Creating German Communism, 1890-1990: From Popular Protests to Socialist State / Edition 1

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Overview

Eric Weitz presents a social and political history of German communism from its beginnings at the end of the nineteenth century to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic in 1990. In the first book in English or in German to explore this entire period, Weitz describes the emergence of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) against the background of Imperial and Weimar Germany, and clearly explains how the legacy of these periods shaped the character of the GDR to the very end of its existence.

In Weimar Germany, social democrats and Germany's old elites tried frantically to discipline a disordered society. Their strategies drove communists out of the workplace and into the streets, where the party gathered supporters in confrontations with the police, fascist organizations, and even socialists and employed workers. In the streets the party forged a politics of display and spectacle, which encouraged ideological pronouncements and harsh physical engagements rather than the mediation of practical political issues. Male physical prowess came to be venerated as the ultimate revolutionary quality. The KPD's gendered political culture then contributed to the intransigence that characterized the German Democratic Republic throughout its history. The communist leaders of the GDR remained imprisoned in policies forged in the Weimar Republic and became tragically removed from the desires and interests of their own populace.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
This fully researched and readable account of German communism demonstrates the complexities of Germany's society and politics through the rise and fall of communism.
From the Publisher
"This fully researched and readable account of German communism demonstrates the complexities of Germany's society and politics through the rise and fall of communism."—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691026824
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/23/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Introduction 3
Ch. 1 Regimes of Repression, Repertoires of Resistance 18
Ch. 2 War and Revolution and the Genesis of German Communism 62
Ch. 3 Reconstructing Order: State and Managerial Strategies in the Weimar Republic 100
Ch. 4 Contesting Order: Communists in the Workplace 132
Ch. 5 Contesting Order: Communists in the Streets 160
Ch. 6 The Gendering of German Communism 188
Ch. 6 Forging a Party Culture 233
Ch. 8 The Anni terribili: Communists under Two Dictatorships 280
Ch. 9 The Weimar Legacy and the Road to the DDR 1945-49 311
Ch. 10 The Primacy of Politics: State and Society in the DDR 357
Conclusion: The End of a Tradition 387
Bibliography 395
Index 431
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