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Dissent in East Germany (German Democratic Republic, GDR) Dr. Zoltán Grossman Dr. Zoltán Grossman The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington

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Presentation on theme: "Dissent in East Germany (German Democratic Republic, GDR) Dr. Zoltán Grossman Dr. Zoltán Grossman The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dissent in East Germany (German Democratic Republic, GDR) Dr. Zoltán Grossman Dr. Zoltán Grossman The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington

2 Options in East Germany REVOLT: East Berlin Uprising crushed by Soviet tanks, 1953 ESCAPE: Berlin Wall and Wall with Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) blocks emigration, 1961

3 Stasi secret police Communist leader Erich Honecker

4 Dissent from Left Birthplace of Marxism Industrial working class Large CP before WWII Nationalism tainted Powerful critique that Party betrayed socialism

5 Dissent from Left Robert Havemann ( ) –Ex-Resistance leader accused SED of betraying socialism Wolf Biermann (1936-) –Singer stripped of citizenship, 1976 Rudolf Bahro ( ) –The Alternative in Eastern Europe (Manuscript smuggled to West, 1977)

6 Dissent from Left Christa Wolf ( ) –Most famous East German writer, best known for Cassandra. –Informed for Stasi (3 years), which rejected her as “reticient.” –Stasi spied on her for 30 years; she supported Biermann, other activists –Refused to leave GDR, participated in 1989 revolution but opposed 1990 reunification. –Revealed her own Stasi files.

7 Opposition to Nuclear Missiles Western movement vs. US medium-range missiles in West Germany, UK; GDR/USSR oppose US missiles Dialogue with East German activists who opposed US & Soviet missiles “Swords to Ploughshares” church-based independent peace movement in GDR

8 Hungary Opens Western Border, Aug Pan-European Picnic “Tourists” cross border to Austria

9 Monday Walks Begins at Protestant services in Leipzig, Sept. 4 –Led by leftist, Green youth activists –Crowds grow from 120,000 to 320,000

10 Fears of Crackdown GDR leader Honecker admired China’s crushing of Tienanmen Square protests Stasi shoot-to-kill order, tries to provoke riots Moscow opposed violence

11 Gorbachev ends Brezhnev Doctrine No more threat of Soviet intervention –Czechoslovakia, 1968 Warsaw Pact satellite states more hardline than Mother Ship USSR “Gorbachev help us!”

12 Peaceful Revolution 500,000 in East Berlin by Nov. 4

13 Berlin Wall, Nov. 9 Minister on TV ends travel restrictions Berlin Wall falls overnight after 28 years East Berliners visit West

14 Drive to Reunification Exposed to Western consumerism Dream of One Nation Rise of Conservatives

15 Reunification, 1990 Helmut Kohl’s CDU wins GDR election, March FRG (West) annexes GDR (East), Oct. Die Wende (Change/Turning Point)

16 Effects on Left State socialism discredited among masses in 1990s –Even “Socialism with a Human Face” “Third Way” (social democratic or Green) alternative not followed Leftists did not predict rise of ethnic nationalism, religious identity “Dissidents” won in 1989, lost in 1990

17 Effects on Right Gorbachev not just Communist trick; reform was possible Totalitarian regime could be abolished from within, like authoritarian regime (countered Kirkpatrick Theory) Conservatives did not predict end of Cold War—how to justify military spending? Conservatives won in 1990, but now….?

18 Filmgruppe


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