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Artikel von Udo Grashoff

Legitimation, Repression und Kooptation in der DDR

TD: Jahrgang 9, Heft 2012, 1, Seite 123–146

Abstract / Volltext

Es folgt die Zusammenfassung in englischer Sprache following the article short description

The communist party in the German Democratic Republic claimed governmental legitimacy for being the builder of an antifascist state on the way to communism. The simulation of parliamentarism also played a role and, for a short period of time in the 1960s, the cooptation of technocrats as well. In the 1970s and 1980s the most important part of legitimacy was derived from the welfare policy under Erich Honecker. At no time was the political system stable without a considerable amount of repression. In the Soviet Occupation Zone and the early GDR repression was characterized by Stalinist terror : internment camps, military courts, and harsh punishment. Rigorous repression in 1952/53 and 1960/61 was connected to the attempts to accelerate the socialist revolution ( normative legitimacy ). From 1949 to 1989 a gradual mitigation of repression took place, but not steadily. Relaxation in the watersheds such as in 1956, 1963, and 1971 came to a halt in 1960, 1965, and 1976 ff. Never­theless, more lenient times of repression brought irreversible mitigations. Especially in the 1970s and 1980s open terror was replaced by less visible forms of repression. Cooptation of non - communists played a marginal role in the history of the GDR. In the early phase it was nothing but a phase - out model. Later on cooptation was by and large a recruitment process under the control of the SED, which generated a rather homogenous elite selected by its fidelity to the socialist state.