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The German Myth of the East1800 to the Present$
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Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199546312

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199546312.001.0001

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From the Cold War to the Present

From the Cold War to the Present

(p.220) 9 From the Cold War to the Present
The German Myth of the East

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter follows, through the Cold War up to the present day, the continuing and evolving German relationship with Eastern Europe. The different orientations of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic are analyzed through their foreign policies, the building of the Berlin Wall, Ostpolitik, and the curious competition to appropriate Prussia's disputed historical legacy. The chapter concludes by taking stock of the state of the German myth of the East today, examining complexities of reunification and the persistent ‘wall in the minds’, especially in mutual antagonistic stereotypes of ‘Wessis’ and ‘Ossis’, so-called ‘Ostalgie’ (nostalgia for a lost eastern German state and society), and the paradoxical belated rise of a distinct East German national identity. The chapter ends with an assessment of the future of German relations with Eastern Europe, marked by issues like the challenges of the European Union's expansion and relations with the new Russia.

Keywords:   Berlin Wall, Cold War, European Union, German Democratic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, national identity, nostalgia, Ostpolitik, Prussia, reunification

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