Contemporary History Podium

There are many questions in the air – and many will stay there if they do not become the subject of discussion. Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte has sought to change this with its “Podium Zeitgeschichte.” Generally once a year, underlying problems in the field and current debates in contemporary history are discussed in a dialogical, international, and cross-media format, and are taken to the podium both figuratively and literally. Essays written by renowned historians introduce each edition; the authors then meet for discussion at a public event held at the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History in Munich; the discussion is documented as a transcript with film excerpts on the VfZ website; and readers have the opportunity to take part in the discussion in the forum there as well.

Contemporary History Podium 2021: "More than a Footnote! The Soviet Zone of Occupation and the GDR in German and European History"


Researching the history of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) is necessary to better understand current issues such as the tensions presently perceptible in Eastern Germany, which are at least partially rooted in the years between 1945 and 1990. Additionally there is the still ongoing historiographical problem of which new questions need to be asked about the GDR as part of German and European history. The authors of the “Contemporary History Podium” first discuss the history of the Soviet Zone of Occupation (Jürgen John) and the early GDR (Elke Scherstjanoi). Petra Weber subsequently deals with the social history of the GDR in an intra-German context, Frieder Günther makes observations about research into government agencies in East-West comparison, and Florian Peters searches for the historic place of the GDR in the history of Eastern Europe. Finally Michael Schwartz considers the historical role of the GDR in transformations since the 1980s.


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