In the years immediately following WW II, East Germans found themselves dealing with a Communist system that methodically violated their basic rights, including the freedoms of speech and of personal legal security. Many East Germans fundamentally resisted these developments, calling for nothing short of the end of the Communist system in East Germany. This political resistance to Communism was most tangible in the actions of members of the non-Marxist parties, the Christian Democratic Union, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the Social Democratic Party, and in the massive uprising that ripped through East Germany in the summer of 1953. Bystanders gaped as East Germans from all walks of life rose up in June 1953, smashing through prison gates and releasing prisoners, dragging judges and lawyers through the streets, and toppling statues of Stalin. Rocks and sticks, however, were no match for the Soviet tanks which moved in to crush the rebellion. By examining previously untapped documents of the East German Ministry for State Security, the police, and the Communist Party, Gary Bruce closely details the underground work of political opponents and secret police attempts to subdue them. Bruce takes issue with those who claim that the June 1953 uprising was merely labour unrest resulting from poor working conditions, showing the demonstrations of 1953 were a revolution that was sparked largely by the government's abuse of basic rights. Students and scholars of European Cold War history will find Resistance with the people an invaluable resource for exploring the political resistance of East Germans against the Communist regime.
Gary Bruce is assistant professor of history at the University of Waterloo.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Resistance and Repression Between the End of the War and the First Elections in the Soviet-Occupied Zone Chapter 3 Dictatorship and Resistance, 1946 to 1949 Chapter 4 Dictatorship and Resistance in the New State Chapter 5 The "Building of Socialism" and Its Consequences, 1952-1953 Chapter 6 The Aftermath of the Revolution: Repression and Popular Resistance Chapter 7 Conclusion