This important new overview of the German Democratic Republic focuses on the country’s search for identity and legitimacy throughout its history. Dr. Henry Krisch analyzes major aspects of East German life—political, economic, cultural, and societal—to answer the fundamental question of the nature of the GDR. Arguing that East Germany has been shaped by history to an unusual degree, he explores the country’s historical background, including the Soviet Zone, the origins of the GDR, and the leadership of Ulbricht and Honecker, and examines the role and structure of the party, state, and military and security forces. The main emphasis of this book, however, is upon current problems and on likely responses to them in the near future. Issues such as the viability of communist politics in a technologically advanced society, the relationship of the GDR to a common German heritage and a competing West German state, and the country’s role within the Soviet alliance system are examined in detail, and current social concerns, including the peace movement, cultural trends, the role of women and youth, and the prime importance of sports, are discussed.
Westview Profiles • Nations of Contemporary Eastern Europe -- The GDR in Time and Place -- The Political System of the GDR -- The GDR in the World -- The GDR in Germany -- The GDR: A Socialist Industrial State -- Managing a Modern Society -- Social Policy in the GDR -- Facing the Future