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2. To what extent were Gorbachev’s policies responsible for the collapse of communist rule in East Germany?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the extent to which Gorbachev's policies were responsible for the collapse of communist rule in East Germany, focusing in particular on: (i) Gorbachev's policies: perestroika and glasnost, warmer relations with the West, and an abandonment of the Brezhnev Doctrine; (ii) the response of the SED to Gorbachev's policies: criticism by Kurt Hager, resistance of the move towards political pluralism and economic reform, press censorship; (iii) support for Gorbachev's policies among ordinary Germans; (iv) the extent to which Honecker's hardline policy towards demonstrators and civil rights groups only hardened calls for greater transparency, freedom of the press, etc.; (v) the importance of the fortieth anniversary celebrations on 7 October 1989: Gorbachev's formal role at the celebrations, his veiled criticism of the SED, his popular support; and (vi) the extent to which East Germany could have prevented its collapse if it had been more often to Gorbachev's policies.
In this course, Professor Anna Saunders (University of Liverpool) explores the final decade of communist rule in East Germany, through six key questions: (1) To what extent did economic factors accelerate the demise of the GDR?; (2) To what extent were Gorbachev’s policies responsible for the collapse of communist rule in East Germany?; (3) To what extent was the Protestant church significant in the collapse of communism in the GDR?; (4) To what extent did external influences contribute to the collapse of the GDR?; (5) How important was popular dissent in bringing about the demise of the GDR?; and (6) How accurate is it to say that Helmut Kohl was the main driver of reunification?
Anna Saunders is Professor of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Liverpool. She specialises in the history and memory of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and in questions of memorialisation and the performance of memory in the built environment. Her recent publications include Memorializing the GDR: Monuments and Memory after 1989 (2018) and Honecker's Children: Youth and Patriotism in East(ern) Germany, 1979-2002 (2007).
Cite this Lecture
Saunders, A. (2021, February 22). Germany – The Decline of the GDR, 1980-90 - To what extent were Gorbachev’s policies responsible for the collapse of communist rule in East Germany? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-the-decline-of-the-gdr-1980-90/to-what-extent-were-gorbachev-s-policies-responsible-for-the-collapse-of-communist-rule-in-east-germany
Saunders, A. "Germany – The Decline of the GDR, 1980-90 – To what extent were Gorbachev’s policies responsible for the collapse of communist rule in East Germany?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Feb 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-the-decline-of-the-gdr-1980-90/to-what-extent-were-gorbachev-s-policies-responsible-for-the-collapse-of-communist-rule-in-east-germany