The inner cold war: state party control and East German society
Willet, Nicholas A.
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The twentieth century suffered from deep ideological conflict linked to the epoch of total war and the divided character of the international political economy, punctuated by a struggle between Eastern and Western ideas, communism versus liberal democracy. To the surprise of many, this struggle culminated with the complete collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989, symbolized by the tearing down of the Berlin Wall between the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) and Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany). However, the end of the Cold War shed little light on how the so-called second world held itself together for nearly a half-century. This thesis examines the forces and logic that sustained East Germany as a sovereign state in the Soviet bloc from 1945–1949 to 1989. The research is framed partly as a historical narrative of the GDR and partly as a historical analysis of the state’s collapse. This thesis proves how the party, secret police, army, and church permitted East Germans to exercise citizenship within the constructed mass organizations of the GDR, and how the interplay between the party and social institutions in East Germany first sustained, then subverted the totalitarian order.
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