Linda Marie Nyberg Humanities and Social Science
East German Antifascism: The Everyday Reality of Historical Abstraction
With the crystallization of Cold War tensions by 1948/49, a specifically communist anti-fascism was invoked to distinguish East from West. In identifying West Germany as a fascist state, East Germany’s anti-fascist roots became her very raison d’etre. The roots, though, were shallow indeed; as the Cold War intensified, so did the degree of historical abstraction. By the 20th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic’s founding in 1969, the ideology of anti-fascism-based on a manipulation of history-had penetrated every aspect of both private and public life, from popular music to schools to memorials. In creating my own ideal-an East German born in 1949 with the Republic-I will examine how this abstract anti-fascism came to penetrate the everyday fabric of society as East Germany’s own socialist existence became increasingly threatened. Anti-fascism, like socialism, was an ideal that fell victim to politics.