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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 Building of the Berlin Wall

The FDJ and the Building of the Berlin Wall

(p.110) 3 The FDJ and the Building of the Berlin Wall
Youth Politics in East Germany


Oxford University Press

The FDJ's transformation into a ‘socialist youth organization’ in April 1957 finally resolved the identity crisis that had clouded its existence during the previous eighteen months. Freed from the experimentation of the mid-fifties, the FDJ's work returned to firm Marxist-Leninist principles. This chapter shows that during the construction of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961, the FDJ faced a host of problems — ranging from the collectivization of agriculture to the escalating struggle against Western ‘anti-culture’ (Unkultur) — that put its limited progress during the post-1957 period firmly into perspective. Following the construction of the Berlin Wall, it was confronted with the biggest wave of youth unrest in the GDR since June 1953. Though relatively large numbers of FDJler were mobilized to defend the ‘socialist fatherland’ during the autumn, the bitter legacy of the Wall among the GDR's youth population ensured that the youth organization's hard-line policies after 13 August received only limited support.

Keywords:   Berlin Wall, socialist youth organization, anti-culture, socialist fatherland

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