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Divided Commitment: East German Socialist Intellectuals and Their Attitudes Towards the Reunification with West Germany

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Authors
Riegel, Klaus Georg
Issue Date
2002-06
Publisher
Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
Citation
Development and Society, Vol.31 No.1, pp. 53-78
Abstract
Clientele nations such as North Korea, North Vietnam, South Yemen and East Germany do not fit into the present paradigms of a sociology of nationalism. The transnational context of the global civil war after the end of WWII had given birth to a new type of divided nations belonging to their respective global patron's spheres of influence. The nation-building process of clientele nations is dominated by the exigencies of the global framework destined by their global patrons. The intellectual groups of clientele nations especially experience the dilemma of divided commitments they have to show towards their national reference societies, as well as to the transnational, globalized attitudes and aspirations demanded by their global patrons. As far as the East German socialist intelligentsia is concerned, it is very interesting to observe how it tried to solve the paradox of divided commitments. On the one hand, East German socialist intellectuals seriously regarded their salvationist mandate to enlighten and emancipate the East German population from the dark sides of the genocidal past of German history. On the other hand, they had to find a suitable way of distancing themselves from this immediate past and to ground their salvationist gospel into a national culture specially designed to the DDR-socialism. The concepts of a class nation and later of a socialist nation were intended to shape a national culture combining socialist universalism and German particularism. Furthermore, the invention of the anti-fascist myth of pure, courageous, anti-fascist resistance solely practised by the Communist led alliances nourished a moral unanimity among the different cliques, factions and groups of the socialist intelligentsia. At decisive moments of the DDR-history, namely in the course of the implosion of the state and government of the DDR, the 'laboring masses' of the DDR did not follow their socialist intellectual guardians. The people of the DDR opted for a united fatherland of all Germans. The socialist intelligentsia deplored this betrayal of the people and invented patterns of explaining this changing of sides by the formerly highly praised and admired 'laboring masses'.
ISSN
1598-8074
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/86634
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and Society Development and Society Vol.31 No.1/2 (2002)
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