By Jeannette Z. Madarasz

ISBN-10: 0230504019

ISBN-13: 9780230504011

ISBN-10: 1403915687

ISBN-13: 9781403915689

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Extra resources for Conflict and Compromise in East Germany, 1971-1989: A Precarious Stability

Sample text

The archive of the MfS75 supplied a great amount of material regarding the activities of both the regime and the four social groups, although most files will have an interpretative tinge that corrupts the reliability of interpretations provided by MfS officers. In these files, a side of socialist society not generally present in other government sources confronts the historian and provides insights into the cultural, social, and political subtexts of GDR society. In addition, the ‘Landesarchiv Berlin’76 was consulted to add a more localised perspective.

The main task ahead, it was announced, was to be the merging of economic and social programmes. This policy was intended to raise living standards further whilst increasing productivity. Honecker improved the availability of Central Policy 31 foodstuffs, the quality and quantity of living space, and health care provision. Apart from a drive to appease the population, which had become extremely dissatisfied during the late 1960s, Honecker began to develop a more accessible image than Ulbricht had cultivated.

Honecker’s new approach differentiated between the various groups by offering improvements and privileges tailored to their specific interests. This process helped to entrench the divisions between individual groups as each became concerned with protecting their particular, albeit limited, privileges. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, any loss of cooperation from the four groups carried major risks for the political and social stability of the GDR. The apparent stability of the GDR which Honecker used to gain international recognition in the 1970s and continued financial credits in the 1980s depended on their support.

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Conflict and Compromise in East Germany, 1971-1989: A Precarious Stability by Jeannette Z. Madarasz

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