Manage episode 359531489 series 2312958
In 1990, a country disappeared. When the Iron Curtain fell, East Germany simply ceased to be. For over forty years, from the ruin of the Second World War to the cusp of a new millennium, the GDR presented a radically different German identity to anything that had come before, and anything that exists today. Socialist solidarity, secret police, central planning, barbed wire: this was a Germany forged on the fault lines of ideology and geopolitics.
I talk with acclaimed historian Katja Hoyer Whose new book Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990 offers a kaleidoscopic new vision of this vanished country. Beginning with the bitter experience of German Marxists exiled by Hitler, to the creaking foundations of socialism in the mid-1980s, we discuss that amid oppression and frequent hardship, East Germany was yet home to a rich political, social, and cultural landscape, a place far more dynamic than the Cold War caricature often painted in the West.
Powerfully told, and drawing on a vast array of never-before-seen interviews, letters, and records, this is the definitive history of the other Germany, the one beyond the Wall.
0:00 Introduction to the episode and Katya Hoya
2:37 Katya Hoya's approach to researching and writing about East Germany
7:35 Arrival of Gruppe Ulbricht in Soviet occupied zone of Germany
15:19 Public sentiment towards the formation of East Germany
21:24 The 1953 uprising in East Germany
24:19 The economic disparity between East and West Germany
33:10 Evidence of Honecker's collaboration with Nazi authorities
45:17 Car ownership in East Germany: perceptions and realities
1:00:14 The unique relationship between Helmut Kohl and Honecker
1:10:16 The impact of reunification on East Germany's economy and workforce
1:21:43 Ending notes, book promotion, and thanks to supporters
UK listeners can support CWC by buying the book here https://uk.bookshop.org/a/1549/9780241553787
US listeners can support CWC by buying the book here https://bookshop.org/a/92195/9781541602571
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