Recent Submissions

  • Constructing East Germany: Interpretations of GDR History since Unification

    Dennis, Mike (2004)
    This book: The system transformation after German unification in 1990 constituted an experiment on an unprecedented scale. At no point in history had one state attempted to redesign another without conquest, bloodshed or coercion but by treaties, public policy and bureaucratic processes. Unification was achieved by erasing the eastern political and economic model. However, in the meantime it has become clear that the same cannot be said about social transformation. On the contrary, social and cultural attitudes and differentiation have continued and resulted in deep divisions between West and East Germany. After unification, the injustices of politics seemed to have been replaced, in the eyes of most former GDR citizens, by unexpected injustices in the personal spheres of ordinary people who lost their jobs and faced unknown realities of deprivation and social exclusion. These are the main concerns of the contributors to this volume. Incorporating new research findings and published data, they focus on key aspects of economic, political, and social transformation in eastern Germany and compare, through case studies, each area with developments in the West.
  • The Stasi: Myth and Reality; themes in modern German history

    Dennis, Mike; Laporte, Norman (London: Longman/Pearson, 2003)
    The Stasi were a central institution of the GDR, and this book illuminates the nature and operation of the entire East German regime, addressing one of the most important topics in modern German history. Its emphasis is primarily on the key years under Erich Honecker, who was Head of State from 1976 and ousted in 1989.The book looks at all aspects of the control, operation and impact of the security police - their methods, targets, structure, accountability, and in particular the crucial question of how far they were an arm of the ruling communist party or were themselves a virtually autonomous political actor.
  • Soccer Hooliganism in the German Democratic Republic

    Dennis, Mike (London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2005)
    This topical book provides unprecedented analysis of football's place in post-war and post-reunification Germany. The expert team of German and British contributors offers wide-ranging perspectives on the significance of football in German sporting and cultural life, showing how it has emerged as a focus for an expression of German national identity and pride in the post-war era. Some of the themes examined include: footballing expressions of local, regional and national identity; ethnic dynamics, migrant populations and Europeanization; German football’s commercial economy; women’s football. Key moments in the history of German football are also explored, such as the victories in 1954, 1972 and 1990, the founding of the Bundesliga, and the winning bid for the 2006 World Cup. (Routledge)
  • Zwischen Integration und Ausgrenzung: Jüdische Zuwanderer aus der ehemaligen Sowjetunion und Deutschland

    Weiss, Karin (Campus Verlag, 2002)
    This article surveys a transformation that affected both East and West Germany, albeit not to the same extent: the migration and settlement of Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union. Originally agreed by the last GDR People's Chamber in 1990, and limited to a maximum of 2,000 individuals, German legislation was amended in 1991 and removed the numerical restrictions. A decade later, Jewish migration into Germany had reached nearly 100,000. While the German government celebrated the restoration of Jewish communities and Jewish life after the devastation inflicted by the Holocaust, the scope and composition of Jewish migration posed major problems for communities charged with integrating newcomers. In West Germany, existing communities more than doubled in size, often leaving Russian Jews in a majority. In East Germany, where the number of Jewish community members had dwindled to below 500 by 1990, the influx and the policy of dispersion across the region meant that new Russian-only communities were found in Potsdam, Schwerin and elsewhere. What would seem to be revitalisation amounted in reality to massive financial burdens on existing communities and divisive cultural pressures. Most of the newcomers are without earned income, employment and look to organisations for support. These, in turn, cannot collect membership dues from impoverished newcomers. Few Russian Jews have any knowledge of the German language and continue to communicate in Russian; few have any knowledge of Jewish religious or cultural traditions, since these were criminalised in the Soviet Union. Moreover, many of the newcomers are non-Jewish family members, or do not have a Jewish mother and are, therefore, not deemed to be Jewish by the religious authorities and the community leadership. In East Germany, the 4,000 or so Jewish newcomers are too few in number to restore Jewish life as a visible and vibrant social or cultural force.
  • Nach Holocaust und Zwangsarbeit: Britische humanitäre Hilfe in Deutschland: Die Helfer, die Befreiten und die Deutschen

    Steinert, Johannes-Dieter (Osnabrűck: Secolo Verlag, 2000)
    Abstract in English, text in German. After the Second World War, British voluntary organisations were among the first in the field of international humanitarian assistance in Europe. To begin with, British help was directed only to the survivors of the Holocaust and the German forced labour system, but in late 1945 it was extended to German civilians, in particular to children and refugees. Based on British and German archival material, the monograph examines the interrelations between British humanitarian assistance and British occupation policy in Germany. Special emphasis has been given to the work of British voluntary organisations and the interdependencies between governmental and non-governmental efforts. The study contributes to research on British civil society as well as to the ongoing Opferdebatte (debate on Germans as victims of the war) in Germany. The book is divided into seven chapters: Chapter one is dominated by an analysis of British and international war-time planning; the foundation of the 'United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration', the 'Council of British Societies for Relief Abroad', and the training of welfare workers are examined. Chapter two looks at humanitarian assistance in Europe during the final stage of the war, with a particular focus on the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Chapter three concentrates on the organisation and structure of British humanitarian assistance in Germany, the appeals for funds in Britain and their distribution in Germany. Chapters four and five analyse the help provided for Displaced Persons and the problems of repatriation. Chapter six focuses on the field of German welfare, the reconstruction of German voluntary organisations, and the cooperation between relief teams and the Military Government. Chapter seven examines how NGOs and relief workers viewed their work in Germany, and how they perceived the Displaced Persons and the German population.
  • Young Women in Right-Wing Groups and Organisations in East Germany

    Weiss, Karin (Abingdon: Routledge (a Taylor & Francis imprint), 2002)
    "Reinventing Gender" focuses on the consequences of post-communist transformation for women in eastern Germany and evaluates their responses. In the GDR era, women were required to take on employment while the state provided child care and financial incentives for mothers. Since the duty to work applied to men as well as women, women did not perceive their situation as disadvantaged or gender as a barrier to their socio-economic participation. Gender was not linked with inequality and there was no feminist discourse, although the hidden reality was that women's issues lagged behind those of men. In the post-communist era gender emerged as a new divide. While the politicians had expected that eastern German women would focus on their families, they confounded policy-makers by refusing to regard homemaking as an acceptable lifestyle. However, since unification women have had fewer employment opportunities and lower job security. Gender has been reinvented in two ways: a sense of injustice among women and their bid for labour market inclusion, and the experience of unfamiliar barriers to employment on the grounds of gender. In recasting their biographies by postponing marriage and childbirth and developing new strategies of risk management to retain their place in the newly competitive labour market, women are trying to avoid the pitfalls of gender and take advantage of the opportunities in the post-communist setting.
  • Food and the Food Crisis in Post-War Germany, 1945-1948: British Policy and the Role of British NGOs

    Steinert, Johannes-Dieter (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
    This volume examines conflicts over food and their implications for European societies in the first half of the Twentieth century. Ranging across Europe, from Scandinavia and Britain to Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union, this volume explores the political, economic and cultural dynamics that shaped conflicts over food and their legacies. (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution. Proceedings of the First International Multidisciplinary Conference at the Imperial War Museum, London, 29-31 January 2003

    Steinert, Johannes-Dieter; Weber-Newth, Inge (Osnabrűck: Secolo Verlag, 2005)
    In recent years the volume of international research on survivors of Nazi persecution has continually increased. At the same time there is a growing public interest in how survivors coped with their experiences and how they were treated by post-war societies. Researched topics are varied, as are the academic disciplines involved – often without taking much notice of each other. It is time to take stock of current research and to open up new perspectives for future work. This book and CD contain 70 selected contributions to the international multidisciplinary conference on Beyond Camps and Forced Labour. Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution which took place on 29 – 31 January 2003 at the Imperial War Museum, London (The 2nd conference took place in 2006). Edited CD-ROM and Booklet, includes Steinert & Weber Newth 'Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution', pp. 1-27; Steinert 'British NGOs in Belsen Concentration Camp: Emergency Relief and the Perception of Survivors', pp. 44-57.
  • German Migrants in Post-war Britain

    Weber-Newth, Inge; Steinert, Johannes-Dieter (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2006)
    Weber-Newth and Steinert consider German migration to Britain after World War II, using written sources and interviews.
  • Social Relations in the Estate Villages of Mecklenburg c.1880-1924

    Constantine, Simon (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2008)
    Research on late nineteenth and early twentieth century German society has concentrated overwhelmingly on life in the cities. By contrast, and despite the fact that almost one third of Germans were still working in agriculture as late as 1914, Germany's rural society remains relatively unexplored. Although historians have begun to correct this imbalance, very few full-length studies of social relations east of the Elba in this period have been published. This book concentrates on social relations in the 1,500 estate villages (Gutsdörfer) of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. 'Social relations' include the chains of command and obedience, the relative legal positions of owner and workers, contractual-relations, economic relations; the mutual economic dependency of estate owners and workforce, as well as the value systems of owners and labourers which informed these relationships. With its focus on both rural elites and workers, this study differs from much other work on rural Germany. For while a number of historians have examined the rural elites, few have chosen to investigate the lower strata of rural society. This book makes use of overlooked autobiographical accounts, statements given by workers at labour exchanges and before military authorities, as well as confiscated letters, jokes and anecdotes to provide greater insight into the perspective of rural workers. (Ashgate Publishing)
  • United and Divided: Germany Since 1990

    Dennis, Mike; Kolinsky, Eva (Berghahn Books, 2008)
    The system transformation after German unification in 1990 constituted an experiment on an unprecedented scale. At no point in history had one state attempted to redesign another without conquest, bloodshed or coercion but by treaties, public policy and bureaucratic processes. Unification was achieved by erasing the eastern political and economic model. However, in the meantime it has become clear that the same cannot be said about social transformation. On the contrary, social and cultural attitudes and differentiation have continued and resulted in deep divisions between West and East Germany. After unification, the injustices of politics seemed to have been replaced, in the eyes of most former GDR citizens, by unexpected injustices in the personal spheres of ordinary people who lost their jobs and faced unknown realities of deprivation and social exclusion. These are the main concerns of the contributors to this volume. Incorporating new research findings and published data, they focus on key aspects of economic, political, and social transformation in eastern Germany and compare, through case studies, each area with developments in the West.
  • Correction in the Countryside: Convict Labour in Rural Germany 1871-1914

    Constantine, Simon (London: Sage Publications, 2006)
    Over the course of the Empire demand for labour in the countryside and penal reform together created the conditions for a greater deployment of prisoners, workhouse inmates and young offenders in agriculture. Farming on site, and especially leasing offenders, were the most cost-efficient ways of detaining men. Agricultural work was also regarded as key to their rehabilitation. It served to equip inmates upon release for the sector of the economy most in need of workers. ‘Outside work’ away from the institution was also seen as an intermediate stage in the prisoner's sentence before release. Two developments in the charitable sector complemented this correctional strategy: the emergence of a network of workers’ farming colonies which acted as half-way houses for ex-prisoners after release, and ex-offender employment programmes run by prisoner welfare societies, channelling ex-offenders towards agricultural employment. Despite these efforts to reintegrate offenders, re-offending rates remained high. Penal authorities either attributed this to the incorrigibility of some inmates, or pushed for longer sentences. In some cases penal and medical authorities were inclined to re-interpret the criminal behaviour of repeat offenders as behaviour symptomatic of mental illness, and some inmates were transferred to asylums. In the discourse surrounding the failure of reform the argument that the exclusionary and punitive nature of the prison and workhouse régime actually worked against rehabilitation held little sway, nor the argument that high re-offending rates could be attributed to the vagrancy and begging laws which criminalized systemic poverty and homelessness. Absent here was any understanding that the life offered following release, working as ancillary workers or hands on the estates, bore too striking a resemblance to work in agriculture during detention. This in itself was one major reason why many ex-offenders directed into agricultural employment after release refused to stay and work.
  • Migrant Labour in the German Countryside: Agency and Protest, 1890-1923

    Constantine, Simon (London: Routledge, 2006)
    This article concerns social relations in the estate villages of northern Germany between 1890 and 1923. It focuses primarily on the strategies adopted by seasonal labourers from Russian Poland in their relations with estate managements. Using police and union reports, and the letters and accounts of the migrants themselves, it argues that seasonal workers cannot simply be viewed as exploited, passive victims of this phase of agricultural modernization. This is evident, above all, in the practice of job-switching, which, although criminalized, was a widespread phenomenon both before 1914 and during the war, when the Poles were kept back as forced labour. Escaping estates to which they had been contracted, many workers outsmarted the system of registration by carrying multiple sets of identity papers. But such `contract breaking' was also greatly facilitated by the endemic shortage of labour in the countryside; there were always some owners prepared to hire illegal fugitives. Examining the post-war years, the article also argues for a more nuanced understanding of relations between foreign and local workers. While most contemporary and historical accounts concentrate on social distance and mutual hostility between Germans and Poles, evidence from a number of different villages in the Mecklenburgs indicate that amicable relations and mutual cooperation were not uncommon.
  • Nach der Wende: Vietnamesische Vertragsarbeiter und Vertragsarbeiterinnen in Ostdeutschland heute

    Weiss, Karin (London: Lit Verlag, 2005)
    This book traces the social development of the Vietnamese contract workers since the collapse of SED rule to the present day and also provides an overview of the most important aspects of their life in Germany. An examination is undertaken of the decline in the numbers of former Vietnamese contract workers in East Germany, from about 59,000 at the end of 1989 to 21,000 one year later, and the dramatic changes to their work contracts and their economic, occupational and social situation. Special attention is paid to the question of solidarity within the group of Vietnamese and problems in interaction with the German population and their surroundings. The Vietnamese experience of the massive increase in xenophobia soon after the Wende played a crucial role in the growing cohesiveness of the ethnic group. Finally, an assessment is made of the situation of the second generation of Vietnamese living in Germany, in particular problems such as relations between family members.
  • Erfolg in der Nische? Die Vietnamesen in der DDR und in Ostdeutschland

    Weiss, Karin; Dennis, Mike (London: Lit Verlag, 2005)
    Traces the social development of the Vietnamese contract workers since the collapse of SED rule to the present day and also provides an overview of the most important aspects of their life in Germany. An examination is undertaken of the decline in the numbers of former Vietnamese contract workers in East Germany, from about 59,000 at the end of 1989 to 21,000 one year later, and the dramatic changes to their work contracts and their economic, occupational and social situation. Special attention is paid to the question of solidarity within the group of Vietnamese and problems in interaction with the German population and their surroundings. The Vietnamese experience of the massive increase in xenophobia soon after the Wende played a crucial role in the growing cohesiveness of the ethnic group. Finally, an assessment is made of the situation of the second generation of Vietnamese living in Germany, in particular problems such as relations between family members.
  • Vietnam: Netzwerke zwischen Sozialismus und Kapitalismus

    Weiss, Karin (Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2005)
    In 1955-56, within the framework of the GDR's Solidarity programme, 348 Vietnamese pupils arrived in the GDR for education and training. They were the second group to do so after a group from North Korea. The Vietnamese were located in Dresden and Moritzburg. Arriving as children aged 10 to 14 years, most were adults on returning to Vietnam. Despite their diverse biographies, they have retained a close bond with their life in the former GDR, calling themselves the 'Moritzburgers' and meeting regularly in Vietnam. Through their various occupations and social positions they exercise considerable influence on the development of their country, as is exemplified in the detailed biographical study of Mirjam Freytag. The 'Moritzburgers' were soon followed by further groups of Vietnamese as part of inter-governmental training schemes. For example, from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, many students, pupils and apprentices from Vietnam took part in a special training programme, 'Solidarity means to be victorious', designed as a form of aid for socialist fraternal countries. The unification of the two Vietnamese states allowed for the continuation of educational and occupational training courses in the GDR for schoolchildren, students, apprentices and scientists.
  • Strukturen der Selbsthilfe im ethnischen Netzwerk

    Weiss, Karin (London: Lit Verlag, 2005)
    This book traces the social development of the Vietnamese contract workers since the collapse of SED rule to the present day and also provides an overview of the most important aspects of their life in Germany. An examination is undertaken of the decline in the numbers of former Vietnamese contract workers in East Germany, from about 59,000 at the end of 1989 to 21,000 one year later, and the dramatic changes to their work contracts and their economic, occupational and social situation. Special attention is paid to the question of solidarity within the group of Vietnamese and problems in interaction with the German population and their surroundings. The Vietnamese experience of the massive increase in xenophobia soon after the Wende played a crucial role in the growing cohesiveness of the ethnic group. Finally, an assessment is made of the situation of the second generation of Vietnamese living in Germany, in particular problems such as relations between family members.