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5. What was the role of the Protestant church in East Germany?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the role of the Protestant church in East Germany, focusing in particular on: (i) the attempts by the socialist state to push the church out of people’s lives, and their success in doing so; (ii) the attitude of the church towards the socialist state in the early life of the GDR, and the attempts to find a modus vivendi in the 1970s; (iii) the importance of the church in incubating opposition movements in the 1980s, providing meeting spaces for the peace movement, environmental activism such as the Umweltbibliothek, and for ‘counter-cultural’ activities such as rock concerts; (iv) the particular importance of the of the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig; and (v) the extent to which church figures played a role in the politics of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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 - What was the role of the Protestant church in East Germany? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/germany-life-in-east-germany-1949-89/what-was-the-role-of-the-protestant-church-in-east-germany
Thomas, Marcel. "Germany – Life in East Germany, 1949-89 – What was the role of the Protestant church in East Germany?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Feb 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/germany-life-in-east-germany-1949-89/what-was-the-role-of-the-protestant-church-in-east-germany