7 Refugees in the Soviet Occupation Zone/German Democratic Republic Introduction While chapter 2 examined the enormous difficulties resulting from the influx of almost 7.9 million refugees and expellees into the Western Occupation Zones of Germany, the problems facing the German and Allied authorities in the SBZ were in some respects even more formidable. According to the provisional census carried out in December 1945, some 2.5 million refugees were located in the SBZ1 and by April 1949 the figure exceeded 4.3 million (see Table 7.1). At that time, refugees and
During the final decade of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), young citizens found themselves at the heart of a rigorous programme of socialist patriotic education, yet following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the emphasis of official state rhetoric, textbooks and youth activities changed beyond recognition. For the young generation growing up during this period, ‘normality’ was turned on its head, leaving a sense of insecurity and inner turmoil. Using a combination of archival research, interviews, educational materials and government reports, this book examines the relationship between young people and their two successive states in East(ern) Germany between 1979 and 2002. This time-span straddles the 1989/1990 caesura which often delimits historical studies, and thus enables not only a detailed examination of GDR socialisation, but, crucially, its influence in unified Germany. Exploring the extent to which a young generation's loyalties can be officially regulated in the face of cultural and historical traditions, changing material conditions and shifting social circumstances, the book finds GDR socialisation to be influential to post-unification loyalties through its impact on the personal sphere, rather than through the official sphere of ideological propaganda. This study not only provides insight into the functioning of the GDR state and its longer-term impact, but also advances our broader understanding of the ways in which collective loyalties are formed.
This book offers an overview of the principal features of the German political system. It emphasises four important characteristics of the system: the way in which twentieth-century history shaped the post-Second World War political system; the stability and adaptability of that system; the unusual importance within the political system of legal rules; and the significance of Germany's association with European integration. The book surveys the Basic Law, designed in 1948-1949 as a direct response to the failure of Germany's first experiment with democracy: the regime of the Weimar Republic. The book describes the events of the fateful years 1989 and 1990, which led to reunification, in three phases: the downfall of the old regime in the German Democratic Republic; the period of adjustment and transition to a democratic regime in Germany; and the process and consequences of reunification itself. The book also examines the principal influences which have shaped the present-day political system, the electoral system and electoral behaviour of the Federal Republic, and the features of the 'party state'. It reviews the structure, operation and political effects of Germany's particular version of federalism and analyses the core institutions of government. The structure and powers of the legislative chambers, the legislative process, and the role of the elected representative are also discussed. Finally, the book charts the path taken by West Germany to develop links to 'Europe', and explores the ways in which membership of what has become the European Union impinges upon the domestic politics of the Federal Republic.
This book is an in-depth examination of the relations between Ireland and the former German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) between the end of the Second World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It explores political, diplomatic, economic, media and cultural issues. Before embarking upon the journey in the archives of the Stasi, it is necessary to give a picture on the relations between Ireland and the GDR to set the scene. The first part of the book is an analysis of the political, economic and cultural links between the two countries, and also perceptions and portrayals by the media. The second part is devoted to the long and extraordinary process of establishing diplomatic relations between Ireland and the GDR. It focuses on intelligence activities. The activities include: reading and listening about Ireland and Northern Ireland; spying on Ireland; and recording information on Northern Ireland in the central databank for persons. They also include: watching the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Irish National Liberation Army and British Army of the Rhine. Thus, documents and findings are presented in a rather thematic way, except the history of Irish terrorist activities in West Germany. This approach has the advantage of showing how an intelligence service actually operates.
This book reassesses a defining historical, political and ideological moment in contemporary history: the 1989 revolutions in central and eastern Europe. It considers the origins, processes and outcomes of the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. The book argues that communism was not simply an 'unnatural Yoke' around the necks of East Europeans, but was a powerful, and not entirely negative, historical force capable of modernizing societies, cultures and economies. It focuses on the interplay between internal and external developments as opposed to an emphasis on Cold War geopolitical power struggles and the triumphalist rhetoric of how the 'freedom-loving' USA 'defeated' the 'totalitarian' Soviet Union. The book also approaches the East European revolutions from a variety of angles, emphasizing generational conflicts, socio-economic and domestic aspects, international features, the 'Gorbachev factor', and the role of peace movements or discourses on revolution. It analyses the peace movements in both parts of Germany during the 1980s from a perspective that transcends the ideological and geopolitical divides of the Cold War. The history of the East German peace movement has mostly been written from the perspective of German unification in 1989-1990. Many historians have read the history of the civil rights movement of 1989-1990 backwards in order to show its importance, or ignored it altogether to highlight the totalitarian character of the German Democratic Republic.
was a problem: why had Ryan been buried in Nazi Germany in 1944? And so began the extraordinary story of the process of establishing diplomatic relations between the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or East Germany, and Ireland, which must be unique in the annals of the history of diplomacy. In the East German Ministry of External Affairs, it became known as ‘corpse diplomacy’. Ryan could never have imagined that one day he would be at the centre of Irish–East German relations, nor that he would also become the main source of inspiration for a well-written East
1 History of the relations between Ireland/ Northern Ireland and the GDR Ireland adopts the Hallstein doctrine Before embarking upon this journey in the archives of the Stasi, it is ecessary to give a picture on the relations between Ireland and the n former German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) to set the scene. After the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945, the Soviet Union occupied the eastern area of the country. Serious disagreements between the Western Allies and the Soviets led to the division of Germany which would last until 1990: in May
4 ‘When your neighbour changes his wallpaper’: The ‘Gorbachev factor’ and the collapse of the German Democratic Republic Peter Grieder The ‘Gorbachev factor’ Gorbachev and the collapse of the GDR Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) on 12 March 1985.1 His subsequent policies of glasnost (‘openness’) and perestroika (‘restructuring’) aimed to rejuvenate communism but ended up destroying it. This chapter will assess the part he played in the downfall of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), also
to change and in special issues that troubled them. At one end of the spectrum, some states in Eastern Europe could be overripe for, or in the process of, change, while at the other lay leaderships thoroughly resistant to it. Hungary and Poland in 1985 and to a lesser extent Bulgaria by December 1987 were clear examples of the former, while the German Democratic Republic (GDR) McDermott and Stibbe, The 1989 Revolutions.indd 55 28/03/2013 10:42:15 56 The ‘Gorbachev factor’ and Romania fell into the latter category. Czechoslovakia can be considered initially in
ideology and economics following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Heiner Müller’s Germania 3.Gespenster am Toten Mann ( Germania 3: Ghosts on the Dead Man ) (Müller, 2002 ) documents the expansion eastwards of western ideology from the perspective of a playwright from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) and develops an image of western consumerism and