Matthew Stibbe
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A hopeless case of optimism?
Jürgen Kuczynski and the end of the GDR
in The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe
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Opinions about Jurgen Kuczynski and his role, as a critical publicist and leading party veteran, in the downfall of communism in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), differ wildly. Eric D. Weitz, in his book Creating German Communism(1997), describes Kuczynski's call for a 'return to Lenin' as 'probably the least realistic, least meaningful slogan raised in the course of the Revolution of 1989/90'. The defining moment in Kuczynski's political development, after 1930 and 1956, came in March 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Like Marx and Engels, and more forcefully than Eric Hobsbawm, Kuczynski was an optimist as far as the future was concerned. He was the 'most optimistic' of his party colleagues, he noted, because, being older, he had had the 'most experience of history'.

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