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25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall

From 1961 to 1989, the city of Berlin was divided by the most visible sign of the Cold War: a wall more than 140km (87 miles) long. On 9 November 1989, East German authorities announced they would allow free access between east and west Berlin. Crowds of euphoric East Germans crossed and climbed on to the wall, leading to a reunited Germany.

 

Berlin is marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall by “rebuilding” it with glowing white balloons. Some 8,000 illuminated helium balloons will trace a 15km-long section of the wall, snaking around the city, for just one weekend (7 to 9 November). The installation will come to an end on the evening of 9 November, when volunteers will release the balloons and set them free, soaring into the night sky to the strains of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, played by the European Youth Orchestra. The balloons are made out of a biodegradable material so will not harm the environment. For a full story and more information on the event please visit ibtimes.co.uk

 

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Browse Berghahn relevant titles:

 

THE PATH TO THE BERLIN WALL
Critical Stages in the History of Divided Germany
Manfred Wilke
Translated from the German by Sophie Perl

 

The long path to the Berlin Wall began in 1945, when Josef Stalin instructed the Communist Party to take power in the Soviet occupation zone while the three Western allies secured their areas of influence. When Germany was split into separate states in 1949, Berlin remained divided into four sectors, with West Berlin surrounded by the GDR but lingering as a captivating showcase for Western values and goods. Following a failed Soviet attempt to expel the allies from West Berlin with a blockade in 1948–49, a second crisis ensued from 1958–61, during which the Soviet Union demanded once and for all the withdrawal of the Western powers and the transition of West Berlin to a “Free City.” Ultimately Nikita Khrushchev decided to close the border in hopes of halting the overwhelming exodus of East Germans into the West.

 

 

 

BERLIN DIVIDED CITY, 1945-1989
Edited by Philip Broadbent and Sabine Hake

Volume 6, Culture & Society in Germany Series

 

A great deal of attention continues to focus on Berlin’s cultural and political landscape after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but as yet, no single volume looks at the divided city through an interdisciplinary analysis. This volume examines how the city was conceived, perceived, and represented during the four decades preceding reunification and thereby offers a unique perspective on divided Berlin’s identities. German historians, art historians, architectural historians, and literary and cultural studies scholars explore the divisions and antagonisms that defined East and West Berlin; and by tracing the little studied similarities and extensive exchanges that occurred despite the presence of the Berlin Wall, they present an indispensible study on the politics and culture of the Cold War.

 

 

 

FROM THE BONN TO THE BERLIN REPUBLIC
Germany at the Twentieth Anniversary of Unification
Edited by Jeffrey Anderson and Eric Langenbacher

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of East and West Germany in 1989/90 were events of world-historical significance. The twentieth anniversary of this juncture represents an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the evolution of the new Berlin Republic. Given the on-going significance of the country for theory and concept–building in many disciplines, an in-depth examination of the case is essential. In this volume, unique in its focus on all aspects of contemporary Germany – culture, historiography, society, politics and the economy – top scholars offer their assessments of the country’s performance in these and other areas and analyze the successes and continued challenges.

 

 

 

POWER AND SOCIETY IN THE GDR, 1961-1979
The ‘Normalisation of Rule’?
Edited by Mary Fulbrook

 

The communist German Democratic Republic, founded in 1949 in the Soviet-occupied zone of post-war Germany is, for many people, epitomized by the Berlin Wall; Soviet tanks and surveillance by the secret security police, the Stasi, appear to be central. But is this really all there is to the GDR¹s history? How did people come to terms with their situation and make new lives behind the Wall? When the social history of the GDR in the 1960s and 1970s is explored, new patterns become evident. A fragile stability emerged in a period characterized by ‘consumer socialism’, international recognition and détente. Growing participation in the micro-structures of power, and conformity to the unwritten rules of an increasingly predictable system, suggest increasing accommodation to dominant norms and conceptions of socialist ‘normality’. By exploring the ways in which lower-level functionaries and people at the grass roots contributed to the formation and transformation of the GDR ­ from industry and agriculture, through popular sport and cultural life, to the passage of generations and varieties of social experience ­ the contributors collectively develop a more complex approach to the history of East Germany.

 

 

CHOICE OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE 2010

MITTERRAND, THE END OF THE COLD WAR, AND GERMAN UNIFICATION
Frédéric Bozo
Translated from the French by Susan Emanuel

Volume 9, Berghahn Monographs in French Studies Series

 

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, this important book explores the role of France in the events leading up to the end of the Cold War and German unification. Most accounts concentrate on the role of the United States and look at these events through the bipolar prism of Soviet-American relations. Yet because of its central position in Europe and of its status as Germany’s foremost European partner, France and its President, François Mitterrand, played a decisive role in these pivotal international events: the peaceful liberation of Eastern Europe from Soviet rule starting in 1988, the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s return to unity and full sovereignty in 1989/90, and the breakup of the USSR in 1991. Based on extensive research and a vast amount of archival sources, this book explores the role played by France in shaping a new European order.

 

DIVIDED, BUT NOT DISCONNECTED
German Experiences of the Cold War
Edited by Tobias Hochscherf, Christoph Laucht, and Andrew Plowman

 

The Allied agreement after the Second World War did not only partition Germany, it divided the nation along the fault-lines of a new bipolar world order. This inner border made Germany a unique place to experience the Cold War, and the “German question” in this post-1945 variant remained inextricably entwined with the vicissitudes of the Cold War until its end. This volume explores how social and cultural practices in both German states between 1949 and 1989 were shaped by the existence of this inner border, putting them on opposing sides of the ideological divide between the Western and Eastern blocs, as well as stabilizing relations between them. This volume’s interdisciplinary approach addresses important intersections between history, politics, and culture, offering an important new appraisal of the German experiences of the Cold War.

 

 

 

POSTWALL GERMAN CINEMA
History, Film History and Cinephilia
Mattias Frey

Volume 14, Film Europa Series

 

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there has been a proliferation of German historical films. These productions have earned prestigious awards and scored at box offices both at home and abroad, where they count among the most popular German films of all time. Suddenly, however, a significant departure has been made from the country’s prominent cinematic take on history: the radical style, content, and politics of the New German Cinema. With in-depth analyses of the major trends and films, this book represents a comprehensive assessment of the historical film in postwall Germany. Challenging previous paradigms, it takes account of a postwall cinema of retro-flection as a complex engagement with various historiographical forms and, above all, with film history itself.

 

 

 

FRAMING THE FIFTIES
Cinema in a Divided Germany
Edited by John Davidson and Sabine Hake

Volume 14, Film Europa Series

 

The demise of the New German Cinema and the return of popular cinema since the 1990s have led to a renewed interest in the postwar years and the complicated relationship between East and West German cinema in particular. A survey of the 1950s, as offered here for the first time, is therefore long overdue. Moving beyond the contempt for “Papa’s Kino” and the nostalgia for the fifties found in much of the existing literature, this anthology explores new uncharted territories, traces hidden connections, discovers unknown treasures, and challenges conventional interpretations. Informed by cultural studies, gender studies, and the study of popular cinema, this anthology offers a more complete account by focusing on popular genres, famous stars, and dominant practices, by taking into account the complicated relationships between East vs. West German, German vs. European, and European vs. American cinemas; and by paying close attention to the economic and political conditions of film production and reception during this little-known period of German film history.

 

SEX, THUGS AND ROCK ‘N’ ROLL
Teenage Rebels in Cold-War East Germany
Mark Fenemore

Volume 16, Monographs in German History Series

 

A fascinating and highly readable account of what it was like to be young and hip, growing up in East Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. Living on the frontline of the Cold War, young people were subject to a number of competing influences. For young men from the working class, in particular, a conflict developed between the culture they inherited from their parents and the new official culture taught in schools. Merging with street gangs, new youth cultures took shape, which challenged authority and provided an alternative vision of modernity. Taking their fashion cues, music and icons from the West, they rapidly came into conflict with a didactic and highly controlling party-state. Charting the clashes which occurred between teenage rebels and the authorities, the book explores what happened when gender, sexuality, Nazism, communism and rock ‘n’ roll collided during a period, which also saw the building of the Berlin Wall.

 

 

DISENCHANTMENT WITH MARKET ECONOMICS
East Germans and Western Capitalism
Birgit Müller

Volume 1, European Anthropology in Translation Series

 

The life-worlds and personal experiences of workers and employees in three enterprises in East Berlin at the moment of political and economic upheaval stand at the centre of the book. It sets out in 1989 at the moment of the fall of the Berlin Wall witnessing the confrontations with the market economy and examining the reinterpretations of the socialist past as the political and economic changes take place.

Disenchantment with Market Economics captures a unique moment in history and unveils myths and promises of liberal market economy from the perspective of those who lived through the break down of the planned economy at their workplaces in East Berlin. While Western managers regarded the expansion of their businesses towards Eastern Europe as a civilising mission, the East German employees reacted with complex strategies of individual adaptation and resistance.

 

WALLS, BORDERS, BOUNDARIES
Spatial and Cultural Practices in Europe
Edited by Marc Silberman, Karen E. Till, and Janet Ward

Volume 4, Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association Series

 

How is it that walls, borders, boundaries—and their material and symbolic architectures of division and exclusion—engender their very opposite? This edited volume explores the crossings, permeations, and constructions of cultural and political borders between peoples and territories, examining how walls, borders, and boundaries signify both interdependence and contact within sites of conflict and separation. Topics addressed range from the geopolitics of Europe’s historical and contemporary city walls to conceptual reflections on the intersection of human rights and separating walls, the memory politics generated in historically disputed border areas, theatrical explorations of border crossings, and the mapping of boundaries within migrant communities.

 

 

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From Berghahn Journals:

 

German Politics and Society

German Politics and Society is a joint publication of the BMW Center for German and European Studies (of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University) and all North American universities featuring programs and centers of German and European studies associated with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). These centers are represented by their directors on the journal’s Editorial Committee.

German Politics and Society is a peer-reviewed journal published and distributed by Berghahn Journals. It is the only American publication that explores issues in modern Germany from the combined perspectives of the social sciences, history, and cultural studies.

The journal provides a forum for critical analysis and debate about politics, history, film, literature, visual arts, and popular culture in contemporary Germany. Every issue includes contributions by renowned scholars commenting on recent books about Germany.