Nation Building and Regime Stability in the DDR

Nation Building and Regime Stability in the DDR HENRY KRISCH (Storrs, Conn., U.S.A.) Nation Building and Regime Stability in the DDR The continuing controversy in and about the German Democratic Republic (DDR) concerning its "national" character provides an opportunity to examine the role of nationalism in the process of political system maintenance in general, and for communist states in particular. Nationalism is to be understood in this context both as an empirical reality, reflected in a received political culture and in mass attitudes, as well as an ordering concept through which observers may seek to understand the political reality of the DDR and, more importantly, through which the political leadership in the DDR may seek to understand and justify its own position. First, however, we must consider the fundamental question of the existence of DDR nationalism. Is there a distinct national consciousness in the DDR, in the sense of widely shared values and beliefs, or with respect to identifiable external social characteristics? Most Western students have tended either to respond nega- tively or to suspend judgment.l Political leaders and scholars in the DDR have answered affirmatively, but always with a particular elaboration of the concept of "nation" in mind.2 Inasmuch as there is general agreement that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png East Central Europe Brill

Nation Building and Regime Stability in the DDR

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1976 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0094-3037
eISSN
1876-3308
D.O.I.
10.1163/187633076X00027
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

HENRY KRISCH (Storrs, Conn., U.S.A.) Nation Building and Regime Stability in the DDR The continuing controversy in and about the German Democratic Republic (DDR) concerning its "national" character provides an opportunity to examine the role of nationalism in the process of political system maintenance in general, and for communist states in particular. Nationalism is to be understood in this context both as an empirical reality, reflected in a received political culture and in mass attitudes, as well as an ordering concept through which observers may seek to understand the political reality of the DDR and, more importantly, through which the political leadership in the DDR may seek to understand and justify its own position. First, however, we must consider the fundamental question of the existence of DDR nationalism. Is there a distinct national consciousness in the DDR, in the sense of widely shared values and beliefs, or with respect to identifiable external social characteristics? Most Western students have tended either to respond nega- tively or to suspend judgment.l Political leaders and scholars in the DDR have answered affirmatively, but always with a particular elaboration of the concept of "nation" in mind.2 Inasmuch as there is general agreement that

Journal

East Central EuropeBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1976

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