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6. How did Ostpolitik change relations between West and East Germany?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Neue Ostpolitik, the normalisation of relations between East and West Germany from 1969 onwards, changed relations between the two countries. In particular, we think about: (i) the fundamental awkwardness of the relationship between East and West Germany; (ii) the lack of diplomatic relations and increasing hostility between East and West Germany in the 1950s, culminating in the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961; (iii) the shift in West German policies towards the GDR following the election of Willy Brandt as Chancellor in 1969; (iv) the importance of the 1971 Transit Agreement and 1972 Basic Agreement in normalising relations between East and West Germany; (v) the extent to which increased contact between East and West Germany highlighted the differences between the two countries rather than their similarities; and (vi) the extent to which the differences between East and West Germany impact politics in 21st-century Germany.
In this course, Dr Marcel Thomas (University of Manchester) explores life in East Germany between 1945-89 via six key questions: (1) Why was housing seen as so important to the building of a socialist society?; (2) Were women more emancipated in East Germany than in the West?; (3) To what extent did Stasi surveillance shape life in East Germany?; (4) How important was repression for the stability of the GDR?; (5) What was the role of the Protestant church in East Germany?; and (6) How did Ostpolitik change relations between West and East Germany?
Dr Marcel Thomas is a historian of modern Germany with a particular interest in rural and urban life, oral history, memory and sensory methodologies. His monograph Local Lives, Parallel Histories: Villagers and Everyday Life in the Divided Germany (2020) is the first comparative study of how East and West German villagers experienced and navigated social change in their localities in the postwar era.
Cite this Lecture
Thomas, M. (2021, February 09). Germany – Life in East Germany, 1949-89 - How did Ostpolitik change relations between West and East Germany? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/germany-life-in-east-germany-1949-89/how-did-ostpolitik-change-relations-between-west-and-east-germany
Thomas, Marcel. "Germany – Life in East Germany, 1949-89 – How did Ostpolitik change relations between West and East Germany?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Feb 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/germany-life-in-east-germany-1949-89/how-did-ostpolitik-change-relations-between-west-and-east-germany