Hidden Behind the Wall: West German State Building and the Emergence of the Iron Curtain

Schaefer, Sagi

It is widely accepted that the inter-German border was constructed by East German authorities to halt the emigration to the west, which had damaged the East German economy and undermined the East German state agencies' power. This article argues that this is an inaccurate understanding, which mistakenly treats perceptions and insights gained from studying the Berlin Wall as representative of the mostly rural border between East and West Germany. It emphasizes crucial transformations of frontier society during the 1950s, highlighting the important role of western as well as eastern policy in shaping them.

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Central European History

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May 21, 2012