Results by Title
34 books about Germany (East)
Results by Title
34 books about Germany (East)
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
Standing in long lines in the shops, coaxing clean laundry from an outdated washing machine, traveling despite unpredictable train schedules, and being without hot water, fruit, and vegetables through the gray winter months failed to dull Paul Gleye’s perceptions during the year he lived in Weimar, East Germany. Day by day Gleye documented his varied observations and experiences, unaware that they would prove a unique record of what would soon be an extinct society.
Gleye was in East Germany as a Fulbright lecturer. Living beyond the capital city of East Berlin and traveling and conversing freely, Gleye gained access to people and places that had been almost completely closed to Americans and other Westerners for decades.
When the Nazis annexed western Poland in 1939, they quickly set about identifying Polish citizens of German origin and granting them the privileged legal status of ethnic Germans of the Reich. Following Germany’s defeat in World War II, Soviet-dominated Poland incorporated eastern Germany and proceeded to do just the opposite: searching out Germans of Polish origin and offering them Polish citizenship. Underscoring the processes of inclusion and exclusion that mold national communities, Belonging to the Nation examines the efforts of Nazi Germany and postwar Poland to nationalize inhabitants of the contested Polish-German borderlands.
Histories of the experience of national minorities in the twentieth century often concentrate on the grim logic of ethnic cleansing. John Kulczycki approaches his topic from a different angle, focusing on how governments decide which minorities to include, not expel. The policies Germany and Poland pursued from 1939 to 1951 bear striking similarities. Both Nazis and Communist Poles regarded national identity as biologically determined—and both found this principle difficult to enforce. Practical impediments to proving a person’s ethnic descent meant that officials sometimes resorted to telltale cultural behaviors in making assessments of nationality. Although the goal was to create an ethnically homogeneous nation, Germany and Poland allowed pockets of minorities to remain, usually to exploit their labor. Kulczycki illustrates the complexity of the process behind national self-determination, the obstacles it confronts in practice, and the resulting injustices.
Why do totalitarian propaganda such as those created in Nazi Germany and the former German Democratic Republic initially succeed, and why do they ultimately fail? Outside observers often make two serious mistakes when they interpret the propaganda of this time. First, they assume the propaganda worked largely because they were supported by a police state, that people cheered Hitler and Honecker because they feared the consequences of not doing so. Second, they assume that propaganda really succeeded in persuading most of the citizenry that the Nuremberg rallies were a reflection of how most Germans thought, or that most East Germans were convinced Marxist-Leninists. Subsequently, World War II Allies feared that rooting out Nazism would be a very difficult task. No leading scholar or politician in the West expected East Germany to collapse nearly as rapidly as it did. Effective propaganda depends on a full range of persuasive methods, from the gentlest suggestion to overt violence, which the dictatorships of the twentieth century understood well.
In many ways, modern totalitarian movements present worldviews that are religious in nature. Nazism and Marxism-Leninism presented themselves as explanations for all of life—culture, morality, science, history, and recreation. They provided people with reasons for accepting the status quo. Bending Spines examines the full range of persuasive techniques used by Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and concludes that both systems failed in part because they expected more of their propaganda than it was able to deliver.
Nicholas J. Schlosser draws on broadcast transcripts, internal memoranda, listener letters, and surveys by the U.S. Information Agency to profile RIAS. Its mission: to undermine the German Democratic Republic with propaganda that, ironically, gained in potency by obeying the rules of objective journalism. Throughout, Schlosser examines the friction inherent in such a contradictory project and propaganda's role in shaping political culture. He also portrays how RIAS's primarily German staff influenced its outlook and how the organization both competed against its rivals in the GDR and pushed communist officials to alter their methods in order to keep listeners.
From the occupation of Berlin through the airlift to the construction of the Berlin Wall, Cold War on the Airwaves offers an absorbing view of how public diplomacy played out at a flashpoint of East-West tension.
First published in France in 2001 by Éditions Belin under the title Le communisme au quotidien, Sandrine Kott’s book examines how East German businesses and government carried out communist practices on a daily basis and how citizens and workers experienced the conditions created by the totalitarian state in their daily lives. Kott undertakes a social analysis of the Communist Party’s grasp on state enterprises and the limits of its power. She then analyzes the enterprises themselves and the social, generational, and gender tensions that had a profound impact on the lived experience of socialism. Finally, she considers the development and acceptance of a complex set of rituals and gift exchanges that masked latent conflicts while providing meaning to socialism’s role in ordinary life.
In his study of Brandenburg, Germany, Timothy Vogt directly challenges both the "antifascist" paradigm employed by East German historians and the "sovietization" interpretive model that has dominated western studies. He argues that Soviet denazification was neither an effective purge of society nor part of a methodical "sovietization" of the eastern zone. Instead, in a detailed study, denazification is pictured as a failure, which fell short of its goals and was eventually abandoned by the frustrated Soviet and German leadership.The case example of Brandenburg is an effective means of putting "flesh and blood" into the study and giving the reader insight into both broader developments and the human actors who propelled events. The result is an analysis that is based not simply on policymakers and their policies, but rather on how policy was continuously reformulated in response to developments on the local level.
The study encompasses significant aspects of contemporary European history: everyday life in Nazi Germany, Germany's postwar coming to terms with its Nazi past, the Cold War division of Germany, postwar Soviet policy, and the construction of a one-party communist system in Eastern Europe.
An investigation into the politics of consumerism in East Germany during the years between the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, Dictatorship and Demand shows how the issue of consumption constituted a crucial battleground in the larger Cold War struggle.
Based on research in recently opened East German state and party archives, this book depicts a regime caught between competing pressures. While East Germany's leaders followed a Soviet model, which fetishized productivity in heavy industry and prioritized the production of capital goods over consumer goods, they nevertheless had to contend with the growing allure of consumer abundance in West Germany. The usual difficulties associated with satisfying consumer demand in a socialist economy acquired a uniquely heightened political urgency, as millions of East Germans fled across the open border.
A new vision of the East-West conflict emerges, one fought as much with washing machines, televisions, and high fashion as with political propaganda, espionage, and nuclear weapons. Dictatorship and Demand deepens our understanding of the Cold War.
"Comprehensively researched, abundantly illustrated and written in accessible and engaging prose . . . With great skill, Poore weaves diverse types of evidence, including historical sources, art, literature, journalism, film, philosophy, and personal narratives into a tapestry which illuminates the cultural, political, and economic processes responsible for the marginalization, stigmatization, even elimination, of disabled people---as well as their recent emancipation."
---Disability Studies Quarterly
"A major, long-awaited book. The chapter on Nazi images is brilliant---certainly the best that has been written in this arena by any scholar."
---Sander L. Gilman, Emory University
"An important and pathbreaking book . . . immensely interesting, it will appeal not only to students of twentieth-century Germany but to all those interested in the growing field of disability studies."
---Robert C. Holub, University of Tennessee
Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture covers the entire scope of Germany's most tragic and tumultuous century---from the Weimar Republic to the current administration---revealing how central the notion of disability is to modern German cultural history. By examining a wide range of literary and visual depictions of disability, Carol Poore explores the contradictions of a nation renowned for its social services programs yet notorious for its history of compulsory sterilization and eugenic dogma. This comprehensive volume focuses particular attention on the horrors of the Nazi era, when those with disabilities were considered "unworthy of life," but also investigates other previously overlooked topics including the exile community's response to disability, socialism and disability in East Germany, current bioethical debates, and the rise and gains of Germany's disability rights movement.
Richly illustrated, wide-ranging, and accessible, Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture gives all those interested in disability studies, German studies, visual culture, Nazi history, and bioethics the opportunity to explore controversial questions of individuality, normalcy, citizenship, and morality. The book concludes with a memoir of the author's experiences in Germany as a person with a disability.
Carol Poore is Professor of German Studies at Brown University.
Illustration: "Monument to the Unknown Prostheses" by Heinrich Hoerle © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
A volume in the series Corporealities: Discourses of Disability
"Insightful and meticulously researched . . . Using disability as a concept, symbol, and lived experience, the author offers valuable new insights into Germany's political, economic, social, and cultural character . . . Demonstrating the significant ‘cultural phenomena' of disability prior to and long after Hitler's reign achieves several important theoretical and practical aims . . . Highly recommended."
Envisioning Socialism examines television and the power it exercised to define the East Germans’ view of socialism during the first decades of the German Democratic Republic. In the first book in English to examine this topic, Heather L. Gumbert traces how television became a medium prized for its communicative and entertainment value. She explores the difficulties GDR authorities had defining and executing a clear vision of the society they hoped to establish, and she explains how television helped to stabilize GDR society in a way that ultimately worked against the utopian vision the authorities thought they were cultivating.
Gumbert challenges those who would dismiss East German television as a tool of repression that couldn’t compete with the West or capture the imagination of East Germans. Instead, she shows how, by the early 1960s, television was a model of the kind of socialist realist art that could appeal to authorities and audiences. Ultimately, this socialist vision was overcome by the challenges that the international market in media products and technologies posed to nation-building in the postwar period.
A history of ideas and perceptions examining both real and mediated historical conditions, Envisioning Socialism considers television as a technology, an institution, and a medium of social relations and cultural knowledge. The book will be welcomed in undergraduate and graduate courses in German and media history, the history of postwar Socialism, and the history of science and technologies.
East Germany was the first domino to fall when the Soviet bloc began to collapse in 1989. Its topple was so swift and unusual that it caught many area specialists and social scientists off guard; they failed to recognize the instability of the Communist regime, much less its fatal vulnerability to popular revolt. In this volume, Steven Pfaff identifies the central mechanisms that propelled the extraordinary and surprisingly bloodless revolution within the German Democratic Republic (GDR). By developing a theory of how exit-voice dynamics affect collective action, Pfaff illuminates the processes that spurred mass demonstrations in the GDR, led to a peaceful surrender of power by the hard-line Leninist elite, and hastened German reunification. While most social scientific explanations of collective action posit that the option for citizens to emigrate—or exit—suppresses the organized voice of collective public protest by providing a lower-cost alternative to resistance, Pfaff argues that a different dynamic unfolded in East Germany. The mass exit of many citizens provided a focal point for protesters, igniting the insurgent voice of the revolution.
Pfaff mines state and party records, police reports, samizdat, Church documents, and dissident manifestoes for his in-depth analysis not only of the genesis of local protest but also of the broader patterns of exit and voice across the entire GDR. Throughout his inquiry, Pfaff compares the East German rebellion with events occurring during the same period in other communist states, particularly Czechoslovakia, China, Poland, and Hungary. He suggests that a trigger from outside the political system—such as exit—is necessary to initiate popular mobilization against regimes with tightly centralized power and coercive surveillance.
Tracing teachers' experiences in the Third Reich and East Germany, Charles Lansing analyzes developments in education of crucial importance to both dictatorships. Lansing uses the town of Brandenburg an der Havel as a case study to examine ideological reeducation projects requiring the full mobilization of the schools and the active participation of a transformed teaching staff. Although lesson plans were easily changed, skilled teachers were neither quickly made nor easily substituted. The men and women charged in the postwar era with educating a new “antifascist” generation were, to a surprising degree, the same individuals who had worked to “Nazify” pupils in the Third Reich. But significant discontinuities existed as well, especially regarding the teachers' professional self-understanding and attitudes toward the state-sanctioned teachers' union. The mixture of continuities and discontinuities helped to stabilize the early GDR as it faced its first major crisis in the uprising of June 17, 1953.
This uniquely comparative work sheds new light on an essential story as it reconceptualizes the traditional periodization of postwar German and European history.
How does a country reconstitute itself as a functioning democracy after a period of dictatorship? The new community may execute, imprison, or temporarily disenfranchise some citizens, but it will be unable to exclude all who supported the fallen regime. Political reconciliation must lay the groundwork for political trust. Democracy offers the compromised--and many who were more than just compromised--a second chance.
In this new book, Anne Sa'adah explores twentieth-century Germany's second chances. Drawing on evidence from intellectual debates, trials, literary works, controversies about the actions of public figures, and partisan competition, Sa'adah analyzes German responses to the problem of reconciliation after 1945 and again after 1989. She depicts the frustrations, moral and political ambiguities, and disappointments inherent to even successful processes of democratization. She constantly underscores the difficult trade-off between achieving a modicum of justice and securing the legitimacy and stability of the new regime. A strategy of reconciliation emphasizing outward conformity to democratic norms and behavior, she argues, has a greater chance of sustaining a new and fragile democracy than do more direct attempts to punish past misdeeds and alter people's inner convictions.
Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Once the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the people of East Germany had little use for the dissident intellectuals who had helped bring it down. Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent offers a penetrating look into the circumstances of this fall from grace, unique among the former Communist states.
John Torpey traces the dissident intellectuals' fate to the peculiar situation of the East German regime, which sought to build "socialism in a quarter of a country" on the anti-fascist foundations of Communist opposition to Nazism. He shows how the regime's unusual history and subnational status helped sustain the East German intelligentsia's conviction that socialism could be reformed and humane-that there was a "third way" between Soviet-style socialism and the capitalism that took root in West Germany. How the pursuit of this third way both supported and undermined the regime, and both galvanized and alienated the East German people, becomes clear in Torpey's nuanced analysis. His book makes a powerful contribution to our understanding of the politics of intellectuals during one of the most painful chapters in modern German history.
John C. Torpey is currently a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence.
At the time New Glory (Neue Herrlichkeit) was published in 1984, most dissident authors had fled the German Democratic Republic, then in its final years. Günter de Bruyn courageously remained to satirize the regime from behind the Iron Curtain. He is a popular writer and cultural commentator in unified Germany.
New Glory tells the story of Viktor Kösling, a privileged young man from the GDR about to embark on a diplomatic career. He retreats to "New Glory," a state-run resort in rural Brandenburg run by a corrupt director, to finish his dissertation on "The Foreign Policy of the Prussian Government During the French Revolution with Particular Emphasis on the Effects of Artisan and Peasant Unrest in the Provinces." While there he falls, against his parents’ wishes, for the lisping chambermaid, Thilde. The complex drama that follows, which pays tribute to Mann’s The Magic Mountain and its ironic view of human nature, exposes the moral weakness of Viktor’s character and the farcical distance between official East German ideals and the opportunistic functionaries who enabled the system.
East Germany’s Socialist Unity Party aimed to placate a public well aware of the higher standards of living enjoyed elsewhere by encouraging them to participate in outdoor activities and take vacations in the countryside. Scott Moranda considers East Germany’s rural landscapes from the perspective of both technical experts (landscape architects, biologists, and physicians) who hoped to dictate how vacationers interacted with nature, and the vacationers themselves, whose outdoor experience shaped their understanding of environmental change. As authorities eliminated traditional tourist and nature conservation organizations, dissident conservationists demanded better protection of natural spaces. At the same time, many East Germans shared their government’s expectations for economic development that had real consequences for the land. By the 1980s, environmentalists saw themselves as outsiders struggling against the state and a public that had embraced mainstream ideas about limitless economic growth and material pleasures.
What does the durability of political institutions have to do with how actors form knowledge about them? Andreas Glaeser investigates this question in the context of a fascinating historical case: socialist East Germany’s unexpected self-dissolution in 1989. His analysis builds on extensive in-depth interviews with former secret police officers and the dissidents they tried to control as well as research into the documents both groups produced. In particular, Glaeser analyzes how these two opposing factions’ understanding of the socialist project came to change in response to countless everyday experiences. These investigations culminate in answers to two questions: why did the officers not defend socialism by force? And how was the formation of dissident understandings possible in a state that monopolized mass communication and group formation? He also explores why the Stasi, although always well informed about dissident activities, never developed a realistic understanding of the phenomenon of dissidence.
Out of this ambitious study, Glaeser extracts two distinct lines of thought. On the one hand he offers an epistemic account of socialism’s failure that differs markedly from existing explanations. On the other hand he develops a theory—a sociology of understanding—that shows us how knowledge can appear validated while it is at the same time completely misleading.
In 1945, when the Red Army marched in, eastern Germany was not “occupied” but “liberated.” This, until the recent collapse of the Soviet Bloc, is what passed for history in the German Democratic Republic. Now, making use of newly opened archives in Russia and Germany, Norman Naimark reveals what happened during the Soviet occupation of eastern Germany from 1945 through 1949. His book offers a comprehensive look at Soviet policies in the occupied zone and their practical consequences for Germans and Russians alike—and, ultimately, for postwar Europe.
In rich and lucid detail, Naimark captures the mood and the daily reality of the occupation, the chaos and contradictions of a period marked by rape and repression, the plundering of factories, the exploitation of German science, and the rise of the East German police state. Never have these practices and their place in the overall Soviet strategy, particularly the political development of the zone, received such thorough treatment. Here we have our first clear view of how the Russians regarded the postwar settlement and the German question, how they made policy on issues from reparations to technology transfer to the acquisition of uranium, how they justified their goals, how they met them or failed, and how they changed eastern Germany in the process. The Russians in Germany also takes us deep into the politics of culture as Naimark explores the ways in which Soviet officers used film, theater, and education to foster the Bolshevization of the zone.
Unique in its broad, comparative approach to the Soviet military government in Germany, this book fills in a missing—and ultimately fascinating—chapter in the history of modern Europe.
Taking advantage of documents never before available from the archives of the East German Communist Party and the Ministry for State Security, and drawing on interviews with, among others, the legendary spy chief Markus Wolf and members of the East German Politburo, Science under Socialism is the first book to examine the role of science and technology in the former German Democratic Republic. The result is a multi-layered analysis of the scientific enterprise that provides a fascinating glimpse into what it took to construct a new socialist state and the role science and technology played in it.
The book is organized around general policy issues, institutions, disciplines, and biographies. An international cast of contributors (Americans, former East Germans, and former West Germans) take the reader on a journey from the view of science policymakers, to the construction of "socialist" institutions for science, to the role of espionage in technology transfer, to the social and political context of the chemical industry, engineers, nuclear power, biology, computers, and finally the career trajectories of scientists through the vicissitudes of twentieth-century German history.
By providing a historical understanding of the scientific enterprise in East Germany, Science under Socialism also offers the fullest account we have of the effect of state socialism on the development of science.
The reunification of Germany in 1989 may have put an end to the experiment in East German communism, but its historical assessment is far from over. Where most of the literature over the past two decades has been driven by the desire to uncover the relationship between power and resistance, complicity and consent, more recent scholarship tends to concentrate on the everyday history of East German citizens.
This volume builds on the latest literature by exploring the development and experience of life in East Germany, with a particular view toward addressing the question: What did modernity mean for the East German state and society? As such, the collection moves beyond the conceptual divide between state-level politics and everyday life to sharply focus on the specific contours of the GDR's unique experiment in Cold War socialism. What unites all the essays is the question of how the very tensions around "socialist modernity" shaped the views, memories, and actions of East Germans over four decades.
"An impressive volume drawing together rich, diverse essays by some of the most interesting, well-known, and experienced scholars on the GDR in the field, on both sides of the Atlantic."
---Dr. Jan Palmowski, Senior Lecturer in European Studies at King's College London, and Review Editor for German History
"Delving into many sides of the GDR modern, Pence and Betts present both new empirical evidence and offer insightful theoretical perspectives. The idea of the 'Socialist Modern' provides an excellent conceptual framework; the focus on culture fills a hole in the literature, the introduction is theoretically sophisticated and well-grounded in the historiography, and the span and heterogeneity of the articles are impressive."
---Donna Harsch, Associate Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University
Katherine Pence is Assistant Professor of History, Baruch College, City University of New York.
Paul Betts is Reader in Modern German History, University of Sussex, Brighton, England.
Some Voices of the People
Bärbel Bohley/ "Mother of the Revolution"
Rainer Eppelmann/ Protestant Pastor
Klaus Kaden/ Church Emissary to the Opposition
Hans Modrow/ Former Communist Prime Minister
Ludwig Mehlhorn/ Opposition Theorist
Ingrid Köppe/ Opposition Representative
Frank Eigenfeld/ New Forum
Harald Wagner/ Democracy Now
Sebastian Pflugbeil/ Democratic Strategist
East German Workers
Cornelia Matzke/ Independent Women's Alliance
André Brie/ Party Vice-Chairman
Gerhard Ruden/ Environmental Activist
Werner Bramke/ Party Academic
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press