The Collapse of East German Communism: The Year the Wall Came Down, 1989

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This book focuses on a key aspect of the German question--the problem of German national identity and communist ideology in their historical perspective since 1945 and their immediate clash in the downfall of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1989. The book's theme might be summarized as German identity recovered. The book is unique in that it is in part an eyewitness account of one of Europe's most startling transformations. In the four decades of its existence, the GDR did not succeed in fostering a separate political or social identity, and thus an underlying difficulty of the state was never resolved. The overriding objective of the political socialization process in the GDR was to instill socialist political culture into the citizenry. This political culture had not only to be uniform with ideological imperatives and aspirations, but had to stand on its own because of the absence of a broader-based national culture. Given the newness of the state and its political institutions, and the continual challenge on the national question presented by the mere existence of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the East German Communist Party (SED) always faced an uphill task. This book should be of interest to students and scholars interested in Germany, in Europe, and in the fate of communism.