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East Germany

The Lives of Others: Lessons Not Learned

K.J. Wetherholt | Posted 04.16.2014 | Politics
K.J. Wetherholt

That history repeats itself is a known truth borne from both philosophical reminders and from experience, for humanity has a way of forgetting its most important lessons, even those from fewer than three decades ago.

A Final Nail in the USSR Coffin? Thank You From NATO, Vladimir Vladimirovich!

John Brown | Posted 04.15.2014 | Politics
John Brown

Even from the most cynical Cold-War, money-is-money, dog-eat-dog capitalism-is-capitalism perspective, a redrawn Ukraine would be far more in the West's, rather than strictly "Russian," "ethnic" interest.

Countering Sexism in East Germany

John Feffer | Posted 03.10.2014 | World
John Feffer

"For the first time ever in Germany we have a debate about the relationship between the sexes and especially concerning the workplace, all those things that happen daily and people just say: 'Oh, don't take it seriously, it is not so bad after all.'"

The Largest Human Rights Movement in the East

John Feffer | Posted 03.03.2014 | World
John Feffer

In East-Central Europe prior to 1989, the faces of the human rights movement were the signatories of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, the dissident writers in Hungary, the Solidarity trade union leaders in Poland, the renegade Party members in Romania. Roland Jahn doesn't disagree that these were important human rights movements. He was, after all, a part of them.

The File

John Feffer | Posted 02.28.2014 | World
John Feffer

As researchers patiently reconstruct the materials that Stasi employees tried to tear up before the archive passed out of their hands, the piles of files only grows higher. Tens of thousands of people each year go through the process of looking at their files. Marcel Rotter is one of those people.

Why North Korea Today Is Not East Germany 1989

John Feffer | Posted 04.13.2014 | World
John Feffer

Just as the seemingly impregnable Honecker regime rapidly disintegrated along with the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Kim dynasty in North Korea has been expected to collapse at any minute. This minute, of course, has lasted for more than two decades.

Being Quaker in East Germany

John Feffer | Posted 03.04.2014 | World
John Feffer

Ulrich Tschirner is a scientist who also stepped forward in the 1990s, somewhat reluctantly, to serve as a local politician. Tschirner described some of the environmental victories that the Greens and civic movements achieved after 1989. Progress on peace issues, however, has been somewhat more elusive.

Germany's Post-Reunification Foreign Policy

John Feffer | Posted 02.26.2014 | World
John Feffer

In general, Germany has kept its head down and focused a great deal on domestic issues.

Creating a Parallel Society in the GDR

John Feffer | Posted 02.17.2014 | World
John Feffer

One of the key contributions of the Polish opposition movement was its concept of living "as if." This "as if" approach greatly influenced opposition movements elsewhere in the Soviet bloc. In East Germany, for instance, Gerd Poppe was deeply involved in the transition from the conspiratorial work of the 1970s to the more open organizing of the 1980s.

Following the Magic to Eastern Europe

John Feffer | Posted 02.15.2014 | World
John Feffer

It's not as easy to cover Eastern Europe any longer as a freelance journalist. Editors are no longer falling over themselves to solicit articles.

YU-Rock!

John Feffer | Posted 02.12.2014 | World
John Feffer

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, a "republic of letters" created a common intellectual language across countries and, indeed, across the Atlantic between Europe and the United States. Beginning in the 1960s, a similar non-territorial republic emerged in Yugoslavia.

A Child of 1989

John Feffer | Posted 02.01.2014 | World
John Feffer

The changes that took place in East-Central Europe in 1989 were not just an inflection point for people in the region. The lives of many outsiders were profoundly altered by what happened that year.

Maintaining a Moral Politics

John Feffer | Posted 01.23.2014 | World
John Feffer

In the early days of the changes in 1989, a new kind of politics emerged within the opposition movements poised to enter parliaments and governments. Many dissidents had a deep distrust of political parties and of political compromise.

5 Fascinating Former DDR Locales

Rachel Stern | Posted 10.04.2013 | Travel
Rachel Stern

For Germans, October 3 marks the Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit), a national holiday commemorating Reunification in 1990. The country's five eastern German states merged with West Germany to form one nation shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Germany's Third Generation East

John Feffer | Posted 10.01.2013 | World
John Feffer

Common sense suggests that young Germans are looking exclusively at the future, and the country has moved on from the debates over reunification and the fate of East Germany. But common sense is wrong.

What Happened to East Germany's Workers?

John Feffer | Posted 11.30.2013 | World
John Feffer

The first major challenge to the new Communist authorities in East-Central Europe came from the workers in East Germany. What started out as a strike of 300 East Berlin construction workers upset at higher work quotas quickly became an insurrection.

An Inclusive Germany

John Feffer | Posted 11.26.2013 | World
John Feffer

Demonstrators in East Germany initially focused on das Volk (the people) but switched after the fall of the Wall to ein Volk (one people), putting the emphasis on the national rather than the civic.

Them

John Feffer | Posted 11.11.2013 | World
John Feffer

Every country in Eastern Europe had "them" - the Communists who put the Soviet Union above any national priorities. But in East Germany, a more potent "them" eventually emerged: the Stasi.

Confronting History in the GDR

John Feffer | Posted 09.09.2013 | World
John Feffer

Although historians might naturally disagree, Germany would appear to be cursed with too much history.

Swords and Ploughshares in Germany

John Feffer | Posted 11.05.2013 | World
John Feffer

In 1990, East Germany had to handle the delicate issue of the withdrawal of Soviet troops. This was no small question. There were 380,000 Soviet troops stranded by the fall of the Wall and the unification of Germany.

Germany: Closing Doors, Opening Doors

John Feffer | Posted 10.23.2013 | World
John Feffer

It's difficult to close down an organization that's about to be absorbed by a bigger entity. Now imagine what it must be like to close down a country. The to-do list is monumental.

Life Underground in the GDR

John Feffer | Posted 10.12.2013 | World
John Feffer

In the early days of dissent in East Germany, the state and the Stasi were dedicated to eradicating all signs of opposition. As Thomas Klein, a leading oppositionist from those days, explained to me, they didn't even know the size of their dissident circles until after 1989 when the Stasi files became available.

The Rebirth of the East European Countryside?

John Feffer | Posted 07.25.2013 | World
John Feffer

Throughout the region there has been an emptying out of the countryside. Farms have either disappeared or become more efficient, so fewer farmworkers are needed. It's the common story of modernity: a rural generation becomes an urban one.

The Fall of Utopianism

John Feffer | Posted 09.22.2013 | World
John Feffer

For many people, East Germany began as a utopian project built on the ashes of Nazism. It was billed as an ideal worker's state that would bring prosperity to all.

Pushed to the Margins

John Feffer | Posted 09.17.2013 | World
John Feffer

After the Berlin Wall fell, sociologist Irene Runge talked openly about her collaboration with the Stasi even as she participated in the new political structures, like the Round Table.