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In commemoration of German reunification

3 October 2020 marks the thirtieth anniversary of German Unity Day. Tag der Deutschen Einheit celebrates the 1990 reunification of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic with ceremonial acts and the citizens’ festival Bürgerfest. In commemoration, browse and read freely available introductions to our relevant titles on the ramifications of a divided Germany below.

This year, German Unity Day falls during the German Studies Association’s annual conference. Learn more about conference activities and special offers from Berghahn Books here. For a full selection of German Studies titles, visit our subject page.

Easily access critical research material with Berghahn eBooks!
Enjoy 30% off all German Studies titles with discount code GSA2020 (Valid until 6 November 2020 via our website. Offer includes discount on both eBooks and Paperbacks).

Willy Brandt, Ostpolitik and the Quest for European Peace
Benedikt Schoenborn
Volume 25, Contemporary European History

This is a valuable addition to the literature on Willy Brandt and Ostpolitik. Schoenborn demonstrates that the spectre of the Nazi past was always present, and that reconciliation was a much more ambitious aim than détente.” • Gottfried Niedhart, University of Mannheim

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Western Culture in East Germany and the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Gerd Horten

“In this book Gerd Horten brilliantly analyses the problematic impact of Western consumer culture on the GDR in the 1970s and 1980s. No other study has so clearly highlighted the connection between consumer culture and the collapse of the regime. It expands our view of the too often neglected late GDR and offers a persuasive explanation of its decline.” • Christoph Classen, Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History

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Historical Controversies and West German Democratization, 1945–1955
Jörg Echternkamp
Volume 39, Making Sense of History

“Echternkamp successfully applies the concept of collective representation to the three fields of conflict he has selected. His research clarifies the extent to which the collective representations of war and military have enabled and contributed to political and cultural change.” • Sehepunkte

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Military Masculinities in East German Culture
Tom Smith

Without question, the East German National People’s Army was a profoundly masculine institution that emphasized traditional ideals of stoicism, sacrifice, and physical courage. Nonetheless, as this innovative study demonstrates, depictions of the military in the film and literature of the GDR were far more nuanced and ambivalent. Departing from past studies that have found in such portrayals an unchanging, idealized masculinity, Comrades in Arms shows how cultural works both before and after reunification place violence, physical vulnerability, and military theatricality, as well as conscripts’ powerful emotions and desires, at the center of soldiers’ lives and the military institution itself.

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German Television and Moral Renewal after National Socialism, 1956–1970
Stewart Anderson

Following World War II, Germany was faced not only with the practical tasks of reconstruction and denazification, but also with the longer-term mission of morally “re-civilizing” its citizens—a goal that persisted through the nation’s 1949 split. One of the most important mediums for effecting reeducation was television, whose strengths were particularly evident in the thousands of television plays that were broadcast in both Germanys in the 1950s and 1960s. This book shows how TV dramas transcended state boundaries and—notwithstanding the ideological differences between East and West—addressed shared issues and themes, helping to ease viewers into confronting uncomfortable moral topics.

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Critical Stages in the History of Divided Germany

Manfred Wilke

The Path to the Berlin Wall constitutes a superlative model of combining biography with the study of nationalism.” · Choice

Tracing the long path to the Berlin Wall from a German perspective, Manfred Wilke draws on recently published conversations between Nikita Khrushchev and Walter Ulbricht, head of the East German state, in order to reconstruct the coordination process between these two leaders and the events that led to building the Berlin Wall.

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Postwar Everyday
Edited by Erica Carter, Jan Palmowski, and Katrin Schreiter

Despite the nearly three decades since German reunification, there remains little understanding of the ways in which experiences overlapped across East-West divides. German Division as Shared Experience considers everyday life across the two Germanies, using perspectives from history, literary and cultural studies, anthropology and art history to explore how interconnections as well as fractures between East and West Germany after 1945 were experienced, lived and felt. Through its novel approach to historical method, the volume points to new understandings of the place of narrative, form and lived sensibility in shaping Germans’ simultaneously shared and separate experiences of belonging during forty years of division from 1945 to 1990.

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Edited by Karin Bauer and Jennifer Ruth Hosek

“An indispensable resource for any scholar who works on Berlin, and any person who is interested in the changing dynamics of urban space.
• German Studies Review

Since Unification and the end of the Cold War, Berlin has witnessed a series of uncommonly intense social, political, and cultural transformations. Cultural Topographies of the New Berlin presents a fascinating cross-section of life in Germany’s largest city, revealing the complex ways in which globalization, ethnicity, economics, memory, and national identity inflect how its urban spaces are inhabited and depicted.

Read the Introduction.

East Germany in the Cold War World
Edited by Quinn Slobodian
Volume 15, Protest, Culture & Society

“This volume is exemplary in a number of ways: the engaging topics and fine-grained analysis of the interactions of situated individuals and groups in and beyond the GDR make the essays ideal for use in upper-level undergraduate and graduate seminars.”
 • German Studies Review

Through a series of illuminating historical investigations, this volume deploys archival research, ethnography, and a variety of other interdisciplinary tools to explore the rhetoric and reality of East German internationalism.

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Edited by Philip Broadbent and Sabine Hake
Volume 6, Culture & Society in Germany Series

Eschewing the primacy of political history, the authors provide a nuanced picture of a city that, in many respects, was less divided than the Cold War mindset would have us believe…This interesting volume demonstrates the many ways in which East and West Berlin were mutually influential, and how commonalities extended beyond the division.  English Historical Review

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 indispensable study on the politics and culture of the Cold War.

East Germany’s Secret Police, 1945–1990
Jens Gieseke
Translated from the German by David Burnett

“The book is an exceptional achievement in every respect: it offers a calm, detached, factual and well balanced socio-historical analysis of the MfS (Ministry for Security) that covers all aspects.” • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Masterful and thorough at once, he takes the reader through this dark chapter of German postwar history, supplying key information on perpetrators, informers, and victims. In an assessment of post-communist memory politics, he critically discusses the consequences of opening the files and the outcomes of the Stasi debate in reunified Germany. A major guide for research on communist secret-police forces, this book is considered the standard reference work on the Stasi and has already been translated into a number of Eastern European languages.

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Edited by Frédéric Bozo and Christian Wenkel
In the immediate aftermath of World War Two, the victors were unable to agree on Germany’s fate, and the separation of the country—the result of the nascent Cold War—emerged as a de facto, if provisional, settlement. Yet East and West Germany would exist apart for half a century, making the “German question” a central foreign policy issue—and given the war-torn history between the two countries, this was felt no more keenly than in France. Drawing on the most recent historiography and previously untapped archival sources, this volume shows how France’s approach to the German question was, for the duration of the Cold War, both more constructive and consequential than has been previously acknowledged.

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Edited by Karen Hagemann, Donna Harsch, and Friederike Brühöfener

Although “entanglement” has become a keyword in recent German history scholarship, entangled studies of the postwar era have largely limited their scope to politics and economics across the two Germanies while giving short shrift to social and cultural phenomena like gender. At the same time, historians of gender in Germany have tended to treat East and West Germany in isolation, with little attention paid to intersections and interrelationships between the two countries. This groundbreaking collection synthesizes the perspectives of entangled history and gender studies, bringing together established as well as upcoming scholars to investigate the ways in which East and West German gender relations were culturally, socially, and politically intertwined.

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The Blues in a Divided Germany, 1945–1990
Michael Rauhut
Translated from the German by Jessica Ring

Rauhut proves himself to be a true specialist with outstanding expertise. For anyone seeking a basic understanding of blues music in Germany, Rauhut’s study is indispensable.” • American Studies

One Sound, Two Worlds examines the development of the blues in East and West Germany, demonstrating the multiple ways social and political conditions can shape the meaning of music. Based on new archival research and conversations with key figures, this comparative study provides a cultural, historical, and musicological account of the blues and the impact of the genre not only in the two Germanies, but also in debates about the history of globalization.

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The Leipzig Documentary Film Festival, 1955–1990
Caroline Moine
Translated from the French by John Barrett
Preface by Dina Iordanova
Edited by Skyler J. Arndt-Briggs

NEW SERIES Volume 1, Film and the Global Cold War Series

This lucid, deeply contextualized account of the Leipzig Festival’s history will be valuable to scholars interested in Cold War history, film studies, and German studies. Highly recommended.• Choice

Screened Encounters represents the definitive history of the Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival, recounting the political and artistic exchanges it enabled from its founding until German unification, and tracing the outsize influence it exerted on international cultural relations during the Cold War.

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East and West Germany since the 1970s
Frank Bösch
Translated from the German by Jennifer Walcoff Neuheiser

By and large, the histories of East and West Germany have been studied in relative isolation. And yet, for all their differences, the historical trajectories of both nations were interrelated in complex ways, shaped by economic crises, social and cultural changes, protest movements, and other phenomena so diffuse that they could hardly be contained by the Iron Curtain. Accordingly, A History Shared and Divided offers a collective portrait of the two Germanies that is both broad and deep. It brings together comprehensive thematic surveys by specialists in social history, media, education, the environment, and similar topics to assemble a monumental account of both nations from the crises of the 1970s to—and beyond—the reunification era.

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Writing the East German Past in the Democratic Present
Anselma Gallinat

“A fascinating and thoughtful ethnography of Eastern German government and media institutions and perspectives. The book succeeds as a carefully designed, balanced, and executed study, providing convincing evidence from multiple memory intermediaries.” • American Historical Review

Despite the three decades that have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the historical narrative of East Germany is hardly fixed in public memory, as German society continues to grapple with the legacies of the Cold War. This fascinating ethnography looks at two very different types of local institutions in one eastern German state that take divergent approaches to those legacies: while publicly funded organizations reliably cast the GDR as a dictatorship, a main regional newspaper offers a more ambivalent perspective colored by the experiences and concerns of its readers. As author Anselma Gallinat shows, such memory work—initially undertaken after fundamental regime change—inevitably shapes citizenship and democracy in the present.

Read the Introduction.

Of Relevant Interest from Berghahn Journals


Editor: Jeffrey J. Anderson, Georgetown University

We are offering free online access to German Politics and Society until October 31! To access, use the code GSA20. View redemption details.