Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany, 1945-1955

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In the years immediately following WW II, East Germans found themselves dealing with a Communist system that methodically violated their basic rights, including the freedoms of speech and of personal legal security. Many East Germans fundamentally resisted these developments, calling for nothing short of the end of the Communist system in East Germany. This political resistance to Communism was most tangible in the actions of members of the non-Marxist parties, the Christian Democratic Union, the Liberal ...
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Overview

In the years immediately following WW II, East Germans found themselves dealing with a Communist system that methodically violated their basic rights, including the freedoms of speech and of personal legal security. Many East Germans fundamentally resisted these developments, calling for nothing short of the end of the Communist system in East Germany. This political resistance to Communism was most tangible in the actions of members of the non-Marxist parties, the Christian Democratic Union, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the Social Democratic Party, and in the massive uprising that ripped through East Germany in the summer of 1953. Bystanders gaped as East Germans from all walks of life rose up in June 1953, smashing through prison gates and releasing prisoners, dragging judges and lawyers through the streets, and toppling statues of Stalin. Rocks and sticks, however, were no match for the Soviet tanks which moved in to crush the rebellion. By examining previously untapped documents of the East German Ministry for State Security, the police, and the Communist Party, Gary Bruce closely details the underground work of political opponents and secret police attempts to subdue them. Bruce takes issue with those who claim that the June 1953 uprising was merely labour unrest resulting from poor working conditions, showing the demonstrations of 1953 were a revolution that was sparked largely by the government's abuse of basic rights. Students and scholars of European Cold War history will find Resistance with the people an invaluable resource for exploring the political resistance of East Germans against the Communist regime.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal Of Modern History
Bruce's study of the [Communist] regime's repression of the CDU and LDPD contributes significantly to our knowledge of the GDR's development. Examining governmental, Socialist Unity Party (SED, Communist), East CDU, and LDPD records, he is able to trace the gradual but irreversible narrowing of the freedom of action of the non-Marxist parties and the increasing repression against independent-minded East Germans.... Gary Bruce's work provides us with a valuable deepening of our understanding of growing concern among some east Germans with Communist repression and of how it may have fed into the June 17 uprising.
Canadian Journal Of History
By locating and disseminating a rich variety of new archival material Bruce has added tremendous detail to our knowledge of this period. The book is a valuable reference tool...
Slavic Review
A helpful step on the way to a more comprehensive understanding of the early years of GDR history.
— Mary Fulbrook, University College London
Gfl-Journal
With meticulously researched documentation from local and central party archives, police reports, and the Ministry for State Security (MfS) archives, Bruce traces the history ofrepression and resistance in the words of the very people (party members, police officers, and state security employees) whose livelihoods depended on the maintenance of statehegemony. He offers unique insight into the mechanisms of dictatorial nation-building.
CHOICE
This well-written survey of the increasing Stalinist oppression and local resistance in eastern Germany under Soviet occupation and, after 1949, in a communist state propped up by a massive military presence, recounts the building of the totalitarian state, its repressive apparatus, and the ultimately desperate resistance by noncommunist parties, organizations with networks in the West, and local citizens. Recommended.
Journal of Modern History
Bruce's study of the [Communist] regime's repression of the CDU and LDPD contributes significantly to our knowledge of the GDR's development. Examining governmental, Socialist Unity Party (SED, Communist), East CDU, and LDPD records, he is able to trace the gradual but irreversible narrowing of the freedom of action of the non-Marxist parties and the increasing repression against independent-minded East Germans.... Gary Bruce's work provides us with a valuable deepening of our understanding of growing concern among some east Germans with Communist repression and of how it may have fed into the June 17 uprising.
Zeitschrift Fur Geschichtswissenschaft
This sobering trans-atlantic anaylsis, which does not shy away from questioning and updating previous historical positions, is in my opinion one of the the most convincing studies of the 17 June Uprising and its historical roots.... I emphatically recommend that all teachers and researchers who deal with the first ten years of the Soviet Occupied Zone/GDR make use of Bruce's work.
GFL-Journal
With meticulously researched documentation from local and central party archives, police reports, and the Ministry for State Security (MfS) archives, Bruce traces the history ofrepression and resistance in the words of the very people (party members, police officers, and state security employees) whose livelihoods depended on the maintenance of statehegemony. He offers unique insight into the mechanisms of dictatorial nation-building.
Choice
This well-written survey of the increasing Stalinist oppression and local resistance in eastern Germany under Soviet occupation and, after 1949, in a communist state propped up by a massive military presence, recounts the building of the totalitarian state, its repressive apparatus, and the ultimately desperate resistance by noncommunist parties, organizations with networks in the West, and local citizens. Recommended.
Slavic Review - Mary Fulbrook
A helpful step on the way to a more comprehensive understanding of the early years of GDR history.
Zeitschrift fur Geschichtswissenschaft
This sobering trans-atlantic anaylsis, which does not shy away from questioning and updating previous historical positions, is in my opinion one of the the most convincing studies of the 17 June Uprising and its historical roots.... I emphatically recommend that all teachers and researchers who deal with the first ten years of the Soviet Occupied Zone/GDR make use of Bruce's work.
Canadian Journal of History
By locating and disseminating a rich variety of new archival material Bruce has added tremendous detail to our knowledge of this period. The book is a valuable reference tool...
Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft
This sobering trans-atlantic anaylsis, which does not shy away from questioning and updating previous historical positions, is in my opinion one of the the most convincing studies of the 17 June Uprising and its historical roots.... I emphatically recommend that all teachers and researchers who deal with the first ten years of the Soviet Occupied Zone/GDR make use of Bruce's work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742524873
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Series: Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Bruce is assistant professor of history at the University of Waterloo.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Resistance and Repression Between the End of the War and the First Elections in the Soviet-Occupied Zone Chapter 3 Dictatorship and Resistance, 1946 to 1949 Chapter 4 Dictatorship and Resistance in the New State Chapter 5 The "Building of Socialism" and Its Consequences, 1952-1953 Chapter 6 The Aftermath of the Revolution: Repression and Popular Resistance Chapter 7 Conclusion
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