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Freedom of SpeechPhoto (detail): Reinhard Kaufhold @ picture alliance / ZB

Freedom of Speech

Where were people more likely to voice their concerns, and air their grievances? In West or East Germany? Were “fake news” an issue in divided Germany? How has a long history of censorship (Third Reich, GDR) shaped German attitudes towards freedom of expression? How much freedom of expression is necessary in a society? And lastly, does it strengthen or weaken a social system?

Andrew Port Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Socialism 1947-1989

42 years of Socialism: Given the widespread popular discontent and shortage of basic daily goods, Socialism had a long life in East Germany. How do we make sense of this longevity? Andrew Port, PhD, professor of history at Wayne State University, talks about why there were no notable mass protests in the GDR between 1953 and 1989. 

East German Youth Culture Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Freedom of Speech: West Germany

The restriction of freedom of speech is taken for granted in the case of East Germany, but what about West Germany?

David Gill Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Fake news?

Were East Germans ever worried that their Western News were actually fake news? If so, were there any major instances where the government interfered with the Western broadcasts?

Andrew Port Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

What is the role of Freedom of Speech?

Does freedom of expression strengthen or weaken a social system?

Andrew Port Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Protest in divided Germany

Where were the citizens able to protest/express their opinion/air their grievances more freely? In East or West Germany?

Frank Wolff Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

How many parties....

....can a democracy handle? Is it possible to have too many parties? When do too many parties lead to dysfunctional politics? 

Frank Wolff Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Did the GDR have oppositional movements?

The history of the 1953 crushed worker's uprising by the Soviet troops is well known, but did the GDR have other oppositional movements? 

Open Memory Box © Open Memory Box

Art and Public expression of dissent

Public expressions of dissent in the GDR were limited to spaces (under close surveillance) as the church and certain party gatherings, but individuals carved out room for freedom in the arts and other (semi)private spaces. 

Reunification Revisited © Goethe-Institut New York

We asked, Ingrid Miethe, PhD answered: You were personally active in the peace movement in the GDR and subsequently researched and compared feminist movements in the East and West. How would you summarize the most important differences?
See answer.

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