Behind the Berlin Wall: East Germany and the Frontiers of Power

Paperback | February 27, 2011

byPatrick Major

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Few historical changes occur literally overnight, but on 13 August 1961 eighteen million East Germans awoke to find themselves walled in by an edifice which was to become synonymous with the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. This new history rejects traditional, top-down approaches to Cold War politics, exploring instead how the border closure affected ordinary East Germans, from workers and farmers to teenagers and even party members, 'caught out' by Sunday the Thirteenth. Party, police, and Stasi reports reveal whyone in six East Germans fled the country during the 1950s, undermining communist rule and forcing the eleventh-hour decision by Khrushchev and Ulbricht to build a wall along the Cold War's frontline. Did East Germans resist or come to terms with immurement? Did the communist regime become more or less dictatorial within the confines of the so-called 'Antifascist Defence Rampart'? Using film and literature, but also the GDR's losing battle against Beatlemania, Patrick Major's cross-disciplinarystudy suggests that popular culture both reinforced and undermined the closed society. Linking external and internal developments, Major argues that the GDR's official quest for international recognition, culminating in Ostpolitik and United Nations membership in the early 1970s, became its undoing,unleashing a human rights movement which fed into, but then broke with, the protests of 1989. After exploring the reasons for the fall of the Wall and reconstructing the heady days of the autumn revolution, the author reflects on the fate of the Wall after 1989, as it moved from demolition into therealm of memory.

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Few historical changes occur literally overnight, but on 13 August 1961 eighteen million East Germans awoke to find themselves walled in by an edifice which was to become synonymous with the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. This new history rejects traditional, top-down approaches to Cold War politics, exploring instead how the border closur...

Patrick Major studied as an undergraduate and postgraduate at the University of Oxford. He came to know East Berlin during a year living in West Berlin in 1985-86, and was one of the first western researchers allowed into the East German communist party's archives after the fall of the wall in February 1990, for a PhD on The Death of ...

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Kobo ebook|Jan 2 2013

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:February 27, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199605106

ISBN - 13:9780199605101

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPart I: Before the Wall 1945-612. East Germany's Dual Crisis: Politics and Economics on the Eve of the Wall3. Crossing the Line: Republikflucht between Defection and Migration4. Holding the Line: Policing the Open BorderPart II: Behind the Wall 1961-895. Walled In: 13 August 19616. In the Shadow of the Wall7. Wanderlust: Travel, Emigration and the MovementPart III: Beyond the Wall8. The Fall of the Wall: 9 November 19899. Seeking Closure: Remembering the Wall