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The East German Leadership and the Division of GermanyPatriotism and Propaganda 1945-1953$
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Dirk Spilker

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284122

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284122.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The East German Leadership and the Division of Germany


Oxford University Press

This book offers a new perspective on the ‘German Question’ — why Germany was divided after World War II and whether that division could have been avoided. Although this question has intrigued many historians, it has never before been studied comprehensively from the point of view of the SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands), the communist-dominated Socialist Unity Party of Germany installed by the Soviet Union in what was to become East Germany. While numerous publications have dealt with the SED and the German Question in one way or another, many of these were written before the collapse of communism and thus without recourse to archival material. This book looks at the period between 1944, the year when the future leaders of the SED determined their post-war strategy, and 1953, the year of the failed East German uprising that sealed the division of Germany for almost 50 years. The focus of the book is on the SED's collective leadership.

Keywords:   German Question, East Germany, West Germany, Socialist Unity Party of Germany, Soviet Union, communism, post-war strategy

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