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Youth Politics in East GermanyThe Free German Youth Movement 1946-1968$
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Alan McDougall

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276271

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276271.001.0001

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The FDJ and the June 1953 Uprising

The FDJ and the June 1953 Uprising

(p.26) 1 The FDJ and the June 1953 Uprising
Youth Politics in East Germany


Oxford University Press

In June 1953, the FDJ underwent the first major crisis in its history and communist rule in the GDR was saved only by Soviet military intervention. The roots of this near-collapse can be found in the policies that the FDJ pursued after its 4th Parliament in May 1952. This chapter shows that the failure of all but a small minority of young East Germans to come to the defence of the SED regime in June 1953 illustrate the extent to which, as the party leadership itself subsequently admitted, ‘the idea of socialism was shaken among many young people’ during the preceding thirteen months. But the problems of SED youth policy, and the FDJ's role in fulfilling it, went beyond simple disillusionment with the way in which objectively ‘correct’ socialist policies had been mistakenly implemented. The events of 1952 and 1953 revealed for the first time on a grand scale a number of fundamental problems — both organizational and ideological in character — that the FDJ was never able to resolve successfully.

Keywords:   Free German Youth, socialism, youth policy

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