Sd.kfz. 234 by Stanislaw Jablonski, Jakub Margiel, George Parada

By Stanislaw Jablonski, Jakub Margiel, George Parada

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23 Communist convictions were strongly held up to and beyond the fateful year of 1989. 24 In fact, the primary educational function of the SED was the spreading of Marxism–Leninism. To achieve this, its principles were taught in schools, at university, and in youth and party organisations. Both the Ministries of Education and the FDJ were directly responsible for the promotion of specifically socialist attitudes and behaviour in young people. However, equally important were measures devised to integrate young people into socialist society based on their individual interests and requirements.

Wierling in particular analyses what she calls the ‘Hitlergeneration’, people born in the 1920s that lived through the Third Reich but were still young enough after the war to adjust to and even embrace the new political system constructed in the GDR. 55 This approach has been supported by comments from intellectuals such as Christa Wolf and Heiner Müller, who as part of this specific generation, for a long time felt unable to oppose the political elite because of the anti-fascist myth attached to the system and some of its prominent individuals.

It was severely threatened by the changes that were occurring within the state that had guaranteed the GDR’s existence for four decades. In addition, the reactions of the political elite and the lack of response during the summer months of 1989 dramatically lowered the level of acceptance among the population in the GDR. By autumn 1989, mutual concessions were no longer possible or desired. Communication and compromise were important features of socialist society in the GDR but are often underrepresented in historical research on the subject.

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