Breaking with bourgeois rules and traditions

The divorce files of Eastern German courts in the late 1940s

In: Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'histoire du droit / The Legal History Review
Author: Martin Löhnig1
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When World War II ended in 1945, the plan was to build a society in the Soviet occupation zone and, later on, in the German Democratic Republic, which would break with the previously dominant bourgeois rules and traditions. Marriage and the family were utilized to achieve this goal. As the marriage law in force was the same in all parts of Germany between 1938 and 1955, this development has to be illustrated by analyzing the divorce files of the East German courts of Dresden and Leipzig in the late 1940s. By reviewing these documents, one cannot only reveal political and economic influences, but also discover the new household and family models of a socialist society.

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