Becoming East German: Socialist Structures and Sensibilities by Mary Fulbrook, Andrew I. Port

By Mary Fulbrook, Andrew I. Port 

for about the 1st decade after the dying of the GDR, expert and renowned interpretations of East German heritage targeted totally on kinds of strength and repression, in addition to on dissent and resistance to communist rule. Socio-cultural methods have more and more proven single-minded emphasis on repression and coercion fails to deal with a few vital old matters, together with these on the topic of the subjective reports of these who lived lower than communist regimes. With that during brain, the essays during this quantity discover major actual and mental elements of lifestyles within the GDR, resembling health and wellbeing and vitamin, rest and eating, thoughts of the Nazi prior, in addition to identification, activities, and reviews of daily humiliation. Situating the GDR inside of a broader ancient context, they open up new methods of reading existence at the back of the Iron Curtain – whereas supplying a devastating critique of deceptive mainstream scholarship, which keeps to painting the GDR within the restrictive phrases of totalitarian theory.

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Additional info for Becoming East German: Socialist Structures and Sensibilities after Hitler (Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association)

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Since 1989, scholars have devised numerous terms to characterize the regime and its defining elements in a pithy, often playful way. Each of these terms—including the ones mentioned in the preceding paragraph—reflects differing methodological and theoretical approaches, as well as contrasting political and even moral agendas. And like the parable of the blind men and the elephant, each only describes a single component or cluster of components and thus misses the larger picture—often by neglecting other important elements that call the characterization at hand into question.

The GDR was certainly significant for millions of Germans): if the “proper” subject of history is the study of past human behavior in all its guises, the “big questions”—such as how and why societies change, or how power is organized and exercised—can fruitfully be asked of any historical entity or formation. ). To claim otherwise seems to suggest some sort of unspoken agenda, political or otherwise—and to come perilously close to engaging in a form of history as written by the victors. ”40 It is the questions that one is interested in addressing that determine the significance of a regime, event, person, or development.

12 Grieder and others have responded to this by pointing out that its pedigree predates the postwar period—but that is beside the point. It is difficult to deny that “totalitarian theory” pinpoints a number of striking similarities between fascism and communism. That, in itself, is not problematic. What is problematic is the subtext of such comparisons—and much of this increasingly tired scholarly controversy revolves around subtexts. In short, the implication is that communism and fascism were cut from the same cloth, that they were two sides of the same coin.

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