Inventing a socialist nation : Heimat and the politics of everyday life in the GDR, 1945-1990
Part of the New Studies in European History series
Twenty years after the collapse of the German Democratic Republic, historians still struggle to explain how an apparently stable state imploded with such vehemence.
This book shows how 'national' identity was invented in the GDR and how citizens engaged with it.
Jan Palmowski argues that it was hard for individuals to identify with the GDR amid the threat of Stasi informants and with the accelerating urban and environmental decay of the 1970s and 1980s.
Since socialism contradicted its own ideals of community, identity and environmental care, citizens developed rival meanings of nationhood and identities and learned to mask their growing distance from socialism beneath regular public assertions of socialist belonging.
This stabilized the party's rule until 1989. However, when the revolution came, the alternative identifications citizens had developed for decades allowed them to abandon their 'nation', the GDR, with remarkable ease.
1DFGE East Germany, DDR, 3JJP c 1945 to c 2000 (Post-war period), HBJD European history, HBLW3 Postwar 20th century history, from c 1945 to c 2000, JPFF Socialism & left-of-centre democratic ideologies