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Death at the Berlin Wall$
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Pertti Ahonen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546305

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546305.001.0001

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The Wall and its victims in the 1970s

The Wall and its victims in the 1970s

(p.166) 6 The Wall and its victims in the 1970s
Death at the Berlin Wall

Pertti Ahonen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the 1970s, a period characterized by a continuation of key trends rooted in the previous decade. In the West, accommodation with the Berlin Wall and national division advanced. In the GDR, the contradictions between the government's desire for the rewards of closer Western ties and its fear of the domestic costs of those ties intensified. In the contemporary perspective the prevailing conditions seemed to favour the GDR's agenda of consolidating the status quo. This trend was underscored by the 2 October 1971 Wall shooting of Dieter Beilig, which the GDR covered up with ruthless efficiency. Cumulatively, however, the GDR's actions at the Wall—characterized by obsessive secrecy and a narrow fixation on points of national sovereignty—could seriously harm their broader interests. That potential was clear in the political wrangling and bad publicity caused by the death of Cetin Mert on 11 May 1975.

Keywords:   Berlin, Berlin Wall, GDR, division, legitimacy, death, détente, Dieter Beilig, Cetin Mert, CSCE, commemoration

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