The East German Leadership and the Division of Germany: Patriotism and Propaganda 1945-1953

Hardcover | October 18, 2006

byDirk Spilker

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Would it have been possible to build a unified and democratic Germany half a century before the fall of the Berlin Wall? This book reassesses this question by exploring Germany's division after the Second World War from the point of view of the SED, the communist-led and Soviet-sponsoredruling party of East Germany.Drawing on unpublished documents from the SED archives, Dr Spilker rejects claims that the East German comrades and their Soviet masters had abandoned their struggle for socialism and were willing to accept a democratic Germany in exchange for a pledge to neutrality. He argues that the communists'sudden switch to a multi-party approach at the end of the war was a tactical move inspired not by a desire for compromise but by the mistaken belief that they could win political hegemony - and the chance to introduce socialism throughout Germany - through the ballot box.Communist optimism, as this book shows, rested on specific assumptions about the situation after the war, all of which revolved around the prospect of political instability and social unrest in West Germany. The comrades in East Berlin did not just say that their regime would ultimately prevail,they genuinely believed it. Nor should their hopes be dismissed as a mere fantasy. In the aftermath of the war, the economic gap between the two Germanies was still relatively narrow and West Germany's future success as a magnet for the people in East Germany was by no means guaranteed.

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Would it have been possible to build a unified and democratic Germany half a century before the fall of the Berlin Wall? This book reassesses this question by exploring Germany's division after the Second World War from the point of view of the SED, the communist-led and Soviet-sponsoredruling party of East Germany.Drawing on unpublish...

Dirk Spilker took degrees at the Universities of Cologne, Cambridge, and Oxford, and is now a management consultant in his native Germany.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.9 inPublished:October 18, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199284121

ISBN - 13:9780199284122

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. 'It Should Look Democratic': The German Communists and the Birth of the SED2. Nationwide Goals and Zonal Priorities: The KPD/SED and the German Question from Potsdam to Bizonia3. Between Hope and Despair: The SED and the Consolidation of the SBZ4. Unity Postponed: The SED and the Founding of the GDR5. Retreat and Retrenchment: The SED and the German Question in the Early 1950sConclusionBibliographyIndex