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German Communism, the PDS, and the Reunification of Germany

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Abstract

The histories of Germany and of communism have been inextricably linked. Without Marx and Engels, and without the war between Imperial Germany and Tsarist Russia, there would not have been an October Revolution and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The extension of the communist revolution into Germany was the chief strategic aim of the Bolsheviks, and had it been achieved during the turbulent period of 1918–23, Russia might have been spared the two great nightmares of Stalinism and the Nazi aggression. Victory over Hitler and the conquest of Eastern Germany finally elevated Soviet Russia to the status of a world power. It is fitting, therefore, that the final phase of the demise of Soviet communism should have been ushered in by the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.

Keywords

Communist Party State Security Social Democracy Social Democrat Party Organisation 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    The membership of the KPD at the beginning of 1921 was 359,613. Cf. Hermann Weber (ed.), Völker hört die Signale. Der deutsche Kommunismus, 1916–1966 (Munich, 1967), p. 369.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf. Betrifft, Verfassungsschutz ’76 (published by the West German Ministry of the Interior, Bonn, 1977), p. 69.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Betrifft, Verfassungsschutz ’76, pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cf. Peter Schütte, ‘Die Musik bestimmt, wer bezahlt’, Deutschland Archiv, 11/1990, p. 1725.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ibid., p. 1724.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The stark contrast between the electoral strength of the PDS in East and West applies even to Berlin, where the 29.7 per cent polled in the 1992 local elections in the Eastern districts was complemented by a mere 0.9 per cent in West Berlin. Cf. Der Spiegel, 23/1992, p. 34.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cf. ‘Gibts es eine moderne sozialistische Alternative?’, in PDS-Pressedienst, 12/7/1990.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    From January to October 1989, the party lost 66,000 members, and the reports back from the local organisations often emphasised the widespread disaffection and demoralisation in the ranks. For some examples of such reports, see Manfred Behrend and Helmut Meier (eds), Der schwere Weg der Erneuerung: Von der SED zur PDS (Berlin, 1991), pp. 104–14 and passim.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    For documentation of the widespread negative reaction to this step inside the party ranks, see Behrend and Meier, Der schwere Weg der Erneuerung, pp. 48–53.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cf. Behrend and Meir, Der schwere Weg der Erneuerung, pp. 83–94.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Egon Krenz, Wenn Mauern fallen. Die Friedliche Revolution: Vorgeschichte — Ablauf — Auswirkungen (Vienna, 1990); Günter Mittag, Um jeden Preis. Im Spannungsfeld zweier Systeme (Berlin and Weimar 1991); Hans Modrow, Aufbruch und Ende (Hamburg 1991); Günter Schabowski, Der Absturz (Berlin, 1991); Reinhold Andert and Wolfgang Herzberg, Der Sturz: Erich Honecker im Kreuzverhör (Berlin: Weimar, 1990). See also, among many others: ‘Ich sterbe in diesem Kasten’, interview with Erich Mielke, in Der Spiegel, 36/1992, pp. 38–53.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Egon Krenz, Wenn Mauern fallen, pp. 23–5.Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    According to the chairman of the PDS in the East Berlin Marzahn district, Klaus Wiezorek, ‘less than 20 per cent’ of its 6200 members were former employees of the MfS. Quoted in Der Spiegel, 46/1990, p. 33.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    Cf. Der Spiegel, 8/1992, pp. 30–3.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    For an overview of these problems, cf. Johannes L. Kuppe, ‘Die PDS-Finanzen — eine Skandalgeschichte’, Deutschland Archiv, 12/1990, pp. 1821–4.Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    Cf. PDS-Pressedienst, 35/1991; also Der Spiegel, 50/1991, p. 70.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    Cf. Der Spiegel, 35/1991, pp. 28–9.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    Cf. Siegfried Suckut and Dietrich Staritz, ‘Alte Heimat oder neue Linke? Das SED-Erbe und die PDS-Erben’, Deutschland Archiv, 10/1991, p. 1046.Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    Ibid., p. 1050; also Johannes Kuppe and Thomas Ammer, Von der SED zur PDS (Bonn, 1991), pp. 4–15.Google Scholar
  20. 22.
    Quoted in Der Spiegel, 50/1991, p. 71.Google Scholar
  21. 23.
    Speech to the 3rd Session of the 2nd Party Congress, 14/15 December 1991, Pressedienst. Presse- und Informationsdienst des Parteivorstandes, 51/91, 20 December 1991, p. 2.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Figures from Der Spiegel, 43/1991, p. 66.Google Scholar
  23. 25.
  24. 27.
    Cf. Der Spiegel, 18/1992.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

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