The latest ARPLAN post supports my longstanding conclusions about the role of Nationalism in the DDR or “East Germany.” The Soviets knew that not all Germans in the German-speaking world were truly supportive, let alone complicit, in the affairs of the Hitlerists. If anything, the Soviets were at least willing to give the German-speaking world a second chance, even though they were forced to hold onto a small sliver of East Prussia. Barring the NSDAP members, a sizeable number of people mentioned herein are former Wehrmacht personnel who found themselves in a German-speaking world that had its size and influence diminished significantly. They had witnessed two major wars and believed the German-speaking world must pursue peace to ensure its survival.
This brings me to another important point that I had addressed on my Blog, and that is the role of Nationalism in the DDR. It is clear to me that there were two opposing Nationalisms within the German-speaking world after 1945, which went on to shape the national consciousnesses of the “West German” and the “East German.” The West German viewed themselves as complicit in the actions of the Hitlerists and therefore must atone in some form or another, creating the “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” that continues to perplex foreigners and East Germans alike. The East German, meanwhile, had nothing to atone because they believed that the Soviet Union had wiped the slate clean for the German-speaking world and provided them with a newfound purpose.
The open letter itself represents one of those efforts in the late 20th century to remind all Germans everywhere in the German-speaking world that they are still Germans first and foremost. Legal names like “West Germany” and “East Germany” will always be artificial constructions that do not reflect the true Authentic Dasein of the German-speaking world as a whole. The real problem, and I am convinced that it is a genuine one, is how to reunite whatever remains of the German-speaking world. Clearly, the NDPD had to have realized that the lands east of the Oder-Neiße Line could not be retaken without risking a major war. And although they refrained from specifically mentioning those lands, given the broader geopolitical context of the Cold War, they continued to emphasize the importance of reuniting West and East Germany, West and East Berlin.
The significance of reunification, as it was promoted by the NDPD, is worth addressing in the context of what would later happen a few decades later. The “West German” and “East German” have grown apart from each other that I cannot help but perceive them as two different Volksgemeinschaften as opposed to being one Volksgemeinschaft. Even today, there are still cultural and social divisions that persist among the “West Germans” and “East Germans.” It is almost as if they are still being defined by two opposing sets of values and ideas.
A notable case involves the political orientations of “East Germans” in comparison to “West Germans.” Socialistic and Nationalistic ideas and values tend to receive far greater support among “East Germans” than they do among “West Germans.” The “West Germans,” by contrast, are more receptive to Liberal Capitalist ideas. Certainly, there may have been attempts by the West German government to impose its ideas and values on the East Germans, but I doubt they were successful.
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