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Demolition on Karl Marx SquareCultural Barbarism and the People's State in 1968$
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Andrew Demshuk

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190645120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190645120.001.0001

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Demolitions and Dread, 1961–1964

Demolitions and Dread, 1961–1964

(p.69) 3 Demolitions and Dread, 1961–1964
Demolition on Karl Marx Square

Andrew Demshuk

Oxford University Press

Having learned its lessons in 1960, the State pursued demolitions through the following years without serious architectural competitions or involving the public. Each time the wrecking ball danced through another monument protest letters increased in number and severity, until at last the surprise 1963 toppling of the Baroque Johannis tower, directly east of the University Church, was seen by many to anticipate the destruction of the University Church as foretold in 1960. Extreme letter exchanges unleashed the regime’s open hatred for citizens who failed to correspond to its imagined majority of supporters, and the inconceivable defection of leading authorities from the party line prompted a tightening of top-down control. Although the scale of protest frightened the regime into delaying its plans for some years, engaged citizens rejoiced but were circumspect. For by now they hardly believed anything promised from above, and the regime gave no promises in 1964, only silence.

Keywords:   communism, SED, Paul Fröhlich, Hans Benzien, Hans Nadler, preservationism, modernism, Johann Sebastian Bach

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