1st Edition

The Rise and Fall of the German Democratic Republic 1945-1990

By J.M. Dennis Copyright 2001
    88 Pages
    by Routledge

    88 Pages
    by Routledge

    This new book investigates communist rule in East Germany from its establishment as a sphere of Soviet influence after World War II to its rapid collapse after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Using newly available archive material, the early chapters trace the emergence of the GDR out of the Soviet zone of occupation. Later chapters cover the dramatic episodes of the 1953 uprising against Soviet dominance and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The subsequent stabilisation of the GDR and the establishment of an uneasy compromise between the ruling elites and the population in the later 1960s and 1970s are explained with reference to a range of internal social, economic and political factors. The disintegration of the regime in 1989 is explained in the light of :

    • The chronic weakness of Gorbachev's Soviet Union.
    • The bravery of the protestors.
    • The enduring appeal of West Germany's social market economy.
    • Political pluralism.

    This clear and comprehensive survey marshals secondary and original primary sources in order to give a unique insight into the GDR's struggles and achievements.

    Introduction Part 1. The origins of the GDR, 1945-49 1. An anti-fascist democratic Germany 2. The Stalinisation of the eastern zone Part 2. Constructing state socialism, 1949-61 3. Party and society in conflict 4. From revisionism to the Wall Part 3. Ulbricht and the stabilisation of the GDR 5. Rebuilding the GOR 6. Ulbricht's twilight years Part 4. Years of 'Honi', 1971-87 7. Honecker' s social contract 8. Commanding the economy 9. Between Bonn and Moscow Part 5. The GDR an the eve of revolution 10. A semblance of stability 11. The SED's loyal allies: the bloc parties and the mass organisations 12. The apparatus of coercion 13. Opposition and dissent Part 6. East Germany's unexpected revolution, 1989-90 14. East Germany implodes 15. The unlamented end of the GDR 16. The national question resolved?


    Mike Dennis is Professor of Modern History, University of Wolverhampton. His many publications include The German Democratic Republic'(1988).