Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Ossie twilight - New Books in History

On New Books in History Marshall Poe interviewed journalist Stevan Allen about the demise of the DDR, the German Democratic Republic or East-Germany as it is has mostly been referred to.

The DDR was never really an independent state. Between its establishment in 1949 and its merging into the Bundesrepublik, the Federal Republic of Germany, it had mostly been a satellite of the Soviet Union. However, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, there was a short period of a couple of months over which the DDR at least acted as an independent state. In a way it was suddenly dependent on West-Germany, but not all the way. It was almost certain it would rather soon than late merge into larger Germany. But for the time being, the DDR continued to live, if scrambling, in twilight. And this is where Allen took part.

It may be a generational thing. Marshall Poe, Stevan Allen and, yes, me too, observed these developments in awe, disbelief and fascinated dumbfoundedness. The citizens themselves, the Ossies, had a lot more to be confused and excited about themselves. Allen describes this in his book and on the show and I recognize it all. It makes for absolutely fascinating listening and I cannot imagine it to be otherwise for anybody else. However, if you haven't felt the Cold War from nearby, if you have known none other than one Germany, maybe it is less so. Or?

More NBIH:
The first day of LBJ,
Ayn Rand,
Atlantic History,
Political rationalizations in Nazi-Germany,
Whalen / Rohrbough.