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Tailoring Truth : Politicizing the Past and Negotiating Memory in East Germany, 1945-1990

By: Olsen, Jon Berndt.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Contemporary European History: Publisher: New York, NY : Berghahn Books, 2015Description: 1 online resource (276 p.).ISBN: 9781782385721.Subject(s): Collective memory--Political aspects--Germany (East)--History | Germany (East)--Historiography | Germany (East)--Politics and government | Historical museums--Political aspects--Germany (East)--History | Historiography--Political aspects--Germany (East)--History | Memorialization--Political aspects--Germany (East)--History | Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands--HistoryGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Tailoring Truth : Politicizing the Past and Negotiating Memory in East Germany, 1945-1990DDC classification: 907.2 | 907.2/0431 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents; Illustrations; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Introduction: Tailoring Truth in East Germany; Chapter One - Mobilizing Memory in the Soviet Occupation Zone; Chapter Two - The Politics of State Memory; Chapter Three - Emotional Bonds; Chapter Four - Broadening the Historical Roots of the State Narrative; Chapter Five - The Collapse of State-Imposed Memory Culture; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index
Summary: By looking at state-sponsored memory projects, such as memorials, commemorations, and historical museums, this book reveals that the East German communist regime obsessively monitored and attempted to control public representations of the past to legitimize its rule. It demonstrates that the regime's approach to memory politics was not stagnant, but rather evolved over time to meet different demands and potential threats to its legitimacy. Ultimately the party found it increasingly difficult to control the public portrayal of the past, and some dissidents were able to turn the party's memory
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Contents; Illustrations; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Introduction: Tailoring Truth in East Germany; Chapter One - Mobilizing Memory in the Soviet Occupation Zone; Chapter Two - The Politics of State Memory; Chapter Three - Emotional Bonds; Chapter Four - Broadening the Historical Roots of the State Narrative; Chapter Five - The Collapse of State-Imposed Memory Culture; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index

By looking at state-sponsored memory projects, such as memorials, commemorations, and historical museums, this book reveals that the East German communist regime obsessively monitored and attempted to control public representations of the past to legitimize its rule. It demonstrates that the regime's approach to memory politics was not stagnant, but rather evolved over time to meet different demands and potential threats to its legitimacy. Ultimately the party found it increasingly difficult to control the public portrayal of the past, and some dissidents were able to turn the party's memory

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Olsen (Univ. of Massachusetts) addresses how the East German (GDR) socialist government attempted to produce and control a state culture from post-WW II to the unification of the Germanys in 1990. He also analyzes how the state controlled imagined pasts, presents, and futures by propagating constructed "memory cultures." The fundamental GDR memory project was the cultivation of an identity rooted in the victory over fascism and the emergence of a heroic German labor movement. To show how scholarly history became the place of conflict, Olsen provides several case studies of memory work at monuments, museums, and commemorations that together strove to produce a "tailored truth" based on a "canon of iconic figures and events." Another theme is that although a new pluralistic and open memory culture has emerged since 1990, several former socialist sites of memory remain part of the memory landscape. The author points out that over a half century of communist power, state memory politics were not static and evolved in response to contradictions between the official rhetoric and the realities of undemocratic policies and suppression. Olsen directs attention to the conundrum of living with the legacy of the GDR memory project--rejecting its totalitarian mission but learning from its legacy. Appropriate illustrations support a strong bibliography and scholarly footnotes. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. --Brian Stuart Osborne, Queen's University at Kingston

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p>Jon Berndt Olsen is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the Dean of Waldsee, the German language and culture immersion program of Concordia Language Villages. He has been the recipient of awards from the Fulbright Commission, the Robert Bosch Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council's Berlin Program.</p>

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