Thursday, November 08, 2007
Over a third of East Germans Would Prefer Life in GDR
Now, a Forsa Survey based on German from both east and west, has produced what I think are astonishing results; they suggest that many Germans would like to see that grim symbol of repression, the Berlin Wall, reconstructed. 73% from the east felt that socialism was a good idea poorly implemented with 90% saying they enjoyed better 'social protection' under the GDR. Most of the Germans interviewed said they would prefer to live in West Germany should the wall still be in place but no less than 36% of former east Germans said they would prefer to live in East Germany. Anyone who has seen that rivetingly grim German film on the Stasi, The Lives of Others, will find this very hard to understand.
One wonders how many Romanians still hanker after the benign political ministrations of Nicolae Ceausescu and his lovely wife or how many Poles yearn for the repressions of Gumulka or Gierek. I suppose one should not be so surprised when we learn that many Russians think Stalin was a good leader and regard Putin as the nearest contemporary substitute for him. Even more depressingly it seems that only 5% of relationships in Germany are between east and west Germans, suggesting that these survey results reflect an ongoing gulf between the former communist part of the country and its bigger western counterpart.
As for 73% thinking 'socialism is a good idea badly implemented' I wouldn't be surprised if you got similarly high results even in the UK - in fact change it subtley to 'a good idea that can't really be implemented' and I'd sign up myself.
Fair points. I suppose also that if you are at the lower end of the skill range the GDR was not too bad in that everyone worked, everyone suffered from the non availability of goods and it was only the middle class who complained bitterly about liberty and the like.Nevertheless I find the figure of over a third slightly astonishing given how awful we know it was.
I've just finished 'The Cold War' by John Lewis Gaddis (a very good one volume fairly light history) - in anything I've read about the cold was the events of Nov/Dec '89 are always very emotional - the sheer lust for freedom from people who'd been oppressed for so long is very moving.
I also didn't realise until I read this book that the wall thing was effectively an accident - the East Germans just wanted to relax restrictions at a few gates to ease the public outcry and it was just a bold (or incompetent) border guard who ended up getting the instructions wrong...!
Thanks for the book reference- I'll add it to my Christmas list though I'm running out of shelf space to be honest.
On your main point Bill, I wonder how many from the former Yugoslavia would hanker after the days of Tito knowing what they know now.
p.s. I'm glad to note the recent spate of hackers & spammers invading your blogspace seems to have abated. (Or maybe they just masturbated ? ;-)
Yes, the spammers were a bloody nuisance- maybe my post on gun control- which attracted the ire of a lot of US gun nuts- was the trigger.
I hope I don't sound too prim when saying that angle had not even occurred to me....
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