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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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Wanderlust: Travel, Emigration and the Movement

Wanderlust: Travel, Emigration and the Movement

(p.194) 7 Wanderlust: Travel, Emigration and the Movement
Behind the Berlin Wall

Patrick Major (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Uses petitions to the Security section of the East German communist party to monitor the Wanderlust of East Germans seeking to take advantage of the travel reforms enacted in the wake of Ostpolitik in the early 1970s. The fact that only East Germans with western relatives could partake of these exceptions created a two‐tier mentality in the GDR, undermining egalitarian claims. The Stasi's involvement in vetting travellers is considered, and the paradox that ‘regime‐carriers' such as soldiers and teachers were least likely to be granted travel to the West, generating resentments against punishment for loyalty. The chapter then proceeds to the more serious step of applications to leave the country once and for all, and the Stasi's attempts to stifle what became a nascent civil rights movement in the 1980s. It concludes by considering the tensions which arose between emigration seekers and reformers who wanted to stay in the GDR to work from within—rifts which have left their mark in the historiography of East German dissidence.

Keywords:   travel, emigration, Ostpolitik, Stasi, Wanderlust

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