Theses Bachelor's

The Changing Depiction of Prussia in the GDR: From Rejection to Selective Commemoration

Munn, Corinna

The German Democratic Republic was a Marxist-Leninist, socialist state with close political ties to the Soviet Union. Prussia, on the other hand, carried (and to an extent still carries today) associations of militarism, conservatism, a reactionary aristocratic ruling class, and even proto-fascism. How, then, was Prussia assimilated into the GDR’s Marxist-Leninist view of history? Furthermore, how was the depiction of Prussia in the GDR used to support and shape a unique East German identity? These are the questions that this thesis will explore, through the analysis of East German publications, films, and public events related to Prussian history and especially the mythos of Frederick II. By examining the depiction of Prussia in newspaper articles, film, and public works, one can come nearer to seeing what the citizen of the GDR saw. Though their thoughts, for the most part, can only be the subject of surmise, what can be inferred with greater certainty is what the regime wanted citizens to think by presenting them with a carefully considered image of history

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Thesis Advisors
Berghahn, Volker R.
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
June 3, 2014