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The GDR and its History

Rückblick und Revision. Die DDR im Spiegel der Enquete-Kommissionen

Ten years have now passed since the political changes in the GDR which led to unification. A central feature of the past decade has been the discussion concerning the process of historical evaluation of the GDR's 40-year existence. This volume takes as its main focus the official process of 'Geschichtsaufarbeitung', as represented by the two Enquete Commissions set up by the Bundestag which completed their work in 1994 and 1998 respectively. Several of the contributions are by leading participants in the Commissions, such as Dorothee Wilms, the last CDU Minister for Inner-German Relations and Markus Meckel MdB (SPD), the last Foreign Minister of the GDR and the original proposer of the Commissions in the Bundestag. Other chapters look at the various independent initiatives in the area of ‘Geschichtsaufarbeitung', the role of the Commissions in the context of the overall 'Geschichtsdebatte' in relation to the GDR and the attitude of the PDS to the official process of ‘Geschichtsaufarbeitung’. Other topics include an analysis of the way in which Buchenwald was presented to the public after unification, a re-evaluation of the 'Zwangsvereinigung' of the KPD and SPD, an examination of the role of education in the GDR, the controversial way in which the Churches were treated in the work of the first Commission which led to the dissenting report by the SPD members and the legacy of GDR architecture.
This is the first volume in English on the Enquete-Commissions and will be of interest to students and teachers of contemporary German politics and history. It contains thirteen contributions, seven in English and six in German.
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The Party of Democratic Socialism in Germany

Modern Post-Communism or Nostalgic Populism?

The Party of Democratic Socialism in Germany, which includes the papers from the first conference on the PDS in Britain, brings together a range of scholars and politicians from Germany, Britain, France and the USA. It assesses the present position of the party within the German political system shortly before the second ‘Superwahljahr' in Germany. It also examines its relations with other post-communist parties in Europe and evaluates the state of its relations with the other political parties competing for the left-of-centre vote in the new Länder. Above all the volume is concerned with the question as to whether the PDS, as the successor party to the former ruling communist party in East Germany, represents a modern form of socialism or is merely a populist reaction to the particular concerns of eastern Germans after unification. The volume will be of particular interest to students and scholars of German and politics who are concerned with developments in Germany and Europe after the collapse of communism. There are twelve contributions to the volume, six in German and six in English.