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Secret Intelligence in the European States System, 1918-1989$
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Jonathan Haslam and Karina Urbach

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783590

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783590.001.0001

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The Stasi Confronts Western Strategies for Transformation, 1966–1975

The Stasi Confronts Western Strategies for Transformation, 1966–1975

(p.170) 6 The Stasi Confronts Western Strategies for Transformation, 1966–1975
Secret Intelligence in the European States System, 1918-1989

Oliver Bange

Stanford University Press

Looking at East Germany (or the German Democratic Republic, GDR), Oliver Bange points out how intelligence gathering and analysis under dictatorship is hindered by mirror-imaging the adversary’s intentions, and thereby misdirecting an expensive intelligence effort to futile ends, while consuming precious, limited material and human means. Namely, the GDR, convinced that it had built a truly socialist society whose only threat lay in external states, led the ruling decision-makers to chronically underestimate the possibility of dissent within their own society. As a result, intelligence efforts were expended on collecting information about “counterrevolution” initiatives from the West—a misguided anxiety, as détente-minded politicians on the other side of the Iron Curtain had long deserted the cause of liberating those under Communist rule. The East German regime, here as elsewhere, undermined its own security through a lack of self-questioning and subordination to doctrine.

Keywords:   Stasi, secret intelligence, GDR, East Germany, German Democratic Republic, détente, Ostpolitik, espionage

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