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Title: The last gasp of socialism : economic and cultural modernisation in the GDR 1958-1967
Author: Evans, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 8402
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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East Germany's history can be broadly divided into two eras: Firstly, the 1950s Aufbau period, in which the need to build a socialist society for future generations was emphasised. Secondly, the so-called 'real-existing socialism' of the 1970s, in which social stability, a sense of belonging and Honecker's 'unity of economic and social policy' were the watchwords. The reforms of the NES, or New Economic System - introduced in 1963 and abandoned at the end of the decade - marked the transition between these two periods and aimed to ensure the state's economic survival. This thesis will examine both the economic and cultural policy of this period in order to contextualise the NES. The reforms typified the regime's new approach to reconciling its desire to maintain control with the need to modernise the GDR. The period is conceptualised using the idea of the dialectic of flexibility and control. In order to maintain its control, the regime needed to allow flexibility of economic and cultural policies, and to adapt its ideology. The NES era was characterised by what can be described as a tum towards the present: economic policy, ideology and culture Increasingly focused on socialism as an already-existing reality, rather than on the future. On the one hand, the economic reforms represented the climax of a productivist model which threw all the SED's utopian aspirations into a desperate drive for economic growth and which look precedence over the democratic political promise made by socialist ideology. On the other hand, however, the NES could only be introduced on the premise that socialism had already developed into what Ulbricht would later describe as a 'relativ selbstandige Gesellschaftsformation'. This development is illustrated with an examination of journal articles published during the NES era, in which writers sought to articulate the socialist essence of the state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available