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Title: Rethinking the GDR opposition : reform, resistance and revolution in the other Germany
Author: Brown, Alexander D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 300X
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis looks at communist-oriented opposition in the GDR. Specifically, it considers reconstructions of this phenomenon within state-mandated memory since German unification in 1990. It presents three case studies of particular representative value. The first is dedicated to Paul Merker and how his entanglement in questions surrounding antifascism and antisemitism has become a significant trope in narratives of national (de-)legitimisation since 1990. The second delves into the phenomenon of the dissident through the aperture of prominent singer-songwriter, Wolf Biermann. Viewed as a proponent of ‘true’ communism who confronted the SED with uncomfortable truths, this study interrogates the Biermann legend. The third looks at the canonised opposition of the 1980s and how memory thereof tends to omit the left-wing views of these groups in order to portray them as striving for liberal democracy and national unification. The dissertation concludes that communist-oriented opposition presents a rich seam with which the FRG’s public guardians of memory are able to communicate narratives significant to contemporary national legitimation and identity. It argues that awareness of the ideological conditioning of representations of the past and the significance of this for contemporary political debates should be taken into account more than is frequently the case.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DD Germany ; HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism ; JN Political institutions (Europe)