Rejections of the GDR

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    Documents: The Unofficial Peace Movement

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    Documents: The Significance of Opposition

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    Chronology of Events

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    Back matter

Reading for Essay

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Bathrick, David (1978) ‘The Politics of Culture: Rudolf Bahro and Opposition in the GDR,’ New German Critique, No.15, pp.3-24

Childs, David (2001) The Fall of the GDR (Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd) (Copy in the study)

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Cooper, Belinda (2003) ‘The Western Connection: Western Support for the East German Opposition,’ German Politics & Society, Vol.21, No.4 (69), pp.74-92

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Cordell, Karl (1990) ‘The Role of the Evangelical Church in the GDR,’ Government and Opposition, Vol.25, No.1, pp.48-59

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Fulbrook, Mary (1993) ‘Popular Discontent and Political Activism in the GDR,’ Contemporary European History, Vol.2, No.3, pp.265-282

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Hadjar, Andreas (2003) ‘Non-violent Political Protest in East Germany in the 1980s: Protestant church, opposition groups and the people,’ German Politics, Vol.12, No.3, pp.107-128

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Kamenitsa, Lynn (1998) ‘The Process of Political Marginalization: East German Social Movements After the Wall,’ Comparative Politics, Vol.30, No.3, pp.313-333

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Mushaben, Joyce Marie (1984) ‘Swords to Plowshares: The Church, the State and the East German Peace Movement,’ Studies in Comparative Communism, Vol.17, No.2, pp.123-135

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Opp, Karl-Dieter & Christiane Gern (1993) ‘Dissident Groups, Personal Networks and Spontaneous Cooperation: The East German Revolution of 1989,’ American Sociological Review, Vol.58, No.5, pp.659-680

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Pfaff, Steven (2001) ‘The Politics of Peace in the GDR: The Independent Peace Movement, the Church and the Origins of the East German Opposition,’ Peace and Change, Vol.26, No.3, pp.280-300

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Ramet, Pedro (1984) ‘Disaffection and Dissent in East Germany,’ World Politics, Vol.37, No.1, pp.85-111

Rock, David (2000) Voices in Times of Change: the Role of Writers, Opposition Movements and the Churches in the Transformation of East Germany (Oxford: Berghahn Books) (Copy in the study)

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Torpey, John (1992) ‘Two Movements, Not a Revolution: Exodus and Opposition in the East German Transformation, 1989-1990,’ German Politics & Society, No.26, The Predicament of Power, pp.21-42

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6. Youth in the GDR

Lecture 6 (Week 8, 15 November 2018)

Reading

Required Reading

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Fulbrook, Mary (2008) The People’s State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker (Yale University Press), Chapter 6 – Youth (pp.115-140)

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7. Women in the GDR

Lecture 7 (Week 9, 22 November 2018)

Reading

Required reading

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Fulbrook, Mary (2008) The People’s State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker (Yale University Press) Chapter 7 – Gender (pp.141-175)

Further Reading

Boa, Elizabeth & Janet Wharton (eds.) (1994) Women and the ‘Wende’: Social Effects and Cultural Reflections of the German Unification Process (Publisher: Brill)

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8. The Demise of the GDR

Lecture 8 (Week 10, 29 November 2018)

Reading

Required Reading

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Fulbrook, Mary (1995) Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR, 1949-1989 (Oxford: OUP) Chapter 9 – The End of a Dictatorship (pp.243-265)

Dale, Gareth (2005) Popular Protest in East Germany, 1945-1989 (Oxford: Routledge):
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    Front Matter (Contents and Introduction)

  • Part 1 – Mass Movements in the GDR’s Early Years
  • PDF icon

    1. The June 1953 uprising

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    2. Labour Heritage and Collective Action, 1945-53

  • Part 2 – Infra-Political Resistance and Social Movements, 1954-88
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    3.Techniques of Domination, Arts of Resistance

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    4. Helsinki and Bohemia: emigration and youth rebellion

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    5. ‘Politics in the bell jar’: socio-ethical movements in the early 1980s

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    6. The Formation of Political Opposition

  • Part 3 – The Revolution of 1989
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    7. The Summer Crisis

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    8. The Autumn Uprising

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    9. Intellectuals and Workers

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    Conclusion

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    Notes

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    Bibliography

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    Index

Further reading

Childs, David (2001) The Fall of the GDR (Longman)

Glaeser, Andreas (2010) Political Epistemics: The Secret Police, the Opposition, and the End of East German Socialism (Chicago University Press)
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    Introduction

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    1. From Marx to Conscious Social Transformation

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    2. Aporias of Producing Right Consciousness

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    3. Constituting Understandings Through Validations

James, P. (1998) Modern Germany, Politics, Society and Culture (Routledge)
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    1. The New Germany Eight Years On

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    2. Berlin

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    3. The Federal Framework

Philipsen, Dirk (1993) We were the People: Voices from East Germany’s Revolutionary Autumn of 1989 (Duke university Press)

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9. German Unification and East Germany

Lecture 9 (Week 11, 6 December 2018)

Reading

Required Reading

Flockton, Chris & Eva Kolinsky (eds.) (1999) Recasting East Germany: Social Transformation after the GDR (London: Portland or Frank Class)

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Article – Chris Flockton & Eva Kolinsky (1998) Recasting east Germany: An introduction, German Politics, Vol.7, No.3, pp.1-13

Further reading

Abbey, W. (ed.) (1993) Two into One: Germany 1989-1992 (Institute of Modern Languages Research)

Cooke, Paul (2005) Representing East Germany Since Unification: From Colonization to Nostalgia (Berg Publishers)

Fink, Helen H. (2001) Women after Communism: The East German Experience (University Press of America)

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Formative Assignment

Choose an oppositional movement of the GDR from the 1980s and explain their aims in society and their relationship to the GDR. Illustrate with an example.

350 words max, for Thursday 15 November

Essay Questions 

  1. Explain the perception of many GDR citizens that their everyday life in the GDR constituted “ein ganz normales Leben“.  How would you assess such a claim?
  2. Analyse the passage below from Mary Fulbrook’s The People’s State (2005) and evaluate her position.
  3. “Official conception of masculinity changed very little during the forty years of the GDR […]  The alleged emancipation of women in the GDR was, for all sorts of reasons, at best lopsided and partial …

    […]

    The construction of gender and the social determination of women’s roles changed in quite remarkable ways over the course of forty years.  The experience of unification served to underline the ambiguities of gender roles in the GDR.  The sudden removal of crucial institutional supports and an effective rejection of women from the worlds of work and politics simply heightened a sense of nostalgia for what had been lost …  Although the conditions for women in the GDR had been far from perfect, and at the time experienced by many as a ‘double burden’, any notion of real ’emancipation’ would have been better served if the introduction of political democracy [after unification] had been accompanied by a continued movement towards equalisation of responsibilities in the domestic sphere, and a wider rethinking of the roles of both men and women, not only as producers, but also as equal partners, parents and citizens.”

  4. Assess the role of the opposition in the GDR in the 1980s.  Illustrate with examples from at least one oppositional group or movement.
  5. To what extent did the social structures and power authority in the GDR keep the youth of the country in check?  Evaluate the role of youth subcultures in the GDR?
  6. To what extent did the political and economic changes that came with the end of the GDR change the fabric of East German society as part of a new Germany?  Why was the new formal political and economic freedom that came with the unification not a straightforward success story for East Germans?  Illustrate your discussion with examples.

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