Download Dictatorship and Demand: The Politics of Consumerism in East by Mark Landsman PDF

By Mark Landsman

An research into the politics of consumerism in East Germany in the course of the years among the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, Dictatorship and insist exhibits how the difficulty of intake constituted a vital battleground within the better chilly battle fight. in line with examine in lately opened East German kingdom and get together data, this ebook depicts a regime stuck among competing pressures. whereas East Germany's leaders a Soviet version, which fetishized productiveness in heavy and prioritized the construction of capital items over shopper items, they however needed to deal with the transforming into attract of patron abundance in West Germany. the standard problems linked to pleasant patron call for in a socialist financial system got a uniquely heightened political urgency, as hundreds of thousands of East Germans fled around the open border. a brand new imaginative and prescient of the East-West clash emerges, one fought as a lot with washing machines, televisions, and haute couture as with political propaganda, espionage, and nuclear guns. Dictatorship and insist deepens our realizing of the chilly struggle.

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Additional info for Dictatorship and Demand: The Politics of Consumerism in East Germany (Harvard Historical Studies)

Sample text

In many of the countries of Eastern Europe and east-central Europe, productivism was also motivated by the drive to modernize, as it had been in the Soviet Union. 38 But this was considerably less true of what would become East Germany. 39 In fact, during the war, production in many of these industries had increased more quickly than elsewhere in Germany. Meanwhile, the effects of Allied bombing campaigns on industry in eastern Germany had been markedly less severe than in western Germany. )40 Orlopp’s seemingly exaggerated fear, therefore, reflected a clear recognition that coal shortages threatened to undermine the SED’s attempt to build up a privileged, state-controlled heavy industrial sector as a base from which to dominate the economic and social life of the zone.

29 Bruno Leuschner served temporarily as head of the commission but later became leader of the planning section, and Heinrich Rau became DWK chairman. Both Rau and Leuschner had spent the war years in prison and concentration camps. They both came from working-class backgrounds Production and Consumption 25 and had been active in the KPD before the war. 30 Rau joined the KPD in 1919 at the age of twenty, was a deputy to the Prussian parliament from 1928 to 1933, and over the years acquired a certain expertise in questions of agriculture.

West Berliners turned to the black market and to the option of foraging in the surrounding Brandenburg countryside. In exchange for barter or coveted westmarks, West Berliners received significant amounts of provisions. The people of West Berlin are famous for having overwhelmingly declined the Soviet offer allowing them to register for rations in East Berlin; at no point during the blockade did more than 5 percent of them do so. However, what is usually left out of accounts of the blockade is the fact that they hardly needed to.

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