Oppression and Scarcity: The History and Institutional Structure of the Marxist-Leninist Government of East Germany and Some Perspectives on Life in a Socialist System

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 - History - 302 pages
Imagine being forced to adopt an ideology that strips you of your political rights and plunges you into a life of despair and unending shortages. After the Second World War, the people of East Germany endured just such an appalling fate when socialism was forced upon them. Examining the effects of an oppressive and economically incompetent system, Sperlich presents a systematic review of post-war German history, with an emphasis on the founding of a communist state on German soil: the German Democratic Republic. He traces the imposition of communist rule, discussing the suppression of free elections and opposition to the infliction of a dictatorial one-party regime. He also explains what life was like for the East Germans who suffered under the restraints of socialism. The book ends with Sperlich's account of the "peaceful revolution" of 1989, which led to the reunification of the two German states. In considering the daily existence of the oppressed state of East Germany, Sperlich considers the failures of a massively unproductive "planned economy" (shored up by West German aid), the manipulation of public opinion and public discourse, the cult of personality, the lack of personal and social freedoms, and other blights on human dignity and happiness.
 

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Contents

Introduction
xi
The Partitioning of Germany and Allied Policies
1
Beginnings and Governmental Structure
31
Politics Party State and Citizen
53
Economics Reforms Rigidity and Failure
101
Persuasion and Nonpersuasion Public Opinion and Public Discourse
153
Life in East Germany Some Vignettes
179
The End of the GDR Exodus Revolution and Reunification
213
Bibliography
233
Index
285
Copyright

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Page xiv - FDJ Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth) FDP Freie Demokratische Partei (Free Democratic Party) FRG Federal Republic of Germany...
Page xv - ... Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza (Polish United Workers' Party) SD Stronnictwo Demokratyczne (Democratic Party) SDKPiL Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania SED Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) SL Stronnictwo Ludowe (Peasants' Party) SMAG Soviet Military Administration in Germany SPD Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Social Democratic Party of Germany) URM Urzad Rady Ministrow (Bureau of the Council of Ministers) ZK Zentralkomitee...

About the author (2006)

Peter W. Sperlich is Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Rotten Foundations: The Conceptual Basis of the Marxist-Leninist Regimes of East Germany and Other Countries of the Soviet Bloc.

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