The Political Culture of Protestantism in the GDR

  • Erhart Neubert


When in 1989 the power of the SED began to wither, it was noted in Germany and abroad with considerable astonishment that the political opposition comprised mainly groups of the Evangelical churches. Theologians of both sexes, churchmen and laity, synod members and members of the parish church councils had become spokesmen for the masses of demonstrators. Church institutions and leading churchmen had become mediators during the transformation process in the GDR. In the years before, a number of spectacular events had already indicated the existence of a political opposition within the churches (Bickhardt 1988; Grimm et al. 1988). Their active involvement in the fall of the old system and their participation in the reorganization of society were nevertheless unexpected.


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  1. 1.
    For comments on the role of Protestantism see Rytlewski (1987).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    As late as the process of transformation (that is, on 15 November 1989) the communist government yielded and promised to diminish the pressure. (Bund der Evangelischen Kirchen in der DDR, 1989a).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Before the political transformation in the GDR this had been made clear especially by Richter (1989b).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    In the late summer of 1990 in a public discussion the question was raised whether on 3 October 1990, the day of German unity, the bells should ring and services be attended. Numerous East German theologians were irritated when West German politicians expressed these wishes.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dirk Berg-Schlosser and Ralf Rytlewski 1993

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  • Erhart Neubert

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