East Germany: Successor of Prussia?

Bogumil replied back to my comments regarding the latest post on ARPLAN. For the first message, he said that he wished me luck on my attempts to work on a major research paper. I am going to need it because the topic in question is a solid one that could explain the current direction of geopolitics on the Korean Peninsula. My suspicion at the moment is that Beijing and Pyongyang have learned the historical lessons provided by the experiences of the German Reich and the Soviet Union. Beijing in particular has been touting this argument under Xi Jinping that the fall of the Soviet Union cannot be blamed entirely on economic problems or the rise of lesser nationalisms. Instead, the Soviets failed because they gradually abandoned the tenets of Marxism-Leninism and the historical legacy paved by Vladimir Lenin and continued under Josef Stalin.

As for the other comment, the one pertaining the post itself, Bogumil also responded to it. He shared my conclusions about how East Germany had developed so differently from West Germany that the “East German” and “West German” have become two separate national identities. We concluded that this was the sign of two emerging national consciousnesses on how the German-speaking world should go forward after 1945. For those did not read the second comment, I argued:

“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.”

Interestingly, Bogumil cited a number of historical evidence that continues to be overlooked by Western observers of the former DDR. In addition to reintegrating former NSDAP members into East German life, Prussian military traditions were also preserved as well as the gradual rehabilitations of Martin Luther and Friedrich der Große (“‘I am the first servant of my state’”). The DDR’s hostilities toward Zionism and refusal to recognize the State of Israel can be understood in the broader context of the Soviet Union’s support for the State of Palestine. Those sentiments were being expressed at a time when the Communist and Socialist movements were shifting their support away from the Israelis in favor of the Palestinians. In my own readings of Cold War history, the Israelis fulfilled a role comparable to that of the Saudis, which was to further the strategic interests of the Jeffersonian Empire of Liberty in the Middle East.  

My theory concerning the DDR is that many ideas and values conducive to Prussianism and Socialism were more well-preserved than they were in the BRD or West Germany. This would explain why Socialistic and Nationalistic sentiments are more widespread in that part of the German-speaking world than they are in the West German regions. In a way, it is unrealistic to think of the country we know today as “Germany” to be a single unified nation. The social and cultural divisions between East Germans and West Germans are still there and I have every reason to doubt that those divisions would ever be resolved under Liberal Capitalism. Another ideology other than Liberal Capitalism or Marxism-Leninism would be capable of uniting them at this point.

Categories: Politics

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