The History of Divided Germany, 1945-1990


Although the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic have been described as “polarized twins”, there has still yet to be a comprehensive historical depiction of German history between 1945 and 1989/1990 that accounts for the two states on equal terms. In view of this goal, the project aims to recount the history of the two German states as a history of parallels, comparisons, perceptions, relations, and contrasts. The intended historization of the course of time of the two-state era, between division and unity, is meant to come to terms with the individual developments of the two states and their differing systems, while also sounding out the spaces of shared experience, which, consciously or unconsciously, bound Germans in both East and West together, despite the increasing sense of alienation and emerging divergence of mentality.
The study will focus on the diametrically opposed ideologies and the pressure to act that grew through reciprocal perceptions, as well as the diversity of meetings and exchanges between the two German states. It demonstrates how the political leaders in Bonn and East Berlin reacted to processes, crises, economic cycles, and trends that presented challenges to both states. While the normative differences between a dictatorship and a democracy must not be glossed over here, a genetic-structural approach was pursued to make it possible to conduct an analysis of reciprocal referentiality.

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