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Behind the Berlin WallEast Germany and the Frontiers of Power$
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Patrick Major

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243280.001.0001

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In the Shadow of the Wall: Coming to Terms with Communism

In the Shadow of the Wall: Coming to Terms with Communism

Chapter:
(p.155) 6 In the Shadow of the Wall: Coming to Terms with Communism
Source:
Behind the Berlin Wall
Author(s):

Patrick Major (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243280.003.0006

Examines the longer‐term impact of the Wall, which induced some East Germans to come to terms with the system in ways in which the open border of the 1950s had prevented. The chapter examines generational responses to the border closure, as well as regional differences between Berlin and the provinces. The brief period of liberalization behind the Wall from 1963–65 is also considered in its effects on the economy, but in particular the attempts to placate the younger generation. The phenomenon of Beatlemania behind the Wall is traced in some detail, before its repression in the autumn of 1965. Furthermore, the intellectual battles for and against the Wall are reconstructed between Günter Grass in West Berlin and the Academy of Arts in East Berlin, as well as the literary treatment of the Wall in the works of Christa Wolf and others. The case is examined of singer–songwriter Wolf Biermann, effectively expelled from the GDR in 1976, and its ramifications on the GDR's artistic elite, who increasingly turned from inner to outer emigration. The chapter concludes with the broader economic corrosion of the GDR by West German currency and the regime's own system of duty‐free shops.

Keywords:   liberalization, Beatlemania, Günter Grass, Wolf Biermann, writers

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