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Title: Anglo/GDR relations and the role of Christian idealism in Cold War politics, 1961-1965 : a case study of the Coventry/Dresden project
Author: Thomas, Merrilyn Frances
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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This study is an examination of the interaction between Anglo/GDR relations and GDR Church/state relations during the first half of the 1960s. Using the Coventry/Dresden project of Christian reconciliation as a case study, it analyses the manner in which the governments of both countries exploited the concept of Christian/Marxist dialogue in order to create a climate of co-operation within the GDR which would, in the short term, ensure the stability of the regime. In particular, this study examines the activities of Christian organisations such as the British Council of Churches and Coventry Cathedral in Britain, Aktion Sühnezeichen (an organisation founded to atone for Nazi war crimes) in the GDR, and the Evangelische Akademie in West Berlin. It sets these activities in the context of Anglo/GDR official bilateral relations, particularly the West's policy of non-recognition of the GDR; GDR Church/state relations; and Ulbricht's period of domestic liberalisation between 1963 and 1965. In the context of the Coventry/Dresden project of reconciliation, special attention is paid to Church/state relations in the diocese of Saxony, and to Anglo/GDR relations at the regional level of city partnerships. Based on the premise that the Cold War was primarily an intelligence war, the study demonstrates the manner in which the intelligence services of both countries operated within the context of domestic and foreign policy decisions. Two major conclusions are drawn. First, that contrary to official British foreign policy the British sought to prop up the Ulbricht regime in order to preserve peace and stability in Central Europe, and that the Coventry/Dresden project was secretly used for this purpose. Second, that dissident GDR Church leaders were encouraged to find an accommodation with the atheist regime not only by their colleagues in Britain but also by West German Church leaders who were in the vanguard of Ostpolitik.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Germany