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After the Fall of the WallLife Courses in the Transformation of East Germany$
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Martin Diewald, Anne Goedicke, and Karl Ulrich Mayer

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804752084

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804752084.001.0001

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Society of Departure: The German Democratic Republic

Society of Departure: The German Democratic Republic

(p.29) Chapter Two Society of Departure: The German Democratic Republic
After the Fall of the Wall

Karl Ulrich Mayer

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines from which kind of society the East Germans entered the process of reunification. It discusses characteristics of the former society of the German Democratic Republic that can be assumed to have been most salient for the process of transformation and the way it was experienced. As a socialist state, the GDR was widely assumed to be a repressive, authoritarian system where politics pervaded both public and private lives. Although the GDR regime was less repressive than it appeared and aspired to and often even triggered individualistic responses as flexible adaptation to control and material shortages, this chapter concludes that the biographical baggage East Germans carried over from their GDR past might have proven more as a liability than an asset in the transformation.

Keywords:   East Germans, reunification, German Democratic Republic, authoritarian system, German Democratic Republic

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